Disney Cruise Line – All Aboard For All Ages
When you think of Disney Cruise lines you often think of the amazing water coasters, creative and innovative kids’ clubs, and a lot of one-on-one time with famous Disney characters. When we booked our first cruise that’s what we thought as well. As a couple of “never grown-ups” some of these sounded great, but it still left us wondering how much fun we would have seeing as we were about three feet too tall to play in the Oceaneer’s Labs. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that Disney Cruise Line offers a lot of great things to do for adults with and without children.
We boarded the Disney Dream on a Wednesday morning expecting to see Mickey Ears everywhere. To the contrary the ship was decorated with an elegant touch, which was obviously Disney, but just as obviously luxurious, with classic Disney statues, mosaics, and artwork throughout – as a side note to all you hidden Mickey hunters, though; keep your eyes out, those hidden treasures are out there. This elegance and subtle Disney touch extends to the cabins which has a classic, almost nostalgic cruise theme.
All of the dining rooms have their own distinct style which appeals to the wandering eye in adult and child alike, and the kids’ areas were packed with playrooms that made us want to be six again (and for the open house hour on the first night, we were).
One of the best and most unique areas for adults was The District. The District is a set of bars and clubs located in a cluster at the back of the ship. There you will find a bubbly champagne bar, a rustic sports pub, and a multicolored dance club, just to name a few. In this area, any adult could find a place to enjoy some time away from the kids. Each club brings with it a completely different atmosphere and set of absolutely delicious beverages. Even if you do not drink, it’s a great way to escape.
Another great escape is the adult-only pool area located on deck 11. This area includes the regular cruise staples, like private hot tubs and pools, but it is quite apparent that Disney put as much thought into this area as any on the ship. Past the clouded glass dividers you will find lots of plush seating, a spa tub overlooking the ocean (look down at your feet, and you’ll be surprised to see the ocean from that direction, too) and a swim up bar that includes a chilling mist for a hot summer’s day.
In case the heat becomes too much for you, though, located to one side of the pool, behind a futuristic set of semicircular sliding glass doors, is a wonderfully refreshing coffee house, and for those of you who want to experience some true relaxation, the other side of the pool boasts the entrance to “Senses”, the Disney Dream spa. We invite you to give the spa a look; we ourselves were not able to book any luxuries from this beauty, but we truly recommend at least going in for a guided tour (shout-out to Ruth)! Ruth, the lovely lady from Scotland, was more than happy-dare I say down right excited-to show us around, and let me tell you, the spa is well equipped. Ruth even took a few moments to relax in “the Rainforest” with us, on these strange hot stone loungers which we, no matter how hard we wished, were not waiting for us in our living room when we returned home.
One of the reasons we love vacationing at Disney World so much is because of the “why not, we’re on vacation” food choices. These definitely cross over to their Cruise Line restaurants. While they do have a wonderful selection for kids, their main focus is on a cuisine for a mature palate. We enjoyed things like perfectly season veal, creamy black truffle pasta, and escargot (which we both recommend for those who have an adventurous side; you’re on vacation, just try it!). Nothing we ate was even in the vicinity of bland or ordinary, and the staff was polite, funny, and extremely attentive-Peter and Blyton were our waiters and friends throughout our stay, and we could not have been happier with them!
One of the best features about dining on board the Disney Cruise line is the “dine and play” option that is offered during the second seating. We do not have kids, but we were vacationing with an awesome nephew (5) and a beautiful princess of a niece (3), who both seem to think that 2 hours is much too long to sit still. Second seating starts at 8:15 and a four-course meal that late at night can be a bit much for a little one. The “dine and play” option allows children to order their food first so that they may be picked up by an Oceaneer’s Club counselor at 9:15. This allows the kids to enjoy more time in the amazing facilities tailored just for them, and it allows the parents, or aunts and uncles, time to enjoy their remaining courses without having to worry about the kiddos getting bored or tired.
As we cruised it became increasingly apparent that Disney strives to make their cruises magical for every age on board. Collectively we have been on 8 cruises, but none with Disney before this trip. It took a mere couple of hours for this cruise to surpass all of the ones we had previously enjoyed. They, of course, specialize in children’s magic, such as Peter Pan roaming around the ship (of course there were many other characters, but they were scheduled, and Peter seems to have free reign) and Pirate parties with Mickey Mouse, but the special touches for grown ups are nothing short of magnificent as well. Every day there are drink specials that are far better prices (and taste) than any we’ve seen on any other cruise, and everywhere you go there are crew members who want to help make your vacation magical. We were told more than once, “This is your vacation, and we want to make it as memorable for you as we can.” It is that kind of dedication that sets Disney apart. All in all whether you are young or old you will enjoy a Disney Cruise Line vacation. Disney is happy to share some magic with all ages.