Whether you have been on a cruise or not, chances are you have heard of the Disney Cruise Line. What if Disney World was a ship bound for the Bahamas, with all the “Disney magic” you’ve come to expect from corporate vacation destinations. That said, if you’re like me, you thought they were designed to entertain families (read: kids) and did not think it would be a great vacation for those without children. Then, as challenged by Disney, I was invited to the christening sail on the company’s newest ship, the Wish. Imagine my surprise that I was wrong.
To be completely honest, I love Disney stuff. I visit the parks regularly, tend to watch most of the movies and have seen Mickey Mouse cartoons since I was a kid. Cruises, however, seemed to be a different story. In my mind, would be aimed at children, filled with the kind of activities that would ultimately not appeal to me, an adult looking for a relaxing vacation. It has kept me away from cruises, in general, all my life until now. When you do not have children, being around them does not seem so relaxing.
What I have learned, however, is that these cruises are not just for kids or families – there is plenty for adults to do where children are just not allowed. Plus, the fare for all ages on the ship – including food, entertainment and activities – is pretty good even if you are an adult and do not lug a child.
And that’s the important point to remember here. Disney cruises are not just for kids and families. The Disney Cruise Company has placed great emphasis on making this an engaging experience for adults who like their vacations to be Disney-flavored. From food and drink to out-of-ship excursions and extras you can pay extra for, it’s easy to spend a child-free vacation aboard one of the company’s ships while saturating the Disney tab inside you.
Let’s start with the most obvious place, with the food. The Wish offers a trio of rotating restaurants. This means that you will be scheduled for one of these services per. dinner, allowing you to eat all three during your cruise. The restaurants are Worlds of Marvel (a Marvel Studios-themed dining experience), Arendelle (a frozen-themed dining experience) and 1923 (an “old Hollywood” restaurant).
Worlds of Marvel and Arendelle are both very family friendly restaurants, with “shows” during your meal. Marvels takes place mostly on screens and has a number of MCU faces (Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily and others repeating their roles). Arendelle, on the other hand, sees a live musical performance take place in the middle of the dining room shortly after the events of Frozen 2.
If you are looking for alone time away from families and children, this is not the best bet. In both restaurants you sit next to other tables, almost as if you all share large tables. If the theme is something you want to enjoy, it’s probably worth giving it a show. However, you should note that Worlds of Marvel was certainly not as impressive as I hoped. Most of the action takes place on screens around the room, and for the majority of the meal, clips from various MCU movies record screen time. The original sequence (which includes a handful of well-known superheroes) is funny, but it’s certainly not a requirement.
Then there is 1923, which is a more low-key dinner. Instead of an “immersive dining experience”, this is more of an upscale restaurant with no live entertainment. In addition, your tables are not lined up next to each other, giving you plenty of space to enjoy your meal in peace.
All three restaurants have unique menus (though all include steak, seafood and chicken options) and all had clear highlights. While I would say that 1923 had the best meal of the rotating restaurants (order the corn juice with pretty much everything else), there is something to enjoy about them all. And if you do not mind the calories and plan to spend, remember that you can order everything from the menu, including several items, and it is all included in the price.
What if you want a more exquisite dining experience? This is where Wishs restaurants for adults only come in. There are two on the ship, Palo (found on other Disney cruises) and Enchante. Both offer really fine dining, but they are also not included in the price of the cruise. If you want to make fine dining, you have to pay for it. Still, for an exclusive dining experience away from the screaming kids or family feuds that may arise, it’s worth it.
And if none of that works for you, there are fast food kiosks around the ship with plenty of free food (BBQ, Mexican, pizza, ice cream, etc.) and room service is also included in the price of your cruise. There are lots of options and they are all very tasty.
If you are going on vacation, there is a high probability that you will enjoy adult drinks along the way. You’re in luck, because even though Disney’s cruise ships do not include casinos or nightclubs, they certainly have bars – and luckily most of them have the Disney theme you’re looking for.
The Wish in particular even has a Star Wars bar. The Hyperspace Lounge is a cool area of the ship that is basically a somewhat exclusive bar in the Star Wars universe. Here, they serve all kinds of unique Star Wars cocktails, including the $ 5,000 you’ve heard of. There are also theme bars inspired by Cinderella, The Princess and the Frog, Beauty and the Beast and even a sports bar with a Viking theme. There is something for everyone. There is also the Quiet Cove area on the ship, which is an infinity pool, bar and cafe for adults only, at the back of the ship.
Please note that while most bars are for adults only, the Hyperspace Lounge is open to families during the day and a selection of non-alcoholic beverages is available. Also remember that alcohol is not included in the price of the cruise, so bring your purse.
Did you know that Disney has a private island? Even if you do not have it, it is probably not that hard to believe. Disney, of course, has its own island. Castaway Cay is a destination that virtually all Disney Bahamas cruises stop at – and with good reason. If you are on a cruise, you will probably want to spend some time on the beach. But the prospect of spending the day hanging out on a beach full of families may not be so appealing. Fortunately, the island has Serenity Bay beach for adults only. You get there by tram, and although there is not as much to do as on the family beach: there is a bar, restaurant and lots of sand and sea to enjoy.
Many things are included in the price of the cruise, but not all. There are several things to do on the ship that will cost you money, but these are certainly not things you should expect to see large families participate in. For example, I had a date at Hooks Barbery, which Disney describes as “a salon inspired of Captain Hook’s private quarters aboard Jolly Roger. ” There I got haircuts, shaves, nail treatments, scalp massages and facials. It costs a nice penny, but the comfort and tranquility were worth it. And since we’re just done talking about bars, you should know that the best bar on the ship is in this hair salon. Hook’s includes a “secret” whiskey bar, filled with rare whiskeys and run by a bartender who was ready and willing to guide me through customizing my own old game. You do not have to have a razor reservation to visit this bar (I should know I have been there four times) and it is definitely a must if you are on Wish.
There is also a Tangled-themed beauty salon on the ship, a full-service spa and even the Rainforest Room – a popular spot on Disney ships. The rainforest space is an area with limited capacity on the ships with steam baths, hot tubs and more to help you relax. You have to pay for a pass, but if you really want to relax, chances are it’s worth it.
While there is undoubtedly plenty for kids and families to do aboard the Disney Wish and the company’s other cruise ships, just as there is plenty for them to do in theme parks, it is not exclusive to them. Before my trip, I told several people that I planned to use the desire to convince myself that I am not a cruiser. I had never been involved in a single case, did not know if I would enjoy them, and thought that something so Disney-centered and family-oriented would make me hesitate to do it again. Instead, I’m already planning my next trip.
The amount of thought that goes into entertaining adults when there are no children nearby is significant. And while, yes, doping a lot of adult experiences means you’ll pay more out of pocket, the luxury that comes with it is worth it. I can not compare them to cruise lines from other companies as I have never experienced them before. But when we talked to other journalists who have seen the ship with much more experience than me, the unanimous answer was that the Disney Cruise Line is the gold standard.
Now, if casinos and nightclubs are what you are looking for on a cruise, this is definitely not the company for you. But if you’re a Disney Parks fan and looking for a relaxing vacation that doesn’t include spending four hours queuing to ride some sort of roller coaster, a Disney cruise is definitely worth the price – and it’s still cheaper than Star Wars hotel so it has it all.
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