The Disney entertainment empire knows how to treat people right, and a Disney cruise certainly meets the high expectations developed over many decades of theme parks and media entertainment.
For families with young kids, no other cruise line can touch Disney, which custom-designed its vessels, its onboard experience and even its shoreside programs to cater to that exact demographic.
In true Disney fashion, everything is orchestrated to produce a specific sense of fantasy and wonder. Where Disney’s parks are centered around a fairytale castle, Disney cruises are centered around its ships — Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy — which were designed to evoke the fairytale world of early 20th-century ocean liners, with their sharp bows, art deco and art nouveau interiors, and even multiple funnels, even though one of those funnels on every Disney ship is fake — but they sure do make a cool place to hide the teenagers’ clubs.
Disney Cruise Line For Kids
The heart of the Disney cruise experience is the kids’ and teens programs, which have no equal in the cruise business. Staffed by dozens of Disney-trained counselors, the programs cater to kids from age 3 months to 17 years, with supervised activities available from about 9am to midnight.
Aboard each ship, about half a deck is devoted to play and learning areas for kids, including a nursery for babies and toddlers and the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab for kids 3 to 12, where kids can take part in princess- and pirate-themed activities, put on shows or listen to storytelling sessions, watch movies, work on art and animation, conduct fun science experiments, and just generally play.
Outside the kids’ areas, activities aboard the Disney ships are mostly family oriented. During the day, there are basketball games, trivia contests, drawing classes, backstage theater tours, screenings of Disney movies, and tons more, plus some adult-oriented activities like wine tastings and cooking classes. As you’d expect, Disney is one of the best lines at sea for family entertainment, staging elaborate shows that draw on beloved Disney characters and storylines. There are also film screenings, meet-and-greets with Disney characters, and special deck parties such as “Pirates IN the Caribbean,” in which Captain Hook and his crew swing in from the funnels and lead the crowd in a round of dancing, before they’re rescued by Captain Mickey. The evening ends with fireworks launched right from the ship — something no other cruise line does.
Dining On Disney Cruise Line
The dining experience aboard Disney’s ships is different than at any other line, in that guests automatically rotate among several different restaurants, and bring their waiters with them. On one night, guests dine in the ship’s elegant main restaurant; on the next, they’re in a second, more whimsical restaurant with a tropical or enchanted-garden theme. And the next night, they dine in Animator’s Palate, a kid-oriented restaurant themed on a film animator’s studio. There’s also a romantic but casual, adults-only restaurant called Palo, serving Italian specialties. And, aboard the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, there’s Remy, a high-end dining spot that goes for a sublime, Parisian feel, with French-inspired cuisine.
Disney Cruise Line For Adults
At night, moms and dads can check their kids into the children’s centers and nurseries until midnight, and enjoy a little downtime at the ships’ dedicated adults-only zones, which offer dancing, piano music, jazz, comedy, and other diversions in a range of lounges, from sports bars to chic cocktail clubs.
Disney Cruise Line Staterooms
When it’s time for everyone to hit the hay, Disney’s staterooms cater to families like no others in the cruise world. Standard cabins are extra-roomy, able to sleep at least three or four through fold-out couches and bunks that pull down from the ceiling. The majority of staterooms come with two bathrooms — one with just a toilet and sink, the other with a bathtub and sink. There’s also a little fridge, lots of storage space, and subtle Disney themes worked into the classy decor. If you need them, Disney will even provide cribs, playpens, strollers, bottle sterilizers and Diaper Genies. They really do think of everything.
Disney Cruise Line Itineraries
Disney Cruise Line operates primarily on Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries and, during the summer, to Europe and Alaska.
These People Will Love Disney Cruise Line
Families with children: This almost goes without saying with the Disney name, but a Disney cruise vacation obviously offers plenty of excitement and entertainment for the kids.
Adults too: Disney cruises are not just for kids, and there are sections of the ships, as well as activities, that are “adults only.”
Anybody who wants visit Walt Disney World: The obvious tie-in with the central Florida theme park is a huge tie-in for Disney as many guests go directly from Walt Disney World.
What’s Included On Disney Cruise Line
Good food and plenty of it: Elegant dinners, casual buffets, character breakfasts, themed deck party buffets and other exciting options make dining on a Disney Cruise Line ship a memorable experience for guests of all ages. Disney Cruise Line originated the rotation dining concept that allows guests to experience a different restaurant each evening for dinner while their servers and tablemates remain the same.
Health club access, with cardio and weight-training equipment, although there are charges for spa sessions and instructor-led classes such as Spin, Yoga and Pilates.
Shipboard Entertainment includes everything from comedians to cabaret singers in the clubs and lounges to live musical spectaculars stage in the large auditoriums. Disney weaves entertainment into dining and deckside activities, too.
Youth Programs. Aboard Disney Cruise Line, it’s good to be a kid. Both ships, the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, have nearly an entire deck dedicated to entertaining children ages 3 months to 17 years, with each age group in its own special activity area. Parents can enjoy the ship “worry-free,” thanks to an onboard paging service that allows children to contact their parents at any time during the cruise and anywhere on the ship.
Life Aboard Disney Cruise Line
Offers something for everyone: Of course a Disney cruise is great for the kids, but adults will enjoy enrichment programs, including a wine tasting and a behind-the-scenes peek at onboard entertainment. The Quiet Cove Pool with adjoining whirlpool spas is a haven for adults, and on the private island Castaway Cay, Serenity Bay is just for adults with a private beach, open-air bar, couples’ hammocks and even private massage cabanas.
Disney Cruise Line Review
To read a review of a particular ship, click the link under "Read the Review." If applicable, our Live Voyage Reports offer a day-by-day overview of an actual cruise onboard. In some cases, there may be more than one report, to be sure to see if your favorite destination is represented.