Several of you have asked about the degree to which adults without kids can enjoy Disney Cruise Line. Well, we don’t have kids and this was our third cruise…so that should probably say something. If you can enjoy the parks without kids, you can definitely enjoy Disney Cruise Line.
I’ll go further than that, though: Disney Cruise Line is the most adult-friendly experience that Disney offers. This is for a few reasons. First, there are adult-only areas. This includes nightclubs & lounges, spas, pools, the adult beach on Castaway Cay, and the fine dining restaurants.
Beyond kids flat-out being not allowed in these areas, they have their own exclusive experiences. Often, it seems experiences for kids and adults are pretty distinct (as one commenter pointed out, this actually can be a bit of an issue as it divides families).
Everything seems to be more adult on Disney Cruise Line. Even though it’s a laid back experience, people get dressed up more often and you don’t get sweaty (etc.) from a day of fast-paced touring when on the cruise ship like you would in the parks.
You’ll certainly see kids on Disney Cruise Line, but not once have we thought, “it’d be nice to get away from all these kids.” It’s a complete non-issue.
Hopefully this answers any questions as to whether Disney Cruise Line is ‘adult-friendly,’ but if you have further questions, feel free to ask in the comments.
The caveat to this is that we are two childless adults who obviously do not mind being around kids given how much we head to Disney parks, where there are a lot of kids.
If you are not a Disney fan (but for some reason are reading a Disney blog…) and are looking for more of a Las Vegas-esque experience, Disney Cruise Line probably is not for you–but that probably has more to do with other amenities and pricing than it does the presence of kids.
After the ‘See Ya Real Soon’ mini-show, we wandered around the ship some more, stopping in D Lounge to watch karaoke and heading to the adult areas to check out the scene.
This was around 11 p.m., and the Disney Dream was still very active, which was nice to see.
We also wandered into the gift shops to check out the merchandise. At first, I was perplexed by all of the Star Wars crossover stuff, until I realized it was for a Star Wars cruise, and wasn’t just random stuff.
We didn’t buy anything, but there were a lot of really solid items. It’s also nice to see Disney collaborating with other companies that produce higher quality items.
Given that this was both the last night and Castaway Cay day, I expected guests to be worn out and in bed early, but that was not the case at all. Also, there were a ton of people in Shutters, where photos are sold until midnight. That was a bit surprising to me.
We continued to wander around the ship, basically killing time until the atrium was empty so I could take photos. I should’ve done this on one of the other nights, as we had walked through at far earlier hours on days 1 & 2 to find the area empty. The atrium still had people in it after midnight on the final night.
Patience paid off, as I was able to get what I wanted by waiting. I was able to capture several photos I was really satisfied with. I don’t know the next time we’ll get back to the Disney Dream, so I’m going to hold some of them back, but will be posting them to my Instagram account gradually over the coming months.
After that, we went to bed. Breakfast the next morning before disembarking at Port Canaveral was at Royal Palace. It was so-so at best, but it was nice getting a chance to say goodbye to our servers. From there, we picked up our rental car, drove to Epcot for ~3 hours, and then headed to Orlando International Airport (where we returned the rental), and flew home.
Wandering around the ship that last evening was a good reminder of why we enjoy cruising with Disney. Beyond the exceptional service and other things we’ve already mentioned, it’s the little things. The Disney background music, artwork on the walls, and even the theme that evokes a classic 1930s ocean liner.
Arguably, these are all little things that cannot justify Disney’s premium pricing. Maybe so for some people. For me, they reinforce the sense of nostalgia and happiness I get from the parks, and these flourishes of Disney and theme are a big part of what makes cruising an experience I want to repeat. In isolation, I’m not sure how much appeal cruising would hold for me; when Disney is added to the mix, that desire to cruise increases precipitously.
Ultimately, we had an exceptional time on the Disney Dream–better than I remembered from our last cruise a couple of years ago. It was nice as a ‘change of pace’ vacation, and I think part of our enjoyment stemmed directly from this occurring directly after our Walt Disney World trip. Like most of our trips, Walt Disney World is very much traveling as opposed to vacationing. We get up early, stay up late, and have jam-packed days in between (even when we do few attractions, we are still always on the move).
My strong preference is normally for traveling like that. Normally, I don’t want to feel ‘rested’ after a trip. This cruise, however, reminded me some of the benefits of unwinding and having a restful vacation for recharging. Not something I’d want to do on every trip, but really still really nice. In fact, we had such a good time that we’ve booked another cruise for the near future.
By the way, the above ‘travel v. vacation’ commentary is all just personal preference. Obviously, everyone is different, and where you fall on that continuum is going to (at least in part) dictate how much you enjoy a cruise.
One question that seems to come up a lot with Disney Cruise Line is whether it’s worth doing instead of Walt Disney World. Personally, I don’t think that’s an apt comparison (…he says after making numerous comparisons between the two over the course of the report). They are totally different types of vacations.
Unless you’re looking for something different, you might be disappointed. In my opinion, if you’re familiar with Walt Disney World and are looking for a stepping stone to similar-but-different travel, a more logical follow-up is a Southern California vacation that emphasizes Disneyland (or, if you’ve done that, Disneyland Paris followed by Tokyo Disney Resort).
I view Disney Cruise Line as counter-programming or even complementary programming. It’s counter-programming to the extent that it’s a way to have a “Disney” experience without the chaos of the parks. If, for instance, your spouse does not like the stress, lines, etc., of the parks, cruising can be a good compromise option that appeases everyone.
Disney Cruise Line is complementary programming to the extent that it offers a dramatically different style of Disney vacation that could be enjoyed either at the end of a Walt Disney World vacation (a cruise is a great vacation from your vacation 😉 ) or something to throw into your rotation of vacations so you don’t overdo it on the parks.
I think there’s a lot more to this topic, and perhaps it would be better suited to a ‘Walt Disney World v. Disney Cruise Line’ quasi-versus article than being buried on the second page of the 4th installment of a cruise report at the point when even the few brave souls who trudged this far are all starting to lose interest…
That seems like as good of a place as any to wrap up this Disney cruise report. Hopefully you enjoyed reading about and seeing some of our experiences aboard the Disney Dream during our 3-night Bahamian cruise. See ya real soon! 🙂
Planning to set sail aboard one of the Disney Cruise Line ships? Read our comprehensive Disney Cruise Line Guideto prepare for your trip, plan entertainment and other activities, and learn what to expect from your Disney cruise!
Have you ever done an adults-only Disney cruise? What did you think of the experience? Ever done a land and sea cruise with Walt Disney World followed by Disney Cruise Line? Thoughts on that experience? Any thoughts on dining on the Disney Cruise Line, Disney’s Believe, or anything else we’ve covered in this cruise report? Any other tips to add or recommendations? If you have questions or thoughts, please share them below and we’ll try to respond!