Hi, my name is Jen, I’m a Wishdrawals travel planner, and I have a confession. Prior to this September, I had never been on a Disney cruise. In fact, I had never cruised, and I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted to…
Then, on September 23, I got the opportunity to join some other members of my Wishdrawals family on a 4-night Bahamian cruise out of Port Canaveral on the Disney Dream. This was an opportunity to learn more about Disney Cruise Line, experience the ship, do some training, and bond with my fellow agents. I was excited! And also, I’ll admit, more than a little anxious. You see, as a first-time cruiser, I had some concerns. What if I didn’t like cruising? What if I got motion sick? Got bored? Felt trapped or claustrophobic? Got sick? Also, as an adult traveling without my family, I wondered what it would be like to sail on a Disney cruise. Would I feel weird or out of place? Surrounded by children and child-centered theming? Would there be enough adult-focused activities to keep me entertained? Nevertheless, this was an incredible opportunity to experience Disney Cruise Line firsthand, so I packed my sea bands and Dramamine, hopped a plane to Orlando, and headed onboard the Disney Dream.
(Spoiler alert…) Four days later, I rather reluctantly disembarked, wishing the cruise had been a few nights longer, with my motion sickness aides still untouched in my travel case, a few too many souvenirs in my carry on and a future cruise already booked. And here is what I, a first-time cruiser turned Disney cruise enthusiast, had learned along the way:
1. The Disney Cruise Line ships will literally take your breath away. The theming, design, and the ship’s beautiful art deco design and detailing pay homage to Disney without feeling remotely like a theme park. If you are a Disney fan, you will find Disney touches everywhere. And yet, these are subtle enough that you will never feel “overwhelmed” by Disney. The Dream is also vast with so much space to explore that I couldn’t possibly see and do everything in my four nights onboard. The craftsmanship of the Dream immediately set it apart from other ships in port, and the impact is only enhanced upon embarkation.
2. Staterooms are spacious, well-equipped and cleverly designed. Our verandah-view room (shared with my fabulous fellow agent Heather) had such ample storage space that it was even easy to imagine a family of four sharing it, including two closets, a “split bath” (shower and sink in one room, toilet and sink in another) and space under the bed to stow luggage. The sliding glass doors to the verandah and expansive ocean view enhanced the sense of openness and erased any lingering fears of claustrophobia. I could definitely see what Disney continues to win awards for these staterooms…they are truly magical!
3. Everything is JUST SO CLEAN and well maintained. I don’t know how they keep a ship with thousands of people on board that clean, but the rooms, the common areas, the restaurants, the pools… everything is spotless. Everything is well maintained. You are greeted with hand wipes as you enter all dining areas. The ship even SMELLS amazing…I wanted to bottle the scent and take it home!
4. Motion sickness was not an issue (for me). While this will of course vary by traveler, and probably even by trip, this first-time cruiser experienced no motion sickness whatsoever! Did I feel the ship moving? Yes. Did it bother me? No, not really. I never needed those sea bands or Dramamine!
5. If you are bored on a Disney Cruise, it’s because you want to be. And hey, some people may like a little boredom on their vacation! You can definitely do as much or as little as you like, which is probably the best thing about cruising, and about a Disney Cruise specifically… there is something for all ages and interests! Activities I witnessed during my four-night cruise included: a baby “diaper dash” race, a “pirate night” party, Halloween trick-or-treating for kids, an adults-only Halloween party, Bingo, adult Disney trivia, Family Feud, nightly musical shows, first-run movies in the movie theater, animated movies at the pool, the “Aqua Duck” roller coaster, mini-golf, sports simulators, shuffleboard, character meet and greets, mixology classes, culinary classes, towel folding classes, age-specific kids’ clubs for kids ranging from 3-17…. Of course, there is also always the option of lounging by a pool or on a deck with a drink, book, or the sound of the ocean…. Whatever floats your boat (pun intended!)
6. Castaway Cay is A-MAZ-ING. As part of our Bahamian Cruise itinerary, we spent a day on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. This is a beautiful paradise where you can snorkel, float or swim in the ocean, rent bikes, relax on a lounger, or do various excursions (boating, parasailing, etc). There is a supervised children’s play area, a family beach with ample chairs and umbrellas, several restaurants (where the food is included with the cost of your cruise!) and a peaceful, adults-only beach area called Serenity Bay. Because Castaway Cay is only inhabited by the passengers of one cruise at a time, it never feels overly crowded, and it’s easy to move between the ship and the island and around the island using the tram system.
7. The food is amazing (and plentiful). From the quick-service dining options by the pool, to the unlimited soft-serve; from the buffet restaurant, Cabanas, to the three main table-service restaurants (Royal Palace, Enchanted Garden, Animator’s Palate) where the main nightly dining occurs… oh, and did I mention the included room service? I knew there would be a lot of food. I was pleasantly surprised that it was so consistently good! I don’t know how they prepare so much food for so many people and have it be delicious, but somehow they pull it off.
8. The only thing better than the food is the service. As would be expected with Disney, the service is impeccable…. With “rotational dining,” you rotate restaurants nightly over the course of your cruise, and your servers rotate with you. They learn your names and drink preferences. They even greet you when they see you around the ship (somehow learning the names of dozens of strangers per cruise). Your cabin steward prepares your room every morning (making the bed, folding the bed back into a couch, etc.) and then again every evening). Everyone attends to your wants and needs, often in advance of you realizing you have them. By the time you leave the ship, you are thoroughly spoiled and have forgotten that the rest of the world is, sadly, not Disney.
9. Yes, you can enjoy a Disney Cruise as an adult! This was perhaps my biggest takeaway surprise. Yes, of course, Disney Cruises are wonderful for families. But, they are also surprisingly wonderful for adults traveling without kids! Here are some of the “adult only” experiences I enjoyed during my cruise:
Lounging at the adult-only “Quiet Cove Pool” with adjacent whirlpool and bar.
Nightly cocktails with my fellow agents at several of the Dream’s clubs and lounges, including Pink, Meridian, Skyline, and District
Using a Day Pass for the Senses Spa “Rainforest Room,” which offers a variety of special shower and sauna experiences, a whirlpool, and heated loungers
A mojito/caipirinha mixology class and tasting
An afternoon lounging on Castaway Cay’s Serenity Bay and enjoying a drink at the outdoor bar with live music
A private Cabana Massage on Castaway Cay
Adults-only Ultimate Disney Trivia with some of my fellow agents (we came in a respectable second!)
In addition, all of these experiences were incredibly fun, restful and uncrowded, and the adult-only policy was tactfully, but strictly and consistently, enforced. Other great experiences include the adult-only restaurants Palo and Remy, which I didn’t get to try this time but am looking forward to checking out on a date night with my husband during our next cruise! Which brings me to my last point….
10. If you go on a Disney Cruise, you will want to book another one. Probably very soon. In my case, I was eager to bring my husband and 11-year old daughter. Also maybe my mother and sister. And possibly some of our friends…You see, there is so much to experience, for so many different ages and interests, that you will want to experience it with others. I knew my daughter would love to check out the Oceaneers Lab Kids Club and the Vibe Club for Tweens. I knew my husband would like a chance to try Remy or Palo with me, and to try those sports simulators. And we will want to ride the AquaDuck, visit Castaway Cay, and experience a Pirate Night as a family! I knew my mom, sister, or best friend would LOVE the Rainforest Room. And a spa treatment.
Luckily, while you are still onboard you can book another cruise, or a “placeholder” for a future cruise if you’re not yet sure which date you want to travel, which gets you a discount of 10% off of your NEXT cruise. This “second time” cruiser will be sailing again in February 2021, if not sooner…
And if this post has made YOU curious to try a Disney Cruise (or ready to book your next one) contact us at wishdrawals.com so we can plan that for you! We love to use our own experience to make our clients’ vacations both stress-free and magical!
About Our Guest Blogger: Guest blogger Jen Leguizamo is a mom, travel enthusiast, Disney fanatic, Wishdrawals travel planner, and recent cruise convert who LOVES to plan Disney trips including (you guessed it) cruises! Contact her for a quote!