Last year we embarked on the Magic at Sea Staycation Cruise and well, we just knew we did not experience the full magic of a Disney cruise. It was always our intention to do another one, but in all honesty we just weren’t sure when. We had thought it would be a few years off and most likely be one of their amazing Barbados cruises. But then only a few weeks ago, Disney Cruise Line announced a few Summer Sailings from the UK, set to sail in 2023!
Admittedly, I was quite surprised and totally unprepared for their announcement but the 4-Night UK Sailings to Spain or France seemed quite appealing.
Especially since the cruise is set to take place aboard the Disney Dream, one of the most beautiful ships in the DCL fleet. The one thing holding us back was that everyone over 5 years requires a covid vaccination. I called Disney to discuss this and was told by 2 separate people that this requirement is not likely to be in place by the time we sail. If it is, we have until May 2023 to cancel and up until then we can get a full refund. Our hope is that by Summer 2023, all restrictions will be a thing of the past! This hope doesn’t seem too unrealistic.
These particular cruises depart from Southampton and journey to picturesque La Rochelle in the south of France, and to the enchanting city of Bilbao, Spain. We were quite honest in that the Magic at Sea cruises fell short of our expectations and did not reach the usual standards of Disney, but the pandemic was a significant contributing factor to this. So we decided that we would put a place holder on a room and take a few days to weigh up one of the 4 night cruises.
Aside from the 4 night cruises, Disney Cruise Line also have a 7 nights Norwegian Fjords Cruise, sailing from Southampton to Amsterdam (Netherlands), Skjolden, (Norway), Nordfjordeid (Norway) and Sandnes (Stavanger, Norway).
Having sailed previously, this time we were considered silver members which meant we could reserve our cruise a few days before the general public. In typical fashion (do we ever get to book something without issues?), we went to book our cruise and of course my details were all incorrect! I spent 2 hours on the phone trying to speak with someone from Disney with no luck. In the end, I went onto the Walt Disney World app, and clicked the “chat” service. Someone was able to amend my details in a matter of moments and I was then able to reserve our cabin. This is a useful tip – the chat feature on the app is so handy!
The deposit for this break away was a whopping 20% of the total price. For the Magic at Sea Cruises the deposit was only 10% so it is a big whack to use as a deposit. However, the 20% is apparently quite standard for all Disney cruises. Definitely something to bear in mind!
So, what’s included in a Disney Cruise?
Food and drinks including room service (there are certain exceptions), theatre shows, children’s club , movie screenings, character meets, pool access, quiz shows, drawing classes, night clubs, fitness centre amongst quite a few other things.
What isn’t included?
Palo and Remy (adult only restaurant), alcohol in general, the Bippidy Boppidy Boutique, Royal Court Royal Tea, bottled water, gratuity (tips), internet, spa and any port adventures.
Since booking we haven’t stopped watching vlogs and reading blogs on the Disney Dream ship. It looks incredible. It is well over a year away before we sail but I have a feeling we will be well acquainted with the ship way before we board! One thing we are really hopeful for is to have the full cruise experience without any restrictions or social distancing. When we spoke with Disney they indicated that there are plans to do the Sail-a-Wave deck party, have fireworks and to have pirates night. These are things we missed on our last cruise. So lets just hope it all goes to plan!