Dining Aboard Disney
By Crystal Perkins
“You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.” – Walt Disney
Vacation time was rapidly approaching and the big decision had to be made. How about a cruise? Why not a Disney Cruise for a unique vacation experience!
It was settled. We would cruise on the Disney Dream, which was to set sail from Port Canaveral, Florida, to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. It has 1,250 staterooms including 199 ocean-view rooms and 901 verandas. At its capacity, the ship is able to hold 4,000 passengers and a crew of 1,458.We had tons of questions – would it be a trip that we would both enjoy? Would we be bored because there might be little for adults to do? Would the food be awesome, since we are both foodies?
Since 1998, when Disney Cruise Line (DCL) first introduced the Disney Magic, three other ships have launched — Disney Wonder (1999), Disney Dream (2011) and Disney Fantasy (2012). New itineraries now include an expanded collection of European cruises.
The entertainment, hospitality, dining and service aboard the Disney cruise is by far the most exceptional I could remember in all my travel experience. We were greeted by name when we boarded the ship, walking across a red carpet to be greeted by Disney Cruise staff in the atrium.
While waiting to take pictures with one of the Disney princesses, I chatted with Amy Duner of San Diego, California, who was there with her husband. “This is our first cruise; we both grew up watching ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’,” Amy said. “We will eventually take a Disney cruise with our children someday, but this is something we just wanted to do by ourselves.”
It was a pleasant surprise to see there were so many other couples and groups on the cruise who did not have children present with them — I had been afraid we would stick out like sore thumbs! But, interestingly enough, 20 percent of the adults who take a Disney cruise travel without children, according Jonathan Frontado, a Disney spokesperson.
There were several adult-only offerings and activities aboard Disney Dream. The District, which is a nighttime entertainment area, has five venues which cater solely to adults in the evening. One of our favorites was 687, a sports lounge.
Dezaray Frederick, of Shreveport, Louisiana, and her husband were with their two children, but took full advantage of the adult-only areas of the ship while their kids enjoyed the safe, supervised, children’s activities. “…The only time we spend with our kids is during dinner and bedtime,” Dezaray said. And the Disney Wave phone made reaching their children just a phone call away.
One of the most exciting aspects of the cruise, is the unique concept of “rotational dining.” Animator’s Palate, Royal Palace and Enchanted Garden are three of the elaborately themed restaurants onboard. Each has a different cuisine and décor and each evening guests rotate to a different restaurant while accompanied by the same serving team.
The meals were beautifully prepared with choices that included snapped peas in honey, baked potato and cheddar soup, lobster macaroni and cheese (a personal favorite) and perfectly seasoned rack of lamb. For an additional charge and an advance reservation, we dined at Palo, an adult exclusive restaurant which has a Northern Italian cuisine. The food, service, décor, views of the ocean and ambiance made the additional charge and advance reservation definitely worth it.
On Castaway Cay, the adults-only section of the island is named Serenity Bay Beach, where guests snorkeled, sunbathed and relaxed in peace and tranquility.
Nearby was the Castaway Air Bar, eliminating the need to head to the main beach for refreshments. It offered delicious lunches, special Bahamian drinks, beer and mixed drinks.
Our last night of the cruise included a spectacular fireworks display — another Disney Cruise Line first which we enjoyed from Currents, an outside, adult-only bar located on deck 13. It was the perfect way to end the vacation, relaxing under the stars and watching fireworks. All while planning and dreaming about our next Disney Cruise vacation with family. This was definitely the best vacation either of us had ever had.