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By Jess Meissner
Disney Cruise Line continually ranks highest in guests’ minds on service, entertainment, and overall cruise experience for families. The line is unique in many ways, and boasts experiences that can’t be found elsewhere; the fireworks at sea, for example. If you’re considering booking a Disney cruise for your next vacation, here are ten things you need to know.
1. The Disney Vacation Planners lead the way
Planning any vacation can be overwhelming, and a Disney cruise vacation is no exception! There are four different cruise ships, with destinations and ports all over the world. How do you even begin to know what is right for you? Contact a Disney Vacation Planner like myself who works for an Earmarked Agency, like Mickey World Travel. Being Earmarked means that we are trained by Disney and that our agency has Disney’s “stamp of approval.” The best part: when you book through us, there is absolutely no cost to you at any time. That’s right, it’s a free service! Our job is to help make sure that you have as stress-free of a vacation as possible, and have the time of your life. Time to focus on each other, enjoy the magic of Disney, and make memories that last a lifetime.
2. On Disney cruises, meals and entertainment are included.
From the time you are welcomed aboard with a huge lunch buffet, to breakfast the morning you arrive back in your home port, there is food galore and always available. Amazing, mouth-watering, deliciously prepared and presented foods for any type of diet and even the pickiest eater. Hungry at 2 am after you have danced away the evening? Want to start your day with coffee as you watch the sunrise over the ocean? Call room service! Yes, even 24-hour room service is included in your Disney cruise. Disney is known for their entertainment, and on the cruise ship that is well evident. You have your choice of a nightly Broadway-style performance, or take time to listen to the world-class music performances that take place every evening in the night clubs or in the foyer on Deck 3.
3. Disney cruises have something for everyone.
Yes, you can meet Mickey and Pluto and all their friends. Want to talk with Cinderella or Elsa? That is possible too! There are also kids clubs, tween and teen clubs, interactive onboard ship games, and family pool and water areas. However, Disney is not just for families and kids! My husband and I loved our Disney cruise as just a couple. Disney has adults-only areas on the ship such as a top notch spa, an adult-only area consisting of a pool, swim-up bar, hot tub, and lounge area, as well as adult-only restaurants and night clubs. On Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island in the Bahamas) there is even an adults-only beach area for you to enjoy!
4. Pirates and Fireworks
Although entertainment was already mentioned, this topic deserves a number all its own! During your cruise, one night is Pirate Night. Join your cruise mates in dressing up as a pirate and take in the pirate party after dinner that evening. You may even be joined by Captain Jack Sparrow or Barbosa! That evening (weather permitting), Disney Cruise Line also does something that no other cruise line does…fireworks at sea. It is truly a spectacular sight! Afterwards, there is a dance party and pirate buffet to finish off the night.
5. Disney Staterooms
Disney really does think of everything. Ever try to fit two people in the bathroom at once to get ready for the day? How about comfortably fitting a family of 5 in one room? Disney has figured how to do it! Disney Cruise Line staterooms have split baths. This means there is one bathroom with a shower/tub and sink and one bathroom with a toilet and sink. This allows for more than one person to get ready in the morning simultaneously. Disney Deluxe Family Staterooms also have a hidden murphy bed so that not only is there a very comfortable queen size bed, and a lovely couch that becomes a double bed, but also a hidden murphy bed for another guest. The housekeeping service is amazing, too. The staterooms are cleaned daily and fresh towels, soaps, etc. are replaced as often as needed. When you come back to your stateroom after dinner, you will find that your housekeeper has left you a good night treat, as well as maybe a new decoration to enjoy for the night.
6. They have rotational dining.
Disney does what is called “rotational dining.” That means during your cruise you will experience three different themed restaurants for dinner. Although each is amazing and the food is out of this world, that isn’t my favorite part. My favorite part is that your main server and their assistant are with you for the duration of your cruise. That is right, they go with you through your rotation to each restaurant! They quickly learn your favorite drink, how you like your meat prepared, if you are allergic to anything, and call you by name. Personally, I loved that our server had pomegranate lemonade waiting for me each evening, knew I liked my meat medium-rare, and that I am allergic to honey (it allowed him to check with the chef each night before I arrived at the table). I also loved it because we got the opportunity to know our server and the assistant a little bit better too; they were more than just a name. We got to the point that we asked them what their favorites were on the menu, what the best activity to do that evening on the ship was, and even talk with them about their families and experiences.
7. Ports of Call & Port Adventures
One of my favorite parts of a Disney cruise is the different ports of call that you can visit. You can stay local to the United States with your cruise and go to the Bahamas or Caribbean, journey to Alaska and see some of the glaciers, or visit some of the coastal shores of Canada. If you have more of an adventurous heart, you can take a Disney cruise to ports in Iceland, Norway, Ireland, Scotland, and many others as well. While in those ports of call, you have the option of choosing to just visit the port on your own or, for an added cost, doing what Disney calls a “Port Adventure.” This is your chance to try something different, really learn about the country you are in, or just add in something really special to an already magical vacation. Plus, who can forget about their private island Castaway Cay.
8. Plenty to do onboard and off!
One of the most common worries I have heard is that people are afraid they will be bored on the ship. Not on a Disney cruise! There is so much to do; shopping, swimming, onboard interactive games, clubs for the kids, clubs for adults, movies, a full-service spa, shows… the list goes on and on. Seriously, there is so much to do, you could leave your stateroom at 8 am and not come back until midnight and still not do it all.
9. The have fabulous customer service.
Disney is known worldwide for their customer service, and once you have experienced a Disney cruise you will understand why it applies here too. From the moment you arrive in port to embark, to the second you are back and heading home, you will experience it with each person you meet. Everything is clean, well-organized, and first class. You are more than just a customer to a Disney Cast Member, you are Ohana (family) and they do everything they can to make sure that you love your time with Disney Cruise Line.
10. There is tons of Disney magic.
It is the “little extra” that you feel from the first moment your name is announced as you board the ship. It’s the out-of-the-ordinary little things like the housekeeper adding an extra set of shampoos because they discover you love the smell, or making your blanket into a sea turtle because they discover your spouse loves them! It is the reaction you experience when your favorite character interacts with you and makes you feel like the most important person in the world. It’s the attention to every detail from the clean, fresh towel hand delivered to you by the adults-only pool, to the beautifully presented meal set before you at dinner. It is watching your child experience it all for the first time and hearing all about their magical moments in the clubs just for them. It’s the way you are really treated like Ohana and no question or concern is ever a bother. It is all of this and so much more! Disney magic is what happens when you allow yourself to relax and enjoy all that is offered and find that child inside yourself. It is something that you won’t find on any other cruise line; it is what in fact makes Disney rated the best cruise line by US News and World Report.
What tips do you have for guests considering sailing with Disney? Leave us a comment below!
Jess is a travel planner at MickeyWorldTravel. You can learn more on her Facebook page: facebook.com/mickeyworldtravelJessMeissner