Disney Cruise Excursions : The Magic of Disney Sails at Sea
The Disney Cruise Line offers a new kind of Disney vacation that provides guests with a magical experience onboard ships and at different ports of call. The Disney Cruise Line offer three-, four-, and seven-night excursions to several destinations. Rates vary depending on the cruise length, destination, dining packages, staterooms, and onboard activities that guests would like to avail.
Where It All Started
The Disney Cruise Line launched its first ship Disney Magic in July 1998, and from then on has been making cruising a genuine experience for the whole family. Prior to Disney Cruise Line’s entering the business in 1999, most cruise line services and facilities catered to adults, giving little consideration to children. Before having its own cruise line, Disney’s official cruise line for the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida was the Premier Cruise Lines. Premier had already been offering Disney-themed packages on their cruise ships, including stays at the resort, before signing a contract with Disney in 1985. After the ten-year contract ended, Disney embarked on its own, contracting the Fincantieri Shipyard in Italy, to make its first liner Disney Magic. Disney Wonder followed, setting sail on August 1999. Disney Dream is the newest ship in service, having its maiden voyage on January 2011. Disney Fantasy will soon set sail in March 2012.
The Magical Four
The four Disney Cruise Line ships Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy were created especially for families. The ships boast of activities and facilities for guests of every age. Each vessel is packed with restaurants, pools, play areas, nightclubs, shops, and recreational facilities that ensure guests will have plenty to do between ports. Staterooms come in standard or suite options to accommodate families of all sizes, and dining areas range from casual eateries for the family to adult-exclusive gourmet restaurants and lounges. There are programs and hands-on activity centers for kids and teens alike, and the pools also welcome guests from different age groups. One of the highlights of the Disney Cruise is the onboard entertainment—from live original Broadway-style shows, movies, and meet-and-greet sessions with Disney characters.
The journey onboard the Disney Cruise Line ships is magical in itself, but the destination can be just as exciting and memorable. Guests are also given guided explorations in international ports of call, and activities abound for families, children and adults alike. The Disney Cruise Line offers trips to Alaska & the Pacific Coast, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera, and Canada & New England.
The Disney Cruise Line offers whale watching, souvenir shopping, and touring to historic mining towns in Alaska and the Pacific Coast. From afar, guests are already treated to a view of Alaska’s natural beauty—glaciers, evergreen forests, and stately mountains. On the way to Alaska, the cruise makes a stopover in California and Canada before gliding through the Inside Passage to the three historic ports of Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan.
The Caribbean cruise takes guests to lounge, surf and dive around Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach, lets them explore shops for luxury goods in the marketplaces of the Virgin Islands, and invites them to immerse in the rich cultural blend of St. Maarten. The Bahamas cruise also features beaches and fun-filled activities in Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island and recreation area. Another sun-filled Disney cruise takes guests to the Mexican Riviera’s beach towns to do water sports and bargain shopping. Sunbathing, snorkelling, and sightseeing in the historic towns are also available options for those taking this cruise.
A Disney cruise excursion would not complete without experiencing the wide selection of food offered by the different restaurants and eateries onboard. Three uniquely-themed restaurants are staffed with personal servers who accompany guests throughout the cruise. Disney Magic and Disney Wonder has festive, Caribbean-themed Parrot Cay with a bamboo and green-leaf motif. Disney Dream’s Enchanted Garden gives guests an elegant, idyllic dining atmosphere with trellises, ornamental light posts, and a seven-foot tall cascading fountain. The three ships all have Animator’s Palate which features an ever-changing environment from black and white to color, where guests can watch Disney’s classic animated films. Other themed restaurants include Triton’s, specializing in seafood; Lumiere’s that offers Continental cuisine; and the elegant Royal Palace with its ornate décor, chandelier, rose carpet, and marble flooring. The three Disney cruise ships also feature an adults-only restaurant, Palo.
Being in between ports doesn’t mean that guests will have nothing to do—there are several activities for everyone. Deck activities include basketball, street hockey, shuffleboard, and ping pong, and guests can also run on the track which offers a view of the open sea. Arcade games are also available. Families can enjoy deck parties and the cruise’s fireworks show, watch original Broadway-style shows, swim in the pools, and even show their talent in karaoke.
The Disney Cruise ships all have nurseries for very young children aged three months to three years. The children are cared for by trained counselors to give parents time to enjoy adult-oriented activities. For older children aged three to seven, Disney Cruise Line has the Oceaneer Club, where the children can play dress up, interact with other children in games, learn in the computer lab, and participate in a variety of supervised activities and programs run by trained counselors. Similar but age-appropriate activities are available for kids aged 8-10 and 11-13.
Teenagers onboard the Disney cruise ships have their own exclusive hangout. The Stack is designed with the teen culture in mind, offering an ideal place to hang out with friends. Its coffee shop style invites teens to surf the Internet, play videogames, and watch movies. The teens-only hangout is chaperoned by counselors who can relate with the teens, making the young guests feel comfortable and unrestricted as much as possible.
Freshwater swimming pools for every age group are available onboard the Disney cruise ships. Children can enjoy Mickey’s Pool that features a fountain play area for young children who are not yet toilet trained. Goofy’s Pool in Disney Wonder and Disney Magic, and Donald’s Pool in Disney Dream, welcome the whole family to take a dip in two big spas while listening to live music from the nearby stage, or while watching Disney animated features or live-action movies on the LED screen. The Quiet Cove Pool is exclusively for adult guests and offers two whirlpool spas with a nearby poolside bar. Other facilities are spas and salons and a fitness center.
With the variety of activities, facilities, dining options, and places to go to, Disney Cruise Line surely provides a magical experience for families at sea and on land.