Experiencing a Disney Cruise without Kids

We're living proof Disney Cruise Line is for adults too. All our experiences with DCL have been on a Disney cruise without kids.

I've often heard the same criticism time and again from people who have preconceived notions of Disney Cruise Line: it's full of kids. I've sailed with Disney Cruise Line five times, each Disney cruise without kids.

The first three were for pure pleasure and the fourth I was lucky enough to photograph a Disney Cruise Line wedding on Castaway Cay, Disney's private island. Each trip has been better than the last and leaves me wanting to sail with DCL again.

If you're searching for one of the best cruises for adults be sure to include DCL if you're a Disney fan because we're telling you – it's great for adults, not just kids.

Children…Are Not Everywhere

The best thing about Disney Cruise Line (DCL) in terms of children – for the sake of the adults and kids on the ship – is they are designed to accommodate children. This means they have specific areas for different age groups of kids where they can spend all day and night. For instance, there's a group for toddlers, one for pre-teens and another for teens. Thus, unless you're dropping your child off at one of these areas or at a meal you never really encounter children.

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The back of the Disney Dream Cruise ship with Sorcerer Mickey on the back.

Aesthetics and Ship Plan

Though there aren't specifically “adult Disney cruises” there are many, many elements of the ships designs, especially, only adults would appreciate.

Adults are the main audience for who the splendor was designed for. They're the ones who can truly appreciate the ships' aesthetics and architectural plans. When was the last time you heard a child say, “This atrium chandelier is so stunning! I love its Art Deco design!” Never. That's when. (Psst: If the term “atrium” is unfamiliar to you, that's okay! Here's some essential cruise ship terms you should know.)

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. 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 though, here are great suggestions on what to pack for extra clever cabin hacks!) The interior design of each stateroom is elegant and chic; Disney touches are subtle and tasteful.

Disney Cruise Line has Superior Staff

The Cast 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, sad but true even though there are plenty of incredible Cast Members.)

I suppose it's a sign of American culture overall and changing of generations. 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 really 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.

Adult Activities on Disney Cruise Line

There are plenty of adult only activities to enjoy, proving that Disney Cruise Line is for adults too but also that the creators of the ships cared enough about them to focus on adult-only activities.

There's trivia nights, nightclubs and specialty tastings (yes, with alcohol) to name a few. DCL also offers adult only excursions at some ports.

Food and Drink Areas for Adults, without Kids

Disney focuses on excellence in food, no matter if it's within their theme parks or around their Walt Disney World property.

The majority of dining areas aboard DCL ships are for every guest aboard, regardless of age. But there are plenty of dining options for adults only.

They include:

  • Cocktail and Champagne Bars
  • Restaurants like Palo and Remy, where reservations are needed
  • Cove Cafe near the adult-only pool area
Plated entree with steak and mashed potatoes at a meal aboard Disney Cruise Line's Dream ship.

Spas and Pools Aboard Disney Cruise Line without Kids

There's a spa onboard every ship that's certainly just for adults, including a gym.

There's also a pool area on every ship strictly for 18 and older guests to enjoy. And you don't have to pay extra for it, as some cruise lines charge for.

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.

Looking down on a circle pool on the top deck of a cruise ship, an adult-only area for people on Disney cruise, without kids.

A Disney Cruise without Kids on Castaway Cay

Your Disney cruise, kids free, continues on Castaway Cay.

This is Disney's private island that many of their itineraries stop at. There's an adult only beach 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 massage at the beach with their spa staff.

You Can Be a Kid…If You Want

There ARE opportunities to see characters – the most obvious is the “Sail Away” party. There's another opportunity to see characters when you get to Castaway Cay, if it's on your itinerary. 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.

Minnie Mouse in a sailor outfit in front of a scale model of the Disney Cruise Line ship.

Many Disney Touches around the Ship Appeal to a Love of Disney and Design Only Adults Can Appreciate

It's true there are Disney touches around the ship. However most of them are subtle. Let's face it though – if you weren't a Disney fan it's unlikely you'd be interested in a Disney cruise!

For argument's sake, however, let's say you're just going along with a trip your family designated for you, like a bigger family reunion or wedding sailing. Fret not.

Great art is great art. If you appreciate Disney animation prints on the walls, or handpainted murals (that may not have to do with Disney at all) or incredible mosaics you'll simply fall in love with the ship's attention to detail in its design.

Only adults will be able to appreciate the Mickey mouse shapes in the ironwork of railings, or the instrumental versions of Disney classics that play in the hallways.

Conclusion of Enjoying a Disney Cruise Without Kids

You'll be wowed by Disney Cruise Line's opportunities to enjoy the 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 programming and night clubs, and bars too. You'll even appreciate Castaway Cay from a different perspective!

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Getting married on DCL? Check out Mikkel Paige Photography!


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