I went on a Disney cruise without kids – here’s what happened

Don’t get me wrong: I love Toy Story as much as the next parent. But the Hey Howdy breakfast, with a singing guitarist who strikes a chord every five minutes, and Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye dancing while we tuck into Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles, wasn’t my idea of ​​fun.

“It’s a bit much at this time of the morning,” my sister Susie sighed, looking at a pensioner, dressed in his Woody outfit, who knew all the words. You have a friend in me. Like us, he was on this Disney cruise unaccompanied by children.

Disney songs can be played anywhere, but there's plenty to keep adults entertained on a Disney cruise

Disney songs may be playing everywhere, but there’s plenty to keep adults entertained on a Disney cruise – Disney

Wait – a Disney cruise without kids? What sane adult would do that? Quite a few, it seems. Years ago, on a magical Disney trip with my over-excited four-year-old son, we were surprised by the number of adults who left with Mickey, but no children. They weren’t all diehard Disney fans with Mickey tattoos either (although we spotted those too).

Now Susie and I were on a weeklong Caribbean trip to see if Disney Cruise Line could really deliver for adults only. As we depart from Port Canaveral, Florida, with costumed characters on the main deck and the funnel playing If you wish on a starI wondered what we were about to indulge in.

Throughout the cruise, this central hub of the ship was more of a mad ship than amidships. Disney movies were playing at full blast on the “funnel vision,” riders in inflatable boats raced around the water slide above the pools (one shaped like Mickey’s head), deck parties came and went, and kids lined up for ice cream, burgers, and soda .

Jane and Susie get into the Disney spiritJane and Susie get into the Disney spirit

Jane and Susie get into the Disney spirit: Jane Knight

But behind the screen at one end of the deck, there was an air of calm around the adults-only pool. An employee handed out cold towels to guests who lay quietly in and around the pool; others wallowed in the hot tub and gazed at the waves through the glass floor. It was like the Child Catcher Chitty Chitty Bang Bang had made the rounds.

Our ship, the 4,000-passenger Disney Fantasy, also had other child-free zones, including a range of bars and lounges, a nightclub and pub, two gourmet restaurants and a dreamy spa.

It was here that we sat in the hot tub on the deck with Stephanie from Kansas City. She also traveled child-free with her sister. The reason? “It’s simply the best cruise line,” she says enthusiastically. “And it has the best medical care for diabetics – my sister has severe diabetes.” While they spent most of their time at the spa, the extremely expensive treatment prices put us off.

Instead, we went to a wine tasting at the elegant Oh La La Bar, where Alison and Russell from North Carolina told us they also chose Disney over other cruise lines they’d tried.

The rooms are beautiful and spaciousThe rooms are beautiful and spacious

The rooms are beautiful and spacious – Disney DreamFantasy

“It’s not a party cruise,” Alison said, ignoring the nearby table of adults dressed up for the pirate party that evening. “We are here for the service, the food and the atmosphere.”

I saw what she meant as we settled in and sailed south. As your waiters move with you through the ship’s restaurants, they get to know your personal preferences, building rapport as the cruise progresses.

The food is good, sometimes great. Our first meal, at the Versailles-inspired Enchanted Garden, turned out so delicious, with its tuna tower, lobster ravioli and caramelized scallop, that Susie was surprised to discover it wasn’t one of the specialty restaurants.

The after dinner shows were of West End standard. And the decor everywhere was more art deco than in-your-face Disney. Instead, there were little details, like Mickey’s hand indicating which floor the elevator had reached, and cutouts of Mickey’s head on the underside of the lampshade in our cozy but spacious cabin for four.

Remy is a luxurious restaurant for adults onlyRemy is a luxurious restaurant for adults only

Remy is a luxury adults only restaurant – Matt Stroshane

After two days at sea we arrived in the Virgin Islands, ready for an excursion to Tortola. Other than cocktail tasting, there were no adults-only trips on our cruise, so we opted for a fun four-by-four jeep tour, riding a rollercoaster of a road up and down to deafening heights and a 360-degree viewpoint. The next day in St. Thomas we snorkeled with turtles on an excursion that honestly would have benefited from being adults only – some parents couldn’t control their kids around the poor creatures.

Crush the Turtle (a character from Finding Nemo) fared better at the Pixar Day at Sea, with its own deck party. But I didn’t – this was the day I was shamed for Disney. When I asked a little girl who should be a dog character, her father looked at me with disdain before saying with a curled lip, “It’s Dug from Up.” Do!

There was a whole new level of Disney fandom on display here, with families competing for the best costumes – respect to whoever voices the characters Inside out – and others race their crawling babies in Jack Jack’s Incredible Diaper Dash (yes, really).

There is even a nightclub on boardThere is even a nightclub on board

Guests will even find a nightclub on board: Disney

Meanwhile, Susie and I found ourselves embracing our inner child in a different way. We couldn’t resist making a splash on the Aqua Duck water slide and enjoyed a detective mystery through interactive photos around the ship. We even arrived at dinner wearing Minnie Mouse headbands. Disney characters came and went – ​​we jumped at the chance for a photo with Chip and Dale when we realized there was no queue, and later bumped into Cinderella on the stairs (shoe still on).

Too soon the last full day of our cruise arrived, along with my 58e birthday. And what a place to spend it. We disembarked at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, and headed to the adults-only Serenity Bay, where I snorkeled through huge schools of fish to spot a few starfish on the seabed. In the evening back on board there was a delicious tasting menu, combined with a glass of wine in the elegant Remy (after the film Ratatouille). And yes, I got a birthday snap with Mickey Mouse.

It was all, much to my surprise, an absolute pleasure. You clearly don’t need kids to enjoy a Disney cruise, although you might want to avoid the Hey Howdy Breakfast.


Jane Knight was a guest of the Walt Disney Travel Company International (0800 169 0742; disneycruise.disney.go.com), which is offering a seven-day cruise on the Disney Fantasy in August from £2,611pp, including flights. Three-night cruises from Southampton to Belgium will cost from £917pp next year. Holidayextras.com has eight days of meet and greet at Heathrow from £107.

Leave a Comment