Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pre-Cruise Trip Report: Disney Cruise Line

Recently, I've written about Drinking around the [Disney] World and about losing myself to the charms of Sin City, the true adult playground. So I thought it was probably time to write about something a little more family friendly ;)

This post is actually about something I haven't experienced yet--that being a cruise with Disney Cruise Line. But have no fear--you are reading this now, and in about a month and a half I will be able to write a review of an actual Disney cruise, because cruising with Disney is how we have chosen to spend my boyfriend's 30th birthday!

Why Disney Cruise line, you ask, for a grown man's birthday? Especially when we don't have any children of our own? Well, there are many reasons that I stand behind my decision, not the least of which is the fact that I am, as you probably guessed, a pretty big fan of all things Disney. Other reasons are that (a) I've heard wonderful things about the staterooms [supposedly bigger than most other cruise lines], the service, and the food; (b) I wanted a shorter cruise but didn't want to deal with the craziness [and I'll leave it at that] of a Carnival Bahamas cruise or end up on the same Royal Caribbean ship I experienced in 2000 [the Monarch is the ship RCI is sending to the Bahamas these days]; (c) surprisingly enough, Disney is the only cruise line that offers truly adults-only areas all day long, including an adults-only pool! Those are my main reasons for choosing a Disney cruise, and I think they more than suffice.

But enough about Disney being adult-friendly, because I promised a blog about something family-friendly, for once!

Now, first of all--I don't pretend to know everything about every cruise line out there, but I do know that last I checked, Disney was the only major cruise line (at least out of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Disney) that offered discounted rates for children! Part of me thinks it's just ridiculous for a cruise line to charge the same price for an adult as they do for an infant, or a toddler, or pretty much any child under the age of, say, 10. I'm sure some of you are likewise screaming, "The outrage!" But...the business woman in me knows that while this sounds ridiculous to the traveler, money-wise, it's the smart decision for the cruise line. To play devil's advocate--why should the cruise line lose money by selling a bed to you for less, just because you're traveling with a child, when they could cram more adults into that same room and sell that bed for more? Yet in the end, Disney has it right. Children certainly eat less food and use fewer other resources on the ship; I highly doubt Disney Cruise Line is actually making less or losing more money than their fellow lines, by offering discounted rates for youngsters.

We should also talk about soft drinks. Because although I personally do not drink soda, I understand that most people do, and so do all those cruise lines out there. While other lines charge you for soft drinks--even at meals!--the only time you will pay for a soda on a Disney cruise is when you order one from a bar. Not only are sodas included when you're sitting down to a meal, but there are soda fountains on the ship that are also included in your cruise price.

And of course, there are the obvious reasons why Disney Cruise Line is simply more family friendly--the Pirate Party with fireworks, the opportunities to take pictures and the Broadway-style shows with Disney characters, and the fact that they offer an actual nursery for children 3 months to 3 years for a minimal fee.

Plus, if you like to think outside the box, there is something called a Fish Extender Exchange that is not necessarily sanctioned by Disney Cruise Line...but looks like a great idea nonetheless! A "Fish Extender" is a piece of fabric with pouches that you hang from the fish outside your stateroom. You can go to disboards.com and sign up to participate in the Fish Extender Exchange for your particular sail date, and other cruisers will leave little gifts/surprises in your Fish Extender throughout the cruise. Probably sounds a bit silly to an adult, but I can only imagine how much a child would love the anticipation of getting back to the stateroom and seeing if there is a surprise in his or her special pocket of a Fish Extender!

Although currently, that is the extent of my knowledge of traveling with Disney Cruise Line, I'm sure that the next time you see me writing about it I will have much more to say...and here's to the hope that most--or maybe even all--of my musings will be positive ones!

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