New Entertainment for 2023 Very Merrytime Christmas Sailings on Disney Cruise Line

Very Merrytime Christmas sailings return to Disney Cruise Line with brand new entertainment and offerings in November and December 2023. This post shares all of the news, plus quick thoughts from our last experience during the holiday season special event.

According to DCL, the Christmas 2023 ‘Very Merrytime’ cruises will bring back more guest-favorite offerings, while adding two brand-new entertainment experiences, characters dressed in jolly new looks, fun-filled activities for the whole family, and elaborate décor and themed food and beverage items. During these limited-time Disney Cruise Line voyages, the high seas will be brimming with the spirit of the holidays later this year.

Disney Cruise Line will offer Very Merrytime Christmas cruises from Texas, Florida and California, offering adults and children alike the ability to discover the wonder of the holidays at sea in 2023. The Disney Magic will set sail to Baja and the Mexican Riviera from San Diego for holiday sailings before wrapping up the season in Galveston, Texas with Very Merrytime cruises to the Western Caribbean.

DCL ships will set sail from a new South Florida home in Fort Lauderdale, offering 4 and 5-night Very Merrytime cruises aboard the Disney Dream to tropical locales in the western Caribbean and Bahamas. Also from Florida, the Disney Wish and Disney Fantasy will continue sailing from Port Canaveral to The Bahamas and Caribbean.

If you set sail on one of the Very Merrytime cruises during the Christmas 2023 season, here are the new additions you can expect to experience on-board the ship…

New Tree Lighting Ceremony – On the first night of all Very Merrytime sailings, you can gather around the three-deck-tall tree in the ship’s atrium for a brand-new tree lighting ceremony.

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy will invite your family to sing along to classic holiday tunes, followed by a countdown that will not only make the tree merry and bright, but also introduce the guests of honor for the cruise.

“Deck” the Halls at Mickey and Minnie’s Holiday Party – This new deck party is another brand-new experience for Christmas 2023 on the Very Merrytime specialty sailings, will invite your family to the upper decks for a one-of-a-kind celebration at sea filled with tidings of good cheer.

This high-energy deck party is thrown by Mickey and Minnie and will feature favorite Disney friends as they celebrate friendship, love and family with a fresh mix of classic and original holiday songs.

In addition to these new entertainment offerings, the Disney Cruise Line decks and halls will be filled with holiday décor and boughs of holly from bow-to-stern during Very Merrytime Christmas cruises.

Aboard these seasonal sailings, guests will also find characters debuting new holiday attire, themed Very Merrytime activities for the entire family, carolers singing contemporary versions of songs that celebrate the holiday season, commemorative merchandise, and festive food and beverage items.

It’s never too early to start planning for next Christmas, and Disney Cruise Line has also confirmed that the holiday magic of Very Merrytime cruises will also return as part of the just-announced itineraries in Late 2024.

From mid-November through December 2024, you will be able to spend the most wonderful time of the year with Disney Cruise Line from two home ports in Florida, as well as a selection of cruises from Galveston, Texas.

Short holiday getaways will be offered from both home ports in Florida, with a selection of 3 and 4-night Bahamian Very Merrytime voyages on the Disney Wish from Port Canaveral and 4 and 5-night cruises to The Bahamas and Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale aboard the Disney Dream. The Disney Fantasy will embark on a variety of four-night Very Merrytime sailings to The Bahamas, along with longer 6 and 7-night itineraries in November and late December.

Cruises from Galveston aboard the Disney Magic will range in length from four to six nights, allowing your family the chance to celebrate the holiday season together while visiting tropical ports of call throughout the Caribbean.

Turning to what’s new for 2024, select voyages on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy will include a day of fun in the sun along the white sand beaches of Disney Cruise Line’s newest destination at Lighthouse Point during the holiday season. Located on the island of Eleuthera at Lighthouse Point, this vibrant beach retreat will be a unique celebration of Bahamian culture brought to life with the quality and service of a Disney vacation.

There’s almost certainly more to come for Very Merrytime Christmas cruises next year. The sixth ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, the Disney Treasure, will set sail in 2024. We’re still awaiting more details about this ship, but suspect that DCL will give the current ships a couple months to fill Late 2024 itineraries before the big reveal. In any case, the Disney Treasure should also offer Very Merrytime Christmas sailings next year.

In terms of commentary, we’ve previously done one of the Christmas sailings aboard Disney Cruise Line, and it was a bit underwhelming. (See our Very Merrytime Christmas Cruise Review.) At least, it was at the time. That was the culmination of a big year of Christmas fun for us, which included great new additions at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disney Resort. Comparatively, the Very Merrytime offerings were a bit of a letdown.

However, in reviewing all of Sarah’s photos and hearing what she had to say about Halloween on the High Seas last year, it made me eager to give the Very Merrytime cruise a second chance. (And also experience the Halloween cruise, since I wasn’t invited and/or declined my invitation last year.) So, we were going to do precisely that for Christmas 2023…until life had other plans for us.

Not that you care, but we actually would’ve been on a Mediterranean Greek Isles cruise right now for our anniversary–booked with the generous discount from having our original Disney Wish sailing cancelled.

No complaints here–we’ll take sitting at home over doing either of those cruises in a heartbeat, especially given the circumstances. Now we can do the Very Merrytime cruise for Christmas 2024 as a party of 3 on a brand new ship and research activities for small children. Win-win!

But I digress. When it comes to our first and only Very Merrytime Christmas cruise thus far, it was probably a matter of unrealistic expectations. My memories of the Very Merrytime Christmas cruise have grown fonder over time–rereading my review today sounds quite harsh as compared to what I remember!

Ultimately, we’re very excited to give the Very Merrytime cruise a second chance, and we are glad to see Disney Cruise Line confirming that it’s coming back for this year and Christmas 2024. We will absolutely be “disregarding” our own opinion of the experience, and booking next year, hopefully on the brand-new Disney Treasure. Although pricing may bring that dream back to reality, and we may find ourselves on one of the cheaper legacy ships!

Planning to set sail aboard one of the Disney Cruise Line ships? Read our comprehensive Disney Cruise Line Guide to prepare for your trip, plan entertainment and other activities, and learn what to expect from your Disney cruise! If you want personalized recommendations for Disney Cruise Line itineraries, ships, and more, click here to get a cruise quote from a no-fee Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. They can find you all of the current discounts, and help you plan the details of your cruise!


What do you think of these Disney Cruise Line’s Very Merrytime Christmas sailings? Any of the special offerings appeal to you? Looking forward to the new tree lighting, deck party, or character costumes? Any other tips to add or recommendations for Very Merrytime Christmas cruises? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

By Indana