Greg and I just returned from our anniversary cruise a couple days ago. To say that we had an amazing time? Well, that would be an egregious understatement, although probably not surprising. What might surprise you, though, was that we cruised on the Disney Cruise Line without our kids! Yes, you read that right. And we would do it again in a heartbeat.
It was four days of ultimate relaxation and pampering, amazing food and delicious beverages. We had time on a beautiful beach, at a relaxing spa, and in a spacious stateroom with a balcony. And I didn’t see Mickey Mouse, not even one time! Pinky swear!
Now, of course, there were plenty of opportunities to see Captain Mickey and his pals, had we wanted to. But we didn’t. See, when we chose this cruise, it wasn’t our first time on the DCL. We knew what we were getting into, Disney-wise, and we knew how to make the best of this freedom from our offspring without metaphorically drowning in other people’s children.
So, if you’ve ever wondered if you could or should cruise on Disney without your kiddos…
If you’ve ever thought people who did so were out of their dang minds…
Let me clear things up a bit for you, m’kay? Here goes.
I can’t say enough about Disney’s staterooms. They are spacious and so well-maintained. And the bathrooms! Good golly, how awesome are they? Most rooms on a Disney boat have split-bathrooms. This means that there are two separate bathrooms spaces. Behind one door, you have a toilet/sink/mirror set up. Behind the other, you have another sink/mirror and a tub/shower! Like an actual bathtub that my 5’7″ self could stretch my legs out in. It’s amazing. Add to that a queen size bed, two closets, plenty of drawers and cabinets to hold all of your things, and a raised bed that you can hide your suitcases under — what more could you want?!
We also knew that the food was going to be out of this world. Rotational dining at the three restaurants for dinner makes certain that you have a different experience for each night of your cruise. When we registered for the cruise, I made sure to request that we were seated by ourselves and Disney came through. Dinner for two every night with exceptional service by our waiters – couldn’t be better! The buffet that is open for breakfast and lunch offers a plethora of goodness, too. But one of the things we love the most is having room service set up to bring us coffee and donuts every morning and eating it on our balcony. Sublime!
And, in the spirit of honesty, we also knew that the bevvies on this ship were both delicious and readily available. The adults-only areas of the ship (the spa, one of the pools, and a couple bars/lounges) really are kid free! And they are also teeming with nice young men who are happy to bring you pretty much any drink your heart desires, day and night. One of my favorites, though, was Disney’s traditional Dole Whip with a twist. On these ships, you can get a Dole Whip with a hefty pour of rum mixed in. It is stupid delicious, I tell you!
Disney’s Castaway Cay may just be one of my favorite places on the planet. The beaches are amazing. The food in the restaurants on the island is just as awesome as anything you’ll get on ship. And there is something to do that will appeal to anyone in your party, no matter their age. Since we had only ever cruised with the kids, we had never made it to Serenity Bay, the adults-only beach on the island. Well, let me tell you, we couldn’t have been happier with how divine and (dare I say) serene it was. Easily accessible by tram from the ship, it was never at all crowded. There were plenty of beach chairs and lounges available for anybody who wanted some. And the water! Crystal clear, stunningly blue, and the absolute perfect temperature.
Another thing we hadn’t done before, but are so glad we did, was purchase passes to the Rainforest Room in the spa. This experience really seems to be the hidden gem of cruising on Disney as there isn’t a lot of “official” information about it on the website. You can get passes either in person on the first day of your cruise or ahead of time by searching online. This is what we did, and I couldn’t believe how economical this treat was!
For the grand total of $130, we got two three-day passes to use the aromatherapy showers, the three saunas, the heated stone lounge chairs and the jacuzzi tubs that are part of the spa. Talk about the ultimate in relaxation! When the sun got too hot or we wanted to wind down before getting ready for dinner, we hightailed it to the Rainforest Room. Best of all, the spa is another kid-free area of the ship!
I wish I had thought to take even one picture the night we went to Remy for dinner. But, alas, I did not. I was too busy, I guess, being totally awed by the 9-course French dinner that was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Too busy watching the perfectly timed sunset over the still as glass ocean. Too busy sipping champagne with the love of my life. At an additional $125/person, was it a splurge? Yes, of course. But was it worth every penny? I think it was. (Note: There is another opportunity for some upscale adult-only dining with a lower price tag. Palo is an excellent option at $40/person.)
Greg and I were both surprised by just how quiet the adult pool was despite its proximity to the family pools. It was the magic of Disney at work, I tell you, that kept the screams of kiddos and the volume of the dive-in movie from invading our space. Not only was it quiet, but the swim up bar was fantastic, the lounge chairs super comfortable, and the music they play is distinctly non-Disney but island appropriate.
Another nice surprise was the amazing spot we found where we could watch the Pirate Night fireworks without the hubbub of the crowd. On the Palo side of the Meridian bar, there is a lovely balcony. And right above that balcony is where the fireworks explode. Grab a glass of wine or a cocktail and a seat at one of the tables and sit back to watch the magic happen. It’s quite delightful!
So, would we do it again?
In a word, Abso-freaking-lutely!
Of course, I can’t not mention how fantastic the games and shows were in the adult lounge after dinner. Or how fantastic it was to be taken care of on such a Disney-level without having to pay homage to the Mouse himself.
I hope that in this post I have managed to persuade you that cruising with Disney sans-children is a great idea. If not, I hope that I’ve at least made fewer people think we were crazy for celebrating our 20th anniversary aboard the Disney Dream.
Here’s to next time, Disney! In the words of Mickey Mouse, I hope to see you real soon!