As you can tell by the dates of my posts… I have been avoiding this.
Since the Enchanted Preview Cruise, I actually sailed again with my family three weeks later.
Castle Dreams Travel had 15 staterooms sailing on sailing in August, with four staterooms committed to the following sailing.
Upon arrival at our stateroom, we noticed a sewage smell coming from our water closet and informed our stateroom host. He could clear the smell, but nearly every day, the smell returned. The problem was never fixed.
That night, we arrived in 1923 for the second seating, and there weren’t any cast members handing out hand wipes- our family and table companions used our own hand sanitizer once we were seated.
Our first meal was the beginning of what we noticed as a failure in Covid protocols. We are used to constantly seeing Cast Members cleaning, mopping, painting, vacuuming, etc. So much so that we have had cruises in the past where we would count how many cast members we saw/bumped into simply cleaning the handrails at the stairways (as it was constant). None of us remember seeing anyone cleaning the handrails, doorknobs, or other high touch points in the elevators ONCE during our time on the Disney Wish. The carpets by the elevators are new and still shedding- and we never saw or heard anyone vacuuming. Post the Covid Shutdown, we assumed there would be more hand sanitizer stations in hallways and walkways, and we found none unless we were in the shops checking out or up on the pool deck getting food.
Because of this lack of cleaning, we avoided large crowds, especially indoors, when we could (in the main dining rooms, it was impossible). We didn’t experience the Sail Away Party or any entertainment in the Walt Disney Theater or either of the two movie theaters. We traveled with hand sanitizer and masks wherever we went. We wanted to be extra cautious as we all wanted to continue on the next cruise. We were maskless to eat, and in Marvel and Arrendale, we had to speak over the entertainment to communicate with our servers. Having to raise our voices to speak with the servers felt particularly risky as cruisers walked by Cast Members handing out wipes, and the tables were very close to each other in each of the Main Dining Rooms.
As I noticed on my first sailing, but it didn’t bother me as much as there were far less people to contend with in the hallways, etc- the ship’s layout is very different from the other Disney Cruise Line ships (many dead-end hallways). Cove Cafe is tiny and out of the way in a small adults-only area. Missing on the ship is an adult district at night, as there were limited spaces to spend time outside of our staterooms to enjoy entertainment or a drink past 11 pm. The elevators are small and confusing, especially if you go to The Rose, Palo, or Enchante, as only certain elevators go there. The elevator buttons were challenging yet too easy to hit if they were crowded- someone standing close to the buttons would accidentally press them with the proximity sensors. Then the elevator would stop on each floor.
In addition to the precautions we took above, we took rapid Covid Tests in our staterooms Thursday night so that we wouldn’t be surprised in the port on Friday morning. Everyone tested negative, and no one had symptoms.
On Friday morning, we disembarked, feeling confident we would be back on board shortly. My first antigen test administered by Inspire I was told came back inconclusive, and the second test was positive. I was in shock to find out I was positive, as this would be the first time I had tested positive ever for Covid-19, and I didn’t feel any different than when I boarded the ship. We were informed us that all three staterooms would be canceled on the following 3 night cruise because we were linked for dining on the 4 night cruise and were considered close contacts.
On the second sailing, we were looking forward to a group Mixology, a massage, and the Grand Family Cabana. We had pre-purchased a photo package for the second cruise as well. I will say, Disney Cruise Line did gift us all of the pictures we took as we didn’t pre-purchase the photo package on the first sailing- and for that I am truly appreciative.
The next few days were a whirlwind, for a planner having to pan the next few days on the fly and then get home safely while contending with everyone’s disappointment was the hardest part. I retested three days later and tested negative.
Since our sailing in August, a lot has changed with Disney Cruise Line and Covid protocols. We have had many families and friends sail on the Disney Wish since and they mentioned the cleaning had been now very noticeable. Fully vaccinated Guests are now not required to be tested between back-to-back sailings. (Everyone I was cruising with, was fully vaccinated and most of us were even boosted) Only guests ages 5 years and older who are not fully vaccinated and traveling on back-to-back sailings will be required to complete a COVID-19 test between sailings, arranged by Disney Cruise Line. Beginning Oct. 14, 2022, for Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, and Disney Wish sailings and Nov. 7, 2022 for Disney Magic sailings, Disney Cruise Line will no longer require Guests to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at the time of sailing, however, it is highly recommended. All Guests ages 5 years and older who are not fully vaccinated (Unvaccinated Guests) will need to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 1-2 days before the sail date. Guests ages 4 years of age and younger do not require testing.
So, has this experience soured my desire to cruise again?
In fact, next month, I am sailing the Disney Magic to Bermuda (yes, one of the few sailings that still requires testing- as required by Bermuda specifically). Then in December, I will be attending the naming ceremonies for both the MSC Seascape and Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas.
All this said, I am hopeful to sail onboard the Disney Wish again. I think the Wish still had some kinks to work out, especially on a full capacity sailing- and maybe by now they have. It’s a GORGEOUS ship and we did make some amazing memories; Disney cruising is like no other and each ship is very unique. The Wish is absolutely special, and I am expecting to have a better experience on our next time onboard.