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TravelIs a Disney cruise for adults? Here are 5 reasons why I...

Is a Disney cruise for adults? Here are 5 reasons why I say yes


Gourmet French dinners, $5,000 cocktail experiences, serene infinity pools and penthouse suites that cost thousands of dollars a night might not be the first thing you think of when someone mentions a Disney cruise. But you’ll find it all on Disney ships.

I sailed with the line for the first time more than a decade ago, and I didn’t want to take the assignment. I’m a child-free adult, I’m not a particularly over-the-top Disney fan, and all I could imagine was a theme park at sea — characters everywhere, souvenir shops galore and, of course, tons of kids.

Simply, I was wrong.

Disney Wish docked at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, in the Bahamas. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

What I found was an absolutely wonderful experience on an elegant ship with superb service, phenomenal entertainment, delicious food and just enough subtle magic to instill a bit of childlike wonder without making me feel immature.

Disney Cruise Line has maintained its four older ships exceptionally well, and its newest vessel, Disney Wish — its first new-build in 10 years — is also pretty great. Across the board, my opinion still stands: Disney cruises aren’t just for kids. So, if you’re trying to find a Disney cruise for adults, don’t worry — they all fit the bill. Here are five reasons why you’ll love the experience, even as a grownup.

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You control how ‘Disney’ you want it to be

Formal ears at Enchante on Disney Wish. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Let me allay your fears: When you sail with Disney, you won’t be overwhelmed by Mickey and friends the way you might be at the brand’s land-based amusement parks. However, that experience is available should you choose to seek it.

The subtlety with which Disney manages to incorporate branded touches on its ships is commendable and classy. You’ll find nods to various Disney animated movie classics as you move between decks — a pumpkin on the carpet here, a snowflake on the wall there — but you’re likely to find it more tasteful than obnoxious.

If you’d like to avoid a largely Disney-fied ambience, it’s easy to do. If, instead, you prefer a more immersive cruise, you’re also in luck, as the ships host scheduled character meet-and-greets, themed dining experiences and more.

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Related: The ultimate guide to Disney Cruise Line ships and itineraries

There are tons of adults-only spaces

The Cove adults-only sun deck on Disney Wish. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Grownups who wish to keep strictly to an older crowd will love the adults-only venues on all Disney ships.

On Disney’s four older vessels — Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy (which is my pick for the best Disney cruise ship for adults), Disney Wonder and Disney Magic — adults-only bars and nightclubs are clustered into one area, known as The District. After 9 p.m., nobody younger than 18 is permitted inside, allowing the more mature set to let its hair down sans kids.

On Disney Wish, the age-limited spaces are more spread out, a purposeful layout designed to help alleviate crowding and improve traffic flow. Personally, I prefer The District’s setup, but the watering holes on the new ship are, frankly, the most impressive in the fleet to date.

What’s impressive about these offerings is that most other ships don’t have them. Apart from Virgin Voyages, Viking, P&O Cruises and Saga Cruises, all of which sail adults-only vessels, the most other lines offer is an adults-only sun deck or pool here and there. Even where those areas exist, age limits aren’t always strictly enforced, and sometimes you have to pay for access, none of which is the case on Disney ships.

Related: Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Club loyalty program: Everything you need to know

Even the least expensive accommodations are elevated

A balcony cabin on Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wish. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Disney cruises are a cut above the sailings you’ll find with most other mainstream lines. When it comes to accommodations, even the most basic feel elevated. All have two bathrooms; one has a shower with a tub (rare on cruise ships) and a sink, and the other has a toilet and a sink.

Disney provides its own brand of toiletries in cabin bathrooms. The products are so popular — they smell divine — that the line sells them in its onboard gift shops.

All rooms also offer a dividing curtain that creates two separate areas. Although these features were designed with families in mind, they’re also convenient for friends traveling together, adding to the argument that a Disney cruise could make for a perfect girlfriends getaway.

The master bedroom in the Tower Suite on Disney Wish. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

On the high end, the line sells a variety of suite accommodations. New on Disney Wish, the Tower Suite is the most coveted and most expensive, carrying a price tag of several thousand dollars per night.

Located in the ship’s fake funnel, the suite is two decks high and includes three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths and a large living room area. Its understated nautical decor pays subtle tribute to “Moana.” Unfortunately, because of the layout, there’s no balcony, but you’ll still be spoiled beyond belief if you book a stay there.

You can also choose to book concierge-level staterooms, which offer perks like priority boarding and disembarkation, access to a dedicated lounge with free drinks in the evenings and dibs on booking the best spa appointments and shore excursions.

Related: Smooth sailing on a family Disney cruise: Review of concierge level on Disney Wonder

Delicious dining options range from basic to gourmet

Disney Cruise Line’s dining options allow you to either join the masses (where there will be children, so take heed) in the free dining rooms, head to the buffet or open-air food court, or opt for an adults-only added-fee option.

On all of the fleet’s ships, standard dining is rotational, which means you’ll move to a different main dining room each night but with the same table number, tablemates and waitstaff.

In my experience, dining across the board on Disney ships has been absolutely scrumptious and well prepared, regardless of where I chose to eat and how much extra I paid.

The 1923 main dining room on Disney Wish. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

On Disney Wish, 1923 is a throwback to the golden age of animation. Split into two parts, it offers a more intimate setting than what you’d find at Royal Court, the more understated free dining venue on the line’s other vessels.

The “Worlds of Marvel” dining room on Disney Wish. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

For more immersive and somewhat gimmicky meals that are fun but often loud, adult passengers on Disney Wish will want to check out Worlds of Marvel and Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure. The former brings Ant-Man and The Wasp tableside (via prerecorded broadcast) to show off their new discovery — a Quantum Core, with which Ant-Man unwittingly shrinks the ship down to the size of a toy boat. During the latter, you’ll find much singing and dancing to celebrate the engagement of Anna and Kristoff, two of the main characters from “Frozen.” In line with the theme, the menu is largely Norwegian.

On the four original ships, immersive options include Animator’s Palate, where “Finding Nemo” characters talk with you as you eat; Enchanted Garden, which feels a bit like a scene from “Alice in Wonderland,” where you can watch as the scenery slowly turns from day to night; and Rapunzel’s Royal Table, where characters from “Tangled” make an appearance.

A nod to “Beauty and the Beast” at the entrance to The Rose bar and Palo restaurant on Disney Wish. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Also on the original vessels, Palo is an adults-only Italian eatery. On Disney Wish, it has been transformed into an elegantly styled steakhouse that exudes “Beauty and the Beast” vibes. This is the perfect option for anyone who wants something less casual than the buffet but also wants to avoid crowds and noise in the main dining rooms without paying a fortune.

Before you go in, stop at The Rose bar, which is perfect for tasty pre-dinner cocktails.

Gourmet French restaurant Enchante on Disney Wish. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Enchante and Remy are two of the most expensive alternative dining options at sea for any cruise line. Both feature French cuisine and are reserved exclusively for adult diners. The latter appears on older DCL ships and was inspired by (and named after the main character in) “Ratatouille.”

Enchante is new as of the debut of Disney Wish. It offers a completely revamped menu by chef Arnaud Lallement, who’s also the mastermind behind the menu at Remy. Enchante allows for a la carte dining, or you can choose from one of two experiences: Passion, a seven-course meal for $125, or Collection, a selection of surprise courses curated by the chef for $195. (Wine and Champagne pairings cost extra.)

The kids clubs are fantastic

Mickey & Minnie Captain’s Deck on Disney Wish. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

“But, wait,” you’re thinking. “I thought this was an article about why Disney Cruises are great for adults.” You’re exactly right, and that’s why this one is so important.

The Oceaneer Club offerings on Disney ships are so fun, engaging and technologically advanced that kids often don’t want to leave. So, whether you’re a parent looking for some downtime or a child-free adult who doesn’t appreciate little ones pushing all the elevator buttons or teens clogging up stairwells, you won’t have to worry about a barrage of younger passengers.

From babysitting for infants, kids and tweens to phenomenal play areas (think: themes like princesses, Marvel superheroes and “Star Wars”), the line’s childcare services are a cut above those provided by all other cruise brands. In fact, they’re so cool you’ll wish you could spend time there yourself — and you can during designated hours on each voyage.

Bottom line

Although you won’t be able to completely avoid children on Disney ships, you can still enjoy the magic of The Mouse in several adults-only spaces found on all of the line’s ships. The onboard experience will make you feel like a kid again but in luxurious surroundings and with the excellent service and attention to detail that have become hallmarks of the Disney brand.

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