Photo credit: Root Photography
Right after my now husband and I became engaged, we decided to take a cruise to celebrate the momentous occasion (we had been dating for over five years, for goodness sake). I was really nervous about cruising because I get motion sickness very easily. Hubster basically grew up on boats, so he wasn't worried about seasickness at all. I insisted on a Disney cruise because I felt the familiarity of Disney on the ship would put me at ease. A lot of friends thought we were a little weird for celebrating our engagement on a Disney cruise, and I had to explain Disney cruises are not just for kids! On a seven day cruise we were never bored and never found ourselves searching for adult-appropriate entertainment. Even my husband, who is NOT a Disney person, had a great time. If you're considering a Disney cruise for your family but concerned about what there is to do for adults, here are eight reasons Disney cruises are not just for kids:
- Bars and Lounges – Each Disney ship has an area restricted to adults twenty-one and up. Yep, you can probably guess where my husband and I spent most of our time. The ship we sailed on, the Disney Wonder, had a sports bar where my husband watched baseball games. Aside from bars and lounges, there is always a place for dancing at night, with a DJ playing current and classic hits.
- Booze Tastings – Some Disney sailings offer different kinds of alcohol tastings, where you learn about the drink and then sample a few varieties. Since we did a cruise to the Mexican Riviera, we felt it appropriate to partake in the tequila tasting. From memory, our itinerary also offered a mojito tasting and a martini tasting, as well as beer and wine tastings.
- Adult Exclusive Pool – Each Disney ship has a pool area just for adults with lounge chairs and drink service called Quiet Cove Pool. Doesn't that sound nice? Loungers do go quickly on sea days, so if you plan to spend a day by the pool, be sure to get there early to secure a spot.
- PALO – PALO, the premium restaurant on all four Disney ships, is an excellent way to treat yourself to a very grown-up meal. The restaurant is eighteen and up and, aside from the twenty-one-and-over lounges, is the only restaurant that is adult exclusive. You pay an extra $25 per person to dine at PALO, but you're getting a $100+ meal so it's well worth it. Be sure to order the souffle and time your reservation (which is a requirement) for sunset. PALO's aft (rear) location and floor-to-ceiling windows give a sweeping view of whatever gorgeous scenery you're experiencing that day. For us it was the rocky landscape of Cabo San Lucas, and it's a view I'll never forget. On itineraries longer than four days, you can also experience brunch at PALO, which some people think is even better than dinner. I think they are equally fabulous and both worth every penny.
- A Real Movie Theater – The Disney ships all have a legit movie theater showing first run movies, with stadium seating, premium sound, and sometimes even 3D. Yes, they are all Disney movies, but aside from the most recent animated hits, they include live action movies such as Maleficent and Captain America. The morning and afternoon shows are popular with families, but the later showings around 10:00 pm or 11:00 pm will likely be kid free. If you're sailing while a big movie is being released in theaters, they will often do a "premiEAR" midnight showing as well.
- Adventurous Excursions – Yes, perhaps it's cheating to lump port excursions on this list, but I want to point out that Disney offers a wide variety of excursions for all types of families, couples, and single cruisers. For couples there are romantic gondola rides in Venice, cooking classes in Puerto Rico, and horse drawn carriage rides through Victoria, British Columbia. There are even excursions geared toward teenagers, such as surfing in Mexico or a high-power jet boat ride in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Fitness Center – I'm one of those freaks who actually enjoys working out, even while on vacation. Especially while I'm on a cruise to counterbalance the endless buffets and bottomless margaritas. The Disney cruise adult-only fitness centers are really nice and clean, and there are aerobic and yoga classes at various times. I joined an early morning yoga class out on the forward (front) open-air deck, surrounded by nothing but calming blue seas. It was pretty fantastic. There are even personal trainers available to hire for private sessions if you are hardcore like that.
- The Spa – I really enjoyed the spa area of the Disney Wonder. My husband and I did a couple's treatment and enjoyed the peacefulness and serenity of the Rainforest Room afterward. You can book individual or couple's spa treatments and/or purchase a length-of-cruise pass for just the Rainforest Room and use of its steam rooms, "rain" showers, and heated tile loungers. You can generally tour the spa on embarkation day and sometimes even get a discout on services if you book during the tour. All spa areas are for guests eighteen years and over.
For those of you out there with children, I know what you're thinking right now…"How do we enjoy all these adults-only experiences with our children in tow?" Disney cruises have excellent and free kids' and teens' clubs for children ages three through seventeen. There is so much cool stuff to do in the kids' clubs, your kids will likely be begging to spend their time there instead of hanging out with you. (No offense.) Group babysitting is also available for children under three for an additional fee.
Lots of people assume Disney Cruise Line is just for families with kids, but as you can see there is plenty of grown-up fun for adults, too. That's why they are my favorite cruise line. They have something for just about everyone. If you have sailed on a Disney cruise, I would love to hear your favorite part of your trip!
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