Magic and Wonder on the Disney Cruise Line
By Sandra Halket
I recently boarded the Disney Cruise Line on a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise as a travel agent to conduct some research without my husband and kids. I repeat. No husband. No kids. With guilt and passport in hand, I boarded the Disney Magic on my 3rd Disney cruise.
By the second day I missed my kids. To alleviate some of these feelings, I decided to investigate what they could do on our next family cruise, which I’ve promised to take before the end of 2010.* I also realized participation is part of research, so I indulged and ordered at least 3 appetizers per meal, tested out the spa and workout facilities onboard, and immediately ordered a Bahama Mama in a DCL keepsake glass. *(Note: This post was written in early 2010 and I actually kept my promise and took my family on an incredible 7-night Disney Cruise in December 2010. They had the best trip of their lives and are begging to go on another cruise in December 2011!)
The best thing that Disney Cruise line offers families is their kids clubs. Flounder’s Reef Nursery for ages 0-3, Oceaneer’s Club and Lab for ages 3-10, The Edge for tweens and The Stack for teens only. Kids have so many interactive activities and games to participate in, they probably won’t want you to pick them up. They can indulge in computer activities, movies, dress-up, crafts, books, toys and even character drop-ins. Each child is given a paging bracelet where they can contact you if they want to leave the kids club. On our last family cruise my children were 4 and 7 years old and they never “buzzed” us once. We couldn’t even get them to leave when the club was closing. They didn’t want to eat meals with my husband and I, go to the shows, or hang out at the family pool. Call it good or bad, but Disney knows how to entertain kids.
Disney’s Oceaneer Club
For kids ages 3-7. An amazing play area designed like Captain Hook’s ship just for kids! Movies, dress-up, games, arts and crafts and special character appearances!
Little ones can splash to their hearts’ content in this pool that’s made for play.
There are so many Disney Characters to see on the ship. You can meet your favourite Princess, Captain Jack Sparrow, Donald and even the big cheese, Mickey. Don’t forget your autograph book and camera!
Flounder’s Reef Nursery
Ages 12 weeks to 36 months. Little ones feel at home in this Disney group-babysitting area, staffed by trained Disney counselors.
Have fun in this club with activities the whole family can enjoy, from karaoke to TV-style game shows and themed parties, all done the Disney way!
Goof around with the whole family in this pool that’s perfect for fun in the sun.
Brilliant Broadway-style productions with all the singing, dancing, costumes and special effects you expect in a Disney show.
On Deck parties with friends, family and favorite Disney Characters! The fun starts with the Sail Away Celebration and you might even get to enjoy a pirate party and even see a special fireworks show launched off the back of the ship*! (*certain itineraries).
Catch the latest movies at the Buena Vista Theatre, with a wide-ranging program of first-run features and Disney favourites.
Now that the kids are taken care of, it’s time for some adult time because we deserve to have fun too. Sometimes we are so pre-occupied with our children’s happiness, we forget our own. On the Disney cruise, they take care of the kids for you so you can have a well deserved break from temper tantrums, melt downs and whiney complaints….but not your kids, right?
Just for adults:
Quiet Cove Pool
Enjoy the adults-only pool with two great hot tub spas and poolside bar.
Vista Spa and Salon
Pamper yourself at a spa with breathtaking therapies from faraway places, work out with a complete line of exercise equipment, take part in aerobics or yoga classes, and visit a world-class salon.
Take a break in at this cozy cafe with specialty coffees, cocktails, cognac, magazines, books and Internet connections.
Enjoy delicious Northern Italian cuisine at this elegant, world-class restaurant for adults only. Make your reservations early, this restaurant books up fast for a reason!
Cruise Highlights and Personal recommendations:
- Do not miss any of the shows at the Walt Disney Theatre. They are first class in their production and entertainment value.
- Reserve Palo for dinner and brunch. The food and selection are amazing. Dining at Palo was a cruise highlight.
- Pirate Deck party. Fireworks off the back of a ship in the middle of the ocean, count me in!
- Heated ceramic chairs in the rainforest spa. If you need a break, this is the place to relax.
- Castaway Cay. My first time in the adults-only beach. I still prefer the family beach, but lunch was a treat with adults only. Tip: your kids can still be part of the kids clubs even when at Castaway Cay so you can check out the adults only beach if you wish.
- Snorkelling at the family beach in Castaway Cay was incredible. Disney hides special treasures under the water that are surrounded by hundreds of tropical fish. You might even see some familiar faces!
I am so excited to go on my next Disney cruise with the family. I cannot recommend this cruise line enough if you have kids because not only does Disney take care of them, they also take care of the kid inside of you too!
Disney Cruise Line has 2 ships, the Magic and the Wonder. They will be sailing on special itineraries in 2010 including the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. In 2011, Disney Cruise Line will launch a new ship, the Disney Dream and will add special itineraries including Alaska and the Mexican Riviera.