We're living proof Disney Cruise Line (DCL) is for adults too. All our experiences sailing on their ships have been without children. A Disney cruise without kids is a lot of fun for an over 18 years old aged crowd as much as it is for an under-18 crowd.
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What You Can Expect Sailing on a Disney Cruise Without Kids
Are Disney Cruises fun for adults? You better believe it! If you're searching for one of the best cruises for adults, be sure to include DCL in your list if you're a fan of the Disney brand because we're telling you: it's great for adults, not just kids. Read on to find out why.
Over of Adults-Only on a Disney Cruise, Without Kids
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We have often heard the same criticism from people who have preconceived notions of Disney Cruise Line (DCL): it's full of kids. Or it's just for kids. That couldn't be further from the truth. As two people who have sailed with Disney Cruise Line many times, each Disney cruise without kids, we can speak to what it's like to cruise on the high seas with Disney sans children.
From adult-only experiences, spaces, and shopping to decor only adults will appreciate, it's a wonderful option for anyone who appreciates superior service, design, and entertainment.
✦ Children…Are Not Everywhere
The best thing about Disney Cruise Line in terms of children — for the sake of the adults and kids on the ship — is they are designed to accommodate kids. This means they have specific areas for kids. Different age groups of kids can spend all day and night in the areas of the ship designed just for them. This means they are confined to the kids' areas that adults cannot visit…and they're happy to be there!
Infants to teens have designated care and clubs. For instance, there's a group for babies that still nap in cribs, another area for toddlers, one for pre-teens, and another for teens.
Unless you're dropping your child off at one of these areas or you're on your way to a meal and standing in line amongst a group of adults with their kids, you don't encounter children any more than on any other cruise. (The exception is if you're on a river cruise or yacht cruise, whose minimum age requirement to be a guest is 18 years of age or older. Then of course there are strictly no kids.)
✦ You Can Bring Your Own Alcohol Onboard
Did you know Disney Cruise Line is one of the only large cruise ship lines that allows adults who are 21+ to bring alcohol onboard on embarkation day? And you can bring more alcohol onboard when you stop at a port! How's that for Disney adulting?!
You can bring beer and/or wine onboard in certain quantities. Check out our Disney Cruise Line Embarkation Day post for more information regarding what the alcohol allowance is per guest.
✦ Awe-Inspiring Disney Cruise Line Ship Details Only Adults Appreciate
Though there aren't specifically “adult Disney cruises,” there are many, many elements of Disney cruise ship designs that only adults would appreciate.
Adults are the main audience for whom the splendor was designed. They're the ones who can truly appreciate the ships' aesthetics and architectural plans. When was the last time you heard a child say, “The color palette Disney chose for this atrium is stunning! Look at the geometry of the chandelier. I love this ship's Art Deco design!” Never, that's when!
(Psst: If the term “atrium” is unfamiliar to you, that's okay! Here are some essential cruise ship terms you should know.)
We were particularly struck by the Imagineer Disney Wish design details, which inspired us to sign up for a walking tour of the ship to learn more. We've taken the tour twice, and not a child was to be found on either tour.
The ships are pristine, and the crew is continuously concerned with their upkeep. I've stayed on a DCL ship when it's in port, and most guests are ashore for day excursions; it's during this time I've seen workers repainting signs and doing extra hallway cleaning in the name of ship upkeep. It's really impressive.
The cabins are also very smartly designed and bigger than your average ship cabin on competing cruise lines. (If you need to use your space even more smartly, here are great suggestions on what to pack and how to pack for your cruise.)
The interior design of each stateroom is elegant and chic; Disney touches are subtle and tasteful.➤ Interested in booking a Disney Cruise? Contact our favorite Disney Travel Advisor, Becca Magnusen, and mention Sometimes Sailing sent you! Her email is: beccaplansvacations (at) gmail (dot) com
✧ Will You Appreciate the Disney Touches if You're Not a Disney Fan?
Let's face it — if you are not a Disney fan, it's unlikely you'd be interested in a Disney cruise. It's more likely that someone in your life, whether a partner, best friend, or extended family member, is pushing the cruise.
There are plenty of Disney touches around the ship subtle and obvious. For argument's sake, however, say you're going on a DCL cruise with your family, who chose the vacation for you. Perhaps it's a big family reunion or wedding sailing with more than six or ten people. Fret not. Great art is great art, no matter the subject matter, as is great design.
If you appreciate Disney animation prints on the walls, handpainted murals (that may not have to do with Disney at all), or incredible mosaics from artists who worked to create something special, you might fall in love with the ship's attention to detail.
Only adults can appreciate the subtle Mickey Mouse shapes in the railings or the instrumental versions of Disney classics that play in the hallways. Or the beautiful tapestries created for some walls of Disney Wish. Or the custom carpet everywhere. Be open to the wonder of it all and soak up the details only you, dear adult, can appreciate when you are on a Disney Cruise Line vessel.
✦ Superior Disney Cruise Line Crew
The cast and crew members on the ship are 100 times better than those at the parks.
I've noticed the quality of Disney Cast Members at the parks, as a whole, has declined over the years. (Sorry to say that because it's sad but true even though there are plenty of incredible Cast Members.)
We suppose it's a sign of American culture overall and generational changes. But smiles, friendliness, and politeness are at an all-time high on the ships. No request is too great, no matter too small. They're phenomenal. And when you're an adult cruising with Disney, you want to feel well taken care of on vacation by the staff and the brand.
From the moment you check in online for your Disney cruise to port arrival to every day you spend on the ship, you get a little sparkly feeling interacting with Disney Cruise Line. You quickly notice how friendly and extra caring the DCL crew is.
✦ Spaces Exclusive to Adults Aboard Disney Cruise Line (No Kids Allowed)
✧ Senses Spa and Senses Fitness
There's a spa onboard every ship that's just for adults, along with a fitness center. Senses Spa and Fitness is an incredibly quiet, peaceful area.
Disney Cruise Line has realized how important the spa is, especially for an adult-only Disney cruise element, that they have expanded things like the Rainforest Room on new ships. It's quite an impressive area on Disney Wish.
Note that Senses Spa requires paid access for a spa pass or treatment like a massage. Senses Fitness is open to any guest who wants to work out. Some fitness classes are free and some require a payment. You can sign up for classes in the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app when you are onboard the ship.
✧ Adult-Only Quiet Cove Pool (and Hot Tub)
There's a pool area on each of the Disney Cruise Line ships strictly for 18 and older guests to enjoy called Quiet Cove Pool. Some cruise lines charge extra for an area like this but on DCL it's included in your cruise fare.
Usually, there are at least two hot tubs on DCL ships. One is for all guests (including teenagers) and the other is in the Quiet Cove Pool area, only for adults.
I've seen Cast Members, first-hand, kindly ask guests in the hot tub their age after realizing they looked younger than 18. As an adult myself, wishing to be kid-free in adult-only areas, I really appreciated that.
Part of Quiet Cove Pool is Cove Cafe. This retreat is a cafe dedicated to adults, where you can relax with gourmet coffee, tea, and specialty drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) throughout the day. I love getting an iced mocha in this area on a hot day in the Caribbean, for example.
✦ Disney Cruise Line Adult-Only Activities
There are plenty of adult-only activities to enjoy, proving that Disney Cruise Line is for adults too but also that the ships' creators cared enough about them to focus on adult-only fun.
There are trivia nights for 18+, nightclubs, and specialty tastings (yes, with alcohol), to name a few. DCL also offers adult-only excursions at some ports. We've seen a newlywed-type game or two get pretty “suggestive” in narration from the hosts on DCL!
Disney has made adult-only programming a focus as they have added more ships to the fleet. Evidence of this is Hook's Barbery on Disney Wish. It has a bourbon and whiskey bar inside, and they host tastings there. Guests can sign up for a tasting for an additional charge.
Other examples of DCL adult activities like this are martini tastings, chocolate and liquor tastings, stem-to-stern wine tastings, and more. Not every beverage tasting is available on every cruise but there are always some.
✦ Adult Shopping Onboard Disney Ships
One of our favorite things to do on a cruise ship is peruse the watches for sale. There's always an area on the ships for adult-only jewelry, including watches, Pandora charms, designer handbags, and more. Duty-free shopping is a highlight for many on any cruise.
✦ Exclusive Restaurants and Bars for Adults, Without Kids, on Disney Cruises
Disney focuses on culinary excellence, whether in their theme parks or around their Walt Disney World property. Most dining areas aboard Disney cruise ships are for every guest, regardless of age. But there are plenty of dining options for adults only.
Some restaurants and bars are adult-exclusive restaurants all the time, while others become adults-only after a certain hour. After hours, live entertainment, silent discos, and age-appropriate trivia are available in adult-focused venues.
The restaurants Palo (on various Disney Ships), Remy, and Enchanté are guest favorites. You can have Palo Brunch or Dinner, and dinner at the other restaurants. We love to get dressed up a bit nicer than the main rotation dining restaurants, have an alcoholic beverage before dinner, and do a little fine dining while enjoying it all kids-free. These restaurant experiences incur an additional cost, but they are worth every penny!
Additionally, some DCL ships have exclusive areas that are adults-only, which bear a special location name. They are:
- The District on Disney Dream
- Europa on Disney Fantasy
- After Hours on Disney Magic and Disney Magic
Adult Only Restaurants and Bars by Disney Cruise Ship
*Adults-only after a certain hour but multi-purpose family-friendly venue during the day.
What to Expect on Castaway Cay During an Adult-Only Disney Cruise
If you're sailing in the Caribbean with DCL, it's likely that your Disney cruise, kids-free, will make a stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.
You'll be delighted to know that there's an adult-only beach, called Serenity Bay, area that's so private and quiet you'll forget there were any kids at all on your sailing, let alone the island. For a real indulgence, book a beach massage through Senses Spa.
There's also an area by this beach for an adults-only lunch.
Adults Can Be Kids during a Disney Cruise…If they Want
If you are an adult who wants to feel like a kid on a Disney cruise, it's up to you. There are plenty of opportunities to order Mickey ice cream bars, see characters if you should choose to have a photo taken with Pluto or Tiana, for instance, or stay up to midnight on Disney Wish to see the “Kiss Goodnight” in the Grand Hall.
Want to see Mickey and Minnie dancing on stage? No problem — head to the Sail Away party! But if you don't want to, you can also completely miss the Sail Away party (as in not even hear or see any part of it whatsoever) and relax with a beer or cocktail at one of the many bars on your Disney cruise ship.
✧ Do you See Characters Everywhere You Go on a Disney Cruise?
If you the terminal waiting to embark on your Disney Cruise and happen to be there when Mickey or Minnie pops out for photo opportunities, you may see a character. If you go to the pirate night to see the fireworks from the ship, you may see a character on stage.
But otherwise, you have to look at the daily Navigator schedule to really find characters. There have been cruises I hardly see any characters at all.
You don't see them unless you're specifically on the prowl and in the exact designated location at the exact time the Cruise Navigator says they'll be appearing. Which, if you think about it, is kind of the same way it is at the Disney theme parks.
✦ Get Ship Ready: Secure your Disney Cruise Line Gear!
Another way to feel like a kid while still adulting is to be a Disney Adult and plan your Disney Cruise Line outfits, tumblers, and more before you're even on the ship.
Conclusion of Enjoying a Disney Cruise Without Kids
You'll be wowed by Disney Cruise Line's opportunities to enjoy your cruise experience without kids.
So even if you're just an adult there to have a great time, with a love for the Disney brand, you'll enjoy the adult-only pools and cafe, the adult-only programming and nightclubs, and bars too. You'll even appreciate Castaway Cay from a different perspective!
Interested in a cruise with Disney or others? Also check out:
- Disney Cruise Line Check-in Process Online: Everything to Know
- Anti-Nausea Medication and Other Cruise Sea Sickness Solutions
- Things to Do at Walt Disney World Besides the Parks
Getting married on DCL? Check out Mikkel Paige Photography!