I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “cruises aren’t for me” or “I could never do a Disney Cruise - too many kids”! And in all honesty, I probably used to feel the same. But having worked behind the scenes years ago, it was revealed to me that we had all been missing a trick and I was gobsmacked. I'd been missing out on the ridiculously high standards of customer service, the element of surprise and magic at every opportunity and the attention to detail. I’ve highlighted a few reasons why, as an adult, you might just want to try cruising with Disney.
Kids are hilarious!
I seriously believe that kids make the best entertainment! And I don’t mean the various melodramatic meltdowns that you might see taking place around the ship - I mean high quality entertainment. It really is a great place for children (and adults) to live out their long awaited Disney Channel fantasies. One of the highlights of the cruise for me was an event called Jack-Jack’s Diaper Dash. This race is themed after The Incredibles and takes place in the middle of the 3-storey atrium. It consists of a large crash mat with individual lanes printed on it and LOTS of theme music from Rocky and other sports movies. Parents can enter their crawling toddlers into the race and one adult sits at either end whilst they coax their children to cross the finish line in the fastest time. It’s adorable, each of the toddlers have race numbers on their backs and respond to iPads, toys and encouragement from their adults. Of course what makes it so entertaining is that it’s completely unpredictable and all of the toddlers are so easily distracted. There were mini tantrums, naps, toddler's socialising, sudden changes of direction, toddler sabotage and endless entertainment for all of us. Every balcony in the atrium was jam-packed and anyone listening to the commotion from the outside would think that it was the Olympic stadium.
Before you embark on your Disney Cruise Line adventure, I recommend that you stop off at the supermarket. DCL allow you to take an alcohol allowance for each adult cruising - it's the equivalent of one bottle of spirit, a couple bottles of wine or a 6 pack of beer. It may not sound like a lot, but every little helps when you are paying Disney prices and living your best "YOLO" life paying on your room key all cruise long. It's nice to be able to pop back to the cabin and pour yourself a generous serving of ice cold wine in a souvenir Mickey cup before heading up to the top deck. For the times that your shop-bought drinks just don't cut it, there are an incredible selection of cocktails available of every Disney Cruise and it's worth noting that they will happily add alcohol to any beverage for you.
The best kids clubs in the world
This is definitely a huge benefit to booking a Disney Cruise - Imagine all of your childhood Disney Channel dreams coming true whilst sailing across the sea with your favourite Disney Characters. You get the opportunity to experience the most interactive game shows and making friends from literally all over the world. The kids club activities vary from making slime in a Flubber science workshop, to dancing with Snow White, and everything in between. Mix this with a team of happy-go-lucky kids club hosts who spoil your children with magic and surprises, and you can pretty much guarantee that the kids are taken care of - so you are free to enjoy your time when you want to relax. Not only this, but even adults get the opportunity to experience the kids clubs. Every day there are Open House activities hosted by the activities team, and you'll find the adults letting their inner children takeover as they take part in a soap-racing competition or whizz down the slide in Andy's over-sized toy room.
Private adult pools
There are certain areas on the ship that are reserved for adults only - so for the times that you want to bury your head in a book, take a break from the over-tired tantrum-ing toddlers and hear peaceful sax music instead of kids giggling in the Mickey fountains - this spot is for you! There are even bar stools that allow your feet to dangle in the pool whilst your sip your refreshing cocktails, an adults-only coffee shop with an extravagant selection of delicious cakes and sun loungers that are so comfortable, they make you feel as though you're still lying in bed. Absolute heaven!
It's also worth mentioning that Disney actually have a private island in the Bahamas! It's called Disney's Castaway Cay. The only people allowed to visit are the Disney crew members who live there, and the guests from the cruise ship when it docks. It's a tiny island that you could explore easily in a few hours - but it's absolute paradise. White-powdery sand beaches, turquoise and teal waters, plus all you can eat food (and ice cream) prepared by the ship's chefs. Not only that, but in true Disney fashion, there is also an Adults Only Private Beach on the far side of the island. Just imagine over-sized hammocks hanging from the palm trees, beach huts serving the most refreshing cocktails and live acoustic music acting as your playlist as you soak up the rays of the Bahamian sun. If you're lucky enough to get a low tide on the day you visit, you can walk out across the rippled white sand for quite a while before your toes touch the crystal clear waters.
We spent most of our day relaxing at the adult beach before we headed over to Pelican Plunge - a water slide that sits out in the ocean. This was another of those magical moments that I became a kid again - I giggled until my throat hurt, swallowed a little too much sea water and got drenched in the splash zones. Top tip - save this for the end of the day! There are less queues later on and it's quite nice for you and your group to feel like you have it all to yourself.
Fine Dining Restaurants
It's common knowledge that all of the restaurants on a Disney Cruise are incredible. They have great international chefs, unique menus and are themed down to the finest detail. When you get onto the ship, you are provided with your family dining rotation details - this means that you will get the opportunity to eat at all of the themed restaurants during your cruise. Disney also ensure that you are well looked after by your dining team by rotating them along with your dinner bookings. So if you have a particular server on the first night of the cruise, they will serve you for every dinner that you have on the ship.
As fantastic as the family dining is - there is the opportunity to upgrade to the Adults Only fine dining restaurants - these are out of this world! There is an additional cover charge for the fine dining restaurants (I have only ever eaten in Palo) and to say it's worth every penny is a huge understatement. It's Italian themed, with lots of delicious courses and palette cleansers. It is definitely what I would a "dining experience" rather than a meal. I indulged in an Italian ham platter, herb-crusted lamb chops, truffle ravioli, chocolate souffle, and many other rich taster courses in between. In all of the restaurants, you are welcome to eat as much as you can manage; I mean this very literally. If you want three starters, or you can't decide between the lamb or the swordfish main course - you have both! It gives you the opportunity to try so many different dishes, which is all very exciting on day one, but by day four - you will feel like a stuffed pepper and need to do a few laps around the running deck to compensate for it.
Say “hello” to your inner child
Disney Cruises are designed to create an environment for adults to release their inner child with no judgement. If you want to play rock paper scissors with the Disney characters, go right ahead. If you want to sit on the top deck eating unlimited ice cream and binge watch Disney movies on the huge Funnel Vision screen - be our guest. If you want to wear Minnie Mouse ears to match every outfit and eat Mickey-Mouse shaped snacks until you burst - sure! And of course, if you want to keep going on the Aqua-Duck water slide screaming like a toddler - you're more than welcome to. We all know that in our day to day life, it's not very often that we get the opportunity to be a kid again, play dress-up and cry our eyes out watching are favourite Disney movies come to life on stage. These cruises are a true escape from the everyday reality of life and I think it's a big part of why it's not uncommon to see adults cruising with groups of friends or a few elderly couples sprinkled among the families that are sailing.
Night life and game shows
Not only are there Adults Only pools and restaurants - but on a Disney Cruise there is an entire Adults Only section of the ship. On the Disney Dream, it features a live music lounge, a champagne bar, a pub and a late night club. It's great for midnight snacks (jalapeno poppers, chicken wings, Chinese dumplings!!), live music sessions, game shows and comedy nights. On our last night of the cruise, we also had a Silent Disco which I loved - it was so much fun letting our hair down and guzzling down Disney's infamous cocktails. Drink plenty of water though, a hangover at sea can be brutal.
I know that this probably sounds like one long blog about me not wanting kids anywhere near me whilst I'm on holiday - which is absolutely not the case! I just know that Disney doesn't necessarily appeal to people unless they are travelling with children. In my opinion I feel that you get the best of both worlds on a Disney Cruise - a great balance for adults and children, where each generation can have their own fun, but come together and have a great family holiday too. I also admit that it is quite magical seeing the excitement through children's eyes - it makes us become more carefree and really immerse ourselves into the magic of Disney.
Trust me, if you haven't tried one before, I highly recommend that you add a Disney Cruise to your bucket list. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised :)
Thanks for reading, and in the words of Disney, "Have a magical day"