A Disney Cruise Without the Kids?
Photo by Jason Leppert
Perhaps to your initial surprise, Disney Cruise Line can be a wonderful sailing option for adults without children. Any fears you might have about a ship overrun with kids are quickly alleviated, as the children’s facilities are exceptional at keeping them so entertained that they seldom want to leave their exclusive spaces.
In fact, the adults only spaces themselves are standouts. Each Disney ship has an adult district as well as secluded upper deck space. Beyond the elaborate production shows and first-run Disney films staged and screened in the theaters for all guests, here there are dance parties, variety shows and live music that are specifically tailored to adults.
The Quiet Cove Pool and Cove Cafe are getaways at the top of the ships for a relaxed retreat with views of the passing scenery. And the bonus Outlook Cafe, only found on the Disney Wonder, is particularly lovely as an observation lounge when sailing though Alaska.
Besides the well-advertised exclusives, it’s often the family-friendly activities and features open to all guests that hold adults’ attentions. Many, for instance, relish the opportunity to take photos with the characters on deck, and queues to do so are far shorter than those at the shoreside parks and resorts.
It’s also hard for anyone not to get a kick out of a fireworks show at sea, and now that Norwegian Cruise Line has suspended its nighttime display, Disney once again reclaims the title of the only company to offer such a spectacle. Launching during the first months of 2016, “Star Wars” Day at Sea is set to, among many other things, heighten the Disney Fantasy’s deck parties with extra special effects and characters. And there are plenty of adult “Star Wars” fans, myself included, ready to board in a nanosecond.
When returning to your cabin, even the so-called family bathrooms that split the toilet and the shower into their own compartments with separate sinks for added privacy and discretion are welcome features for adults. As staterooms and suites designed with multiple occupants in mind, they also feature more storage than comparable rooms on other cruise lines, and for an added touch of wonder on inside rooms, the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream have Magical Portholes that digitally display a live outside view superimposed with playful character animations.
Among other ship-wide details, the Fantasy and Dream also showcase Enchanted Art that animates upon close inspection. This art plays a vital role in the Midship Detective Agency games where guests of all ages can become sleuths to solve interactive puzzles, and as you guessed it, you’ll also find plenty of adults playing the different variations — one featuring the Muppets on the Fantasy and, come October 26th, the Dream as well.
On both newer ships, the unique AquaDuck water coaster has all passengers coming back again and again for its watery fun as rafts thrillingly cantilever over the side of the ship and swiftly propel up and downwards in a translucent tube, and the Disney Magic newly sports the variant AquaDunk free-fall body slide.
After so many activities, guests easily work up an appetite, and adults get their own specialty restaurants as well. Palo, featuring Italian fare on all four ships, and the French “Ratatouille”-inspired Remy on the Fantasy and Dream are exquisite dining experiences, but again, the included main dining rooms are not to be missed by adults either. The transformative Animator’s Palate sets the scene for a magical evening as the black and white space is colorized on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder and animated by your own drawings on the Fantasy and Magic.
As for the kids facilities, there are even a few open house hours where adults can enjoy all the Disney, Marvel, Pixar and, beginning this fall on the Dream, “Star Wars” areas, but the activities are generally only for the young ones. I have heard, however, that on longer transatlantic sailings adults have been invited to make filmic flubber.
Lastly, it’s also not a prerequisite to be a Disney fan before boarding. Just as cruise ships alone, the vessels are beautifully designed ocean liners in the vintage styles of art deco and art nouveau, with just a touch of character. Any adult with good taste and a sense of wonder can appreciate the incredible attention to detail throughout, and with any luck, or as Disney calls it — faith, trust and pixie dust — you may well be on your way to rediscovering your own kid-at-heart on a Disney Cruise Line journey.
More by Jason Leppert
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