The suspension was long, it was hard on the industry, the crew, and those that love to sail. While the world started to open up, travel started to ramp up, but not for cruise lines, they were still told no. BUT NOT ANYMORE.
Slowly but surely the CDC released guidelines for the cruise lines to follow, test sailings began, and here we are, back to sailing. Of course, if you are ready.
I am beyond ready so guess what?? I sailed on Disney’s first sailing in over 15 months aboard the Disney Dream on August 9th. Now I’ll share what it was like.
First the Important Stuff
I’m not going to lie, it is a lot different now, there are new protocols but honesty, did you expect no covid protocols?? You will have to use a new website called Safe Passage to upload test results or if you CHOOSE, your covid vaccination card. Everyone (even Platinum Castaway Club members has to pick a port arrival time (PAT). Concierge guests may arrive when the port opens and right now that is 1pm.
If you don’t upload proof of vaccine or are not vaccinated, you will be tested at port. If you are 12 and older it is at your expense. Children under 12 are not charged.
Don’t arrive at port before your port arrival time; don’t try it, not to sound mean but no one is that special, you will be turned away! Literally turned away.
If you haven’t completed any forms in Safe Passage you WILL NOT be boarding the ship. Please let this sink in. They left people at port, please read all instructions carefully.
Masks: must be worn inside the ship unless stationary while eating or drinking. They are not needed outdoors or in your staterooms.
Onto the Fun Stuff…
Where to begin, I was home, I finally heard the words “Disney Dream welcomes the Greco family” and yes, I ugly cried…more like sobbed. We were the 2nd family onboard. They welcomed about 10-15 families at a time and did a welcome show in the Atrium. I looked up and saw JIMMY, (cruise director), he saw me and it was such an emotional moment. You can hear it if you saw my live video. He kept saying how emotional it was, both of us sobbed. I think the magic began that very moment.
The muster drill is totally different, you scan the letter on the deck through the DCL app and that’s it. Right before you sail they show the video with directions, I was in The District having my chocolate martini 😁
After we scanned in for the drill, we had lunch at Royal Palace, this is where Concierge guests go for lunch on embarkation day. Then off to the pool.
We watched the Fantasy sail off and we had an epic horn battle…MAGICAL
There wasn’t one crew member that didn’t say thank you for coming back, wasn’t truly grateful for being there. The energy was real!
Speaking of crew, you know you’re home when you are sitting at Satellite Falls and one of the crew members comes up to you and says “hi, it’s good to see you, do you remember me?” Of course I remember Soy, but the fact he remembers me is crazy.
Then Burak, my head server, I request him when I sail and he was there waiting for me. Why? Because I never lost touch with him, we have kept in touch and he made sure to grab my reservation. My family wanted for nothing, we had the best seats in the house, Crush even spoke to us at Animators Palate!
The Dining rooms are still magical, there are even a few surprises!
Let’s Talk about Castaway Cay…
We stopped there twice…how sweet is that? We got a double dip! We had a cabana both days, I can’t tell you how great that was. There were tons of port adventures to choose from, feeding stingrays, paddle boarding, hobie cats, bikes, glass bottom boats, so many to choose from. Not running were any that were operated by nearby islands.
The BBQ, ice cream, soda stations, and bars were all open. The 5k was not officially running BUT you could run it on your own and they gave you a medal. Don’t worry, I had my oceanburger!!!
The Dream is beautiful, she hasn’t changed. Onboard they had 2 shows, Disney’s Believe and Beauty and the Beast. They were shown two nights each. The movies were Jungle Cruise, Black Widow, and Star Wars. When I boarded there was no food or drink allowed in the theaters, night 2 they allowed drinks into the theaters…this is very fluid and things change by the minute.
Fireworks at sea….
Yes, they still have them, even without deck parties. Disney Cruise Line still has magic up the their sleeve and shoots the fireworks off on 2 different nights, one night for early seating and one night for late seating. Your invitation will appear on your app and once on deck you will be told what dot to stand on. Please do everyone a favor and go on your assigned day and stand on your dot.
Did I feel safe???
Absolutely, a lot safer than in my grocery store at home. DCL is not messing around. They make you follow the rules, why? Because if you don’t and there is a covid outbreak THEY DON’T SAIL!! There are social distancing markers all over the ship. Follow them. There are testing rules, follow them. There are capacity rules in the pools and theaters, don’t get mad, follow them. If they say don’t move the lounge chairs, don’t move them. This is why Disney has zero cases so far. Be grateful, they are back and people are working again.
My biggest takeaway is that this cruise only felt different because the ship was so empty. Wearing a mask to walk inside the ship and to shop was not a big deal, I was outside a bulk of the time anyway. If you have never sailed before and think that you are ready, you aren’t missing anything. The characters are actually closer to you on the ship then at Disney World. They are walking around more frequently.
I can’t wait to get back onboard!!! I would love to answer any of your questions so don’t hesitate to ask!!