Making waves with Mickey: Fine dining, hot tubs and a champagne bar… discovering why a Disney cruise can be a very grown-up affair
- Siobhan Grogan boards Disney Dream – a ship modelled on transatlantic ocean liners of the 1930s – in Florida
- She says it’s a ‘slick operation designed to charm the whole family’ with rides and West End-worthy shows
- The Italian and French fine-dining restaurants on board would ‘thrill any Michelin star-seeking foodie’
There’s only one person everyone wants to meet on a Disney cruise, and it’s not the captain. From the moment passengers board through a Mickey Mouse-shaped portal to be greeted by the world’s most famous rodent, there is no doubt who is the VIP on this ship.
The Disney Dream is one of four Disney ships, with a fifth due this summer. It’s modelled on transatlantic ocean liners of the 1930s, but its Art Deco elegance has a distinctly Disney twist. The ship’s horn blasts the first seven notes of When You Wish Upon A Star before every announcement, and also marks our departure from Disney’s dedicated cruise terminal in Port Canaveral, Florida.
Like the Disney theme parks, it’s a slick operation designed to charm the whole family. Plus, a cruise is the perfect way to recover from rollercoaster fatigue and make the magic last a little longer following a trip to Orlando’s Disney World, an hour away.
Siobhan Grogan boards Disney Dream, pictured, in Port Canaveral, Florida. ‘It’s modelled on transatlantic ocean liners of the 1930s,’ she reveals
Above is the Disney Dream atrium. The cruise liner is one of four Disney ships, with a fifth due this summer
Pictured is the top deck of Disney Dream, boasting a big screen that shows non-stop Disney films
‘A cruise is the perfect way to recover from rollercoaster fatigue and make the magic last a little longer following a trip to Orlando’s Disney World,’ says Siobhan. Above is the ship’s ‘Vibe’ teen club
Time at sea is centred around the top deck pool, with its all-you-can-eat ice-cream station, Goofy-themed mini golf course, lavish sweet shop and big screen showing non-stop Disney films while parents sip well-deserved cocktails in peace.
The main draw is a brilliant ‘water coaster’ that whizzes riders through 765ft of tubes on an inflatable raft, including 13ft off the side of the ship and down a four-deck drop.
However, the biggest surprise is discovering that adults are not an after-thought, so it really is possible to relax – glass of champagne in hand.
AquaDuck, pictured, is a brilliant ‘water coaster’ that whizzes riders through 765ft of tubes on an inflatable raft
‘Adults are not an after-thought, so it really is possible to relax,’ Siobhan says of the ship. Pictured is Disney Dream’s all-pink champagne bar
Pictured is the adults-only District Lounge. Adults on board can also indulge in cognac-tastings and cabaret shows
Pictured is the adults-only Quiet Cove pool, which features plush sunloungers and a hot tub
The Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom on board. ‘Like the Disney theme parks, it’s a slick operation designed to charm the whole family,’ Siobhan says of the ship
Pictured is the Roy O Disney Suite – one of two ‘royal suites’ on board. According to Siobhan, the cruise liner’s Art Deco elegance has a ‘distinctly Disney twist’
There’s an adults-only pool with plush sunloungers and a hot tub, an all-pink champagne bar, a pub and nightclub, a spa and even cognac-tastings and cabaret shows.
Two fine-dining restaurants – Italian and French – are reserved for adults and would thrill any Michelin star-seeking foodie with exquisite plates of wagyu beef and lobster, impeccable white-gloved service and vintage wine lists.
Even with children in tow, the ship’s three other à la carte restaurants are surprisingly sophisticated – passengers are assigned the same waiters wherever they eat, ensuring favourite drinks appear within moments of being seated.
Above is the French-inspired Remy restaurant, where diners enjoy impeccable white-gloved service and vintage wine lists
Pictured is Palo – one of the ship’s fine-dining restaurants, which ‘would thrill any Michelin star-seeking foodie’
A seared tuna steak dish at Disney Dream’s Palo restaurant
Not surprisingly, it’s the entertainment that truly brings Disney razzle-dazzle to this cruise, with exuberant dance parties under the stars and West End-worthy shows.
With so much to do on board, it’s telling that not all passengers choose to disembark at the first port, Nassau in the Bahamas, where excursions include water-park trips, scuba-diving and glass-bottomed boat tours.
The second stop – Castaway Cay – is a different story. Originally known as Gorda Cay, it was once a popular spot for pirates and smugglers.
Siobhan’s cruise docks at Nassau in the Bahamas (pictured), where excursions include water-park trips and scuba-diving
Above is Disney Dream docked at Castaway Cay. Originally known as Gorda Cay, the isle was transformed into Disney’s private island in 1998
According to Siobhan, Mickey Mouse roams Castaway Cay in a bright Hawaiian-style shirt, as if checking everything is well with young (and old)
It was transformed into Disney’s private island in 1998 and used as a filming location for some of the Pirates Of The Caribbean films.
It’s just three miles long, with three icing-sugar-white beaches. In true Disney fashion, everything has been thought of: hammocks and umbrellas for lounging, plenty of snorkel gear and bikes, a shaded toddler splash park and a teen hangout area. There’s also a tranquil adults-only beach.
A generous beach barbecue – with unlimited ice cream, of course – is included, while the island post office will send postcards back home with a prized Castaway Cay postmark.
Even Mickey himself roams the sands in a bright Hawaiian-style shirt, as if checking everything is well with young (and old).
Disney Cruise Line offers four nights on Disney Dream departing Southampton in 2023 from £851pp full-board, based on two adults and two children (aged three to nine) sharing a deluxe veranda stateroom (disneycruise.co.uk).
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