Is Disney Cruise Line Fun for Adults?

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The Rainforest is reserved for adult guests
The Rainforest is reserved for adult guests

One of the most frequently asked questions about DCL is “Is Disney Cruise Line Fun for Adults?” Because the Disney brand is so firmly associated with family entertainment, many people who are new to cruising, Disney Cruise Line in particular, or even to Disney parks wonder if there’s anything for them onboard the Disney ships. I see the question every day when I check out the DCL section of Cruise Critic. When I tell people that I co-wrote a book about DCL, they ask “what’s there for adults to do onboard?” Now, I know telling the people who read this blog that Disney is as much an entertainment company as a family company is preaching to the choir, but hopefully anyone else out there who Googles “will I have fun on a Disney cruise if I’m not traveling with children?” will find this article.

One of these ships might not be a “party ship”

A little history, I will take my 11th cruise (yay! Platinum Castaway Club, baby!) next month. all but one of those cruises were solo or with a friend or my partner. The other cruise was with teenagers who we couldn’t get away from Vibe, so it was nearly like not cruising with kids too. It’s safe to say adult cruising is my normal. And if I didn’t think it was fun, there probably wouldn’t have been a book written about it. Of course as a big Disney fan, I also think that Walt Disney World is a great place for folks without children. If you  enjoy the whimsy and artistic touches that make Disney parks a good experience for adults, you’ll have fun on their ships.

One caveat, I’ve been in port in the Caribbean when other ships are there. How do I say this? DCL does not seem to draw the same crowd as some other lines. If you’re looking for the party ship, Disney isn’t it. On the other hand, those cruises tend to be less expensive by a long shot, so…win, win, you know?

When I first began thinking about this article, I compiled a list of adult activities onboard. I came up with the spa, the bars, tastings…pretty much all great ideas for folks who drink and don’t mind a bill at the end of the cruise. That seemed a little lame. So I kept thinking….

Here is my list of free and fun things for adults on Disney Cruise Line:

Satellite Falls on the Fantasy is an adult haven
Satellite Falls on the Fantasy is an adult haven
  1. Someone other than you cleans your room twice a day
  2. When you travel with adults, you’ll be seated with other adults for your dining rotation. I have met and talked to some of the most pleasant and interesting people over dinner – and they are nearly always big Disney fans.
  3. Muppets Detective Agency on the Fantasy is everything great you remember about the Muppet Show and gets you out and about on the ship.
  4. Reading a magazine or book at Cove Cafe is great. I’ve never felt pressured to order a beverage if I just planned to hang out for awhile. On the Wonder only, the scenic Outlook Cafe is upstairs from the Cove. It’s a gem.
  5. Many cruises of four nights or longer will have an Imagineer onboard who gives a talk. Now, you’re probably not going to get any super-secret inside secrets, especially if you already read here, but it’s nice to listen to the people who make the magic happen.
  6. The adult beach, the amusingly named Serenity Bay, at Castaway Cay is peaceful, picturesque, and secluded.
  7. Air Barbecue (sometimes called Serenity Bay BBQ) at the Serenity Bay beach on Castaway Cay is a great place for lunch. I swear the food tastes better there. Also, they serve some items that Cookies doesn’t (like steaks).
  8. The after hours shows by the cruise’s featured entertainers are a kick, not terribly blue, definitely more naughty than raunchy.
  9. Same thing for the shows hosted by the entertainment staff at night. Everyone has a good time.
  10. Hang out in the adult pool areas. My favorite is Satellite Falls on the Fantasy. It’s beautiful, has lots of seating, and there aren’t kids coming through to the rest of the pool deck from the cabins on deck 11 forward.
Fun for all ages - even adults
Fun for all ages – even adults

And here are some ideas for adults that will cost you a little to a little more:

  1. Palo dinner ($25 plus wine and gratuity). For me, while I like the food at Palo, its main draw is that it’s so much more quiet than the main dining rooms.
  2. Palo brunch ($25 as well). Palo brunch is a don’t miss for me. It’s a win for adults for both the food and the setting.
  3. Remy dinner ($75 plus wine and gratuity). I’ve eaten at Victoria and Albert’s, and this is very nearly as good, slightly less expensive (plus the cost of the cruise), and a beautiful setting.
  4. Senses Spa ($16/day for a Rainforest pass). If I were only allowed one item on my bill at the end of the cruise other than Internet, it would be for a Rainforest pass (but only on the Dream and Fantasy, on the Magic and Wonder, that money would go to a cocktail or two.
  5. Beverage tastings ($15 – $25 depending). If you imbibe, this is the great bargain of Disney Cruise Line. Most tastings give you at least 5 half sized drinks. They would cost probably twice as much if you ordered them in the bars.
  6. Adults-only shore excursions (price varies). Check your Port Adventures list for excursions that are 18 and up. They are usually tours or more active adventures.
Animator’s Palate is for the whole family
Palo is 18 and up








You know, I bet I’ve just scratched the surface here. What are your favorite activities for the 18 and up crowd on Disney Cruise Line? Talk about it in the comments.

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Laurel Stewart

Laurel has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1971 when she was negative-15 years old and running the Disney races since 2007. Her favorite attraction is Big Thunder Mountain.

5 thoughts on “Is Disney Cruise Line Fun for Adults?

  • April 8, 2014 at 8:19 am

    My wife and i have been on 4 Disney Cruise’s and one RCL as a couple. Both very equal but Disney service and entertainment is the difference. So much more to do on DCL in my opinion.

  • April 8, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Since you’ve cruised as a solo adult, can you opine on your experiences with the rotational dining then? If I am dining solo, I would rather not have to sit with other couples/families (weird!) but I also don’t want to miss out on the restaurants the ship has to offer.

    • April 8, 2014 at 10:42 am

      I’ve been seated with other solos or “non-romantic duos” like siblings or a parent and adult child traveling together. Disney now charges a single supplement to solo travelers that they did not when I took the 2 cruises I did solo. I have a feeling this will discourage solos from booking DCL. It did me anyway. The supplement is equal to the price of another adult in your room, so the cost for a solo is essentially the same as for a couple.

  • April 8, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Now that our kids are in college, my wife and I have been lucky enough to take several “empty nest” vacations in the last couple of years, including 3 to WDW. Without a doubt, the DCL cruise we took with another couple on the Fantasy was our favorite. So many things for adults to see and do, both on the ship and off, all while being pampered by the outstanding crew. We’re planning a Med cruise for next year, and I hope it’ll be on DCL, too!

  • April 10, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks for making a point we often try to tactfully share with others.
    This past fall we were docked in St. Thomas at the same time as one of the new Carnival ships. The gate into the harbor required you to walk past the Carnival ship, and as we were walking by we heard a group of girls screaming from a balcony. Suddenly the girl next to us screamed, “I’m on my way up b—–es!” We now have a mantra in our house, “we will only cruise with Disney, we will only cruise with Disney…” We often share this story with others being lured by the low prices of competitive cruise companies.


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