My family just returned from a 7-night cruise to the Western Caribbean on the Disney Fantasy. This was our 7th cruise on DCL, our 3rd time on the Disney Fantasy, but our first cruise that had a Star Wars Day at Sea. (See my previous trip report on the Disney Wonder to Alaska).
Disney Cruise Line started offering special Star Wars cruises in January 2016. This year, the SWDAS cruises are only offered on the Disney Fantasy for sailings from January 5 through March 2, 2019. Star Wars activities only happen on one day of the cruise, and our special SWDAS was on Thursday, January 10.
This post only focuses on the Star Wars Day at Sea. For a glimpse into the rest of our cruise, see this video.
Star Wars Merchandise
A few months before our cruise, we pre-ordered some Star Wars merchandise from the DCL website to be delivered to our stateroom. We ordered the “DCL Glow in the Dark Star Wars™ Stateroom Experience (Includes Throw & Pillow)” for $67. My kids were very excited to walk into our stateroom with these Star Wars “extras”!
The decorations included a large window cling and door magnet as well as glow-in-the-dark decorations that hung from the ceiling (magnetic).
We also got a fleece blanket and pillow along with a special photo frame. My kids fought over who would sleep with the pillow and blanket. I think the package was a great value for $67!
We also purchased a special Star Wars cooler with six bottles of water for $21. DCL was selling these as we got off the ship at Castaway Cay.
One entire section of the front gift shop was dedicated to special Star Wars Day at Sea merchandise: T-shirts, jackets, blankets, toys, etc.
SWDAS Ambiance and Decorations
When we first boarded the cruise, the only hint of Star Wars was Han Solo in the atrium.
The day before SWDAS, this photo background appeared in the atrium:
But on the actual SWDAS, the ship transformed into a Star Wars fan’s dream! We noticed the difference as soon as we left our stateroom for breakfast. Instead of the usual Disney music in the hallways, we heard Star Wars music. Also, characters came on the speakers throughout the day to warn of a disturbance in the force.
Star Wars decorations were present throughout the ship.
When we returned to our stateroom later in the morning, we found a special Star Wars runner across our beds.
Then later after dinner, our stateroom host created a special star blanket for the occasion.
Overall, the mood on the ship was full of excitement and anticipation for the day’s events.
Star Wars Movies
During the 7-night cruise, all of the Star Wars movies played in the on-board movie theater. That’s right, every single Star Wars movie. On the actual SWDAS, the funnel vision screen by the pool played Star Wars cartoons all day.
My sons wanted to watch all of the movies in the theater that week, but some of them started very late. My oldest son managed to watch six Star Wars movies during our cruise.
I was happy to see that some non-Star Wars movies were also playing, as I really wanted to watch Marry Poppins Returns on our cruise.
Star Wars Food
DCL did a great job of adding Star Wars touches to the food on board. In the morning, this storm trooper appeared on my husband’s coffee from Cove Café:
Snacks at the Vista Café included shortbread cookies in the shape of the Death Star and storm troopers. The lunch buffet at Cabanas included a Darth Vader brownie:
Dinner in the main dining rooms was completely Star Wars themed. The servers wore imperial officer uniforms. The menu items all came from a galaxy far, far away.
The kids’ menus doubled as masks:
My son and I enjoyed Han Solo’s Frozen Carbonite Sundae for dessert:
Later in the evening, there was a special Star Wars buffet. Cabanas was all decked out with Star Wars decorations and food. The buffet included tacos, which we hadn’t seen on previous cruises. The chips and guacamole were surprisingly delicious!
Activities on SWDAS
We received our navigators for SWDAS the night before, and the day was packed with special activities! My sons had a hard time choosing which activities to attend.
After breakfast, I did the Porgs on Board scavenger hunt with two of my kids. We picked up our porgs at the Port Adventures deck and proceeded to search the ship for clues. We did so much walking, it wiped me out! The reward for finding the answer was a large group selfie with Chewbacca and Ray later in the day.
We watched some BB-8 races in the atrium. Families could sign up to control one of the BB-8s during different times of the day.
Later in the morning, I went to the open house in the Oceaneer Club and watched my daughter participate in BB-8 Recruitment. BB-8 was very interactive, and his handler was excellent.
At noon, my husband and I went to the guest speaker series. On our cruise, the guest speaker was Troy Alders, who is an art director at Lucasfilms. He spoke for 45 minutes about how he landed his job and what he does at Lucasfilms. He showed us photos of Lucasfilms headquarters over the years and the Star Wars art he’s worked on. It was kind of like listening to a career day speaker, except for that he has a very interesting career.
The only activity on SWDAS that was not worth my time was the “Celebrate the Saga” at 7:30 p.m. in the atrium. A large area on the floor was roped off, and everyone assumed that this would be some sort of show since so much space was blocked off. Lots of people were watching, and the railings on the two decks above were filled with people looking down into the atrium. It turned out to be sort of a cheer rally for Star Wars led by three enthusiastic people. “Who saw the original Star Wars movie in the theater in 1977? Yay! How many of you were excited when it was announced that The Force Awakens was coming out? Yay!” When it ended, people were confused. This would have been better as a pre-show to the “Summon the Force” deck show and fireworks instead of a separate event.
We wanted to attend some of the Star Wars craft sessions, trivia games and drawing lessons, but we got caught up with some Star Wars characters instead.
Characters on SWDAS
Throughout the morning, we interacted with characters on decks 3, 4 and 5. These creatures stayed in character all day. The imperial officers were quite stern:
These jawas wandered around and traded scraps with other guests. You could hand them almost anything, and they would dig in their satchels and give you something in return. I saw a kid try to trade in his mom’s cell phone, but thankfully the jawas did not accept it.
One thing to note about these roaming characters is that many of them don’t stop for posed photos. As soon as someone stopped for a photo, many other guests would try to line up behind them, and then the characters would take off. So it was a bit more informal than the character interactions we are used to on the ship.
Many guests also dressed up in character, and at times it was hard to tell which ones were the professional DCL characters.
Boba Fett was protecting the pool area on Deck 11.
In the afternoon, my family went to some pre-booked character photo ops with Chewbacca, Darth Vader and R2-D2/C-3PO. These encounters are free, but you must book a time slot in advance.
Summon the Force Deck Show and Fireworks
SWDAS culminated with an outdoor deck show. People who sat on the covered pool were required to sit for the show. I felt bad for this older couple in front of us who had trouble sitting down. You can stand on the sides or stand on the deck above and look down.
The deck show featured many characters and was just the right amount of time. There was lots of energy and fan enthusiasm at this show.
After the show, the fireworks were blasted to Star Wars music for about 10 minutes. Woohoo! (Note: This cruise also featured fireworks during pirate night earlier in the cruise).
Then, a DJ started spinning music and the whole deck turned into a big dance party! At this point, my family decided to head to the special Star Wars buffet since it was almost 11 p.m.
Overall Thoughts on SWDAS
My family thoroughly enjoyed this special Star Wars Day at Sea. Since my husband and boys are bigger Star Wars fans than my daughter and me, they probably enjoyed it more than we did. But even though I’m not a super-fan, I still thought the day was very unique and entertaining. DCL put a lot of effort into inserting the Star Wars theme into everything on the ship. My favorite things were the themed food and the roaming characters.
I talked to a few repeat SWDAS cruisers who said they thought that previous cruises had more Star Wars activities. But for us as SWDAS newbies, the day seemed packed to the gills with something for everyone.
If you absolutely hate Star Wars, I don’t recommend a SWDAS cruise. There really is almost nothing to do or see that isn’t Star Wars themed on that day with the exception of the spa. But, the Star Wars stuff is limited to just the one day, and the rest of the cruise is very normal.
Will we do a SWDAS cruise again? Probably not, unless our school vacation dates line up perfectly. But, since the dates lined up this year, we are very glad we were able to experience this special Star Wars themed cruise.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.