Disney Cruise Line

The Future of Cabanas on Disney Cruise Line

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Ahoy, mateys! I’m Heather, and I’ll be bringing you the up and coming on all things Disney Cruise Line. Welcome back again this week. Let’s see what’s new in the DCL world!

Cabanas, ooh-na-na. I love the buffet in Cabanas, the buffet in Cabanas….

(Sorry in advance for the earworm.)

Last week Michael Bayley, the president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, hinted that buffets on the cruise line may be a thing of the past – at least as we once knew them. While he did not give specifics, he mentioned that the service system in the buffet restaurants would be revamped once cruising starts back up again.

Reasonably, the future of the Cabanas we’ve come to know and love on DCL sits delicately in the balance.  We may not know what it’s going to look like upon our return, but we can muse on some possibilities!

My guess is that the self-serve, somewhat free-for-all way of the buffet breakfast and lunch will definitely be eliminated. In the past, when there have been instances where there was an illness onboard, such as norovirus outbreaks and (most recently) cruises leading up to DCL’s coronavirus closure, all self-serve food and beverage areas would become attended stations with crew members wearing gloves serving guests. Still all the same offerings, just put on your plate or in your glass by a crew member. This could certainly be a viable option for the future. And let’s be honest – though they have hand washing stations and/or sanitizing wipes that guests are *supposed* to use before self-service at Cabanas – does that really always happen? Less transmission of germs with shared utensils doesn’t really sound all that bad!

On select nights, Cabanas has traditionally been open for dinner as a casual table service option. Would we potentially see the same for breakfast and lunch? How would that change the overall dynamic and guest satisfaction for what tend to be quicker grab a bite and get on with the fun meals? Given the sheer number of guests that make their way here for breakfast or lunch, a table service option would need to be done with adequate speed to be able to accommodate everyone. Could that mean a reduced menu? Would things like the fan-favorite all you can eat shrimp and crab disappear for awhile?

What do you think the future of Cabanas looks like? Would you prefer to see it stay as a crew-served buffet, or move to a table service option? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Thanks for joining me again this week. “Sea” you next time!

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Heather Keller, Storybook Destinations

If it's vacation, it's for Heather! When she is not on vacation (usually someplace with a big Mouse) or planning her own vacations, she is helping clients plan their own trips as a travel agent with Storybook Destinations. See the theme? She is lucky to have a husband that accepts her travel addiction, and two daughters who are already following in her wanderlust footsteps. Heather can be reached at Heather@StorybookDestinations.com

5 thoughts on “The Future of Cabanas on Disney Cruise Line

  • I would be terribly disappointed if the food selections became more limited. My favorite dishes tend not to be the ones that are “basic” and this variety is part of the value of the cruise for me. I’d be okay if I can’t use the utensil to plate it myself; that might actually speed other people up.

  • I think having servers get your choices in Cabanas is best…there’s already the option for sit down full service breakfast and lunch in restaurants…there needs to be a quick option for people going ashore.

  • My wife prefers Cabanas, I do not, but it is the place for lunch, on boarding day.
    It bothers me to see plates piled high with food served by individuals n their kids only to be picked at and pushed aside in search of another over-serving.
    Its painfully obivious to see the disapproving looks of cast members as they clear plates of uneaten food.
    Cabanas can be crowded, with kids running back n forth to the different stations. I once saw kids sitting on the window sill while resting their feet on the table, no one corrected them.

    We have tried Cabanas in the evening, I do like this quieter n more gentile version. Cabanas in the evening is an island of calm to get a great but simple meal. Good for Disney Cruise

  • We were on the last Fantasy cruise before the COVID shut down (3/7-3/14) and Cabanas was no longer self-serve as of day 4 of the trip. The food was the same but served to you instead of serve yourself. Worked well with the same yummy choices and quick service we love. I would like that option for future cruises, but it does significantly increase the number of crew members needed to staff the restaurant.

  • We were on the Panama Canal cruise that had modified service in Cabanas with cruise members serving. No problems as far as we were concerned. We felt very safe.


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