Wondering why might it be worthwhile to spring for a Disney Cruise, even if you might be able to get onto another cruise at a lower price? Well, let’s put it this way: You know that inimitable excitement that kids (and adults) experience at the Disney theme parks? Bottle that up, stick it on a ship, and you’ve got yourself three to seven days’ worth of that same brand of magic and happiness—minus the crowds.
Why Disney Cruises Are Different than Typical Cruises
Disney Cruise Line staffers are experts at pulling Disney’s signature storytelling aspects through the voyage, starting with a pre-departure phone call from Mickey and Minnie to tell their youngest passengers-to-be how excited they are to see them onboard. From there on, each ship’s 950 employees know exactly how to make each guest feel like royalty, making sure to add creative, memorable touches at every opportunity. This guarantees that even the passengers who aren’t particularly Disney fans will be smiling all day long.
Those who are Disney fans, however, will be on cloud nine with the level of theming throughout the ship: Every night, there are exclusive Broadway-caliber shows starring all the favorite characters. Kids’ club programming includes superhero lessons from Marvel protagonists. There are character greetings, fireworks at sea, free first-run movie screenings (and popcorn) at onboard theaters, Disney movies playing all day on a huge screen above the ship’s swimming pool—and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where children get transformed into pirates and glittery princesses.
That’s not even to speak of the restaurants, many of which are immersive experiences in and of themselves. Disney Wonder has Tiana’s Place, which transports guests to New Orleans. Tiana herself visits each table while a talented quartet jazzes up familiar tunes, with a rollicking parade finale. Animator’s Palate, another Wonder eatery, is a tech-driven tribute to Disney’s drawn history; you scribble a character onto your placemat, then see it come to life during an engaging on-screen mashup.
Perhaps, though, the level of service is the most distinguishing factor separating a Disney cruise from any other sailing experience. Each room has a personal attendant who knows the names, schedules, and preferences of each passenger in his or her care. Every night, they leave gifts on the bed—Mickey bandannas for the pirate party one night, Ghirardelli squares the next—and fold towels into amusing figures. But more than the stuff they leave and the diligent care they take of the room, they are genuinely kind, sincere hard workers whose every goal is to please and satisfy. These crew members are hired from all over the globe and, as a Disney Cruise Line executive recently explained, “We have the opportunity to go around the world and find the best talent with the most passion for our product.”
What You’ll Experience During a Disney Cruise
So, what else can you expect during a Disney cruise? In part, that depends on which ship you choose. Each has its own curated itineraries and unique features. Currently, there are four to choose from: Disney Wonder, Disney Magic, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy, with a fifth ship being added in 2021, and a sixth in 2023.
Disney Magic and Disney Wonder are sister ships; in late 2016, Wonder got intensively renovated, making everything aboard feel brand-new. These two 83,000-tonners are Disney’s “classic,” smaller boats, with 10 floors and 875 rooms. Each carries 2,713 passengers.
Disney’s newer ships, the Art Deco-style Disney Dream (2011) and the Art Nouveau-style Disney Fantasy (2012) are 130,000-ton vessels with 1,250 rooms that hold 4,000 travelers. All four ships offer themed restaurants, live shows, deck parties, elaborate kids’ spaces, character appearances, at-sea fireworks, and more that feels familiar from ship to ship.
When choosing between boats, the itinerary will likely be your key variable. If you’re interested in the Pacific coast, Mexico, Alaska, or the Panama Canal, Disney Wonder is your ship. Disney Magic makes transatlantic crossings and goes to Canada and Europe, including through fjords to see the northern lights. All four ships buzz around the Caribbean, with some itineraries stopping at Castaway Cay, Disney’s Bahamian private island. Each port stop offers a big menu of shore excursions, which should be reserved well in advance.
Onboard, the kids’ spaces are magical: They were created to immerse kids in Disney stories, so popular characters including Elsa, Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, and Black Widow interact with the kids in settings inspired by those characters.
As for the guest rooms, they’re roomier than can be expected, with extraordinarily comfortable platform beds, private bathrooms, and TVs that play Disney movies all day. If you get hungry in the middle of the night, room service is included, so you can order as much as you like without being charged extra.
In fact, a Disney cruise is about as close to an all-inclusive vacation as you’ll find—it may seem pricey upfront, but you’re getting almost everything you’ll need over the course of your vacation.
Your last night aboard, the main characters gather in the atrium to give guests a final chance to take photos and give hugs. The cruise director delivers a farewell, and children are invited onstage to participate in a moving performance, followed by a cascade of Mickey-shaped confetti. In true Disney form, it’s the perfect ending.
Why Book a Disney Cruise With a Travel Agent
There are plenty of reasons why you should book your Disney cruise with a travel agent, as opposed to going it alone. Travel agencies such as Pixie Vacations specialize in Disney-themed travel and can secure all the insider goodies that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access—plus, their services are completely free.
Forget crowdsourcing your social media pals for input regarding your next Disney vacation. Instead, let professional travel planners act as your experts on Disney cruises and destinations. Pixie Vacations’ husband-and-wife owners graduated from the College of Disney Knowledge and are Authorized Disney Vacation Planners, meaning that they received a designation from Disney for meeting the company’s high standards. They even worked at Disney World for years.
Their goal as your agent is to plan an ideal, customized Disney vacation at the lowest possible price, while adding on special activities and recommending insider things to do. They always have access to Disney’s latest offers, and know which are the best floors, staterooms, and excursions to book.
Booking a Disney cruise via a travel agent saves plenty of money because agents know how to access special rates that aren’t available to the general public. Agents will also monitor your reservation, so that if a better deal comes up even after you’ve booked, they’ll change your existing reservation package to the better-priced one, at no cost to you.
To contact Pixie Vacations about planning your next Disney cruise, call (678) 815-1584 or visit their Disney Cruise Line Special Offers page.