Have you dreamed of meeting your favorite superhero in person? Or, have you always wanted to attend a comic con? Disney offers a unique experience, Marvel Day at Sea, that appeals to superfans of all ages. In the name of justice, we cover all the details, so you know what to expect on your Marvel cruise.
Before we start, I want to acknowledge the article contains spoilers.
If you want details to decide if the cruise is worth parting with your hard-earned dollars, please continue reading. Please stop reading if you want to be surprised by the characters and events on your Marvel cruise.
*** Spoiler alert: characters and events get revealed in the article. ***
Now, let’s fully unmask the details.
What is Marvel Day at Sea?
On select five-night cruises from Miami (2023) and Fort Lauderdale (2024) to the Bahamas and the Western Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line delivers an entire day of activities, entertainment, and food based on heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe. You will find kids and adults donning hero costumes and broad grins as they participate in activities and meet their favorite Marvel characters. It is a mini-comic con on the water.
Is a Marvel Cruise Only For Kids?
These unique cruises offer events for the whole family, including sessions geared toward young children, tweens, teens, and adults. Many events comprise all the groups above. Whether you are a kid, have a kid, act like a kid, or want to feel like a kid, a Marvel cruise offers plenty for you to experience.
Which Ship(s) Offer a Marvel Day at Sea?
Disney Cruise Line comprises five ships:
- Disney Magic
- Disney Wonder
- Disney Dream
- Disney Fantasy
- Disney Wish
In 2023 and 2024, the Disney Dream will be the only ship that offers a Marvel Day at Sea.
When Are the 2023 Marvel Cruises?
Unfortunately, the 2023 Marvel Day at Sea experience is nearly over. Nine five-night cruises sailing from Miami, Florida, to the Caribbean and the Bahamas offer a Marvel Day at Sea from January through March.
Five cruises comprise an itinerary with stops at Georgetown, Grand Cayman, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay (pronounced key). These cruises set sail on the following dates:
- January 7, 2023
- January 21, 2023
- February 4, 2023
- February 18, 2023
- March 4, 2023
Four Western Caribbean and Bahamian cruises include Cozumel, Mexico, and Castaway Cay stops. These sail on:
- January 16, 2023
- January 30, 2023
- February 13, 2023
- February 27, 2023
When Are the 2024 Marvel Cruises?
With the 2023 Marvel cruise dates quickly dwindling, it is time to plan your heroic adventure for 2024. The Disney Dream will offer ten five-night Caribbean and Bahamian cruises sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from January through March.
Five cruises have ports of call in Georgetown, Grand Cayman, and Castaway Cay, departing:
- January 7, 2024
- January 21, 2024
- February 4, 2024
- February 18, 2024
- March 3, 2024
The other five Western Caribbean cruises stop in Cozumel, Mexico, and Castaway Cay, sailing:
- January 12, 2024
- January 26, 2024
- February 9, 2024
- February 23, 2024
- March 8, 2024
Visit the Disney Cruise Line site to check availability and pricing.
Disney showcases more than 30 superheroes and villains in new heroic encounters on the Marvel cruise. Note that the itinerary and character line-up can change.
We missed a few characters, but these are the heroes and villains we saw on our cruise:
- Agatha Harkness
- Black Panther Shuri
- Black Panther T’Challa
- Black Widow
- Captain America Sam Wilson
- Captain America Steve Rogers
- Captain Marvel
- Doctor Strange
- Iron Man
- Kate Bishop
- Mighty Thor
- Ms. Marvel
- Scarlet Witch
- Sorcerer Supreme Wong
- Tracksuit Mafia members
You can meet Marvel and Avengers characters in three different ways on the ship:
- Heroic Encounters (must be pre-booked)
- Scheduled characters (times and locations get announced, and you wait in line)
- Roaming characters (chance encounters)
Marvel Day at Sea offers three meet-and-greets, called Heroic Encounters, that must be pre-booked. You can only schedule these within 30 days or less before setting sail.
Set a reminder on your calendar to reserve a spot as soon as you enter the 30-day window. These coveted meet-and-greets fill up quickly. The sessions include:
- HQ: Iron Man and Spider-Man
- Asgard: Thor and Mighty Thor
- Guardians: Star-Lord and Groot
Note the characters may change within the corresponding groups. We discovered some guests met Gamora in the Guardians sitting and Loki in the Asgardians forum. Disney states you can only schedule one Heroic Encounter, but in reality, many guests booked all three.
The Disney Cruise Line Navigator app delivers a daily events schedule. It shows which characters you can meet, when, and where. The lines tend to get long, so try to arrive early. On our cruise, Spider-Man consistently had the most fans waiting for a photo op.
The Atrium, or main lobby, on Deck 3 is the best place to encounter roaming characters. Heroes and villains frequently pass through the area. With some luck, you may discover a few before a line forms.
Deck 4 near the Vista Cafe is another excellent spot to find roaming characters. We encountered Doctor Strange, Wasp, and Ant-Man in this area.
Note that you can only see a few characters in shows or performances.
Disney photographers set up shop at the Heroic Encounters and scheduled character stations to take photos you can purchase while on the ship. Photographer assistants will use your phone upon request to take pictures of you posing with the heroes. We found the staff very accommodating in this regard.
A photographer may be away during chance encounters with the roaming characters.
You must note that you can only purchase images taken by professional photographers while on the ship. You will find kiosks on Deck 4 where you can view and buy the photos. The area is called Shutters Photography Shop.
Throughout the day, various films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe play on two different screens:
- Buena Vista Theatre – accessed on Decks 4 and 5
- Funnel Vision screen – near the swimming pool on Deck 11
We suggest you watch movies at home. You may not get another chance to meet your hero or participate in a particular activity.
Marvel Comic Vault
Disney has a supply of iPads pre-loaded with nearly 300 comics for you to read. If you so desire, you can spend an entire afternoon reading comic books. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about your favorite heroes outside the films.
You can learn about the history of Marvel through an interactive presentation that includes pre-recorded video sections and live discussions. While many fans may only be familiar with the films, this event shines the spotlight on the comics.
It is a fantastic overview of the company’s history and the essential roles of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Although designed for the novice, even the most knowledgeable fans will learn a new nugget or two of information.
Marvel Comic Academy
Have you dreamed about learning to draw your favorite superhero? Various sessions throughout the day allow you to draw Marvel heroes. The subject for each session is kept a secret but gets announced at the start of the session.
We found this to be one of the most enjoyable activities. I assure you that artistic talent is not required. A Disney cruise member will slowly and competently guide you through the process. You may be surprised that your drawing resembles the hero when you are finished. Either way, you will have fun with the process.
Are you a Marvel expert? Find out by testing your knowledge with a fun trivia challenge covering many Marvel Universe topics.
This experience is similar to Marvel Comic Academy but designed for young fans. Your kids learn to draw their favorite superheroes in a relaxed, fun environment without judgment.
Avengers Training Initiative
Young recruits can join heroes on stage in an interactive training experience in the kids’ club and on the upper decks. Your young hero may get to perform a heroic act like wielding a hammer, tossing a shield, or shooting a bow and arrow.
Do not worry. All “weapons” are safe for the children.
You may have witnessed a Jedi training session in Disney World’s Hollywood Studios or Disneyland where kids go on stage to learn how to use a lightsaber. The concept here is the same but based on the equipment utilized by Marvel heroes.
Being on stage and learning from their heroes is a lifetime thrill for many kids. Your child will be beaming with pride for weeks.
Color Yourself Heroic
This activity focuses on color and creativity and is perfect for younger kids and those who prefer to color rather than draw. Disney fosters a philosophy of believing in ourselves as much as our heroes.
Little Hero Dash
Although Nightcrawler and the X-Men do not appear on the cruise, your young crawler can still be part of the festivities. It is a cute event where crawling babies race to the finish line. Most of the time, they hardly move, but it is a fun experience for families with little ones.
Warriors of Wakanda
Okoye, leader of the Dora Milaje, demonstrates the proper form and movement of the Wakanda warriors. Soon, she leads you through the routine as well. Whether you consider it dance, martial arts, or exercise, the experience is fun and engaging. While Okoye holds a spear, guests must pretend to have a spear while going through the training exercise.
Strange Academy: A Spellbinding Spectacular
Disney Cruise Line delivers excellent Broadway-style stage shows. During our five-day cruise, performers put on two or three showings, each of four unique shows. Strange Academy: A Spellbinding Spectacular is the only Marvel-themed show.
The story follows four students who must deal with their insecurities, put aside their differences, and become a team to graduate from Strange Academy. Although the 30-minute performance had a few funny and uplifting moments, it was the weakest of the four shows.
If you want to see Agatha Harkness, this is likely your only chance. Doctor Strange and Supreme Sorcerer Wong appear in the show, but you will have opportunities to find them elsewhere on the ship.
The special effects team does an excellent job utilizing portals or sling rings each time an actor enters or exits the stage. If you or your kids are fascinated by the visuals of a sling ring, you will see plenty of them in this stage show about mystic arts.
Marvel Super Fan Face Off
Put your Marvel knowledge to the test in a trivia challenge with unique formats in multiple rounds, like a game show. As the pretenders get weeded out, the contenders take the stage for the final rounds of the face-off. Ultimately, one cruiser will get crowned as the Marvel Super Fan. Knowledge is a superpower.
Marvel Costume Celebration
You are not required to suit up for Marvel Day at Sea, but wearing a superhero costume makes the event fun. Many guests don costumes or hero t-shirts, like a comic con. You can feel the electricity of excitement in the air as you walk around the ship.
Toward the end of the day, everyone in costume congregates for a celebration and mutual admiration. Your Halloween costume purchase was a good investment.
Portraits with Scenic Backdrops
You will find a few photo spots with a plain, white background as you explore the ship. With Disney magic, your photo transports your family to iconic Marvel locations.
You can view and purchase your photos at kiosks in Shutters Photography Shop on Deck 4. Remember, you can only buy pictures while you remain on the ship. Images will not be available for purchase after you disembark.
Mickey and Minnie’s Super Hero Celebration
Toward the evening’s end, classic Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Chip, and Dale lead a celebration as part of a deck show. Our famous Disney friends bounce around the stage in Avengers costumes, singing, and dancing. It proves that anyone can be a Marvel fan.
One of the show’s central themes advises kids to be heroes by making good decisions and doing the right things daily. It is a reminder that every action does not have to be heroic for someone to be a hero. The message comes across in a lighthearted way rather than feeling preachy.
The night’s big event starts as a deck party in the upper decks and rolls directly into the Heroes Unite show. A time-warping adventure where heroes battle villains, the show transports you to various parts of the Multiverse and features stunts, special effects, pyrotechnics, video footage, and live-action.
Many heroes and villains enter the action. Some fly across the sky, while a few drop from the sky and into the fray. Iconic Marvel films and Disney Plus shows get plenty of representation. The epic battle culminates in fireworks, leaving adults and kids with stunned looks and frozen smiles. It is a must-see event.
Ravagers Dance Party
Before the night winds down, attend the adult-exclusive Ravagers Dance Party led by Gamora and Star-Lord. You can dance the night away as the heroes kick off the party.
Star-Spangled USO Show
Performers sing and dance in an excellent stage show that takes you to the 1940s during World War II. Captain America makes an appearance and mingles with the crowd a bit. The show is worth your time, even if you are not a fan of 1940s music.
If you have ever visited Disney World or Disneyland, you know Disney has perfected the art of transporting you to another world. The feelings, sights, sounds, scents, and tastes remind you of a specific place.
Disney magic works on the ship too. As soon as you step outside your stateroom, you will hear Marvel or Avengers music. Walk a little further, and you will discover Marvel-themed signs and decorations.
On Marvel Day at Sea, the bars and lounges use Marvel-themed coasters, and the restaurants serve Marvel-themed food. All these little things make a difference, taking you across the proverbial Bifrost Bridge and into the Multiverse. Yes, it is magical.
Would a Disney event be complete without special merchandise? You can purchase everything from souvenir cups to clothing to popcorn buckets featuring heroes from Marvel, the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Asgardians, and more.
Marvel Day at Sea delivers food and beverages with images or names based on fan favorites like Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man.
The dinner menu featured an alcoholic specialty drink for adults called the Multiverse, and a non-alcoholic beverage for the kids called Wakanda Forever. Menu items honoring heroes included:
- Chilled Californian avocado soup – Iron Man
- Mjolnir meatballs and pasta – Thor
- Dr. Banner’s greens and lobster salad – Incredible Hulk
- Gingered soba noodles – Scarlet Witch
The highlight was finding a decorative Spider-Man face on my latte from the Vista Cafe.
What is new for returning cruisers?
If you have experienced a Marvel cruise before 2023, is it worth going again? What is different?
The 2023 and 2024 cruises feature an unprecedented line-up of returning fan favorites, new heroes, and never before seen villains. You can see the debut of Captain America Sam Wilson and the first-ever appearance of Sorcerer Supreme Wong. This edition of Heroes Unite is a brand new take on the spectacular featuring dynamic battle sequences with new characters.
With so many activities, seeing and doing everything is virtually impossible. If you enjoyed the first one, you will have fun the second time and find new experiences along the way.
Wrap-Up: Marvel Cruise
A Marvel Day at Sea is a dream come true if you like sea cruises and Marvel heroes. The Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Dream, provides an action-packed day with more events and activities than you can imagine. You will find something for all ages and interests.
Between the tv screenings, live entertainment, an unprecedented line-up of Marvel characters, culinary treats, a costume bash, and a signature nighttime performance, this is a multiverse-spanning adventure of a lifetime. Assemble your family and plan your Marvel cruise.
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About the author
We are Scott and Julie at Miles with McConkey. After nearly 30 years, we took a leap of faith out of the corporate world to enjoy a life of travel and adventure. We hope to inspire you to find ways to travel more and enjoy life now.