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Disney Cruise Line: A Disney Parks veteran’s thoughts on first DCL cruise

A look at the memorable elements of a Disney Cruise Line vacation through the eyes of a Disney Parks veteran and first-time cruiser. Pictured here is the Disney Fantasy from March 2014.
A look at the memorable elements of a Disney Cruise Line vacation through the eyes of a Disney Parks veteran and first-time cruiser. Pictured here is the Disney Fantasy from March 2014.
D.K. Peterson. All rights reserved.

A veteran of Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, I’ve long wanted to see what the “Disney Difference” brings to cruising. So in March, I took my first sailing with the Disney Cruise Line, a 7-night Western Caribbean trip aboard the Disney Fantasy.

Disney Cruise Line brings the "Disney Difference" in quality and service to family cruises. There are many things appeal to guests of all ages and with differing interests.
D.K. Peterson. All rights reserved.

Why wait so long? Well, it came down to a series of related concerns. Not with quality of a Disney cruise. I know Disney Cruise Line (DCL) consistently wins awards for being among the best large ships for families and in terms of its entertainment. But I did wonder if a DCL experience would have much appeal for and to me.

My husband and I don’t have kids and we both enjoy being active on vacation. So I wondered, would a Disney cruise offer enough fun and entertainment for two adults? Equally important, would a DCL sailing appeal to a couple who enjoys long days touring the Disney Parks, destination races and visiting new places? Could the cruise help us break from our normal travel routine, helping us to relax and enjoy the (boat) ride?

To sweeten the incentive to jump aboard the Disney Fantasy, we decided to treat the trip as an experiment and reconnaissance mission. Would our first Disney cruise not only convince us to take a second cruise, but to make plans to travel with our extended family?

Read the below posts for our reactions to our first Disney cruise, but it wouldn’t be a spoiler to say that the short answer to the above questions is, “Yes!”

Our DCL “travel snapshots” have been organized into the following sections:

Rather than a detailed trip report, these are the impressions of two first-time DCL guests. The responses aren’t a comprehensive review that covers everything we did and doesn’t address our specific itinerary. Instead, they address some things that, from our perspective, make a Disney cruise worth doing.

DCL provided the quality and service I expected of a Disney experience, plus a few surprises. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that our experiences suggest Disney Cruise Line sailings are signature Disney experiences, and meet or exceed the standards found at Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort.

So neither my traveling partner nor I would hesitate to take another Disney cruise in a variety of situations: just the two of us, with other adults, or as part of a family cruise. This was our first Disney cruise; it won’t be our last. But I’ll also have to save my pennies, as a Disney premium experience can cost, well, a Disney premium.

But now we have a new question: which DCL trip to plan for next?

If you’ve sailed with Disney Cruise Line – are a Castaway Club member – what have been your most memorable experiences? And what would you recommend for a first-time cruiser or someone new to cruising in general: itinerary, ship, time of year?

Or are you a Disney Parks fan who hasn’t taken a Disney cruise? Planning to? Why or why not?

Note: I sailed aboard Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Disney Fantasy, on a 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary. I booked travel with Michele of Pixie Vacations, a travel agency specializing in Disney vacations. Michele’s help was invaluable in helping me plan my trip. I paid all my own travel expenses and my opinions are my own.

Kungaloosh! Put on your set of ears and join me in stalking the Mouse. Read more of my Disney Travel Examiner articles or sign up for a free subscription.

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