Disney Cruise Lines - The Ultimate Disney Holiday

Nowadays, most people have experienced a Disney holiday in some form or another. Whether it’s been a short trip to Disneyland Paris or perhaps further afield to California or Hong Kong, everyone is keen to experience some Disney magic! For most people though the ultimate Disney adventure culminates in a trip to Orlando, Florida.

There are currently 11 parks owned and operated by Disney across the world, and for most people that initial trip makes it near impossible not to return. The big question for most though is how do you change it up when you have visited Florida more than once? If you want to take your Disney experience to a whole new level then why not embark on a Disney Cruise Line holiday, and you really will have a trip to remember!

Disney Cruise Line currently have four ships in operation, with plans for a further two ships in upcoming years. The ships sail itineraries around the world, from the Caribbean to Europe, and with different durations and destinations on offer, there is always the perfect opportunity to set sail with Disney.

Port Canaveral, in Florida, is just over one hour from Orlando, and I opted to try out a 3 night cruise to the Bahamas as part of my stay at Walt Disney World. This cruise and stay option is widely referred to as ‘The Ultimate Disney Holiday’

I stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort Hotel and the experience was fantastic from start to finish. Enjoying a Savannah view room, I could watch giraffes and other animals calmly grazing from my balcony. I would definitely recommend this hotel for a number of reasons. Animal Kingdom is part of Disney’s deluxe hotel range, so it’s one of the top hotels in Disney’s portfolio. The hotels earns its place as deluxe, based upon execution of theme, amenities and location. With transport included to and from all the Disney parks, I had a fun packed and effortless Disney World stay, before I knew it I was checking out to make the short journey to Port Canaveral and join the Disney Dream.

As a first time Disney cruiser I must admit I had no idea what to expect onboard the ship. I assumed there would be an array of bright costumed characters everywhere, music playing loudly and a 3 night experience of over the top, high energy shenanigans from start to finish.

It was apparent from the moment I stepped onboard and found myself standing in the elegant atrium with the beautiful grand staircase that this trip was to be a far more elegant experience all together. The crew members onboard were warm and friendly, all lined up as we were announced and they greeted us with a massive round of applause.

After checking out my living quarters my second stop was the buffet restaurant for lunch. The selection of food in the buffet spans almost the full length of the deck and had every option you could possibly imagine. Did I ever think I would see lobster on a Disney Cruise? No, well not apart from Sebastian from The Little Mermaid! After lunch it was time for the sail away party, and as the Dream pulled away from Port Canaveral the captain sounded the horn… to the tune of ‘A dream is a wish your heart makes’.

For evening meals, Disney operate Rotational Dining. They want to be sure that all guests get to experience each of the three themed dining venues while on board. You will receive a schedule upon boarding and then each evening you and your table mates rotate to a different restaurant. As you rotate, the same waiting staff follow you– after all they have gotten to know you and your preferences – and they happily don the uniform of the restaurant you are in that evening. Looking after you while you experience the unique atmosphere of the restaurant.

Is it easy to find characters onboard? Yes. They are easily found and you are well informed of where they are going to be and when. Each night there is high class entertainment in the theatre which has starring appearances from many of your favourites. As well as the professional shows, the ship hosts themed evenings, including the Pirates of The Caribbean deck party which gives guests of all ages the chance to join in on the fun. There are of course kids club sessions as well as teen hangouts, these take place throughout the day. I have never wanted to be a child again so badly as I did when I saw the life size version of Andy’s room from Toy Story!

The main mouse himself, Mickey, is the Captain of the ship and you will see him regularly around the ship with Minnie and the rest of his crew. The staterooms are luxurious and comfortable, with multiple TV channels, including every Disney movie ever made readily available at the push of a button.

The first day we docked into Nassau in the Bahamas and had the full day of exploring the area. This island capital dazzles with its old world colonial charm and unique shopping and dining. In my opinion, the very best day of the cruise was when we docked into Disney’s Castaway Cay. This private Bahamian island is a little paradise, completely geared towards family fun. There are sprawling beaches, water play areas, scenic walking trails, open-air BBQ locations and free tram transportation around the island. There is also an adult only beach and bar area, as well as the adult only BBQ.

As the island is owned by Disney, you don’t need to take any cash onto Castaway Cay, anything which you purchase on the island is charged back to your cabin as it would be if you were shopping on board the ship.

A Disney Cruise can be and will be exactly what you want it to be. You can immerse yourself in the Disney magic from start to finish on but there is also the option to step back and relax onboard the 5-star luxury ship, make the most of the spa facilities or the adult only pool area and bar. Sit back with a cocktail in hand, while the kids enjoy the open-air movies, or fly down the Aquaduck waterslide. I would recommend a Disney Cruise to everyone, whether as an add on to your Orlando stay, or as a longer duration cruise around Europe or the rest of the Caribbean. And these days, with Frozen really taking the world by storm, the Norwegian fjord Frozen themed itineraries with Anna and Elsa are really filling up fast.

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Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday          10:00 -18:00

Saturday                       10:00 -16:00

Sunday                          Closed

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Paul McCarroll House of Travel is a member of ABTA, when you book with an ABTA member you can expect high service standards, fair terms of trading, and accurate information. ABTA's strict joining criteria for members, code of conduct, customer helpline and complaints, resolution scheme are all there to give you confidence and peace of mind when booking your travel arrangements. For more information contact ABTA, 30 Park Street, London SE1 9EQ Tel: 020 3117 0500 www.abta.com

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