I'm so excited to share our experience on our first Disney cruise we took last November and in the spirit of Christmas in July - I think its a great time to share & maybe you will be tempted to book on this cruise this year! We set sail aboard the Disney Dream for the The Very Merrytime Christmas themed cruise!!! The cruise was a 3 night adventure that would also see us visit Disney's private island - Castaway Cay. As you know, I love Disney and especially Disney World. So how would the Disney magic transfer out to the Ocean? Well here are my main takeaways:
If anything the characters are more magical!
Throughout the cruise the interactions with the characters are far more intimate. Generally you/your child gets more time with the characters than you would in Disney World and they have a number of surprise appearances. Be sure not to miss out on Mrs. Claus' storytime! For us, this had at most 6 other children attending as it was on the last evening and I can only assume the majority of families were still getting cleaned up and ready for dinner after a day out. Mrs. Claus brings some serious character surprises with her and it was amazing with so few children getting ample time with some of their favorites. Jayne lost her mind!!
The shows are out of this world!
See all the shows - They are SO good! We had Beauty and the Beast, which was truly amazing and wouldn't look out of place on a Broadway stage. The other 2 shows were inventive ways of performing numerous Disney classics, perfect for young and old! Disney's Believe in particular was wonderful and definitely pulled on the heartstrings while reminding all the adults in the room what its like to be a kid and encouraging us all to keep the magic alive for our children for as long as possible.
Service, second to none!
Just like at Disney World the service is outstanding. It is hard to think of a Global brand that can match Disney on customer service. Whatever else is going on in their lives, the cast turn it on for the guests.
They have their own island!
Castaway Cay is Disney's very own private island. If we could be stranded on an island anywhere this could be the place! It is easily the most fun day excursion from a cruise you can have - with amazing beaches, character meetings and yummy food!
Food, Glorious Food
The food is GREAT in the restaurants. Generally, unless paying for the premium restaurants, you will be on a rotation of each of the main restaurants. All of which are truly excellent. It amazes me how they have such high quality food on a ship!! We did get to try the premium restaurant, Palo, which had really excellent Italian food - If you wish to eat here, remember your fancy shoes, there is a dress code!
This really has to be the ultimate way to enjoy a cruise with a family. Disney absolutely caters to everyone from 0 to 100. It is essentially a top class cruise sprinkled with Disney magic. So, see the shows, enjoy the food, relax and escape. Jayne had a wonderful time in the kids' club, which up until that point had been a rare occurrence. Again the staff were absolutely amazing. When without the kids there are plenty of entertainment options and a variety of themed bars on board. Additionally, the sleeping arrangements and accommodations for children are excellent. The room felt really spacious even with a crib and diaper genie in there. Our usual trick when traveling is to put the crib/pack and play in the bathroom so Jayne can get to sleep and we can still have the lights on. In our room we could easily divide(amazing curtain set in the middle of the room) the room so we could hang out for a couple of hours in light after putting her down to sleep! (It's the little things!)
Overall, the Very Merrytime Cruise is absolutely worth it. It has so much of the magic of Disney combined with an amazing cruise. If you can make it work, add a couple of nights in Disney World to the beginning or the end of the trip and you have even more magic!