Sunday, October 25, 2020

So Many Flavors, It's Scary!

I love ice cream, and I love eating it on the Disney ships.  The often-unpredictable selection of flavors of soft-serve ice cream available at Eye Scream keeps things interesting, and it gives people a reason (other than to get more ice cream) to visit it many times during a cruise.  Sometimes, certain flavors are only out for part of a day.  Have you ever thought about why, on some cruises, there are only a few flavors available, while on others, there are many?  Or how about why some flavors aren't as common as others?  I have, so today I'm getting to the bottom of this monstrous mystery.

On some of the cruises I've been on, Eye Scream only ever had 4 flavors:  Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and banana.  Out of these, the banana is my least favorite.  These flavors are basic, but get the job done.  I've noticed that the Dream-class ships have had this limited selection more than the Magic-class ships.  On other cruises, Eye Scream has had a larger variety of flavors, with coconut, blueberry, and even mango.  In addition to these, the other four flavors were available.  Some of you may remember that blueberry is my absolute favorite of the DCL soft-serve flavors, and I'm always a little disappointed when blueberry isn't served on a cruise.  It's weird, I love blueberry ice cream but I've never liked actual blueberries.  Anyway, I've observed that the Magic-class ships have had this variety more than the Dream-class.  

Why are there these two types of ice cream distribution?  I think it may be because of the rarity of some of the soft-serve mixes.  Think of anywhere you can go to get soft-serve ice cream.  It's likely that place has vanilla and chocolate.  But, have you ever seen coconut soft-serve being served at a normal ice cream shop?  This is probably because coconut soft-serve mixes are produced far less than mixes of typical flavors like chocolate.  Disney's soft-serve ice cream suppliers must produce much more of the standard flavors (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana) than the more unusual flavors (coconut, blueberry, mango).  This would explain why I've noticed that the unusual flavors were served more on the smaller Magic-class ships.  There are a lot less people onboard these ships than on the Dream-class ships, so the ships don't need as much ice cream mix.  As a result of the smaller capacity, more people can get a chance to enjoy the unusual flavors.  This explanation also answers why some flavors were more common than others.  Looks like this secret, home-based, way less interactive fourth Midship Detective Agency case is solved.  The Case of the Strange and Inconsistent Variety of Soft-Serve Ice Cream Flavors Available on the Disney Cruise Ships should be a Monsters, Inc. based mystery on the Wish.  Someone could think of a better name, though.

Actually, that whole explanation might be wrong.  What if after using up all of the energy from kids laughing, as seen at the end of Monsters, Inc., the monsters resorted to using soft-serve ice cream mix to power their world?  The unusual flavors are more efficient, so the monsters must use them more.  This explains why they're less common.  They like the Dream-class ships more, since they're huge, so they take most of their unusual flavors from there.  Also, the monsters are using the pictures of Mike Wazowski on the signs of Eye Scream to cover up their operations and make people unaware of what's going on.  This wouldn't be the strangest thing to happen in 2020.

Regrettably, this information isn't completely reliable, because the cruises I've been on were in different years and different times of the year.  I've also been on cruises of varying lengths.  If you want the real scoop on the ice cream, try asking the crew member at Eye Scream.  You might have to ask them on your next cruise anyway, since all of the self-serve food options, including Eye Scream, will probably be modified.  

Have you seen any other unusual flavors of ice cream on the Disney ships?  Do you think Disney should always have the unusual flavors on all of the ships, or keep them mainly on the Magic-class ships?  Which flavor is your favorite?  Leave a comment if you'd like!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Someone Made a Video of the Four Ships in France!

Earlier this month, all four of Disney's cruise ships were together for the first time ever.  From the pictures I saw, it was amazing.  I kept wishing I could get a better look, though.

Fortunately, someone knew people like me would want to see more of the ships from that day in France.  The YouTube user _cruise_ships posted the above video.  The video has beautiful footage of the ships from multiple angles, including from above.  When the camera was above the ships, it shows the Magic out of the water.  It's a little strange to look at, because I'm so used to seeing the ships in the water.  The video gave a glimpse at the ship's hull, something Disney doesn't usually show.  Hey, maybe that's why Disney didn't do anything special to celebrate this special occasion.  It's possible they don't want people seeing the part of the Magic that's usually submerged.  Even with that, they should've at least acknowledged to the public that the ships were together.  Well, it wasn't Disney, but I'm glad someone decided to take advantage of that day.  

From above, something's up with the Dream.  In the video's thumbnail or 1 minute and 17 seconds in, take a look at Vibe, in the front of the ship.  See the gray section with Mickey Mouse on it?  That isn't usually there.  Also, it isn't on the Fantasy.  It's not a cover for the outdoor section of Vibe, since it's behind that area.  It might be a cover for the area behind Vibe while the Dream is being worked on.  Or, it could be a new decoration, but if so, why is it gray?  The area around it is white, so the gray doesn't look right.  I doubt this, though, because Disney probably would've said something about a change to the Dream.  I'm guessing it's just for protection.

Another thing the video succeeds at is emphasizing the size difference between the smaller Magic-class ships and the much larger Dream-class ships.  If you look at the Magic or Wonder alone, they look very large.

But, compare them to the Dream and Fantasy in the video.  Not so huge now, are they?  It's funny, they actually look small.  The Disney Wish is only going to be a little bigger than the Dream-class ships, so the size difference won't be nearly as dramatic as the difference between the current ships.  As a result, it'll likely be difficult to tell the Dream-class ships apart from the Triton-class (what Disney is calling the Wish and the other two new ships) ships.

I also loved the time-lapse portions of the video.  Seeing the brightly-lit Wonder glide smoothly into port at night was fantastic.  They didn't need all of those lights on, since there weren't any guests.  I guess they just wanted to celebrate.  What do you think was playing on Funnel Vision?  It was definitely on.  I bet it was playing Ratatouille since the ships were in France.

Sadly, this video doesn't have any audio, just some background music.  I doubt we'll ever know if there was a four way horn battle.  The ships were only together in France for a day, because the Wonder left and sailed to Dover, in the UK.  If Disney ever decides to get all of their ships together again, I hope it's under better circumstances.  Maybe then they'll have that horn battle.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Taking a Look at the Newly-Announced Early 2022 Itineraries

 Last week, Disney announced cruise itineraries for the beginning of 2022.  They're not available for booking yet, but bookings open on October 22nd.  This announcement includes cruises from January 2022 to May 2022.  Unfortunately, since the Wish was delayed and will start sailing in summer 2022, there are no Wish itineraries in this announcement.

First, let's look at what was announced in the Caribbean.  The Magic will be doing some five night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami.  This itinerary has a day at sea, then stops at Grand Cayman or Cozumel, depending on the date, then has another day at sea, then stops at Castaway Cay.  These cruises aren't a huge surprise, since the Magic has done these cruises in the past.  The Wonder will also be doing some Western Caribbean cruises from Galveston and New Orleans.  From Galveston, it'll be doing some 4-night cruises with a day at sea, a stop at Cozumel, and another day at sea.  This itinerary isn't the most interesting, but if you like days at sea and don't want to be gone very long, this may be for you.  From New Orleans, the Wonder will be doing a couple of 6-night Western Caribbean cruises.  Like the 4-night cruises, these aren't the most interesting.  They both have three days at sea and stop at Cozumel and Grand Cayman. I think you'd be better off on a Western Caribbean cruise on the Fantasy, with an additional day and stops at Falmouth and Castaway Cay.  The Dream won't be doing any Caribbean Cruises, as usual. However, the Fantasy will start the year off with a 6-night Western Caribbean cruise to reset its schedule.  If you remember the fall 2021 itineraries from back in July, the Fantasy will do an 8-night cruise to make its 7-night cruises go from Sunday to Sunday instead of Saturday to Saturday.  This 6-night cruise will bring the Fantasy's schedule back to Saturday to Saturday.  I'm not sure why they're changing its schedule in the first place.  Maybe the Wish was planned to take the Fantasy's job and do 7-night cruises from Saturday to Saturday, but since it got delayed, it wouldn't do that until summer 2022.  This could be putting the Fantasy back to it's normal schedule.  This 6-night cruise on the Fantasy is similar to the normal 7-night Western Caribbean cruises on the Fantasy, just with no stop at Falmouth.  It also won't go to Cozumel.  Instead, it'll go to Costa Maya.  Other than that 6-night cruise, the Fantasy will do alternating Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean cruises like normal.  Some of the Eastern Caribbean cruises have unusual itineraries, like two stopping at St. Maarten and San Juan instead of Tortola and St. Thomas.  There's also one stopping at St. Maarten instead of Tortola. 

Unfortunately, there aren't any Southern Caribbean cruises in early 2022 departing from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  In 2018 and 2019, my family and I went on two Southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan, and they were both great itineraries.  They were fun, and it's a shame that there won't be any in 2022.

Next, let's look at the Bahamas.  The Magic will be doing some 4-night and 5-night Bahamian cruises from Miami. Some of the 4-night cruises stop at Nassau, while some stop at Key West instead.  The 5-night cruises stop at both!  The Wonder will be doing a whopping two Bahamian cruises.  The itineraries of them are exactly the same except for the home port.  One is from Galveston and the other is from New Orleans.  These 6-night cruises have two days at sea, a stop at Key West, a stop at Castaway Cay, then another day at sea.  The Dream is...the Dream.  It'll do the normal Dream stuff, alternating 3-night and 4-night cruises.  The Fantasy won't be doing any Bahamian cruises in early 2022.

So, that's it for the Magic, Dream, and Fantasy.  However, the Wonder has many unique and interesting itineraries planned for early 2022.  It's by far the busiest ship in this announcement.

In March 2022, the Wonder will be doing its 14-night Westbound Panama Canal cruise.  It's funny, only one of the days of the cruise is actually in the Panama Canal.  After arriving in San Diego, the Wonder will do a mixture of 2-night, 4-night, and 5-night Baja cruises.  The 2-night cruises go to Ensenada, Mexico, and back to San Diego.  Don't go on a 2-night cruise, it's too short!  One of the 4-night cruises goes to Catalina, California and Ensenada, Mexico, then has a day at sea.  The other 4-night cruises have a day at sea, then a stop at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, then another day at sea.  The 5-night Baja cruises have a day at sea, then a stop at Cabo San Lucas, then another day at sea, then a stop in Ensenada.  From what I've seen, the ports visited in the Baja cruises are really pretty.

After those Baja cruises, the Wonder will head north to Vancouver, Canada, on a Pacific Coast cruise.  From Vancouver, the Wonder will head to Hawaii!  It was scheduled to go to Hawaii earlier this year, but those cruises got canceled.  In 2022, the Wonder will do two 10-night Hawaiian cruises.  From Vancouver, the Wonder will spend five days at sea, then say, "Aloha" to Nawiliwili, Hawaii.  It'll spend two days there, then travel to Kahului.  Then, it'll spend a day in Honolulu before guests disembark there.  After that cruise, the Wonder will go back to Kahului, then to Hilo, and then spend two days at Nawiliwili.  Then, it'll say "Aloha" to Hawaii again and spend five days at sea on the trip back to Vancouver.  These Hawaiian cruises are uncommon, but I'm sure they sell well because they're so uncommon.  

That's it for early 2022!  Again, there's nothing about the Disney Wish because it'll be setting sail in summer 2022.  By the time the next group of itineraries are announced, I'm sure there will be a lot of news about the Wish.  Who would book a cruise based on a name and a few renderings?  Well, I probably would, but most people wouldn't.  I'm so excited to learn more about what Disney is going to blow our minds with on the Wish.

For more information about the itinerary announcement, like dates, check out the Disney Cruise Line website.  Also, don't forget that booking opens to the public on October 22nd!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Disney Wish Will Begin Sailing In Summer 2022!

Earlier today, October 15th, Disney announced that the Wish's maiden voyage will be in summer of 2022!  The Wish was planned to begin cruises in January 2022, but COVID-19 delayed the Wish by about half a year.  Unfortunately, Disney didn't confirm a date, but at least now we have a window.  This means that the Wish's launch will likely be some point between June 21st, 2022 to September 20th, 2022.  If possible, Disney should launch it earlier in the summer so they can have more of the Wish's cruises during the more expensive summer season.

Disney did not announce anything else about the Wish besides the launch window today.  They did announce some early 2022 itineraries, but only for the current four ships.  They look pretty exciting, so I'll probably be checking those out this weekend.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

For the First Time Ever, All Four Disney Ships are Together!

This is big.  Earlier today, October 14th, the Disney Wonder sailed into the port of Brest, France, where the Magic, Dream and Fantasy were docked.  This is the first time all four of Disney's ships have been in the same place at the same time.  In the eight years since there have been four Disney ships, this is the first time this has happened.  I guess all it took for this to happen was a pandemic.  In May of this year, the Magic, Dream, and Fantasy were in Port Canaveral together, but the Wonder wasn't with them.  Unfortunately, there isn't a good streaming camera like the one in Port Canaveral in Brest, but on, we can see that all four of them are together.

From left to right:  Wonder, Fantasy, Dream, Magic

Since there isn't a good streaming camera, I had to get creative to see what the four ships look like together.  I found an Instagram post from Dave Krijgsman, an officer currently on the Dream.  He took a picture from the top of the Dream's forward funnel, and the view looks amazing.

I wish I could see them in person, but this picture will have to do.  If you look closely at the picture, you'll notice multiple cranes.  Disney is using the time when cruises are cancelled to renovate them.  Either that or all of the ships are stocking up on croissants and baguettes.  The renovations they're doing now are likely minor, so they're not converting a restaurant or youth club or doing anything big.  

Look at the Dream's pool deck.   The stage by the forward funnel is missing, some of the floors are gone, and at the far left of the image, it looks like there are some large clear plastic tubes.  These must be new AquaDuck tubes.  I've never really thought about it, but the slide's tubes probably get worn down over time from having 600,000 gallons of water run through them every hour it is running.  I've never seen what the pool deck of a ship looks like during a renovation, so this is very interesting.  

But the renovations aren't the point of the picture.  On the left of the Dream is the Magic, on the right is the Fantasy, and on the far right is the Wonder.  I'm not sure how long the ships will be in France together, but they don't appear to be going anywhere soon because of the renovations.  While they're there, Disney needs to take promotional images of all of their ships together.  Maybe Disney will once each ship's renovations are complete.  They need their ships to be ship shape in their advertisements.  If they don't take any pictures now, they might not ever be able to.  All of the ships may never be in the same place at the same time again, and getting them all together will be harder as the fleet grows with the Wish and the other two ships.

It may not happen again, so let's enjoy this magical time in France.  If the ships have a four way horn battle, I hope someone will be around to film it.  It would be nice if Disney filmed it and posted it on their Disney Parks YouTube Channel.  Come on Disney, it'd be an awesome advertisement!

Monday, October 12, 2020

My Upcoming Cruise In January is Missing a Lot of Activities

For as long as I can remember, Disney cruises have had a variety of activities around the ship that didn't cost an extra fee.  People that wanted to attend them just had to make a reservation.  The reservations were in place to reduce the amounts of people coming to these events, because they were very popular.  Some of these activities include the Character Breakfast in Animator's Palate, the Princess Gathering, and the Star Wars Day at Sea character greetings.  The cruise I might go on in January has none of these activities available for booking.  Like many other things in 2020, I think they've been cancelled because of COVID-19.

Why were they cancelled?  Disney hasn't officially said anything about them, but I have a pretty good idea why.  All of the activities I mentioned above are character-based.  Many guests get very to the characters for their pictures, and that would violate social distancing.  What better way to prevent this safety violation than by cancelling all of these activities?  It's probably the easiest solution, and Disney doesn't lose any money, because these activities were free anyway.

For a regular Disney cruise, this change is not a huge deal, but for Star Wars Day at Sea 2021 it is.  Our second day at sea is looking really generic at the moment.  One of my favorite parts of Star Wars Day at Sea was getting to meet characters like R2-D2 and Chewbacca.  But now, since these free reservation activities are cancelled, there's going to be a lot less Star Wars during Star Wars Day at Sea.

Also, there probably wouldn't be a special Star Wars deck party, because most of the guests on the ship would be up on Deck 11 and Deck 12.  This would be way too crowded for a post-pandemic cruise.  I actually wouldn't be too surprised if Disney cancels every Star Wars Day at Sea in 2021.  With so many of its events involving large amounts of people, it wouldn't be nearly as fun without these events, so cancelling seems reasonable.

So, what extra-cost scheduled events remain without these included events?  Actually, there's one remaining no-extra-charge event, the Bvlgari Welcome Reception on embarkation day.  Sounds like fun for all ages.  But other than that, I've noticed that there are four general categories:  Alcoholic beverage tastings, Bibbidi Bibbidi Boutique reservations, Goofy's Sports Deck simulator reservations, and Shutters portrait reservations.  These activities are taking place almost every day, so post-pandemic cruises are looking to be much less exciting than they were.  

Interestingly, even though there won't be a Character Breakfast, there is still going to be a Royal Court Royal Tea, which is also a character dining.  I've never been to it, probably because it costs $220 for a 90 minute experience.  That's about $2.44 a minute!  If you need me during the Royal Tea, I'll be at Cabanas getting served food by someone because of COVID-19.  

So, why is the Character Breakfast not happening but the Royal Tea is?  Maybe the Royal Tea event was very profitable for Disney before cruises were suspended and they don't want to lose that profit.  I'm guessing if the cruise does happen, the Royal Tea will be a stripped-back version of the normal event.  Will Disney still charge full price for it?  Probably.

Disney's decision to remove these included reservation-based activities is disappointing, but it's the right thing to do.  These events are not pivotal to the cruise, and they've been removed to ensure everyone stays safe.  But the events are nice to have, especially on Star Wars Day at Sea.  The removal of these activities is making my family lean even more to not going on the Fantasy in January.  If we pay full price, we want to get the full cruise experience, not one with less to do and restrictions in place.

As cruises get closer to resuming, Disney needs to reveal how cruises will be different when they resume.  As of now, cruises will resume in December, but that may change.  Disney's said almost nothing about their reopening plan, but I like how they've been quietly announcing things like this.  They don't want us to know about what they're planning, so we have to hunt for it.

Monday, October 5, 2020

What Will Disney Name the Sixth and Seventh Ships?

Disney has three new ships on the way, but they've only told us the name of the first new ship, the Wish.  The Wish is going to start cruises sometime in 2022.  Not January 2022, though, because it was recently delayed.  No new launch date has been announced, but I'm guessing they'll announce it soon.

While we wait for that, I thought it would be fun to think of potential names for the other two ships.  There are many options, but Disney has already taken some of the best names for their older ships.  So, we know that there won't be anything similar to Magic, Wonder, Dream, Fantasy, or Wish to prevent confusion.

The five names of the DCL ships (mentioned above) all represent things associated with Disney.  For example, when I think of magic, I think of something that's extraordinary and special.  Disney's goal is to provide guests with the most special time possible, which is why 'Magic' is a good name.  It's a similar story with the other four names.  So, the two new names have to be somewhat related to Disney.  They can't be something generic like 'Disney Ocean' or 'Disney Seagull'.  I've always thought 'Disney Imagination' would be a perfect name for one of the new ships, because imagination was a major factor in Walt Disney's success.  Without his imagination, Mickey Mouse would be Mickey the normal person.  Sounds entertaining, right?  Plus, Disney's theme park and ship designers are even called Imagineers, so Imagination is a fitting name for a new Disney ship.  The name is longer than any of the other ship names, but that shouldn't be a problem.  If Disney is concerned about Imagination being too long, it could be shortened to just Imagine.  I'd say Disney Imagination is a likely name.

'Disney Inspiration' is also a good name.  It's relevant to Disney, since Walt Disney needed inspiration to create his movies, cartoons, and theme parks.  This name would be really good for advertising, like "Be inspired on a Disney Cruise Line vacation!"  It's similar to 'Imagination', so if one is going to be a ship name, then it'll have to be either one or the other.  The interiors of the ships are already almost identical, the names don't need to be that way too.

Another possibility is 'Disney Enchantment'.  Enchantment is similar to magic, so it automatically works with the Disney theme and fits in with the other ship names.  Additionally, it doesn't sound any of the other ship names, so there won't be any confusion there.  This name seems plausible, and I wouldn't be surprised if one of the new ships is the Disney Enchantment.  

Another potential name is 'Disney Princess'.  Disney has made quite a few movies about princesses, so this name is definitely relevant enough.  Plus, ships technically are female, so gender wouldn't be an issue.  There could be a problem with Princess Cruises, another cruise line.  Every Princess ship name ends with 'princess', so naming a ship 'Disney Princess' could cause some confusion.  I don't think this name is as likely as Imagination or Enchantment, mainly because of branding and advertising.  Disney would have to distinguish between the princess characters and the princess ship.  Also, this name doesn't flow well with the other 5 ship names.  The other names are things, a princess is a person.  It's still possible, though!

I've noticed that some of the stage shows in the Walt Disney Theatre could be good ship names, because their names are related to Disney.  "Disney Dreams" is one of the live shows, and the third ship is the Dream.  Coincidence?  Actually, I'm pretty sure the ship came before the show.  Strangely, Disney Dreams isn't a show on the Disney Dream.  "Disney Wishes" was a live show, and what are they naming the fifth ship?  Wish!  "Disney's Believe" is another show, so maybe one of the ships will be named Believe.  'Believe' is certainly not my first choice for a name, it also doesn't flow well with the other five names.  The other names are things, believe is a verb.  I don't know, his just doesn't work for me.

In the past, Disney Cruise Line has held votes for some of the ship names.  I'm hoping they let us vote for at least one of the remaining names, it would be fun (as long as all of the options are things, related to Disney, and work well with the other ship names).  We'd get to impact DCL's future, and how often do you get to do that if you aren't a pandemic or a hurricane?  I never thought I'd say this, but Chancellor Palpatine and I share a common point of view here.

When everyone voted for Seagull and you're the only one who voted for Imagination

What do you think the new ships will be named?  Do you think Disney will hold a vote?  I don't know when the new names will be announced, but I'm guessing it'll be some time after the pandemic ends and the world returns to a relatively normal state.  Yeah, we've got a while.