If you’re a cruise aficionado with a young family, the idea of a Disney cruise has probably come up more than once. The vacations we take as parents are very different from the vacations we take when we have little ones to think about, and that covers everything from destination to entertainment options. Your life is no longer just about you and your partner – you have to make sure the children are also entertained, and so if you want to carry on cruising, that puts Disney close to the top of the list of options.
Some people won’t mind this at all. The fact that childless couples go on Disney cruises is a known phenomenon, much as some people can’t understand it. If you’re one of those people, you don’t need any advice from us on how to make the best of your time. If you’re not one of those people, though, you might already be slowly filling with dread at the idea. The very thought of being trapped on a large ship out on the water surrounded by cute Disney characters might be the last thing you want to think about – but we have good news for you. Disney cruises aren’t just about the children – there are adult activities to look forward to as well.
Even with these entertainment options, however, there are things you should know about Disney cruise facilities compared to standard cruise facilities you might find elsewhere. One of them is that you won’t find any casinos on Disney ships. Disney is very much against casinos, going so far as to withdraw all the Marvel-focused mobile slots games when it bought out Marvel. There used to be a range of mobile slots which featured Marvel characters, and now then are none. Playing mobile slots is the only way you’ll get to enjoy your hobby on your trip while you’re away if you’re a slots fan, and you won’t get any other casino games to play with either. So if the casinos and the slots are out, what’s in? Let’s take a look.
Exclusive Adults-Only Restaurants
If there’s one thing Disney knows how to do very well on their cruise ships, it’s how to feed their guests. All of the restaurants are exceptional, but the adults-only restaurants are a particular delight. The peak of Disney dining quality is in the Palo restaurants, which you’ll find onboard the Disney Fantasy, Disney Magic, Disney Dream, and Disney Wonder. Palo restaurants serve Italian food, and entry is reserved for over-18s only, who can come in to enjoy a wonderful brunch and dinner. The champagne buffet brunch, in particular, is a real thrill – although you’ll want to be careful of your intake if you’re planning on entertaining the children later on!
Almost all Disney cruises stop off at Castaway Cay. The destination is considered to be so special that we’re not sure it’s even worth booking a Disney cruise unless some downtime at Castaway Cay is part of the itinerary. There is, of course, a family beach – which is exactly what it sounds like – but if you’re willing to hop on a tram and travel a little further across the cay, you’ll find Serenity Beach. It’s not called ‘Serenity’ without good reason – it almost doesn’t feel like it’s part of the same vacation! Serenity Beach offers a bar and buffet food, but if you really want to unwind, you might want to consider taking advantage of a Cabana Massage while you’re there. If the $150 price tag is a little steep for you, then you can still enjoy a massage onboard your ship – which brings us to our next point.
The Senses Spa
One of the key reasons most of us take a cruise vacation is to enjoy the ultimate in relaxation. When we see relaxation, we think ‘spa.’ All the Disney cruise liners feature a Senses Spa, where you’ll find plenty of professionals on board who are specially trained in reducing your stress levels to zero. Whether it’s a massage, a pedicure, a manicure, or even a whole new hairstyle you’re looking for, Disney has people on hand to make it happen for you. If you can cope with the heat, buy yourself a day pass and walk into the Rainforest Room. Disney’s titles might be literal, but they deliver the experience they promise. The Rainforest Room is a quiet hideaway full of saunas and steam rooms and hot stone loungers. Passengers on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy will also have access to adult jacuzzis.
The Quiet Cove Pool
The Quiet Cove Pools on Disney liners are quiet for a reason – they don’t have any children on them! While Disney is super-child friendly, they get serious with the enforcement of the rules at the Quiet Cove Pools – if you’re under 18, you’ll be escorted out of the area immediately. This is where frazzled parents go to unwind when the children are distracted with some of the other onboard activities. It might just be a pool area, but it’s a calm and relaxing pool area in which you can rest assured that you’re not about to be splashed, or have your afternoon nap disturbed by tiny screaming terrors.
Adult Enrichment Classes
A cynic might suggest that the Disney’ adult enrichment classes’ are actually just an excuse for grown-ups to imbibe a few quality cocktails or wines, hiding behind an impressive-sounding name. Entering one of the Disney adult enrichment classes will cost you something in the region of $15, and in return, you’ll get to learn a new skill. One such ‘skill’ is wine tasting. Another one is the tequila tasting. A third alternative is martini tasting. Are you spotting a theme yet? Just to ensure it’s not all about drinking, Disney chefs are on hand to prepare meals which are taken from the menus of their popular on-land resorts.
If All Else Fails…
There’s a lot to be said for having the attitude of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’ Your children are going to have the time of their lives, and they’ll be even happier if you join in on the fun with them. We imagine that almost every single one of you was a Disney fan in your youth – even if you’re not anymore – and while you’re surrounded by all things Disney, it might just be easier to go with the flow. Have your picture taken with the characters. Go to the family-friendly stage shows. Immerse yourself in your surroundings. After all, you’ve paid big money to be there, and you may only get to go once – instead of limiting yourself, throw yourself into the swing of things!
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