Setting Sail With Disney
While the Disney brand is synonymous with families and children, the cruise line also has many surprising and luxurious amenities that will appeal to adults. Whether you are taking the family, celebrating an anniversary or a second honeymoon, or looking for a fun girlfriends’ getaway, consider the Disney Cruise Line for a sailing adventure like no other.
The Disney Dream, one of four ships in the Disney fleet, made its maiden voyage in January 2011 and sails from Port Canaveral, Fla., for three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. During summer, the ship alternates four- and five-night itineraries with two stops at Castaway Cay. Despite the enormity of the Disney Dream, the 4,000-passenger cruise ship is intimately and richly detailed with an Art Deco interior design throughout the ship, which has 1,250 staterooms.
Disney Cruise Line is well-known for its diverse menus and world-class dining options. Unlike other cruise lines, Disney has unique rotational dining where guests enjoy a different restaurant each evening, but servers rotate with them.
“Your servers get to know you as an individual and your children, and build that relationship and rapport,” says Lara Picket, the hotel director for the cruise line.
The result is over-the-top customer service, which many guests believe sets the Disney Cruise Line far above its competitors.
“I’ve been on Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and am going in Carnival this summer, and Disney is by far the best we’ve been on,” says Joy Lee of King, who sailed on the Dream with her husband, 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son three years ago. “The food is better, and there’s always someone there to help you or serve you, and the ships are prettier! I like rotating to different themed dining rooms each night, yet having the same servers.”
The Dream has two adult-only and upscale dining options, which are an alternative to the rotational dining. Disney’s signature restaurant at sea, Palo, features ocean views and exquisite modern Italian specialties. Adults will also enjoy Remy, with its French-inspired gourmet cuisine and world-class wine list.
On board amenities
Whether you’re seeking fun or relaxation, there’s no shortage of adult activities onboard the Dream. Adults can sunbathe at the Quiet Cove Pool on Deck 11 and enjoy refreshments from Cove Bar, which is part of the pool.
There’s an ocean-view gym with nearly 2,500 square feet of exercise equipment and space for complimentary group classes such as yoga, Pilates, aerobics or spinning.
All ages will enjoy AquaDuck, the first water coaster onboard a cruise ship that extends out over the boat, above the ocean. The exhilarating flume ride stretches 765 feet in length and spans four decks in height.
When you are ready to relax, Senses Spa and Salon provides a tranquil environment for adult guests. A variety of services are available such as massages, body wraps, facials, manicures/pedicures and hair styling. In the spa’s Rain Forest room, guests can experience the benefits of steam, heat and water therapy combined with aromatherapy, or recline in heated, mosaic-tile loungers while observing serene ocean views.
As day turns to evening, head to The District, an exclusive nighttime entertainment neighborhood for adults. The area includes five bars and lounges for mingling, dancing and late-night toasts.
All ages will enjoy a Broadway-style show each evening in the elegant Walt Disney Theatre. Your favorite Disney characters come to life in the 1,340-seat venue that spans three decks with orchestra and balcony seating. The cruise line has mastered the art of creating shows for families that also keep adults entertained.
“The cruise industry, when we started, was mostly for adults. So, it was a fun experiment for us to find that balance between entertaining the children and keeping the adults entertained and allowing them to have their vacations so that they could rest, relax, unplug and be pampered as well,” says Christian Abbott, the ship’s cruise director. “So entertaining adults spans from allowing them a quiet place to dine, a quiet place to have a cocktail, to enjoying a comedy show. … We dedicate a lot of the spaces around the ship not only for their comfort, but also for their entertainment,” says Abbott.
There are also adult-themed game shows, karaoke sessions and even an adults-only space to view the fireworks at sea.
This island port is a destination on most three-, four- and five-day cruises and is a great spot for shopping, sightseeing and or having your hair braided. You can buy souvenirs and unique handmade crafts in the straw market, and the Disney Cruise Line also offers a number of shore excursions including harbor cruises, dolphin encounters, a tour of Atlantis on Paradise Island and much more.
Castaway Cay, Bahamas
“Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island paradise, is probably one of Disney Cruise Line’s best assets,” says Tina Pratt, a Disney Travel & Cruise Consultant for Aladdin Travel in Winston-Salem. Pratt recalls a client returning from a Disney cruise and telling her that the island is “the BEST place on Earth.”
If you are seeking adventure, there’s a variety of port excursions and island activities such as snorkeling, stingray adventures, bike rentals, water cycles, paddleboats, sea kayaks, sailboats, a game pavilion, gift shops, ecological tours and more.
Transportation is provided to and from various points on the 1,000-acre island, including a special tram to Serenity Bay, a beach area reserved exclusively for guests 18 and older. Highlights of Serenity Bay include lounge chairs for relaxing, two-person hammocks, private cabanas, a lunch buffet and a variety of drinks at the Castaway Air Bar. Serenity Bay visitors can also enjoy a therapeutic massage in a cabana or a yoga class on the beach.
Disney character appearances
Cruising with Disney isn’t complete without Mickey and the gang, and you’ll find a guide to character appearances and photo opportunities in your Personal Navigator, a handy activities guide that is delivered to your stateroom each evening.
Even if you aren’t traveling with kids, there’s something magical about the Disney experience, and meeting the characters. Adults traveling without kids “still want that family atmosphere,” says Abbott. “They still enjoy standing in the atrium and watching the kids meet the princesses.”
To learn more about the kid-focused amenities and activities on the Disney Dream, read “Disney Cream Cruise Offers Magic for Everyone in the Family," written by Charlotte Parent editor Michele Huggins.
If You Go
Disney Cruise Line
Rates vary depending on when you sail and your stateroom. Rates start at $450 per person for three-night cruises, $600 per person for four-night cruises and $910 for seven-night cruises departing from Port Canaveral for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.
Tina Pratt, Disney Travel & Cruise Consultant for Aladdin Travel