In no particular order, 10 reasons to cruise on Disney Cruise Line:
1- Rotational Dining
Disney Cruise Line introduced a new way of dining, which they called Rotational Dining. All you need to do is pick your preferred dining time – 6:30PM or 8:30PM. Once you board the ship, take a closer look at your Key to the World. At its very bottom, you will find a series of letters – one for each night on board the ship. Those are the first letters of the restaurants you will be visiting. Since there are currently 3 sit-in restaurants on each ship, the letters will come as a sequence, for example: LARLARL could be your 7-night itinerary on the Disney Magic. You will dine in Lumiere’s on your first evening, Animator’s Palate on your second night, followed by Rapunzel’s Royal Table on the third, then repeat in that order.
What I like best about this, is not only the experience of eating in all three themed restaurants, but the fact that you are assigned servers for the cruise and they rotate with you. Your table number does not change and you will be seated at the same table each night. Your servers will get to know you, and by day #2, they’ll know exactly what your favorite drink is and how you like your meat cooked.
2- Kids Clubs
Disney Cruise Line is one of the rare cruise lines without casinos on board their ships. Instead, that premium real estate is used for children spaces, including teenager pool and hot tubs on the Disney Dream and Fantasy! Starting with a nursery for children under the age of 3, It’s a Small World nursery charges $9 / hour ($8 for siblings) to look after the youngest guests on the ship. The room is beautiful and the babies are well looked after.
Starting at age 3 until 12, kids are supervised in the Oceaneer’s Club and Oceaneer’s Lab. With several different areas, including Andy’s Room. Kids are invited to participate in group activities (from crafts to games and dancing on reactive flooring), or can decide to free play.
Kids from age 3 are given special Magic Bands, which are used to sign in and out of the play rooms. Upon picking up your children, the animators will tell you exactly in which area of the club your children are, thanks to the RFID techonology inside the Magic Bands. Note: you will be charged if you leave the ship with the Bands. Make sure to return them at the end of the cruise if you don’t want to be charged.
Tip: ask an animator at the Oceaneer’s Club / Lab to secure the bracelets. They will attach a little black ring to the Magic Band to ensure your child does not lose it on the ship or at port.
Older children enjoy dedicated spaces for the 13 to 17 year-olds, such as Edge and Vibe. Well looked after by a team of teenager experts, they enjoy organized activities such as trivia and movie making.
Note: no food is to be brought inside the kids’ clubs for allergy-purposes! Something I know parents of allergic children will appreciate.
3- Crew Members
The Disney crew members make all the difference. With true service in mind, they are never short of a smile. They love to strike conversations with children, will seek to help and assist all, and definitely make your cruise the most relaxing experience. I personally love the fact that they come from all over the world. Within one lunch seating, crew members from 2 or 3 continents have helped our table. We love hearing about where they come from and they love asking about our countries. A huge thank you to them for giving so much of themselves to ensure we all have a wonderful vacation aboard the Disney ships!
That food… eating on board the Disney cruise ships is an art. We have traveled up to 13 nights with DCL and never got bored with the menus. Each one of them is perfectly thought of.
They offer a large variety of dishes, with meat and fish on every menu. I might not be a vegetarian, but I ordered from the vegetarian menu several times, and those were some of my favorite dishes. In many places, a sign will signal to ask for gluten-free options.
All cruise lines do nighttime entertainment. No one does it the way Disney does. They put productions together, of Broadway quality. Everything from the pyro on stage, to the decors, the quality of the dancers and talent of their live singers, cries Disney. No other cruise company has Show as one of their pillars, and the quality of the nighttime entertainment is there to prove it. Each ship has its own exclusive shows, only viewable on board that particular vessel. We have recently traveled on board the Disney Magic and the Twice Charmed production, giving a new twist to the old classic, Cinderella, well deserved the standing ovation it received. Tangled was another favorite of our family, where even Maximus the Horse had a spot on the show!
Nothing more Disney than its music. Without overdoing it, you will hear Disney music throughout the ship and it won’t be long until, ice cream in hand, you find yourself singing Hakuna Matata out loud! Or was it A Whole New World?
7- Adult Areas
I know what you all are thinking when you hear the words: Disney Cruise Line. “Kids, kids, kids”… and “more kids.” Yes and No. Yes, the ship will be filled with many families and their children. But my husband and I have been sailing with Disney Cruise Line pre- and post-children. We even honeymooned on the Disney Wonder.
Let me tell you one thing – Disney Cruise Line is also the cruise line where, if we wanted, we saw the least amount of children during our vacation. Just like it has dedicated areas for children, there are many adult-exclusive areas on the ship as well. I remember a quick 4-night cruise in Caribbean. Christian and I left the ship thinking that we had barely seen any children the entire trip.
In fact, adults have their own pool and café. As well as a bar area exclusively reserved for the 18+ after 9PM. And if you happen to dine in the later seating, you might end up seeing a lot fewer children than on any other cruise line!
Hint: after 6PM, Cove Cafe takes out those wonderful antipasti! They’re my absolute, pre-dinner, favorites!
Each night, before going to bed, you will find the Navigator in your stateroom. On there, along with the schedule for the following day, you will find the detailed character appearances. On most cruises, some of the popular Disney characters will have scheduled meet & greets throughout the ship. Based on the theme of the night, they will be wearing different outfits – nothing quite like Chip and Dale in a tuxedo, or Donald Duck in his Hawaiian shirt! Another added bonus: the lines are a fraction of the size they are in the theme parks. If you booked a themed cruise, such as a Marvel @ Sea or Star Wars @ Sea itineraries, many of the meet & greets will be with some of your favorite characters! The Halloween on the High Seas and the Holiday cruises have your favorite pals all dressed up for the occasion!
My favorite thing is to randomly stumble upon a character at the pool, on the ship, even in the elevator! Those make for magical memories!
Disney is such a rich brand, owning many franchises from Pixar to Marvel. Each ship has a 3-D movie theater. Upon embarking the ship, make sure to check which movies will be showing when, and build your schedule around it. If you are lucky enough to travel during a premiere, head over to the theater at 11PM or midnight for your own premiere showing. This is so much fun! We don’t get to go to the movies very often and definitely make up for that on board the Disney cruise ships.
One of our favorite movies from our last cruise was Peter Rabbit. Christian and I also loved catching up with the latest craze and finally got to watch Thor Ragnarok and Star Wars: The Last Jedi! And on our second to last evening, Christian watched the premiere of Solo! That hubby was excited!!
10- Funnel Vision
Several times a day, the large screen on deck 9 by the pool will feature a Disney movie. It is so much fun to see some old-time favorites, as well as newer Pixar movies play, while enjoying the pool or sunbathing. I remember as a child, traveling on other cruise lines, and standing on the upper decks, watching the Disney movie on the big screen of the Disney ship anchored next to us. Believe me, no one else does this. If you want it, you gotta travel Disney!
The hardest decision will be whether you should be swimming or watching your favorite movie. How about both?
Bonus – Parties at Sea
We tried really hard to keep this list at 10 reasons… but this one had to make it in! Disney Cruise Line throws the BEST parties at sea. They are most known for Pirates night. Guests can dress up in their favorite pirate costume and the crew and characters take them on a wonderful evening of fun on deck 9.
The evening ends with some fireworks at sea! Nothing cries Disney more than fireworks and they are the only cruise line allowed to shoot them at sea! After the firecworks, some piratey food awaits the hungry ones in Cabana’s.
Another really cool day on board the Disney ships is the Frozen Day at Sea! It all starts with an invitation from Anna, delivered to the stateroom the night before.
The next day is filled with fun with a ship-wide scavenger hunt, a wonderful deck party and Anna’s favorite waiting in the stateroom the following morning – chocolate!
Disney Cruise Line
There are so many more reasons to sail on board Disney Cruise Line and we could go on forever. We hope that the examples listed above peeked your interest. If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment on this article and we will be happy to get back to you with an answer!
Other articles you might enjoy:
Disney Cruise Line – Maine and Canada
5 Reasons Why Cruising is the Perfect Family Vacation
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