Disney Cruises - All your questions answered


All Images on this page © www.method2themagic.com

Dear Readers, this week we have Melissa from the YouTube Channel youtube.com/methodtothemagic  answering some of my questions regarding Disney Cruises. Ever wondered what a Disney Cruise is actually like? How does it compare to a normal cruise? What are the destinations like and on-board activities? Are they just for families with kids? And food options? Please read below to find the answers to these questions and more.

Melissa has been a life-long Disney fan, her love for Disney truly took off during her college years when she participated in the Disney College Program as a Fairy Godmother in Training at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Spending so much time in Disney she realized that no matter how many times you go, there are always new things to see and do and new details to notice. In addition to being a Magical Vacation Planner, Melissa is a Child Life Specialist and works with hospitalized children of all ages experiencing various medical and developmental challenges. This experience combined with her Master’s level education in the subject helps Melissa plan the most conducive and magical trips for families with special medical or developmental needs as well as with families with children of all ages. 

How many cruises have you been on? (and what types of Cruises)
I have been on 3 Royal Caribbean Cruises and 2 Disney Cruises with a 3rd Disney cruise coming up this January. My first Disney cruise was a 7 night Western Caribbean on the Magic in January 2015, my second was a 3 night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream. My next cruise will be a 7 night Western Caribbean Cruise on the Disney Wonder.
   

How does a Disney Cruise compare to a ‘normal’ cruise? Where did the Disney Cruise go?
A Disney cruise is much like a normal cruise in terms of itinerary, however, there are many magical extras I found that Disney had that Royal Caribbean did not meet the same mark. One of them was service. I felt so well taken care of on-board the Disney cruise and they think of absolutely everything and anticipate your needs. There is also so much included in the price of Disney that you do not feel "nickel and dimed" once on-board as some people do on other cruises. The entertainment and kids clubs on-board are top notch and everything is always so well maintained and clean. Not to mention, if you are a Disney fan every moment is packed with Disney magic. One time, I even saw Peter Pan sitting on the floor in the middle of the hallway with a group of preteens having a chat. It's awesome!




All Images on this page © www.method2themagic.com
 

If you are looking at Disney Cruise prices, is there a good $ USD rate to get if you can (I know in Australia, if you get a rate of $75 AUD per adult per night - that’s a bargain!) 
There are too many factors that go into this for me to give you an answer. It depends on itinerary, stateroom type, time of year, number of nights etc. even as a "per night rate." I recommend using a travel agent to help you find the best cruise for your budget. As a travel specialist for Magical Vacation Planner, I'd be more than happy to help anyone wishing to plan a cruise, and believe it or not travel agents like me do not charge anything for their services.

What sorts of things are there to do on the ship? Is everything Disney related?
There are many great things to do on-board the ships. Each night there is a different live entertainment show that you can watch in the main theatre. Some of these are Broadway style Disney productions. There is a movie theatre on-board where you can watch first run Disney films - some of them are even in 3D. There is no charge for the movies here, but they do charge at the snack stand (one of the few places where there is a charge on-board) so just bring snacks and drinks from elsewhere on the ship. There are plenty of places on the top deck to do so for free. Classic Disney movies are also shown on "Funnelvision" which is a big screen at the pool. The kids clubs have Disney related activities throughout the day and activities in general tailored to the different age groups including teens! There are character meet and greets throughout the cruise. There are game shows throughout the cruise - some geared toward just the adults, others for the whole family. There is a themed night called Pirate night where there are shows on the deck and a fireworks display. There are special sail away as the boat departs and "See ya real soon" shows just before getting back into the port where you will disembark as well.

On the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy there is the "Midship Detective Agency" which is similar to the Agent P World Showcase Adventure at EPCOT. During the holidays like "Halloween on the High Seas"  and Christmas time there are special parties, shows, events, and decorations to make your cruise even more magical. I won't give away the surprise but there are also a few dining locations particularly Animator's Palate and Tiana's Place where your dinner involves a show! There are cooking demonstrations, beverage demonstrations, drawing classes, trivia games and so much more. There is truly something for everyone.
 



All Images on this page © www.method2themagic.com

Do the Disney related activities on the ship – do they cost more or are they included in the price?
 

There are not many activities that cost anything on-board. The only things that would be "activities" that you have to pay for that come to mind are the Jackpot Bingo (which is basically the only form of gambling on the ship), beverage seminars and tastings, and using the nursery for children under the age of 3. All other activities are included. 

Is the Cruise more suited for families with children? Would you recommend for couples? 
I have never travelled on Disney Cruise Line with kids-- but I can tell it would be amazing. We travel only as adults and have had a wonderful time and I would highly recommend it to all adult only travellers who enjoy Disney magic. Here's a video we made to give everyone information on just why we think Adults Only vacations on the Disney cruise line are top notch:



Covering tips on when to eat on board the ship, Adult Pools, Tips on drink packages, Entertainment options, Island excursions for Adults, tips about the Rainforest room, Serenity Bay and more

Are there any Disney rides or experiences on the ship? Or is it just themed Disney and no special rides? 
There are no rides per se on Disney Cruise Line as that would be very difficult to do on a ship. However, there are many other experiences as I mentioned above. There are also some pretty unique waterslides. On the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy there is a water coaster called the "Aqua Duck" where riders circumvent the deck of the ship on inflatable tubes in the waterslide. On the Disney Magic there is the "Aqua DUNK" where riders stand in a tube before the floor falls out from under them and they travel down the slide. This is a high speed thrilling slide that also circles out over the side of the ship. It is perfect for thrill seekers. On the Disney Dream you can drive the millennium falcon in the kids club but it is a stationary almost video game type experience rather than a ride.


All Images on this page © www.method2themagic.com
Did you do a Character meet and greet breakfast? How did it go? Which characters?
No we did not as these were not offered on either of our cruises. 

What happens at the Ports?  Are they the usual cruise ports or do they have a Disney theme? Are there optional Disney extras?
 

Ports are much like any other cruise. You can elect to purchase shore excursions like you would on any cruise. Some excursions are Disney exclusive and may have special Disney related activities, others are typical shore excursions. Port days are sometimes the best days to enjoy the pools, waterslides, and other on-board activities with lower crowds and wait times if you don't find anything you want to do at port or decide to come back early.

The only exception for ports being "Disney" is Castaway Cay which is Disney's private island in the Bahamas. Disney bought a 99 year lease for the island in 1996. The island is Disney themed and has both adult beaches and family beaches. There are excursions here as well, or you can rent equipment like snorkels, inner tubes, or bicycles to enjoy the island yourself. If you like to snorkel be sure to do so here! There are some special hidden Disney items under the water including an old submarine from the retired 20, 000 Leagues under the Sea ride from Walt Disney World!




All Images on this page © www.method2themagic.com
Are there busy times of the year to go? Was it busy when you were there and how was it?
Yes - any time schools are out are especially busy particularly around holidays. Disney is one cruise line that tends to sell out many of their itineraries so there isn't really a "slow" season but late August- November (Hurricane Season) and January seem to be the lowest seasons I've seen in terms of pricing. I will say, the smaller ships (Disney Magic and Wonder) seem to feel much less crowded to me than the larger ones even if both were sold out sailings. The smaller ships are also typically less expensive and have more diverse itineraries including Alaska, Europe, and the Panama Canal.

Are there bargain places to eat on the ship or the Ports (is it all free?)
The main dining rooms, the buffet, and all quick service locations are included in your cruise fare. With the exception of pre-packaged snacks and bottled beverages, room service is also included. The only food items you have to pay for are the snacks at the movie theater and the adult specialty restaurants which charge a flat fee. Be sure to check out our video on these restaurants as we highly recommend them:



The other items you will be charged for are alcohol, specialty "smoothie" type beverages, specialty coffees and ice cream/candy from the specialty shop like "Vanellope's." Soft serve ice cream is, however, free on deck and is delicious!
 
We do not typically eat on the islands since food is included on the cruise unless it is included on our excursion. You can go back and forth on and off the ship as you please while in Port so I always think if you are close enough, it may be best to plan your meals on the ship. The exception here is Castaway Cay. Since this is Disney's private island it is like an extension of the cruise ship. Food is included here and you can get some great BBQ options!

Can you recommend a particular Disney cruise? 
Honestly, I can't. There are so many great cruises and I don't think you can go wrong with Disney no matter where you go. I will say-- if you enjoy cruising you should definitely try one that stops at Castaway Cay some time. This destination is so popular that Disney has started offering cruises that stop there twice on one sailing! These typically sell out and can be pricey due to demand but may be worth it if you enjoy this type of experience! It's my favourite port I've ever been to!
We have a great video that talks about getting the best value on your Disney cruise. You can also check out our YouTube Channel for our blogs from our last cruise on the Disney Dream. Eventually we will also put up vlogs for our January trip so be sure to subscribe and stay tuned!

Thanks to Melissa for answering all my questions regarding Disney Cruises. If anyone has any further questions, please feel free to post them on this blog.

Melissa’s copyrighted images are on this page. 

You can also follow Melissa on
Magical Vacation Planner youtube.com/methodtothemagic
https://twitter.com/Method2TheMagic 

Other Disneyland pages on this blog:



Until next week,


KJ


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