Disney Cruise Line has hit it out of this galaxy with its sailings that include a Star Wars Day at Sea. These voyages are taking place now and will return again in the first quarter of 2019 for the fourth year. My family and I already rave about Disney Cruise Line and its other specially themed cruises, but after seeing just a fraction of the experiences offered during Star Wars Day at Sea at a recent media event, we’re ready to book!
Your experience begins when you check into the Disney Cruise Line terminal at Port Canaveral. Typically, Disney characters will appear for meet-and-greets while passengers wait to board. For Star Wars sailings, which take place only on the Disney Fantasy, expect to see other characters patrolling to keep the Empire safe. This is the first indication that although the biggest Star Wars events are saved for the actual Star Wars Day at Sea, the entire cruise is sprinkled with the little touches that keep The Force strong throughout the week.
Oceaneer Club, the children’s activity center for ages 3 to 12 years, features a permanent Star Wars: Command Post. Kids can try training simulators, interact with BB-8, practice using The Force to move objects and manipulate holograms.
Also, special programming is planned in the club on the Star Wars Day at Sea. During one activity, children train to be members of the Resistance and fend off the First Order. C-3PO pays a visit to check on their training and further human-cyborg relations. Additional activities that have been added to the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab include: Padawan Mind Challenge; Star Wars Saga: Tales From A Galaxy Far, Far Away; Padawan Crafts; Wookie Cookies and Galaxy Designers.
Tip: Oceaneer Club has an open house on embarkation day when all passengers are allowed to visit and check out the space and Star Wars activities. After the open house, only the kids are allowed to enter during the cruise.
Food and beverages certainly tempt the palate and offer a visual feast on Star Wars Day at Sea, but there are some items available all week. Look for a BB-8 sipper and other souvenir beverage containers.
On Star Wars Day at Sea, a special themed menu is served in each of the main dining rooms. Guests can choose from appetizers such as Marinated Opee Sea Killer (marinated shrimp on iceberg lettuce with Gooberfish caviar, cucumber, lemon and cocktail sauce); Sand People Salad (marinated chicken, tomatoes, Tuscan marinated cracked wheat, romaine lettuce and red onions with red wine vinegar dressing); and Mos Espa Grand Arena Tailgate Sandwich (soft mini brioche filled with country ham and an orange cranberry marmalade). My daughter and I sampled all three and we both liked the Tailgate Sandwich the best.
For entrees, we could choose from among Grilled Alderaan Fish Filet (swordfish); Grand Moff Tarkin’s Spiced Pork Tenderloin; Kit Fisto’s Crisp Chicken; and Obi-Wan Shroom Steak. We shared the pork tenderloin and the fried chicken and enjoyed both. The dessert trio was a delicious collection of Carissian Velvet Cake; Cloud City Macarons; and NSA- Galactic Senator Bail Organa Flan.
One experience on my daughter’s Star Wars bucket list: to participate in jedi training and battle the Dark Side. Somehow we had managed to miss the Jedi Training Academy at Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World and then she aged out. A similar activity, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, takes place during Star Wars Day at Sea for children ages 4 to 12. (Although my daughter is 13, she was allowed to participate during the media day.) During this activity, padawans are dressed in robes and given light sabers to use during a lesson on stage. It culminates in the kids battling Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. My daughter said the Jedi Training completely lived up to her expectations and that it really felt like she had stepped into a scene in the movies. From the sound effects on the light sabers to the epic battles, it was as real as it gets, she said. Participants receive certificates delivered to their staterooms afterward.
Tip: Unlike the version at Hollywood Studios, which uses random selection, Jedi Training on the ship is a ticketed activity. It can be reserved ahead of time or once onboard the ship. Remember to have kids wear closed-toe shoes.
Take a look for yourself:
Another way that Disney Cruise Line brings the Star Wars universe to life is through its iconic characters. On Star Wars Day at Sea, you can find them roaming the ship. Don’t be surprised to find a high concentration of characters on the pool deck, which has ongoing games and activities.
Want to make sure you see your favorites? Reserve a complimentary ticket to a meet-and-greet that features Darth Vader, Chewbacca and C-3PO and R2D2. Reservations can be made in advance on the DCL website or on embarkation day. Meeting the heroes and villains of the Star Wars saga is thrilling, and I especially enjoyed the opportunity to hug my childhood favorite, R2D2. And when I stood by Darth Vader, I couldn’t help feel a little intimidated.
Tip: A Disney Cruise Line spokeswoman told me that if these popular meet-and-greets fill up for Star Wars Day at Sea, additional times will be added throughout the week to meet guest demand. Be sure to ask at Guest Services or check each day’s Navigator (the paper listing of activities).
Passengers who want to portray their favorite characters can visit the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, which offers Galactic Transformations during Star Wars Day at Sea, for both children and adults. All ages can dress as Leia, Kylo, Rey or Poe. Children’s packages are $99.95 and include a costume, makeup and hairstyle, a cinch sack, nametag, lanyard with medallion and exclusive stateroom magnet. Adult packages are $54.95 and include a T-shirt, makeup and hairstyle, nametag, lanyard with medallion and exclusive stateroom magnet. A separate adult package allows women to choose a Her Universe dress instead of the T-shirt. It’s priced at $89.95. My daughter visited the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on our last Disney cruise and loved every minute of the pampering. I have no doubt that if we were to go on a Star Wars Day at Sea cruise, we would find ourselves back for one of the adult packages.
Tip: Be sure to reserve a time at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique if you think you or your child might like to go when your online reservation window opens because the appointments fill up quickly. You have until 24 hours before your appointment to cancel without penalty.
Finally, Star Wars Day at Sea culminates in the Summon the Force show on the upper decks. It incorporates clips from films with appearances by Star Wars characters, a dance party and fireworks at sea. These are just the big experiences you won’t want to miss. There are plenty of surprises throughout the day to delight guests. I can’t give everything away!
Star Wars Day at Sea is available on the Disney Fantasy seven-night cruises sailing from Port Canaveral. There are ten remaining departure dates for 2018: Feb. 10, Feb. 24, March 10, March 24 and April 7 (eastern Caribbean itinerary) and Feb. 17, March 3, March 17, March 31 and April 14 (western Caribbean itinerary).
In 2019, Star Wars Day at Sea cruises will only be offered on nine sailings from Port Canaveral. Departing Jan. 5, Jan. 19, Feb. 2, Feb. 16 and March 2, 2019, the western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica, and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. Departing Jan. 12, Jan. 26, Feb. 9 and Feb. 23, 2019, the eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.
DISCLAIMER: My daughter and I were guests of Disney Cruise Line during its Star Wars Day at Sea media event. This did not influence my story; my opinions are my own.