Thank you to Disney for sponsoring this post… seriously, my dream collaboration and a huge check off my career bucket list. I am thrilled to partner with a company that encourages kids of all ages [even us adults] to continue to dream, imagine and never stop looking to the stars–I hope you LOVE this feature as much as I do!
Ahoy mateys… just when you think I’m on dry land, I’m jet setting AGAIN, but before I left, I wanted to make sure I divulged EVERYTHING [and I mean everything] you need to know about setting sail with Disney Cruise Line in this Disney cruise review. To keep it short and sweet… yes, it’s absolutely incredible and beyond anything I could have imagined. And we definitely want to go again and bring the boys along next time for extra family fun and more Mickey adventures.
Disney Cruise Review:
Just as with all my travel guides and trip rewinds, I’m listing out the experiences as well as other tips, tricks and advice I can offer to help you plan your next Mickey trip, this time focusing on everything aboard the Disney Cruise Line ships.
P.S. for anyone looking to book a Disney Cruise Line vacation OR a trip to Disney World/Disney Land, I highly encourage you to contact our Disney guru, Sarah Moske/Our Fairy Godmother, as she will take amazing care of you and your guests and make sure you have the happiest time ever!!
So, back to the good, great and even better… I’m even more excited to announce that as of next spring, 2020, Disney Cruise Line will be departing out of NEW ORLEANS. For my southeastern friends, this has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it??? That means you can drive or fly to NOLA and set sail with Mickey and all the princesses and superheroes for the dreamiest vacation in the world.
As of now, there are five departing cruises from New Orleans:
- February 7th, 2020: 7-Night Bahamian Cruise [ports in Nassau, Bahamas, Disney Castaway Cay and Key West, Florida]
- February 14th, 2020: 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise [ports in Cozumel, Mexico, George Town, Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica]
- February 21st, 2010: 6-Night Western Caribbean Cruise [ports in Cozumel, Mexico and Georgetown, Grand Cayman]
- February 27th, 2020: 4-Night Western Caribbean Cruise [ports in Cozumel, Mexico]
- March 2nd, 2020: 4-Night Western Caribbean Cruise [ports in Cozumel, Mexico ]
They are already selling out of certain room categories so if you’ve been eyeing one of these cruises, definitely get to moving and make it happen!!! You’ll be sailing on the ship we were just on, the Disney Wonder, which was absolutely spectacular. 11 decks of pure magic… swimming pools, splash pads + water slides, adult-only areas [my favorite part!], incredible restaurants, kids clubs, theaters, attractions, and so much more–let’s talk specifics:
Staterooms | We had a Deluxe Verandah Room and it didn’t disappoint! We absolutely loved being able to enjoy the views of the ports we visited and the relaxing water views when we were at sea… the girls went CRAZY over the bunk beds and the split bathroom made it easy for all of us to get ready. It is also perfectly suited for families with the shower/tub combo and we couldn’t believe hos much storage there was in the closet, dressers and vanity areas, too. The perfect home-away-from-home accommodations.
**Insider Tip #1: Be sure to order personalized magnets to deck out your stateroom door before you embark on your trip! Everyone goes ALL out with their door decor and it’s fun to see what people are celebrating on their vacation… you can also participate in a Fish Extender Group where you gift other families little goodies throughout the cruise–read more about that here.
**Insider Tip #2: You can order complimentary 24/7 room service during your cruise… be sure to ask about daily specials that may not be on the menu, including milk and cookies [the perfect nighttime snack], uncrustable PB&J sandwiches and chocolate dipped strawberries, too. P.S. if you’re early birds like us, you can also call the night before and schedule coffee/pastries/fruit delivery for a specific time which makes mornings much more manageable!
Dining | Oh goodness, the dining… my Mom and I have both traveled on other cruise lines, but hands down Disney outperformed all of the others with their eating and dining options. We LOVED the rotational dining that Disney uses–basically you have the same serving team all throughout your cruise, but you rotate between the restaurants on the ship, including Triton’s, Tiana’s Place, and Animator’s Palate which were all equally entertaining and fun.
For adults, there is also a grown-up only restaurant called Palo–you can make reservations to eat there for brunch and/or dinner and I HIGHLY recommend it!!! The food and service were absolutely amazing and it helps you get a bit of quiet time for yourself while the kids are in the Oceaneer Lab/Club living their own best life!
Cabanas, the quick service dining option, was another favorite for us, especially on days where we wanted to sit down, but wanted buffet AKA fast and hot service. There were always a ton of great food offerings, especially some on the healthier side, including a salad bar, build your own omelette station, and others depending on the time of day. And yes, we might have had the Mini Mickey Waffles once or twice for breakfast = my personal favorite!! More quick bite offerings on the pool deck included Daisy’s De-Lites [great paninis, salads, fresh cut fruit and wraps], Pete’s Boiler Bites [hot dogs, hamburgers and specialty sandwiches all top the kids list] as well as Pinocchio’s Pizzeria [the mushroom and BBQ chicken were the best!]. These were great options for when we were at the pool and wanted to eat a bite without the fuss of a full-on “meal”.
Keep in mind that bottled water, all alcoholic beverages, mocktails, smoothies and any kind of espresso/latte drink is an added expense and will be charged to your credit card throughout your stay on the ship!
**Insider Tip #3: Soft drinks are complimentary on Disney cruises… that isn’t so with other cruise lines, so if you’re a lover of soft drinks, this is a win for sure!
**Insider Tip #4: unless you’re a late owl, definitely try to snag the early dining service if possible, especially if you’re dining with little ones. The 5:45pm meal may sound early, but it’ll be best for everyone since everyone gets tired AND you can go directly to the evening entertainment once you finish eating!
**Insider Tip #5: Ice cream all day every day… yes, there is a self service ice cream machine on the pool deck and yes, it’s open almost all the time for as much ice cream as you can tolerate! Caroline and Carson definitely took advantage of this treat whenever we had swim breaks or after lunch and our favorite flavors were the banana and vanilla/chocolate swirl. And you can ask for a Mickey Ice Cream Bar at any sit-down service meal for dessert, no questions asked!!
Entertainment | This was one area I thought couldn’t be topped, since the entertainment at all of the various Disney parks is beyond incredible, but the shows on the Disney Cruise Line were mind-blowing GREAT! Hands down, the Frozen Music Spectacular Show was our overall favorite and was completely Broadway-worthy… the music, costumes, singing and pupeteering blew us away–be sure to get there at least 30 minutes prior to showtime when the doors open to grab seats as close to the stage as possible because it fills up quickly. They offer a show each day and also give you two chances to see them in the Walt Disney Theater… one in the afternoon and one in the evening so you can decide what you prefer and what works better for your crew. There was a ventriloquist one night, a magician for another [he was SERIOUSLY good!] and then two other theatrical performance shows, Golden Mickeys and Dreams–both enchanting and all worth seeing.
Character Meet and Greets | No FastPasses necessary when you’re cruising… can I get an AMEN?? This and other special activities [the Royal Court Royal Tea Party, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, etc] require advance sign-up with Guest Services on Deck 3, so be sure to snag these musts for your little ones right as you board the ship on your first day! All you’ll need to do is figure out what day/time is available and they handle the rest… that way you can knock out all the princesses, Marvel superheroes, etc and the wait time is minimal. Check out the full list of Character Meet opportunities here.
Pirate Night Deck Party | If there is a nighttime event I recommend above all others, it’s this one!!! Hands down we absolutely loved the Pirates of the Caribbean theme and everyone on the ship goes ALL out to celebrate…. bring along your best pirate booty, coordinate your family’ ensembles and then make your way to the pool deck for bubbles, dancing, character sightings and of course late night fireworks! P.S. it does get chilly on the top deck at night, so bring a blanket/jacket/etc so you’ll be ready to party like a pirate.
Oceaneer Youth Club and Lab | Now parents, I am talking to you… sometimes you feel like you need a vacation AFTER a vacation, well take my advice and sign you’re kids up for this youth-only club on arrival day. They’ll get them setup with wristbands to wear all week [for easy check-in/check-out processing] and it’s most likely your little guests won’t want to leave. I was lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the club and it’s beyond any other area on the ship. They have thought of every little detail to make it a place your little ones WANT to go… from making Goo with Stitch to a Toy Story playroom with Slinky Dog Slide to the Marvel Super Hero Academy, kids of all ages [3 to 12 is this target demographic] will have the BEST time onboard and you’ll get some downtime for some proper R&R as well.
Older Kids Clubs, Edge and Vibe | For any of you out there with tweens in the 11-14 age group or older teens, 14-17 years of age, of course Disney doesn’t leave them out! They have two separate areas for them as well… we got to tour those spaces on the Wonder and they are super cool, very inviting and offer a ton of activities like board games, karaoke, dance parties, scavenger hunts, etc.
Younger Wee Ones, It’s a Small World Nursery | For little sailors 6 months to 3 years, this is the place for them… there are three various areas for the tiny tots in this space, and this is an additional expense when you drop your babies off, due to the 1:4 ratio for infants–you can book throughout your stay as well as your needs arise and/or change
**Insider Tip #6: They sell concessions outside of the theater, but those are not complimentary SO go upstairs to the pool deck and grab free drinks there… also, they sell refillable popcorn buckets so grab one the first night and bring back each day to fill up for just $2 and you can also grab cookies to snack on from Daisy’s De-Lites that are free too!
**Insider Tip #7: If you want your kids to eat while in the kids Oceaneer Club, simply let the staff know that at check-in and they will be offered lunch and/or dinner–also, there aren’t a ton of options to choose from [normally along the lines of chicken nuggets, hamburgers, etc] so be sure to note for picky eaters if they are anything like mine 😉
Days at Port + Excursions | For this trip, we decided to lay low and not book any specific port excursions, mostly because we wanted to be able to enjoy a more relaxed vacay, but the options for port excursions/tours/activities are HUGE! From beaching it up, to guided snorkeling, to private boat tours, you can make your list and check it twice and then pre-book before you hop on the ship. Just be sure to grab reservations for these ASAP because certain excursions fill up quickly!
On our day in Cabo, I was SO excited to take the girls and Mimi to The Office and grab a water taxi tour of the Arch… we had the absolute BEST time, and it was the perfect 3/4 hour adventure while we were in Mexico! We got to see some incredible fish, seals playing, all the scenic views of Cabo and it was super enjoyable and very family friendly. As for our second destination, Ensanada, us girls stayed on the ship that day and took advantage of the pool and plenty of bright sunshine! Definitely a change in pace for us, but a perfect opportunity for some R&R onboard with less crowds, too.
Our favorite coverups ever!!! Freestyle Coverup — so cute and yummy terry cotton, too!!
Adults Only, Gym and Spa Time | Oh yes… one thing that separates the parks from the cruise line is the amount of actual downtime Mimi and I were able to work into our schedule. There is a Senses Spa which offers everything you can think of in terms of spa treatments, saunas, Rainforest Room [we did this and the heated lounge chairs are incredible] and then of course the gym and workout space as well.
Other Details + Items to Note | Specifics you may find helpful onboard the ship!
**Wave Phones: these are SO handy especially when traveling with larger families/groups on the ship… basically they are old school-ish phones that help you communicate with others onboard, including sending texts, calling, etc–great for older kids to use since they will want to have as much independence as possible!
**Disney Navigator App: this was a LIFESAVER for us throughout our vacation… you can download the app before you board and all of your specific itineraries/dining/character meet and greets/etc will be saved so you can reference on your trip. It’s also extremely helpful to see what’s going on each day, during specific times, what movies are being shown/when–basically it’s your go-to source for everything cruise-related!
**What to Bring + Pack: Be sure to bring a lightweight jacket, all of your necessary travel docs [passports for adults and birth certificates for kids] as well as a carry-on for your first day… luggage takes a bit to arrive to your stateroom and you may want to take advantage of the pools/activities/change for dinner so that’s a great tip that helped us tremendously! I also brought along my favorite on-the-go phone charger and that was a LIFESAVER! Don’t forget other necessities including hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and of course spending money!!!!
**Internet Capabilities: My best advice here would be to access the Disney Cruise Line website with your phone, tablet, laptop once you are on the ship and grab one of their internet packages… they come in various sizes and I got the 1000 MB option that was $89. It definitely goes quickly so be sure to log in AND log out once you’re done with calls/internet usage as it will charge you otherwise! And don’t forget to turn your cell phone to airplane mode while at sea so you’re not charged for roaming… our phones worked when we were at port, but otherwise you’re out of commission [the perfect excuse to enjoy your vacation!!]
The most amazing vacation and the beginning of girls’ trips for just us four ladies… such incredible memories made to last a lifetime, made perfect with Disney Cruise Line! For the extensive list of everything to do onboard, this link will get you everything you need to know.
Paulina Jumpsuit [you know we love to match!]
As Mickey the main mouse says, I’ll See Ya Real Soon!!! Thank you all so much for reading… hope this Disney cruise review for all things Disney Wonder + Disney Cruise Line has you ready to set sail with the happiest vacation in the world!