Cruising is rapidly becoming one of the most popular ways to vacation. There are so many options, though, how do you choose? After four Disney Cruises, I can say that Disney does cruising RIGHT! From the moment you arrive on the ship and are greeted by the staff announcing your name, to the second you disembark with the staff thanking you for coming, it is magical and perfect for all ages.
Disney ships first started sailing just from Florida to the Caribbean. Over time they added more destinations and more ships, so now you can book a Disney cruise to a variety of places the whole family will want to explore. The Disney Dream, one of their four ships, still takes that original trip from Florida to the Caribbean.
The Dream has three pools, a waterslide called the Aquaduck which goes out over the side of the boat, a movie theater that runs Disney movies around the clock, ping-pong, shuffleboard, character signings, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and the list goes on and on. I recommend at least a 4 night cruise so you can have an entire day on the ship. Adults particularly love the adults only pool, spa and adults only restaurants. They get to really enjoy all these amenities because kids are so happy to be dropped off at the amazing kids clubs. In the Oceaneer Lab and Club for kids 3-12, they can play in Andy’s room from Toy Story, drive the Millennium Falcon, perform wacky experiments in the lab and so much more. There is also a nursery for children under 3 and a hang out club for tweens 11-14. Did I mention putt-putt and a basketball court on the top deck?
Entertainment on the cruise is non stop. There is a high energy Castaway Party the first night as well as nightly big production musical reviews in the Walt Disney Theatre. It was amazing to watch Beauty and the Beast performed at sea! On our last night at sea each cruise, Disney threw a “Pirates In the Caribbean” show and deck party that ended with a full fireworks display over the ocean.
Off of the ship, Disney has a corner on the entertainment market with their own private island, Castaway Cay. The Caribbean cruise spends a whole day docked here. Like the ship, there are so many entertainment options. You can enjoy the private beach, snorkel and find the hidden Mickeys, rent bikes and ride around the island, play on the floating jungle gym in the water, go down the waterslide, or just enjoy sitting in a hammock under the trees. In Disney fashion, characters are all over the island and available for pictures and signings.
Finally, on to the most popular topic: food. The food on the boats, including the dining experience as a whole, is fantastic. In addition to being able to order room service at any time or eating by the pool whenever you want, you rotate restaurants on the Dream each night. This way there are no wait-lists or dinner rushes because everyone gets to eat at each restaurant. Each restaurant also has its own theme, so no two nights are the same. The Animator’s Palate has “aquariums” in each wall that showcase Nemo’s friends as well as the turtle Crush, who will pause by a table to talk with the diners. At the Enchanted Garden you can watch flowers blossom while eating, and the Royal Palace has a chandelier with dangling silver slippers. Each one is unique, and the best part is that your server rotates with you! You feel like old friends by the end of the sailing.
Consider using a travel agent when you book a Disney cruise. Clearly there is a lot to do both on the boat and off, and a travel agent can direct you as to the best stateroom location, help sign up for dining options and advise on shore excursions. The earlier in advance you plan, the better the price so go ahead and book your amazing family vacation today. The magic awaits!
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