Are Disney Cruises Back to “Normal”?

sgkramer

Earning My Ears
Joined
Sep 27, 2016
I hope my subject line doesn’t sound too negative; we love DCL and have taken many cruises, all pre-Covid. Once cruises resumed, I’ve read in this forums about restaurant hours being shorter, and other services being reduced, understandably due to smaller crews/cast members. Are the cruises close to being back to the way they were before Covid hit us?
 

soniam

Wooden leg named Smith...
Joined
Jun 22, 2012
Close, but not quite. They are definitely having staffing shortages and many new employees with less experience and training. There is still covid testing and vax documents required. Cabanas is still not open for dinner. On Fantasy in July, they had many MDR tables separated to make smaller ones. Our party of 3 had our own table. For the Caribbean in July, there weren't as many excursions available. I also think there were fewer tastings, possibly due to staffing. There may have been supply chain issues with products, but I can't be absolutely sure. Some ports are requiring masks. There is also the risk of catching covid on board and testing positive during the cruise or after. I know some shows can get canceled, possibly due to staffing issues. Even though our son tested positive on the cruise and we had to quarantine, we still had a great time.
 
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goofy4prez

A guy can love Disney and still keep his man card!
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
I don't think you are negative at all and completely understand where you are coming from. I have the same concerns. I have my first cruise since covid became a way of life booked for December. I can't speak for onboard activities yet, but I have also noticed that Cozumel is one of our ports and there are no excursions available on the mainland. All the excursions are on the island. A bit disappointing, I wanted to see the Mayan ruins this time, but I'll still make the most of it and have a good time. Also, Palo Brunch is still not a buffet as before, and not sure if Disney will ever return to a buffet. My guess is they won't. Again, I have it booked and I'll make the most of it and still enjoy it I'm sure. If you book a trip I hope you have a great time. I'm sure you will.
 

DisneyConvert

Terrific Tourer
Joined
Jun 19, 2003
Close, but not quite. They are definitely having staffing shortages and many new employees with less experience and training. There is still covid testing and vax documents required. Cabanas is still not open for dinner. On Fantasy in July, they had many MDR tables separated to make smaller ones. Our party of 3 had our own table. For the Caribbean in July, there weren't as many excursions available. I also think there were fewer tastings, possibly due to staffing. There may have been supply chain issues with products, but I can't be absolutely sure. Some ports are requiring masks. There is also the risk of catching covid on board and testing positive during the cruise or after. I know some shows can get canceled, possibly due to staffing issues. Even though our son tested positive on the cruise and we had to quarantine, we still had a great time.
Wow, that doesn't sound "close" at all.
But what has been during the past 1~2 years?
Ready or not, we will be "Magic"-bound out of NYC on Oct 31st!
 

Lillebelle

Luck favors the prepared
Joined
Aug 3, 2021
Also, no close-contact character meet and greets AFAIK - you can stand near them for pictures but can't get next to them, get an autograph, etc.

We've cruised three times post-covid - twice while things were really in 'covid protocols' and then once in May when things had loosened up a lot. I think not having to test at the port, combined with no social distancing or masks on board, makes it feel much more close to the old experience than when they first started sailing (for better or for worse).

Quality of the CM's has *not* changed in my experience - yes, some new ones, but we still had plenty of great interactions. I think as long as you go in with a good mindset you can still have an excellent time.
 

soniam

Wooden leg named Smith...
Joined
Jun 22, 2012
Also, no close-contact character meet and greets AFAIK - you can stand near them for pictures but can't get next to them, get an autograph, etc.

We've cruised three times post-covid - twice while things were really in 'covid protocols' and then once in May when things had loosened up a lot. I think not having to test at the port, combined with no social distancing or masks on board, makes it feel much more close to the old experience than when they first started sailing (for better or for worse).

Quality of the CM's has *not* changed in my experience - yes, some new ones, but we still had plenty of great interactions. I think as long as you go in with a good mindset you can still have an excellent time.
Traditional meet & greets are returning 8/29.

https://disneycruiselineblog.com/20...turning-to-disney-cruise-line-by-august-29th/
 

HiStitch626

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 21, 2020
I wanted to see the Mayan ruins this time, but I'll still make the most of it and have a good time
DCL does offer an excursion that includes the San Gervasio ruins on Cozumel. It is not like visiting Tulum or Chichen Itza, but they are still interesting to see. That is followed by a chocolate demonstration that we also enjoyed.
 

Kwami

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
They will never be fully normal till tests/vaccines are gone, which will happen in time.
Those things happen before the cruise. They don't affect the cruise itself. Also, we don't need you complaining about tests and vaccines all the time and derailing threads into arguments about Covid-19 stuff.
Im going to need the buffet open all day.
That's never been the case for Disney. The buffet is currently open for breakfast and lunch and that's all it's ever been. However, there were always gaps in service between those meals and it was never open late, except for when they have the special buffet for Pirate Night. Disney just isn't a 24/7 buffet kind of cruise line, I guess.

The website for Marceline Market on the Wish mentions that in the future, it will be open for dinner service. So, MM and Cabanas will probably return to offering dinner service once Disney has enough staff to cover it. That service isn't a buffet, though.

To answer the original post, I'd say that almost everything is back to normal. Some of the ports are still lacking the full set of excursions, likely due to staffing shortages. The activities offered on the cruise might be slightly reduced, again likely because of staffing shortages, but they're almost back to normal now. As I mentioned before, Cabanas isn't open for dinner at this time, once again because of staffing shortages. Character meets return to normal on 8/29 (tomorrow!). Everything else is pretty much normal now.

Well, I guess most of the crew wear masks. Oh, well.
 

auntlynne

Aunt Lynne
Joined
Sep 2, 2008
I’ve take 2 Disney cruises since restart: Dream Sept 2021 and Magic April 2022.

The Dream was low capacity and very few children. Magic had more guests and typical school-time bunch of under-6s.

By April, overall, it seemed like a typical cruise. Ate in the MDRs, Cabanas and Palo, saw WD Theater shows. Played lots of adult trivia with lively, interactive crowds (tried family trivia in D-Lounge, but not enough school age kids to fill the venue.). Passed by a venue holding a silent dance party. Saw lots of characters out and about. (I don’t stand in line to meet & greet; I just enjoy watching the interactions. My wave and quick verbal interaction was as usual.)

(I consider testing and masks to be external to the cruise experience; they are just living in the current conditions. And we didn’t have to mask in April.)

Everybody has a different cruise experience based on what they consider to constitute a cruise. There is a long list of things that could be missing from the cruise of which I would be unaware and unaffected.

Four months after my most recent cruise, I would say it was a “typical Disney cruise,” other than sailing out of Miami. Double Dip, 4 nights, Miami, inside sideways stateroom. Beautiful weather.

Well, unusual that some of the food seemed better this year.
 

n2mm

aka WALTSGIRL
Joined
Oct 9, 2000
Personaly I think the cruises have come a long way since the restart. My first cruise back was august 2021 with my most recent cruise April 2022 (a few in the middle). I feel like I’ve endured every protocol they threw at me. It made me appreciate all the changes going forward to where we are. April was as near normal as it could be. I took my two teen granddaughters and they couldn’t even tell the difference between that cruise and the one from September 2019. We are heading out again this coming Saturday, with the granddaughters again. First time testing ourselves. However, we are more concerned catching covid onboard now, then our previous cruises. But it won’t deter us. like others have said, the things that may not be currently available don’t affect our enjoyment of cruising.
 

Geomom

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 17, 2010
At this point, it's the closest to normal that it's been since Covid. In some ways our June Fantasy cruise felt more normal than our 2018 cruise, since that year they didn't have different nightly entertainment in the Walt theater, and did the Broadway style shows twice. I was happy to have different things to see each night, even just a movie I hadn't seen yet. I felt there were plenty of activities offered on our cruise. We still had distanced characters, but had great interactions with them and came across many characters wandering the ship. That was the last social distancing in effect. Other than no sit down dinner in Cabanas at night I don't feel the food hours are any different. We had a great cruise!
 



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