Hello, lovebugs! It’s never too early to get working on your new year’s resolutions. With that in mind, I started 2017 off with a cruise! We had planned to sail later in the year, but decided to move it up to the first Star Wars Day at Sea cruise for 2017! More on that later, but below you can see the ship model inside the cruise port. We arrived at roughly 11:15am on our day of departure and were boarding by 12:30pm, so we didn’t have much time to admire the decor.
It was a gloomy, rainy day outside. However, inside the Disney Fantasy it was beautiful and inviting. Even Goofy lined up to welcome us onboard! Maybe I’ve always been too early before, but I’ve never seen characters greeting guests. I also saw Belle later in the day clapping as guests started their vacations!
There’s so much more cruise fun to share! Please click to read more.
Our first stop was the Enchanted Garden restaurant for a buffet lunch. Below is the centerpiece fountain for the restaurant. Of course, lunch was fantastic. I’ve decided to not include any food photos as I have way too many of them! Let me know in the comments below if you’d like to see some? Maybe I could do a food only blog? 😉 We also decided to sign up to have a case of water delivered to our room, as they were going table to table offering. I mention it because we’ve never opted for water delivery before and it was one of the best things we did! We did the math and we only paid about $12 more than buying water at the grocery store and lugging it onboard with us. It was a nice splurge to have it delivered!
After lunch we wandered around the ship a bit and took photos. Each of the four Disney ships have a atrium lobby statue celebrating a classic Disney character. Pictured here is Mademoiselle Minnie Mouse, just outside of the Royal Court restaurant. Of the current four I think she’s my favorite! I have my fingers crossed that maybe Daisy will finally get her statue with one of the next two ships.
Of course, I couldn’t resist just sticking my nose into Royal Court and taking a look at the beautiful princess decor. At the time they were using this space to help folks that wanted to change their dining rotation or make reservations at Palo or Remy. I took the opportunity to stroll through and take a few photos since I was lucky enough to already have my dining reservations secured. Different sections of the restaurant are themed to different films. I included the ballroom scene from Beauty and the Beast since I think it’s the prettiest.
Room are normally ready around 1:30pm, but we hadn’t heard an announcement yet so we continued on checking out some common areas of the ship. Below is just outside the Walt Disney Theatre where nightly shows take place. This is also where you can find most of the shops onboard. We spent a little too much time in this area during our vacation! 😉
Another venue we frequented during our cruise was The Tube. This area is used for family events during the day but converts to adults only in the evening. We participated in several trivia events and watched variety shows here. The space is comfortable, but definitely fills up fast. Plan to get there early if you want a seat! We eventually decided to just go check if our room was ready and it was. Maybe they don’t make an announcement anymore? The rest of the day was a blur as we attended the muster drill and met our tablemates at dinner.
Moving on from the first day, let’s cover some “can’t miss” highlights. I’m sure it doesn’t surprise anyone that Palo Brunch is on the top of that list. The food and service in Palo are absolutely amazing! Brunch is even better than dinner with an expansive buffet of pastries, cheese, seafood, and desserts. It’s to die for! They also have a list of hot food items you can order from the kitchen. Don’t miss the parmesan chicken!
Another can’t miss experience is Mixology class. These classes can’t be booked in advance, but are available as soon as you board in the adult section of the boat. Our session was held in the Skyline Lounge with Mario as our teacher. It was fun and interactive with everyone having a chance to participate. Of course, the prospect of five drinks in the space of an hour was a little daunting. However, the serving staff was wonderful about letting us taste the drink and send them away unfinished without too much guilt. These classes were a great way for us to meet other adults on the cruise.
One last spot I can’t recommend enough is Cove Cafe! I’m a sucker for a good cup of coffee and spent much more time curled up here than I did by the pool. The prices are very reasonable compared to prices on land and they even give you a free drink once you’ve purchased five. It also helped that our room was just one floor down from this spot so it was easy to sneak coffee down to our balcony.
Speaking of our balcony, check out this view! We had some pretty rocky seas during our cruise, but the sunsets were beautiful. I loved sitting out on our balcony and watching the waves go by.
In our stateroom we had the traditional towel animals when our room as serviced each night. I thought I’d include the most interesting here. I’ve never seen a towel bat before! What’s the most unique towel animal you’ve seen so far?
Of course, there was nightly entertainment on our cruise in the form of three Broadway style shows, a movie night, and three variety acts. John Charles was the stand out among the variety acts. The audience had so much fun shouting out song ideas and the cruise staff absolutely froze when he invited all the kids to join him on stage. I’m not sure if it was part of the act but it truly seemed like they weren’t expecting all those kids to rush the stage. Pictured below is that moment when all the kids joined him to dance while all the adults cracked up! What a fun night!
One of my favorite parts of a Disney cruise is all the character interactions. Below, I caught Mickey watching Minnie take photos with other guests. It wasn’t scheduled for them to be together, Mickey was just on his way somewhere else and stopped to admire Minnie. Luckily I was there doing the same thing and caught the moment! 😀
A slightly more scheduled affair is the Princess Gathering. I had reserved tickets in advance and made the mistake of arriving early. I sat and waited until exactly my reserved time. This was the same experience I had for all other cruise activities. There is no sense arriving a minute early, they run exactly at your reserved time! You can’t complain when a system works flawlessly, though. Exactly at my appointment time I was able to meet Tiana, Ariel, Belle, and Cinderella with no wait. Here are just a couple of photos. 😀
Meeting the Frozen sisters was also less than a five minute wait when I arrived at my appointed time. I can’t imagine ever finding a wait that short on land! They also had constructed a winter wonderland in the restaurant where they were greeting. It was impressive they’d done so much when Star Wars was the focus for the cruise.
Speaking of Star Wars, Wednesday night before our day at sea we were walking by the gallery and spotted Storm Troopers. We dashed to the atrium, but had already missed what was happening. Apparently Captain Phasma had announced that she was taking over the vessel while the lighting all went red. This wasn’t listed in our Navigator, and it was the first of many events only certain people seemed to know about. As this was the first Star Wars Day at Sea for 2017 there seemed to be lots of media and bloggers onboard. I feel like now is a good time to disclose I didn’t get any special treatment at all and can share what it was like for us regular folks! 😉
Early in the week a sheet was sent to our rooms to choose which characters we most wanted to meet during Star Wars Day. We dropped this off at Guest Services and were given tickets for our two top choices on Wednesday. Aside from those scheduled meet and greets there were trivia contests, costume contests, and Storm Trooper pool patrol scheduled throughout the day. We went up on deck hoping the find more stuff happening, but there wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary.
Back on deck four we found a Gamorrean stomping around meeting guests. Much like Star Wars Weekends the characters had to keep moving or they would be swarmed. It was fast photo ops as they tried to not get stuck in one place too long.
So, which one of these are guest costumes? If you can believe it, this Tuscan Raider is posing with four guests dressed as Jawas! These kids had the most awesome costumes on the entire boat! The only way you could tell them from the real thing were their sneakers peeking out from under their robes.
EDIT: I found the Jawa kids vlog from Star Wars Day at Sea!! Check it out here! (They’re SO cute!!!)
These Imperial Officers were also out making the rounds. They played their parts almost too well! I couldn’t keep up in conversation with them. I finally had to just admit I wasn’t a Star Wars buff and move along. I bet the real fans had a blast hanging out with these guys!
At our appointed time (and not a moment earlier) we went to meet Chewbacca. We were taken right in and had a great photo session. At the time I was wearing a BB-8 dress and he was sure to let me know he was a fan! It’s a shame the more popular characters can’t roam the boat for Star Wars Day at Sea. As it was, Chewbacca was hidden on deck one!
Zam Wesell was on deck five every time we walked through. Poor thing, the actress playing her was brilliant but I didn’t see anyone stop to take photos with her! We passed through several times looking for different characters, but it seemed like the same handful of characters were roaming around throughout the day.
We popped up for Pool Patrol just for the novelty of seeing Storm Troopers roaming around on deck. It was the same things we typically see in the parks asking to see identification and telling people to move along. Maybe I’m jaded because I live at Disney World, but I was hoping something would be unique on the cruise. Everything that I saw was closely mirrored in the parks, but it was still neat to see.
We went to watch Trials of the Temple and it was also the same Jedi Training I remembered on land. The one neat exception was that young Jedi got to use very nice light sabers! They were also able to fight the dark side indoors and in the air conditioning, something that can’t be found in any theme park. 😉
Our last character meet and greet was for Darth Vader. Again we arrived with only one person in front of us and were finished in just a few minutes. It was fun to see him greet people differently based on what they were wearing. Since I’d changed into head to toe Darth Vader gear he was sure to tell me the force was strong with me!
For dinner that night the menu wasn’t very good. It was the only night that I sent my dinner back. It seemed like they were still adjusting to the new Star Wars menu. To make matters worse we were in a hurry as we were hoping to get a good spot for the fireworks, but we shouldn’t have bothered. We were up on deck 30 minutes in advance of the show and could barely cram in. I took some photos, but they aren’t worth sharing. Afterwards there was a dance party and late night Star Wars buffet. The decorations on the buffet all looked like they came from the gift shop with the exception of some carved fruit. I’m not sure what I expected, but I had higher hopes for Star Wars day at Sea. What do you think? Again, I might have a different opinion because I can see so many things easily in the Disney parks.
Regardless, our last sea day meant that we were heading to Castaway Cay! Disney’s private island is always paradise and I couldn’t have felt more at home than when Captain Hook greeted us upon arrival!
As we made our way towards the beach we passed another captain! I’ve always thought Castaway was the perfect spot for Captain Jack Sparrow. He fits right in here. I wish they did an excursion where he took you on a pirate’s tour of the island or maybe a scavenger hunt. Seems like it would be amazing!
The day wouldn’t be complete without meeting Mickey and Pluto! In the space of only about 30 minutes we were able to meet all these characters and take photos. (remember you can click on images to see them larger) We’ve always had great luck meeting characters at Castaway Cay. I love their cute outfits!
One last shot from Castaway is our view for lunch. We grabbed seats and relaxed with a konk cooler for most of the day. Honestly, I can’t think of anywhere more perfect!
Then, before we knew it everyone was waiving goodbye and another cruise had come to a close. It’s impossible to fit everything into one Best Week Ever, but let me know in the comments below if you have any questions. I’m always happy to hear from you.
And that’s it for this time. Thanks for reading! Please let me know in the comments below what you’d like to see next time around. Until then – I hope you’re having the best week ever.