Disney Cruise Line is known for being kid-friendly, but contrary to popular belief, adults without kiddos can enjoy themselves on a Disney ship. From experience, we’ve been one of the many childless adults on board and have seen a number of families with fully grown "kids."
So why are grown-ups opting to cruise with Disney? The food quality, entertainment, staff, and itineraries place the line on par with many premium cruises and certainly way above the budget ones. What’s more, there are so many activities for children, in parts of the ship designated for them, that you might not even notice them. In fact, grownups can even relax in their own special areas of the ship that are off-limits to kids -- a policy that is strictly enforced.
Here, seven ways to get the best adult vacation on a Disney Cruise.
1. Time the cruise right.
Disney offers cruises year-round. If you avoid the summer and winter school holidays, not only will there be fewer children on board, but you'll also find better deals. There are lots of cruises in October, for example, and if you leave from Florida, it won't be as hot as in the middle of summer. Use DCL's Find a Cruise tool to narrow down your options.
2. Request your own table at dinner.
As is typical on a cruise, you might be seated at a table with other people. Disney has rotational dining that allows you to dine at a different restaurant each night and take your dining staff with you, but guests are given the same table number at each restaurant and sit with the same table mates throughout the trip. While Disney tends to place all-adult parties with other adults -- meaning a couple doesn’t get lumped with a family with a screaming baby -- your group can request to dine alone.
3. Ask for the late seating.
We also like to request the second dinner seating, usually at 8:15 p.m., since most families with little kids will go for the early dinner around 5:45 p.m. The late timing is also convenient if you want a bit of breathing room between spending a day in port and getting dressed for dinner. Plus, eating later provides the perfect excuse for snacking throughout the day at the quick-service restaurants by the pool.
4. Stay on the ship.
Visiting a string of destinations aside, the experience of being on the ship itself is a reason to go on a cruise. If there are one or two ports that you're not that interested in, stay on the ship to enjoy its facilities while everyone gets off. In addition to having more space for yourself, you'll find that lines at attractions like the AquaDunk and AquaDuck water slides tend to be much shorter when the ship is in port.
5. Head straight to Serenity Bay on Castaway Bay.
Despite the perks of being on an empty ship, we'd be remiss if we didn’t tell you to get off the ship if your voyage includes a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. There, you’ll find an adults-only beach called Serenity Bay, which has its own restaurant that serves lunch.
6. Check out the adults-only venues and dining options onboard.
Want the cruise to truly feel like a special occasion? All four ships in the Disney fleet have at least one upscale specialty restaurant for the adult crowd, and if you can secure a reservation, jump on the chance to eat there. At Remy, tuck into French-inspired cuisine or go for Italian specialties at Palo. Prices are from $30 per person. The ships also have some gorgeous adults-only bars, not to mention adults-only pools.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask to look at the kids’ menu.
You're on vacation, so have fun! Your servers won't judge you for looking at the main restaurants’ kids’ menu, which lists more whimsical items like Mickey ice cream bars (which would set you back around $4 in the parks) and Mickey pasta. Though not listed on the room service menu, you can order the ice cream bars to be delivered straight to your stateroom, too.