Disney Bahamas/Castaway Cay Cruises
It’s Disney! If you’re thinking of taking a family cruise vacation, Disney Cruise Line is naturally top of mind. The Disney Cruise Line fleet has won multiple award and ranks at or near the top of many “Best Cruise Line for Families” lists. Unless you’re sailing in Europe, California, or Alaska, it’s hard to take a Disney Cruise Line vacation without stopping at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. You will find Castaway Cay on all of their Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries, and it’s definitely a favored destination of the cruise. Castaway Cay is a 1,000-acre tropical paradise filled with palm trees, white sand beaches, and crystal clear water. In typical Disney fashion, everything is taken care of including a full-spread island barbecue. Looking for Disney characters? You’ll find Mickey, Minnie, Captain Jack, and more in traditional beach (or pirate) attire. Not looking for characters? There’s also an adult-only Serenity Bay Beach for quiet relaxation. All that being said, Disney Cruises are expensive – oftentimes nearly twice as much as other cruise lines, but much is included for your vacation dollar.
Where to Go
The ONLY way families can visit Disney’s Castaway Cay is via a Disney Cruise Ship. Disney currently has four ships – the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy, and they all have itineraries that stop at Castaway Cay. Families can find 3- and 4- night cruises that also stop at Nassau, Bahamas, 5- night sailings with a “double-dip” at Castaway Cay, week-long Bahamian and Caribbean itineraries, and an 11-night tour of the Southern Caribbean with stops in Aruba, Barbados, Martinique, St Kitts and Puerto Rico in addition to Disney’s private island. If your family is interested in a cruise that includes Castaway Cay, there are a variety of cruise lengths, ships, and even departure ports to pick from.
What to Do
There’s plenty to do once you arrive at Castaway Cay including starting your day bright an early with a run via the Castaway Cay 5K. Other activities include swimming, two water play areas (Pelican Plunge and Spring-a-Leak), stingray interactions, snorkeling, kayaking, glass-bottom boat tours, parasailing, fishing, and more. Note, except for swimming, many of these activities require an additional fee. You will also find Disney character meet & greets, a dance party with Lilo and Stitch, and even Olaf at his Summertime drink stand.
In addition to the activities at Castaway Cay and the other ports-of-call on your Bahamas or Caribbean cruise, there are plenty of activities on the Disney ship itself. Kids and families can play together in themed splash-grounds, waterslides and Goofy’s Pool, and adults can retreat to their own space at the Quiet Cove Pool. There are incredibly well-themed, interactive, hi-tech kids spaces for all age groups including it’s a small world nursery, Disney’s Oceaneer Club (ages 3-12), Edge for tweens, and Vibe for teens. If you’re looking for adult-only fun, there’s Senses Spa & Salon for those 18 and over as well as an adult district of nightclubs and lounges that come alive in the evening.
Disney founded its company on family entertainment, and Disney Cruise Line is no different. Every night in The Walt Disney Theatre families can enjoy Broadway-style live shows such as “The Golden Mickeys,” “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular,” “Tangled: The Musical”, “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular”, and the newest production “Beauty and the Beast” debuts on the Disney Dream in November, 2017. Aside from the stage, families can watch first-run Disney movies every night in the Buena Vista Theatre, and deck parties including Pirates IN the Caribbean that includes a cruise first fireworks at sea.
Disney Cruise Line excels in their restaurant and food offerings pioneering a concept known as “rotational dining.” Instead of having a single main dining room, each Disney ship has three different elaborately themed restaurants, and families dine in a different venue each evening, accompanied by their same serving team. Your servers get to know you over the course of your cruise remembering your likes, dislikes, and special requests. In our cruises with Disney, the wait staff make up a large, and enjoyable, portion of our cruise experience. In addition to the main dining room, Cabanas buffet is also available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For an upscale evening, there are also adult-only specialty dining options for an additional charge. Palo (on all ships) features Northern Italian cuisine and Remy (on the Disney Dream and Fantasy) offers an intimate French dining experience.
The beauty of a cruise vacation is once you board the ship, you no longer need to worry about transportation. Disney was one of the first cruise line to have a dedicated dock at their own private island (Castaway Cay), allowing families the ease of walking on and off the ship at their leisure, thus eliminating the need to use tender boats.