Let me preface this with the fact I’m not a Disney fanatic. To be honest, you’ll have some difficulty making me watch a Disney film unless it contains Woody/Buzz Lightyear or it involves lots of animated lions.
I hear the shouts now – ‘Why did you go on a Disney Cruise then? I’d appreciate it more than you would!’. In short, both in my explanation and her size, my girlfriend. She loooooves Disney, I’d probably say more than me! Regardless of the Disney element of the cruise, the lure of a visit to the Bahamas had me sold!
However, the Bahamas would be the location where I bought the two most expensive beers I’ve ever had. One right after the other in two separate places. More on the how and whys later!
So I paid my £450 ($590 / €492) and opted for the 3-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral, staying in the ‘Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah’ room option. The cruise stopped at Nassau in the Bahamas and also Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Caribbean. What was the Disney Cruise like? What’s included? What did I think of it? Well…
About the Ship
When your boarding time arrives you’re ushered on to the ship and greeted with a ‘Welcome to the Muckersie family’ announcement as you board. Nice touch! The ship we were on was the Disney Dream which caters for up to 4,000 guests and 1,400 crew members. The ship was massive! It has a few different swimming pools, cinema areas, a nine hole mini golf course and a basketball court among other things. There’s also a giant slide that goes along, and partly off, the side of the boat which was a pretty nice way of cooling off. There are also kids clubs, clubs for teenagers and an adult only section which includes a swimming pool and a few different bars.
One bar in particular we liked was the Skyline Bar. The bar itself was a very laid back cocktail bar with a few tables and comfy seating. The skyline behind the bar would change every 30 minutes or so, each one instantly recognisable – Paris, Chicago, New York and a few more. The drinks menu was tailored to each skyline as well so you could be sipping on a Paris 75 (Vodka, peach schnapps, blue curacao, pineapple juice, a sugared rim—and a souvenir glow cube) whilst looking over the Eiffel Tower.
There are also around seven shops on board selling clothing, souvenirs, Disney related art and exclusive Disney Cruise items.
Our room was a really good size, some would say too big for two people but it was perfect. We had a king size bed, desk, TV, wardrobe space, table, fridge and a small verandah outside. Not all rooms have a verandah but if I was to go again I’d choose the same sort of set up. In the evenings it’s quite nice to sit outside having a drink while watching the waves go by. The TV does come with all of the Disney films on it too so you can spend 24 hours a day watching Disney! My idea of fun…
It was my girlfriend’s birthday on the trip so, unexpectedly, her family had booked the cruise too and would be staying in the room next to us. This was a nice surprise, for her. The staff did take away the barrier outside our rooms to allow us to move between them which was pretty handy.
The Disney staff are well trained in towel origami as you’re met with a towel animal every day on your bed. How do they make the octopus?!
Food and Drink
When we initially boarded our room wasn’t ready so a trip to lunch was on the cards. There are so many options for food – around 13 different places. For lunch, every restaurant is all you can eat. All you can eat! I could see why people like to go on cruises! I was loving it! We tended to eat at Cabanas which sold salads, soups, burgers, sandwiches, steak, chicken, seafood and pizza. Everything!
As soon as I got on and into the restaurant I was offered a cool bag and ten cans of beer. I said yes. Never say yes if you’re the only one drinking them. It was vastly overpriced and I had to up my drinking game on the last night to get through them all! I made a rookie mistake because I was so keen on a beer at the time. That’s how they get you! Soft drinks are included in the price of the cruise but you do have to pay extra for alcoholic drinks which will be added to your room’s account.
Your dinner is served in a few special, themed restaurants with you trying a different one each evening. The menus are provided and you can choose any of the items and you can eat as many of the courses as you like. There were a couple of times where I was going to ask for something off every course (which was probably enough to feed two) but my girlfriend called me greedy which put me off! My biggest regret of the Disney Cruise! There are also things like ice cream machines dotted around the boat that you can tuck in to at any point.
The food is good. Always say yes to food. Always.
Alongside your towel origami animal you get a daily timetable of activities. This includes your nightly show which varies each evening. The shows are acted out in a large theatre. The quality of them can vary but they’re normally a decent hours entertainment. The daily timetable also had what events were on in the various kid clubs, the movies showing on that day, timings of your trips off the ship and much more. There’s also themed nights and deck parties with dress up optional.
Off Ship Stops
The Disney Cruise we were on stopped at two places: Nassau and Castaway Cay, both in the Bahamas. We spent a day at each where you could take part in various activities outlined above. Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and hosts around 70% of the total Bahamian population within the city. The Bahamas has no income tax, corporate tax, capital gains tax, or wealth tax. This makes it very attractive for people looking to buy higher priced, luxury items like diamonds.
Quick tip: Do not go in to Nassau if it’s your girlfriends birthday. Say no, stay on the ship instead. Was Beauty and the Beast not playing at 2pm? We wouldn’t want to miss that. Try that one.
I didn’t say no. We went to Nassau. The main street is filled with big name brands such as Cartier, Rolex, Gucci, TAG Heuer and loads more. One of the first stops after getting off the ship was a shop called Diamonds International. No points for guessing what they sell.
My first most expensive beer: $340.
They offered me a beer. We found some diamonds my girlfriend liked and we went through the haggling process. $340 later, that beer was the most expensive beer I’ve ever had. It was a nice beer to be fair.
My next most expensive beer: $A lot.
I visited a watch shop right as we got off the boat and really fancied a watch I saw. I left it to have some food and try and forget about it. I couldn’t, I went back to the store. They offered me a beer. I spent a lot of money on a watch. I’ll not be back to the Bahamas in a while!
Next stop was the Castaway Cay. This is a private island that Disney have leased from the Bahamian government for 99 years. It’s a lot more laid back compared to Nassau and it’s used exclusively by the Disney Cruise guests. Anything that you do or buy on this island will be charged back to your room so you don’t need any money at all here. The island has a nice beach to relax on and there are a lot of activities including cycling and snorkelling available.
The activities, both on the ship and off the ship, are available to purchase before you even get on the cruise using the Disney Cruise website. You can also sign up on the day but I’d recommend doing it as soon as possible because some of the activities do sell out. You can book snorkelling, dolphin encounters, bicycle rentals, fishing and even chocolate factory tours! How cool is that?!
With all that said, some activities are weather dependent. We booked parasailing but due to high winds on the day it was cancelled so we weren’t able to do it. We got a refund but we were gutted to miss out!
I wouldn’t say it’s turned me in to a Disney fanatic but I enjoyed it. I was a bit sceptical of whether I would enjoy a Disney Cruise beforehand thinking it would be Disney, Disney, Disney 24/7. The good thing is you can make it as Disney or non-Disney as you want. The adult areas and bars are subtle and you don’t even have to watch any Disney films during your cruise. It was a cool experience and the customer service was fantastic throughout. For the Disney enthusiasts it’s a definite must do!
If you’re heading to the United States or the Disney Cruise, check out Universal Orlando!