Disney Cruise Line has announced its themed days for early 2023, with Marvel Day at Sea returning and the new Pixar Day at Sea joining the lineup on other select sailings. This post shares details and also thoughts on Star Wars Day at Sea (seemingly) being retired.
Let’s start with the details about Pixar Day at Sea. Beginning in January 2023, select seven-night sailings on the Disney Fantasy will include a day-long celebration dedicated to Pixar films and characters. If you’ve ever wanted to dine, play, dance, sing, and swim with your favorite Pixar pals, this is your chance.
Pixar Day at Sea will include a variety of unique experiences, including the Pixar Film Festival, exclusive merchandise, photo opportunities, and character encounters with Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Bo Peep from Toy Story; Mike, Sulley and Boo from Monsters, Inc.; Joy and Sadness from Inside Out; Dug and Russell from Up; and Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone from The Incredibles.
Pixar Day at Sea will culminate in a new nighttime spectacular that calls on your family to help the Incredibles save the day. As for other entertainment during Pixar Day at Sea, expect a first-of-its-kind theatrical experience bringing to life the beloved story of Miguel and his family from Coco through live music and puppetry.
Of course, Pixar Day at Sea will offer the obligatory dance party, with characters from the films on deck for a bash.
As with other themed experiences aboard Disney Cruise Line, one of the highlights of Pixar Day at Sea will be the food. A new, interactive character dining experience hosted by Sheriff Woody, Jesse and Bullseye will kick-start the day with sing-a-longs, cowboy serenades and all the country breakfast fixins.
Enjoy a Pixar-themed dinner with dishes inspired by the Pixar Animation Studios’ California locale. Immerse yourself in undersea magic while dining in Animator’s Palate with visits from some of your favorite “Finding Nemo” friends, including interactive conversations with Crush.
Pixar Day at Sea will be included on 9 select Disney Fantasy cruises from January through March 2023. Departing from Port Canaveral, Florida, the Disney Fantasy will sail to several guest-favorite destinations in the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Eastern Caribbean itineraries feature stops in ports such as Tortola, St. Thomas and San Juan, Puerto Rico, while Western Caribbean sailings visit Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman; and Falmouth, Jamaica. Every cruise includes a visit to Disney’s private island oasis, Castaway Cay.
Dates for Pixar Day at Sea have not yet been announced, but standard practice by Disney Cruise Line is to attach these themed offerings to sailings that aren’t selling particularly well. (Despite a lot of pent-up demand, it’s our understanding that cruises, in general, aren’t booking up to the same extent as in the past.)
Next up is Marvel Day at Sea. These cruises for 2022 are currently setting sail across the Caribbean, and will once again be returning in early 2023. They’re also seemingly expanding, and will feature the largest assembly of Marvel super heroes and villains on one ship. Marvel Day at Sea 2023 will be sailing epic voyages from Miami on the Disney Dream.
Marvel Day at Sea combines the thrills of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the fun of Disney Cruise Line during an unforgettable day at sea. This celebration on select five-night Caribbean cruises features encounters with Marvel characters, action-packed entertainment, and super hero-inspired activities designed for the whole family to enjoy.
While Disney Cruise Line hasn’t announced any other specific entertainment for Marvel Day at Sea 2023, it should hit familiar beats–with some of the same general offerings as this year and other themed days at sea. Highlights from the current incarnation of Marvel Day at Sea include Mickey & Friends Super Celebration, which involves the gang dressing up to honor their favorite super heroes. (I love stuff like this and wish Disney still did the Star Wars crossovers.)
There’s also the Star-Spangled USO Show, a fun-filled tribute to Captain America, complete with vintage big band song-and-dance numbers in Fathoms. Finally, the day ends with Marvel Heroes Unite, a dazzling experience where more than a dozen of characters come together for a grand extravaganza.
Along with visiting destinations in the Western Caribbean, including Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman, and Disney Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, guests are able to experience all that the Disney Dream normally has to offer while on a Marvel Day at Sea sailing. Broadway-style shows like Beauty and the Beast, themed dining, activities for every member of the family and Disney Cruise Line’s superlative service and attention to detail are just a few things that await guests on board.
2023 Itineraries: Marvel Day at Sea
Beginning January 7, 2023, Marvel Day at Sea will take place on nine 5-night Caribbean cruises sailing from Miami.
Departing January 16, January 30, February 13 and February 27, 2023, the Western Caribbean itinerary includes a stop at Cozumel, Mexico and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.
Departing January 7, January 21, February 4, February 18 and March 4, 2023, the Western Caribbean itinerary includes Georgetown, Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these announcements is what is not mentioned: Star Wars Day at Sea. While it’s always possible this is returning later, my guess is that Pixar Day at Sea is its replacement. I’m also guessing that Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort is the reason for this change.
While that might seem like a stretch as the audiences are different for Star Wars Day at Sea and Galactic Starcruiser, there’s almost certainly some overlap. Beyond that, there’s the likelihood of confusion, as both are being marketed as “cruises” despite one being on land.
If this is Disney’s motivation for the change (and again, that’s just a guess), it’s probably a savvy one. In preparing for our own coverage and review of Galactic Starcruiser, I’ve written several prompts to guide my thinking while on board and in assessing the experience. Several of those relate to Star Wars Day at Sea, and whether it might be a better option for some guests. All of that becomes irrelevant if Star Wars Day at Sea is no longer an alternative.
There’s also the very real possibility that I’m overthinking it. Maybe Disney Cruise Line just wanted to try something new or that Lucasfilm tightened up its character integrity rules again, and DCL didn’t want to deal with all of that. Both are entirely plausible and not without precedent.
Beyond that, I guess this news might be exciting for diehard Disney Cruise Line, Pixar, or Marvel fans. I’m sure these themed days at sea will be fun–we’ve enjoyed similar experiences we’ve had on DCL. For me, it’s just hard to be enthusiastic about cruising at this point. While I’m hopeful things will be back to normal by 2023, I was previously hopeful they’d be back to normal by this year.
At this point, I’m in wait and see mode when it comes to cruising. To each their own, but from my perspective there are too many hoops to jump through, compromises to the on-board experience, and the potential risk of being denied boarding erroneously. I realize many of these policies are beyond Disney’s control, but the “why” of the rules matters less to me than their existence.
The silver lining is that Disney Cruise Line has been offering some great deals for Florida residents and others, so perhaps the discounted sailings are enough for some people to jump through the hoops–it’s certainly a great time for bargain hunters, which is quite the contrast to Walt Disney World. Perhaps the discounts will continue if enough people like me are dissuaded from cruising by them. To that point, Sarah got a great rate on a girls’ cruise and said the ship was practically empty—she had a blast and vehemently disagrees with my perspective on hoops and compromises.
Have you experienced DCL’s themed Days at Sea? Are you excited for the 2023 Pixar Day at Sea or Marvel Day at Sea? Would you prefer Star Wars or different IP to either of these options? Any questions? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!