So you’ve heard about the Disney Cruise Line from your friends or family but maybe you’re wondering what makes them so unique or worth the extra cost. Let’s face it, you’ve probably price checked a few cruises at some point and found out that a Disney cruise might be a little (or a lot) more than another. So what is it about them that keeps bringing people back?
Every person and family is different so when booking a vacation there are a million needs and requests to consider. A cruise is often a great choice for large family vacations and a perfect choice for those really wanting to relax. There are many great cruise lines to choose from and admittedly we haven’t tried many because my first experience on a cruise wasn’t fantastic. It wasn’t horrible, there really isn’t any one glaring thing I can think of that went “wrong” but I left just figuring maybe I wasn’t a “cruise” person. Fast forward to last month and my tune has changed a bit. I fell in love with cruising (and Disney’s private island Castaway Cay) after my first Disney Cruise on the Disney Wonder.
I went as part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (a payed conference where we get some fun and exclusive opportunities to learn more about Disney) which made it a great excuse to try out cruising again. Plus, my diet needs have changed since my last cruise and I knew I’d be taken care of with Disney so it was the perfect next cruise to try. We honestly considered purchasing our next cruise right there on the boat (you get special incentives if you do so) that’s how good a time we all had. The biggest suggestion I have for any cruise is get a balcony room if you can. I LOVE being able to sit on a balcony at a hotel and even more so on a cruise ship. Being able to breathe fresh air in my room just makes the experience that much better no matter what.
So what makes a Disney Cruise so special?
- Comfortable beds – I really don’t say this often about hotel rooms let alone a cruise ship. The bed really was so comfortable. We were in a Verandah stateroom and the bed wasn’t 2 twins pushed together (that I could tell) it was a Queen bed and oh so comfortable. The boys each had their own bed as well (a pull out sofa and pull down top bunk) which is worth a TON for teen boys who don’t want to share a bed.
- Well planned rooms – Our room had tons of great storage and the Queen bed was lifted off the ground so we could slide our luggage underneath. We packed for a Walt Disney World trip + the cruise and had more than enough room for ALL of our things. This made relaxing or working in the room that much more enjoyable. In addition, the shower room and toilet room were separate with separate sinks. I LOVED this touch and it made getting ready in the mornings that much easier.
- Dinner rotation – each night you move to a different “restaurant” but your servers come with you so you still get that same personalized service so many love on a cruise. Each dining room is themed (but not overly so) and on longer cruises the entertainment is different along with your menu each night. When you visit Animators Palette on your second night you’ll have a different experience than you did the first night for example. This makes it feel like you’re visiting a new restaurant each night just like you’d do on vacation.
- Entertainment created for everyone – One thing my older boys REALLY appreciated was that the entertainment (at dinner, in the clubs etc) was really created to entertain everyone. They didn’t feel like it was too babyish and we all really enjoyed the overall atmosphere. This differed quite a bit from the last cruise we went on. The boys felt out of place like they were on an adults cruise while the children’s activities wasn’t fun either because it was “dumbed down” which takes me to my next point
- My boys (12 and 14) felt like they were welcomed on the cruise. It didn’t feel like the activities were put there just to entertain them or keep them busy so the adults could go have fun without them. They loved the movie theater playing current movies, the family friendly entertainment in the clubs or lounges (when the timing allowed for families) in addition to the tween and teen clubs made specifically for their age group. They also liked that there wasn’t a casino. They mentioned several times on our last cruise that they didn’t ever feel comfortable walking through the casino to get to the kids club for example.
- Relaxation – because my kids felt included and were having fun I was able to relax and have more fun. I wasn’t worried about making sure they were enjoying themselves. Dinnertime was my favorite because we’d all get together for a fun dinner and they would catch us up on what they did all day (that they hadn’t messaged us already).
- Soda included – a small detail but we appreciated that the boys could get soda and hot chocolate along with other fun snack foods without having to buy a drink package. We don’t normally drink a lot of soda so this was just a fun treat for them that made their trip extra special.
- Understated Magic – it is a Disney cruise but it was so well done. Obviously if you really don’t like Disney this won’t matter but we loved the fun bits of Disney that were there and appreciated the times when it was not.
- Castaway Cay – obviously not all cruises stop here but it was a huge highlight for me. Getting off onto a gorgeous island with the same staff and level of service we were used to on the ship made the day so smooth and relaxing. I didn’t have to do months of research on what I could eat or where to get it (I have to eat gluten free), we didn’t have to carry cash and they even had a kids/teens space on the island if you wanted to take advantage of that.
I’m sure there are so many more reasons but after thinking about it for a few weeks these are the reasons I came up with that I think made a huge difference for me. I do have to say that I think some of the extra cost comes from the fact that there isn’t a casino (mentioned above) and it didn’t really feel like the huge party atmosphere so while we did enjoy drinks and many others did as well, it didn’t have the same “party and drink all night” atmosphere as our first cruise did. I have to imagine this has something to do with the cost but that is purely my speculation and not a hard fact.
I’m working on another post of things to expect when booking/enjoying your Disney Cruise but thought I’d get some of these thoughts out there while they were on my mind. Have you ever been on a Disney Cruise? Do you feel the same?