When we came back from our sailing on the Disney Magic, some of our friends were astonished. “You were stuck on a boat with a thousands kids?!” they asked. But the truth is, with more and more brands selling in the family market, you will encounter a lot of kids on any vacation.
Even though no one in our group was under 21, we trusted that Disney Cruise Line (DCL) would deliver quality hospitality. We can assure you, you won’t be visiting a floating version of Disneyland. There are plenty of elements that make a Disney Cruise perfect for adults. Here’s what you can expect.
A Luxury Ocean Liner
The Disney fleet has four ships. All of them are designed with a beautiful Art Deco influence. During our sailing we took the “Art of the Theme” tour. You can find the schedule for this activity on your Navigator app. The tour took us through the design of the ship and explained how everything was imagineered to feel like a luxury ocean liner from the “golden age of sailing”. Unlike other ships that are designed to be modern but quickly feel dated, the DCL fleet feels timeless. On the formal night you will feel like you are dressing up for a roaring 20’s affair. The vintage theming continues through all aspects of the ship.
As a contrast to the opulent public spaces, you will find that your stateroom is cozy with a classic nautical feel. We opted for a veranda room and enjoyed the extra space and sunlight. The veranda also serves as an ideal setting for a nightly aperitif. DCL allows each adult to bring on two bottles of wine at the beginning of their voyage and at each port of call. Because we were cruising though the Mediterranean, each port had delicious varietals to choose from. We paired our Italian Barbera with a selection of French chocolate from Nice. Instead of paying a corkage fee to drink our wine in public areas, room service brought us stemware so we could enjoy a glass before dinner each night.
Kid-free relaxation does not end in your personal stateroom. The ship has entire areas dedicated to guests who are 18+. One of the first adult only spaces we visited was Senses Salon and Spa. Weeks before boarding, you will be able to check in online and start booking your excursions. During this time, you can also book on board activities such as spa treatments. In order to make the most of our first day, we scheduled a post embarkation couples massage. This was a romantic way to let go of travel stress and begin a wonderful week of vacation.
Our favorite kid-free zone was the Quiet Cove Pool & Signals Bar. It is located away from the larger family pool, near the Cove Cafe. Be sure to ask a bartender about the drink of the day, as this special will be less expensive than other cocktail options on the pool menu. You can also purchase a re-usable cup at the beginning of your trip. Not only is it a cheap souvenir, it is larger than the disposable cups so you will get more each round!
If you don’t get a chance to drink by the pool, you can visit After Hours in the evening. This area of the ship has multiple bars and lounges for you to enjoy. If you are looking for a nightlife/casino vibe, you won’t find it on a Disney Cruise, but you can expect good entertainment, craft cocktails and a very classy nightcap. The theming ranges from a lively Irish pub to a swanky piano lounge.
DCL also offers beverage classes that can be booked in advance or during the sailing. We signed up for a whisk(e)y tasting and met some new friends on board. As expected from Disney, the staff member leading the group was both entertaining and informative. We have been to wine and spirits tastings all over the world and found this to be one of the best we’ve experienced.
But you can’t have fancy cocktails without trying some delicious food first!
Each ship has three themed sit down restaurants in addition to the buffet and pool side offerings. In order to try all three spots for dinner, Disney has a rotational dining program. At the beginning of your cruise, you will be assigned a restaurant schedule and rotate through them all. Even though your dining venue changes, the wait-staff taking care of you remains consistent. This leads to a great relationship with your waiter. Whether you have a dietary restriction or a preference for a certain dessert, your waiter will get to know you and anticipate your needs for customized service.
In addition to the wonderful staff, the food itself is well prepared. Keep in mind, the crew serves upwards of 1,000 people each night. But even with this volume, you will find an extensive selection of carefully prepared dishes.
The menu choices at each restaurant match the storytelling themes. For example, the restaurant Lumière’s has French inspired cuisine because it is based on the character from Beauty and the Beast.
For an additional fee, you can also dine at the adult only restaurant. Being on the Disney Magic Ship, we dined at Palo. Palo has a Venetian theme and is open for brunch or dinner. The service and food at Palo is more than worth the extra fee. Examples of our favorite items include truffle oil parmesan, caviar, and champagne jello. We initially booked reservations in advance for brunch, but we loved our waiter so much we came back for dinner the next night! We were lucky enough to get a table right before dusk. Because of Palos floor to ceiling glass windows, we were able to watch the sunset over Mt. Vesuvius while we sailed out of port.
Of course a cruise is more than just the ship! Disney offers adult only excursions at most of their ports of call. Our cruise sailed out of Barcelona, into Naples, Civitavecchia, Livorno and Villefranche. We selected a mix of Disney led tours and private excursions. Although our adult only excursion to a Mt. Vesuvius winery was cancelled due to road conditions, we were able to book a family tour to the archaeological site of Pompeii. Even with kids on the bus, the tour guides kept them entertained. We also took an all ages tour of Nice, Èze and Monte Carlo. The lunch included a surprising amount of lunchtime libations to ensure all of the adults felt the wine and dine glamour of the French Riviera.For more information about our excursion itineraries, check out our other blog posts.
Overall, we were very impressed by Disney Cruise Line’s ability to serve all age groups. The company’s legendary service, combined with the beauty of the Mediterranean made for a perfect grown-up getaway!