Monday, July 27, 2020

Taking a Look at the Newly-Announced Fall 2021 Itineraries

Last week, Disney Cruise Line announced itineraries for fall 2021 on their website.  Most of the cruises announced are either Halloween on the High Seas or Very Merrytime cruises.  Overall, nothing too exciting was announced, but there were some changes to typical cruises, possibly because of the Wish. The next announcement of itineraries will likely be much more interesting, since the Wish is scheduled to start cruising in early 2022.  So, let's look through what is probably the last bunch of DCL itineraries with only four ships!

First, let's see what's new with cruises in the Caribbean.  The Magic will be going on a 4-night Eastern Caribbean cruise from San Juan to Miami.  Interestingly, it'll make a stop at Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic on this cruise.  Later, the Magic will do a few 5-night Western Caribbean cruises, as well as a 6-night Western Caribbean cruise from Miami.

The Wonder will do 4-night Western Caribbean cruises from Galveston, Texas.  It'll also do one 6-night Western Caribbean cruise from Galveston.

The Dream won't be doing any Caribbean cruises, it'll do Bahamian cruises as usual.  However, the Fantasy will.  In addition to its normal 7-night Caribbean cruises, it'll do an 8-night Eastern Caribbean cruise.  Usually, the Fantasy goes on 7-night cruises from Saturday to Saturday, but because of this 8-night cruise, it'll go from Sunday to Sunday.  Why is Disney making this change?  It's probably because the Wish will take over cruises from Saturday to Saturday.  The Wish might do 7-night cruises, or do what the Dream does and alternate between 3 and 4-night cruises.  I think the Wish will become the new Dream and do shorter cruises.  The Wish and its sister ships will be fueled using liquified natural gas, or LNG, and not every port in the Bahamas and Caribbean can refuel LNG-powered ships presently, so the new ships may have less choice of destinations.  A shorter cruise means less destinations, so I think the Wish will be the new Dream.  But what will the Dream do?  That's a post for another week.

While looking through the Fantasy's Caribbean cruises, I noticed that there's a gap of nothing between October 24th and October 30th.  At first I thought this was for a dry dock, but after looking into it, it's actually a chartered Turner Classic Movies cruise.  It's not bookable on the Disney website, instead anyone wanting to go on that cruise would have to go through TCM.  You can find the TCM cruise's website here.

Back on topic, let's look at the Bahamas.  The Magic is doing 3, 4, and 5-night Bahamian cruises in late 2021.  It's only going to Key West twice, which is too bad, because Key West is a nice place.  The Wonder is only doing three Bahamian cruises in fall 2021, and they're all 6-night cruises out of Galveston.  The Dream is doing its typical 3 and 4-night Bahamian cruises, although on some of the 3-night cruises, there is a day at sea instead of a stop in Nassau.  The Fantasy will go on two Bahamian cruises in November, a 5-night cruise (with two stops at Castaway Cay) followed by a 3-night cruise.  These cruises will put the Fantasy back on its new Sunday to Sunday schedule, after the TCM cruise put its schedule back to Saturday to Saturday.

Next on the website are Baja cruises on the Wonder.  The Wonder will go on seven Baja cruises throughout October and early November 2021.  There are two 3-night cruises, three 4-night cruises, and two 5-night cruises.  There aren't any 2-night cruises like there have been in the past, which is good, because a 2-night cruise would just be too short.  People unpack on the first day, then have to pack up the next day!  It's just not worth it!

After that, the website features one Mexican Riviera cruise.  This 7-night cruise, out of San Diego, has stops at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta, as well as three days at sea.

Listed after the Mexican Riviera cruise are the Magic's Bermuda cruises out of New York City.  There are five 5-night Bermuda cruises.  These cruises have two consecutive days in  King's Wharf, Bermuda and two days at sea.  After these Bermuda cruises, there is a 5-night cruise from New York City to San Juan, Puerto Rico that has one day in Bermuda, a day in Tortola, and two days at sea.

Next up is one 6-night Canada cruise on the Magic from New York City.  In October, this cruise stops at Saint John (New Brunswick), Halifax (Nova Scotia), and Bar Harbor in Maine.  It has two days at sea.

After that is a Pacific Coast cruise on the Wonder from Vancouver to San Diego.  This cruise stops at Victoria, Canada, and has two days at sea before arriving in San Diego.

Following the Pacific Coast cruise is the 11-night Westbound Transatlantic cruise.  This cruise, starting in Dover, England, has stops in Bilbao, Spain; La Coruña, Spain; and King's Wharf, Bermuda, in addition to six days at sea.

Finally, we have the 14-night Eastbound Panama Canal cruise.  This cruise starts in San Diego and ends in Galveston, making multiple stops in Mexico, a stop in Cartagena, Columbia, and a stop in Grand Cayman.  This cruise also has one week at sea.

That's it for the fall 2021 cruise announcement.  I'm hoping the next announcement is more interesting, because we'll probably find out when the Wish enters service and where it'll be going.  Also, as we get closer to early 2022, we'll learn more about the Wish.  But until then, you can find more information about the cruises I mentioned above, like dates and how to book, on the Disney Cruise Line Website.  

Monday, July 20, 2020

Update: All Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy Cruises Are Canceled Until September 30th

Today, on their website, Disney Cruise Line finally announced that all cruises on the Dream, and Fantasy are canceled until September 30th.  This announcement complies with the CDC's extended No Sail Order, which lasts until September 30th.  This No Sail Order applies to cruise ships in waters under US authority, and the Wonder, Dream, and Fantasy would be in US waters in the second half of September, so they're all affected.  

The Magic, which would be in Europe in September if it was crusing normally, isn't affected by this No Sail Order.  Instead, a while ago, it was announced that cruises on the Magic are suspended until October 2nd.

Cruises on the Wonder were previously suspended until September 14th, and cruises on the Dream and Fantasy were previously suspended until September 15th.  All of the people affected by this new suspension will have the choice of receiving a full refund or a full cruise credit (as long as they've paid the cruise in full), the same as all of the previous suspensions.

As with all of the previous suspensions, these will be extended past September 30th if necessary.  I didn't think they'd be extended past the 15th of that month, but here we are.  It's hard to believe the closest cruises to now will be Halloween on the High Seas cruises.  Finally, be sure to check the Disney Cruise Line website for more information and the latest updates.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Reopening the Various Dining Options Reasonably

When Disney resumes cruises, which is now going to be at the end of September, there will certainly be many health and safety changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  I already made a post taking a look at how Disney World's reopening safety precautions could be applied to DCL, so if you haven't read it, I recommend reading it here first.

A major aspect of a Disney cruise is dining, so let's think about how it may be impacted by safety and health measures.  Like at Disney World, guests will likely be required to wear masks at all times on the ships, except when swimming or dining.  Guests won't have to wear masks while eating, but I guess they could if they really wanted to.  Not sure how much they'd be able to eat, though.  On my first reopening post, I thought of a loophole, but now I realize that it probably wouldn't work.  The crew would probably want guests to wear masks as much as possible, and they could do this by restricting the areas where guests can eat, so I sadly wouldn't be able to go all around the ship carrying my plate of French fries.

First, let's consider the poolside restaurants like Eye Scream and Pinocchio's Pizzeria.  As of January 2020, Eye Scream was a self-service ice cream station, but when cruises resume, crew members are certainly going to be the only people operating the machines.  This'll be more sanitary than letting people serve themselves, and it may even make lines move faster!  Although I did enjoy trying to fit as much ice cream on a single cone as possible.  This usually ended in my hand getting covered in delicious but cold ice cream.

As for the regular quick-service poolside restaurants, there will likely be transparent plastic barriers between the server and the guests.  Also, there may be markings on the floor spread apart for people to stand on.  Lines at these restaurants can get pretty long around lunchtime, so they're going to need a lot of markings.  Also, the condiments probably won't be out for guests to get by themselves.  Instead, they'll likely be behind the plastic barrier available upon request, like the napkins.  This wouldn't be a problem for me, unless I were to forget to ask.  Additionally, guests probably won't be able to leave the area close to the quick-service restaurants while eating with no mask.  This might get annoying, especially if I wanted to eat my food up on the sports deck or down in the atrium.

Also, we can't forget about Vanellope's Sweets and Treats on the Dream and Sweet on You on the Fantasy. These two locations are specialty dessert shops, meaning the food available at them is sold for an extra cost.  They're different from the typical poolside restaurants, but they are near the pools, so I'll count them.  Similar to the other restaurants, they'll likely have a plastic barrier installed between the crew members and the guests as well as markings on the floor to enforce social distancing.  Guests might only be able to eat their purchases at Cabanas, which is connected to these shops.

Speaking of Cabanas, let's discuss the buffet.  Normally, guests are allowed to put food on their own plates, but there is absolutely no way Cabanas will function like this when cruises resume.  Crew members will have to serve guests, which will probably slow the buffet line down.  This added time might be challenging for people with early morning excursions or that are using the Express Walk-Off program that need to leave the ship as fast as possible.  Also, markings will certainly be placed on the ground indicating where people should stand.  Cabanas is usually very straightforward and streamlined, but these safety measures, while understandable, would be pretty annoying and cumbersome.  After guests would receive their food, they would have to find somewhere to sit.  There will likely be less tables, and the ones that remain will be more spread out than how they were, which would make finding somewhere to sit even harder than it already was.  This could result in Disney limiting the amount of people in the restaurant at a time, since there wouldn't be enough tables for everyone.  This may be challenging, since Cabanas has quite a few entrances.  Cabanas won't be nearly as efficient as it was before the suspension, so hopefully Disney will work their magic to figure out a way to make Cabanas work.

Next, we have the standard rotational dining restaurants and Palo and Remy.  Normally, there are two dinner times at the rotational restaurants, an earlier seating and a later seating.  In an effort to decrease the amount of people at each seating, Disney could create a third dinner time.  This could be a earlier early seating or a later late seating.  In addition to this or instead of this, guests will probably be seated at tables spread farther apart from others than usual.  While guests won't need to wear masks, the servers will probably be required to.  The servers could wear masks that match their uniforms as a really cool touch!  They might also wear plastic gloves for extra safety.

At Palo and Remy, these changes would also be applicable.  According to my parents, Palo has been somewhat crowded before, so to decrease the amount of people in the restaurants, they could have more dinner time options, similar to the possible third rotational dinner time.  Like the rotational restaurants, they could also spread out the tables.  The changes in these restaurants wouldn't be too different than usual, for the guests at least.  I'd be totally fine with this, and I'm sure some people would enjoy an even later dinner seating to change things up.

Finally, we have room service.  This may be the best dining option, since there's no worry about catching any virus because guests are alone with their families in their staterooms.  Because of this, there's not much to change about room service.  The server may have to wear gloves and a mask, and the guests may have to wear a mask when receiving the food.  But other than that, there's nothing Disney could change about room service!  I'd be completely fine with this change, as it's very minor.  I probably wouldn't even notice it!

Disney hasn't announced any health and safety changes for their cruise ships yet, so this whole post is just speculation.  What safety precautions for the dining areas would you suggest?  Leave a comment if you'd like.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

All of the Remaining September 2020 Cruises Have Been Removed From the DCL Website

Today, I was checking the Disney Cruise Line website to see if there were any more cancelations as a result of COVID-19, and yes, there are.  Cruises on the Dream and Fantasy had previously been canceled until September 15th, but now, none of the remaining cruises in September 2020 are listed.  Why were they unlisted?  Well, a few days ago, the Centers for Disease Control extended their No Sail Order for cruise ships until September 30th.  This No Sail Order applies to cruise ships in waters under US authority, and the Dream and Fantasy both depart from Port Canaveral, which is in Florida, which is in the United States, which means they can't resume until the end of September.  The Magic and Wonder are both scheduled to resume cruises in October, so this No Sail Order doesn't affect them.

Interestingly, DCL's COVID-19 travel alert website hasn't been updated yet with these changes.  I'm sure it'll be updated pretty soon, so when it is updated, I'll make a post with the official cancelation details.  See ya real soon!

Monday, July 13, 2020

Reopening Reasonably

In Florida over the weekend, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom of Disney World reopened after being closed for months because of COVID-19.  When Disney Cruises resume in September, I don't know what health and safety measures will be enforced, but they might be similar to those at Disney World.  First, let's see what's going on at Disney World.

Disney World's reopening website says that there is increased cleaning taking place around the park, especially in high-traffic areas.  This is definitely going to happen on the DCL ships this fall.  Just think of all of the places that people touch.  Handrails in hallways and on staircases, door handles, elevator buttons, sink handles, and so on.  These areas were already cleaned often, but when cruises resume, they'll likely be cleaned twice as much.  I'd be totally fine with this, and it wouldn't be too different from what happens normally.

The park's reopening website also says that enhancements have been made to increase social distancing.  Signs and markings on the ground have been placed around the park so people can get around while maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others.  Where it's difficult to practice social distancing, barriers have been installed.  These barriers are likely transparent plastic screens.  Also, cast members at the park have been trained to help people maintain distance from others.  Barriers seem unlikely, but signs and floor markings may be installed on the DCL ships.  For example, there may be markings telling people where to stand when waiting in line for the Guest Services desk.  I would be okay with this, although it would be somewhat annoying.  Also, I'm sure the crew will tell people to stay distanced from others.

Disney World's website says that all guests are being encouraged to use cashless payment options, like paying with a phone.  This would be very easy to implement on the DCL ships, since most of the food available is  ̶f̶r̶e̶e̶ included.  Also, for when payment is needed, people can just charge it to their stateroom.  Speaking of payment, consider the shops.  They're filled with many shelves and items, but they are small, and don't allow for social distancing at all times.  A potential solution would be to limit the amount of people in the shops at a time.  Guests could use the DCL Navigator app to book a time to visit the shops.  It's far from ideal, but it does decrease the risk of people spreading sicknesses to others.

Time for a big one:  Face coverings and masks.  At Disney World, all guests over two years old are required to wear them except when swimming or eating.  Sadly, I think this is also going to be required on the DCL ships, at least for the first month or two.  But, here's a question:  Would waiting in the line for the AquaDuck count as swimming?  Or would people have to wear a mask up until they sit in their raft?  It probably counts as swimming, since people could lose their masks in the AquaDuck's tube.  Markings will surely be placed on some of the AquaDuck's seventy stairs at least six feet apart to encourage social distancing.  Wearing a mask on a cruise would be terrible, possibly bad enough to make me write a post about how terrible it would be.  If masks are still required to be worn in January, when my family and I are going on the Fantasy, we're going to cancel our cruise.  It wouldn't be a vacation, it would be an occupation (that's the opposite of vacation according to Google).

Looking back at Disney World's rules, I think I found a loophole in the mask rules.  It says masks must be worn at all times, except for when swimming or eating.  On a Disney cruise, guests are allowed to take food around the ship with them.  So, I could get a large plate of French fries, eat one every three minutes or so while going about my day, and last a few hours without wearing a mask.  It's a genius plan, it's foolproof!  Although, they'd probably get cold after my fourth or fifth fry.  Hey, it's still better than wearing a mask all day.

Back on topic, Disney World is doing temperature screenings.  At some locations around the park, guests are required to have their temperature taken upon entry.  If a guest's temperature is over 100.4° F, then they will be taken to an "additional location" for assistance and rescreening.  I think it's likely that DCL will take guests' temperature upon boarding and disembarking at ports of call.  If a guest's temperature is high on a Disney cruise ship, then they will likely be taken to the Health Center on Deck 1.

Finally, in addition to all of these precautions I've already mentioned, Disney World is limiting the amount of people admitted into the park every day.  DCL probably won't do this, since many people have had their cruises booked for months now and they can't just say, "Sorry, you were chosen to not be allowed on.  Have a magical day!"  Disney could limit the amount of people in a particular place at a time, like the shops, as I discussed earlier.

As you know, Disney World and Disney cruises are very different.  This means that DCL might not enforce all of the precautions that Disney World is taking.  There will likely be even more restrictions on the DCL ships than at Disney World.  We'll find out sometime before cruises resume this September.  I think I'll keep making posts similar to this, covering specific aspects of DCL, like ports of call, theaters, dining, and youth clubs.  Keep your eye out for those!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Solving the Comment Problem

Lately, some of my blog's readers haven't been able to leave comments on my posts.  According to one reader, they wrote a comment, then clicked "Publish", but the comment didn't publish.  That's strange, it should work.  There are multiple methods of making a comment, and in this post I'll walk through them with you.

Method 1:  Commenting with a Google Account
Blogger, the site I use to make this blog, is owned by Google.  Unsurprisingly, you can use a Google Account to comment on this blog.  Here's how:
Step 1:  Find a post that you want to comment on.
Step 2:  Scroll down to the comment section.  It's at the bottom of the post and looks like this:
(If you're using a mobile device, you'll need to tap "Post a Comment" for this to appear)
Step 3:  Write your comment.
Step 4:  Make sure the box next to "Comment as:" says Google Account and click "Publish".  If you are already signed in to your Google Account, the comment will be posted.  If you aren't, you'll be redirected to sign in to your account.  After entering your email and password, it'll take you back to the comment.  Finally, you can click "Publish" again and the comment will be posted.

When you make a comment using a Google Account, other people will be able to see the name registered with the account.  So, if you don't want people seeing that, you can comment anonymously, which I'll cover later.

Method 2:  Commenting with Name/URL
An alternative method of commenting is by using Name/URL.  This allows you to share your name and your website, if you have one.  Let's look at how to do this:
Step 1:  Find a post that you want to comment on.
Step 2:  Scroll down to the comment section.
Step 3:  Before writing your comment, make sure the box next to "Comment as:" says Name/URL.  A box that looks like this will appear:
Step 4:  Enter your name and a link to a website in their respective fields.  The name doesn't have to be your real name, and you could just make the URL to a random website like Google or my blog or, if you're using Google Chrome, the offline dinosaur game.  This URL cannot be an email address, I tried and it didn't work.  Then, click "Continue".
Step 5:  Write your comment.
Step 6:  Click "Publish".  A preview of your comment will appear, along with a reCAPTCHA.  This is there to prove you're not a robot.  Click "I'm not a robot", do the annoying task it gives you, and show the website you're a human.  If you fail the task and actually are a robot, I'll have to CAPTCHA you.
Step 7:  After you make sure you're a human, click "Publish", and your comment will be posted!

Method 3:  Commenting Anonymously
The third and final way to comment is by doing it anonymously.  By commenting using this method, nobody can see your name unless you write your name in the comment.  This method is pretty straightforward, and I'll take you through it:
Step 1:  Find a post that you want to comment on.
Step 2:  Scroll down to the comment section.
Step 3:  Before writing your comment, make sure the box next to "Comment as:" says Anonymous.
Step 4:  Write your comment.
Step 5:  Click "Publish"
Step 6:  A preview of your comment will appear, along with a reCAPTCHA.  Click "I'm not a robot", complete the task, and you'll be able to click "Publish" again.  Click it, and your comment will be posted!

Nothing seems to be wrong with the comments on my blog, so I hope this walkthrough of the various ways to comment were helpful.  If you encounter a problem while commenting, come back here and look back through the steps.  If you're still having problems, leave a comment!  Oh wait, you can't.    If it's not working, I recommend copying your comment, then reloading the page, and trying again.  You could also try using another method.

So, did you find this helpful?  Now that they work again, leave a comment if you'd like!