We’re hardly Disney cruise experts; there are people who’ve been on dozens of Disney cruises, but hopefully our impressions and experiences from our two Disney cruises will be helpful to anyone considering booking a Disney cruise. We are huge fans of the Disney cruise line and we really enjoyed both of our trips with them. Here’s a breakdown of our impressions of the Disney cruise experience:
1) The Rooms
The rooms on a cruise ship are referred to as staterooms and like on all ships, Disney staterooms are available as interior staterooms (no window), oceanview staterooms (with a window) and oceanview staterooms with verandah (large glass sliding doors with a small balcony). We had oceanview rooms for both our cruises and we loved the unique round windows on the ships. Our window on the Disney Dream even had a window seat built into it.
The staterooms on Disney are a bit larger than most in the industry at about 214 square feet for a standard oceanview room. Most have a sitting area with a couch that converts into a single bed and a bunk that pulls down from the ceiling for a fourth berth. I love that the rooms have a curtain that can divide the cabin into two separate sleeping areas at night and give the parents a bit of privacy in the tight quarters. Another perk of Disney cruise lines is the split bathroom, with a shower and small sink in one room and the toilet and another sink in the other which allows two family members to get ready at the same time. The rooms have a lot of storage for their size and are well designed to make the most of the limited space.
2) The Staff
One thing that makes it much easier to share the tight quarters of the stateroom is the service from your cabin steward. These staff members come in twice a day to clean the room, convert the beds from day to night configurations and leave amazing towel animals in their wake. It really did feel a bit like we had a fairy godmother secretly cleaning up after us wherever we went and left us a bit spoiled when the cruise ended.
The waitstaff in the restaurants were also extremely attentive. They found out our preferences the first night and remembered throughout the cruise. My only complaint was that they refilled the kids drinks so quickly and quietly that I couldn’t keep track of how much they were drinking. I only figured out that my son was drinking two or three big glasses of chocolate milk at every meal when he started saying he was full before his food arrived! Now the great service isn’t limited to Disney cruises; I can honestly say I’ve never had bad service on any cruise line, but when you book a Disney cruise you can be sure of great service with a smile.
3) The Food
Disney Cruise lines has a unique, rotational dining system. They have three main dining rooms, each with a different theme, and you rotate through them during your cruise. On our six night cruise we ate in each restaurant twice and on our four night cruise we ate in the same restaurant on the first and last nights. While the restaurant changes, the waitstaff stays with you, so that you keep the same waiter and assistant waiter throughout the cruise. The food in the main dining rooms was fantastic, although it wasn’t significantly different than the food on other cruise lines I’ve been on. They have a children’s menu with your standard, kid friendly staples like chicken nuggets and spaghetti, but you can also ask for adaptations to the adult menu if you’d like. The desserts were always amazing as well.
There is also a large buffet on the main upper deck of both ships with a huge variety of great food that is open for three meals a day. We went there for several breakfasts and lunches, but we tended to stick with the main dining rooms in the evenings. I feel like I can go to a buffet any time, but I don’t get the chance to get a four or five course sit down dinner very often so I might as well take advantage while I can. Both ships also have multiple food counters on the pool deck with offerings like pizza, hamburgers and fries and soft serve ice cream. I never found any of these options very appealing since I was usually feeling pretty full most of the time, but they seemed popular. Unlike many other cruise lines, Disney does not charge for fountain pop. You can get unlimited soft drinks and juices from drink dispensers all day, although you have to pay for all drinks that are ordered in the bars.
Coming up: Part 2, Public Areas, Kids’ Clubs, Entertainment