Vote of the week: Disney cruises, yes or no?
Disney Cruise Line unveiled its refurbished Disney Magic
today. The 2,700-passenger ship will sail from Miami until next year, when it repositions to Port Canaveral, nearer Orlando. Disney's not disclosed how much it spent reworking the Magic during its six-week downtime, but upgraded features on the ship include a new restaurant, nightclub, and pub, an "Avengers Academy" experience for children, new water slides, and a redesigned lobby. Basically, Disney reworked the ship to look more like its two newest ships, the Dream and the Fantasy.
Photo courtesy Disney
The Magic, which debuted in 1998, is the Disney Cruise Line's oldest ship. The second-oldest, the Wonder, is scheduled for a similar refurbishment sometime next year.
Do you enjoy cruises? Even though Disney aggressively packages theme parks and cruise vacations, we rarely cover DCL or other theme park-related cruises here on Theme Park Insider (for reasons we'll address in a moment). So we might have skewed the results a bit by not covering this aspect of travel on a more regular basis. But we'd still like to hear what you think about cruises.
We invite cruise fans to make the case for 'yes' votes, in the comments. I'll take the 'no' case. ;^)
Fair warning: This argument is made from hearsay alone. I've never been on a cruise, and should I be fortunate for the remainder of my life, I'll never take one. "Cruise" sounds like the root of "excruciating." I'm not a glutton, so big buffets no longer appeal to me. The idea of swimming in a pool in the middle of ocean seems absurd. (Give me a snorkel and send me to Maui or the Keys if I want to play in the water.) Give me trails to hike, cities to discover, or theme parks to explore. Not a floating hotel with tiny, cramped rooms. If I could sail the boat, fine, I'm in. But sitting in a lounge chair all day, with no Internet access, sounds like a country club prison sentence to me.
Ports of call? Here's a story: A couple summers ago, my family and I visited France, where we took a delightful bike tour of Vernon and Giverny. While crossing the Seine, a tour bus passed us. I watched the people in the bus — encased behind closed glass windows, 10 feet off the ground — whiz by, and I thought that I'd never want to travel that way. Yet a cruise ship is a tour bus multiplied by at least one order of magnitude. No thanks.
Theme parks are designed for crowds. They're productions, created as shows that need an audience to come to life fully. Plopping 3,000 people into a Caribbean port alters it from a natural place into one of those tourist productions. Perhaps some people are into that. But if I want to see a production, I'll head to a theme park or to Broadway. If I want to visit Caribbean islands, I'd rather seek places where the big cruise ships don't call.
Finally, there's a reason why almost no cruise ships are flagged in the United States. That's so cruise operators can avoid U.S. labor and safety laws, which protect the health of employees and passengers alike, and ensure at least a minimum wage and humane working conditions for employees. Cruise ship employees get no such protections, and, frankly, I'd rather spend my money elsewhere as a result.
That's my case for a 'no' vote. But, as I've said, I've never taken a cruise, and simply haven't heard yet a counter-argument that sways me to consider spending several thousand dollars to go on one, as opposed to one of the many other types of vacations that I know I'll enjoy. Please, if you're a cruise fan, make the case for a 'yes' vote, in the comments. And if you're on the fence, tell us what you'd like to know about cruises, to help you make a decision one way or the other. And thank you, to everyone, for reading and participating here on Theme Park Insider.
I too do not see the appeal of cruises. I have the fear of being stuck out in the middle of the ocean. I don't do deep water, long childhood story behind this involving three near drownings. You may refer to me as Brody from Jaws. The other reason for me is that I can't stand the thought that if I'm not enjoying myself, I am unable to leave. So, I will never take a cruise. But for those who do, this looks good for a boat...I mean ship.
Cruising gets a big tick from me, but only for particular reasons, it definitely has its drawbacks. We've only been on a single cruise, about 2 years ago from Port Canaveral doing the Western Caribbean for 7 nights (on Royal Caribbean, not Disney). I'm from Australia, I was travelling with my wife, mother and 18 month old son. We will be going on another cruise from Singapore in January with my wife and 2 children.
Robert, you paint a lousy picture of cruising, but I have heard plenty of first person testimonials that tell a completely different story.
My family and I have cruised twice (Alaska and UK) and plan to cruise the Mediterranean in a couple of years when we have saved for it. Here are my pro-cruise arguments:
Cruises are fun, plain and simple. To just wish to never go on one is absurd.... they are a FUN vacation, that is why cruise lines make billions and have billions of visitors. You can do all the fun thing you listed in life AND go on a cruise. They aren't mutually exclusive you know. If you are a Disney Geek and never go on a Disney Cruise, then something just isn't adding up...
I enjoyed Grants comments and thought they were right on. I am a Disney fan and have been since very small. Have been to Disneyland too many times to count and disney world once. Really have enjoyed them. But I'm always looking for something new to enjoy. My two daughters and I took a cruise (Disney) for the first time ever and loved it! I can't say I've always wanted to take a cruise. I have been curious to see what everyone has been talking about though. I enjoy seeing new places but I don't have unlimited time to explore. It was nice to be able to see new things and places in a controlled way. I knew the excursions I went on were safe and we weren't going to be taken to a shady part of town. I was concerned that the city (Nassau) would be overrun with tourists but that was not the case. I saw very few of our fellow passengers there other than the few on our excursion with us. After the tour was over we were able to wander the shops and once again, we seemed to be the only shoppers so it was a relaxed shopping experience.
Robert: You give all the right reasons for not going on the cruise. That being said, I highly recommend you try the Disney cruise for the simple reason that your should start at the top and don't look down.
Personally I really like cruises. However they definitely are not for everyone. They stuff thousands of people in a small area that you literally cannot escape from.
Probably won't ever go on a cruise, but for largely differing reasons. You see, I work as a massage therapist, and at the time when I was wrapping up, I found that working on a cruise ship was an option. All the perks of vacationing after a year or two gaining seniority, but I get free room and board, AND I get paid, PLUS tips. It's a pretty slick situation for all involved.
I've lived in Los Angeles most of my life and loved Disneyland since I was little, and I've passed this love of Disney on to my kids. I never thought about going on a cruise until my wife heard from a coworker how much fun her family had on a Disney cruise.
I am going to share my experience of the one and only cruise I ever took, and how horrible it was. This was Carnival Cruise Line, not Disney, and it was in 2003 or so. My son was around two and part of this "treat" from my husband was that he arranged for his mom and dad to babysit so we could have our first vacation in years, and a break from taking care of our 20-month old. I ended up missing him too much to have any real fun, but that's another story.
My wife and I took a cruise for the first time two years ago - and I would absolutely cruise again. BUT... I think you can have very different experiences depending on which cruise line you select and which itinerary you travel...
In regards to the working conditions, its best to remember that these ships are in international waters, and hence not subject to the laws of the USA. This doesn't necessarily make them evil slave ships ruling the seas though.
@ Grant Crawford.
I took the Disney cruise the first year. It was basically like being locked in a theme park with no rides. The free movie theater was good but it got old.
Robert, have you never been to Jungle Cruise????
This doesn't have anything to do with the merits of cruising or the Disney Cruise Line, but the scheduled refurbishment of the Disney Wonder (which has spent the summer cruising in Alaska the past few years) in 2014 is only a rumor (sorry, educated guess) at this point.
I have sailed with the Disney cruise, as well as others. I liked them all, but from a disability perspective Disney is the best one; their private island has all the ADA accommodations of an American theme park. My dream is to take a cruise to Alaska and see a glacier; it's less hassle than driving to Alaska and you get to see it from the cruise. I'm not a glutton either, but dinner is really good, and the portions are small. It's a matter of taste, so I'm not going to try to persuade you. But if you ever try one, Do Disney or Royal Caribbean (depending if you go with the whole family or just your wife)
Two thumbs up to Grant Crawford! You expressed exactly what I was thinking!
My family has taken 3 Disney cruises (Alaska, Canada, Mediterranean) and loved each one. Prior to having the kids, my husband and I took a Princess cruise to Alaska. The Disney experience was incomparable. We can't even recall what the Princess ship looked like, what we did on it, or even one of the people we interacted with. On the Disney ship we make friends with our waitstaff, love the way everyone is friendly and looks for ways to make our stay even better, and of course there are the characters. If you want to see characters with minimal waits (compared to the parks), a Disney cruise is the way to go. The other lines are primarily floating hotels that pull in entertainment, the Disney ships are entertainment specialists with added hotels. The difference in background really shows. Even saying that, the cabins are quite nice and much larger per class than what you get on most other lines. As cheap as other cruise lines? No. But at the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. We're quite willing to take fewer vacations as we save our money for the next Disney cruise. Even my husband, /not/ a big Disney fan, is content to cruise Disney. I hope you do start blogging on DCL.
Vacation, for me, is freedom. I want to do whatever I want whenever I want (together with my love ones but you know what I mean). Being on a ship in a small cabin with all those people around the pools and restaurants, all doing the same thing, creeps me out.
I am with you NO cruises. I have been on one (it wasn't a Disney cruise) and hated it. I felt like a prisoner, the rooms where tiny (and expensive) and the constant 1 Hz oscillations drove me nuts. I will never do it again!
I've also been on a cruise and am firmly in the 'no' camp.
Honestly guys - it's just a holiday. Don't get so worked up!
If you're not sure if you want to cruise, I recommend a short cruise for the first timer. A 3 to 4 day weekend trip.
Definitely agree with Anon Mouse - a short one is the absolute best way to try it.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.