Disney Cruise Line 101 – Setting Sail Aboard The Best
Are you thinking about or planning a Disney Cruise Line trip and you want to know more about them? Perhaps you have some questions, such as which is the best Disney Cruise Ship, where they can take you, and how to best organize your trip?
Everything you’re going to need to know about your Disney Cruise Line trip will be answered below. We’re going to look at what information you need to know about Disney Cruise Line and a host of the most frequently asked questions.
When you’re ready to book or look at pricing be sure to grab the best discounts and offers online through Get Away Today.
About Disney Cruise Line
The Disney Cruise Line first made its mark on the travel industry in 1998, with the aim to transform the standard cruise experience, thought to be reserved primarily for older adults, into something more family-oriented. With that in mind, they started designing a cruise line service with more services, facilities, and activities aimed at guests of all ages.
The Disney Magic, still considered one of the best Disney Cruise ship experiences available, launched in July 1998. From there, the mark of the Disney Cruise Line was unmistakable. Cruises were suddenly a family experience.
All the best Disney Cruise ship experiences were designed with areas specifically for children, including the Small World Nursery (made for toddlers), to the Oceaneers Club and Oceaneers Lab (aimed at kids from 3-12), Edge (for tweens from 11-14) and Vibe (designed for teenagers). Before the Disney Magic, no cruise ships had any rooms so clearly aimed at younger guests.
However, there were plenty who went on to mimic the Disney Cruise Line, with Carnival and Royal Caribbean each expanding their own services to offer more kid-friendly cruises. However, the Disney Cruise Line was the first and, to many, the rest are still pale imitations.
Beyond simply making the ships more family-friendly, Disney also made a lot of revolutionary changes and introduced a lot of firsts to the industry. These include balcony staterooms, premium-sized staterooms, bathrooms in almost every stateroom, and more. All of this came with that pinch of Disney magic: the fact that Disney characters make appearances throughout the entire cruise.
As such, the arrival of the Disney Cruise Line has become the first name that comes to mind for many when thinking about not only family-friend cruises, but for the highest standard of meals, entertainment, service, facilities and more. It’s no surprise it has become one of the most popular cruise lines around.
Commonly asked questions and tips about Disney Cruise Line
If you’re like many, then a Disney Cruise Line trip may have been something you’ve wanted for a long time, and you want to know how to go about it. Here, we’re going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about these trips, and some tips to help you make the most of your travels.
From finding the best Disney Cruise Ship options based on your needs, to what activities to expect, to ports of call and excursions, we can help you learn all you need to know about the Disney Cruise Line.
Which is the best Disney Cruise Ship?
When you arrange for a Disney Cruise Line trip you have a lot of choices at your disposal. Not only can you choose cruises with different destinations, itineraries, and excursions along the way, but there are four different ships to choose from, too.
All four of the best Disney Cruise ship options boast excellent design, top of the line services, and tons of activities for both kids and adults. The “OG”, the Disney Magic, is one of the options, but there’s also the Disney Wonder, the Disney Dream, and the Disney Fantasy.
Here, we’re going to break down what you can expect from each ship, looking at its entertainment, family-friendliness, its experiences for adults, the dining available, and the special events, as well as some of the cruises they make.
The Disney Magic
The first, the original, and the trend-setter. The Disney magic does have some old-school charm to it, but it has been modernized and upgraded to ensure the best possible experience.
Family entertainment: Broadway-style shows, complete with music and cameos from beloved characters, live music, magic shows, comedy performances, karaoke, the Buena Vista Theatre (always playing Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars).
Family activities: Basketball, ping pong, pools, hot tubs, the 3-story tall AquaDunk waterslide.
For the kids: A Toy Story-themed “Andy’s Room” play area, the MARVEL Super Hero Academy, Vibe teen club, Edge tween club, and “It’s a small world” nursery.
For the grown-ups: Exclusive patios, pools, the After Hours bars, the Keys 50’s-style piano bar, the O’Gills Pub sports bar, the Palo” restaurant, beverage tasting seminars, and Senses Spa.
Dining: Three restaurants: Rapunzel’s Royal Table with music and cameos from Tangled characters, the Animator’s Palate with mementos from Disney and Pixar animations, and Lumiere’s, the Beauty and the Beast-themed eatery. There are also all-day buffet Cabanas, 24-room service, the Duck-In Diner, Pinocchio’s Pizzeria, and the health-food eatery Daisy’s De-Lites.
Travel itineraries: New York to East Caribbean, Miami to Western Caribbean, Bahamian trips, all of which include stops at the Castaway Cay, the exclusive island of the Disney Cruise Line. There are also trips to England and Ireland, trips to Estonia, Russia and Finland, Norway, Mediterranean cruises and Transatlantic cruises.
The Disney Wonder
One of the smaller ships that the Disney Cruise Line offers, it allows for a more intimate trip, perfect from families who want a little peace compared to the more crowded ships. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do.
Family entertainment: Broadway-style shows, complete with music and cameos from beloved characters, theaters, and the Pixar Pals Party, complete with characters from Ratatouille, Toy Story, Up, and other films, which is exclusively available on Alaskan sailings.
Family activities: Ping pong, basketball and more at the Wide World of Sports, pools, hot tubs, and the AquaLab water play areas.
For the kids: A “Toy Story”-themed play area, the MARVEL Super Hero Academy, build-your-own Mickey Roadster Racers, all at the Disney Junior games area. There’s also the Vibe teen club, the Edge tweens club, and the “It’s a small world” nursery.
For the grown-ups: The Palo restaurant, the Crown & Fin Pub, the Cadillac Lounge cocktail bar, adults-only pools, beverage seminars, and the Senses Spa.
Dining: The Disney Wonder offers different meals from rotating restaurants, the Princess & the Frog themed Tiana’s place, the aquatic Triton’s, and the Animator’s Palate, inspired by Disney and Pixar animated works. There’s also Pinocchio’s Pizzeria, Pete’s Boiler Bites, the healthy option: Daisy’s De-Lites, Cabanas buffets.
Travel itineraries: Current cruises include Baja cruises, Pacific Coast, Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal sailings, Bahamian cruises, West Carribean cruises, and Alaskan cruises that are unique to the Disney Wonder. Cruises passing it will stop at the Castaway Cay, the Disney Cruise Line private island.
The Disney Dream
The newest and amongst the best Disney Cruise Ship options available, the Disney Dream is also one of the biggest. What sets it apart, more than anything, is that, at least for the moment, it makes trips exclusively to the private island, Castaway Cay.
Family entertainment: Variety shows such as “The Golden Mickeys” award ceremony with cameos, live stage performances of “Beauty and the Beast”.
Family activities: Outdoor mini golf, Midship Detective Agency (a series of interactive games), Nemo’s Reel kid pool, pools, and AquaDuck water coaster.
For the kids: Disney Oceaneer’s Club for kids 3-12 with Toy Story-themed playroom, Tinker Bell’s Pixie Hollow, and Star Wars Millennium Falcon simulated flight, Puzzle Playtime with Mickey and Friends for younger kids, Oceaneer Lab, the Edge club for tweens, and Vibe club for teens.
For the grown-ups: Palo and Remy restaurants, Senses Spa, Meridian bar, Pink: Wine and Champagne Bar, Skyline, Pub 687, District Lounge, and Evolution.
Dining: Three rotating eateries, the French-themed Enchanted Garden, storybook fine dining with Royal Palace, and the Animator’s Palate, themed as a celebration of Disney and Pixar animation studios. There is also 24/7 room service, buffet-style service at the Cabanas, Flo’s Cafe, the Senses Juice Bar, and Vanellope’s Sweets & Treats.
Travel itineraries: The Disney Dream travels exclusively on a Bahamas itinerary, with the main attraction being the Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s very own private island.
The Disney Fantasy
One of the new Disney Cruise Line ships, and also one of the most equipped when it comes to waterpark features, making it an excellent choice for those who want the traveling vacation feeling all the way through the trip.
Family entertainment: Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars movies at the Buena Vista Theater. Live star shows such as Disney’s Believe, Disney Wishes, and Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular
Family activities: Midship Detective Agency interactive game using props and screens throughout the ship, basketball and VR sports simulators at Goofy’s Sports Deck.
For the kids: Marvel Super Hero Academy, Toy Story-themed playroom called Andy’s Room, Star Wars Command Post activity center, Oceaneer Lab and Club, Edge club for tweens, and Vibe club for teens.
For the grown-ups: Tiffany & Co. gift shop, Meridian bar, Palo and Remy restaurants, Ooh La La champagne bar, La Piazza Italian bar, and beverage tasting seminars.
Dining: A rotation of three restaurants, the Royal Court, Enchanted Garden, and Animator’s Palate, which includes real-time Finding Nemo character cameos. There is also the Cabanas restaurant, Flo’s Cafe, sundae bar Sweet on You, Senses Juice Bar, and the Cove Cafe.
Travel itineraries: Cruises include Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean, and Bahamian tours that include trips to the Castaway Cay private island, as well as Southern Caribbean cruises through Barbados, St. Kitts, and Martinique.
So, which is the best Disney Cruise Ship?
Which ship is best for you isn’t a question with a single answer. Rather, it’s important to think about what you want from your trip and to select the one best suited to your needs. For instance, if you want an Alaskan cruise voyage, then the Disney Wonder is clearly going to be the top answer. Compare activities, facilities, and destinations, and select that which best suits you.
It’s also important to remember that the offerings from each ship will change over time, with new attractions and new destinations coming in regularly. Even if you’ve been on a ship before, it might have new and exciting things to try out next time you come aboard, so check the latest information from the Disney Cruise Line.
How much does it cost to go on a Disney Cruise trip?
The cost of getting on a Disney Cruise ship will change depending on a range of factors. For instance, the prices will change with the season. Just like any travel excursion, there are high seasons and low seasons. When the cruises are in higher demand, the price per cruise will go up. The travel itinerary and length of the cruise will change how much you can expect to pay. Similarly, different Disney cruise ship choices will affect the overall cost of the trip per person.
Below are some examples of the costs of some of Disney Cruise trips for a family of four, including taxes. The figures below are based on prices that may have changed since writing and don’t include the concierge level of service, so do be aware that they are just an estimate:
A 3-Night Caribbean Cruise can vary from $2,600 – $6,300, around a price of $213 – $525 for every person in the family.
A 4-Night Caribbean Cruise usually costs in the range of $3,400 – $6,700, which is around $212 – $418 per person.
A 7-Night Caribbean & European Cruise (not available on all ships), can cost between $5,300 and $10,000, which works out at $189 – $397 each day for each person.
A 7-Night Alaska Cruise on the Disney Wonder can vary from $6,500 to $17,000, which is around $232 to $602 a night per person.
How do I save money on a Disney Cruise Line trip?
Some cost should be expected with the quality of the trip that you can expect from Disney Cruise Line. However, if you’re looking to get on board for as little as possible, then there a few options at your disposal. We highly recommend booking with Get Away Today as they offer the best prices online
Here are a few tips worth keeping in mind:
Book as early as you can: All Disney Cruise line voyages are published and open for reservations for up to two years in advance. The sooner you book a trip from when it is first made available, the better the price. The longer you wait, the higher the price will go. Disney has generous cancellation policies, as well, so there’s little risk to booking early. However, you should still invest in travel insurance just to be safe.
Use the Castaway Club discount if you have it: As soon as you board a Disney cruise ship, you’re a member of their loyalty program. If you plan on making Disney cruises a regular thing for you and your family, you can use this membership to get a discount on your next trip while you’re on board. You have to pay a small deposit, but you can get 10% off in total.
Look for repositioning cruises: As the seasons change, so will the travel itinerary of the Disney Cruise Line ships. For instance, ships that normally travel to Alaska might switch to Carribean cruises for the winter. There are repositioning cruises between these changes, and they are often cheaper than other cruises.
Choose your room carefully: If you want a cheaper room, look for inside cabins, which are always the cheapest on cruise ships. The “restricted guarantee” is available 75 days up to departure as well and acts as a last-minute discount, though you don’t get to choose your room when you book it.
Travel off-season: The different trips each have an off-season, where they are slightly less popular, so Disney Cruise Line is willing to charge less to make sure they have a full ship. A little research will help you find the off-season for particular ships and trips so you can save some this way.
There are other ways to save, and getting advice from or booking with a travel agent might help you find some of those cost-saving opportunities. A little help could go a long way when it comes to making Disney Cruise Line voyages more affordable.
Are Disney Cruises all-inclusive?
The rates of Disney Cruise Line voyages tend to be more expensive than some others, but that’s because they also include a lot more with their trip. However, while there is a lot that’s included with your fare, there are extra costs to be aware of, too. Here, we’re going to look at what is covered and what isn’t covered. First, these are the things that are included as part of your fare:
Almost all of your meals, including buffets, most restaurant meals, and snacks from any of the eateries on the Disney Cruise ships. There are some exceptions, which we will cover in a moment.
Playing at the kids’ clubs, including a host of activities and themed playrooms.
Interacting with the characters on the Disney Cruise ships, including a host of beloved princesses, dastardly villains, and other famous faces.
Enjoying any of the water park facilities or sporting activities throughout the ship.
All of the food, beach, and water park experiences on Castaway Cay, the private island of the Disney Cruise Line.
Unlike some other cruises, you even get free unlimited
As you can see, there’s a lot you get for your fare on a Disney Cruise Line ship. There are certain additional costs that are not mandatory, including the following:
Gratuities are not included in your fare, but it is customary to give a gratuity to those who offer service throughout the trip.
Spa services and any beauty treatments are extras, and thus have to be paid for separately.
For anyone enjoying adults-only evenings at any of the After Hours bars on the ships, drinks are not included in your fare.
The premium cuisine restaurants, such as the Palo and the Remy, are also not included in your fare.
You can have a fine time on a Disney Cruise Line ship without having to pay for any of the above (though paying gratuities is recommended.) However, for those who do want to enjoy a little extra, be sure to set aside room for it in your budget.
Do you need a passport or any other paperwork to board a Disney cruise?
It is necessary for all guests to bring a valid government-issued photo ID when boarding the ship at the beginning of the cruise. However, this does not necessarily have to be a passport. Some international travel itineraries may require a passport and travel visa, but Disney Cruise Line will keep you informed if this is the case.
You may not have to bring a passport on the cruise with you, but you will have to provide the passport number before the vacation at least 75 days before the start of the cruise. There are additional documents that may be required when you arrive at the port terminal, too, such as the Disney Cruise Line Contract, Guest Information Form, Payment Authorization Form, and so on.
The Disney Cruise Line website has a My Reservations page that will give you all the information you need to know about what documents to bring with you when booking your trip.
Is a Disney Cruise Line vacation worth it?
To many people, Disney Cruise Line represents the very best in the cruise industry in a number of ways. It’s not the first cruise line to make cruises family-friendly and to cater to children as well as adults, it has maintained a reputation for premium cruises with continuously updating standards to ensure that guests always get what’s expected from modern luxury travel.
As a premium cruise line, Disney Cruise vacations can be more costly than some others. However, for all of the extras covered by the fare, as well as the exclusive experiences with some of the most beloved characters in cinema, many consider a Disney Cruise Line vacation more than worth it.