A couple of months ago my family and some close friends spent 7 days on the Disney Fantasy over Spring Break, a cruise that featured the last Star Wars Day at Sea for the year. For a day-to-day recap you can visit modhouswife.com, Ainslie did a great job of getting you all the details. My job is to give you the Douggiestyle perspective.
I was born in 1972, and I was 5 when the first Star Wars hit the theaters. While other kids played with GI Joe, Masters of the Universe or Transformers, I was 100% Star Wars. Birthday’s, Christmas, Sweetest Day (no it wasn't a thing back then), you name it - all I wanted were Star Wars toys. BUT I am NOT your ‘dress me up’, die-hard, geeked out, Star Wars fan (at least not anymore). I am 45 years old and do not belong dressed up like Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker - in fact I might make a better Jabba than anything these days, but I digress. I barely own a Star Wars t-shirt, and the ones I do are a bit unorthodox and comical.
However…when the idea came up to take a Disney Cruise (there are no better cruises, even if you hate all things Disney) and have a day at sea with Star Wars characters - I was sold. Several months before our cruise something popped up on a Disney blog I follow, a one-time-only Star Wars event was coming to Hollywood Studios. The date? April 14th, the EXACT Friday we would be in Disney before our cruise left on Saturday. How could this be - this might be Star Wars nirvana or a major geek fest, probably a healthy mix of both - and I wanted to find out!
I was right on the money. There were many unique character meet-and-greets, loads of cool photo opportunities, and even a Star Wars overlay on Rock-n-Roller Coaster. And with only 8000 tickets sold all the rides had EXTREMELY short wait times - we walked on Rock-n-Roller Coaster twice in a row! (my stomach couldn’t handle a third) We even got chicken-shit Ainslie to ride it - ONCE! (Her 8 year old daughter rode it twice like the big kids!) But it was also a MAJOR geek fest - so many adults and even a few kids had costumes on celebrating the world of Star Wars. There were some very creative homemade designs and enough over-weight, middle-aged Chewbaccas that I thought they were having a casting call for Barf in the Space Balls sequel.
On to the cruise…
There is nothing quite like cruising, and cruising with friends is even funner (sic). This is the second time we have done so, and it really helps add an adult dimension - some time away from the kids - especially when you pack 2 adults, and 2 adult size kids in a 214 square foot cabin for 7 days! This cruise hit 4 ports of call, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Disney’s Castaway Cay. Though we had been to Grand Cayman and Cozumel we had never been to Jamaica (more on that later) and Castaway Cay is always fun even if you don’t like the beach (sand in your crack can really chafe!)
My son likes to visit places he learns about in school, he calls it his bucket list (no thankfully he is not terminally ill) And I find it pretty cool for a 12 year old boy to want to extend his learning outside the classroom. Thankfully we have the means to do some of these cool things (his trip to the moon is a bit out of budget!) Last year it was glaciers in Alaska and the Redwood Forest, this year the ruins of Chicken Pizza, i mean Chichen Itza.
The boat ride from Cozumel across to the Yucatan Peninsula was a little wild, and Mrs. Douggiestyle was just a bit green during and after (and to the nice guy who suggested using rubbing alcohol in the form of an eye glass cleaner placed under her nose to rectify her issues - thanks for saving the day!) Follow that up with a van ride that took an hour longer than the advertised, the shorten time at the ruins, and the extra-long trip back - stopping every 45 minutes or so to lift the hood do some kind of adjustment and then back on the road.Thankfully if you book an excursion through the cruise line - they will not leave you behind - as we were 45 minutes late for the ferry. Oh, and by the way, the ruins are a pretty cool thing to see.
Grand Cayman, is a pretty boring destination. First time visitors will enjoy the sea turtle aquarium, but beyond that there isn’t much more than shopping to do there. So that is what we did. We only spent a couple of hours off the boat and then headed back to the boat for lunch and afternoon relaxation.
Jamaica Mon! We have been fortunate enough to have been on several cruises in the Bahamas and Caribbean. In all of those trips we had never stepped foot on Jamaica. I now completely understand the attraction. We did a catamaran ride with about an hour or so of snorkeling, which was a bit out of my comfort zone, and it was so much fun. Then we headed to Duns River Falls, to make the infamous waterfall climb. I say infamous because there are many stories and legends of people breaking arms or legs, castrating themselves, and more climbing the slippery rocks of the falls. Please don’t let this scare you, this was the most fun we have ever had on an excursion.
Our guide took was straight up the middle of the falls, through waist-deep pools, over slippery rocks, and so much more. While most of the other groups took a less treacherous climb up the left side, we were having a blast. The laid back Jamaican tour guides made it so much fun and they even send a videographer with you to capture it all (buy the dvd it is worth it for the memories.) FYI- there are no bathrooms before the climb, so go before you leave the dock or you might get caught making a ‘warm eddy’ in one of the deeper spots along the climb! (sorry to the people down below!) The short catamaran ride back to the pier over some slightly choppy waters splashed and sprayed us to keep us cool, while the music and the rum drinks were flowing to make it so much fun!
Next up - Star Wars Day At Sea. I woke up early to go fetch some coffees for the wife and I and was immediately greeted by a Star Wars soundtrack playing throughout the ship. I was truly not expecting it, I figured we would see characters roaming the decks, and photo ops all day long, but Disney took it to another level. The entire cast had Star Wars inspired uniforms, the meals were Star Wars themed, they played the movies all day long in the two theaters. And of course there were plenty of photo ops available. We had pictures taken with both Chewbacca and Darth Vader. and met several other characters roaming the decks. I even drug the wife to an hour long special effects discussion presented by one of the masters at Industrial Light and Magic.
The guest costumes ranged from simple store bought variety to the most unique and custom designs - we even saw Booba Fett, Boba’s ultra-hot, blonde cousin. Much to my dismay there were no Leia golden slave bikinis to be found - despite many promises made by the wife and friend!
The evening was capped off with an awesome ‘Summon the Force’ show on the open deck with all the characters getting their moment on stage beneath a Star Wars video montage. All of this was followed with a great laser and fireworks show that puts Pirate Night to shame! And for those still hungry they had a late-night Star Wars buffet to enjoy - however there wasn’t any blue Bantha milk to be found!
The last stop was Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. We have been to the island several times before but we have never participated in the Castaway Cay 5k, a race they run on every cruise that stops there. While I don’t run - I have a car that gets me there fast, and without huffing and puffing - we agreed to go down at 7:30am (this is vacation right?) and walk the 5K. Of course our friend Nick likes to run, and he is ultra competitive, and we he was determined to win the race, which he didn’t. He came in 3rd place (second loser!) - and his medal - well it looks exactly like the one I got for walking. The rest of the day was spent lounging on the beach or hanging out on the ship, a very laid back stop for us.
The next day found us back in Port Canaveral and back to reality. A short van ride to the airport, a REAL Starbucks ( after a week of close approximation by the ship staff) and short flight back home.
To sum this all up - if you or your kids are fans of Star Wars this is a cruise worth taking. You get all of the usual character events, great stage shows, and awesome food of a Disney Cruise with the added Star Wars events - a total win in my book. And this fall they start the Marvel Day at Sea on select cruises, I can only imagine Black Widow in a Bikini! Maybe I should book it now!