Thursday, March 3rd, 2022
Almost every Canadian in the middle of winter misses the warm sun. Which means that when my friend and her husband asked us to join them on an adult only 4-night Bahamian cruise out of Miami, we jumped on board (pardon the pun). Safety always has been and always will be the number one priority of any Disney Destination. So naturally when navigating travel during a pandemic, our first cruise line of choice for our winter escape was Disney.
I know what you’re thinking “ummm…an adult trip…on a Mickey ship?” Granted, Disney Cruise Line is very well known as a family friendly experience, but I’m here to tell you that it should also be equally known for being an adult friendly one.
Don’t get me wrong – after all – this IS a Disney ship. So, be prepared to see Disney characters, for the movies playing in public areas to be family friendly and to see the stories you know and love from the Disney brand come to life around the ship. It’s worth noting that a Disney Cruise offers the same quality of food, entertainment, and service we all know and love from the Disney theme parks, but…without the exhaustion. As far as a vacation goes, the biggest difference between the parks and the cruise is that a Disney cruise is the relaxing one.
We opted to fly in the day prior to our cruise to ensure no flight delays due to our great Canadian winter weather. We arrived late afternoon, took the hotel shuttle over to the EB Miami* and welcomed with open arms, the 27-degree Miami heat. In realizing that over the next four days, we would have no children to worry about, no dogs to walk and nowhere to drive to, we took a collective guess at how high our bar tab was going to be.
The following morning, we grabbed a light breakfast (because we all knew the abundant amounts of food that were about to face us), packed a day bag and took an Uber over to the Port. Every Guest aged 2+ must partake in a rapid Covid test before boarding the ship. I have to say, Disney has this portion of their check in process down to a science. It was smooth and much more efficient than I had previously experienced. We arrived at the port at 11:20am, went through security, performed our rapid tests, checked in for our sailing and were walking the gangway onto the Disney Magic at 12:10pm.
Once on board, we were greeted by Mickey, checked into our assembly station, grabbed some lunch and headed directly to where we planned on spending majority of the next four days, Quiet Cove. This area is reserved for Guests’ ages 18+ and on the Disney Magic, Quiet Cove offers padded lounge chairs, a quiet pool, two hot tubs, a bar and Cove Café (similar to a Starbucks but with booze)! We did a LOT of relaxing in this area. After all, why not enjoy the sun when rumour has it that Elsa unleashed a powerful snowstorm back home?
The quality of food and entertainment is second to none on a Disney Cruise. Rightfully so because Disney absolutely should be at the top of their game when it comes to these important areas of a vacation. And anyone who has ever visited a Disney theme park or dined at a Disney owned and operated restaurant can attest to this. The reality is that Disney owns the rights to just about…everything. So, if they are not able to entertain you with their variety of Broadway style shows, fireworks at sea, live amusement and more – simply put – no other entertainment company can.
As fantastic as the food is on board, if you’d like to indulge just a little bit more, you’ll want to dine at Palo, an adult only Northern Italian restaurant with a modern twist. It is an additional charge, but worth every single penny. Palo is Italian for “pole” and is inspired by Venice, with decorative masks and decor matching the colours of the city. It’s located in the aft on deck 10, which means that almost every seat has a spectacular view of the sunset during dinner. And if you’re a dessert fan like I am, be certain you leave room for the soufflé. I’ll go out on a limb and say that Palo will make your list of one of the best restaurants you’ve ever dined at – on land or at sea.
Once the sun set, there was no shortage of beer, wine, and spirit tastings to keep us amused. And don’t underestimate how much fun the adult only evening events are around the ship. The Cast who runs these activities and their natural comedic ability make them an absolute standout. We attended Snippets, 80’s Music Trivia, Match Your Mate and more. I honestly can’t remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did.
But if Disney related activities are more your jam and you think you know everything there is to know about it, I dare you to try any level of the Disney trivia. After all, I’m sure every Disney fan knows who the first sitting US President to voice their animatronic at the Hall of Presidents was.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of a Disney cruise is the little slice of paradise in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. To those who have never sailed with Disney, Castaway Cay is to Disney Cruise Line what Cinderella Castle is to Walt Disney World. It was the first private island in the cruise industry where the ship docks on the island, eliminating the need to tender. This allows Guests to easily disembark the ship and walk or take the trams over to the adult only area of the island, Serenity Bay. And if you get hungry, there is no need to head back to your cruise ship, because a wonderful buffet (with steak) is prepared for you. Here, you can relax on a lounge chair, enjoy a drink, crack open a book and float your cares away in the blissful tranquility.
While there is no wrong time to sail with Disney, our choice to do so in the middle winter was one I would do again in a heartbeat. As a bonus – ships are not sailing at full capacity just yet. And lower crowd levels on a Disney ship during peak season are always a great thing. More precisely, on our sailing there were 1,022 Cast Members and 1,033 Guests, which is a little less than half of full capacity.
So, if you’re looking to take a break from the long, cold, Canadian winter, I highly recommend going to see the line where the sky meets the sea. Oh, and for those playing along at home, the bar tab was almost double what we predicted it would be and the first sitting US President to voice his animatronic was Bill Clinton.
– Christine Fiorelli
The Magic is Calling.
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* Your Fairytale Dreams & Destinations Vacation Specialist can add a pre or post hotel stay to your cruise when sailing with Disney Cruise Line.