Disney vacations are expensive. I am not going to sugar coat that one bit. We have already talked a bit about why a Disney Cruise Line vacation costs so much, and while there are some ways to mitigate the costs – traveling during the off season and booking an inside stateroom are the most common – still, if you want to sail with Captain Mickey and his crew, you are going to have to evaluate if the cost of a Disney Cruise is worth it.
In this article
- 10. Signature Disney Style
- 9. Room Service
- 8. Broadway Style Shows & Deck Parties
- 7. Fireworks at Sea
- 6. Free Soda
- 5. Adults Only Spaces
- 4. Disney Castaway Cay
- 3. Twice a Day Housekeeping
- 2. Character Meet & Greets
- 1. Getting Away From, well, EVERYTHING
- Honorable Mention #1: Safety
- Honorable Mention #2: The Kids Clubs
- Wrapping it up
10. Signature Disney Style
Once you see a Disney Cruise Ship in port next to other cruise ships, you realize very quickly that there is something special about the Disney ships. They are stunning.
Sure, you’ll find Mickey and the crew integrated into the decor, but it’s quite subtle and very tasteful.
The Disney Magic and Disney Dream are decorated in Art Deco style, while the Disney Wonder and Disney Dream feature Art Nouveau decor.
What’s the difference between Art Deco & Art Nouveau? I had no clue, but Neatorama.com says this:
The Quick Trick: It all comes down to “flowery” vs. “streamlined.” Art Nouveau is the decorative one. Art Deco is sleeker.
So, my trick is this: Magic and Dream are shorter, almost clipped words that evoke a Deco frame of mind. The words Wonder and Fantasy are definitely flowerier. Is flowerier a word? It is now.
Whether deco or nouveau, the ships are beautiful and beautifully designed in a way that makes you feel like you have been transported to another era.
9. Room Service
Room service on Disney Cruise Line is complementary 24-7! All day, every day. If jet lag has you or your kids off schedule and you miss dinner – or need to eat way earlier – then room service to the rescue.
Most orders make it to your room in about 20 minutes if you order during off-peak hours. If you want coffee service and a continental breakfast, you write your order on a special card you can hang onto the outside of your stateroom door. You even get to choose what time your breakfast will arrive.
DCL Prep School Tip: You can order milk and warm cookies at bed time, and even though it isn’t on the menu, you can even order a Mickey Ice Cream Bar.
8. Broadway Style Shows & Deck Parties
You know it’s a good list, when the shows – which are excellent – are all the way down at number 8.
I love live theater. I also live in a little town without much live theater. I am also the only one in my house who likes live theater, so the only time I can get the rest of my family to comply with seeing a show is on Disney Cruise Line.
The Entertainment Crew on Disney Cruise Line is top notch. The performers are amazing and the stories feature familiar characters, so even if the story at sea isn’t exactly like the tale you know, your family will be excited to see them in new and fun ways.
My FAVORITE show at sea? Glad you asked.
Tangled: The Musical is my favorite show. It can be seen exclusively on the Disney Magic and it’s MAGICAL. Hair, lanterns and the Snuggly Duckling. It’s perfect.
7. Fireworks at Sea
Disney Cruise Line is the only cruise line with fireworks. Guests on most Bahamian and Caribbean Cruises will get to enjoy a fireworks extravaganza on Pirates IN the Caribbean Night. So, in addition to all of the fun pirate shenanigans, deck parties and costumes, your family will get to enjoy a night of fireworks too.
Fireworks are weather and location dependent. So look for updates if the skies or high winds are threatening.
6. Free Soda
I may or may not be addicted to Diet Coke. Let’s just say that I have a strong affinity and move on. I can quit anytime…
Disney Cruise Line guests can enjoy complementary soda (and tea, lemonade, coffee and fruit punch) at the poolside fountains or in any of the main dining rooms. Many cruise lines charge guests for all soda purchases, but I think they knew I was coming and decided that a beverage station open 24-7 was a better way to go. Or not. But Disney definitely takes the comfort (and tastes) of their guests very seriously.
Note: Not every drop of soda on board is free. You will be charged for soda if you purchase it at a lounge, at a theater concession stand or if you purchase cans through room service. However, you are welcome to carry on soda in your day bag if you wish. Please do not place beverages in your checked bags… especially soda, wine or beer. That can get messy for everyone.
5. Adults Only Spaces
I probably like the adults only spaces a little more than I should. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the family pools and theaters, but my kids are teenagers now (all 3 of them) so sometimes I need to sip a drink by a quiet pool or in a shaded lounge chair watching the beautiful ocean views.
DCL Prep School Tip: If the adults only zones are a primary target for you, consider booking a room in the Forward Section of the ship. I recommend Deck 9 or Deck 8.
In addition to the Quiet Cove Pool, each ship has Cove Cafe, Senses Spa and Salon, a night club district and adults only dining at Palo (all 4 ships) and Remy (on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy). There are also adults only departures for a handful of Port Adventures, so be sure to look for those if you are interested.
Castaway Cay – my favorite island on earth – has Serenity Bay, an adults only beach with adults only cabanas and an adults only barbecue. See the theme. It’s only for adults.
4. Disney Castaway Cay
Disney Castaway Cay is a little slice of heaven on earth. I am a little surprised I put it at number 4, but looking at numbers 1 through 3, I think Castaway Cay is in good company.
Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. You’ll find white, sandy beaches and crystal blue waters. When you think “Bahamas” you are likely picturing an island like Castaway Cay.
3. Twice a Day Housekeeping
Your Stateroom Host is your housekeeper aboard Disney Cruise Line. You will have the same host throughout your cruise. I highly recommend getting to know them on your first day because this is the person who is in charge of keeping your home-away-from-home running smoothly.
Your host will visit your stateroom two times a day. Yes TWICE! The first time is usually before lunch time, unless you have a late riser in your family. And if you do, it’s ok, just let your Stateroom Host know, and they will be able to schedule your housekeeping at a time that works best for you!
Your second service is turndown service. This is also when the bunks are pulled down and the couches are flipped over if you need the twin bed. Your room will get a refresh of towels, and your Personal Navigator is left on your bed along with a few sweets.
Disney Cruise Line has the best hosts. One day at sea and you will agree!
2. Character Meet & Greets
Sure, you can meet characters at the parks, but if you don’t use a precious FastPass, you will be waiting in a line… sometimes for a long time, possibly in the heat. Yuck.
On Disney Cruise Line, the characters have scheduled meet & greet times and the longest I have ever waited was 20 minutes (with one exception)… in a lovely atrium… with a coffee bar just steps away. Ah, see why I love Disney Cruise Line?
Lines to meet Disney Characters are shorter and Have better views on Disney Cruise Line.
OK, so the “better views” comment is my own opinion, but you don’t have large portholes with ocean views at the land parks.
And for the most popular “Meet & Greet Parties” like the Princess Gathering and the Frozen Meet & Greet, you can actually reserve your spot in line before you even board the ship, and just like FastPasses on land, it’s included at no extra charge.
DCL Prep School Tip: Lines to meet characters will be longer on shorter cruises, and they tend to be shorter on longer cruises when you will have several oportunities to meet each character… though I have never seen a short line for Captain Jack Sparrow. Plan to wait about 30 minutes to meet the cheekiest pirate at sea.
1. Getting Away From, well, EVERYTHING
The #1 reason I think DCL is worth every penny – the ability to escape it all.
Never underestimate the freeing feeling of leaving the world behind, and a cruise lets you do that in a way no other vacation can.
If you are in desperate need of unplugging – and who isn’t – then Disney Cruise Line is perfect. With very limited free wi-fi, you won’t be tempted to check texts, emails or even social media very often. All guests receive 50MB free wi-fi, but we all know that won’t last very long.
You can purchase wi-fi packages through Disney’s [email protected], but unless you really need to check in at home or the office – or if writing about Disney Cruise Line is your job (it’s a tough life) – then I recommend NOT purchasing the wi-fi.
Leave those phones in airplane mode! You can use the DCL Navigator app which does not require a data package, and DO use your phone to take lots and lots of photos, but otherwise, disconnect from the internet and reconnect with your family.
It’s why you decided to take a cruise with Disney in the first place. You had your choice of cruise lines – and there are some lovely cruise lines out there too – but you chose Disney Cruise Line, so put down that phone and enjoy the total freedom of knowing the U.S. (or European) mainland is far, far behind you!
Honorable Mention #1: Safety
Why an honorable mention? Because with Disney, safety is a given, and every single crew member has safety at the forefront of everything they do.
Disney Cruise Line takes guest and crew safety seriously. For many families, this is the first time they have ever traveled outside of the United States with their small children, and DCL puts their minds at ease by taking care of all of the details they can, and then walking you step-by-step through the details (like customs and visas) you need to take care of as an international traveler.
However, to Disney, safety extends to the security on board, and most definitely the security in the Youth Activities Centers. Just try to check out your niece when you don’t know the family’s code word. You can’t do it.
Honorable Mention #2: The Kids Clubs
So, now I know you are asking, why, Mel, oh why are the Youth Activities Centers only getting an honorable mention?
I think like safety, having fantastic, award-winning, immersive, entertaining programming for children is a given. It’s DISNEY Cruise Line. And the Youth Activities Centers deliver these things and more in spades. The kids-only actually the reason my kids have loved Disney Cruise Line for so long, even through their teen years and beyond high school.
To read all about all of the Youth Activities Centers check this out:
So don’t think of this as an honorable mention. Really, I saved the best for last!
Wrapping it up
That’s my top 10 list of why I think Disney Cruise Line is worth the cost. There are certainly lots of other great reasons. I didn’t even get to the dining, the AquaDuck or the Castaway Cay Cabanas.