Planning a Disney Cruise

Update: We’re back. Click through for a review of our cruise on the Disney Magic.

How’s this for exciting? We’re going on a seven day cruise on the Disney Magic in late February! While this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, we’re thrilled… We’ve been looking for a relaxing, family-friendly vacation that will not only be a lot of fun for the entire family, but will also give my wife and I some time to ourselves. Since we have four young kids and no family within easy driving distance, our kids go with us pretty much anywhere we go. In other words, there’s no such thing as a weekend away in our household.

In the past, our “big” vacations have involved things like driving two days (each way) to see family, or taking a trip to Disney World (about a day’s drive from here). Not surprisingly, we typically return from these trips more tired than before we left. So… This time around, we were looking for something that would be both fun and relaxing.

Given our circumstances, a Disney cruise sounds like nirvana… There are tons of kids activities on board, including a variety of age-appropriate “Kids Clubs” where the boys will be able to do all sorts of activities and even take in an occasional meal on their own. And speaking of food, the meals are all full service, and even though you rotate from one restaurant to another throughout the week, the waitstaff rotates with you, such that they’re learn the kids’ like/dislikes throughout the week. Following dinner every night, there’s a live show. The ship also has three pools and fairly extensive fitness facilities. Finally, there are a number of excursions en route, though those cost extra.

As for details, we’ve booked two adjoining staterooms. They’re located midship and relatively low — this is a good thing because it minimizes the rocking in rough seas. While they’re internal, and thus lack an oceanview, we won’t be spending much time (other than sleeping) in our rooms, so there’s no real reason to pay extra for a porthole (much less a balcony).

Here’s the itinerary…

Saturday: Depart Port Canaveral
Sunday: Key West
Monday: At sea
Tuesday: Grand Cayman
Wednesday: Cozumel
Thursday: At sea
Friday: Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island)
Saturday: Return to Port Canaveral

The cost for all of this? Roughly $6k for the six of us in two staterooms. Not cheap, but it’s all-inclusive (aside from booze and excursions), and my lovely and talented wife booked it through Sam’s Club, so we actually ended up getting it for a good bit less than going straight through Disney.

18 Responses to “Planning a Disney Cruise”

  1. Anonymous

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  2. Anonymous

    I’ve never been on a cruise, but I’ve done the all-inclusive resorts. I love that you point out that your cruise is all-inclusive – except for the booze. Funny side point, when my wife and I went to our first all-inclusive (after spending waaay too much on cocktails the year before), my mom pointed out that we’re simply financing all those boozers. We said – Ahh, yeah, well, guess that’s right!

  3. Anonymous

    I’m envious! We will probably do this in a few years too. About a year ago, we read an NYT article about a Disney Cruise that sounding amazing – for the adults too, not just the kids. I look forward to reading all about your trip!

  4. Anonymous

    It sounds like a lot of fun! I’m kinda scared of boats, but cruise ships are really just like a floating resort. The all-inclusiveness is really cool.

    February also sounds like a fantastic time to go.

    Have a great time!

  5. Anonymous

    My husband and I are frequent cruisers, generally we take at least one a year. Even though we have no children, we’ve done the Disney cruise twice. It is more expensive than the average cruise, but they have some of the nicest, cleanest ships around. The food is pretty good, the shows are fun. We go every two years as part of the Land and Sea package.

  6. Anonymous

    One caveat about internal cabins to keep in mind: When you turn out the lights, it is *pitch black* in your room. Make sure you set your alarm clock to wake you so you don’t miss the fun.

  7. Anonymous

    We took a Carnival cruise for our honeymoon. Not my all-time best vacation experience, but it was cheap, warm (we went in November), and involved minimal planning. 🙂

    Because the food is all included, there was TONS of food, but none of it was high quality. The soda and alcoholic beverages were also terribly expensive – more than what you’d even pay in a bar. So we mostly drank water.

    Also, if you’re planning on any shore excursions, you’ll probably get a better price by NOT buying them through the cruise line. Either research them ahead of time, or wait until you get off the boat in port and see what’s available then.

    Knowing what we know now, we’d go again, but not with Carnival, and we’d do a bit more planning beforehand.

  8. Anonymous

    I hope it all goes well. Cruises to me equate to bad food poisoning and I’d have to have my arm broken to go on one.

    But I do know about the tagging kids along everywhere, no time alone and being more tired afterward etc. oh yes.

    I pay a golden egg for a good nights sleep 🙂

  9. Anonymous

    My folks just went on a cruise a couple of months ago and had a great time. Of course, they went by themselves on the ship that my brother worked on, so they got to watch him play piano every night.

  10. Anonymous

    agreed! cruises are awesome. that used to be our standard annual family vacation, and after taking a several year break from cruises, I just went on one again recently. You can get awesome deals, especially off season, and it’s very relaxing.

  11. Anonymous

    I have found cruises to be a very affordable vacation. Also having everything planned out for you is great. It is a pain to plan the whole itinerary for a vacation and the cruise takes care of 90% of what you want to do. Make sure you bring extra cash for the spa. My wife loved taking advantage of the daily specials.

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