By Susan Kirby
What could be better than a cruise on one of the Disney ships? My family was already looking forward to experiencing what Disney had to offer at sea when a little piece of mail came that raised the anticipation even higher. I ripped into the envelope to discover that we were on the first Disney Channel Summer at Sea cruise for 2009! After a momentary debate with myself, I decided to tell my boys about this new twist of events and was promptly rewarded with shrieks and screams. It also turned into being asked to check the Disney Cruise Line website several times a week for new additions to the star line-up for our sailing. The finalized list for our cruise included Corbin Bleu, Brandon Smith, Doug Brochu, Roshon Fegan, and Tiffany Thornton.
As advertised, the Disney Channel Summer at Sea cruises hold scheduled events with the stars throughout the cruise. If these are offered again, the first chance to see the stars is during the sail-away party. In our case, this was moved indoors due to a thunderstorm, which made viewing more challenging. It was quite entertaining, though, to listen to the conversation of teenage girls change depending on which star was being introduced. From a distance my husband and I observed a taping of an interview with Corbin Bleu while the Disney Wonder was in port in Nassau. This was not listed as an event in the personal Navigator, and really did not appear to be in an area that allowed for an audience. Later on that day, there was a concert at the Goofy pool featuring a live performance by Corbin Bleu. Other official events included autograph sessions and a “Get the Scoop” question and answer session with all the stars. On our cruise, though, these two events took place on Castaway Cay day so we had other plans and did not make either of these.
The teens traveling with our group did get the chance to just hang out with at least a few of the stars and their siblings on the first night and talk to them a few other times as well. The two teens with us reported back that overall the Disney Channel kids and families were not that different than the kids they normally would hang out with. We also observed one of the stars during downtime on the last night. He interacted with other teenagers before and during karaoke and posed for pictures when asked by other kids.
Disney Channel Summer at Sea allows families to experience some neat opportunities that most of us would not be able to get in other locations. At the same time, for those cruising who have no interest in the added activities, it does not detract at all from the regular Disney Cruise atmosphere. I do not think I would purposely set out to book a cruise just based on this addition, but it would not keep me from booking a cruise, either. Who knows, though — as my boys get older and depending on which stars are included, it might be enough of a draw for my family. What is certain is we will continue to cruise with or without the Disney Channel Summer at Sea.