Updated July 2019
I must say (and I probably shouldn't!), that I was a little fearful of a trip onboard a Disney ship. Though I have enjoyed cruises on both P&O Cruises' Azura and Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas, my initial thoughts of Disney Cruise Line were of a full-on, almost intimidating kid-focussed experience. I had pictures in my head of over-excited guests, six foot Disney characters everywhere, too many bright lights, and kid's sing-a-long theme tunes.
I am so relieved to say that I couldn't have been further from the truth! The ship boasts beautiful sleek lines from the outside and a classy, relaxed and friendly atmosphere onboard.
We boarded the ship straight into the atrium, which has a very traditional and classic feel to it, combining a contemporary 100-glass-trumpet-piece chandelier with a subtle and classic Mickey Mouse statue. As we walked through the ship we visited the variety of bars and restaurants, most of which were understated and relaxed with a subtle splash of Disney opposed to an imposing presence.
Up on deck we found a fantastic balance of family entertainment and quiet relaxation. There are family-friendly pools with water slides and character animations, then a little further along the other pool offers a more chilled feel with a bar, hot tubs, and huge outdoor screen playing classic Disney films. The kids club areas and one of the adult-only bars are within a stones throw from one another, as is the adult-only luxurious spa and salon.
There are two fantastic theatres onboard that offer character inspired Broadway-style shows and a combination of the latest and greatest Disney films, from Toy Story 3 (in 3D) to Caddy Shack. The restaurants offer a fantastic variety, from the vibrant, Caribbean-themed Parrots Cay to the classic ballroom inspired Lumieres. My favourite had to be Animators Palate. When you arrive the restaurant is totally black and white, like the famous 101 Dalmatians, but as the evening goes on the 'animations' develop colour, as do the waiters' uniforms! The food was also exceptional, I would say comparable in standards (if not style) to Cunard's magnificent Queen Mary.
Before I arrived I was a little dubious about the appeal of these ships. but Disney Magic has completely changed my perception of this fantastic cruise line. This really is a family cruise ship, and certainly one I intend on returning to!