How to Sail on a Disney Ship Without Kids

by Sherri Eisenberg

How to Sail on a Disney Ship Without Kids

by Sherri Eisenberg

There’s no denying it: Disney Cruise Line has some of the most family-friendly ships at sea, with split bathrooms that make bedtime a breeze, loaner Diaper Genies and sand strollers, and fantastic kids programming for every age group. But every time we’re on board, we meet grown-ups (including honeymooners) who are sailing without little ones. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Disney has stellar service, great specialty restaurants, and a variety of no-kids-allowed spaces. Here’s how to make the most of these ships’ adults-only experiences, whether or not you’ve got children in tow.

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Disney Wonder's Quiet Cove / Disney
Remy on Disney Fantasy
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1. Make dinner reservations early.

The specialty restaurants on these ships include a fantastic formal French restaurant and a fabulous Italian one. But because they don’t allow children, these spaces fill up fast. Make your reservations as soon as possible to ensure you get the days and times that you want.

The specialty restaurants on these ships include a fantastic formal French restaurant and a fabulous Italian one. But because they don’t allow children, these spaces fill up fast. Make your reservations as soon as possible to ensure you get the days and times that you want.

Carioca's on Disney Magic
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2. Ask for the late seating.

For the nights you will actually be in the main dining room, request the later seating. Sure, that means you’ll go to a late show, and by the time you have a drink or two you may be ready for bed. But the early seating is filled with hundreds of small children drinking chocolate milk and laughing uproariously to magic tricks and riddles the waiters use to keep them occupied. (You really want to avoid this at all costs.)

For the nights you will actually be in the main dining room, request the later seating. Sure, that means you’ll go to a late show, and by the time you have a drink or two you may be ready for bed. But the early seating is filled with hundreds of small children drinking chocolate milk and laughing uproariously to magic tricks and riddles the waiters use to keep them occupied. (You really want to avoid this at all costs.)

Senses Spa on Disney Dream
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3. Get a spa pass.

These spas have quiet thermal areas, with heated day beds and hot tubs overlooking the sea, as well as steam rooms, saunas, and nice changing rooms. Reserve a pass for your whole trip so you have a peaceful place to retreat to when the rest of the ship feels loud.

These spas have quiet thermal areas, with heated day beds and hot tubs overlooking the sea, as well as steam rooms, saunas, and nice changing rooms. Reserve a pass for your whole trip so you have a peaceful place to retreat to when the rest of the ship feels loud.

Quiet Cove on Disney Dream
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4. Use the adults-only pool.

The main pools quickly fill up with little people splashing and chasing each other around the pool deck. The adults-only Quiet Cove pool may just be on the other side of the wall, but it is a world away, with a swim-up bar, plenty of space to sun and read, and not a single game of Marco Polo in sight.

The main pools quickly fill up with little people splashing and chasing each other around the pool deck. The adults-only Quiet Cove pool may just be on the other side of the wall, but it is a world away, with a swim-up bar, plenty of space to sun and read, and not a single game of Marco Polo in sight.

Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay
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5. Take advantage of the adults-only beach.

You may think the main beach on Castaway Cay, which is closer to the ship, is big enough for everyone … but you would be wrong. Take the extra couple minutes on the tram to ride out to the adults-only Serenity Bay beach and you’ll find a wide swath of white sand rimming pale blue water, and a smaller, quieter barbecue lunch buffet.

You may think the main beach on Castaway Cay, which is closer to the ship, is big enough for everyone … but you would be wrong. Take the extra couple minutes on the tram to ride out to the adults-only Serenity Bay beach and you’ll find a wide swath of white sand rimming pale blue water, and a smaller, quieter barbecue lunch buffet.

Cabana on Castaway Cay
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6. Treat yourself to a cabana.

One of the most coveted “gets” on a Disney cruise? The cabanas on the adults-only beach. Sure, they’re pricey ($399 for the day), but there’s a reason they fill up fast. You get a living room with a ceiling fan and a safe, a deck, a stocked fridge, and a butler who will bring you lunch.

One of the most coveted “gets” on a Disney cruise? The cabanas on the adults-only beach. Sure, they’re pricey ($399 for the day), but there’s a reason they fill up fast. You get a living room with a ceiling fan and a safe, a deck, a stocked fridge, and a butler who will bring you lunch.

O'Gills Pub on Disney Magic
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7. Read the daily calendar carefully.

Parents looking for kid-friendly activities check the schedule carefully to ensure their children don’t miss, say, the chance to meet "Frozen" characters or the scavenger hunt or a show they might enjoy. But adults should check it just as carefully to get a sense of where on the ship children will be gathering. Discover that right before dinner there is a big character meet-and-greet or a story time in public spaces? That just might be the right moment to grab a beer at the sports bar.

Parents looking for kid-friendly activities check the schedule carefully to ensure their children don’t miss, say, the chance to meet "Frozen" characters or the scavenger hunt or a show they might enjoy. But adults should check it just as carefully to get a sense of where on the ship children will be gathering. Discover that right before dinner there is a big character meet-and-greet or a story time in public spaces? That just might be the right moment to grab a beer at the sports bar.

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