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kathy884

Disney Cruise for Adults - Worth the Premium over other lines?

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My 23 year old son has always wanted to do a Disney cruise, but I'm not convinced.  Their ships look beautiful, but cost wise the price premium over other mainstream lines seems pretty big (They are expensive for a balcony cabin).  What are your thoughts about Disney cruises for an adult only party vs. cruising on a different mainstream cruise line?

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This is my opinion and mine only. Done four Disney cruises and no, I will not ever again pay their price. I don't find them any better than other lines like HAL or Carnival and, in some ways, we actually much prefer the others. I'm not against anyone choosing Disney or telling them not to choose Disney, it's a personal choice each has to make on their own. 

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Unless you are really into Disney, no. I've done a Disney Cruise, and should things fall into place, would do another one. But, the price is definitely something that needs to be right.

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Thanks so much Pyrate13 and 1025cruise.  I really appreciate your thoughts and taking the time to post.  I have a bit of a bean counter personality and am concerned that although I'm sure I'd love the ship, I wouldn't think of it as a good value for my vacation dollar. 

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For me, no.  I like DCL, but not 3-4 times better, which is the multiple it would cost to cruise them versus another line for a comparable room.  We sailed the Med with MSC in concierge for half of what non-concierge DCL would have been, and almost 1/4 of what DCL concierge would have been.

 

Also, the night life is a bit lacking, if your son is into that.  That's saying something, coming from me, as I rarely go out at night, and even I wished there was more to do after dinner besides the one production that night or a movie.

 

If it were just a little more expensive, I'd consider it.  

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We got lucky when we did our DCL cruise. We were attending a family event in Houston, and wanted to cruise. The DCL cruise fit the calendar perfectly. It was also when they announced they were breaking their lease in Galveston due to not being able to fill ships, so prices were decent. 

Again, had a great time. If circumstances were similar, I'd do it again. But not going to pay 3-4x the price.

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I'm huge fan of the mouse, Annual Pass holder and a frequent drinker of the mickey kool-aid. I've done DCL 2x.

 

The 1st time I took my mom and DD. She was about was 3 or 4. I loved it. The kids club was fantastic and I felt comfortable leaving DD there. Which means mama got some much needed alone time. It felt like a real vacation for me. Don't judge me.  DD loved it too. She complained upon pickups often, lol. Worth the Cost

 

2nd time was a multi generational trip and  DD was around 9 or 10. She liked it but wasn't as in love as the first trip. The princess  thing was fading and she preferred hanging with us. From and adult perspective,  my major gripe was the ship shut down early. DH and I aren't party animals by any means but it would have been nice to have some late night entertainment. A open bar, some live music a dj somewhere, anything!  I didn't notice this on the 1st cruise. But the 2nd time we had family our age group with shared interest. We either had to create our own late night fun or just turn in early. I don't recall much activity of interest after 11pm on any day. Not Worth the cost

 

I sailed the Wonder and Dream. Ship was immaculate both times. Dining was good. MDR experiences were fun. Palo was superb on both ships.  Fireworks....... Worth the cost

 

TL:DR  Now I've also sailed NCL and Carnival a few times each. And I can honestly say when I'm looking at cruise prices, I never look at Disney. At this point DD is older and for us the cost is no longer justified. But If you're itching to try DCL, absolutely go for it. You won't regret it. 

 

 

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OK, I'm weird. We've done Carnival, Princess and Disney. We went into Carnival with fairly low expectations and really enjoyed it. Princess was more expensive than Disney, but we liked the itinerary so we went with them. The room was smaller, we had to hunt down servers for sodas (love the self-service soda on Disney!), and most of the food was pretty blah. We came home and booked a Disney cruise, 2 middle-aged adults, for next year.

And, we're less than 2 hours from Port Canaveral, we had to fly to New York for Princess so it ended up costing a LOT more.

AND...I only work part time so I'm able to do online surveys, etc. etc. and put a lot of my "earnings" into Disney gift cards which helps a lot with the price.

The Disney ships are beautiful, the service is incredible, they're just fun!

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We have cruised a variety of lines including DCL.  We really enjoyed our adults only DCL cruise (the service was the best we ever had).  I would definitely cruise them again.  That being said, I would only cruise in the off season when the rates are generally only a few hundred more than other main stream lines.  The double cost of summers and holidays are absolutely not worth it.  

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We're Platinum on DCL, and haven't traveled with our now grown children in years.  When it comes to a relaxing cruise, we choose Disney.  When we want to do a port intensive cruise and see the world, we choose Princess.  For the coming winter, I had looked at doing a Caribbean cruise on Princess, in a balcony, for significantly less than Disney.  We chose Disney, because there are more adult activities that we like to do, and we'd have a more relaxing overall cruise.  We only do an oceanview on Disney, but the cabin is much larger and has a split bath.  We love dining at Palo.  We really enjoy the adult evening activities, and have never found as much to do on other cruise lines, and we've been on several.  We enjoy the rotational dining on Disney, and all of the special Disney attention to detail and service.  We like the entertainment on Disney much better than other cruise lines.  In fact, when we go on other cruises, after trying out the entertainment one or two nights, we never go back.

 

Everyone has different wants and needs, but for us, DCL is worth the extra money for a relaxing vacation.

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for the dollars I'd suggest you look at a premium line

 

like Viking Ocean ......

 

my sig shows I'm a many time Disney vet' ... but once the kids were out of the cruise picture we explored (went back to) a different side of cruising.

 

DCL is good ... but has NOT closed the book on service ..... there are plenty of quality adult cruises for similar $$

 

Small ship cruising + without the need to sidestep around a zillion kiddies ..... I'm there every time vs DCL

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On 10/28/2018 at 9:39 PM, jjjhill said:

 

From and adult perspective,  my major gripe was the ship shut down early. DH and I aren't party animals by any means but it would have been nice to have some late night entertainment. A open bar, some live music a dj somewhere, anything!  I didn't notice this on the 1st cruise. But the 2nd time we had family our age group with shared interest. We either had to create our own late night fun or just turn in early. I don't recall much activity of interest after 11pm on any day. Not Worth the cost

 

 

 

 

WHAT?  I thought the adult-only section had a few bars/clubs that stay open late?  At least until after 11.  I've only started to research DCL but have seen some videos of Keys and a few other places, the names escape me. Did you try to go there and find the places closed or dead?  Now a little concerned.

Edited by EeyoreRN
added

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On 10/30/2018 at 8:03 AM, EeyoreRN said:

 

WHAT?  I thought the adult-only section had a few bars/clubs that stay open late?  At least until after 11.  I've only started to research DCL but have seen some videos of Keys and a few other places, the names escape me. Did you try to go there and find the places closed or dead?  Now a little concerned.

I think some of the bars do stay open till about midnight, but not really much past that point.

 

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2 hours ago, kodesthemoose said:

I think some of the bars do stay open till about midnight, but not really much past that point.

 

 

@EeyoreRN pretty much what @kodesthemoose said unfortunately. There is one bar that I can recall that was supposed to be open until maybe 2am or so. But I can't recall why that bar didn't work out. I will say that I good thing about the ship shutting down so early id DH felt we had the space to ourselves often and that was kinda nice with the cool breeze out in the middle of the ocean. 

Edited by jjjhill

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On 10/30/2018 at 8:03 AM, EeyoreRN said:

 

WHAT?  I thought the adult-only section had a few bars/clubs that stay open late?  At least until after 11.  I've only started to research DCL but have seen some videos of Keys and a few other places, the names escape me. Did you try to go there and find the places closed or dead?  Now a little concerned.

Not to fear.  This is from a recent Navigator, showing the bar/lounge hours onboard the Magic:

image.thumb.png.645dc3c99ab6a9fc17ad870e0c1fb598.png

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On 10/31/2018 at 8:20 PM, kodesthemoose said:

I think some of the bars do stay open till about midnight, but not really much past that point.

 

The Tube on the Fantasy, Evolution on the Dream, Azure on the WOnder and Fathoms on the Magic stay open until 2am.

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We just returned from the 14 night Panama Canal Cruise on the Disney Wonder.  We have done 24 cruises with DCL, starting from when our children were young, to now, when we cruise as empty nesters.  About 50% of those cruises were done as adults sailing on DCL.  We strongly prefer DCL, as do our now adult children.  We enjoy Disney for these reasons:

 

  • Beautiful ships maintained in pristine condition;
  • A fabulous crew that engages with guests (even the Captain!);
  • Entertainment that we enjoy;
  • Great customer services;
  • Rotational dining which has been pretty good in recent years.

We do find there are adult activities that keep us very busy on sea days.  On the Panama Canal cruise, it was outstanding lectures from Captain Puckett (a retired Panama Canal Pilot Captain) and a senior producer from Pixar Studios.  Cooking classes, dance classes, and some fun "photo" scavenger hunts!  Many of these were unique to the long sailings, which we do prefer.  Our evenings were jam packed with shows in the Walt Disney Theatre, followed by the adult only shows in Azure (a secondary venue in the adult venues of the ship).  These kinds of activities are not unique to longer sailings.

 

We also appreciate DCL seating us with other couples our age who are sailing not part of a larger group or family.  We have made some great friends this way. 

 

I understand DCL is not for everyone.  But, as adults sailing as empty nesters we have had some just wonderful experiences with DCL.  We are hopeful they will continue to expand itineraries as they fleet grows.  The Captain was a bit more explicit about this topic on our Alaskan cruise this summer.  He didn't back off that thought, but he wasn't as explicit on this cruise.  The only reason we would not sail DCL is a lack of itinerary variety.  And, to Captain BJ's point, we would strongly consider Viking Ocean cruises if we were not sailing DCL. They have a new fleet, a mostly all-inclusive business model, with 930 adult passengers on ships with no casinos and clean Nordic style interiors. 

 

Interesting, while there were children on the Panama Canal cruise, there were loads of adults sailing as couples, and a slightly older crowd than I normally see on DCL. 

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The bars generally stay open till midnight.
There is no way to compare "apples to apples" between cruise lines.  We're platinum on DCL, but started cruising Princess for different itineraries.  We found Princess to be rather "beige" in all aspects until our cruise this year when we had the best food we've seen on any cruise line in the last 5+ years!  The standard Princess cabins are tiny, but since we need an HA cabin, that's not an issue for us.

We love DCL.  The problem is that I can often get a suite on Princess for less than half of a balcony cabin on DCL.  DCL prices have increased greatly over the last 10 years to the point that I can't justify the cost.  They are better, but they aren't 4 times better than other lines!  And we always find things that we like better on the other lines as well.

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I've cruised on DCL 20 times. I  would say no. You would think someone that cruised DCL that much would say yes. Honestly I rarely pay full price to cruise on Disney. I don't think it's worth the premium. 

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We have cruised DCL 24 times and it is our “go to” cruise lines for the reasons detailed in a previous post.  We all know DCL charges a significant premium.  (“Cruise sailings” were noted in The Walt Disney Company’s recent earnings release as one of many factors contributing to record revenue and profits).  Whether DCL is a value or worth the premium is subjective.  Since we regularly sail on DCL, our answer must be yes.  But, when I complete the guest survey at the end of a cruise, I never score DCL high on the value question.

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We have done 23 Disney cruises none less than 7 days and many 9 or more.  For us it is worth every extra penny but we have a disabled adult daughter who still loves it and we bring her best friend always.  Our next cruise is the Norway Iceland cruise next July,  we always see lots of adults only on our cruises and those I have talked to would rather pay for the service, which is exceptional, and the Disney ambiance.  My husband and I have been on many other cruise lines, including princess. Celebrity and all inclusives like crystal and silver sea.  The all inclusive ships tend to have a variety of itineraries you won’t find anywhere else and are wonderful for older adults.  Your son would probably be the youngest but the sights are wonderful. As for other ships, while there may be a lot of activities and bar life, I haven’t found the cost to be that much less when you look st the additional cost for special restaurants, drink packages, special shows, and other activities that all seem to have an extra cost.  I guess if you only eat in the main dining room, don’t buy drinks or engage in other activities, it will be a lot less.  

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I have been on Disney, Celebrity, Norwegian and Viking.  They all have pros and cons, but I can honestly say I wouldn't take a 23 year old on Viking.  At age 58, I felt like I was one of the youngest on board.  It's definitely an older clientele,, which Viking readily admits is their target age group.  The food was delicious, but entertainment and activities very low key.  My twenty - plus kids all enjoyed Norwegian, lots of activity and upbeat vibe - I'm ok with Norwegian if we plan meals in the specialty restaurants.  Celebrity probably had the most mixed groups of ages, not a lot of kids.  I liked and am planning another Disney cruise next October, but I love all things Disney. 

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This really depends on your resources.  If money were no object, Disney is great, for anyone. As others have mentioned, the ships are spotless and perfectly maintained. The staterooms are well designed. The food is excellent and the rotational dining is really fun each night. The live shows are the quality you would expect from Disney, and of course no one else is going to be able to use those characters.  As a bucket list thing, if you and your son want to try it, I think it's probably worth it to look for one 3-night cruise buried in the dead of off season where you might be able to find a price you can live with, and then you can let us know whether it was worth it.

 

For me, I have to agree it is not worth 2-4 times the cost of mass-market lines. It's worth 1.5 times the cost of others.

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On 11/20/2018 at 4:32 AM, KmomChicago said:

This really depends on your resources.  If money were no object, Disney is great, for anyone. As others have mentioned, the ships are spotless and perfectly maintained. The staterooms are well designed. The food is excellent and the rotational dining is really fun each night. The live shows are the quality you would expect from Disney, and of course no one else is going to be able to use those characters.  As a bucket list thing, if you and your son want to try it, I think it's probably worth it to look for one 3-night cruise buried in the dead of off season where you might be able to find a price you can live with, and then you can let us know whether it was worth it.

 

For me, I have to agree it is not worth 2-4 times the cost of mass-market lines. It's worth 1.5 times the cost of others.

 

I agree with all of this!!!

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