Tips for Your Family
In the Orlando airport last week, I overheard some families talking about the cruises from which they were returning. Somehow, Disney cruises came up. One mother commented that they had taken one and loved it, but that there was nothing for their teenagers to do. So, they would not be doing one again.
Nothing for teenagers to do on a Disney cruise!!?? I felt compelled to interject. I, along with a couple sitting next to me joined in. There was so much more for their teens to do than they knew.
Now, Disney Cruises are not for everyone, but, like all of our airport discussion group agreed, the service is outstanding, shows are superior, ships are impeccably clean, rooms large, and food great. Let me share some tips and information to make your Disney cruise amazing for everyone in your family, adults and teens included.
Tips for Adults
Many adults take Disney cruises without their children. On our Panama Canal Cruise, out of 2000 passengers, only approximately 250 were younger than 18 years old. So obviously, adults can enjoy Disney cruises as much as kids.
Child Free Zones
- Quiet Pool- Do you just want some peace and quiet, away from any children? Each Disney ship has an adult only area on the upper deck with a pool, spa, bar and coffee shop, reserved for passengers over the age of 18. On longer cruises, it is often the busiest pool. New Age music gently plays overhead. In the evening, live musicians entertain adults; have a drink, relax in a hot tub, and enjoy the music. Enjoy a magnificent sunrise and sip a latte while lounging and reading in the morning.
- Entertainment Districts – Each Disney Cruise ship also has an area of clubs and lounges that are adult only after 9 p.m. On the Magic and Wonder, it is called Afterhours, The District on the Dream, and Europa on the Fantasy. Each contains a sports pub, a cocktail bar, and a disco. During the day, the cocktail bar hosts events like wine or bourbon tastings. Sporting events play continuously on TVs in the sports bars and on Sundays in the fall, NFL fans can catch their favorite team. In the disco, all sorts of events fill the hours: game shows, silent discos, comedians, performers, dance lessons and more.
- Remy’s and Palos – Adults wishing for a quieter, more upscale dining experience can reserve a table (for an additional fee) at Remy’s or Palos. Palo’s serves Italian cuisine on each of the ships. Diner’s enjoy French cuisine at Remy’s on the Fantasy and Dream.
- Serenity Bay – Most Disney cruises out of Port Canaveral and Miami, and many from New York, Galveston, and New Orleans dock for a day on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. Adults have their own escape at Serenity Bay.
Adult Only Activities
The Daily Navigator provides information about everything going on each day of your cruise. You can pick up a copy at Guest Services or follow it on the Disney Cruise Line app. on your smart phone or ipad. You will find a list of adult only activities.
- Tastings and Seminars – For an additional fee, take part in wine, champagne, martini, bourbon, and many other varieties of spirit seminars and samplings throughout your cruise.
- Evening Entertainers – On most nights in the disco lounge, adult only performances are given by the headline entertainers. While we have never seen any performance (music, comedian, or variety) that could be rated worse than PG, they direct their show to more mature tastes.
- Game Shows – Disney mimics popular TV game shows with contests like The Feud, The Wheel, and Match Your Mate, and have a few originals. The Cruise Staff Team hosts these each evening.
- Contests – Look for Chip It Golf, shuffleboard, ping pong, and other competitions.
- BINGO – Disney Cruise Line does not have casinos, but the adults flock daily to BINGO.
- Trivia, crafts, cooking lessons, dance lessons, karaoke and more, targeted to adults.
Things All Ages Can Enjoy
- Original Stage Productions – Each ship performs three original, Broadway-style musicals during your cruise. While they are always based on Disney material, they still thrill crowds of all ages.
- Movies – Movies play almost continuously at the family pool and at the Buena Vista Theatre. Films include options other than animated features and live remakes. Disney produces Marvel, Star Wars and other films. We have watched Bridge of Spies, Saving Mr. Banks, Paddington 2, and Yesterday on Disney cruises.
- Games and Contests
- Character Meet and Greets
Tips for Teens
Many families feel that their teenage children outgrow Disney and will be bored. Disney Cruise Line does an excellent job at catering to all ages. Whether your teen wants to hang out with others their age or prefers to stay with the family, they should not be bored.
Most teens love these exclusive lounges. They meet new people, form friendships with other kids and staff, enjoy games, theme nights, special activities, snacks and more. Throughout the cruise, you will increasingly see groups venturing out together laughing and having a good time.
Tweens, ages 11 -14, enjoy The Edge where they can meet other kids. Music, video and gaming systems are available all day to entertain them. Crew members are always present and attentive. They host games, contests, scavenger hunts, karaoke and many more fun events throughout the day. These also continue on days at Castaway Cay.
The Vibe lounge boasts big screen TV, video games, comfy sofas, music and more for teens, 14 -17, to enjoy. Just like in The Edge, crew members host a variety of activities throughout they day and into the evening specifically at them.
Other Activities for Teens
Not all teens like to constantly hang out. Some may even prefer to spend most of their time with their family. Don’t worry. There is plenty to do. The Daily Navigator, paper or on the app., will help guide you.
Activities for All Ages
Your Daily Navigator has a vast list of things to do under “Activities for All Ages.” These include animation classes, crafts, cooking classes, dance lessons, trivia, games, and a host of other fun options.
Pools and Waterslides
One of the complaints about Disney Cruises by the families in the airport was the pools and waterslide. They had cruised on one of the larger ships, Dream or Fantasy, which has the Aquaduck water coaster. The lines to the Aquaduck were long. They complained that the family pool only goes to 5 feet deep, too.
Both of these things are true on those ships. The Magic has both the Aquadunk, which is free fall water slide and a standard slide. The Wonder has a nice standard slide. Lines remain much shorter on these ships.
As for the 5 foot deep pools, Disney really stresses safety. Multiple lifeguards are always patrolling the pools. There is so much more for teens to do in addition to the excellent water slides and pool time, though.
Each ship has a sports deck on the level above the pools. On the Magic and Wonder, it is called the Wide World of Sports Deck; on the Fantasy and Dream, Goofy’s Sports Deck. Play basketball, ping pong, foosball, soccer, and on the Dream and Fantasy, mini golf.
If you teen wants to walk, lounge, read, or play shuffle board, then they can head to the promenade deck. A jogging/walking track circles the entire ship. Lounge chairs are perfect for a nap or to read a book. Grab some sticks and try your hands at shuffle board.
Most teens still enjoy Disney and Pixar movies, but even if they don’t, Disney produces many other movies including Disney Nature, Marvel, and Star Wars. Movies play almost continuously on Funnel Vision at the family pool and in the Buena Vista Theater. Not that they will want to stay in the room, but your room TV has almost all Disney and many other movies available free on demand.
“Adult only” Entertainment Zone before 9 p.m.
Afterhours (Magic and Wonder), The District (Dream), and Europa (Fantasy) actually welcome all ages before 9 p.m. (except for special activities like bourbon tastings of coarse). Almost all activities listed in the “Adult” section on the Daily Navigator are open to teens and families during the day. Our son has participated in trivia, dance lessons, crafts and more. Oftentimes, there are several teens, with or without their families. There are never enough, though to interfere with the adults. It has never been an issue on our cruises.
On each ship, you will find a sports bar in the Adults only entertainment section: Crown & Fin (Wonder), O’Gills (Magic and Fantasy), and Pub 687 (Dream). During the day, these are great spots to enjoy family time. TVs play sporting events. Multiple table tops have chess, checkers, and backgammon boards and pieces. Each also has a shelf stocked with board games like Life and Monopoly. All family members can gather here during the day.
“Adults only” Entertainment Zone after 9 p.m.
Officially, all late night entertainment in these zones are only for those 18 and above, officially. We have personally cheated many times. As a family, we have taken our son to performances, games shows, contests, and trivia listed as “Adult only” after 9 p.m. and have never had a problem or been “carded.” These shows, games and actities are oftentimes the most entertaining. A single teen or group of teens might not have the same luck, though.
*Disney does actively enforce the “18 and above” rule for the Quiet Cove and Pool.
18 – 20 Year Olds
All adult activities are open for 18 – 20 year olds, but the drinking age remains 21. While there is not a lounge or private space for this age, Disney does try to help them connect. Each day, mixers which are noted on the Daily Navigator to bring this age group together. Whether for lunch, games, foosball, or ice cream, the goal is to connect.
As you can see, no one should be bored while on a Disney Cruise. There is so much more to do than just hang out by the pool. Teens and adults enjoy Disney cruises, too. Just check your Daily Navigator and get ready to have to have fun. Look for us on board!