If you have ever sailed with Disney Cruise Line, you know what I mean when I say there is nothing like it. Everything, from your first step on to the ship to turndown service, is filled with a little extra pixie dust. Cast Members work to make you feel like you are a VIP and you leave the ship wondering how soon until you can return.
It took me 16 years to get back to my “home on the seas,” after my first trip in 2002, but it did not disappoint.
My first trip was a 7-Night Western Caribbean aboard the Magic that I took with my family. I enjoyed playing in the Oceaneers Club, being 10 years old at the time, while also exploring the ship with my family that spanned three generations (the oldest being 82). Each of us remembers different parts of the trip, but all of us remember it fondly.
Fast forward 16 years and I am boarding the Magic once again for a 5-Night Eastern Caribbean Very Merry Time Cruise. This time however I am accompanied by my brother, sister-in-law, and boyfriend, ranging in age from 26 to 33. As one would expect, we had a much different cruise than my first, spending time in the adult only pool area, taking advantage of the Rainforest Room in the spa, and taking part in the adult only night time activities like the “Shipmates” (Disney Cruise Line’s version of the Newlyweds Game). However, we left with the same feeling I had the first time I sailed with Disney Cruise Line – when can I go back?
Disney Cruise Line has been able to create an experience that appeals to generations, with people returning year after year. Aspects of the scheduling, layout, and “show” allow cruisers to build the vacation they want with little effort other than finding their way around the ship.
Looking back on both of my voyages aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Magic, a few aspects stood out as key ways that Disney create a ship filled with enjoyment for multiple age groups.
Age Specific Areas
On every Disney ship there are specific areas for cruises of all ages. From the nursery, through the three different children/teen areas, up to adult only spaces, Disney has created sections of the ship that appeal to each age group, with specific activities, entertainment, and food offerings. For example, adults can take advantage of a private pool, bar, spa, and gym area.
Spaces are closed to cruisers who do not fall within the given age group other than during the “Open House” on the first day. I would suggest checking out all of the areas during the Open House, as each have aspects that are uniquely Disney – you’ll also probably wind up wishing you could play in the Oceaneers Lab!
Dinner seatings and the nightly main entertainment are offered at two times. Many families tend to select the first dinner seating, meaning that the second dinner seating is often filled with adult travelers or those with teens. If you are an adult cruiser hoping to limit your interaction with younger cruisers, select the later dinner seating.
Every day Disney Cruise Line distributes the Navigator – a schedule of events for the day. The Navigator is available on the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App (a must have to easily communicate with your fellow cruisers, keep track of your schedule, and send fun Disney emojis!) and is placed in your stateroom each evening if you would like a hard copy. The Navigator clearly outlines the day, including port of call, the evening performance on the main stage, as well as all daily activities. The schedule is laid out by both time and age group, making it simple for a family with a 4 year old and 9 year old to find activities that line up so that the parents may attend an adult only activity, such as Mixology.
There are also many activities that are open to all ages, allowing multi-generational parties to enjoy time together.
Apart from the incredible offerings in the three main dining rooms, all Disney ships offer additional dining experiences for adults in Paolo and Remy (only on Dream and Fantasy). Both Paolo and Remy are an additional cost and require a reservation. Each offers brunch and dinner and are often mentioned as people’s favorite part of their cruise.
No matter what age, Disney has created opportunities for guests of any generation to have an unforgettable experience. It’s no wonder that 16 years later, I still felt the same dread when I had to say “see ya real soon” to the Magic.
Have you cruised with Disney at different ages? What did you think of your experiences?