Hi there fellow adventurers and Disney lovers and welcome to today’s post! Today we’re going to be sharing our guide to going on a Disney Cruise. Now of course the ships aren’t sailing right now, but hopefully by next year they will be, and it’s not too early to start preparing if you want to go on a Disney Cruise, or even if you’re just interested in finding out about them for some point in the future. So here we go, here’s our guide!
THE SHIPS AND WHERE THEY GO
There are four different Disney Cruise ships to choose from. Each one offers different routes and locations, so if you want to go on a Disney Cruise you need to consider where you want to go and what port you want to sail from. Each ship is slightly different, but they all share similar basic features. There are currently four Disney Cruise ships, with a further three ships planned to be added to the fleet in the next few years (unfortunately delayed due to the pandemic). The four ships currently sailing are:
Disney Magic – One of the two smaller ships, the Disney Magic started sailing in 1998, has 875 staterooms and a capacity of 2,700 people. This ship can take you on a cruise around the Bahamas, the Caribbean, or Europe.
Disney Wonder – This is the other of the smaller ships and has been sailing since 1999. It also has 875 staterooms and a capacity of 2,700, and visits Alaska, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean.
Disney Dream – This is the first of the two bigger ships and has been sailing since 2011. This ship has 1,250 staterooms and a capacity of 4,000 people. This ship sails around the Bahamas and visits Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.
Disney Fantasy – The second of the bigger ships, the Disney Fantasy started sailing in 2012 and also has 1,250 staterooms and a capacity of 4,000 people. This ship visits Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, and Castaway Cay.
Your stateroom is your home on the ship. The staterooms may seem a bit small compared to a Disney World hotel room, but they are generally very nice. There are a few different staterooms to choose from which vary in size and price, so you can choose the one that’s best for you. Unlike in a hotel, you are likely to spend a decent amount of time here, so choose wisely. It’s more than just a place to sleep.
Quick tip: The doors to the staterooms are magnetic, so a lot of people take their own magnets to decorate their stateroom door with. It’s a bit of fun and you could ever do a DIY project to prepare for your cruise and make your own!
An important thing to note is that unlike in a hotel, when you book your stateroom there is the option to choose which stateroom you get on the ship. This means it is important to research the layout of the ship and consider where you want your room to be.
Your stateroom options are:
- Standard Inside Stateroom – This is the cheapest option for a stateroom on the ships. The biggest downside of this room thought is that there are no windows, which means that you may struggle to adjust to different time zones or keep track of the time because you can’t see daylight. However, it is still a decent room that sleeps 3-4 people, and on the Dream and Fantasy you do get a virtual porthole in place of a window.
- Deluxe Inside Stateroom – This is similar to the standard inside stateroom, but just slightly bigger and with a split bathroom (toilet and shower separate). Otherwise the room is the same as the standard inside room, again inside so no windows, but again on the Dream and the Fantasy you get a virtual porthole instead. This is still a good budget room for people who don’t mind not having a window.
- Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom – This is the cheapest room available with a window. Depending on the deck, this may be one bit porthole or two small ones, but there will be a view outside somehow. Apart from this, this stateroom is similar to the inside ones: sleeps 3-4 people, similar size. The only real noticeable difference is that the furniture is laid out slightly differently to allow for the windows.
- Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom – This stateroom is only available on the Dream or the Fantasy. This is the most expensive oceanview room without a verandah because you can have up to 5 people in it rather than 4. The additional bed pulls down from the ceiling to create a sort of bunk bed situation. This would work if you’re travelling with children.
- Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah – This is very similar to the Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with a bit more space. The main difference here is the verandah, which allows you to get a bit of fresh air and sit outside on your private verandah. This is the most popular option though, so if you want a stateroom with a verandah, make sure you book early.
- Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah – Just like the Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom, this room will sleep up to 5 people. There is an added verandah and unlike the deluxe family stateroom, it is on all of the ships.
- Concierge Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah – This is the most expensive stateroom option on the ships. It is located on the concierge level of the ship, which is the highest level, meaning you will get some amazing views. However, otherwise there is not much else making this room better than the others: it still sleeps 5, it has the same sort of verandah. So depending on your preference and funds, it may not be worth paying the extra for.
There are a lot of options for shopping on board the ships. Of course they will vary depending on the ship and the destinations of the cruise you are on, but generally there is plenty of classic Disney merchandise to choose from. The ships will usually restock at the ports so if they run out of something you want it may be worth checking back after the port days to see if they’ve had a delivery.
Excitingly, you can get trip-specific merchandise that is exclusively available on board your ship for your trip, so if you’re a collector or want something to remember your specific trip by, this might be a good option for you.
Just a note, if you’re not familiar with how restaurants work on a cruise, you rotate around the main restaurants on the ship for your evening meal, so you should get the chance to try several. If the restaurants are not on the rotation and offer table service evening meals, you will need to book them in advance to get a table as it is otherwise assumed that you will be going to your assigned restaurant on the rotation.
If you have any dietary requirements, let the crew know as soon as you can because they are generally very good at accommodating for you. There are options available that are gluten free, no-sugar added, lighter option, vegetarian, and/or dairy-free on most menus as well so you should have plenty of options.
- D Lounge – This is a lounge which hosts various game and activity nights, like bingo. It has a small stage and dance floor but it’s mostly a seating area. This lounge mostly has activities that are suitable for the whole family.
- Nightclub – This lounge has more adult-centred entertainment, so this is the place to go for an adults only night. They have things like quizzes, comedians and silent discos. It is called different things on each of the ships: Fathoms on the Magic, Azure on the Wonder, Evolution on the Dream and The Tube of the Fantasy.
- Bars – There are a variety of bars on each of the ships for you to relax in and enjoy, and several have live entertainment as well. There are the pool bars, piano bars, pubs on some ships, champagne bars etc. Each has a themed drinks menu and snacks available.
- Cabanas – You can find Cabanas on all of the ships and it is there for more casual dining and breakfast. It’s a good place to go with kids or if the meal times at the restaurants don’t suit you. It is buffet style so you can create your own meal the way you like it, and is open all day on the Dream and Fantasy, and for breakfast and lunch on the Magic and Wonder.
- Animator’s Palate – This restaurant is available on all the ships and honestly I really wish it was in the parks as well because it looks so amazing and exciting. Animator’s Palate is themed around the drawings and art of the Disney animators, and if you’re really lucky Mickey Mouse might even appear in his sorcerer outfit and do a bit of Fantasmic for you!
- Royal Court Royal Tea – This is a children’s character dining opportunity for children aged 3-12 to have a tea party and meet the Disney princesses!
- Palo – Open for brunch and dinner, Palo is one of the fancy adult-exclusive restaurants on the ship where you can experience more fine dining. This restaurant is not on the standard rotation and is quite popular so if you want to get a table here you will need to make a booking as soon as possible once you board the ship.
- Eye Scream Treats – This is a great poolside quick service counter where you can get a selection of soft serve ice creams. Yum!
- Preludes – This is available on all ships and is located just outside the Walt Disney Theatre. It sells all your classic theatre/cinema snacks plus cocktails for the adults. You can pick up things from it before the show or you can ask the wait staff to bring your order to your seat!
- Duck-In Diner – Located near the pool on deck 9, this is a counter service restaurant serving quick food including Middle Eastern inspired shawarma and some classic American burgers and hotdogs.
- Rapunzel’s Royal Table – This is the princess-themed restaurant for the Magic themed after Tangled. It’s gorgeous, lanterns everywhere, and you might get to meet some of the ‘ruffians’ from the Snuggly Duckling, or even Rapunzel herself!
- Pinocchio’s Pizzeria – This is an outdoor eatery located by Goofy’s Pool on deck 9. Here you can get a slice of pizza for a nice snack.
- Frozone Treats – Just like it sounds, this is a nice quick service counter where you can get a ranger of frozen smoothies and treats. It’s poolside so it’s the perfect place to go for a refreshing treat while by the pool.
- Lumiere’s – This is the royal restaurant for the magic and as you might be able to guess from the name, it is themed after Beauty and the Beast. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it’s enchanting, so if you want a taste of the royal life, this is a lovely restaurant to visit.
- Tiana’s Place – Have you ever watched The Princess and the Frog and wished you could go to Tiana’s Place? Well if you’re on the Disney Wonder you can, and you might even get to meet Tiana while you’re there! Here you can experience some lovely southern cooking and live jazz music whilst you enjoy your meal.
- Pinocchio’s Pizzeria – Just like on the Magic, this is an outdoor eatery located by the pools. Here you can get a slice of pizza for a nice snack.
- Triton’s – This is the royal restaurant for this ship, this time themed after the Little Mermaid, so you can experience a nice upscale restaurant under the sea, whilst on the sea!
- Pete’s Boiler Bites – Open all day, this counter service by the pools offers some classic American food like burgers, hot dogs, and tacos. It’s a great place to pick up a quick meal during the day.
- Daisy’s De-Lites – This is a snack counter where you can pick up some healthy snacks like salads, sandwiches, wraps and fruit.
Dream and Fantasy
- Venellope’s Sweets & Treats (Dream Only) – Themed around the racing princess Vanellope from Wreck-It Ralph, this is the place to stop off for a sugar rush, with ice cream, waffle cones and a variety of baked goods and sweets available.
- Royal Palace (Dream Only) – This royal restaurant is inspired by the classic Disney Princess films and is beautiful. Here you can find some French-inspired food to enjoy for dinner.
- Royal Court (Fantasy Only) – This is the Fantasy’s royal restaurant and is very similar to the Royal Palace on the dream. Again, it is themed on the classic Disney Princess films and has French-inspired cuisine.
- Sweet on You (Fantasy Only) – Here you can get some Disney themed desserts and sweet treats to enjoy.
- Remy – This is probably the most luxurious of the dining options on the ships. Just like Palo, Remy is another adults-only fine dining experience and again you need to book it as soon as possible if you would like to visit.
- Flo’s Cafe – Inspired by Flo’s in Cars, this counter service place has three food stations and it offers burgers, pizza, chicken, salads and sandwiches for you to pick up as a fast meal.
- Enchanted Garden – This restaurant’s theming is inspired by the beautiful gardens of Versailles and it offers a market-style menu where you can try a range of different types of food from all over the world.
- Senses Juice Bar – This is exactly what it sounds like: a juice bar with lots of vitamin and protein filled juices for after your workout or time in Senses Spa & Salon.
- Buena Vista Theatre – This is the on board cinema where you can find Disney and Pixar films playing, often new ones that you would need to see in the cinema anyway. Popcorn is even included!
- Art Gallery – If you want a more chill activity, there is an art gallery aboard the ships where you can find Disney art to view and buy. You can get a lot of these at the Disney parks anyway but it’s still lovely to go and see the art.
- Walt Disney Theatre – Here you can find Broadway-style shows for no additional price! So if you’re like us and you love the theatre, this is definitely worth checking out. The show will vary depending on the ship and the time you go, but they’ve had the likes of Tangled and Beauty and the Beast before so there are definitely some amazing shows you can catch.
- Sports Deck – If you’re a sporty person, you can head up to the sports deck to find some fun sporty activities like table tennis and basketball, and even mini golf on the bigger ships.
- Pools – If you want a nice relaxing day by the pool there’s several options for you. There’s the family pool, the kids pool, and adults only pool and some hot tubs so you can definitely find something to suit you. If you’re in the main pool you might even catch a film on Funnel Vision which plays films and Disney trivia all day on a bit screen attached to the funnel. Pool towels and blankets are provided with blankets available for cold days or if a film is playing.
- Waterslides – Along with the pools comes the waterslides. There are slides for children under 14 to enjoy, and then there are the big aqua coasters on three of the four ships. On the Dream and the Fantasy there is the AquaDuck, which you have to be over 42 inches tall to ride, and on the Magic there is the AquaDunk, which you have to be over 48 inches tall to ride.
- Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – Just like at the Disney parks, children up to 12 years old can go to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique to become a princess for the day. There are packages ranging from $64.95 right up to $595, so if you’re interested in this for your child, research a bit and see which package suits you best.
- Senses Spa & Salon – If you’re looking for a relaxing experience, you can visit the spa on the ship. You can get individual treatments or pay to access the spa services for the day or your whole trip. Prices vary so if you’re interested, head up there when you board to have a look at the options.
- Themed Days at Sea – There are usually themed days at sea where you can meet different characters and there’s an extra show as well. A lot of people also dress up according to the theme on these days so check what themed days are on your cruise to prepare. There have been Marvel, Star Wars, Frozen and more in the past.
- Character Meet and Greets – Of course this is a Disney cruise so there are opportunities to meet the characters throughout your trip. You don’t need to rush to meet them all on the first day, they’re not going anywhere, so it might be better to wait for a less busy time, like maybe if you choose to stay on the ship during a day when it’s a port.
- Port Adventures – If you want to get off the ship and explore the local town or city where the ship is at port, you can either do so on your own or book a Port Adventure through Disney. These are excursions to help you make the most of your time in port. Just remember to get back to the ship in plenty of time as it takes time to re-board everyone and you don’t want to miss it!
- Castaway Cay – If you are lucky enough to be on a cruise that visits Castaway Cay, make the most of it because this is the only time you will be able to visit! Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island and you can only get there on a Disney Cruise so make sure you make the most of this exclusive opportunity whilst you’re there and explore it.
FOR KIDS AND TEENS
If you are on the cruise with children or teenagers there are places they can go to hang out safely and enjoy themselves so that you can also have some time to yourselves.
- ‘It’s a small world’ nursery
- Disney’s Oceaneer Club – This is for children aged 3-12 and it is a place for them to place, meet some characters and use some really cool exclusive equipment and experiences. They’ll enjoy being left there for an afternoon, having some exclusive experiences that they’ll be buzzing about for the rest of the trip.
- Edge – This is a space for tweens aged 11-14 where they can watch films, play ages, do some arts and crafts and just generally have some fun in their own space.
- Vibe – This is the club for older teens aged 15-18 where they can hang out parents-free until 2am. It;s a super chill space with TV, games, karaoke and dance parties for them to enjoy.
- Magnets – The doors to the staterooms are magnetic, so a lot of people take their own magnets to decorate their stateroom door with. It’s a bit of fun and you could ever do a DIY project to prepare for your cruise and make your own!
- Disney Navigator App – This is like the My Disney Experience apps that you would use at the Disney parks. It has everything you need for your cruise including a guide to the ship. However, in order for it to work you need to allow it to access your location and be connected to the ship’s guess wifi so that it knows you are a guest on the ship.
- Key to the World card – This is like the Magic Band of the Disney Cruise world. It is your room key, your pass for getting on and off ship, your payment, and your reservation record. Most people keep it in a lanyard so that they don’t lose it because that card is really important for the duration of your cruise.
- Sea Sickness – A lot of people worry about getting seasick on a cruise, and people’s experiences of this differ so it’s impossible to say how you will react because everyone’s different. If you’re worried, make sure you have some sea sickness bands and motion sickness medication with you, and start taking the medication 24 hrs before cruise so that it is in your system when you board.
- Look at the carpet – The Disney Imagineers are really clever and have even designed the carpet to help you get around the ship. On the carpets in the corridors there are five-point stars. The top point of the stars always point towards the front of the ship. You can also tell what side of the ship you’re on by the door handles on the Dream and the Fantasy: if the door handles are fish, you’re on the port side (left), if they’re seahorses you’re on the starboard (right) side. If you’re not sure which staircase you’re using, again, look at the carpet. There is a square of red carpet near the forward stairs, green near the midship stairs, and blue near the aft stairs.
So that’s all for today everyone. We hope this guide is helpful for those of you wanting to or planning to go on a Disney Cruise. As always we love to hear from you so please leave us a comment below or on our social media @bondedbyadventure to tell us about your Disney Cruise and if you have any more tips. But for now, stay safe, and thanks for the adventure, now go have a new one!