Recently a couple of friends mentioned that they’d been thinking about taking a Disney cruise. Those TV ads make the experience look amazing, but having never cruised before, the idea seemed a little scary. We’ve all heard horror stories of extreme seasickness, severe weather, and people falling overboard while on a cruise ship. We’ve also listened to other people who, like our family, have had some of the best vacation experiences on a Disney cruise.
5 Reasons to take a Disney Cruise Vacation
- You already love Disney vacations – While Disney parks offer much different experiences than Disney cruise ships, the food, the excellent Cast Members, the lovable Disney Characters, and the entertainment are all exactly as a Disney park fan would expect (and maybe even better).
- You want to visit new places – There’s a world to explore out there beyond the parks, but once addicted to the Disney Bubble, it’s hard to break free and visit a new location. Disney cruise ships still allow you into the Bubble while moving you around to see and experience new places. If you book Disney excursions, you can be assured you’ll be as well taken care of off the ship as you are on board.
- You’re on a fixed budget – Sure, there are plenty of expenses on a Disney cruise, just as there are at Disney parks and resorts. What’s great about cruising is that you can pre-calculate nearly every single expense – unless of course you want to consume copious amounts of adult beverages on your cruise. The cruise price includes food, so all you have to calculate is excursion costs, any upcharge for specialty dining (if you elect to experience one of the adults-only restaurants) and Cast Member tips before you go – this gives you a great idea how much you’ll really be spending. Again, adult beverages are extra and can be expensive.
- You’d like vacation activities suitable for a variety of ages – So much less walking required on a cruise ship than in a theme park! From toddlers to grandparents, Disney Cruise Line excels at making sure there are interesting and entertaining activities for everyone. We love the onboard movie theater, the evening shows, the cooking demonstrations, the fitness center, and when our children were young, they loved the kids club areas.
- You need a relaxing vacation – A Disney cruise, depending on the itinerary, can be just as exhausting as Walt Disney World after a week of non-stop touring. The right itinerary, though, can serve up an incredibly tranquil and relaxing getaway. Short cruises in the Bahamas spent enjoying the sun, sea and gorgeous weather are perfect for recharging your battery while escaping winter weather at home. Castaway Cay, Disney’s very own island paradise, is a port of call on most Bahamian itineraries. It’s the perfect place to kick back amid palm trees, sand and sea and let go of stress.
“When life gets rough I like to hold on to my dream
of relaxing in the summer sun just lettin’ off steam!” – Olaf
Have you taken a Disney cruise? What did you think? Would you recommend it to fellow Disney fans?
If you’re sailing on the Disney Dream (or Fantasy) and you want to explore the ship and have fun at the same time, you cannot beat the Midship Detective Agency for providing you with an amazingly cool way to see the beauty of the newest Disney Cruise Line ships while sharpening your sleuthing skills. This activity is fun for the whole family…or two grownups even or one grownup and her semi-reluctant co-detective husband. I loved this activity! Raymond….well, he was supportive if a bit unenthusiastic. There is quite a bit of detecting involved. (Recommended for guests ages 9 and above.)
Disney Dream – Midship Detective Agency
The adventure begins at Headquarters where you start your self-guided adventure by picking up your badge and selecting the case you’d like to solve. We chose a crime involving the Muppets and some missing show props. Clues are located all over the ship and, by using your badge to unlock them, you’ll gather the information needed to solve the crime. This is not an activity for wimps! Use your clue map to gather details related to the crime, take notes and carefully eliminate suspects from the list provided – Logic, cunning, and analytical thinking will all be involved in exposing the true culprit.
We took the stairs in the beginning, but after a while, if the number of decks between us and the next clue was more than four, we’d take an elevator. If we’d been on a cruise longer than four nights, we probably would have attempted solving more than one mystery (I’m using “we” liberally here – I’d have been solo on any subsequent sleuthing to be honest, but that’s not important now, is it). All of our efforts (and believe me when I say this took a lot of effort) paid off and we were successful in solving the crime and nabbing our bad guy! I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Raymond felt like a beer. We celebrated our victory over the forces of evil by toasting our brilliance at the Bon Voyage bar.
The Midship Detective Agency is a very cool interactive activity with some pretty amazing technology – I highly recommend it for great exercise, ship exploration, and good family fun!
Have you solved a crime on the Disney Dream or Fantasy? What did you think of the experience? Yea or Nay?
One of the best things aboard a Disney Cruise is the opportunity to enjoy adults-only dining. I am not ashamed to say – dining without children around is sometimes a rare treat on a Disney vacation…One we’re inclined to take full advantage of! When sailing on the Magic and the Wonder, our choice for this was Palo – which we have loved every single time we’ve been there. On the Dream, we had two choices for grown-up dining and opted to try them both. Palo as a tried and true favorite and Remy as a new and highly anticipated experience – so much so, we booked both brunch and dinner. For today, let’s just focus on one particular meal…
Disney Dream – Dinner at Remy
If you’re interested in a night out sans little ones, Remy is an excellent choice. We were delighted with our meal, in fact, and I have only glowing, positive things to say about it. So, in the manner I so often employ, let me give you FIVE good reasons to enjoy a dinner at Remy.
- The atmosphere – I’ll do my best to describe the setting, but Remy’s ambiance will need to be experienced in order to truly appreciate every detail. The restaurant is named for the famous chef from Ratatouille and there is no shortage of Remy references and tributes throughout the dining room. The hostess, Maître D’, and servers are French and their pride in the restaurant and the service delivered is obvious from the moment of arrival until the final au revoir. The tables, chairs, lighting, windows…so much attention to detail is incredible. There are even little padded footstools near each table in case a guest should need a place to set down a handbag.
- You like a culinary adventure – Remy boasts two world-class chefs – one French and one American – Chef Arnaud Lallement of L’Assiette Champenoise restaurant (two-Michelin-stars) located near Reims, France and Chef Scott Hunnel from Walt Disney World’s Victoria & Albert’s. The two chefs present two different six-course meals and guests may choose one of those to enjoy OR meals can be built of separate, individual menu offerings. I chose the six courses presented by Chef Hunnel and Raymond preferred to build his own meal from the a la carte menu options. Both meals are accompanied by “surprises” (amuse-bouche) from the kitchen sent out by the chefs during the meal. Our first surprise was a tiny brown ball that looked rather like a small hush-puppy, but was instead a delicately wrapped “bite” of tomato soup! The second offering was a foie gras foam with macadamia nuts topping a bit of salted caramel. This sounded so ridiculous, but was, in fact, absolutely wonderful. The rest of the courses would take many hundreds of words more to describe (ask me if you have any questions), but included things like shrimp, duck, sablefish (personally my favorite part of this meal), Kobe steak, pork tenderloin, chicken, and more. Dessert for both of us included a lot of chocolate.
- The exquisite service – Alexia was amazing! She helped us through all our food selections (with her gorgeous French accent) and as our courses kept being presented and we gradually got fuller and fuller – we were confronted with a real dilemma – the cheese course. Had this surprise on a cart arrived bearing anything other than cheese, we could have resisted, but it was full of CHEESE! Alexia understood that we were quickly running out of intestinal real estate but wanted to taste all the cheeses, so she prepared tiny samples of 12 different cheeses with their dried fruits and honeycomb accompaniments for us to try. She placed the cheeses on the plate in a particular, circular order and explained their presentation from hard and mild to softer, to the most strongly flavored. We were even presented with a list of the cheeses to take with us! If you love cheese like we do, this alone was worth the price of admission (see #5).
- Romance – There’s a dress code at Remy. There’s candlelight and lovely china and table linens. We like dressing up from time to time and acting like mature human beings, plus, we enjoy each other’s company. 26 years of marriage is not something that happens by accident. Remy was the perfect combination of delicious dining in a romantic setting – exactly right for spending the evening with your favorite person in the world.
- You have an extra $400 lying around. The up-charge to dine at Remy is $85 per person. If you don’t want to pay for water with your meal (there are a staggering number of pricy options), specify TAP WATER. If you opt for the wine pairing offered with each course, add $105 per person. We (having learned our lesson about wine-pairing-perils at Jiko) opted for a single bottle of wine – one of the more economical offerings – with help from the sommelier for $187. Once gratuity was added…well, we’d spent much more on this meal than we’d intended. Was it worth it? YES! Raymond and I both gave this experience a resounding two thumbs up, but for sure it needs to be accurately budgeted!
What about you? Have you dined at Remy? What did you think about the experience? If you’re planning a Disney cruise in the future, is this something you’d splurge on?
It is easy to focus on the negative. It’s human nature for most folks – even if you tend to be a glass-half-full person most of the time, change is tough! I’ve mentioned it several times before, but feel the need to weigh in again today after watching the Disney fan community erupt on social media in opposition to recent cut-backs, closures, price increases, and event changes. Over the past few days a Disney survey collecting opinions on the proposed addition of $15 per night resort fees has caused quite a stir and those fees don’t yet exist. Food offering changes are also a hot button for Disney park fans. Heck, I’ve expressed my own disappointment over the loss of the Roasted Pork Shank from Gaston’s Tavern and the Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle from Sleepy Hollow (both beloved Magic Kingdom snacks!).
WDW – Short Term Sacrifice / Long Term Gain?
I can hear my buddy, David Hodges (co-host on The Disney Exchange Podcast), reminding me that Disney is a for-profit company with enormous reach, global interests, and shareholder obligations. I’m sure cost-control and profit margins do have quite a bit to do with some recent changes like the cutbacks on live entertainment in Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios along with ticket price increases.
In the back of my mind though, I can’t stop thinking about the other stuff. The new rides and attractions under construction at Walt Disney World. (The two new Disney Cruise Line ships that were just announced.) No, I don’t want to pay more for a Disney vacation, but I DO really (really, really REALLY!) want to ride the new rides, see the new shows and explore the new lands. UGH! I’m supposed to be whining with the other Disney fans about the greed, the money-grubbing, the ridiculous cost-cutting…but all I can think about is that perhaps Disney World will be better after these growing pains have been dealt with. Maybe, just maybe, after closures, construction walls, and cutbacks we will find that all of it… the inconvenient and expensive changes and adjustments…has been worth it. What if the painful short-term sacrifices produce exceptional long-term gains and our favorite vacation destinations emerge better than they’ve ever been before? As for me? I’m willing to wait and see for myself if all the upheaval has been worth it. I’m optimistic that I’ll find true Disney vacation happiness still exists on the other side.
What about you? Where do you stand with recent Disney vacation changes?