Disney Cruise Review: Rebekah Style
So you want to take a Disney cruise? And you want to hear from someone NOT affiliated with Disney in any way? Welp, I am NOT a travel agent, Disney did NOT ask me to write this, and I am getting nothing out of this except the sheer satisfaction of writing about my family’s experience. Good enough? I hope so. Let’s dive in.
I am fresh off the boat. Literally, I got off it yesterday. I can still feel the movement of it. I really hope THAT doesn’t last too long. Helllloooo dizzy!
Anyway, we (My little family of 4- Me, husband, and two little boys aged 3 and 5) took a five-night Disney cruise out of Miami on the Disney Magic. It included stops at Key West, Nassau, Castaway Cay, and a Marvel Day at Sea. We stayed in an ocean view stateroom (no balcony) on Deck 7 towards the front of the ship. No one got seasick; no one got any kind of sick, period. We used a travel agent (I’ll never do anything Disney without one again)
so I was able to let her handle most of the nuances. Because I’m a noob.
So what did we DO? Let’s break it down.
The Ports of Call
I have been to Key West before, and it is an interesting and beautiful place. On this trip, however, it was totally meh. We did the Old Town Train tour (oddly I’ve done this before too) and it was a solid meh. The kids were not impressed, and it went on a little too long. After that, we went into the shipwreck museum, which was neat, but also…meh. I’d say this was the least memorable day of our trip. I wish we’d just gone off on our own.
Nassau/ Blue Lagoon Bahamas
We chose to do a dolphin encounter at Blue Lagoon on this day. The kids and the husband also got some quality swimming in while we were here. The dolphin encounter was AMAZEBALLS. It was super expensive, but as a once in a lifetime thing it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.
This was by far the favorite day for the entire family. I ran a 5k that morning and got a cool medal, the boys and the husband spent a ton of time in the water, and I drank a bunch of margaritas. WINNING! Also, the Cookies BBQ on the island is really, really, good. And all the meat was Gluten Free! Bonus, the kid’s enjoyed Scuttles Cove, and the husband and I got to ride the trolley around the island until one of them asked to be picked up.
Marvel Day at Sea
We hardly saw our kids during our day at sea. Aside from meeting some Avengers in person, they wanted to be in the Disney Oceaneer Club all day. Which was fine by us! The husband and I roamed around looking at all the safety equipment, reading all the signs, people watching, and otherwise being total nerds. The show that night was really, really cool too.
Now that You know what we did, want to know what we thought?
There are literally so many things to write about in regards to our Disney Cruise. If I showed you my notes you would probably think I’m crazy/ a total bitchface. I’ll tame the bitchface for this post’s
- Cleanliness. The ship was IMMACULATE. They were always cleaning it! Our room was super well cared for, the bathrooms were always clean, and they made us wash our hands every 3 seconds. Well not that often, but it felt like it. I appreciate that level of clean.
- The app and the wave phones. I was fretting over how they would contact me if the kids’ were having issues in the kid’s club. HAVE NO FEAR! AN APP IS HERE! Seriously, the app was our lifeline the whole week. And on Castaway Cay where the WiFi was spotty, the wave phones came in handy. It’s just super reassuring to stay connected.
- The food. The servers were flat out amazing, and the food was good too. Because I’m so much cooler than everyone and have to eat Gluten Free, I had to order a day ahead for dinner, but they always had stuff for me. Often it was prepackaged Udi’s things, but it was still delicious. From what my husband said, he was impressed with his food as well. And the kids loved their never-ending supply of fries, pizza, and chicken tenders. (Don’t worry, I packed Juice Plus, so it wasn’t THAT bad for them.)
- The Staff. Duh, it’s Disney. The staff is going to be ridiculously amazing, but these people really deserve a shout out. All of them have name tags with their home countries on them, and once they know you they greet you by name. It’s so cool. I wanted to make them sit with me and tell me all about their lives, families, and cruise ship adventures, but alas they had more people to deal with than just me. Next time, Endang, next time.
- The shows. They aren’t kidding when they say their shows are awesome. A Disney Cruise is one of the only cruises that have fireworks displays too. So that was pretty neat.
- The Oceaneer Club/ Oceaneer Lab/ Scuttles Cove. Basically the areas for kids 3-12. They’re secure, clean, and freakin’ AWESOME. I mean we hardly saw our kids the entire Day at Sea. They’ll feed your kids. Entertain your kids. And tire them out to the point that they fall asleep eating cookies that they baked (true story). If the kid asks, they’ll send you a message to come and get them. Or if a kid is upset, they let you know. They also call you if he falls asleep in his cookies.
- Wait times for Gluten Free food. I get it though. It just got frustrating a few times.
- Drink prices. Again, I get it. It’s a cruise. I’m just a whiner.
- The door decoration and gift exchange thingies. Maybe our cruise was an off one for this, but leading up to it I felt like I was going to be the ONLY ONE ON THE SHIP without door decorations. We were not. Not even close. In addition, I didn’t even see any of the gift exchange things. If you’re panicking about this stuff before your Disney Cruise… just skip it.
- The character greetings. We had one ticketed greeting where we got to meet 3 Avengers (Spiderman, Black Panther, and Iron Man) that was really awesome. However, the other character greetings were a little meh. The lines got LONG and they only lasted 15 minutes, so not everyone got to get a picture. Even our kids were ‘meh’ unless we rushed to the spot before the line got insane. They did get to see a bunch of the characters in the kids club though! No pictures of it, but I’m happy they got the experience.
- Dress codes. We didn’t eat anywhere that required us to dress up
becauseNOPE. I have a hard time justifying dresses up on a cruise. Maybe that’s the bitchface talking, but I just don’t get it.
- Deck parties and shows. In general, dealing with the mayhem during the pirate night made it almost not worth it. The Marvel deck show was awesome (from what I could see of it) but it’s really hard when you have to hold your kid up the whole time because a full grown adult insists on being in the front row (TAKE THAT YOU LOWLY 3 YEAR OLD!). So I preferred the shows with seating.
- The other passengers. So like maybe 70% of the other passengers were just fine. But you know how one bad apple can ruin a bunch? Well one giant 13-year-old yelling at my PRESCHOOLER because he stood in front of him during a Mickey show (Uh, dude, you are like 2.5 ft taller than him. You can see.) Can ruin your night. I’ll save the rest of my rants about the people for my bitchface post.
- The ridiculous expectations. The survey we took at the end of the trip actually allowed people to rank the cruise line positively or negatively about the motion of the boat. WUT. I’m sorry, you’re at sea. Did you not know the boat would move? I just cannot with that question. If they want to know if you got seasick…fine. But isn’t that completely subjective to the person?
All in all, it was a positive experience, but we probably won’t do it again. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.
- It’s not on our schedule. We are a strange breed of people that desire a shit-ton of freedom. This (combined with how ridiculously expensive it can be to fly) might be why we drive everywhere. We like to eat early compared to most people, and we like to roam. The ship’s schedule just wasn’t OUR schedule and we’re kind of babies about that. We’re also shitty at what most people call ‘relaxing’. Some people can sit by a pool and read a book, while we want to go, go, go. And, when your kids are happy in the kid’s area, there’s only so much ‘going’ you can do while on a boat or restricted to a short time in a city.
- Hurry up and WAIT! I say this with love because I understand organizing 2700 people day in and day out is no easy feat, but there is A LOT of waiting on a Disney cruise. Hurry to dinner, and wait for the doors to be open, hurry to exit the ship to wait in line, hurry to a show to get seats, and wait. It’s just a lot of waiting while also feeling rushed. Again, just not our thing.
- We’re bedtime people. Contrary to our desire to be in charge of our own schedules our kids go to bed at the same time almost every single night. On a cruise lots of the shows are later at night, so the kids stayed up and therefore go really tired and wild towards the end. Some kids are better at this than others, but for us, this can be a challenge.
- It’s EXPENSIVE. I mean, duh, but aside from just paying for the trip leading up to it the bill just grows and grows and grows. Excursions, alcohol, the souvenirs, the gratuities… We are CHEAP ASS parents. And even we left the ship with an 800$ bill. Add in the airfare, extras purchased for the trip, and extra night in a hotel and we’re closing in on 2k$ over and above what we already paid just to get on the ship. We can drive across the country (and do a lot more) for far less than the cost of a cruise. Which leads me to my last point.
- It’s not authentic. Again, I say this with love, but a cruise is like trick or treating. You get a peek into another country and culture, but that’s it before you move on. I don’t want to look into people’s front entryways, I want to look inside their dresser drawers so to speak. I want to see how they live, deal with the local currency, immerse myself in the language, try the REAL food, and otherwise get down to the nitty-gritty whenever I’m in a new place. My husband is the same way. Don’t get me wrong, we do enjoy a good tourist trap from time to time (we totally hugged a dolphin on this trip after all), but in general, we want to go deeper than you can with a cruise.
- We’re not a
crowdfamily. We just aren’t. We’re happier hiking a trail in Glacier National Park thanwe are at an amusement park. No joke, when we went to SeaWorld once our son almost immediately asked to go home. At least 3/4 of us would be happy in a remote cabin on a mountainside only interacting with 10 people a day. The jury is still out on the ‘little’ one. He might be our extrovert. Even though as of right now he’s still a huge mama’s boy.
So there you have it! My real, raw, and completely honest review of our very first Disney Cruise! Very first cruise ever, but it also happened to be Disney!
Also, there’s a