Jason Leppert | January 13, 2016 4:50 PM ET
An Adult Appreciation for the Disney Cruise Line
It’s easy to assume that the Disney Cruise Line is best only for traveling with children, but as many adult families will attest, its ships are solid contenders for guests without kids, and certainly kids at heart, as well.
Have no fear, Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab kids facilities are exceptional at keeping young ones so entertained that they seldom want to leave their exclusive areas. Even when they are out and about in the public spaces, they are mostly happy and well adjusted to their new surroundings. Of course, you do still get the occasional screamer and hall runner, but adults have their own dedicated areas to escape to as well.
In fact, each Disney ship has its own adults-only district. The Disney Fantasy, for instance, features Europa, a set of continental entertainment venues, bars and even bathrooms intricately themed to different European nations. Skyline Lounge highlights several destinations at a posh penthouse bar where surrounding screens display evening views of Paris, London, Budapest and other metropolises on magical rotation thanks to pixie dust.
Besides the excellent production shows and first-run Disney films staged and screened in the theaters for all guests, there are dance parties, variety shows and live music that are customized for adults. Additionally, the Quiet Cove Pool and Cove Cafe are getaways at the top decks for relaxed retreats with scenic views. On the Disney Wonder, the Outlook Cafe is particularly nice as a bonus observation lounge, one that would be a welcome addition on more ships, when the ship sails in Alaska.
(To infinity and) beyond such exclusives, family-friendly activities and features warrant adult attention as well. After all, it’s hard not to get a kick out of a pirate night or select “Star Wars Day at Sea” fireworks show at sea no matter your age, and now that Norwegian Cruise Line has suspended its display, Disney once again reclaims the title of the only company to offer the spectacle.
Even family-friendly staterooms and their split bathrooms with separate toilet and shower compartments come in handy for private adults, and cabins as a whole include more storage than similarly-sized rooms on other cruise lines. It has yet to be seen how upcoming family staterooms on Carnival Cruise Line’s new Carnival Vista and Holland America Line’s new Koningsdam will compare. After all, the Disney Fantasy’s and Disney Dream’s Magical Portholes, which display a live outside view, were soon imitated by Royal Caribbean International’s Virtual Balconies, but they still lack Disney’s overlaid character animations.
Both newer Disney ships also showcase Enchanted Art that come alive upon close inspection. These pieces play a key part in the Midship Detective Agency scavenger hunts, one that even casts the mischievous mayhem of the Muppets, as guests of any age become sleuths to solve interactive puzzles. Also, the AquaDuck water coaster has adults coming back time after time for its watery fun as rafts thrillingly cantilever over the side of the ship and swiftly propel up and down in a translucent tube, traversing the upper decks. The free-fall variant AquaDunk on the Disney Magic is even more exciting.
For dining, adults get their own specialty restaurants as well. The Italian Palo on all four ships and the French “Ratatouille”-inspired Remy (pictured above) on the Fantasy and Dream are exquisite culinary experiences, but the complimentary dining rooms are not to be missed either. The transformative Animator’s Palate, one of three rotational restaurants on each ship, is a favorite as its black and white surroundings are colorized on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder and animated by your own character drawings on the Fantasy and Magic.
I’d imagine if the kids-only facilities were always open to adults, many would very likely enjoy those venues just as often. At least there are a few open house hours when adults can enjoy the numerous spaces themed to properties including Marvel, Pixar and even “Star Wars,” now exclusively on the Dream with the Millennium Falcon.
To be sure, being a predisposed Disney fan is not a requirement to enjoy a Disney cruise. As ships alone, the fleet is beautifully designed in vintage style, with just a touch of character, and immaculately maintained. Adults with good taste and a sense of wonder come to quickly appreciate the incredible attention to detail throughout and, if nothing else, are likely to leave as cruise fans, if not Disney ones as well.
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