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In 1932, a Disney cartoon – Steamboat Willy – depicted Mickey Mouse at the wheel of a ship. But it took another six decades until the Disney Corporation decided to get into the family cruise market. They created Disney Cruise Line as an extension of its resort hotel business, offering a ‘seamless holiday package’. For families with young kids, no other cruise line can touch Disney, which custom-designed its vessels, its onboard experience and even its land programmes to cater to that exact demographic.
Where Disney’s parks are centred on a fairytale castle, their ships – Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy – evoke the fairytale world of great ocean liners of yesteryear. The ships’ elongated dark blue hulls, matching red funnels and elaborate yellow insignias make these vessels a beautiful sight to behold in port. Cutting-edge technology sails in tandem with novel ideas in entertainment; the company also pioneered the rotational dining concept, where guests would move with their waiter through three different main dining rooms.
However the Disney cruise experience is not just about kids; some facilities, services, activities and programmes are designed specifically for adults. There are alternative restaurants, swimming pools and nightclubs exclusively for grownups, making this a superb choice for upmarket family cruising. Castaway Cay is a thousand-acre splash of sun and sand located in the northern Bahamas and is exclusive to Disney passengers. This quartet of refined ships sails to Alaska, California, the Caribbean, Hawaii and Mexico as well as the Mediterranean. Three as-yet-unnamed ships are expected to be slightly larger and will join the fleet in 2021, 2022, and 2023.