So excited about today's post because I'm talking (gushing) allllll about my love for Disney Cruise Line!
My obsession with Disney is obvious but DCL is actually pretty new to me. I've been on many cruises in my life and even one Disney Cruise when I was a kid but the one I'm sharing today has been the best cruise ever! It was Scott's FIRST Disney Cruise and our first cruise together since being married. I had pretty high expectations going into it but those expectations were blown away. I was enamored with every aspect of this incredible experience. Below I'm going to do what I do best, make a list. Here are my TOP TEN reasons why our cruise was so memorable and why I believe DCL is so SPECIAL! Honestly, we can't stop talking about it and are wanting to book another one soon. Haha.
*Keepin' things transparent around here.. Disney invited Scott and I to attend this trip. Everything was completely paid for by Disney however my opinions are entirely my own. No one asked me to share this post- I genuinely mean everything I say!*
Also, if anyone from Disney is reading this and wants to throw another cruise our way, we are IN! *Packs bags* ; ]
I'm sure food is top of the list for most people who cruise (myself included!) DCL like most cruise lines is all inclusive food and treats with a few exceptions. The buffets, main dining rooms, room service, soft serve ice cream are all INCLUDED! Which is why you prob hear about how much weight people gain on cruises. Lol. In addition to the included dining, there are a few upscale restaurants and we had the opportunity to enjoy one called Palo. It is Italian inspired and absolutely delicious. Our table sat in front of giant glass windows so we were just feet from the ocean and it made for one really special dinner. Highly recommend reserving a table at Palo or the other fine dining option Remy which is French inspired and soooo pretty (we toured the room.) We also got some unbelievable desserts at Vanellope's Sweet Shop. Is this racer sundae not the most Instagrammable thing you've ever seen? I found all the prices to be very doable for anything that was an extra cost as well. We also got a few drinks every day (because vacation duh) and they were all yummy and not bad in cost. There are bars all over the ship where you can request just about anything you want. I will add a note for anyone wondering, I didn't feel drinking was the main focus anywhere. If you're of age and desiring to party then there's definitely places on board for you to do that but overall, the atmosphere in the main areas of the ship are very family oriented.
A highlight for me was eating mickey waffles on our verandah every morning... such a fun start to each day.
When it comes to the activity options, our little 3 day cruise just was NOT enough time! There was still sooo much we wanted to do and see. There is something going on from early in the morning to late at night and you can just pick and choose whatever you're feeling up for. A few activities that I thought were worth mentioning... we did a alcohol & chocolate tasting (which is a separate cost and reservation in advance) but man was it really enjoyable. I'm not big into serious alcohol (more of a fruity frozen drink gal) but I learned so much and found all the info to be fascinating. Plus there was a ton of different types of chocolate and even cheese involved and THAT is definitely what I'm into. Haha. We also did 2000's music trivia and Disney trivia with some friends and those were super fun. The Aqua Duck (water coaster), putt putt, hot- tubbing, watching the character shows, fireworks and dancing were all things that kept us busy as well. I'm not kidding when I say, we were never bored and were always checking the schedules to see what's coming next! One activity that we really wanted to do but simply ran out of time for was the SPA. So many people had recommended we get spa treatments and I know next time, that will be a top priority for us.
Everyone likes to be entertained, right? I made this separate from activities because I think they are totally different things. As far as entertainment options go, I was most impressed with the Beauty and The Beast show we saw in the theater. It was AMAZING and honestly, I liked it even more than the live action movie. It was top quality and a few of the show scenes were some of my favorite musical numbers of all time (beating out the broadway version of BATB I've seen.) There was a show option each night in the theater and there were two show times to accommodate the different dinner schedules. Something else I really loved was that they play Disney/Pixar movies on a giant screen over the main pool deck. It was fun to watch some of Toy Story 2 or Walle while we ate a snack or laid out. There's also a designated movie theater on board that plays newer movies through the day. For example, Captain Marvel had just come out the day we set sail and they played it on the ship a few times. As a big movie lover, I think that is pretty cool and great for people who don't normally have the time to see a movie.
4. Castaway Cay:
Castaway Cay is Disney's PRIVATE ISLAND and it's pretty phenomenal. There's not a bad thing to say about this tropical paradise. You port early in the morning and can get off the ship onto the island at your own pace whenever you'd like through out the day. There are trams waiting to take you to different parts of the beaches, eating areas, kids play areas, shopping, etc. It's basically a beach version of Disney World. Haha. We LOVED Serenity Bay which is the 18+ beach. It was so peaceful and we enjoyed a yummy BBQ style lunch and frozen cocktails right on the sand. As much as I love the relaxing vibe with the adults, I was definitely noticing how fun the waterslides looked out in the ocean where families were hanging out. Though tourist-y shops can be annoying to me, I really enjoyed the options on the island and we picked up quite a few cute souvenirs. Plus we met Captain Mickey in a stunning photo spot... what a special memory!
5. Adult only areas:
This subject is one that we got the most questions about... is the ship swamped with kids and is it weird to travel just adults with NO kids? First of all, Disney is NOT "just for kids" so it's 10000% ok to travel just adults. There are many adult only areas on board and honestly, Scott and I spend most of our time in those areas. Pools, hot tubs, lounging decks, bars, eating spaces, all were quiet and totally free from kids. Some of our friends on the trip had kids and prob enjoyed the adult only areas even more than us because their littles were safe and happy in one of the many children only play areas supervised by Disney crew. Basically daycare but the options aren't just for little kids but older kids and even teens too. When I was a kid and went on DCL, I remember so fondly having tons of fun in the kids hang out places. So the thought that the ship is overrun with littles is actually opposite. Most of the time we didn't even see any. Haha. Not all adults want a peaceful, chill trip... some want to get loud, rowdy and let loose and let me tell ya, there are nightclubs and lounges for you to do that too. Circling back to the kids clubs.. I'm actually pretty jealous that I couldn't hang out in those places because the theming is awesome! There's also an "It's a small world" themed nursery specifically for babies and toddlers and some of our friends had really great experiences with the care their kiddos got there. They were able to enjoy a date night and not have to worry about a thing. I love that Disney really thinks of a way to meet everyones needs.
OH MY GOODNESS THE SERVICE! From being welcomed and cheered for coming on board, to the dining staff, to the house-keeping staff to every single person we encountered, the service was unparalleled. I got sea sick the first night (I have super severe motion sickness but thankfully it passed pretty quickly) and everyone working around us went above and beyond to make sure I was cared for. They even were checking on me each day! While we were on the ship, I had people messaging me saying they actually missed their restaurant waiters they had met on their trip because they left such an amazing impression on their families. I think the level of friendliness and service plays a big part in loyalty to the cruise line. I know a lot of people who cruise yearly (if not more) because of the top-of-the-line service you experience.
In true Disney fashion, the ship was immaculate. Even with so many people living in one space, you'd think it would at some point feel crowded or messy but it never did. Everything was clean, fresh, orderly, and well maintained. When we docked in Nassau, Bahamas we were parked next to a few other ships from other cruise lines and let's just say, ours was SHINING in comparison. Not trying to shade other cruise lines because I know they all offer something unique but Disney literally had crews every day touching up paint on even the smallest areas and that is truly something I've never seen before.
8. Disney touches:
Whether you're a hardcore Disney fan or a "I like Disney but I'm not crazy like those Oh Yeah people" you'll find the details on DCL are magical. The design of the ship is so beautiful and covered with everyone's favorite characters and of course, lots of Mickey heads. But what really stands out isn't just the design & decor but the overall theming. The restaurants are heavily themed, even the casual "quick service" windows and you'll continually be finding new magical details everywhere you look!
9. Relaxing atmosphere:
Something that DCL is great for is the potential to have a super relaxing trip. Yes, you can absolutely relax at WDW or DLR but there's a level of planning, scheduling and transportation between parks and resorts that you just don't have to worry about on DCL. The pools, dining, shows, and shopping are all just a short walk away from your room. It feels soooo nice to roam around leisurely and not be consumed by fast passes, bus lines or every single meal needing to be scheduled. It's all the fun of Disney but not some of the stress that comes with the traditional park trips. (Not shading the parks, y'all KNOW they're my first love.)
10. Destinations & ships:
Ok, I can't exactly speak to this one as I've only been on two cruises and both went to the Bahamas. BUT I'm adding it to this list because it makes me so excited about future possibilities! DCL has tons of different destinations (I'm eyeing Alaska big time!!) and I seriously want to go on every single one of them. I know every location would be so unique but what is also exciting is how many different SHIPS they have! Which means you're still going to get that consistent experience but have the opportunity to mix things up and enjoy all the differences each ship offers.
I hope you enjoyed reading my recap. If you are inspired or even interested in booking your own experience, I'd love to know. Hopefully I'll be sailing away once again... very soon... ;)