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Disney service: DCL exceeds guest expectations with a smile (and a towel animal)

Disney Cruise Line is known for its exceptional service. One example? The nightly turn-down service for its staterooms that includes towel animals.
D.K. Peterson. All rights reserved.

Disney Cruise Line’s commitment to service is just as memorable as the look of the Disney Fantasy, perhaps more so, and a big reason my husband and I were so taken with our first Disney cruise experience.

If pressed to pick just one, the service also might be the reason I would recommend a Disney Cruise Line (DCL) trip too others. As a guest, you not only feel welcomed but appreciated and even pampered by the Crew Members (what DCL Cast Members are called).

We interacted most closely with four DCL Crew Members – the dining rooms’ head server, server and assistant server and our stateroom host. They offered us personalized, considerate service and helped make the trip feel luxurious. These Crew Members consistently sought feedback for things they could do to make our cruise better – they were like a first line of communication back to DCL.

These hard-working Crew Members always greeted us with a smile and friendly small talk. They saw to our needs and remembered our needs and preferences. They were the ones who remembered our post-dinner drinks, asked us about our port adventures, and brought the special touches to our days – like teaching us some Hungarian or making sure I had a towel animal to hug every night.

Most Crew Members on the Disney Fantasy exceeded our expectations, from the bartender who made his special Jamaican cocktail, to the Palo server who insisted on carrying my overladen plate to my table, to the officer who answered our ship questions.

And while I’d like to think I was treated this way because I’m extra special, this was the level of DCL service I witnessed across the board. I saw Edge youth counselors (?) having real fun playing games with tween guests; custodial Crew Members taking pictures of guests impromptu photo opportunities; a Cabanas server stop and tie the shoes of a little girl before she tripped; and entertainment Crew Members sharing yo-ho-ho Pirate Night laughs.

Was the service equally friendly or was every encounter over-the-top magical? No, some experiences were marked by a professional friendliness, efficient but not particularly personable. But no one was dismissive of a direct request. Most Crew Members, in both my experience and through observation, went out of their way to make sure Disney guests felt listened to and satisfied.

We disembarked the Disney Fantasy believing the majority of Crew Members cared about the guest experience. It’s this level of service, as much as anything else, that I associate with the Disney Difference; it’s what I long to see more of in other places, including at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

So while Disney Cruise Line certainly charges a premium over other cruise lines targeting similar demographics, destinations or experiences, the service from Cast Members on the Disney Fantasy made it easy to see why.

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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