Is Disney Cruise worth increased cost?

sazzle12

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
We are looking at booking a multigenerational family cruise to Alaska in July 2022 on the Disney Wonder (grandparents, parents and kids aged 10, 8, 5 and 3). The kids are big Disney fans and we’ve always wanted to try a Disney cruise, but Disney is literally double the cost as Royal Caribbean ($12,000 more!). I think the kids would love meeting all of the Disney characters, dressing up like princesses, the Frozen deck show etc, but I have been reading some negative reviews of the Wonder (that the food is very mediocre, that it is a small/old boat etc). On either boat the kids would be using the kids club frequently. Any advice/insight is much appreciated!
 

Cheburashka

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 25, 2020
We are looking at booking a multigenerational family cruise to Alaska in July 2022 on the Disney Wonder (grandparents, parents and kids aged 10, 8, 5 and 3). The kids are big Disney fans and we’ve always wanted to try a Disney cruise, but Disney is literally double the cost as Royal Caribbean ($12,000 more!). I think the kids would love meeting all of the Disney characters, dressing up like princesses, the Frozen deck show etc, but I have been reading some negative reviews of the Wonder (that the food is very mediocre, that it is a small/old boat etc). On either boat the kids would be using the kids club frequently. Any advice/insight is much appreciated!
The Wonder is a beautiful ship and does not look or feel old at all. It isn't as big as some mega cruise ships, but it isn't small- it's no fishing boat. Our Wonder Alaskan cruise was unforgettable- our best DCL cruise ever. I considered Holland due to price but I'm glad that I chose DCL in the end because DCL really made the trip special. On a 7-night Alaskan cruise you have 3 days at sea, so the ship does matter, and the characters in their Alaskan gear and having great entertainment available just makes it all a bit more special.

If you can comfortably afford it, I recommend DCL. If it would hurt, I'd say to stick with Royal. Imo it's definitely worth the upcharge, but only if you can really afford it.
 

sazzle12

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Thank you so much for this! We can afford it- it’s just hard to understand why it’s so much more than RCL! I would love to see Mickey and Minnie in their Alaska gear 😊 That’s great to know the ship is in good shape. Is the good ok? Some people said it was similar to theme park quick service quality
 

Cheburashka

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 25, 2020
Is the food ok? Some people said it was similar to theme park quick service quality
I don't know who is saying that's stuff but it's ridiculous. Yes, the food and service are both good. I guess if you grab some pizza or chicken nuggets from the pool deck it's like Disney quick service, but that's all you'd expect from that (but it's still tasty- I really like their nuggets & fries). The food in the MDRs is like hotel banquet food. Mass produced (it is a mass market cruise, not a luxury liner), but good quality. Look at some menus online to get a feel for what the MDRs offer. And on the 7 night in Animator's Palate, you'll get to do Animation Magic (or whatever exactly it's called) where you draw pictures and they come to life on the screens. It's really cool. Don't miss your 2nd dinner at Animators or you'll miss it.
 
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Micca

SAHG: Stay At Home Grandfather
Joined
Dec 5, 2000
We are Disney die-hards who sailed to Alaska on a DVC members cruise. It was amazing, and the Disney touches are very important to us, we're (touch wood) sailing on DCL to Northern Europe next year. For those less enthusiastic about Disney, and where there's a budget concern, I'm sure there are other cruise lines that offer wonderful experiences.
 

JoeFromSeoul

Joe - Now back in Seoul
Joined
Apr 19, 2014
I can’t make a fair comparison because I have only sailed with DCL. I have read that other cruise lines follow a business model that sees them leaving port in the red; they make their money on extras while sailing and in the casinos, which DCL doesn’t have.
 

KashasMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 28, 2012
Based on what you say (esp. the kids clubs) I think you'd enjoy Disney. It's super important that the ship has enough to do during the sea days since you're not sunning on the deck (and on 3 Alaskan cruises, we haven't been in the pools). We cruise as an extended multi-generational family as well and we get to spend a lot of time together. As far as the food, the quality has gone down over the years but it's edible. :-) I suggest taking a look at the Disney Navigators to see what happens on the Alaskan cruises - https://disneycruiselineblog.com/2019/06/personal-navigators-7-night-alaskan-cruise-from-vancouver-june-17-2019/. Click on anything in red for additional information.
 

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  • KVH

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2016
    Price vs. quality is kinda subjective but, in general, I'd say it's worth it. But Alaska pricing is a whole 'nother story. My DW, who used to work for HAL, really would prefer to sail DCL only. And I'd say a bunch of that is because of the people. The staff on DCL ships are always amazing. The kind where you learn names and request them on subsequent cruises. That alone makes it worth it to us. And, excluding Cabanas (which isn't bad at all), I would say the food is quite good in the MDRs - moreso if you've already had some experience and know what to order and what to stay away from.

    The issue, as stated, is what it costs for Alaska. The one suggestion I have is to shoot for the mid-September sailings. Because of school schedules and such, those are usually more cost efficient than the mid-summer sailings.
     

    _auroraborealis_

    I like marshmallows. And adult beverages.
    Joined
    Oct 18, 2015
    DCL charge high for Alaska because they have one ship doing the run and can get away with it.

    TBH because they cannot go Glacier Bay, I think the DCL route is pretty suboptimal. For that kind of difference, you could do one of the one way cruises and see a lot more, plus spend time around Anchorage pre or post cruise, and still pocket money.
     

    Keyser

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 19, 1999
    I will bring up one anecdote from our Alaska cruise several years ago (I'm repeating what I heard...). We did an excursion in Skagway, where it turned out we were the only family on the tour, and so got to talk a lot to the tour guide. His first comment was that it's immediately obvious when the Disney ship is in port. On talking with him more, he basically said that compared to all the other lines, there were far more families and far more children on the Disney cruises, and that all the other cruises were mainly retiree-age passengers. That's probably somewhat obvious, but it's a little different than the Caribbean (where you still have a wide variety of ages on other cruise lines).

    I guess my point is that I think for a family cruise with kids, Disney is a "safe" bet. It might be that other cruises would be fine as well, and that is a LOT of money to save. For us, though, the reason we ended up choosing Disney was that we knew we could expect a good cruise for our family (and it was!), and given that this would probably be our only such cruise, we were willing to pay the premium for what we expected would be a "sure thing."

    As others have said, I wouldn't worry at all about the food, unless you are a "foodie". I suspect that if food is the main thing, the options are as good or better on other lines (that probably cater more to adult eating than to families), but I've usually thought of the food as above average, though rarely "outstanding". And, I don't think I'd worry about the ship being old (and while it is smaller than some, it has felt plenty big).
     
  • tink1970

    DCL Platinum
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2012
    DH's first cruise was DCL to Alaska, and he was sold (and this from a grumpy Navy retiree who "didn't need more time on ships."). We've been on DCL many times and actually prefer the smaller ships-they're older but lovingly maintained and easier to navigate, imho. Food isn't my primary priority but we've never gone hungry and always find something good to really good on the menu.

    The year before DH and I went, I took my parents and my DD on the same AK DCL cruise and 10 years later she and my father (who is dying of cancer) very fondly remember the time they spent together staying up late and watching shows and hitting up the late night buffet. Those memories, I promise, are priceless.

    Of course, this is just a random stranger's advice on the internet but if you can afford the DCL prices, and think your family would enjoy the extra Disney touches, then why not?
     

    Geomom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 17, 2010
    Our first ever cruise was the Disney Wonder to Alaska when our DDs were 12 and 16. Loved it! Ship is lovingly cared for and doesn't look old. You can save some $ by booking Oceanview or inside rooms vs verandah. Verandah rooms cost thousands more. We love the Oceanview rooms on deck 2 with 1 large porthole. Only deck 1 rooms have 2 small portholes. Other cruise lines cost less since they have a casino and earn their profit there. DCL doesn't have a casino...just Bingo that you pay to play. I have childless friends who went on a DCL Alaskan cruise as extra chaperones for the 10 yr old nieces and nephews (helping out Grandma/Grandpa with the 6 kids.). They had a great time. Disney is great for multigenerational trips.

    Also, we enjoy the MDR food! Grand Marnier souffle is so yummy! Pool deck food/buffet food can be so so.
     

    lin7

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2008
    we have sailed Disney Fantasy and have tried Royals Oasis and Athem class of ship. Disney has remained our favourite, our next sailing when we book will be with Disney. I think it’s worth it
     

    Cruising Engineer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 18, 2018
    We have sailed to Alaska twice on the Disney Wonder and absolutely enjoyed it. The ship is kept in excellent condition and the food in the Main Dining Rooms (MDR) is very good. I'm not a food snob but enjoy good food and the Wonder has it.
    To save money, you could book one verandah and put the rest of the family in oceanview staterooms (with the large porthole windows). There is so much to do on the ship but if someone wants to just hang out at the verandah, they can use that stateroom for a short while. Honestly, depending on the weather in July, it could be nice and everyone will be on deck 10 watching the scenery or in the kids club. Go for it.
     

    TinkLoverSam

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 10, 2009
    We are booked for a multi generational cruise on the wonder to Alaska in May 2022. We have booked 2 inside rooms and a veranda to save some $$. And as the mom of a very active will be 2 year old for the cruise I’m happy not to have a veranda with my half cat half monkey child! We have 6 adults and 2 kids who will be almost 7 and 2 at the time of the cruise.
     

    sazzle12

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2019
    We are booked for a multi generational cruise on the wonder to Alaska in May 2022. We have booked 2 inside rooms and a veranda to save some $$. And as the mom of a very active will be 2 year old for the cruise I’m happy not to have a veranda with my half cat half monkey child! We have 6 adults and 2 kids who will be almost 7 and 2 at the time of the cruise.
    Yes we will be booking inside cabins and oceanview… with a 3 and 5 year old I’m still too nervous to have a balcony! All balcony rooms on RCL is still half the cost of all inside rooms on Disney… but I really want to try a Disney cruise so I think we are going to go for it.
     

    sazzle12

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2019
    We have sailed to Alaska twice on the Disney Wonder and absolutely enjoyed it. The ship is kept in excellent condition and the food in the Main Dining Rooms (MDR) is very good. I'm not a food snob but enjoy good food and the Wonder has it.
    To save money, you could book one verandah and put the rest of the family in oceanview staterooms (with the large porthole windows). There is so much to do on the ship but if someone wants to just hang out at the verandah, they can use that stateroom for a short while. Honestly, depending on the weather in July, it could be nice and everyone will be on deck 10 watching the scenery or in the kids club. Go for it.
    Yes Disney being double the cost us booking inside cabins on Disney vs balcony cabins on RCL. The price difference is crazy! We have you g kids though so I’m more comfortable not having a balcony. Happy to hear you enjoyed it. I think we will try Disney.
     

    sazzle12

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2019
    Our first ever cruise was the Disney Wonder to Alaska when our DDs were 12 and 16. Loved it! Ship is lovingly cared for and doesn't look old. You can save some $ by booking Oceanview or inside rooms vs verandah. Verandah rooms cost thousands more. We love the Oceanview rooms on deck 2 with 1 large porthole. Only deck 1 rooms have 2 small portholes. Other cruise lines cost less since they have a casino and earn their profit there. DCL doesn't have a casino...just Bingo that you pay to play. I have childless friends who went on a DCL Alaskan cruise as extra chaperones for the 10 yr old nieces and nephews (helping out Grandma/Grandpa with the 6 kids.). They had a great time. Disney is great for multigenerational trips.

    Also, we enjoy the MDR food! Grand Marnier souffle is so yummy! Pool deck food/buffet food can be so so.
    That’s great to know deck 2 has one large porthole. That is def what I would prefer vs two small ones. So avoid deck 1?
     

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