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.

1 comment:

  1. Great topic!! I was thinking about this as well, and my expectation is that once the timeline to resuming is closer (say Nov 1st), Disney will publish something about what to expect when cruises resume. That would include setting expectations around character greetings, live shows, movies, dining, shopping, etc. Right now the sea days seem really plain: wear a mask wherever you are outside your cabin and have little in the way of activities to do. If that guidance does not arrive, I think people will really think twice about spending a premium for an experience that has so many questions surrounding it.