Saturday, September 4, 2021

The Wonder is Coming Back!

A couple of days ago, Disney announced that the Disney Wonder will finally resume cruises on October 1st, 2021!  This means that two Wonder cruises, starting on September 24th and September 26th, are now canceled.  To start, the Wonder will be going on 3-night and 4-night cruises from San Diego, California.  These 3-night cruises will stop at Ensenada, Mexico and spend one day at sea.  The 4-night itinerary will stop at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and spend three days at sea.  

The Wonder in San Diego on September 2nd, 2021.  My mom happened to be in San Diego when the Wonder arrived, so she and my aunt went to see it!  Thanks for the photo!

Originally, the Wonder was planned to begin a 7-night cruise on October 1st.  It was also planned to start some 5-night cruises on October 26th and October 31st.  However, these have been changed to 4-night cruises.  Everyone booked on these longer cruises that got changed was automatically booked on the 4-night cruise that starts on the same date as their original cruise.  Because they're now booked on a shorter cruise, these guests will be refunded for the amount of the cruise they're not going on.  People who remain booked on these altered cruises will receive an onboard credit and a 25% discount on a future cruise.  The DCL website doesn't mention how much the onboard credit will be worth.  Disney is doing something like this for the Fantasy's planned restart, and guests on those altered cruises will receive a $400 credit per stateroom, so maybe guests on the Wonder will get the same amount.  Also like the Fantasy, after these longer cruises end, the Wonder won't start a cruise later on the same day.  It'll wait until the originally-scheduled date of the next cruise, and then it'll begin another cruise.  It's kind of strange, but it was probably easier than changing the start date of other cruises.

Like the other ships' cruises, there will be restrictions on the Wonder.  Guests age 12 and older will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to sail on the Wonder.  Also, all guests (regardless of vaccination status) will need to take a COVID-19 test at the cruise terminal before boarding the ship.  This is a new measure that will apply to the three DCL ships (Wonder, Dream, and Fantasy) sailing from the United States starting September 13th.  The Magic at Sea cruises are different, but once the Magic returns to the US, it'll likely have to follow this rule.

Another restriction is that people who are not fully vaccinated will only be able to get off the ship in Ensenada or Cabo San Lucas if they are on a DCL Port Adventure.  The only people who aren't required to be vaccinated are kids under age 12.  Fully vaccinated guests are free to get off without a Port Adventure.  As a result of this, if a family wants to explore the port without a Port Adventure or go on a non-DCL excursion, but they have a child who isn't fully vaccinated, they'd have to leave their kid on the Wonder.  This restriction could really mess with some families' plans, but I guess Disney thinks it's necessary.  Unlike Castaway Cay, Disney can't control everything that happens in Cabo San Lucas or Ensenada.  

The Wonder will be cruising out of San Diego until November 5th, when it begins a 14-night Eastbound Panama Canal cruise.  It seemed crazy that a cruise this long will be happening, but there's a major restriction.  On this cruise,  everyone on the ship must be fully vaccinated to sail.  This means that, if the vaccination eligibility age doesn't get lower, nobody under age 12 will be on that cruise.  That's likely not a huge deal, since I've heard there typically aren't very many kids on those cruises because they're so long.  It would be a very interesting cruise to go on, as it would be weird seeing no young kids.  Since the minimum age for that cruise is currently 12, will the Oceaneer Club and Lab even be open?  They're normally for ages 3 to 12, but when I was 12, I chose to only go to Edge.  Maybe the Club and Lab will be repurposed as activity spaces for Edge and Vibe.  Anyway, to get on that cruise, all guests will be required to take a COVID-19 test at the cruise terminal.

With this announcement, all four DCL ships will be cruising at the same time when October arrives (as long as nothing crazy happens or DCL's plans change).  This hasn't happened since March of 2020, so I'm looking forward to that!  Also, thanks again to my mom and aunt for taking some awesome pictures of the Wonder in San Diego!

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