As the travel industry continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, cruises are also coming back and travelers are ready to set sail.
A recent survey by Cruise Critic revealed that 80% of respondents said they would go on a cruise with a COVID-19 vaccine requirement. Nearly 90% said they would feel more safe sailing on a ship with fellow vaccinated travelers and almost 70% said they would want COVID-19 protocols in place on a cruise.
The COVID-19 pandemic completely shut down the cruise industry in 2020 and avid castaways are ready to get back to sea. Cruise Critic’s survey also found that nearly 20% of respondents said they received the COVID-19 vaccine to specifically go on a cruise.
To get an inside look on the reviving cruise industry, the AmNews was invited to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to get an inside look into Disney’s newest cruise ship, the Disney Wish. With plans to set sail in summer 2021, the ship is bringing a new experience with a few firsts on the high seas.
Travelers on the Wish will be greeted by familiar Disney scenes of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, “Frozen,” the Avengers on a cinematic dining adventure Marvel, and a first-of-its-kind Star Wars experience on board.
Most of the ship’s 1,254 staterooms will offer an ocean view—including 877 (70%) with a spacious verandah—and there will be 451 connecting doors that adjoin rooms to accommodate larger families.
One of the ship’s features is AquaMouse, which Disney is dubbing its “first attraction at sea.” The AquaMouse water coaster consists of show scenes, lighting and special effects with zig-zags through 760 feet of winding tubes suspended high above the upper decks. Vacationers can also enjoy six pools staggered among tiered decks and surrounded by lounge chairs.
“Disney Cruise Line has pioneered many industry firsts through the years, including the first onboard water coaster and the first and only fireworks at sea,” said Danny Handke, senior creative director, Walt Disney Imagineering. “For the Disney Wish, we wanted to continue that tradition of innovation in a big way.”
Younger swimmers can take in the Toy Story-themed district designed for families with toddlers and young children. The area includes a splash zone, wading pool, family waterslide and smoothie bar.
Disney Wish will feature a brand-new Disney design concept inspired by its familiar tales. The centerpiece of the ship is the Grand Hall accented by a Cinderella theme. The crown jewels of the Grand Hall are a statue of Cinderella and a whimsical chandelier based on the character’s magical transformation.
Adult travelers will enjoy the Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge, a high-end bar styled as a luxurious yacht-class spaceship that simulates an intergalactic experience from the silver screen. Dining options include Palo Steakhouse, Enchanté by Chef Arnaud Lallement and The Rose, inspired by Walt Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”
“With the Disney Wish, we’re continuing our tradition of delivering the most magical and relaxing vacations at sea, combining legendary service and entertainment with imaginative storytelling and all the care you expect from a Disney vacation,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “Our newest ship will celebrate everything that families love about sailing with us, from the incredible dining experiences and character interactions, to dazzling shows and the crew’s thoughtful attention to detail.”
As for the ultimate relaxation, Senses Spa will feature private treatment rooms, lavish spa villas, and steam and aromatherapy rooms. Adults can also relax in the kid-free Quiet Cove pool district.
With families in mind, kids of all ages will enjoy Disney’s Oceaneer Club with programming that combines engaging, enriching activities with special playtime with Disney characters. Kids can also indulge in Marvel Super Hero Academy and Fairytale Hall. The Walt Disney Imagineering Lab will allow kids to participate in hands-on activities and inventive experiments based on Disney Park rides.
Tweens and teens will enjoy hangouts Edge (for ages 11 to 14) and Vibe (for ages 14 to 17) with dedicated programming designed to engage their interests giving a cruising experience all their own.
Among the array of dining options, Worlds of Marvel allows guests to play an interactive role in an Avengers mission that unfolds around them, complete with a menu inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Avengers: Quantum Encounter” will follow Ant-Man and The Wasp as they embark on their first public speaking engagement on behalf of the Avengers. Every table at Worlds of Marvel will feature an interactive Quantum Core, “a brand-new device that can cause objects to shrink and grow remotely.”
Other dining options include Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure and the elegant 1923 restaurant named after the year The Walt Disney Company was founded.
“Daring to dream even bigger, our Imagineers are creating a breathtaking new world of enchantment aboard the Disney Wish,” said Laura Cabo, portfolio creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “This motif provides the perfect platform to infuse Disney storytelling into every aspect of the design, giving the Disney Wish its own unique personality and a completely new look unlike anything else at sea.”