Let me first say, I’ve never sailed on a Disney Cruise I didn’t like. We’ve sailed on all four ships numerous times and I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed. I recently returned from a week on the Disney Wonder (classic ship – 16 years old) feeling just as awesome as I did returning from the Disney Fantasy (newest ship in the Disney fleet – almost twice the size of the Disney Wonder) last year. We often hear from clients who may be a bit apprehensive reserving a vacation on a classic ship after sailing on the larger/newer Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Here are several benefits guests enjoy on the Classic ships.
- TOP NOTCH Food quality. We all know food is subjective and to be honest, I can’t say I’ve had a “bad” meal on any Disney Cruise ship… but some will have the opinion that the food on the classic/smaller ships can exceed expectations. With less people to serve and less dishes to prepare – we found the food to be outstanding on the Wonder….possibly a notch up from the larger ships.
- Castaway Cay is less crowded. Our Spring Break sailing on the Wonder was SOLD OUT with about 2000 guests onboard. That gives guests about 2.5 sun chairs on Castaway Cay for every 1 passenger. MORE than enough space to spread out on Disney’s private island. Everything from the 5K in the morning to the buffet in the afternoon was very easily managed with room to spare. No need to rush off first thing in the morning to save chairs…guests had their pick at 10am.
- Personal Attention/Customer Service. We found that the Cast Members bent over backwards to make sure we were comfortable. Never a rushed conversation or interaction because they simply had the time. Everyone from the Children’s Programming to Palo appeared less stressed and able to go above and beyond without stretching themselves too thin.
- Much more laid back. While we love fancy formal nights and all out Pirate costumes typically seen on 7 night sailings…some vacations you just want to relax and enjoy. That is what you find on the classic ships (5 night sailings simply have a suggested “dress up” night – no formal night). We didn’t see overly fussy parents, costume malfunctions or stressed families desperately trying to get to dinner on time. We saw relaxed parents and happy kids enjoying their time together.
- Quick Navigation to common areas of the ship. Smaller ships = shorter distance. It simply doesn’t take long to get from point A to point B. This can be a real benefit if traveling with families who may have mobility issues or in our case – a tween – wanting some freedom. We were able to let our oldest son (12) come and go a bit without worrying he would get lost. For this reason alone, he commented this was his favorite cruise to date.
PLUS 1 The Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic have the honor of sailing guests to some of the most beautiful parts of the world. There’s no better way to explore the Mediterranean, Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, or Norwegian Fjords than returning nightly to the luxury and comfort of your stateroom.
If you are considering a cruise on a classic ship, don’t hesitate. You will still feel the magic, ease and pampering you would on the larger ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet. Price-conscious families will find more economical rates on classic ships during select times of the year. This can make room for more fun in port, adult dining and spa treatments. You won’t regret the experience. If you’re lucky enough to sail on Disney Cruise Line you are lucky enough.
Holly McGuire – Hi Ho Vacations CEO/Planner