Going on a Disney Cruise has always been on our radar, but something we’ve never quite got around to doing. However, when Disney Cruise Line (DCL) announced Disney Magic at Sea – UK Staycations, an itinerary with cruises sailing from various ports around the UK, we knew we HAD to book! Let me take you on our trip!
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Our First Disney Cruise 2021!
I am usually a Walt Disney World (WDW) trip report writer (as well as Disneyland Paris), but the pandemic had put any overseas trips on hold for a couple of years…
For our WDW trips, I tend to write a pre-trip planning report, which goes through all the planning stages.
However, the planning we did for this, our first Disney cruise (and first cruise ever!) is on this page, starting with who we are (just in case this is the first time you’ve read one of my Disney Trip Reports!)
The Cast Members
Me – Michelle, 45 on this trip – in fact, one of the reasons we decided to go on a staycation Disney Cruise was to celebrate my birthday!
When it comes to our holidays, anywhere in the world, I am the planner/organizer, trip report writer, and photographer.
I am unable to walk long distances without the need to sit down because of pain, or shortness of breath, so I usually hire an ECV (mobility scooter) on Disney trips because of the amount of walking involved.
However, trying to find one to hire in the UK was impossible. I need a larger one because of my size, and we couldn’t find a single place that we could hire one from. In the end, we hired a wheelchair, which meant my husband would have to push me around for longer distances.
I’m a plus-size woman and over the past decade, I have been various sizes from (UK) size 24 – 34. I write about my experiences as a plus-size traveller and often receive emails from readers that are concerned about fitting in rides, plane seats, and other questions.
I am always open and honest – my size is not something I can hide, and I’ve learned to embrace it somewhat in being able to help others.
You can always email me with your personal concerns, and I will do my best to help you out.
Him – Steve, 48 on our first cruise. He loves Disney just as much as I do!
He’s the packhorse and carries ALL the things, videographer, chief keeper of documents, and money manager when on hols.
He keeps track of every dollar and cent that we spend. He also loves to eat! I’m not sure where he puts it, but he knows his way around a Disney menu!
My Camera Gear
I am often asked what camera I use and how I edit my photographs. So here is that info if you are interested, along with affiliate links to Amazon.
- For my Disney photography I use both my iPhone 12 Pro Max and my Canon EOS 70D.
- The two main lenses I use are Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro and Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC Art. Both of these lenses will also fit Nikon and Sony DSLRs.
- I do my photo editing with Adobe Lightroom
Disney Magic at Sea – UK Staycations 2021
As we all know, the world has been plunged into a pandemic that has seen restrictions on so many parts of our lives. One of the worst ones for me personally was not being able to go on our (mostly) annual trips to Walt Disney World.
During the run of the pandemic so far, we have had to cancel a 2-week road trip starting and ending in California (including a hard-to-get stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa), as well as a Christmas trip to Disneyland Paris.
When restrictions on travel – including cruises – started to ease, Disney Cruise Line announced Disney Magic at Sea.
They were advertised as UK “staycations”, short 2, 3, and 4-night cruises departing from 4 ports around England – Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton, and Tilbury – for UK residents only.
Our decision to go on were of these cruises are as follows:
- Reduced passenger capacity – enabling easier social distancing on board the ship.
- All adult passengers needing to be double vaccinated – hopefully less chance to spread the virus around.
- All passangers age 11 and up must wear masks when inside the ship, and in cinemas and theatres – we all know that masks help to limit the spread.
- Lateral Flow Test to be taken by over 18s at the port (PCR tests are required for under 18s, 5 days before sailing) – meaning the whole ship should be virus-free.
- One of the ports (Tilbury) is less than 30 minutes drive away – no need to stay overnight in a hotel.
- These sailings from Tilbury would embark on my 45th birthday – a great way to spend my birthday!
- A way to experience being on the cruise ship – and to see how we manage with sea sickness (one of my worries!).
- It’s DISNEY!
As someone who was (still is) on the clinically extremely vulnerable list, deciding to go on this cruise wasn’t taken lightly. But we trusted Disney to keep their passengers as safe as they could, with all of the rules set in place as well as enhanced cleaning throughout the ship.
And we were desperately in need of some time away from work and life, and to have some quality time together as a couple.
We initially booked a 3-night cruise (14-17 September 2021) but after binge-watching a lot of Disney Cruise vlogs on YouTube – from pre-covid days, as well as from the staycations before us (they started in July 2021), we decided to add a second cruise!
I wasn’t convinced that we would see and do everything on the ship, so even though it was more expensive (on DCL the closer to your embarkation, the more expensive the fare) than our first cruise, we still booked a second one.
The second cruise was also 3-nights (17-20 September 2021) and when you have two sailings like this it is called Back to Back, or B2B for short.
So, we actually did two Disney cruises and reached Silver Castaway Club status on one trip!
There are some differences in these special UK Staycations compared with regular Disney cruises, and I will touch upon those, as well as expand on the above information in the individual days of this report.
Trip Report Index
This is the Index for all of the days of this trip report – And I’m going to preface it with the following, just in case:
It may take me a while to get this trip report written, but I ALWAYS finish what I start when it comes to my Disney Trip Reports. I am still writing my trip report from our Walt Disney World 2019 visit… mainly because I still have photo editing to do – whoops!
Why not save this page so that you know where to find it to catch up with the latest report, or better still, join The Pumpkin Patch to get the reports directly to your inbox!
This trip report starts on Day 1 (seems obvious, but I usually start on Day 0 with a hotel stay at the airport, but we live close to the cruise port, so stayed home the night before!) and ends on Day 7.
The links below will become active as I write each day. My reports contain a lot of photographs and pages may take a little longer to load depending on your internet connection speed.
- Day 1 – Happy Birthday To Me! » Embarkation Day, Cabin Tour, Lunch from Cabanas, Dinner at Lumiere’s
- Day 2 – Brunch At Sea! » Character Appear & Wave, Brunch at Palo, Freezing the Night Away with Anna, Elsa & Friends, Dinner at Animator’s Palate
- Day 3 – Magic & Movies! » Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Disney Dreams: An Enchanted Classic, Dinner at Rapunzel’s Royal Table
- Day 4 – Back To Back! » Breakfast at Rapunzel’s Royal Table, Disembark/Re-embark, Open House, Tangled: The Musical, Dinner at Animator’s Palate
- Day 5 – A Marvel-ous Morning! » Marvel Morning, Lunch from Cabanas, Mixology Seminar, Dinner at Rapunzel’s Royal Table
- Day 6 – Last Night At Sea! » Breakfast from Cabanas, Chocolate & Liquors Seminar, Dinner at Lumiere’s
- Day 7 – Goodbye Disney Magic! » Breakfast at Lumiere’s, Disembark