MOUSE AND DUCK TALES
Welcome to our blog, where we share our tips on the latest Disney, Universal and Cruising trends, treats and tours.
We know there are lots of adults who love Disney and we think a Disney cruise offers enough adult-only areas to make this a fantastic getaway even without kids in tow or if you are weary parents looking for a break
Lots of adult-only space
We really loved many of the bars on the ship, which all specialized in different drinks. We sampled European cocktails, champagne and great wine selections. Our favourite bar had video images of European cities on the "windows" so you could pretend to be looking out at Paris or Moscow. Plus we purchased a Martini tasting class that we really enjoyed. There is nothing like sampling martinis while overlooking the ocean in the sun. When travelling with our kids we don’t normally feel comfortable leaving them, but on the Disney ships there are so many staff around and such a great kids club, we were able to enjoy some guilt free quite time. Plus most kids were often in their club areas so we didn't feel overrun by other people's kids. The adult only pool areas were quiet and nicely situated. The adult only night club has a famous silent DJ and other dance parties.
Mosaic tile murals throughout the ship, including in the washrooms and even along the buffet line; huge stained glass chandeliers in all the main lobby areas; paintings that come alive; decorated plush carpet - it all adds to the feeling of luxury aboard Disney Cruise ships. This element really shouldn’t be understated. It might seem insignificant, but on previous cruises with other cruise lines we really noticed that décor has the potential to change the way you enjoy your vacation. We have to give Disney credit for taking every opportunity to make a statement. The ship even boasts a Tiffany jewelry store for those times when you need some extra bling.
The entertainment options are certainly G rated on a Disney cruise…. There’s no deep meaning to be found in these shows but their very high quality, with incredible sets, costumes and dancing more than make up for the content. We were a bit disappointed by the magician and juggler but they were still good and funny.
Disney’s spa aboard the Fantasy has some really nice elements. While it’s private couples' rooms are not complimentary like some Princess cruises offer, the décor and amenities were lovely. You can choose which day you want to visit the spa and we thought the price of roughly $18 per day per person was reasonable. The Rainforest Spa offers a variety of aromatherapy steam rooms with different temperatures, showers to mimic a variety of weather and a dry sauna fashioned after a Roman bath. We particularly enjoyed the loungers and whirlpools overlooking the flying fish in the ocean.
Whether you want to enjoy some kid-free time on your family vacation or you are travelling without kids you can be assured the Disney Cruise line offers many options for a great vacation.
2. Safety is priority: Each stateroom comes with a set of Wave phones, which let us give the kids some freedom to roam the ship on their own for short periods of time. We checked in with each other frequently while they played the Mid Ship Detective game. In this game the kids have a map to pictures hanging up around the ship. When they hold up their special card the picture changes to give them a clue to a mystery involving Mickey or the Muppets. There are many versions of the game so our kids played four different times!
4. Characters are everywhere: Just about every time we went to the lobby area and out on the deck we’d meet at least a few characters. You can see where characters will be on the Navigator app but they are out so often you don’t need to plan too hard. Minnie, Mickey, Daisy, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and Stitch sported different themed outfits each day. Even before your cruise you can choose tickets to the complimentary Princess Gathering, Frozen Meet and Greet and Disney Junior Character Breakfast on 7 nights or longer sailings.
Considering that this cruise was our third vacation within a year - we spent 10 days in Southern California and Disneyland in August and then two weeks in Southern Florida and Disney World over Christmas – we were pretty surprised that a cruise topped the list. But, the sheer number of family friendly activities available and the opportunity we had to let the kids enjoy some freedom on the ship while we enjoyed a quiet drink was pretty fantastic.
If our blog post about why you should cruise with your kids has you convinced, here are some tips to make your trip a little smoother:
We think cruising can be a great vacation option for families. Cruising allows you to enjoy the sun, stop in multiple destinations and gives you lots of kid-friendly activities, all at good value.
We have travelled with our kids twice on Carnival Cruise lines. We will be the first to admit that taking an 18-month old toddler was not a highlight for us. We spent the whole trip waking up early, chasing him all over the boat and being generally exhausted.
1. More focus on kids: We are happy to report that in the last 6 years Carnival has upped their game when it comes to kids. Of course, our second cruise was better because our kids are older and willing to be left at the kid’s club. But we also found there were many more things for kids to do this time around. We all enjoyed the water slides, mini golf, high ropes course and kid themed activities.
2. KIDS' CLUB! One of the best things for our family was the kids’ club that allowed our spirited child to play with new friends while we relaxed. On the last day of the cruise, she left the kid’s club with a trophy for winning the dance contest, a sand art necklace and a t-shirt she had decorated, all at no extra cost. We felt the staff were well qualified, friendly and very safety conscious. However, we were surprised to find out there were no limits on the ratio to children and staff.
3. Two rooms are better than one: Another great option for us was buying two adjoining interior rooms. This can actually cost less than one balcony room. It gave us lots more space, two bathrooms, two TVs and our kids had some independence. Interior rooms are also quiet and dark which meant our kids slept through the night and often woke late.
4. Kid Friendly Food: All the food was excellent. We loved that there were lots of meal options all over the ship. A few favorties were the Indian lunch buffet by the back pool, the burger and BBQ restaurants by Guy Fieri and the 'made to order' pizza. Free room service is available all day and it allows you to order breakfast for your early risers or even a bed-time snack.
We enjoyed eating in the dining room for breakfast and dinner. The wait staff were friendly and provided excellent service. You can eat a steak and chocolate lava cake each night or try something a little different with the Port of Call options. And if you choose something you don’t like, just ask for something else.
5. Kid Focused Events: Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat was a highlight. Menu options included Truffula Tree Pancakes, Green Eggs & Ham and Fox in Socks Steak & Eggs, among many others. We were really impressed with the food displays. The regular dining room had bright decorations including a cat ice sculpture. All the food displays were amazing. We had our picture taken with each character and enjoyed the music. We thought this breakfast was great value at $5 per person.
6. Flexible Dining Times: One thing that bears explaining is the two different dinner dining options. You can choose “Your Time Dining” where you can eat any time between 5:45pm and 9:30pm. You might have to wait if there are a lot of other people in line but we found going right at the beginning meant for speedy service. The second type is “Reserved Seating.” For this option you must choose either Early (6pm) or Late (8:30pm) options. While this guarantees a table will be ready for you, it could mean that you will be sitting with other guests that you don’t know.
Cruising gives your who family lots of different options on board and different destinations all in one trip. Click here to see our tips for cruising with kids.
Visit our cruising page for a synopsis of our preferred cruise lines.