A few years ago, before I went on my first Disney Cruise Line sailing, I could never imagine myself as a cruise person. Maybe “hate” is too strong of a word, but for years I had no desire to vacation on a floating germ filled petri dish of doom…uh…I mean…lovely cruise ship. But then as time passed by, I began to get a little curious. My parents are avid cruisers and they would share their photos and stories of great adventures. My boys even started talking about how fun it would be if we went on a cruise…especially a Disney Cruise Line vacation!
Now I’m a huge fan of all things Disney…characters, movies, clothes, theme parks, you name it…could Mickey Mouse and my love of Disney really change my mind about cruising? Read on to find out!
Let me begin by saying that I am not as neurotic as this post is going to make me sound (at least I hope I’m not), but a cruise is where nearly every fear, issue and insecurity I have comes together to form the “perfect storm.” Please don’t judge! 😉
I wasn’t always this way, but after having a baby that was sick all of the time, I became the poster child for Purell. Seriously, I should own stock in this company. How on earth was I going to overcome my paranoia about someone in my family getting sick and get on a cruise ship? Well, I did some research. Did you know in over ten years, Disney Cruise Line hasn’t had a major illness outbreak on any of their ships? They’re also rated one of the cleanest cruise lines in business. Once I was onboard, I was also relieved to see crew members were constantly cleaning and handing out wipes.
I’m a picky eater.
Picky is actually an understatement. I would venture to guess that I am one of the most finicky eaters around. I have a couple of minor food allergies (shellfish and bony fish), a special diet that I have to follow because of kidney stones (no dark greens, beans, nuts or berries) and even more foods that I simply don’t like. When I’m at home, I can easily cook for myself without inconveniencing anyone else. But with all of the gourmet meals and set menus onboard the ship, I was concerned that there wouldn’t be anything for me to eat or that I would end up being extremely high-maintenance for our servers. Once I was onboard, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had plenty of food options. There are buffets, counter service restaurants and room service with lots of selections that I could choose from. Even at the more formal dinners each night, I was able to order off a combination of the children’s menu as well as the adult menu in order to have a full meal. Our Disney Cruise Line servers were extraordinarily accommodating and even offered suggestions of what they thought might work for me without ever making me feel like I was being an imposition.
When I was a young kid, my best friend told me a story about her Great Uncle that played the organ for a funeral home. One afternoon, he was playing at a service and as the funeral director started to close the casket, they noticed that the person inside was breathing. That’s right…BREATHING…almost buried ALIVE! Granted my friend may have just been kidding me (although she swore it was true), that story made a lasting impression on me. As soon as I heard it, I became mildly claustrophobic and have been ever since…crazy, I know. Recognizing that cruise ships have the reputation of being very confining, I was nervous about how I was going to handle the close quarters. The good news…Disney Cruise Line has some of the largest staterooms in the industry. The bad news…they still aren’t very big. For the most part, I was comfortable in our room and on the ship as a whole. Once in a while, I would start to get a little anxious when we had all of our luggage out and there was no place to move around. I felt much better when we got everything stowed away and I could again move freely around our stateroom and out onto our verandah.
I can ride every thrill ride and roller coaster known to man with no problems at all, but as soon as you put me in the backseat of a car or on a boat, I’m instantly motion sick. Armed with Dramamine, Seabands and an optimistic attitude, I boarded the ship. Luckily, the seas were calm during our voyage and I had no problems. I wore my Seabands around the clock and took Dramamine every night just in case.
I don’t like to make commitments.
In my every day life, I can be resistant to making a commitment. I don’t like that feeling of pressure. Lucky for me there are only three commitments that you have to keep during the cruise…being on the ship before it leaves port, the emergency drill on the first afternoon, and disembarking from the ship the last morning. Now you do have set times for dinner and shows, but no one says that you have to go them. If you skip your predetermined time, you miss out, but it is entirely up to you. I love that!
I don’t drink (much).
I’m not much of a drinker, so I wondered if that was going to effect what there was for me to do. Is the ship filled with clubs and lots of drinking? The answer is yes and no. Yes, there are lots of lounges and the liquor is plentiful if that is what you are looking for. But, no, if you are like me and all groggy from Dramamine, there are many alternatives. One of the places I really enjoyed was the family lounge and all of their tasty non-alcoholic “mocktails.”
I really don’t like water. For the longest time, I had never met anyone as uncomfortable with water as me until a few years ago. I was taking a non-stop flight returning from a wonderful Hawaii vacation back to Denver. Mentally, I was preparing myself for a difficult, long, nerve-wracking flight over the ocean. It was an overnight flight and my assigned seat was in the crowded center section of the plane. To top it off, I had purchased a ukulele for my little boy and it wouldn’t fit under my seat or in the overhead bin, so I was looking at holding it all night long. (Insert your favorite Airplane movie joke here!) My stomach was hurting, my head was pounding and my hands were clammy, when I noticed something going on a few rows ahead of me. The man sitting in the aisle seat was surrounded by flight attendants. I was starting to getting even more nervous, until I figured out what was happening. The flight attendants pulled out one of those bright yellow life vests from under the seat, patiently explained to the passenger how to use it, helped him put it on and fasten it. This poor, terrified man wore that life vest (not inflated, of course) the entire seven hour flight! That night I realized I was not alone and if this man can face his fear of water, so can I. Years later when it was time to board the cruise ship, I thought of the gentleman on my Hawaii flight and summoned all of my courage. And guess what? After a few hours, I felt much more comfortable, and I didn’t even put on my life vest once! Although, I did make sure we had them, but that is just being responsible, right?
I’m a worrywart.
You all are really getting to know me better by now, so it should be no surprise to you, that I can be a worrywart. What if the ship sinks? What if my kids get sick? The list goes on and on. After more research, I felt confident in knowing that Disney Cruise Line has a very good safety record. Out of all of these latest cruise ships disasters that have been in the news, none of them have occurred on a Disney ship. And as far as getting sick goes, they do have medical personnel right on the ship. Like my boys’ doctor always says “A sick day on a Disney vacation is still better than a well day at school to a kid!”
I’m more comfortable eating dinner with just my family.
Sometimes at the end of a long and busy day, I just want to relax and be with my family. The thought of dinner at 8:15pm with complete strangers when my family is tired and hungry just doesn’t sound appealing to me. I asked my travel agent about this and she told me that it can be noted on your reservation that you would like to have a table for just your traveling party, but it can’t be guaranteed. We have been making that request on all of our Disney Cruise Line reservations and they have always been able to accommodate it.
I don’t like being bored.
I love to always be busy doing something and cannot stand being bored. The idea of sitting around lounging on the beach or by the pool makes me crazy. I was very concerned that I might go stir-crazy on the ship. What on earth was I going to do all day…especially the days that we were going to be at sea? Before I even got onboard the ship, Disney Cruise Line crew members handed me a Personal Navigator. This trusty guide gave me a timeline showing all the activities that were available on the ship. There were so many fun and interesting things to do that I was never once bored.
This now concludes my free therapy session! So what did I learn? All of my fears and insecurities about taking a cruise were really for nothing. The things that I wasted time and energy worrying about never happened. Did Mickey Mouse and my love for Disney change my mind about cruising? They actually did. What I love so much about the Disney Cruise Line are the Disney touches…the characters, the music, the shows, the activities and more. Would I enjoy a cruise on any other line? I’m not so sure, but with four ships and plenty of ports, I think I will just stick with the Disney Cruise Line!
Still not convinced? For more information about Disney Cruise Line, be sure to check out all of the coverage here at TouringPlans or consider purchasing The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line.
What about you? Do you love cruises or hate them? What are your thoughts on the Disney Cruise Line and cruising in general? Please leave a comment!