DadCentric Travel: Taking a Disney Cruise
We didn't tell our kids about the cruise for a long time. There was a lot of preparation to be done on our end: vacation time from work and school, the updating of passports, and the added expense (and subsequent worry) of extended dog care—we didn't want any loose ends or seeds of doubt lingering when we shared the news.
"We are going on a Disney Cruise!" we said one night during dinner. The crowd went wild.
"What's a cruise?" asked the youngest.
Then we ordered the free Disney Cruise Line DVD, and our lives will never be the same.
We went on a frenzy of vacation planning. We surfed every website we could find that discussed Disney Cruise Lines, from dining to activities, bars to childcare. We watched the video on several occasions, focusing our attention on the features specific to our ship (The Disney Magic), and then searched the Internet for details and video of each little thing. We wanted to be prepared.
The stateroom had a veranda overlooking hours of oil rigs and sips of champagne before slipping right into the openness of a deep, blue sea that may have gone on forever. The stars were a nice touch.
Dining was amazing. Every meal in the three dining rooms (plus the fancy-schmancy gotta wear pantsy even at brunch Palo) was top notch. Seriously, it was some of the best, and consistently so, food that I have ever had, and I've eaten some stuff (mostly crow).
Onboard activities and entertainment were non-stop and lots of fun. We played trivia, tasted whiskey, took in Broadwayesque stage shows, and danced with pirates. Not necessarily in that order.
Excursions at the ports of call were downright breathtaking. We swam with dolphins in the Cayman Islands, where "with" means they offered a fin and we took it—right across the lagoon and straight on till morning. We walked through Mayan ruins in Cozumel (or in Zane's case, puked through Mayan ruins—it was his turn to catch the bug). We learned how to make tequila and had 10 minutes to taste as many types as we could, which, it turns out, is all of them.
And then there is the childcare. Oh, dear, dear childcare, you are missed. On the Disney Magic there is a nursery for those under three, and a teen hangout for those old enough to be there, but the real treat was the Oceaneer Club and Lab, which provided supervised, interactive, what you would expect from Disney care until midnight. It was the first thing the boys asked to do every morning, and even though we pulled them out for various adventures throughout the day, it was the place they wanted to return to as soon as they could. They loved it. There may have been tears upon leaving on more than one occasion.
Disney Cruise Line offers a lot of different trips and locations for embarkment. We sailed out of Gavelston, Texas for a six-night Western Caribbean voyage (see, Pirates IN the Caribbean) and, aside from a few gut-wrenching moments huddled over a toilet, we loved every minute of it.
I can't recommend it enough, and I'm not just saying that because Disney invited me (and my family). It was the perfect combination of exotic, relaxed, educational, adult time/family time, and Disney magic (the thing they do, not the actual ship) fun, and unlike other experiences that promise it, there was literally something to do for everyone. That's a nice touch.
If you go and you don't have fun, please let me know and I will mock you openly.
We sailed compliments of Disney on the Disney Cruise Line voyage outlined above. Most dining, entertainment, childcare, and onboard activities are included for all guests. Spa, alcohol, and port of call adventures, plus a few other things cost extra. Believe it or not, all opinions are my own (and this is me being cynical and edgy). Check the official Disney Cruise Line website for "kids sail free" specials!