Let's preview the Star Wars Day at Sea on the Disney Cruise Line

February 7, 2018, 11:34 AM · This past Saturday we were invited to a special media event for the Star Wars Day at Sea aboard the Disney Fantasy in Port Canaveral, Florida for a taste of what guests experience aboard select seven-day cruises.

We arrived at the port around 9:30 AM to check in for the event. It was interesting to see Disney’s cruise terminal virtually empty as it was about two hours before guests would be arriving for their cruise. Cast Members greeted and directed us to the Media desk where we exchanged our IDs for our credentials along with our “Rebel” nametags and Porg Scavenger Hunt masks they gave out as a preview for one of the many themed activities that are part of the itinerary.

Shortly after we checked in, an Imperial Officer and Stormtroopers made the rounds looking for Rebel spies. They “interrogated” guests in the terminal who had chosen to side with the Rebellion; while those who selected to be part of the Empire received a friendlier greeting. They also posed for “image captures” with eager guests and remained until it was time to board.

DCL staff directed us to the ship and we made our way onboard. The Fantasy’s lobby was decorated with Star Wars signage and photo-ops including a life-sized statue of Han Solo encased in Carbonite. The lines moved quickly which allowed everyone to take pictures before the festivities officially began.

The preview officially began with the playing of The Imperial March combined with flashing lights as the Imperial Officer from the terminal stepped onto the balcony and was joined by Stormtroopers on both levels. He announced the arrival of Darth Vader whose appearance was preceded by the familiar robotic breathing. He gestured ominously and warned the crowd to choose their allegiance wisely and support the Empire. He ordered us to inform the nearest Imperial officer if we came across any Rebel spies and to turn them over immediately or risk being subject to disciplinary actions. Despite his menacing presence, his arrival and departure was greeted by thunderous applause. We later learned this event takes place the night before the Star Wars Day at Sea sailings to get guests in the mood for the following day.

Darth Vader

The Imperial Officer ordered us to follow the Stormtroopers in the lobby to our next destination, The Walt Disney Theatre, for further instructions. Along the way, we were surprised by several Jawas who ran past the shops and randomly stopped guests for pictures. We made our way into the theatre and were greeted by the Cruise Director dressed in full Jedi attire. He welcomed us aboard and shared many exciting details about the special events during the Star Wars Day at Sea.

Star Wars Day at Sea merchandise

Some of the highlights of the Star Wars Day at Sea include:

There was a brief intermission featuring a clip show of scenes from the themed cruise which was followed by a presentation of “Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple where Force-sensitive children can learn the ways of the Jedi. After a traditional text crawl opened the event, three Jedi Masters took the stage which featured a remote planet where they were seeking a hidden Jedi Temple. They invited young Padawans from the audience to join them and instructed them to use the Force to raise the temple. When that didn’t work, they asked the audience to join them, and the temple rose from the ground.

The Jedi Masters then distributed Lightsabers to the Padawans and instructed them on the basic defensive moves to prepare to face the unknown challenge that awaited within. When they were ready, the temple doors opened and Darth Vader and Kylo Ren emerged from a smoke screen and each Padawan had the opportunity to face them in battle. They did not disappear at the end of the battle, and the Jedi Masters were perplexed about what to do next. Fortunately, Master Yoda’s voice instructed them to use peace instead of violence, and with several Force Pushes they defeated their enemies and returned the temple to its hiding place. They gave a final salute with their Lightsabers aglow and took a bow.

Kids with lightsabers

At the conclusion of the training, we were divided into two groups to explore more of the unique offerings. Our group was escorted to the D-Lounge to meet Darth Vader, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2. Darth Vader again reminded us to choose the Empire over the Rebellion, and we found him rather persuasive. Chewbacca was ecstatic about my Millennium Falcon t-shirt and gave me a friendly hug. C-3PO and R2-D2 were also very much in character and interjected playful banter between pictures. There was also some exclusive merchandise on display.

After we all had an opportunity to meet the characters, we moved onto explore the Oceaneer Club, normally reserved for children, to take part in more Star Wars themed offerings. Children can meet BB-8; pilot several famous spacecraft, such as an X-Wing fighter, on simulated missions spanning the Star Wars Galaxy, learn the Mystic Arts in The Marvel Academy; transport themselves to the world of Toy Story in Andy’s Room; and shrink to the size of a fairy in Pixie Hollow.

We wished we had more time to take in the all the Oceaneer Club had to offer; however, it was soon time to go to our final stop on our exclusive tour, Animator’s Palate, for a “taste” of the specialty menu. The dining room was transformed for our galactic gathering and featured more Star Wars theming including our wait staff dressed in Imperial attire. Service included beverages (excluding alcohol) a variety of bread, and the “Taste of Star Wars” menu, featuring an appetizer sampler consisting of Marinated Opee Sea Killer: Marinated Shrimp on Iceberg Lettuce with Gooberfish caviar, Cucumber, Lemon, and Cocktail Sauce; Sand People Salad: Marinated Chicken, Tomatoes, Tuskan marinated Crack Wheat, Romaine Lettuce and Red Onions with a Red Wine Vinegar dressing; and the Mos Espa Grand Arena Tailgate Sandwich: a soft mini Brioche filled with cured Country Ham and Orange Cranberry Marmalade.

I found the Marinated Opee Sea Killer on the salty side, especially with the caviar; although the shrimp was very fresh. The Sand People Salad wasn’t very memorable as there wasn’t much flavor to the dish. I enjoyed the Mos Espa Grand Arena Tailgate Sandwich as they Brioche was both crisp and soft; yet the slaw somewhat overpowered the rest of the ingredients. For the main course, we ordered Grand Moff Tarkin’s Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Chorizo Hash, Buttered Kale, and Ancho-Chipotle Salsa. The pork was cooked to perfection and tender, and the chorizo had just the right amount of spice. We also tried Kit Fisto’s Crisp Chicken with Crushed Potatoes, Buttered Green Beans, Biscuit, and Smoked Bacon Sauce. The chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy inside; the green beans were fair as there wasn’t much flavor to them; and the mashed potatoes were somewhat lump with a heavy dose of chives. For some reason, the biscuit was missing from the plate. The Smoked Bacon Sauce was delicious and paired well with both dishes.

The dessert sampler was the “star” of the meal and featured a Carissian Velvet Cake covered in a white chocolate ganache and Zoochberry Sauce; a raspberry and lemon Cloud City Macaron; and a NSA – Galactic Senator Bail Organa chocolate flan with Mandarin and Strawberry Salad. Everything was delicious, although the macaron was our favorite.

Star Wars desserts

The service was second to none, and our head server was very attentive and visited our table often to ensure everything was to our liking even though we were only there for a short time. This is a testament to the exceptional Disney service that separates them from the other cruise lines we have sailed aboard in the past.

After lunch, we graciously thanked our hosts and were escorted to Deck 1 to disembark the ship via the unceremonious crew exit via the gangway and into the loading area to retrieve our IDs where the land crew was preparing the Fantasy for her departure. We had a delightful, yet short, time aboard the ship and hope to have the opportunity to experience a full cruise aboard her in the near future.

Editor's note: Star Wars Day at Sea is available on select seven-day Caribbean cruises departing from Port Canaveral. Current fares start at $2,977 per person and are available via Disney's website.

Replies (5)

February 7, 2018 at 12:14 PM · "Current fares start at $2,977 per person"

A couple could stay in the Grand Floridian with the DDP and 7-day park hoppers for that. I have no idea why (or honestly how) people pay for DCL, but good for them. I applaud Disney for being able to charge such exorbitant rates and goad people into paying for what have become rather mediocre itineraries, but goodness, that's a lot of money for a 7-day cruise, which doesn't even include add-ons, excursions, or travel to and from Port Canaveral.

I guess a couple of questions here...

1. Since they did the media preview on the initial departure day, is that typically the "Star Wars Day at Sea" or does it depend on the specific cruise?
2. Are cruises that include the Star Wars Day at Sea priced higher than other 7-day itineraries out of Port Canaveral (or perhaps are all 7-day itineraries including this now)?
3. Is the idea that guests can control how immersed they are in Star Wars, or is it all Star Wars all the time on that day?
4. Did you get the impression that this would be a model or test market for the upcoming Star Wars Hotel coming to WDW?
5. I'm sure being a media event there were lines and a planned sequence for you to follow, but are guests on board expected to follow a set itinerary and stand in lines to meet characters, or is it supposed to be more organic with characters walking around and pop-up activities?

It does sound pretty cool, especially for serious Star Wars fans (particularly the younger ones), but it's hard to get past that price.

February 7, 2018 at 12:25 PM · Dropping the Star Wars Day at Sea option, a seven-night Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral is starting from $2,846 on the DCL website right now, so it looks like a $136 upcharge for the Star Wars stuff.
February 7, 2018 at 12:55 PM · "so it looks like a $136 upcharge for the Star Wars stuff."

Wow - So more to spend a day on a dressed up ship (versus no Star Wars) than it's likely to cost to spend a day in DHS or Disneyland when Galaxy's Edge opens next year. Those rumors of $1,000/night in the Star Wars hotel don't seem so crazy after all if people are willing to pay that much for a day-long cruise ship overlay.

February 7, 2018 at 5:45 PM · When I went on the Disney cruise last year, we had to stand in line to meet the characters during a specific time. The characters were very sweet in signing autographs and taking pictures. At one point duing dinner at the Animator's Restaurant, Mickey Mouse was walking around the restaurant and dancing/playing limbo with the kids.
February 8, 2018 at 10:30 AM · This is a minor theme-related complaint. I really hate it when themeing personnel put a character's name in front of something with an apostrophe. It often seems lazy to me. Granted, there's not a lot of food that we ever see in the "Star Wars" universe, but just slapping "Grand Moff Tarkin's" in front of "Pork Tenderloin" or "Sand People" in front of "Salad" strikes me as farcical.

What? Is Pork Tenderloin a special secret recipe in the Tarkin family? Did Grand Moff Tarkin get it from his mother's death bed? Does he refuse to give the recipe to others because it's "his" special dish? Does he brings to every Death Star Potluck? HOW is it Grand Moff Tarkin's dish? Maybe it's just his favorite and he orders it at the Death Star canteen all the time. Do they even HAVE pork in galaxies far, far away? Does this sort of thinking do any sort of service to the character, or does it rather undermine all the threat in his persona?

Princess Dot's Puddle Park, Lisa's Teahouse of Terror, Kang and Kodo's Twirl and Hurl, Vanellope's Sweets and Treats. . .the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, once I start noticing this sort of thing, I keep on doing it. It is not always indefensible but it often strikes me as lazy theming.

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