PHOTO: The first ‘Star Wars’ Day at Sea aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy. (photo by Jason Leppert)
As D23 Expo 2017 wraps up and Comic-Con International 2017 ramps up, it’s a perfect time to look at how the Disney Cruise Line recreates the excitement of both fan conventions onboard its ships.
“Star Wars” Day at Sea continues to transport guests to a galaxy far, far away while Marvel Day at Sea is soon set to join forces with the Avengers and more.
“Star Wars” Day at Sea
In January 2016, Disney introduced its cruise guests to “Star Wars” Day at Sea on the Disney Fantasy, and it was out of this world.
I was aboard for the first ever departure, and it was a pretty incredible intersection of two wonderful Disney properties: the premium cruise line and beloved Lucasfilm franchise.
The event proved so popular that it was repeated in 2017 and will again set sail during 2018 with 15 theme cruises on the Fantasy from January to April.
Sailings will be even more appropriate now that the Disney’s Oceaneer Club kids facility has been recently redesigned to include “Star Wars”: Command Post. Children here can train with the Resistance against the First Order while exploring 3-D models of the Millennium Falcon, Death Star and other starships at a holotable.
Of course, the “Summon the Force” deck party is the highlight of the special cruises’ activities with a fireworks display themed to “Star Wars” (rather than pirates) and synced to the iconic John Williams score. Chewbacca, Darth Vader, R2-D2, C-3PO and the like are on hand for the show as well as meet-and-greets.
It’s a special treat to power through all of the films during a movie marathon that will even screen “Star Wars: Episode VIII” by the time 2018 comes around.
Marvel Day at Sea
Before “Star Wars” Day at Sea comes back, Marvel Day at Sea is scheduled to set sail for the first time aboard the Disney Magic this fall.
There will be seven such theme cruises in October and November of 2017, plus eight more during January through April of 2018.
Like its “Star Wars” equivalent, there will be a Marvel-themed deck party with pyrotechnics but also a special Doctor Strange stage production. Additional characters set to make appearances are Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther and Loki, as well as, presumably, Peter Quill or Star-Lord—according to a hilarious promo video showcasing comic book writer and perpetual cameo maker Stan Lee embedded below.
Naturally, the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will also be featured in the Buena Vista Theater including the latest “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” as well as the upcoming “Thor: Ragnarok” on cruises occurring on or after its November 3, 2017 release date.
Like any good convention-like event on land or at sea, both “Star Wars” Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea will surely have plenty of chances to shop for exclusive merchandise as well.
Prior to the “at sea” sailings, Disney Cruise Line hosted Pixar Cruises—another of which I experienced in person—during September and October of 2012 aboard the Disney Wonder.
I can’t help but think if it’s not prime time for those theme cruises to make a comeback.
Like the other two, cinematic characters were along for the ride via photo-ops, but some elements were very unique, especially a temporary display of production art. Even chief creative officer of Pixar, John Lasseter, was onboard for a wonderful presentation about his history at the company.
“Star Wars” Day at Sea initially had a panel concept as well, but it fell a little flat with very basic topics and has since seemingly been dropped. However, I think it would be great if a Pixar Day at Sea was reintroduced as well as higher profile guests across all of Disney’s theme cruises with more interesting discussions. Such would put them more squarely in line with the expo or convention experience.
In the meantime, those cruises dedicated to “Star Wars” and Marvel are still making us very excited.
This post first appeared on TravelPulse.