Disney Cruise Line Testing Free Apple iMessage Service on the Disney Fantasy

During recent Disney Fantasy sailings from Port Canaveral, Disney Cruise Line has been testing free iMessage service for passengers using an Apple iOS device. Guests are receiving a Disney Cruise Navigator App handout in the terminal upon embarkation check-in with instructions to download and or update the app to the latest version before setting sail.

The handout includes important reminders on how to use the free to use app once onboard and notice that guests may receive push notifications from other apps.

DCL Navigator App Info IMessage Test 20190427 1Guest who received push notifications form other apps will not be counted against a data plan if you do not have a data plan. From past experience, I’ve never had push notifications impact my data plan when I am logged out of my internet data plan while still connected to DCL-GUEST.

The most notable bit of information on the Disney Cruise Navigator App handout is a mention of complimentary text messages via iMessage between guest onboard and back at home without needing an internet data plan.

DCL Navigator App Info IMessage Test 20190427 2

If you are using an Apple device, you may send (and receive) complimentary text messages via iMessage to other Apple users on the ship and back home. An internet package in [sic] not required.

At this time, we’ve heard the complimentary iMessaging is just an intermittent test on the Disney Fantasy and may or may not expand to all sailings across the fleet.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve encountered complimentary iMessaging on a recent Disney Cruise. I’d be interested to see if they are testing this on any other ship. Additionally, for those that have been using the service, have you been able to easily sent and receive photos and video?

25 Replies to “Disney Cruise Line Testing Free Apple iMessage Service on the Disney Fantasy”

  1. Daniel

    we just got off the fantasy a few days ago and we’re able to imessage and receive notifications but couldn’t send or receive photos

  2. Sarah

    We were able to use iMessage in the Med last summer when not using an internet package. It was very convenient. However, it did not work on the Magic this spring out of Miami.

  3. Diana Odom

    I was on the May 4th Fantasy sailing and it was just iMessage, no SMS texts until I had full cell service. We couldn’t send/receive photos through iMessage, just text.

  4. Aurora

    I was on the fantasy from the 4/11th and had full service. I was able to post/upload to Facebook/Instagram/Gmail. The application sucked this time when it came to messaging though. So we used iMessage mostly.
    I didn’t buy any internet. I was on airplane mode and DCL guest the whole 7 days and had full services. We didn’t get a handout either about them testing or offering the service.

  5. Melynda Amrine

    Those of you who have used this service is your phone still in airplane mode to avoid charges from the ship or foreign ports?

  6. Greg C

    This sounds game changer! Just got off the Magic on 4/24 and we were not able to use iMessage. It is a pain using their app because I never can get the notifications that I have a message. Hope this will be a full time thing.

  7. Sergio Calderon

    I think they are going this way since the messaging within the DCL app is horrible and so many people complain about it all the time.

  8. Thomas E C

    It’s disappointing that they only have this for IOS since Android has the larger market share for mobile phone operating systems

  9. Michael Lever

    Great, I go on vacation to get away from it all and now I have to watch out for people walking into me on a Disney cruise because they have their face in their phone! I liked it better when most phones were left in the cabins. Guess I’m old…….

  10. Chanta

    We don’t have IOS we have Android ; so not helpful to all. Have found that the messages seem to deliver slow with their app. My daughter sent a message and 2 hrs later when she came into the room the message appeared. We have a magnetic dry erase board that we leave inside the stateroom door; old school but still works for us.
    STILL WANT MY PAPER NAVIGATOR! I like not using my phone on vacation.

  11. Gretchen

    I have been able to use iMessage on two DCL cruises within the past year. Using airplane mode and NOT on ships WiFi. It would be wonderful to see it official!

  12. Anna

    I sail on the Dream in 9 days!! Myself and my kids have iPhones, hope it will work. My hubby has Android, so he is out of the loop. I will let you know when I get back if it is being offered on the Dream.

  13. Chris Barry

    I really wish Disney would give free unlimited basic WiFi to all passengers. This would give Disney a lot of free publicity as passengers post photos to Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.

    1. Mike

      People will still post to all those places when they get home. Why should Disney pay for that in realtime? People will seek out wifi, or even global plans which for most carriers is $10 a day extra.

    2. Chris Barry

      Multiple posts (daily) vs just 1 post at end of vacation = more screen time (free publicity) on social media. It would also be a good selling point for Disney to say they offer free WiFi on all cruises.

  14. Chris

    Just got off the Wonder on 5/12 and they were NOT allowing iMessaging. I hope to see this implemented fleet wide. On our 7 day western Mexico cruise, the lag for messaging through the DCL app was terrible. It would routinely take 25-30+ minutes for messages to be received after sending.

  15. Brandi J Witt

    Sailed the Fantasy in March 2019 and we could all text each other via the App without using data. I have an andoid device while my husband and son have apple and it worked without issue among all 3 devices. Used this text message feature a lot and loved it! Perfect if your group splits up for different activities you can easily find out where everyone is and coordinate plans.

  16. Greg

    We are sailing the Magic in Sept. I hope iMessage is not functional during our voyage. I like our vacations much better when cell phones are left in the stateroom.

  17. Laura

    On the Fantasy on April 13, iMessage was working well. Some email was coming through. Teens figured out that Instagram was working. I’m really preferred not having access to email on previous voyages, it’s great to disconnect.

  18. Jason

    We just got off the 5/25 Fantasy WC cruise, and this program worked fantastic. iMessage to other iMessage users only (anyone “blue” in your texts) and it was instantaneous to/from people on and off the ship. But no pics/vids. Notifications for other apps also came through. Strangely, although we’ve had problems with the in-app texting (the Disney Cruise app) on all prior cruises, that functionality worked great this time. We used it quite a bit and it worked great throughout.


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