Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Update: All Disney Cruises Are Cancelled Until April 28th

Yesterday, on their website, Disney Cruise Line announced that all DCL departures will be suspended until April 28 because of the coronavirus.  All of the people affected by this suspension will have the choice of receiving a full refund or full cruise credit to be used in the next 15 months.

As a result of this suspension and Canada's decision to not let large passenger ships into the country until July 1st, the Wonder won't have any cruises until July.  If the crew isn't bored yet they're going to be soon.

If necessary, these cancellations will be extended past April 28th.  Be sure to check the Disney Cruise Line website for more information and the latest updates.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Wonder's Alaska Problem

As the coronavirus situation continues to change, many countries are taking precautions in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.  One of these countries is Canada.  The Canadian Government has prevented all passenger ships that can carry at least 500 people from docking in the country until at least July 1st.  This may be pushed to a later date if needed.

The Disney Wonder can hold a lot more than 500 people, so it's included in this deferral.  But Alaska isn't part of Canada, and the US hasn't prevented cruise ships from docking in it, so why does this matter?  Well, the Wonder's cruises to Alaska are homeported in Vancouver, which is conveniently in Canada.  As a result of Canada's restriction, the first Alaskan cruise of 2020 on the DCL website is at the start of July.  Disney's Alaskan cruise season typically starts in May or June, so this is much later than usual.

Interestingly, all of the Wonder's May and June cruises aren't listed on the website.  The previously-scheduled itineraries in May and June haven't been altered, they've just been cancelled.  The Wonder will be doing nothing from the end of April to the beginning of July!  If the current cancellations aren't extended, the Wonder will do a few cruises in April, then likely stay docked in San Diego until July.

It's possible that the May and June Wonder cruises will be changed into Mexican cruises from San Diego, like what the Wonder does before going to Alaska, but I think this is unlikely.  These potential cruises probably wouldn't sell well because of the coronavirus.  To get more people to go on these possible cruises, Disney will probably lower the prices, but not by much.  The company's called Disney, not Discount.

I'll keep my blog updated as I find out about any changes to the DCL schedule.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Disney Wish Now Under Construction

Construction has started on the fifth Disney cruise ship, the Disney Wish!  It's being built in the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, where the Dream and Fantasy were built.  The sixth and seventh ships will also be built there.
This video shows a ship transporting the first section of the Wish to the shipyard.  Over the next year and a half, the Wish will be built there.  It'll be completed by the end of 2021, assuming the coronavirus doesn't affect the schedule.  The Wish is scheduled to begin cruising in early 2022.

I wasn't expecting construction to start this early.  The Fantasy took roughly one year to build, so I was thinking construction would start at the end of this year, since the Wish and the Fantasy are similarly-sized.  This extra time is probably necessary because the Wish is a completely new ship, full of new features and things to do.  No new features have been announced yet, but it's fun to speculate!

Monday, March 23, 2020

White Caps: From Essentials to Expensive

White Caps is one of the three main shops on the Disney ships, along with Sea Treasures and Mickey's Mainsail.  It's named after the "caps" that form on top of waves in the ocean, like in the picture below.
In the past, White Caps had vacation necessities like sunscreen for sale.  However, on the Fantasy in January, all I saw in White Caps were watches, high-end perfumes, and jewelry.  All of the necessities previously sold there were moved across the hall to Sea Treasures, because nothing says treasure like seasickness medicine.

Another change to White Caps' stock was the addition of the Bvlgari Boutique.  Aside from being really hard to pronounce (I still don't know how), Bvlgari makes Italian jewelry and watches.  This boutique wasn't on the Fantasy in January 2017, so it must have been added during its dry dock later that year.  This section has its own entrance and sign, but it is connected to White Caps, so it's not a standalone store like Tiffany's.  However, similar to Tiffany's, Bvlgari isn't owned by Disney.

These changes to White Caps weren't all at once.  On each cruise leading up to the one in January, I noticed more and more high-end wares for sale at White Caps.  I'm guessing as long as Disney can make money off of the items sold at White Caps, they'll keep adding more expensive items.  I guess this is good if you like spending money.

While White Caps has experienced some changes, nothing has really happened to the other two main shops.  Mickey's Mainsail still has the most for sale, including clothes, toys, stuffed animals, picture frames, Christmas tree ornaments, coffee mugs, lanyards, and other Disney merchandise.  Sea Treasures has some toys and a few lanyards, but mainly has clothes, hats, and now vacation essentials.

While I'm on the topic of the shops, did you know you can take unpurchased items with you to the other main stores as you browse them?  For example, if you find a shirt you want to buy in Mickey's Mainsail, but want to buy another shirt from Sea Treasures, you can take the shirt from Mickey's Mainsail with you to Sea Treasures.  As long as you don't steal anything, the cast members don't mind.  I recommend making purchases wherever the line is the shortest.

If Disney continues to sell more expensive goods, I predict that the Wish will have multiple dedicated shops for other companies like Tiffany's and Bvlgari.  I'm excited to see how Disney plans to take even more customers' money!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Update: All Disney Cruises Are Cancelled Until April 12th

Disney must read my blog and want to annoy me.  An hour after I finished my last post about DCL's cancellations until the end of March, Disney updated their website, saying that all cruises up to April 12th are canceled because of the coronavirus.  

Here's another update from DCL's website:  Canada won't let any ship with over 500 passengers dock anywhere in the country until July, so the Wonder's Alaskan and Canadian itineraries will likely be altered, if not canceled.  

If necessary, the cancellations will be extended past April 12th.  I'm pretty sure this will happen, so I'll keep you updated.  Be sure to check the Disney Cruise Line website for more information and the latest updates.

All Disney Cruises Are Cancelled Until the End of March

I was definitely happier when they cancelled school.  

As the amount of COVID-19, or coronavirus, cases rises, many companies are increasing their health and safety precautions.  This includes cruise companies.  Major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival, and Norwegian have all suspended all operations because of the coronavirus.  According to their website, Disney Cruise Line has also suspended operations from today, March 14th, until the end of March.

The Magic and Fantasy, which were on cruises that ended today, will not begin new cruises today.  The Wonder, which is on a 14-night Westbound Panama Canal cruise, will finish its current cruise as scheduled but won't start another cruise.  The Dream, which left Port Canaveral on Friday, March 13th, will finish its 3-night cruise but won't begin another cruise.  Disney's website didn't say anything about where the ships will be during the rest of March.  I think the Magic will probably stay in Miami until it's back in service, the Wonder will probably stay in San Diego, and the Dream and Fantasy will probably be together in Port Canaveral if there's enough room.  It's funny, the only times they seem to be together is during unexpected circumstances like hurricanes, and now the coronavirus.  Even if no guests are on them, they'll still look great together.

People with cruises that were impacted by the cancellation will either get a full refund or credit for a future cruise.  The website says that crew members will still be compensated during the cancellations, so I'm guessing they have to stay onboard the ships.  There's always work to be done!  The crew on Castaway Cay might get picked up by the Dream when it stops there, or they might stay on the island to make sure the seagulls don't starve.

If necessary, the cancellations will be extended past the end of the month.  Be sure to check the Disney Cruise Line website for more information and the latest updates, and just like on a Disney cruise, wash your hands frequently!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Star Wars Day at Sea 2020

Since the last Star Wars Day at Sea of 2020 was this past Thursday, I thought it would be a good time to write about it.  My cruise on the Fantasy in January had a Star Wars Day at Sea, and it was probably the best day at sea I've ever had.

A Star Wars Day at Sea is exactly what it sounds like:  A day at sea with Star Wars.  Scheduled character greetings with Star Wars characters like R2-D2, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader are held throughout the day.  Star Wars characters including Stormtroopers, Imperial Officers, and Jawas roam the ship.  Star Wars music plays in the hallways.  Announcements are made throughout the day alerting guests to report any rebel sightings to the nearest Stormtrooper.  Star Wars decorations are put up around the ship.  The Fantasy plays Star Wars horns that I sadly missed out on because I was eating lunch at Cabanas.  Star Wars movies play in both theaters.  It's awesome.

The Star Wars festivities started the night before.  Star Wars 101, a show explaining the basics of Star Wars, was held in the Buena Vista Theater.  I knew I wouldn't learn anything new, since I am a big Star Wars fan and I went to it twice on my cruise in 2017.  But I did the logical thing and went anyway.


I went to Star Wars 101 alone the night before Star Wars Day at Sea and again with my grandparents the next morning.  I don't know why I went twice, I guess I just like spending time with my grandparents.
After dinner on the night before, in the atrium, Darth Vader and some Imperial Stormtroopers arrived in their ship that probably landed in Tiffany's.  A similar event was held on the night before the Star Wars Day at Sea on my cruise in 2017.  However, on that cruise, Captain Phasma and her First Order Stormtroopers (from the sequel trilogy) were featured.  I'm assuming Darth Vader decided to invade instead this year because he knows how much more iconic he is.
Deck 4 was a great spot to see the Stormtroopers, which is where I took this photo, one of my favorites from the cruise.  The Stormtroopers walked right past my family and I, asking people to verify their identities.  One approached my grandfather and asked to see his identification.  He showed it to the Stormtrooper, and the Stormtrooper took him away!  My grandfather was escorted to where Darth Vader was waiting, and my family and I just stared in amazement.  There were around 4000 people on the ship and they chose him!  The troopers didn't take any other prisoners, so my grandfather was lucky to go up to Darth Vader but also unlucky because he was taken as their prisoner.  After the event, the Stormtroopers let him go, probably just with a warning.

The next morning, I decided to walk to the atrium and take pictures of Han Solo.  You would think he would question me, but he stood still, like a statue.  I wonder why?
Maybe it was because he was frozen in carbonite.
This replica was surprisingly detailed.  The lights on the side blinked and the number screen changed every few seconds.
This sheet of paper, placed in our stateroom on the night before Star Wars Day, detailed some of the scheduled Star Wars events happening the next day.  Under the Star Wars Day at Sea logo, the paper says, "Disney Cruise Line 2018".  Star Wars Day at Sea 2018 (but in 2020) must only be on the ship with Pinocchio's Pool.  Anyway, a new addition to the day added sometime after 2017 was the Porgs on Board!  Scavenger Hunt.
This scavenger hunt tasked players to hunt for pictures around decks 3, 4, and 5.  At every picture, there was an Aurebesh (the writing system used in Star Wars) letter and a number.  By writing the letters in their corresponding boxes, players would reveal a message.  I found three letters, put my Porg away in my room, and forgot about it.  Like the Midship Detective Agency, I'll just have to finish it another time.  Playing the Porg scavenger hunt made me realize how much fun a Star Wars-themed Midship Detective Agency case would be.  A fourth, possibly more difficult case would be a nice addition to the game.  If the Wish has an upgraded Midship Detective Agency with better technology, a Star Wars case could showcase the capabilities of the new game.  Let's hope that happens!

Another new event during the day was Star Wars at Lightspeed.  Three actors attempted to reenact the original Star Wars trilogy in 20 minutes.  Sounds entertaining, right?  I enjoyed it so much that I went...


I went to the first show to enjoy it with my family.  Then, later, I decided to go again to film it so you can enjoy it!
The kid's menu at dinner was a Chewbacca mask!  There is Aurebesh text below every heading that spells the words above it.  If I remember correctly, this menu design was also used in 2017.

Later that night, the Summon the Force deck party was held on decks 11 and 12.  Similar to what I remember in 2017, characters from across the Star Wars timeline like Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Rey, Kylo Ren, R2-D2, and C-3PO got onstage and fought in a huge battle.  I was impressed by the pyrotechnic effects of the blasters, whenever a character fired one, a firework column shot out.  Much like a real Star Wars blaster, I'm sure it would hurt to get hit by that.  

After the battle, the second fireworks show of the cruise started.  Interestingly, the fireworks were shot off the port side.  During the cruise's first fireworks show, they were off the starboard side.  Also, in past cruises, the fireworks were always off the starboard side.  My dad and I found a great spot on the starboard side only to find out that the fireworks were off the port side.  I'm guessing this change was a result of wind or weather conditions, which Disney can't control because they don't own the weather...yet.

Because of Star Wars Day, the Fantasy's shops were packed with Star Wars souvenirs.
This banner wasn't for sale, it was put in every room by the stateroom attendants.  It now has a perfect spot on the wall in my room.  All of the 2020 Star Wars Day at Sea merchandise had a 70's retro theme.  I like it, but I still prefer the 2017 designs.
A 2017 shirt is above, a 2020 shirt is below.
To me, the 2017 design feels more Disney Cruise Line-ish than the 2020 design.  On the 2017 shirt, the Fantasy is more emphasized and there's no doubt of where the shirt came from.  The words "Star Wars" are large and emphasized on the 2020 shirt, so there's less Disney-ness on it in my opinion.  The 2020 shirt is still one of my favorite DCL shirts, though.
I also purchased a Star Wars Day at Sea lanyard.  The lanyard strap has a Galactic Empire side and a Rebel Alliance side, which is pretty cool.  I don't usually buy lanyards, but I had a reason for it.
I bought the lanyard because I wanted this priceless blanket!  Seriously, it doesn't have a price on it.  This blanket was kept behind the checkout counter, and it was available for $20.  However, there was a catch.  In order to be able to buy the blanket, I had to spend $60.  I knew I'd never be able to get the blanket any other time, and I had saved up a lot of Disney Gift Card money, so I wandered the shops, looking for items to spend $60 on.  I found the Star Wars Day at Sea shirt shown above, another DCL shirt, and the lanyard, which added up to be $65.  I bought those three items and the blanket and happily walked back to my room with my brand new $85 blanket.  It was definitely worth it and I regret nothing.
I was surprised to learn that personalized Aurebesh nametags, like mine above, were no longer being sold.  In 2017, there was an engraving machine in Mickey's Mainsail, but this machine was nowhere to be found this year.  According to one of the shop attendants, a similar nametag was available in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, but only from an expensive package.  No thanks, I'll pass.  I wore my nametag on Star Wars Day at Sea, but I felt bad when someone in Vibe asked me where I got it.  I awkwardly said, "I got it on a cruise three years ago, but you can't get them anymore."  Disney should bring these nametags back, they were one of the only personalizable souvenirs I remember being sold.

Overall, Star Wars Day at Sea 2020 was an awesome day on an awesome trip.  It was everything I remembered from 2017 and more.  Unfortunately there will only be 9 Star Wars Days at Sea next year.  I'm going on a cruise with a Star Wars Day at Sea next year, and I hope it's as much fun as this year's was.