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Review – Disney Cruise Line – A Price fit for Adults (or not?)

DreamI will always consider Disney when it comes to vacation.  I love Walt Disney World, and have made some of the best memories with my family on Disney cruises.  From our first cruise ever – the Maiden Voyage of the Disney Magic – to the girls weekend I just had, I have enjoyed every one of my cruises aboard the Disney Cruise Line.

But is it really a cruise for adults?

There are certainly things to do for adults on this cruise line.  The spa services are extensive, with everything from a simple manicure to unique treatments and personal fitness trainers.  With an entire adults only district, you’ll find adult beverage tastings, evening entertainment, and a pool and jacuzzi for adult use only.  If your sailing includes a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, you’ll even find a beach designed for some real adult relaxation.

Dream Castaway

So then it comes down to this – price.

A quick comparison for a weekend cruise in March 2014 to the Bahamas shows me that I can get this type of cruise for as little as $60 per night on a Celebrity ship, with a minimum price on Disney at more than double that.  A five night Western Caribbean cruise for two adults on Disney will run me a minimum (inside cabin, 184 square feet,  lower deck) $2007.70. For $2100, Celebrity will give me a penthouse suite that is more than 250 square feet – not including my verandah.  I will have European style butler service, which includes assistance unpacking and packing; in-suite lunch and dinner service (this is not room service – this is a full, served dinner, exactly like what I would get in the dining room, served in my suite); Afternoon tea; evening hors d’oeuvres; complimentary espresso and cappuccino beverages in-suite.  You’ll get express boarding and disembarkation.  You’ll have a concierge to help you with making reservations for specialty dining restaurants, shore excursions, and spa treatments.

Dream spa

So what’s the difference?  What would make adults choose Disney over Celebrity – or any other cruise line?

There are die hard Disney fans.  Totally acceptable to see adults clamoring with the kids for photos with their favorite characters or acting goofy over Goofy at a character breakfast.  And the value of Castaway Cay cannot be oversold.  The island is beautiful, the beach serene, the water crystal – it’s the perfect stop.  Another advantage to adults on Disney is the free soda.  If you are a big soda drinker (and you’d have to be a pretty big soda drinker to get your money’s worth), you may be disappointed to find on most cruise lines, soda is not included in the price of your trip.  You pay by the drink, or opt into a soda package, which varies in price based on the length of your cruise.  Disney, however, has machines where you can drink your fill, and sodas ordered with meals are also included.  Some sodas – such as those in cans sold at the snack bar outside the theater – will cost you extra.

Is it worth it?

I think the big draw on a Disney ship is the awesome and extensive children’s clubs.  From the wee ones to the teen ones, you’ll find close to round the clock activities for your kids – including while on Castaway Cay or in port.  They will even come get your children from a late seating dinner to take them to the club activities while mom and dad enjoy their meal in relative peace.

But honestly, for a much lower price on other cruise lines, you’ll find excellent dining options, great lounge entertainment, Vegas style shows, casinos, and even on some cruises, adult classes in computers, photography, cooking, bartending, and entertaining.  It’s a tough sell to spend twice as much on a Disney cruise for adults only, when the biggest bang for your buck on a Disney cruise is the kids’ entertainment.

As much as I love my Disney, if I’m going to take a trip with just my husband, I am more likely to opt for a more upscale experience, such as Celebrity.  I wouldn’t trade Disney for the world if the beauty girls are in tow, but I think my money is better spent elsewhere for just me and the big guy.