With summer winding down and our long-awaited for vacations coming to an end, your family (like mine) might be thinking about your next family adventure! Well look no further than the most magical cruise line with stunning destinations, family friendly fun, and your favorite mouse, Disney Cruise Line. My family and I have been on many DCL adventures and have loved every second of them! Recently, for our honeymoon, my husband and I went on a cruise for a different company which offered a chance for comparison (but more on that in a different post). So today, I would like to give you a run-down of Disney Cruise Line and what makes it so special from its competitors.
As soon as you enter, honestly as early as the cruise terminal, you begin to spot all of the Disney touches that you can grow accustomed to seeing all over the Disney theme parks. Like those infamous hidden Mickeys that everyone wants to spot all of. The moment you enter the ship through the main lobby, you are greeted by a line of Cast Members that ask for your families name and announce your grand welcome onto the ship. It makes for a special feeling of being a movie star on the red carpet! Also in the lobby, and frankly all around the ship, you are greeted by subtle Disney touches, such as those hidden Mickeys, the Fab Five (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto) in the staircase banisters, in art, the swimming pools, your stateroom fixtures, ect. I could go literally go on and on in my list of all the Disney touches! But my point is that immediately you know that you are on a Disney Cruise ship and that you will be greeted with the same attention to detail and customer service that you can expect from a Disney company.
A big part of the cruise experience is the stateroom accommodations and Disney does not disappoint in its catering to families and attention to detail. On other cruise ships, you may not get a balcony to bring in that sea breeze or even a window if you are in a inside room unless you pay for it but on the DCL, every since stateroom has a balcony that faces the ocean and no room is inside without windows. It may not seem like much but after being on another cruise line without one, it is a welcome addition. Another thing about the staterooms that caters to families is the split bathrooms so that one person can be showering while another gets ready or uses the bathroom. For a family a 5, this is a welcome addition that makes it easy to get ready for the day and out to the fun!
Now I want to get to the fun stuff that you can experience aboard the Disney Cruise Line for families and adults alike! I promise that there are some fun adult only activities and areas despite being on a Disney cruise ships so hang in there!
When I was younger and on vacation with my family, sometimes I just wanted to get away from them for a little bit and hang out on my own. DCL delivers on that want in many different ways and for many age groups with its kids clubs! The It’s A Small World Nursery, Oceaneers Club, Oceaneers Lab, and the Vibe/Edge are all options for kids and teens ages 1-17 that are filled with games, activities, relaxing areas, and much more! I’ll give you a brief synopsis of each and if you have more questions about one of the clubs, either comment below or go to the Disney Cruise Line website for more information! But first a quick word about a cool feature about the Oceaneer’s Club and Labs. Every child that is signed up for either club is given a water-proof Magic Band that is connected to their parents special wrist band. This is how the child is checked in and out of the clubs everyday along with a codeword that is specific to each child. So if your child is upset or wants to leave, the parent is paged on their Disney phone that is in each stateroom to either come get their child or give them a message that they will be there in a minute. This is a welcome addition to keep little guests safe and happy while with their families and at the clubs!
It’s A Small World Nursery
This club is for the little guests ages 6 months-3 and offers quiet areas for naps and toys to play with all while under the expert eye of trained Disney Cast Members.
This kids-only area for ages 3-12 is pretty similar to the Oceaneer’s Lab in that it is a kids club but it features playrooms like a Toy Story themed one with slides and ladders, computers and other board games, TVs to kick back and watch Disney movies and shows and features a lot more activities designed allow kids to run around and do what they please.
Oceaneer’s Lab (Activities, Experiments, VR experiences)
The Oceaneer’s Lab, however, is a bit different in that its focus is more about planned activities like playing freeze tag, experiments like making slime and paint, as well as some virtual games like driving the Millennium Falcon or a submarine on a flight simulator. Both Oceaneer’s clubs also feature special rooms that are different for each cruise boat like a Marvel Avengers room that has visits from Captain America and Thor and a Star Wars room with visits from Darth Vader and Chewbacca.
The Vibe/Edge (Ages 14-17)
Both the Vibe and Edge clubs are catered to the tweens and teens but are on different boats. These clubs offer a place for teens to come and hang out with each other in fun rooms or out on their very own sundeck with its very own karaoke stage. Here are also games and activities like Guitar Hero battles to cater to the teens aboard the ship.
A cruise would not be complete without its endless buffets and Disney Cruise Line is no exception especially with its 24hr ice “scream” machines! There are even buffets and free soda fountains out on the pool deck to allow easy access to food without having to go too far from your sunbathing spot.
Disney Character Greetings
Would it be a true Disney Cruise without visits from beloved Disney characters?? On DCL, there are always characters roaming to meet with for a quick autograph and picture. Characters like the Fab Five (Mickey being his adorable captain’s outfit), princesses like Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, Jasmine, Tiana, Elsa, Anna, and others, Peter Pan with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, Jack Sparrow, Captain America, Thor, Loki, and many more. I really could go on and on about all the character that meet aboard the Disney cruise ships but this just shows how Disney brings its level of imagination and service everywhere, not just its theme parks.
I’m sure you’re thinking by now, where are those adult-only fun activities you promised? Disney understands that families love to spend time together but they also know that families sometime need time apart too! So while the kids are off playing at the clubs, adults can indulge some me-time at the Quiet Cove Deck and Pool where there are no children 17 years and younger allowed. There is even an adult-only DECK that is filled with nightclubs, bars, comedy clubs and lounges that cater to the adults aboard the ship as well as an adult’s only spa that offers pampering and spa treatments to soothe all your worries and your strifes. On some DCL ships, there is even an adult’s only restaurant with a more romantic atmosphere and menu. So even though this is a Disney Cruise, there are still plenty of things to do for just adults!
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Being a former Cast Member, I am always looking for a chance to see my old work location, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in whatever Disney Park I am in. Well on the Disney Cruise Line, princesses and princes ages 3-12 have same opportunity to get done up by Fairy Godmothers-in training with that same pixie dust as in the parks. This is a great opportunity to reserve this for your prince or princess if you didn’t get a change to at the parks (especially if there wasn’t reservations available at the time of your parks visit). Make sure and book early or as soon as you get on board with guest services for the best available appointment.
Water Slides & Pools
No cruise ship would be complete without swimming pools and slides and on a Disney Cruise that is no exception with its Mickey Pool with water slide, Goofy Pool, AquaDuck Splash Park and on some cruise ships, the thrilling new, AquaDuck water slide! All of these watery options allow guests of all ages the chance to get wet and have some sunny fun!
After a day of fun at the pools, clubs, or around the ship, guests are offered the change to sit down for a family meal together at 3 different restaurants that rotate every night so that every night is a new menu and atmosphere. Your servers rotate with your every night so you have the opportunity to get to know them and them you! On every DCL ship there is 3 restaurants that you rotate through all with different themes and menus! There is always a fancier restaurant like Lumieres or Tritons, a more causal restaurant like the Enchanted Garden and one restaurant that remains the same on every boat, Animator’s Palate.
This restaurant is truly one of a kind as its theme is just that: Disney animator’s showing off their sketches and drawings of all of our beloved Disney characters. What makes this restaurant so special is that throughout the dinner, with each course the room changes in its colors and animation of the drawings that fill the room. You start out the evening with everything, even your servers costumes, in black and white. Then as the courses come, the room and drawings begin to come alive with a finale of everything, including your servers, being transformed into glorious color! You even have the special treat of getting to talk to the totally radical turtle named Crush as he swims around the room and talks to his favorite human dudes! The best part of Animator’s Palate is by far the chance to draw your own character at your table and then submitting them to Sorcerer Mickey to be transformed into living, moving and dancing figures before your very eyes! Disney dining is always a treat for the mouth and eyes but on DCL, it has its own extra special magic!
Another bonus aboard DCL is the chance to watch movies that are still in theatres right on the boat! When I have been, we got to watch Thor: The Dark World right before it was released the public!
A Disney Cruise Line would not be complete without Disney’s Broadway style shows aboard to entertain and excite all guests! Every night there is a new show that features all your favorite Disney characters starring in a new show about magic, music, and believing in dreams come true! My favorite shows have included: Toy Story the Musical and Aladdin (direct from the Hyperion theatre at Disney’s California Adventure Park at Disneyland)! It was always a treat to end our day watching Disney’s famous stage shows!
Up until this point on this post, most things I have talked about exist on other cruise ships but this next point, NO OTHER cruise line has: their own private island! Believe me when I say that Disney’s Castaway Cay island is my family’s favorite part of being on a Disney Cruise!
Every cruise that goes out of Port Canaveral, FL makes a stop at Disney’s private island and it is literally the best part of our vacation! It has everything you could want in a private island: beautiful white sand beaches, crystal clear water, snorkeling, water toys, private beaches for just adults and one just for teens, bike trails, and a yummy BBQ lunch! There are even character meetings with Jack Sparrow and Mickey all decked out his beachwear! Whether it's renting bikes to speed around the island on or relaxing on the beach under a big umbrella, Castaway Cay is a paradise you will want to come back to again and again!
Disney Difference Among Other Cruise Lines
Before I sign off and seriously consider going on another DCL, I want to talk about the Disney Cruise Line difference from other cruise lines. We will have a later post that specially talks about this with Jaycee and I comparing our cruises with other companies directly to DCL but I wanted to end by saying this. Disney Cruise Line, in my opinion, has the best family friendly entertainment at sea out there. It is clean, entertaining, and not just about drinking or gambling like other cruise lines. You don’t have to worry as much about drunk people or not having enough things to do because Disney literally has everything taken care of and has so many options of things to do for people like me and my family who don’t drink or gamble.
DCL pays attention to every detail that adults and families would have and offers that world class service that we have come to expect from Disney. In my opinion, all cruises and cruise lines are fun, but Disney stands alone from the rest due to that Disney difference.
If you have any questions about Disney Cruise Line or the cruises that my family and I have gone on, please comment below or visit the Disney Cruise Line website! Happy Sailing!
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