Last winter, I sat both of my kids down and asked them where they wanted to travel to in 2019. Together we made a travel Bucket List in my Erin Condren life planner for the year with 13 destinations. I love including my children in our travel decision-making process so they feel like their voices are heard in all of our adventures.
We made a list of 13 places, and the top choice for everyone was a Disney Cruise. My family had never been on a cruise before, so I was surprised both kids were so familiar with them and interested. But then again, we do watch a lot of Disney Junior and YouTube, both of which include a lot of Disney Travel.
I remember feeling nervous about taking the kids on a cruise. I voyaged on Semester at Sea in college for three months, and have cruised the Fjords in Norway and around the Mediterranean, but I was very young and single on those trips. How would my kids do on a cruise? Where they old enough to enjoy it? Would they feel seasick on the ship? And most importantly, was it safe to take them on a cruise ship at almost 5 and 7 years of age?
Our First Disney Cruise
I’m a big believer in channeling what I want life to bring me, and sure enough…my 2019 Bucket List was slowly started to manifest itself into reality. I know that may sound silly, but the law of conservation of energy says that energy never disappears. It merely changes form.
If you put out what you want, you are focusing your energy into a desired pathway. Since energy never disappears, that energy transforms into something else. So WHAT IF the energy you put out returns to you in what you desire? Of course, you can’t wish for a money tree. But by working hard, and focusing your energy on monetary success, you can earn more money.
Or another way to look at it is this: if you never ask, you will never receive. If no one knows you want say a job, why would they offer you one? You have to focus on your intentions and what you want. By doing so, you release positive energy and hopefully it will be returned as your intention!
Enough of my “the gift” talk for now, I promise. We went on our 3 day Disney Cruise aboard the Disney Dream, a 4,000 person gorgeous ship that sails around the Caribbean. We absolutely loved every second of the cruise!
If you are unsure about whether cruising is for you, I highly recommend a 3-day Disney Cruise. It’s long enough to dabble in various activities like the incredible themed restaurants, buffets, pool decks, entertainment like live music, movies, Broadway-style musicals, comedy acts, outdoor entertainment like the pool and basketball deck, spa, fitness center and more.
And of course, you get to experience Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. As many of you know, my perfect day is one spent on the beach, with a float, good music, food and drinks, and of course my family. Castaway Cay is basically my dream island! It features a protective bay with tons of water activities and even a kid’s club on island.
There are restaurants, servers bringing you drinks, floats, catamarans, and every sort of water sport imaginable. It’s the perfect way to spend the day with your family, and of course there are lots of Disney elements.
A few months later, my appetite for Disney Cruiseline was wet and I couldn’t wait to go on a longer voyage.
I kept out summer open, as we mostly travel during the off-season, and both of my kids love to do summer camps. And then another invitation popped up, this time for an 8-day Disney Cruise to Alaska! What a dream!!
I’ve always wanted to travel to Alaska, and a cruise is the perfect way to experience several different cities along with Vancouver. This time we voyaged on the Disney Magic, a smaller boat with 2,500 people on it. I really enjoyed the smaller, more intimate ship. We also found that we really got to know a lot of our fellow passengers during the longer cruise.
Harper and Grayson both made really good friends, and we had such a fun time enjoying more time on the boat. We had ample time to relax, really enjoy the spa, I got to workout daily in the fitness center with a 180-degree view from the front of the ship.
Alaska is simply stunning, and a gorgeous outdoor adventure. And now, my kids ask me daily if we can go on another Disney Cruise. Oh the joys of parenthood, right? But seriously, I’m starting to plan our next trip during summer 2020, this time to Europe on the first Disney Cruise boat, the Magic.
My mom accompanied my kids and I on both sailings. My husband doesn’t love long plane flights due to his travel anxiety, and my mom is retired and simply loves to travel. Disney Cruiseline has activities for everyone. Whether you are cruising solo, cruising without kids, on a multi-generational cruise or cruising with your family, there are activities for every single person.
The kid’s clubs are free for children 3 and over who are potty-trained. It’s opened from morning until night, and most times I went to pick up my kids they didn’t want to leave. That left a lot of time for my mom and I to relax, read our books (I read three books on our 8-day cruise!), enjoy the spa, lay outside, and take part in activities like origami.
The food on Disney Cruiseline is a true highlight. Each restaurant is highly themed, like the interactive Animator’s Palate, Tiana’s Place with live music, Royal Palace and Enchanted Garden. The servers you have on the first night follow you around to each restaurant throughout your trip, a unique feature that only Disney Cruiseline offers. This adds a level of comfort and familiarity. Our server would see us enter and immediately bring two apple juices for each of the kids, a really nice touch.
In my experience traveling with kids, restaurants and meal time tends to be the most difficult time due to cranky, hungry kids who do not want to be seated quietly after a long day. And to be honest, I get that! And so does Disney Cruiseline. Each restaurant offers so much to look at and do.
The kid’s menu each night changes, and features fun, interactive activities to grab your child’s attention for at least 20 minutes. Their food usually comes out quickly, on a Mickey-shaped plate of course. And you can select between sides like the usual french fries or things like steamed veggies, mashed potatoes, salad, etc.
Everything is included during your meal except for alcohol. One unique feature that Disney Cruiseline offers with their waitstaff following you around is the ability to enjoy a bottle of wine over the course of a few nights. My mom likes a glass of chardonnay with dinner, and she was able to enjoy a bottle over the course of a few days, which lowers the price of each glass.
Senses Spa and Fitness Center
The spa is absolutely world-class and I cannot highly it enough. The pricing is vey reasonable for a luxury spa, and they have a bamboo massage that will leave your body feeling like butter! Picture a massage therapist rolling warm bamboo over your tired muscles after warming them up with long, deep strokes. It’s truly a heavenly experience!
For couples, or a mommy and me day (and by that I mean a treatment with my mom and I) there is a luxurious treatment called the Couple’s Choice. This takes place in a private villa, with an outdoor veranda area.
You start with a foot scrub and massage. Next you have time to soak in a private outdoor jacuzzi. Then you are treated to a 75-minute treatment (get that Bamboo Massage!). After the treatment you go back to the veranda and enjoy tea and fruit skewers. If you time it correctly you can catch the sun setting over the water, it’s a true delight for all of your senses.
There’s usually a bonus if you book more than a few treatments on board, you get a discount or if you book your services on the first day of the cruise. I’m a planner, so I booked mine in advance.
A Disney Cruise is a fun family experience you will never forget! It’s truly the trip of a lifetime, and once you voyage once, you will be hooked like we are.
If you have sailed on Disney Cruiseline, where have you been? Or where are you thinking of going? Tell me in a comment below!