Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Destinations

What is Included in a Disney Cruise

IMPORTANT: DUE TO COVID-19, DISNEY CRUISE LINE SUSPENDED WORLDWIDE OPERATIONS IN MARCH OF 2020 AND NO ONE CAN BE CERTAIN WHEN THEY WILL RESUME.

Photo Credit: Disney Destinations

Our family loves cruising…there is no arguing about that. People often ask me if I have a favorite cruise line. I honestly do have a favorite (although I haven’t tried every cruise line…yet). But I also have a caveat that just because I have a favorite cruise line, doesn’t mean I always recommend it. Each cruise line…especially Disney Cruise Line…offers unique experiences that are included.

Disney Cruise Line tends to price out higher for a lot of families. It is what they include that is unique that makes them a little more expensive than other cruise lines. If your family enjoys Disney or are looking for the best family-friendly cruise line, that is when I recommend Disney Cruise Line.

I’ve created a list of some of the things that are included with a Disney Cruise Line cruise to give clients an idea of whether or not a Disney cruise is the right choice for them.

Broadway-Style Musicals

Each of Disney Cruise Line’s ships offers a large theater where entertainment is shown each night. Most night’s you can see a musical or show that is written specifically for Disney’s cruise ships. These Disney-themed musicals are Broadway style in professionalism and yet short enough for kids not to get too antsy.

Complimentary 24-Hour Room Service

Disney cruise line offers 24-hour complimentary room service. Menus vary, but generally you can find items like custom-made sandwiches, pizza, and even a few specialties from the chef like grilled salmon on the menu.

I have a few family members that enjoy ordering warm cookies and milk at 11:00 at night right before bed. Not mentioning any names, but they do it pretty much every single night when traveling on a Disney cruise.

There are a few room service items that do require an additional charge such as wines, beverages, and some specialty snacks. Always check your in-room menu. If additional charges apply, it will be noted on the menu.

Complimentary Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Most cruise lines offer a very limited selection of complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. Disney offers coffee, tea, milk, hot chocolate and soda 24-hours a day on the pool deck as well as in the dining rooms during meals. Soda packages can be very expensive on other cruise lines requiring you to pay per person, per day. This is one area where Disney offers a far better value than its competition.

Disney-Themed Kids’ Clubs

Disney Cruise Line has one of the largest selection of kids’ clubs found among the major cruise lines. Their offerings and activities are some of the most family friendly…and of course offer Disney touches.

Although I’ve never been able to “experience” a Disney youth club because I was an adult by the time I first sailed on Disney Cruise Line, I can say I’ve checked them out and think these should be available for adults to enjoy, too. Did you hear that, Disney? We want an “kids club” for adults. Some of the experiences offered are pure magic for a little Disney fan.

“it’s a small world” nursery

“it’s a small world” nursery! is available for young children from ages 6 months to 3 years old. In the nursery the young ones can make simple crafts, play games, take a nap, or watch movies.

The design of the “it’s a small world” nursery! is influenced by the classic Disney attraction found at its theme parks.

Disney’s Oceaneer Club

This club is for children from ages 3 to 12 years old. In the Oceaneer Club kids can make friends and explore multi-themed areas and connect with characters from new and classic Disney movies.

Here the kids will enjoy dressing up as a character, special storytelling get-togethers, and play areas that are larger than life and immerse you in Disney stories.

Disney’s Oceaneer Lab

Disney’s Oceaneer Lab is also for children ages 3 to 12 years old. While the Oceaneer Club we talked about above is all about the Disney magic, the Oceaneer Lab is all about exploration.

The kids can learn and play while at sea through engaging discovery activities, crazy experiments, and interactive spaces and game play.

Edge

This kids club is the perfect place for any tweens in a group. At Edge the kids can spend time with kids their own age while they enjoy doing arts and crafts, play games, and watch movies.

Vibe

This area is a teens-exclusive space. Here the teens can chill out and listen to music, enjoy some games with fellow teens, as well as watch some TV. Vibe also offers activities like karaoke and teens-only dance parties.

Delicious Meals in Themed Restaurants

Tiana's Place is a themed restaurant included in a Disney Cruise.
Tiana’s Place – Photo Credit: Disney Destinations

One of the areas Disney excels at in the family cruise arena are its restaurants. I’ve been on many family cruises, and the experiences included in a Disney Cruise restaurant can’t be beat. The wait staff are trained very well at interacting with children of all ages and ability.

In addition, each ship offers three different restaurants for dinner. You are assigned a rotation where your family gets to enjoy at least one meal in each restaurant…your wait staff travel to the different restaurants with you.

One night you might enjoy a musical performance by Princess Tiana while eating at Tiana’s Place with delicious foods you might find down on the bayou in New Orleans. The next night you might find yourself dining in Animator’s Palate where the restaurant literally comes to life as you enjoy your meal…and who knows, Crush might just stop by your table to talk and hang out for a few minutes.

First-Run Films Included on Your Disney Cruise

Disney offers several places onboard where you can sit back and enjoy some classic…as well as first-run Disney films. There is nothing like getting to see a film the first day it opens…for free…onboard a Disney ship. We were lucky to see the film Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson…on opening day…in digital 3D on one of our Disney cruises. It was a fun experience for our family.

Snacks

Disney Cruise Line offers snacks in all the usual places…like burgers or pizza on the pool deck. In addition, you can find soft-serve ice cream on the pool deck for whenever you want a cool treat.

There are also a couple of lesser known places you can get complimentary snacks onboard. One area where you can find some complimentary snacks is at the Cove Cafe. The Cove Cafe is found in the adults-only area of the ship. Although the specialty coffees and drinks here are offered for an additional fee, the assortment of pastries and desserts are complimentary. This is not a self-serve area, but a cast member at the Cove Cafe will be happy to serve you if you ask.

Another hidden gem for snacks can be found in the adults-only area of the Disney cruise ships during late evening entertainment. This is usually a buffet of snacks and can include items such as spring rolls, mozzarella sticks, and coconut shrimp. The buffet changes up each evening. These snacks are usually only around for a short time each evening from approximately 10:45 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. And because this is a buffet, you can feel free to snag as much as you want to eat.

Special Meet and Greets with Disney Characters

Being able to meet up with Disney characters and Princesses is unique to Disney Cruise Line. You can meet Mickey and Minnie and all the gang dressed up in their cruising attire…and all dolled up in their finest on formal night. You can find a guide of the times and places you can meet the various characters included in the Disney Cruise daily Navigator app…a listing of all times and activities onboard the ship.

Themed Deck Parties and Days at Sea

By far and away, one of my favorite things included in a Disney Cruise are the themed days at sea. I have seen nothing like it on any other cruise ship. Sure other cruises offer themed days, but it is not the same. Not all themed days are available on each cruise itinerary. If you want to experience one in particular, you will need to research the dates (or contact your friendly travel agent) to find the specific theme that you are looking for.

Below are a few examples of Disney Cruise Line’s themed days:

Marvel Day at Sea

Marvel Day at Sea is included in your Disney Cruise.
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations

This day is all about Marvel Super Heroes. Marvel Day at Sea includes encounters with some of your favorite Marvel super heroes. You can join in for a special secret agent training session and watch a super hero stunt show. Generally, these cruises take place early in the year and are on sailings to the Bahamas and the Western Caribbean.

Pirates in the Caribbean Night

On Pirates night on a Disney Cruise ship, you will start the evening off eating a pirate-themed dinner in your assigned dining room. You can enjoy special trivia and games as well as photo ops with the Disney characters dressed up in their finest pirate garb. The evening is capped off with a special “Pirates in the Caribbean” show on the pool deck followed by fireworks set to special Disney pirate-themed music (weather permitting).

Star Wars Day at Sea

If you are a Star Wars fan, this day is for you! On a Star Wars Day at Sea, you will find yourself transported aboard a cruise ship to a galaxy far, far away…okay, a galaxy found on a ship in the Caribbean, but it’s still pretty fantastic. Here you will encounter characters from the Star Wars movies, engage in Jedi training, and end your day at a special Star Wars deck party.

Is a Disney Cruise for You?

When I work with clients, I try to match them up with experiences that they enjoy. Sometimes people are unsure if a Disney cruise is a good fit for them. My family likes Disney, so for us it really doesn’t take much to convince me to get on a Disney ship.

And although Disney’s prices are often more expensive than some of its competitors, it includes experiences that you simply can only find on a Disney Cruise. Whether or not those experiences are worth the extra money is a personal matter.

If you want more information on how cruise lines price cruises in general, this article continues to be my most read blog post:

Beginner’s Guide to Cruise Prices

In the end, I enjoy how family-friendly a Disney cruise is. And since our family really enjoys our Disney (and Star Wars and Marvel movies), it is a perfect match for us when we head out on the high seas.

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