Disney Cruise Line Bridges The Gap For Adults And Children
By: Bob & Sandy Nesoff
Not all that many years ago cruising was anything but luxury and the industry was falling on hard times. First Class passengers sat in the lap of luxury while lower grades wallowed in something considerably less. Then things began to change. In the 70s ships became a bit more luxurious and had planned activities. Classes were eliminated and no matter how much you paid for the cruise, you had access toe verything with no distinction. But one thing was missing…activities to keep youngsters interested. There were myriad activities for adults during the day ranging from trasp shooting to golf driving. At night entertainment was adult-driven. In those days the Disney folks contracted their cruising out to several lines as there was no Disney Cruise Line.
After a few years to braintrusts at Disney began to realize that not only was there to be money made from the ever-increase cruise traffic, but that they could fill a niche for families. They took control of the cruises they were affiliated with and formed Disney Cruise Line. Somehow they managed to meld activities for adults and youngsters into one format that was both acceptable and attractive to all age groups. Evening entertainment had a Disney theme to it, but was enjoyable for adults as well. During the day children are treated to a plethora of activities and adults hardly notice that there are youngsters aboard the ships. Parents have no need to worry about the safety of their children and they can take part in activities they enjoy. The children are entertained, happy and safe.The one concession Disney makes to the children aboard, and it costs them a fortune in lost revenue, is that there are no casinos on any Disney ship. Disney was of the opinion that with a casino aboard, adults would be spending time at the tables and slots instead of quality time with their children.
Each year the Disney Cruise folks introduce new itineraries and activities on board all of their ships. One of the nicer slots on cruises in the Americas and Caribbean is Disney’s private Bahamian island, Castaway Cay (pronounced “key”). There are beaches surrounding the island and a tram to take guests to each one. Water activities include, swimming of course, para-sailing, watercraft, sting ray experience where everyone can touch and watch the creatures swim in an enclosure and much more. Many passengers simply opt to sit in a beach chair in the sun or under palm frond umbrella and relax. Food is served and you can eat in a covered pavilion. There are, of course, souvenir shops, but they are low-key and no one feels pressure to make a purchase. There are Disney characters on the island to entertain the youngsters. Island staff live on the island for a designated period of time and then switch off as a new crew comes on. You won’t find a more dedicated or caring staff than on a Disney ship or on Castaway Cay. Disney has expanded its cruise itinerary worldwide.
Check out disneycruise.disney.go.com for itineraries and options. The Disney Wonder is undergoing an upgrade that will enhance the cruising experience for all of its passengers. Exciting new entertainment and experiences are in store for Disney Wonder guests after the Disney Cruise Line vessel is transformed this fall. Headlining the enhancements are imaginative spaces for children, a jazzy restaurant and an English pub. Marvel Super Hero Academy: Exclusively to the Disney Wonder, the Marvel Universe comes to life in Marvel Super Hero Academy. In one mission, Spider-Man will appear in person to help children hone their spider senses by perfecting their skills of reflex, speed and sharp minds. Children will work on their web-slinging and then get to see themselves in the headlines of the Daily Bugle. More Fun for Young Guests: In Disney’s Oceaneer Club, children will have more live and in-person interactions than ever before including special visits from Anna, Elsa, Doc McStuffins, Jessie and Woody. Tiana’s Place Restaurant: Exclusive to the Disney Wonder, Tiana’s Place restaurant, inspired by the Disney animated feature, “The Princess and the Frog,” will transport guests to an era of southern charm, spirited jazz and street party celebrations. With a menu influenced by southern-style cuisine, Tiana’s Place will provide food for the body and soul, showing that dreams and dishes come true. English Pub: The adult district includes a brand-new pub that invites guests to take a jaunt to an authentic English tavern. Observant guests may discover this is no ordinary pub. Subtle nods to classic Disney films set in London can be found in artwork, props and other bits ‘n bobs throughout the space.
Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line