I am incredibly blessed to have been Disney cruising since I was six years old. I literally grew up with Disney. Every stage of my life has been documented in Park and Cruise trips (and my uncle’s incessant filming!). But this year, for the first time, my entire family cruised with no children whatsoever. We were fortunate enough to do a back-to-back Bahamas cruise on the Disney Dream. Talk about a dream come true! We were a bit curious, and even skeptical, as to how a Disney vacation would go without any kids. Unsurprisingly, we were blown away. Our party consisted of nine people, ages ranging from 19 to 75. We all loved our cruise.
People always ask (and make fun of) us why we keep doing Disney vacations without kids in our family. With a deep breath and an extra dose of patience, we try to explain the plethora of reasons. There are SO many reasons to do the Parks without kids, but I think there are even more for cruising. Here are some of the ways Disney Cruising for Adults not only works, but also creates a stupendous vacation:
Adult Only Dining
Three words: Remy and Palo. Heaven. Remy is only on the Fantasy and the Dream, but Palo is on all four ships. These are restaurants you cannot enter with children. Palo is an upscale Italian restaurant, while Remy is its French counterpart, modeled after the movie Ratatouille. The really adult thing about Palo and Remy is that they are not purely restaurants: they are dining experiences. These meals take hours – they are paced brilliantly, every bite calculated for flavor and reaction.
My family had done Palo several times in the past, but this past cruise we splurged (and I mean splurged, yikes) on Remy. This was something out of this world. We asked the chef to just, as Ego would put it, hit us with his best shot. We received an exquisite six-course meal and the best service you can possibly imagine. Since we were a larger party, we were seated in the private room, which is an exact replica of Gusteau’s from the movie. I still dream about it.
While we all adored Remy, the dining highlight for some of our party was actually brunch at Palo. Not all people know about this dining option, but it’s glorious. Brunch features an opening buffet of cheeses, pastry, antipasto, and dessert and I could live my whole life there. It also has a brunch menu to choose from. My advice: get the lasagna. Another major bonus is that one Palo meal is free for Platinum Castaway members!
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After 9pm, the whole adult district on all four ships shuts down to kids. There are so many clubs, pubs, and bars to choose from, and they are all kid free! There were many a night where my family had some time between dinner and the show, so we’d head down to the Champagne Bar, Pink, to listen to some piano music to pass the time. Or if we weren’t quite ready for bed after the show, we’d scour the lounges for a quiet place to relax with a nightcap.
Adult only spaces on board also provide great spots for adult only shows! Disney often brings in an illusionist, magician, or comedian to do a show in the Walt Disney Theatre on longer cruises. When that’s the case, they usually also do an adult only show in one of the bigger lounges in the adult districts. Super fun!
We took my grandfather on his first ever Disney Cruise this trip. He’s a Royal Caribbean guy (I know, I know, it’s a strain in our relationship). He was very skeptical about Disney and the amount of kids running rampant. But on day one, we showed him around the ship and made our way to Quiet Cove. He took one look at the Cove Café and said: “Yep. This is where you’ll find me.”
The adult only pool area is a haven to over 18 cruisers. It is (mostly) totally quiet, save for the spa-like ambient music or the steady stream of Satellite Falls. There are several bars (one right in the pool on the Dream and Fantasy!), hot tubs, snacks, and very comfortable deck chairs just for the adults.
Even on Castaway Cay we managed to avoid kids most of the time. There’s a private shuttle from the family area to Serenity Bay, an adult only paradise. Serenity Bay is located on the other side of the island. It truly is serene and a bit of an oasis for the adult cruisers. The beach itself isn’t huge, but doesn’t need to be. There are dozens of hammocks and umbrellas to keep the relaxation to a maximum. But most guests drag chairs right into the water! The coolest part to me about Serenity Bay is the sand bar. At low tide, a massive sand bar appears in the middle of the swimming area. You can walk right to it and the water only ever reaches your waist. The other amazing part of Serenity Bay is the wildlife! Don’t be surprised to see a manta ray sauntering past you as you swim. They are such gentle giants. They aren’t a threat, but like to be left alone. There are also tons of sea stars and crabs! They’re massive! I’d imagine these creatures like the serenity too.
Don’t forget food! (How could you on a Disney Cruise, right?) Similar to Cookie’s and Cookie’s Too BBQ on the family beach, Serenity Bay has its own buffet. But this buffet is even better because it has divine steak! Between the buffet, cabanas and massage cabanas, bar service, we stayed the whole day in Serenity Bay and it was an absolute highlight for us.
Special Magic Opportunities
This one seems counter-intuitive, I know. You’d think that Disney wouldn’t cater as many magical moments to just adults, wouldn’t you? But no, though. Despite this not being our first cruise, and our only cruise of just adults, my family experienced more magical moments than ever before. It just seemed like day after day something unexpectedly wonderful happened, courtesy of the amazing crew aboard the Disney Dream. We were still treated with excellence for the entire duration of our cruise. We were invited to the VIP viewing area for fireworks at the Pirates in the Caribbean Party, which was so, so cool! We also got a special behind-the-scenes tour, unique to just our family. We were blown away. I think Disney likes adult only parties because they can open some special opportunities just for them. And our enthusiasm was at an all time high, so that had to help. Disney made the magic real to us. They brought out our childlike hearts and we had the best time. Disney is not just for kids. I cannot wait to go on another Disney Cruise.