Disney Cruise Line merged the success of its cruise ships with the Star Wars franchise in 2016 by creating Star Wars Day at Sea. Select sailings onboard the Disney Fantasy rolled out this new concept, and cruisers all over the galaxy made the jump to hyperspeed and booked their cruises. Although all 2016 Star Wars Day at Sea sailings have been completed, these proved so popular that they extended it into 2017! Padawans and Jedis, you may be wondering: what was the Star Wars Day at Sea like? I’ll break down the good, the bad, and the meh in this post.
May the Fourth Be with You! Get it, it’s May 4th…so this is the perfect day to talk Star Wars Day at Sea onboard the Disney Fantasy. Our family has watched all the Star Wars movies, but we don’t have them memorized. We have ridden Star Tours at Hollywood Studios and but we’ve never planned a trip to coincide with the Star Wars weekends. We chose the April 2nd sailing because it lined up with our Spring Break week. So the Star Wars Day at Sea was never the main draw for us anyway.
That being said, our family was excited to see what Disney Cruise Line had up its sleeve for this dedicated day which turned out to be Day 5 of our 7 night Western cruise and one of the at sea days.
What Worked on the Star Wars Day at Sea
The Star Wars spirit
Seeing so many fans who were dressed up in some hardcore Jedi or C-3PO costumes was contagious fun. Music was changed out from the usual Disney fare to the Star Wars music we all know and love by legendary composer John Williams. The atmosphere was festive and you could overheard people chatting about their plans and bubbling up with enthusiasm.
You could rank your preferences on meet and greets and submit your vote to Guest Services. Then you were issued tickets for your meet and greet location. The choices were Dark Side, Tattoine, and Bespin.
My only complaint-we got Darth Vader for our Dark Side character (alternating with Captain Phasma) and Darth Maul for our Tattoine tickets. Darth Maul was creepy and his eyes-AAH! Had to be colored contacts but still very unnatural! Both our character interactions were Dark Side in my mind. Bespin characters were Boba Fett and Chewbacca. I would have loved to get Chewie! As if to accommodate all the requests for character meet and greets, we also got tickets for the next day but were unable to use those because the time slots overlapped our son’s Sports Simulator appointment. But kudos to DCL for adding an extra day and more chances to interact with beloved characters.
The Star Wars themed food
Disney Cruise Line really nailed the Star Wars themed food. Our favorite was the frozen Han Solo for the Han Solo Frozen Carbonite Sundae.
There were even custom dinner and dessert menus with Tie fighters and X-wing holograms. All the dishes were named after characters and locations from Star Wars.
The late night buffet in Cabanas looked amazing!Any time you can get a Darth Vader cupcake made of chocolate, it’s a great day!
Watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I’ll admit, it was fun watching The Force Awakens as part of the Star Wars Day at Sea. And there were ample opportunities to watch since it was shown three times that day, including in both theaters (one in 3-D and one without).
Imperial March horn
Changing the ship’s horn to play the “Imperial March”? Brilliant! I managed to catch this short clip of it:
Our tablemate made us Star Wars cookies
We were paired with the best family for our dining rotation, and Deb, the mom, is an excellent baker. She was so sweet to leave us her special cookies in our fish extender, and they were delicious! What a wonderful way to celebrate Star Wars Day at Sea. If you want to order cookies from Yummy Delicious, here’s Deb’s Etsy shop. OK, so this was something totally organic that happened and wasn’t scripted by Disney, but it bears noting because of the atmosphere that the Star Wars Day at Sea creates.
There’s just something about watching fireworks out on the open sea. They aren’t nearly as ornate or as lengthy as the Walt Disney World and Disneyland fireworks, but all 3 1/2 minutes of this fireworks show are showstoppers. Maybe it’s because they are synchronized with Star Wars music. And it’s something different from the pirate fireworks.
What Didn’t Work on the Star Wars Day at Sea
Not enough slots for Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
Kids who have their hearts set in participating in the Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple may leave disappointed. This is not like Jedi Training Academy at Hollywood Studious where you are rewarded for being at rope drop and hightailing it to Star Tours to get your kids registered. Selection is random, and only 16 are chosen at each of the 5 shows. Too many kids, not enough space. So if your child will be heartbroken if he or she isn’t chosen, then maybe skip it!
Too many movies
By the time Star Wars Day at Sea came, I was already burned out on the availability of Star Wars movies. Then again, I didn’t go on the cruise to watch nonstop movies! So I may be in the minority here because I know there were plenty of people who were thrilled to watch the series in its proper order.
Not as Advertised
The die hard Star Wars fans who anticipated these sailings and did all their homework ahead of time were probably disappointed. Specifically, one of the things mentioned was that one of the bars would be transformed into the Mos Eisley Cantina. Nope-that never happened.
Another comment in the advertising I saw pre-cruise was that “celebrities and insiders from the Star Wars galaxy will share their experiences, meet fans, and sign autographs.” The only insider I heard about was Tom Kane, the voice actor for Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He’s voiced Yoda and C-3PO. I didn’t get to see this one but my teen daughter did with her friends and they loved hearing him voice Yoda and explain how he got his start.
What Was Just “Meh”
Summon the Force Deck Party
The Summon the Force show at 10:30PM prior to the fireworks was just meh. Clips from the movie were interspersed with characters parading around like they were being introduced at a pageant. With a crowded deck, it’s difficult to see other than looking at the Tunnel Vision screen.
Very little Star Wars decor outside the character areas
Aside from our mirror cling which said The Force is Strong on this Ship and lots of decorations on cabin doors and fish extender gifts galore themed as Star Wars, you didn’t see very much decor all over the ship. There was a sign in the lobby you could pose for photos in front of all week. And the character greet areas were themed. But little else.
Boba Fett above the pool didn’t do much
When Bobba Fett made an appearance, he just stood on the plank and talked. Given that we’ve seen Captain Jack Sparrow leap from there to descend to the stage below, everyone assumed the same would go for Boba freaking Fett. And yet…he did nothing. Very ho hum.
Summary: I think the word underwhelmed sums up the Star Wars Day at Sea best. Some nice touches, but also lots of hype and things that were initially advertised but never happened. Given the premium for this cruise (it runs a bit pricier than other sailings without the Star Wars Day at Sea), you may decide to summon the force and choose a different sailing. But for those that can use a Jedi mind trick and lower their expectations, you will appreciate the Star Wars Day at Sea for what it is: a nice add-on to an delightful cruise but by no means the defining moment of your sailing.
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