As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
I’ve had several people send me Facebook messages over the past few days, asking about our cruise. In fact, one person said she feared we didn’t like it because she didn’t see me sharing much about it. That isn’t the case. We did like it. Though I will say it was different than what we expected (or maybe we simply didn’t know what to expect since we had never cruised before).
In any case, I do plan to share daily trip reports (like I do after all our vacations); but I wanted to get some initial thoughts shared first. So, here you go . . . the good, the bad, and the ugly (not really any ugly) of the Disney Cruise Line . . .
The ship is huge but often seems very crowded
We were on the Disney Dream (one of the larger ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet). It’s like a jumbo hotel that floats. For the size of it, you’d think that there would be plenty of room for people to spread out; but that doesn’t really seem to be the case. Some areas of the ship are very congested with people. The main atrium (which looks much larger on pictures than it appears when you’re actually there – maybe because there aren’t so many people smooshed together on the pictures!) and the areas around the elevators are the worst. In fact, the elevators get so crowded that people often give up waiting and take the stairs. I know we did.
The rooms, though small, are very nice
We were impressed with our room from the moment we entered it. Though I will say that several times throughout the trip I commented that I don’t know where we would have put the kids if we had decided to cruise as a family. And, along the same vein, I can’t quite imagine getting ready in the room with a whole family in there. The bathrooms (yes, there are 2 – or a split bathroom, to be more precise) are pretty small and the “hall” between the closets and the bathroom is very narrow. The area around the couch and desk would be more spacious without the storage chest (but I was glad it was there, as I did make use of it).
We were chatting with cruise aficionados while relaxing on Castaway Cay. They’ve been on many cruise lines and said that, while DCL wasn’t their favorite, they definitely had the nicest rooms. I’m not surprised.
The shows on board are excellent
Each night on board the ship there is a different theatre show. I had heard people compare them to Broadway shows, and I know that shows on Disney property are always good, so I wasn’t surprised at all that these shows were all really good. The one about the Disney Villains wasn’t my favorite, but it was still a good show. There was also a variety act – which, in our case, was an illusionist act. We almost didn’t go that evening, and I’m so glad we did – it was probably my favorite of all 4 shows that we saw on the ship!
The Deck Shows, though, while fun, are definitely more geared toward children.
The photographers will NOT take pictures with YOUR camera
Before actually boarding the ship, you are ushered through a hallway where photographers have backdrops (of the ship) set up and stop you to take your picture. I asked if he could take one with my camera too; he replied that they aren’t allowed to do that. This seemed odd to me, since the Photopass Photographers at WDW will always gladly take pictures with personal cameras. Honestly, I was a bit put off by this. The Disney Cruise Line isn’t cheap to begin with, but then you have to pay for any onboard photographs that you want to take home with you. For this reason, we pretty much avoided having any more “professional” photographs taken during the cruise.
The prices to purchase the photos were, in my opinion, pretty steep. We were going to buy that first photo; but, in the end, we left without it. Shutters, the “shop” on board where you can view and purchase your photos, was almost constantly jam-packed with people. It’s not an idea location, right where people need to pass through to get from point A to point B. (This goes back to my first point!)
There is a TON of food to eat – and it’s all really good
On the first night of our cruise, while waiting for the theatre show to being, Jimmy the Cruise Director welcomed everyone and told us that the motto on the cruise is, “If you see it, eat it!” And there is certainly plenty of food options available to choose from. I can’t imagine anyone going hungry on a Disney cruise – and, if they do, it’s because they are either a really picky eater, or stupid.
In addition to the rotational dining, there is also a very large buffet that you can go to, there’s unlimited soft-serve ice cream (though I wish they gave them flat-bottomed cones as opposed to the pointy ones), and fancier dining restaurants you can reserve as well. You can also order room service (I wanted to try this, but could not justify it as we were never wanting for food!)
We had the opportunity to try some new things that we had never eaten before (such as lamb). I had one thing that I wasn’t 100% thrilled with; but everything else we tasted was really good!
The staff is excellent (as you would expect from Disney)
We literally fell in love with our staff! Our room host was fabulous, always making sure that we had a clean, neat room and fun towel creations. And our dinner servers really made dining on board the Disney Dream so much more fun! I wanted to pack them all up and bring them home with me.
The Bahamas are . . . interesting
My first impression was that the Bahamas was pretty much a waste of time. Because it was our first cruise, I didn’t want to book any excursions – just wanted the stripped down version of the cruise, I guess. If I had it to do over again, I’d definitely book something to do in the Bahamas. Shopping – unless you LOVE jewelry – is a waste of time! And you get accosted by many, many cab drivers, wanting to offer you a ride and/or tour. It’s annoying. We knew this – we’ve been to other countries where people are constantly trying to sell you things. We only spent a few hours walking around – then went back to the ship for lunch and the afternoon.
Castaway Cay is awesome
Much like my beloved Walt Disney World, Castaway Cay just has that Disney “feeling” to it. As soon as you walk off the ship, you can feel it – and see it! We spent much of our time at Serenity Bay (the adult-only beach). It was lovely and relaxing. We ate lunch there as well. But, we also enjoyed strolling through the main part of the island, seeing all that is offered there. We bought some t-shirts and enjoyed just soaking in the sun and the Disney! In fact, I wish I were back there, laying on a beach chair, right now!
Cruising is very laid-back and much less fast-passed than a Disney vacation
I think this is the single reason why I wasn’t convinced – while on the ship – that I was loving this vacation. We are so used to going to Disney World and being on the move from the crack of dawn ’til way after the sun goes down. We walk MILES and MILES on a Disney vacation. We rarely ever see our resort room. On the cruise, it was the exact opposite. We spent time in our room, we laid around and relaxed. I felt like I wasn’t keeping busy enough.
Looking back, though, that was exactly what we needed! And, if someone offered me to go back – right now – I’d take them up on it! Relaxing and being catered to all the time . . . yep, I could get used to that!
Even if you don’t get seasick, you CAN feel the boat moving!
We took motion sickness meds and, thankfully, didn’t need them. But, you can definitely feel the boat moving! The first night, I realized what it meant when people say things about their “sea legs”! I felt a bit like Ariel when she first got legs and had trouble standing up on them! There were times when we’d be sitting in the dining room having dinner and you’d just start feeling yourself literally swaying from side to side! And, I could always feel the ship moving when I was on the toilet! (Weird, but true! If you’re someone, like my oldest daughter, who cannot use the bathroom on a place or bus, you probably better not attempt a cruise!)
While the verdict is still out whether or not we’ll go on a Disney Cruise again, the more I’m removed from it (and able to process it), the more I think the whole experience was pretty positive.
Will we go as a family next time? I’m not sure! I do think that it would be more fun to go with other couples, if the opportunity presented itself.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Disney Cruising!