Disney Cruise versus Carnival Cruise
Today my party disembarked Port Canaveral for our first Disney Cruise. Immediately we knew it would be different from the fiasco last year when we experienced our terrible Carnival vacation. As we drove across the bridge to the ship, we saw a tiny Carnival ship (it was the Sensation, which lives next to the Disney Dream.
The Dream looked majestic and huge next to the tiny Carnival ship. We parked with no incident in the parking garage, helpful Disney attendants pointing us in the right direction every way. We dropped off our luggage so we could board the vessel without lugging the heavy bags behind us. Carnival last year had us drag the bags through one hundred degree weather through the parking lot as we stood in line to be processed. In sharp contrast, we went through an air conditioned series of rooms to get into the Disney Dream.
Food. Oh wow. The service in the dining area was outstanding. Another family came on the cruise and we wanted to see if we could dine with them. We were prepared to be disappointed, prepared to be told no, or the predictable “we will get your dining together for tomorrow.” When we cruised with Carnival, we were never granted the ability to dine with our party, because we did not request when booking. Disney on the other hand, granted the request right away. All we had to do was “ask for Harry” at one of the other dining rooms. We arrived, asked for the manager of that dining room, and were seated in less than two minutes. All the servers were lined up to greet the guests. Our amazing server called each of us “Princess” and did magic tricks with the two little ones at the table. Whereas on the Carnival cruise all but rolled their eyes at the children, this Disney cruise (of course) catered to our kids and made them feel right at home.
My kiddo was able to see a Halloween story (the tree grows in the lobby) and meet Captain Mickey. He has danced to a lobby singer and eaten his fill of chocolate. We have been here less than one day. The first day of the Carnival Cruise was filled with confusion and being exhausted from standing in the hot sun for hours and drinking weak lemonade from my son’s sippy cups because the cruise line ran out of cups. When they were out, they were out and not replenishing. Disney went even further to schedule boarding times to stagger the amount of people coming in. This worked out great. We were even late and were expecting to be scolded, be forced to wait, or even worse, have check in delayed because we did not show up at our established boarding time. No one batted an eyelash. They made the experience a happy one.
One negative thing thus far is the weather situation. Hurricane Joaquim is hitting the Bahamas, Nassau is tomorrow’s planned port of call. Sadly, Disney cannot control the weather and we will not be visiting beautiful Nassau. Sad for me, because I had big plans to purchase a David Yurman bracelet duty free, and use the powerful wifi of Starbucks and get my dark roast fix. Tomorrow has been changed to another day at sea. Day three of our short cruise is planned to be Castaway Cay, BUT the captain has to sail the boat out of the path of the hurricane.
Anyone who has never cruised before could never know the difference. What you pay for a Disney cruise over Carnival (in reality is not more than about $200 per adult, especially if you utilize a travel agent) is so worth it. The cleanliness of the ship, service, attitude of the staff, décor, technology, safety, organization of boarding and disembarking, the difference has been profound.
There is so much to still learn about cruising Disney. Day one of our ocean adventure and already we have contacted our travel agent and discussed dates for next year’s trip.
Thank you, staff of Disney Dream. You have turned us into believers of cruise vacations!
*This post was written during our Disney Cruise.