Ever wanted to dress as your favorite Star Wars character all day and night and not once feel awkward? Yeah, me too! That’s why my intergalactic geek squealed when I found out I would be sailing with my family aboard the Disney Fantasy cruise ship, for the inaugural Star Wars Day at Sea. We were quick to pack all the standard travel essentials: light sabers, Darth Vader masks, and, of course, our Princess Leia buns.
Star Wars Day at Sea is a cosmic celebration scheduled on eight sailings of the Disney Fantasy this year. After five days of regular Disney cruising, we knew the force was awakened when the captain sounded the ship’s horn to the iconic tune of Darth Vader’s Imperial March.
My son, John, and daughter, Ava, loved roaming the ship as two Jedis searching for stormtroopers, Jawas, and Sand People. We even had a scheduled meet and greet with the Dark Side. (Just in case you didn’t know, meeting Darth Vader is a lot different from meeting Goofy; he’s tall, stoic, and ready to accuse you of being a traitor!) We thought we had overpacked costumes, but we realized it was just the opposite when we saw all the die-hard fans who had brought their A-games. It was hard to tell who was an official Star Wars character and who was a fellow cruiser. Here’s a hint: The official Chewbacca will have a Disney handler with him.
Not sure if Captain Phasma was smiling, but we sure were. (Photo: Carey Reilly)
The day’s out-of-this-world activities included: learning how to summon the force in the Jedi Training Academy Trials of the Temple, competing with family and friends in trivia games, and enjoying Star Wars–themed arts and crafts. There were also screenings of the the Star Wars films, including The Force Awakens. My husband hadn’t watched the original trilogy on the big screen since he was a kid. During the films he leaned over and showed me his arm and said, “Look, I have goosebumps.”
Throughout the long day of doing not trying, we definitely built up an appetite — and the Force provided. Each dining room got its own Star Wars transformation, with details like Chewbacca and stormtrooper cut-out menus and special entrées created by the chefs just for the special day. Ever wonder what appetizers from Naboo would taste like? We found out. And in case you are wondering, the Jar Jar Binks Nyork Chowder is delicious.
Our Star Wars Day at Sea came to a close with the “Summon the Force” show, featuring major characters from most of the films and followed by intergalactic fireworks, a dance party, and a themed dinner buffet.
It was here in the middle of the sea — as I stood watching shooting rays of light explode into the night and listening to the John Williams score blare all around me — that I actually teared up and thought, “Wow, this was an experience of a lifetime.” Turns out this was exactly the cruise we were looking for.