Cruising with the Family; Disney Style
Disney Cruises… Magic for the Whole Family
I should start by saying that we have only been on three cruises. The first, was a Holland America Cruise shortly after my husband graduated from law school, with friends. It was SO fun, and I highly recommend it. We loved everything about that experience and Holland America as a cruise line was great. Our next cruising experience would not come for 8 more years when we took our family on our first Disney Cruise.
Disney is not a huge part of our family. We have been to Disneyland several times and to Disney World once, but we aren’t a Disney Family. However, I had heard how amazing Disney Cruises were for families and my kids were the perfect ages. At the time, my oldest son was 9, my second son was 7 and my daughter had just turned 3 and believed that Disney princesses are, in fact; real. We decided to leave my baby who was 8 months old at the time, home.
Which Cruise to Choose…
There are a lot of choices when going on a Disney Cruise. Disney offers cruises all over the world at different times of the year, on four different ships. It is important to know a couple of things when choosing a Disney Cruise…
First, Disney offers cruises in the Caribbean all year round. In the rest of the world, the cruises are seasonal. These seasonal cruises in places like Hawaii, Alaska and Europe are only offered a few weeks out of the year. For this reason, these cruises are usually more expensive. Additionally, there are different length of cruises on different ships, which also changes the price.
Second, Magic and Wonder are the original two ships, both have been recently renovated and offer different itineraries throughout the year. The Dream and Fantasy are the two newer ships and are larger than the original two. They typically stay in the Caribbean all year offering different itineraries and lengths of cruises.
Third, the time of year that you cruise matters. If you take a cruise that incorporates a holiday like Christmas, New Years or Thanksgiving you will pay significantly more. However, if you cruise during the fall or late spring in the Caribbean, you typically will find better prices. It pays to be flexible and shop around.
What Makes Disney Magic.
EVERYTHING. From start to finish we had an amazing time. They think of every detail. We have done both the Eastern and Western Itineraries of the seven day Caribbean Cruise on the Fantasy. After our first cruise, we loved it so much that we went back 18 months later and this time took our baby who had just turned 2.
Disney is great for the whole family. The ship is beautiful. It is definitely Disney themed but in a classy rather than obnoxious or gaudy way. The staff is perfect. Amazingly attentive without being pushy. My husband, who went kicking and screaming the first time, loved the Disney Cruise. He is the one who suggested we go again.
The Kids Clubs. The kids clubs are magic. All of my kids love them. There are 4…
The nursery; this is just for babies. You have to make reservations for this one and it isn’t free. However, they took great care of my baby and we were able to leave him during the day to take our older boys snorkeling.
The Oceanear Club and Lab; for kids ages 3-10. My kids had the best time in here. They play games, do crafts, eat meals and have special Disney guests show up to entertain them. Each child gets a wrist band when you board the ship that allows you to track them on board and gives them entrance to the kids clubs. All you have to do is swipe their wrist band and in they go. The staff even comes around at dinner to pick the kids up and take them to play so you can finish eating.
Edge; for kids 11-14. This is a great place for Tweens and young Teenagers to hang out and be with kids their own age group. My nieces and nephews have been to Edge and really liked having a space that was set apart for just them.
Vibe; Teens 14-17. This again is a place for older teenagers to hang out and escape their little siblings. I haven’t had any kids that I know visit here, but I hear its fun.
The best part about the kids clubs is that it gives everyone in the family a place to go. My husband & I were able to go to dinner one night alone. We were also able to take our older boys snorkeling while my little kids were happy, entertained and still having fun. It made it feel like a vacation for everyone including the parents and that does not always happen when you are traveling as a family.
Why we will be back…
In the end, Disney really just does it right. After both cruises, all of my kids have continued to talk about their trip for months afterwards, even going so far as to recount what they were doing each day while on the cruise. We have fun together as a family and everyone is happy and has fun. That makes for a great vacation and will keep us going back for years to come!!
Check out my favorite restaurants, ports, fun facts and helpful Disney Cruise Tips all this week on the blog.