These Are All the Details You Need to Know About Disney Cruise Ships

If you plan to take a Disney cruise, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Disney doesn’t have nearly as many cruise ships as other cruise lines. But it still has enough itineraries and ships that making a choice, especially for your first Disney cruise, can seem impossible. Fortunately, choosing between Disney cruise ships doesn’t have to be that difficult. And while we may not be able to give you a definitive answer to the question of which Disney cruise ship is the best for your family, we can give you all the details you need to make the right choice yourself.

How many ships are in the Disney Cruise Line fleet?

Disney Cruise Line

One of the Disney cruise ships in the cruise line’s fleet | Disney Cruise Line via Facebook

You can choose among four different Disney cruise ships when you book your vacation. They are the Disney Magic, the Disney Wonder, the Disney Dream, and the Disney Fantasy. Each one features a different design and deck plan. They also all have distinctive restaurants, entertainment options, activities, and pools.

On all Disney cruise ships, the price of your cruise includes your room, meals, soft drinks, snacks, character meet and greets, and entertainment. But no matter which ship you choose, some things cost extra. Expect to pay extra for Port Adventures excursions, spa and salon services, babysitting, photography services, phone calls, video games, alcoholic beverages, and adults-only dining venues.

What are the differences between the Disney cruise ships?

Touring Plans reports that the size and feel of the staterooms are quite similar across all four Disney cruise ships. But other things differ, such as the slides and pools, the youth clubs, the restaurants, the nightclubs, and other activities. And don’t forget about one of the most critical factors: the itineraries. Often, if you’re trying to figure out which Disney cruise ship is the best for you, you can narrow down your options by checking which ships offer the itinerary you want.

Need to compare your options? Disney’s got you covered. On the Disney Cruise Line’s website, you can dig into all the details of the attractions and amenities offered on all four of its ships. But all of those details get overwhelming pretty quickly. Need a quick overview? Here are the highlights:

1. Disney Magic

Disney Magic cruise ship, one of the Disney cruise ships owned by the Disney Cruise Line

Disney Magic cruise ship | Disney Cruise Line via Facebook

The Disney Magic has a classic look, but lots of modern conveniences. It’s where you’ll find the AquaDunk waterslide (not to be confused with the high-speed AquaDuck coaster), plus splash zones for small children. You can also enjoy the Rapunzel’s Royal Table restaurant, Fathoms and Keys nightclubs for adults, and clubs for kids, tweens, and teens. The Disney Magic sails to the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Europe.

  • Pros: Cruise Critic counts the “‘Tangled’-themed dining, show, and programming [and] Marvel Day at Sea sailings” as significant pros for the Disney Magic.
  • Cons: The ship only has a “small pool for families,” Cruise Critic reports. You may also encounter “crowded elevators for strollers and mobility impaired,” the publication warns.
  • Bottom line: Cruise Critic characterizes the Disney Magic as “regularly updated with first-class entertainment, dining, and more.”

2. Disney Wonder

The Disney Wonder, just like the Disney Magic, has 11 decks and 875 staterooms. This ship has three themed pools. And it also boasts clubs for kids, tweens, and teens. Need some kid-free time? Check out the lounge, pub, and nightclub for adults. Or dine at Palo, a restaurant serving Northern Italian fare. The Disney Wonder sails to Alaska, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas.

  • Pros: Cruise Critic reports that the Disney Wonder is the “only ship in the fleet with ‘Frozen, a Musical Spectacular’ and Tiana’s Place restaurant.” That may make it the best Disney cruise ship for you if you have a child obsessed with Frozen or The Princess and the Frog.
  • Cons: “Most activities need to be booked in advance, leaving those who didn’t out of luck,” Cruise Critic warns.
  • Bottom line: The publication reports that this ship is “most notable for its unique kids’ club spaces, modern adult areas, and Alaska itineraries.”

3. Disney Dream

Disney Dream cruise ship

Which is the best Disney cruise ship? Many would say the Disney Dream. | Disney Cruise Line via Facebook

The Disney Dream boasts 14 decks and 1,250 staterooms. You can ride the AquaDuck, and enjoy a family-friendly or adults-only pool. You can enjoy some high-end dining at Palo or Remy. Or, you can visit the adults-only part of the ship called The District. The Disney Dream sails to the Bahamas and Disney’s Castaway Cay, a private island.

  • Pros: According to Cruise Critic, the Disney Dream offers “superb entertainment and activity options [that] are geared to cruisers of all ages.” (That sounds great for groups with travelers of a variety of ages.)
  • Cons: Cruise Critic warns that “short sailings don’t leave enough time for all of the fun activities offered.”
  • Bottom line: Nonetheless, Cruise Critic recommends this ship. The publication explains, “It’s a solid choice for family travel, especially for those with young kids.” If you want to know which Disney cruise ship is the best for traveling with toddlers or other young children, the Disney Dream might be the answer.

4. Disney Fantasy

The Disney Fantasy, which is the same size as the Disney Dream, is perfect for longer voyages. It features numerous bars and cocktail lounges. And you should check out the Quiet Cove Pool and Satellite Falls just for adults. There’s even a Tiffany & Co. shop on board — so if you want to know which Disney cruise ship is the best for a luxe experience, this is probably your answer. The Fantasy sails to the Caribbean and Castaway Cay.

  • Pros: This ship offers “phenomenal kids clubs, unbelievable entertainment, and plenty of adults-only spaces,” according to Cruise Critic. It’s a ship that the whole family can genuinely enjoy.
  • Cons: When you sail on the Disney Fantasy, you’ll notice that “Disney’s price point is higher than that of other cruise lines,” the publication warns.
  • Bottom line: Nonetheless, the Disney Fantasy can make a great vacation. “Kids will love it, but so will adults,” according to Cruise Critic.

Are some Disney cruise ships only for families?

Disney Aqua duck water slide

Disney cruise ships all offer activities for passengers of all ages. | Disney Cruise Line

Many people will tell you that you don’t have to have kids — or grandkids — in tow to have a great time on a Disney cruise. That holds true no matter which ship you choose. Condé Nast Traveler reports that Disney cruise ships are all outfitted in style. Though onboard entertainment may center around Disney characters and franchises, the ships’ decor “tends to be more classic,” according to Traveler.

You’ll see “the Wonder and Fantasy ships embracing Art Nouveau while the Dream and Magic are done in Art Deco style. Staterooms are dressed in deep blues and reds with nautical art on the walls. It’s not quite a floating theme-park resort—this is Disney done with style,” the publication explains.

U.S. News characterizes the Disney theme on all of the ships as “understated enough that sentimental adults looking to reconnect with their childhood fantasies will enjoy sailing just as much as the kids.” It helps that each ship boasts adults-only pools, restaurants, and lounges. And on each ship, you’ll find approximately one crew member per every three passengers.

Which Disney cruise ship is the biggest?

Want to know which cruise ships are the biggest in Disney’s fleet? Two vessels tie for that distinction. According to Travel Agent Central, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy each weigh in at 130,000 gross tons. Compare that to the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, which weigh 83,000 gross tons each.

It’s also worth noting that Disney plans to expand its fleet from four ships to seven. Travel Agent Central reports that three new ships — set to start sailing in 2021, 2022, and 2023 — are the line’s biggest ships yet. These ships don’t yet have names, but they’ll weigh in at about 140,000 gross tons each.

Which Disney cruise ship is the newest?

If you want to know which Disney cruise ship is the best, you may also want to know which one is the newest. The most recent addition to the Disney cruise line’s fleet is the Disney Fantasy. This ship began sailing in 2012. The Disney Dream became a part of the fleet in 2011. And the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic have been sailing since 1999 and 1998, respectively.

However, you probably shouldn’t make your choice just because one ship is bigger than the other. There are lots of factors to consider when you figure out which Disney cruise ship is the best for you. And Disney’s fleet is small enough that all the Disney cruise ships, even the older ones, have the updates and amenities you’ll need to enjoy your vacation.

Read more: Cruise Trip Secrets: 15 Things to Know Before You Sail

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