Many families enjoy taking their children on a Disney cruise. Since the focus of the cruise is on children and the Disney culture, you will find many other families on the cruise. A popular option is to combine a Disney cruise with a stay at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Disney offers both cruise only packages and land and sea vacations. The Land and Sea vacations are seven nights with a three- to four-night cruise to the Bahamas and three to four nights at Walt Disney World. For the cruise only vacations, you can select either a Bahamas, Caribbean or European cruise. The Bahamas cruises visit Nassau and Disney’s private island Castaway Key. You can choose three nights, four nights or five nights. If you would like to go to the Caribbean, you can select a seven-day cruise of either the Eastern Caribbean or Western Caribbean. The European cruises range from seven to 14 days and offer a variety of itineraries.
One of main benefits of taking your children on a Disney cruise is that the emphasis is on family activities and entertainment. Babysitting is available at the Flounders Reef Nursery for children 12 weeks to three years of age for a fee. For children over three years of age, there are free kids centers available so that parents can enjoy a night out. Parents are provided with a pager so that they can be reached if their child needs them. Throughout your cruise, there will be different character events where you child can meet with a Disney character. You can also attend family-friendly live shows with Disney characters and watch Disney movies. Because the cruise is oriented to families, the food and restaurants are very kid-friendly. If you would like a romantic evening, you can put your children in one of the kids centers and enjoy a fine dining meal at the adult only Palo restaurant.
Because the U.S. government now requires a passport for travel to the Bahamas and the Caribbean, all guests on Disney cruises need to have a valid passport. Children and infants are also required to have a passport. You will need to provide the passport number for everyone in your family at least 75 days before your ship embarks. Be sure to start the passport process early because it can take up to eight weeks to obtain a passport.
If you are taking a child who is still in diapers, Disney ships offer a separate play area fountain because they cannot go in any of the pools on the ship. Children must be potty trained to swim in shipboard pools according to the U.S. Public Health Service.
Most of the cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean embark weekly. If you are interested in a European cruise, check the dates for the specific cruise that you are interested in.
Because Disney cruises attract families, the cruises are the busiest during the summer and holiday breaks. If you have any non-traditional holidays from school or your children are not yet in school, consider traveling during the slower months.
Disney Cruises embark from Port Canaveral, Florida, which is located about an hour from Walt Disney World. If you are traveling from Walt Disney World to Port Canaveral, be sure to allow plenty of time for traffic especially during rush hours.
Eastern Caribbean cruises visit St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay. If you book a Western Caribbean cruise you will visit Castaway Cay, Key West, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island located in the Bahamas.