You know when you have an absolutely amazing experience and can’t stop talking about it? Non stop. To the point that everyone around you rolls their eyes at the sheer mention of it.
Unfortunately for my husband, this has been the case for the past 8 months!
Last year we relocated to New Jersey in the USA and instead of flying to NYC with my husband, the kids and I took advantage of the time off and travelled there on a 12 day Transatlantic Disney Cruise.
As first time cruisers, it was a truly unforgettable, magical adventure and we haven’t stopped raving about it.
So, when planning our bucket list adventure to Alaska, we knew there was only one way we wanted to experience the last frontier.
You guessed it, back on Disney Cruise Line!
We set sail in June 2019.
The kids were 9, 7 and 4.
Why Disney Cruise Line?
First and foremost, we love a Disney holiday *and that’s putting it mildly*
Even though many cruise lines sail to Alaska, what sets Disney Cruise Line (DCL) apart from the competition is Disney’s exceptional customer service and heavy focus on families. There are no casinos or alcohol packages to be found here so it truly caters for the family market.
And while Disney Cruise Line isn’t exactly a Disney theme park on the sea, with Disney cruises you can expect a lot of the elements you know and love from the parks.
There are lots of character meet and greet opportunities throughout the day, with minimal queues, where you can have unique interactions with lots of familiar faces.
Unlike the parks, we never feel rushed onboard the ship as there are less people waiting in line.
Also, whilst onboard the Disney Magic or Disney Wonder you can even attend a Pixar Pals or Frozen themed dance party. There’s nothing quite like having a dance off with Mr Incredible or Sully from Monsters Inc *while the kids look over and mouth “Stop it Mum”*
Like the dining experiences at the parks?
In addition to casual dining, adult exclusive and snack bars, each of Disney Cruise Line’s four ships have three themed restaurants.
Operating a rotational dining system, which ensures you always have a table reserved for you at each location, these lavish restaurants can easily rival the dining experiences located in the parks.
From Animator’s Palate where your artistic efforts become part of an innovative dinner show to Rapunzel’s Royal Table where all the characters come alive and perform whilst you eat, dinner time is always a highlight of the day.
Not to mention the fact that you will have the same waiters for the entire journey. Not only do they know your favourite drinks without asking, but they soon becomes a welcome face to share the day’s escapades with.
Disney Entertainment & Activities
One of the main reasons we love cruising is the simple fact that, as a family of 5, we can walk out of our cabin door and find something to do within minutes.
Onboard the ships you will be blown away by the sheer volume of entertainment on offer. In fact, there is so much to do that each night you receive a Navigator sheet which outlines all the day’s activities on an hourly basis.
You can expect Disney movies galore at the cinema, broadway style shows at the theatre, themed deck parties with fireworks, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, animation lessons, bingo, family karaoke, quiz nights and live music at the adult only lounges and nightclubs.
Not to mention the amazing family swimming pool, adult only pool, spa and gym on certain ships.
If you asked my kids what is their favourite thing about cruising with Disney, they would unanimously shout KIDS CLUB! Quite simply, they love it.
Open from 9am to 12am for kids aged 3 upwards, they can let their imagination run wild through interactive activities, play areas, character performances and much more. The councellors are from all over the world and they look after the kids extremely well.
The kids clubs are split into three age brackets ranging from Oceaneers Club for 3 to 12 year olds, Edge for 11 to 14 and Vibe for 14 to 17 year olds.
It’s a great feeling knowing that they are being looked after so well and having fun while we get the chance to relax on board or venture out on an excursion not suitable for kids.
There is also ‘It’s a Small World’ nursery for babies and toddlers from 6 months old to 3 years, but this has to be pre-booked at an additional cost.
There are four types of staterooms to choose from on Disney Cruise Line; Inside, Oceanview, Verandah and Concierge. Each room is designed with families of varying budgets in mind and each category has everything you need to enjoy your holiday.
Of course the rooms are small as you are on a cruise ship, but they have been designed exceptionally well and maximise the space perfectly.
More importantly, there is no housework involved as your personal room concierge will magically tidy and transform your room from the perfect place to relax in the day to a peaceful place to sleep at night.
Typically a cabin will have a split bath, double bed, single sleeper sofa and upper berth pull-down bed. Should you require a 5th sleeper then select Verandah cabins have a wall pull-down bed.
Everything mentioned above is included in the cost of your cruise.
The only additional expenses are tips, alcohol, port adventures, Wifi, some snacks (such as popcorn) and childcare for children aged 2 and under.
Booked in advance online or directly at the port adventures desk onboard the ships, Disney Cruise Line offers an exceptional amount of excursions at each port of call (at extra cost).
The benefit of booking directly with DCL is that you will be collected by the tour group directly from the ship and more importantly, the ship will wait for you should your excursion be delayed.
Additionally, you can book exclusive experiences which some of your favourite Disney characters will attend.
Now onto the main reason we chose to go on this cruise in the first place.
Read on to discover the highlights from our action packed Alaskan cruise.
8 Day Alaska Cruise
Departing from Vancouver on the Disney Wonder, our Alaskan adventure took us through the infamous Inside Passage of Alaska with 2 sea days and 4 days ashore.
Day 1: Departure Day
As soon as we boarded the Wonder, we headed straight to a delicious buffet lunch at Cabanas and before we knew it was time to kick off our holiday in style with the Sail Away Party.
Taking place on the top deck, the entire ship comes alive with a high energy show with all the characters and a dance party for the kids.
Then, once the ship’s horn played “When you wish upon a star” it was time to set sail and begin our journey.
We spent the rest of the evening touring the ship and enjoying a fantastic meal.
Day 2: Sea Day
Unsurprisingly, the kids only wanted to do one thing today and that was head to kids club. My attempts at getting them to appreciate the beautiful surroundings fell on deaf ears as they chanted “Kids club. Kids club” until we admitted defeat and dropped them off.
Unknown to them we had already pre-booked champagne tasting at the Cadillac Lounge so off we skipped before relaxing on the sun loungers.
We then spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool before donning our finest attire for the drinks reception in the main foyer and dinner on Formal Night.
Day 3: Dawes Glacier
Despite the fact there were a couple of excursions on offer, we decided to stay on board and admire Dawes Glacier from the comfort of the ship.
We had a thoroughly relaxing day watching a movie from the swimming pool, enjoying beers in the sunshine, mingling with Mickey & Minnie in their Alaska gear before enjoying another exceptional three course meal.
Day 4: Skagway
Founded in 1890 as a gateway to the Yukon and the Klondike goldfields, the historic city of Skagway is like walking straight into the gold rush era. Catering almost solely to tourists nowadays, the streets are lined with false fronted shops, restaurants and you might even bump into some locals in period costume.
With over 12 hours to explore, we started our day off early with the Klondike Campfire Breakfast port excursion organised through DCL.
This was so much fun and extremely good value as not only did we have a hearty breakfast cooked for us on the fire, but there was gold panning, live music and a quick walk around Liarsville Gold Rush camp.
After a fascinating walk around town, we then dropped the kids off at the Oceaneers Club as we had booked tickets for the infamous White Pass & Yukon Route railway.
This marvel of engineering dates back to the Klondike gold rush era of the late 1800’s and allows you to retrace the perilous route prospectors took in search of their fortunes.
Even though we had been cruising through the snow capped mountains of Alaska for days, absolutely nothing compares to climbing nearly 300 feet on a narrow gauged railroad whilst enjoying the spectacular scenery from the comfort of a vintage passenger carriage.
Hands down this two and a half hour journey was the absolute highlight of the trip for me.
The breathtaking panorama of mountains, glaciers, gorges and waterfalls is an experience I will never forget.
Day 5: Juneau
With ten hours ashore to explore Alaska’s capital city of Juneau, we had another action packed day ahead of us.
Booking another port adventure with DCL, we boarded our tour bus and headed straight for the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Centre.
The perfect spot for exploring with young children, here you can walk along easy forest trails to view the 13 mile long Mendenhall Glacier, floating icebergs and the aptly named Nugget Falls.
The visitor centre is also worth a visit for park ranger talks, children’s activities, shop and 20 minute educational movie.
Once we were dropped back at the ship, we took a short walk into town before catching the Mount Roberts Tramway. This scenic adventure will take you 1800 feet above sea level in the space of five minutes!
Once again, the weather was on our side as we took in spectacular views of Juneau, the Chilkat Mountains and Gastineau Channel by walking along the various treetop trails.
Day 6: Ketchikan
Our final port of call was the ‘Salmon capital of the world’ Ketchikan.
Also known for its natural beauty and rich Alaskan native culture, the second we stepped off the ship we were impressed with all the totem poles, restaurants and colourful boardwalk of this unique port.
The perfect spot for an easy day’s sightseeing, we loved wandering around town before finishing the day off with a Disney Cruise Line exclusive port adventure to The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show.
Quite frankly, no trip to Alaska would be complete without witnessing the amazing strength, talents and performance of the lumberjacks.
The entire audience was completely blown with their skills and we even had a visit from Goofy himself.
The perfect end to our last port day.
Day 7: Sea Day
I honestly love sea days as there’s nothing more relaxing than cruising along without care in the world.
We were all exhausted by this point in the holiday so we simply spent the day hanging at the pool, cinema and taking part in any activities we hadn’t managed to fit in yet.
Family holidays shouldn’t have to be difficult and with Disney Cruise Line all of the stress and hard work is taken away from you.
Day 8: Arrival in Vancouver
And just like that our trip was over as we cruised slowly into the Port of Vancouver.
We bid a fond farewell to all of our new cruise buddies and crew and headed straight to the airport.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our spectacularly magical cruise to Alaska with Disney Cruise Line.
It really was two holidays for the price of one, as not only did we get to experience the natural wonders of Alaska, but Disney magic was in the air every time we stepped onboard the Wonder.
See you real soon Mickey!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.
We paid for the trip ourselves and all opinions are my own.