Welcome back to another #PlusMyVacation – where we look at ways to add a little something extra special to your travels. Today’s edition looks how to make your Disney Cruise even cruisier and extra relaxy.
A Disney cruise is an amazing experience, and you don’t need to add a thing to have an amazing time! But let’s say you wanted to! Maybe you’ve done several cruises and want to add a little extra. Maybe you want to make this a once in a lifetime kind of vacation. Or maybe you just have money to burn! And if you do, you should definitely invite some of us to go with you. Cruising with the Touring Plans bloggers? What could be more fun?
Whatever reason you may have to plus your vacation, here are 10 ways you could do it!
1. Concierge – If you are going to spend more money on your cruise, this is my number one recommendation for what to spend it on. I cannot say enough about how much I love concierge. I wrote a previous blog post that lays out the amazingness of it. If you thought you were pampered on a cruise in a regular stateroom, you may as well have been on a tugboat compared to the experience you’ll have in concierge. Disney’s concierge hosts are the best of the best. The rooms are luxurious and if you’re lucky enough to be in a suite, you won’t believe how much room you have. There are lounges on all four ships now, which I think is a huge plus. I love relaxing in the lounges. My one caution? It’s very very hard to go back from concierge. Once you’ve done it, you won’t want to ever not do it.
2. Upcharge Meals – It may seem silly to pay for food when there is sooooo much free food onboard. Trust me, these upcharge meals are worth it. Palo is Disney’s adult-only Italian restaurant onboard all four ships. It’s $30 (plus gratuity) a person for dinner or brunch which is served on sea days. $30 for an adult only meal may sell you right there! But if it doesn’t, let me assure you that it’s a delicious meal. I’d be hard pressed to tell you which is my favorite, dinner or brunch. Dinner has filet mignon and one of my top two desserts on the entire planet – the chocolate soufflé. Brunch has my favorite entrée – chicken parmesan. And sticky buns. And croissants. And flatbreads. And I could go on all day. Remy is only on the Dream and Fantasy, and is the adult only French restaurant. Remy has four different dining experiences! There’s an amazing multi course dinner which is $85. There’s also a champagne brunch, a dessert experience, and a small plate tasting. I’m a pretty picky eater, and while there are many things in Remy that aren’t in my normal wheelhouse of foods, I can tell you every meal I’ve had there was delicious. Experience is the right word for Remy. You aren’t just eating delicious food, it’s an experience. From start to finish. Try it! If you’re looking to plus your vacation even more, there are even more upcharge options like wine pairings in your upcharge restaurants.
3. Upgrade Your Ride – Another fun way to plus your cruise is to skip the Disney transfers or rental car, and get a limo instead! There are only about a zillion limo companies in the Orlando area, and you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a good company at just about any port Disney sails from. Arrive at your cruise in style! Make it a super stretch.
4. Tea – Disney loves expensive tea parties, and the cruise line is no exception! The Royal Court Royal Tea takes place on all four ships. There is tea (of course) and two courses of food. There’s also stories, dancing, singing, and the world famous Disney princesses. It’s one of the few activities in life where children cost more at $210 than adults do at $69. The children do leave with a keepsake which explains the price difference. The girls get a jewelry box, necklace, bracelet, a Cinderella doll, autograph book, and tiara. Boys get a bag, sword and shield, pins, autograph book, and a Duffy plush.
5. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – Make your little prince or princess’ dream come true, with a royal makeover! Little princess wanna-bes can choose from a Disney Diva or Fairy Tale Princess. Packages range from $64.95 to $199.95. If you want to be overwhelmed by cuteness, take a stroll through the Boutique on boarding day and look at the dress selection. Oh my heck. It’s amazing. Little sailors can also be made over into knights or captains. And on pirate night, the whole salon is transformed into a Pirate’s League for pirate makeovers! Pirate makeovers range from $44.95 to $99.95. If you think one makeover is good, how about three? Check out the Royal Sea Package for $595! This one includes 3 makeovers, an invitation with a glass slipper necklace, rolling trunk, a boutique frame and a keepsake glass slipper. You can never have too many makeovers, right?
6. Spa and Salon – The Senses Spa and Salon offer tons of options to spoil yourself and plus your vacation. Get your hair done, your teeth whitened, your skin rejuvenated, your body massaged, two bodies massaged, etc. etc. etc. The Ultimate Indulgence is a two and a half hour package for couples which includes a massage and facials that will set you back $589. The Chill Spa is for teenagers 13-17 so your teenagers don’t feel left out on all that pampering!
7. In Room Gifts – If you’d like to add a little bit of extra excitement when you walk into our room for the first time, Disney has a selection of gifts you can order! There are room decorations, sweets, flowers, wine packages, romance packages, and more. Imagine how excited your child (or spouse) will be walking in and finding a Star Wars cooler on the bed? Or a Frozen treat? How about Disney Cruise Line robes and wine or sparkling cider? It’s a fun way to start your cruise!
8. Private Excursions – Disney has always had some super nice and excursions, but if you really want to plus your vacation, take a private one. Most ports now have the option to hire a private driver and car for the day. With a driver at your disposal, you are basically creating your own excursion! The drivers will be locals, most will have recommendations and knowledge to help you create your perfect day. You can also get a private sailboat or catamaran in many tropical ports. I don’t mind excursions with other people, but the ones we’ve done by ourselves have been some of the best days we’ve had. Having control over what we want to do, and being able to change things on the fly is the best way to maximize your fun. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that you can hire drivers and private sailboats in most ports without going through Disney excursions. Usually for a lot less money. Just make sure you are going with a reputable company with good reviews, and be aware of the slight risk of missing the ship or something else going wrong when you don’t book through Disney.
9. Receptions – If you’d like some time in a private space with your, a reception is your answer. I’ve been able to host or participate in several receptions, and they are always fun. Disney’s Groups and Events Specialist could not be more helpful. You’ll get a private space for an hour, and you can control how much or how little you spend. The food options range from a celebration cake up to open bars. There are all kinds of finger foods, desserts, you can even get an ice sculpture. When it’s just our extended family, we’ve done smoothie bars with desserts and snacks. It’s such a fun addition to the cruise!
10. Private Character Meet – Tired of waiting in line to see your favorite character? Well for a little over $500, you can have your own private character meet for a half hour! We’ve added a character meet to a reception a few times and the character was the highlight. Yes, even more than the open bar! We took a gazillion photos, in every group combination we wanted to. No one was waiting in line behind us and grumbling, because Mickey (or Minnie, or Daisy, or whomever we had) was all ours. The ultimate indulgence for character lovers.
What do you think? Have you tried any of the above? Do you have any I’ve left off?
Tammy Whiting is the owner of Storybook Destinations. Did you know Storybook Destinations offers a complimentary subscription to TouringPlans with qualified Disney and Universal bookings? Click here for a no-obiligation quote on your next vacation