Over the last few weeks, I’ve shared information about taking a Disney cruise with young kids. A lot of that information has come from chatting with parents who have sailed with children under the age of five. One of my conversations was with Debbie, an avid Disney cruiser from Minneapolis.
Debbie and her husband have three kids who all experienced their first Disney cruise as toddlers. She has cruised three times with kids and three times without, which definitely makes her an expert on all things Disney Cruise Line! Here are her answers to some of my questions about cruising with little ones …
What stood out about the amenities for young children?
Debbie: Everything was catered to the kids. The wait staff and housekeeping staff made my kids feel like royalty every day by adding many extra special touches to their service. My three-year-old twins especially loved the splash pad, and it satisfied their need for water activities, while putting my mind at ease in that it was enclosed. Plus, I didn’t have to worry about their swim abilities. The accessibility to the characters is phenomenal. Some of the characters even recognized my kids by mid-week, which made them feel extra special. Evening activities in the kids’ club (i.e. “pajama party”) allowed for some adult time. I felt the kids were very safe in the Oceaneer Club; check in and check out was efficient, yet thorough, and safety was a priority. Also, you can borrow amazing all-terrain strollers (for free!) so you don’t have to bring your own when you disembark at ports of call.
What are some of the ways Disney Cruise Line made it easy for you to enjoy time for yourself onboard?
Debbie: Bringing our kids to the Oceaneer Club during dinner allowed us to relax and enjoy our meal. We were able to enjoy an evening at Remy while the kids were at the Oceaneer Club. The counselors knew of our plans and promised to only call us if it was an emergency. When we did bring our kids with us to other dining rooms, the wait staff catered to them. Servers could sense if the kids were over tired or amped up and would find ways to entertain and amuse them. It was incredible. Also, you can request kids’ food right away during dinner. This way, when they are done, they can leave with a youth counselor and go to the Oceaneer Club. It allows for a much more pleasant dining experience for parents of children who get bored quickly!
How about in port?
Debbie: There are awesome activities for families and kids at Castaway Cay. We never once heard “I’m bored,” which rarely happens when we’re on a beach with the kids. We even went out on a limb and left the kids on the ship when we went to San Juan. We decided to do an adult excursion (kayaking/hiking/ziplining). Early on I was very nervous about leaving the kids on the ship, but it was INCREDIBLE. We had the most amazing time (I HIGHLY recommend that excursion!!) and the kids had a great time on the ship.
What impressed you most about the youth counselors?
Debbie: They are genuinely excited to be with your kids, seem to really enjoy their role, and are fully engaged and highly interactive with the children (they are kids at heart!) They get to know your kids during the week and cater to their needs. I felt like the counselors truly cared about my children. It was like leaving my children with a room full of magical nannies!
What is your response to parents who question if their children are old enough to truly enjoy and appreciate a Disney cruise?
Debbie: First and foremost – it’s Disney. No matter the age, there’s something for everyone. The service on the cruise is second to none. One of the many benefits of the cruise is that you don’t have to think about a thing and you can leave your worries behind. Kids hungry? There’s always food available. Kids bored? Not possible. There’s always something to do.
A big “thank you” to Debbie for her insights. For more on cruising with little ones, check out these past posts: