Annette from TouringPlans Travel and Ivonne from TouringPlans are on the Disney Dream for a glorious 4-night double dip cruise at Castaway Cay. Because this is the first cruise open to the public to return to sailing from a U.S. port, there’s a lot of questions. We’ll do our best to cover everything you need to know in upcoming blog posts.
In the past, if you were a Platinum Castaway Club member, you didn’t have to choose a port arrival time. Things have changed, and now all Castaway Club levels, as well as first time cruisers, must pick a port arrival time during the online check-in process. These port arrival times are STRICTLY enforced, regardless if you’re driving yourself or having a shuttle of some kind bring you in. How strict? Annette dropped her rental car off with Alamo and got on the Alamo shuttle. The shuttle arrived at Port Canaveral at 1:00 p.m. Her port arrival time slot was 1:15 p.m., and so the shuttle was told to drive around for 15 minutes and come back. Later on, there was some wiggle room and some guests were allowed to drop off their luggage and were shown an area in the sun where they could stand and wait for their time.
Masks are required, and if you have not entered your information into Safe Passage to show that you are fully vaccinated, you are required to be tested at the port (in addition to having a negative test 3 days prior). This policy may change to require tests for all guests, so if you have an upcoming cruise, make sure to check the Disney Cruise Line web site for the most up-to-date information about your cruise.
For guests who are driving to the port, when you enter the parking garage, your QR code is scanned from your online check-in process, and you are identified as being vaccinated or needing testing. Depending on which group your party falls in, you are directed to a different location in the parking garage.
Those who need testing are given the kit to do it in their car and then will wait for the results to be emailed or to appear on a screen inside an air conditioned waiting tent.
Once you are cleared to board, you will proceed to the terminal for check-in. By the time our party had checked in, their boarding group was already called and so they were encouraged to board instead of linger in the terminal. The vending machines there were roped off, the pressed penny machines were turned off, and there are no character meet and greets going on in the terminal — literally it is just the place you pass through to get onto the ship.
Upon entering the ship at the Deck 3 atrium, you are welcomed on board and then directed to one of 10 spots for your party to stand. When the 10 spots are filled, there’s a quick “Welcome Show” with Mickey and Minnie. Once the show is over (and you’ve taken a couple of socially distanced selfies), you’re directed to the elevators to go get lunch, drop your bags in your stateroom if the room is ready, or complete your muster drill. We’ll have a more detailed post later about the muster drill procedure, but suffice it to say that anyone who did the “old style” of standing out in the hot sun for forever will be VERY happy with the new version!
On the ship, the pools are open, a main dining room is open for lunch (but closes early), and Cabanas is open for lunch for those who arrive later. There’s no sailaway deck party, but you’re welcome to stand out on the deck as you leave Port Canaveral. Because of some first-day challenges, the ship was scheduled to leave around 5:45, but didn’t actually leave until around 7:30. Of course that meant a beautiful sunset sailaway! And yes, they did play all of the ship horns!
Stay tuned for even more photos and notes from our voyage on the Disney Dream’s return to sailing!
Does seeing the return to sailing make you want to set sail? Book today with TouringPlans Travel!