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How to Choose a Disney Cruise – Which Ship & Itinerary Are Best for Your Family?

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How do you choose a Disney Cruise that's right for your family? With five amazing ships in their fleet and many enticing destinations, booking the best option can seem overwhelming. I'll help you narrow down your choices by explaining the similarities and differences between the ships. You'll also learn details about Disney Cruise Line's itineraries to help you choose. Let's set sail with Disney Cruise Line!

Disney Dream is one of four Disney Cruise Line ships (Photo credit: David Roark)
Disney Dream is one of four Disney Cruise Line ships (Photo credit: David Roark)

Disney Cruise Line Ships

All five Disney Cruise Line Ships offer magical details and over-the-top customer service. Expect incredible sail-away parties, Pirate Nights at Sea, Broadway-caliber live shows, Hollywood movies in floating theaters, complimentary sodas, awesome kids and teen clubs, and nurseries for babies and toddlers as young as 6 months. Additionally, you'll find themed pools and splash areas aboard all five cruise ships.

Frozen, A Musical Spectacular on Disney Wonder
Frozen, A Musical Spectacular on Disney Wonder (Photo credit: Matt Stroshane)

No matter which Disney ship you choose, you can meet with Disney characters and enjoy fine dining at sea. While cruising, Dream offers daily activities such as karaoke, bingo and even game shows.

Senses Spa and Salon is available on all of the Disney Cruise Line ships, with treatments like massages, body wraps, facials, pedicures and even acupuncture.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques are now available on all five ships as well, with princess, pirate, and Star Wars makeovers for children. Plus, Disney is the only cruise line that offers fireworks at sea!

Disney fireworks at sea
Disney fireworks at sea (Photo credit: Gregg Newton)

Disney Wonder and Disney Magic Ships

The two smaller ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet are Disney Wonder and Disney Magic. These sister ships share similar features while still maintaining their own individual aesthetic. They offer a classic take on cruising, with a nod back to the “golden age” of travel. Of course, these ships also include modern amenities to make your vacation comfortable and memorable. If you want a more laid-back, elegant vibe — then these are the ships for you.

Mickey's Sail-A-Wave Party on Wonder and Magic
Mickey's Sail-A-Wave Party on Wonder and Magic (Photo credit: Matt Stroshane)

Disney Fantasy, Dream, and Wish Ships

The other set of Disney Cruise Line sister ships include Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream, and the newest Disney ship, Wish.

Larger than Wonder and Magic, these ships are known as “storytelling” vessels with art that comes to life for guests. You can even find Magical Portholes within the inside staterooms that show live scenes of the sea with occasional Disney characters swimming by.

Fantasy and Dream boast the AquaDuck water coaster — a transparent tube waterslide that arches over the deck of the boat. Both also offer miniature golf and Goofy's Sports Deck with basketball and other opportunities for play. For non-stop entertainment and Disney-theming, Disney's newer ships make good choices.

AquaDuck Water Coaster on Fantasy and Dream ships
AquaDuck Water Coaster on Fantasy and Dream ships (Photo credit: Matt Stroshane)

Disney Cruise Line Itineraries

With so much magic packed onto each Disney ship, plus all the activities you can enjoy at each port, it's important to consider what you’d like to see and do when choosing your Disney Cruise. For many Disney Cruise Line enthusiasts, a day at Disney's own private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, is an absolute must. For others, exploring a new and exotic destination is most important.

Disney Dream docked at Disney's Castaway Cay
Disney Dream docked at Disney's Castaway Cay (Photo credit: David Roark)

In choosing the right Disney Cruise for your family, you'll need to select the length of your sailing. With Disney, cruises last between three to 14 days. I recommend choosing the longest itinerary that works with your budget and schedule.

Here’s a look at some of the Disney Cruise Line itineraries:

  • New York City, New York to Bermuda or Canada
  • San Diego, California to Baja, Mexico, the Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal or Vancouver, Canada
  • Miami, Florida to the Caribbean, the Bahamas, or Cozumel, Mexico
  • Galveston, Texas to the Caribbean, the Bahamas or Castaway Cay
  • Port Canaveral, Florida to the Bahamas or the Caribbean
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico to New Orleans, Louisiana
  • New Orleans, Louisiana to Cozumel, Mexico
  • Barcelona, Spain to the Mediterranean
  • Dover, England to Western Europe, Norwegian Fjords (and Iceland), or British Islands
  • Copenhagen, Denmark or Dover, England to Northern Europe
  • Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy to the Mediterranean with Greek Isles
  • Vancouver, Canada to Alaska
Disney Magic in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Disney Magic in Dubrovnik, Croatia (Photo credit: Matt Stroshane)

Disney's Themed Days at Sea

To help narrow down which Disney Cruise to book, consider which, if any, themed days at sea are musts for your family.

Sample themed days at sea include:

  • Marvel Day at Sea: Western Caribbean and Bahamian cruises
  • Star Wars Day at Sea: Western and Eastern Caribbean cruises
  • Halloween on the High Seas: Baja, Caribbean or Bahamian cruises
  • Very Merrytime: Bahamas, Western Caribbean, San Juan or Miami cruises
Star Wars Day at Sea
Star Wars Day at Sea “Summon the Force” deck party (Photo credit: Amy Smith)

Book Disney Cruise Deals with Get Away Today

Whatever you decide, I recommend booking with Get Away Today to take advantage of savings on cruises. For example, you can get up to $300 in onboard credits on select sailings. This can be used toward any onboard activities that aren't already included in your itinerary, such as Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (Photo credit: Matt Stroshane)

For more details on which Disney Cruise is best for your family, visit www.getawaytoday.com, or call a cruise specialist at 877-510-2929. Be sure to let them know Travel Mamas sent you!

Before you go, take a look at what to pack for a Disney Cruise and our tips for cruising with kids.

Book your cruise with Get Away Today!

Learn More Cruise Tips

All ages love these tempting cruise mocktails that offer flavor and festivity without booze.

Cruising with your sweetheart? Check out this list of romantic things to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Stay healthy during your vacation with these tips on avoiding cruise ship illness and what to do if you do get sick at sea.

Before you set sail, look at what to buy for a cruise.

How to Choose the Best Disney Cruise for Your Family

Save These Tips for Choosing a Disney Cruise

If you’re considering setting sail with Disney, then be sure to save these tips on how to choose a Disney Cruise. Just pin the graphic above to Pinterest. Go ahead and follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Do you have any tips or questions about how to choose a Disney Cruise? Let us know in the comments below!

This story is brought to you in partnership with Get Away Today. We receive a small commission on any vacations booked through Get Away Today, at no extra cost to consumers. 

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin, MBA, is the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular travel blog, TravelMamas.com. She is an expert in travel with kids and without. As the author of the book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents how to make the most of traveling with babies and children. Colleen loves sharing tips on hotels, cruises, spas, theme parks, and global lifestyle topics. When she is not traveling the world, she lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. Ok help!!
    Which cruise line is the best
    5 adults 3 kids. We’ve never been on a cruise

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Lorie – It really depends on your family’s preferences, ages of your kids, budget, and if your focus is more on ship activities or shore excursions. Personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with a Disney Cruise. Best customer service I’ve ever experienced in my life, lots of fun activities for all ages (especially on Fantasy and Dream ships), and incredible shore excursions for kids. They are more expensive than a lot of other lines, though. Carnival is definitely more budget-friendly. Good luck with your decision!

  2. Maryna De Ridder says

    I was furtunate to have worked on the Disney Wonder for 3 years. I can tell you that it will be the best experians ever. Disney is the company that will go ” over and beyound ” on a cruise or the parks. Our moto is “over and beyond” The crew is there for our guests

    • Colleen Lanin says

      So true, Maryna! I’ve found that Disney Cruise Line provides even better customer service than what I’ve received at Disney theme parks, restaurants and hotels!

  3. MYKONOS LUXURY VILLAS says

    I always wondered what facts matter and what not when choosing a Disney Cruise. Finally, thanks to this blog, I’m able to make a good decision. So, thank you and keep sharing valuable stuff as you did in this post forever. Thanks again!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Thank you for your kind words! So glad you enjoyed this blog post. Have a wonderful time on your Disney Cruise!

  4. I’ve never been on a Disney Cruise but I’ve always wanted to take my girls on one. I’m hoping we can go next year!

  5. katrina Kroeplin says

    those are great tips! we are hoping to get on a cruise next year. ive needed 3 big surgeries this year so we had to push it. fingers crossed that next year is better.

  6. Emily Fata says

    I’ve never done a Disney cruise, but would love to try one one day! It looks like such a great experience, and like it would be so much fun!

  7. Emily Zielinski says

    Wow I never knew that this was even a thing! It’s like Disneyland on water!if I have kids this is where I’ll be taking them.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      I actually enjoy a Disney Cruise more than Disney Parks! More relaxing AND you get to travel to new destinations, all with that Disney magic!

  8. We are a cruising family but haven’t tried Disney yet! I’m excited to try it in the future!

  9. Emman Damian says

    I want to try the New York City, New York to Bermuda or Canada line. It seems very interesting! I hope to do it soon.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Good choices! I really want to do one of their longer Caribbean cruises. Northern Europe would be fun, too!

  10. littlemisadvencha says

    wooooooooow! Disney cruise loooks so fun! and exciiiiiiting. would love to be on board some day! thanks for giving me the idea….

  11. Krisy from Kronicles says

    My dream is to go on a cruise. But a Disney cruise?! That’s a different goal right there! Need to put this in my bucket list!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Krisy – The customer service on a Disney Cruise really differentiates this cruise line from others. It’s incredible!

  12. Ntensibe Edgar Michael says

    Nnniiiccceeeee….I had never before seen any picture on what I will call the “deck” of a Disney boat! So nice, it looks.

  13. This is so helpful, I’m planning a trip with my little nephew so these tips will be invaluable. Thank you 🙂

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