This post is number twelve in the series, and I have sought to bring my readers a feast for the senses, looking for the added boost in travel experiences around the world. Now, for this final post in the series, here’s one trip that adds a spritz to those sights, sounds, and tastes of travel: a cruise on Disney’s dazzling ships – the Magic, the Wonder and the Dream. Each provided a variation from the others, but all stand at the top of my travel memories.
I know many travelers are either cruise lovers or choose to shun the high seas. Yet even those naysayers may be faced with the pleas of their children and grandchildren someday, so be prepared to try something that cannot fail. Disney is known for thinking of everything, and it is never more true than on its ships. The design of them is classic, with the glamour of the heyday of cruising mixed with all the most up-to-date conveniences.
My first Disney Cruise was a holiday-timed trip on the Magic. That is when I first discovered two of the unique offerings that only Disney can give. At dinner time, you are allowed to eat in one of three different restaurants, each themed: A “royal/princess” elegant ding room, a tropical retreat and “Animator’s Palette” where the walls come alive with Disney characters like The Little Mermaid or Peter Pan! You are entertained while you dine, with your servers coming to life (they come along each night so they know your desires).
After dinner, it’s entertainment as only the world’s most creative people can dream up. A different show for three nights often includes a Broadway version of its biggest film hits, like Beauty and the Beast. The quality of performers and special effects will make you forget you’re on a cruise ship. The venue itself, the Walt Disney Theatre, is breathtaking on its own, even without (spoiler alert) a snowfall at show’s end! The gleam in your kid’s or grandkid’s eyes will be your unforgettable memory.
The Wonder was my “couples only” trip; my wife’s sister and her husband joined us on an itinerary that included Key West and Cancun. This allowed my brother-in-law and I time to enjoy the ship’s onboard activities like beer-tasting, while the girls enjoyed the Senses spa. It also meant we could dine at Palo, the adults-only Italian restaurant that offers a spectacular brunch or magnificent dinner. It’s more than first class in every way – from service to decor to food and wine pairings. And the desserts…wow!
Most recently, the Disney Dream cruise fulfilled that “dream” of bringing our grandchildren aboard with us. Even though I had two of them under three, and one eight, there was something for all. The little ones adored the splash deck, while the older one wouldn’t leave the kids clubs (naturally Disney excels in catering to kids of all ages). The entire family loved the restaurants and shows at night, but the highlight of this, or any Disney cruise, had to be a visit to the private Castaway Cay island.
Here, the ship docks right next to the shore, no tenders or long docks to exit from. There are beaches for all age groups, even an adults-only one far from the others. A barbecue off the beach is included. So are Mickey and pals for photos, snorkeling, kayaking, and every kind of activity you could think of. Suggestion: when booking, look for an additional day at Castaway Cay offered on certain itineraries.
I haven’t mentioned the rooms, but suffice to say they are large by cruise standards, and subtly decorated with Disney touches. There are two bathrooms in each and every cabin, making family use much easier. You’ll wish you could spend more time there if it weren’t for all the ship’s other benefits. Costs overall are more than most family cruises but you get what you pay for here, so budget accordingly.
The sight of Goofy in first mate’s clothing, the whoosh of the top-deck water coaster, the smell of Mickey waffles, and the touch of your children’s hand in yours during Cinderella’s photo op are the feels that elevate this cruise better than many others. I, for one, cant bring myself to sail with any other than Captain Mickey!