Vote of the week: Disney cruises, yes or no?
Written by Robert Niles
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.Tweet
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.
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.
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