Disney Cruise Line is known for a lot of things, but first and foremost, it's known for being the most family-friendly cruise line. Who better than Captain Mickey Mouse to host you and your children for a week on the high seas? Because Disney Cruise Line has the reputation of being for young families, adults traveling without children may be skeptical. Heck, even someone who goes to Walt Disney World every year can be unsure of a few days at sea surrounded by little ones.
Family-friendly travel and accommodations means that, for all of the amenities and unique experiences that Disney ships do have, there are some things that they lack. Disney Cruise Line does not have gambling or casinos on its ships. And unlike Carnival, Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines that boast all-inclusive alcohol packages, Disney does not offer unlimited booze. You can, however, buy alcohol a la carte or buy a bundle of beers. Disney Cruise Line's shows and entertainment, even the adults-only late night comedians, still keep their language and general act clean and Disney-approved.
But the lack of gambling and unlimited rum along with Disney's kid-friendly reputation means that Disney Cruise Line's adults-only areas and features are severely underrated and underutilized. It's one of the best-kept secrets of cruising. So yes, Disney Cruise Line is great for adults and solo travelers, and here are 10 reasons why.
Kent Phillips/Disney Cruise Line
You can get totally zen at Senses Spa & Salon
There are a lot of ways that you can spend your time while on a cruise, but the best way (in our humble opinion) to spend a day at sea is by relaxing. And while you may think a Disney cruise ship is swarming with families and small children, there are a lot of adults-only areas on each of the four vessels. These adults-only spaces include the Senses Spa & Salon, where you can get a variety of massages, facials and other spa treatments. Senses also features the Rainforest Room, where you can unwind on heated ceramic loungers, bask in aromatherapy showers or sit in a Jacuzzi tub. It's truly the definition of a relaxing vacation.
Diana Zalucky/Disney Cruise Line
The adults-only pool area is huge - and empty
Many cruise lines feature a solarium or an adults-only pool area, and Disney Cruise Line is no exception. All of the ships have an area called the Quiet Cove Pool, with plush chairs, a bar, a café, a pool and several hot tubs. However, because many Disney Cruise Line passengers travel with their children, they gravitate toward the main pool deck, so this adults-only area is practically empty. It's not unusual to get a hot tub or even the entire pool to yourself.
Todd Anderson/Disney Cruise Line
You can see Broadway-level shows and new movies on board
Presumably if you're on a Disney cruise, you like Disney movies at least a little bit. And if you do, the shows on board are absolute must-sees. There are musicals with former Broadway actors based on "Aladdin," "Frozen," "Beauty and the Beast," "Cinderella" and "Tangled" on board the various ships as well as variety shows that incorporate Disney history and music. And while many cruise ships offer unique entertainment, Disney is the only cruise line that plays first-run movies on board. So you can see the latest animated hit or Marvel film for free.
Steven Diaz/Disney Cruise Line
Cove Cafe allows you to caffeinate and regenerate
Coffee, soda and tea are included in the cost of your Disney cruise, but if you want to caffeinate well, hit up Cove Cafe. This is the adults-only lounge on board, and it features a variety of premium espresso drinks as well as small bites (because every coffee is better with pastries). At night, this space turns in to a cocktail and wine bar for some low-key sipping. If you happen to have to work while you're on your cruise, also know that Cove Cafe has the strongest WiFi on board.
Preston Mack/Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line features Palo, one of Disney's best eateries
One of Disney's very best restaurants is on board its cruise ships. Palo, an elegant Italian eatery, features oceanside views and rich mahogany interiors inspired by the Venetian canals. This upcharge experience features a la carte items for dinner, with highlights such as a shellfish ciuppin soup, a Dover sole filleted tableside and a slow-roasted veal shank that includes a surprise side of bone marrow. Palo also offers a brunch buffet with shellfish, charcuterie, pastries and an a la carte menu with soups, pancakes, egg dishes, pasta and more. It's indulgent, for sure, but it's also a romantic escape perfect for honeymooners.
Photo Courtesy of Disney
Remy is a world-class dining experience
Palo isn't the only premium adults-only dining experience on board Disney cruise ships. The Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy also have the luxurious restaurant Remy. Though this dining experience is named after the precocious rat from "Ratatouille," this eatery is pure elegance. (Men are required to wear a jacket!) Remy is open for a Champagne brunch as well as dinner, dessert experiences and wine tastings. No detail is too small here, from the small rats hidden in the décor to the carefully placed garnishes on your seasonal menu. Remy isn't just a restaurant, it's a culinary experience, and it's one that would fit in on any luxury cruise line.
Kent Philips/Disney Cruise Line
The bars are tucked away and expertly themed
Though Disney Cruise Line doesn't have a beverage package, there are still plenty of places to imbibe. There are a variety of clubs, lounges and bars on board. For instance, the Disney Dream has the English-style Pub 687, a kitschy Champagne bar called Pink, the jetsetting-themed cocktail bar Skyline and a dance club called Evolution, all in an adults-only area dubbed The District. The bars on each Disney Cruise Line ship vary, but there is a themed space for every kind of person, from cigar lounges to piano bars to comedy clubs and everything in between.
Matt Stroshane/Disney Cruise Line
Itineraries do cater to adults
Like most cruise lines, Disney Cruise Line offers many different ports of call. Some are more popular than others, and some will also have more families and children than others. So that's something to know before you book. Caribbean and Bahamian cruises that leave out of Port Canaveral (which is a short drive from Orlando, where Walt Disney World is based) tend to have shorter itineraries and more families that have tagged a Disney cruise to the beginning or end of a Disney World trip. But if you book a Disney cruise to a less tropical location, such as Alaska, Northern Europe or the Mediterranean, you'll tend to see fewer families and large groups and more adults.
Matt Stroshane/Disney Cruise Line
Castaway Cay is a destination on its own
Plenty of cruise lines have private islands, but none have a private island as jam-packed with things to do and see as Disney. That private island, Castaway Cay, isn't just for kids. It's regularly voted the Best Cruise Line Private Island by Cruise Critic and people will sail with Disney just to visit Castaway Cay. The 1,000-acre island has three beaches, plenty of coastline and bright blue waters and activities for people of all ages.
Kent Phillips/Disney Cruise Line
Serenity Bay is the most relaxing beach day ever
Castaway Cay has plenty of entertainment and fun options for people of all ages, but if you want to relax by some of the bluest waters you'll ever see, Castaway Cay has an 18-and-over area. Serenity Bay is, well, serene. Like other adults-only spaces on Disney Cruise Line, this remote beach features quiet surroundings, and you won't have to fight for a lounge chair in the shade like you would at the family-friendly beaches. The adults-only area also includes its own bar and lunch spot with additional menu items (like steak). If you didn't know that Castaway Cay had this special space, you probably don't know these other facts about Disney's private island.