While some cruise lines have safely started sailings and others plan for Caribbean summer sailings from new homeports, Disney has decided to chart a different course—make the journey the destination.
In a clever spin on the cruise to nowhere, Disney has just announced that starting this summer, the Disney Magic will begin limited edition “staycation” sailings from select European ports starting this summer.
Voyages will be short (either two, three, or sometimes four nights long), close to home, and run roundtrip from either London Tilbury, Newcastle, or Liverpool. As passengers won’t be disembarking anywhere but their home port, Disney is making an extra effort to turn the ship into even more of a destination in its own right—but don't expect everything to be pre-pandemic perfect.
"Our teams are bringing tremendous ingenuity and fun to these new cruises, tailoring them with care to the times we are living in, yet filling them with everything you'd expect from Disney, from great service and entertainment to immersive dining experiences and magic for the whole family," Disney Cruise Line president Thomas Mazloum said in a statement.
So yes, while cruisers can expect an array of onboard activity standbys ranging from character interactions, onboard festivals, live theater performances, wet and wild fun, and luxurious spa treatments, they shouldn't be surprised if some venues or ship amenities aren’t running exactly how they were—or running at all—before COVID-19.
Bars, restaurants, pools, the salon and spa, and the fitness center will likely all be up and running but running at a limited capacity or with new rules in place. Staycation cruisers should also expect to see amped-up health and safety protocols that will, according to what little the cruise line has released, seem to run the usual gamut of testing, health screenings, social distancing, wearing face coverings, and frequent cleaning.
It may not be the return to sea that some people were hoping for, but Disney Cruise Line’s staycation spin might be enough to scratch the itch. After all, passengers spend more than half of their cruise on the ship, anyways, right?
Reservations for these limited edition sailings open in April and are only available to U.K. residents.