Magic At Sea Capacity Increase Explained Post July 19th
On July 19th, most of the UK social distancing legal restrictions was removed. Following that news, the Disney Magic can now operate at a slightly higher capacity, as well as reduce the need for virtual queues and pre-booking of the Walt Disney Theatre. This has led to a little bit of a mild panic by a few people who have already booked the Magic At Sea staycation thinking the ship is now going to be packed to the brim. Fear not, it won't be.
Before July 19th, cruise lines could only operate at a maximum of 50% or 1,000 passenger capacity, whichever was lower. Keep in mind that cruise lines - which includes Disney - do not officially announce or share capacity details, however, it's not ridiculous to assume they work to the maximum capacity they can within the current laws and restrictions. Other UK staycation non-Disney cruises all run the same way.
On July 19th - when the UK social distancing legal restrictions was removed - there were still restrictions in place for cruises, but they were slightly relaxed. Disney didn't increase their capacity right away though, it wasn't until a couple of weeks had passed until they announced they were increasing the capacity. That was because of their rotational dining system. Disney's capacity was determined by the ability to make sure everyone onboard had a table for a dinner. Disney was able to optimise the capacity of the dining rooms to allow an increase in capacity for the ship overall.
The new UK government guidelines on July 19th stated that cruise ships can operate at a maximum of 50% capacity regardless of ship size. The Disney Magic can accommodate about 2,700 passengers. This means that before July 19th, Disney was operating at around a 1,000 passenger capacity, and following July 19th, they can operate up to about a 1,350 passenger capacity. Also keep in mind that it'll only hit that number if the sailing is sold out, but there's still a good chunk of availability later in the summer.
On the July 15th first public Magic At Sea sailing we went on, that reportedly had just under 1,000 passengers onboard. It honestly felt like a ghost town most the time. This slight increase shouldn't be of concern for those worried, it just allows a few more people to have some magic as more and more summer holidays get cancelled.