I love the Christmas events at Walt Disney World, so this year, I was excited to experience the holidays at sea on a Disney Christmas Cruise. Last week, while many people were searching their local shops for Black Friday deals, we were boarding the Disney Dream for one of the Disney Cruise Line’s Very Merrytime Cruises.
Since originally writing this post in 2017, I’ve returned again to sail on a Very Merrytime Cruise on the Disney Dream. Once again, it was a fantastic experience.
These fun Disney Christmas Cruises include all of the great things that you’d expect on the Disney Dream, as well as some other unique holiday experiences. If you are looking for a festive time to hit the high seas, this is a great option. Here’s our experience with Disney Cruise Line’s Very Merrytime Cruises, and what to expect on a Disney Christmas cruise.
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Disney Christmas Cruise: The Very Merrytime Cruise
The Decor on a Disney Merrytime Cruise
As soon as we boarded the ship, we could tell that we were on a special Disney Christmas cruise. The Disney Cruise Line staff greeting us at the gangway of the ship were all decked out in festive scarves, and the atrium lobby of the ship had a beautiful tree, as well as Christmas tree garland around the railings.
Poinsettias were spread around the ship and were subtle but a pretty pop of red color. It definitely felt like a holiday atmosphere, and combined with the Disney magic, it was extra special.
My latest Very Merrytime Cruise was the very first Disney Christmas Cruise of the season. As a result, they were decorating the ship in a few places as we arrived. It was still magical, however, and the decor was really beautiful.
In the atrium lobby, you’ll also find a life-sized gingerbread house. It was pretty crowded with people taking photos right at the start of the cruise. However, later, it was very easy to take photos of. If traveling on a Disney Christmas cruise, definitely wait until later in the cruise to take a photo.
Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, is also decked out for the holidays. As we exited the ship, we saw this beautiful display with a tree, sleigh, snowmen, and fake snow flurries! Like some of the other decorations, there was a line to take photos, but it was definitely worth the wait. As a Northerner, it’s unusual to associate warm temps with snow, so it was fun to see!
We were lucky to have perfect weather on Castaway Cay too. November can definitely be a beautiful time because it is still warm, but not too hot. For an extra special experience, try to get a private cabana on Castaway Cay. They are typically available only to those who are platinum members of Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Club, but it’s always worth trying.
Special Events on a Very Merrytime Cruise
In addition to holiday decor, you’ll also get to experience some fun special events on a Disney Very Merrytime Cruise. The first night, you’ll find a special Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the schedule. Hosted by your favorite Disney characters, this ceremony is not to be missed.
There’s also a Storytime with Mrs. Claus. We didn’t attend (my kids are now too old), but as I passed by, I saw lots of small children eagerly sitting and listening. It’s definitely great for younger kids who’d love to see Santa and Mrs. Claus.
In the evening on the first night, guests were treated to Santa’s Winter Wonderland Ball. This fun event was held pretty late and includes Anna and Elsa bringing in the snow.
Activities on a Very Merrytime Cruise
While you are onboard the ship, you’ll also find some fun holiday-themed activities. During our cruise, these activities included gingerbread cookie decorating throughout the day on our Nassau day. We didn’t do it, but they did encourage sign-ups because space was limited.
When you arrive at the cruise port, I’d recommend looking at the Navigator or the Disney Cruise Line app to see which activities are going to be offered during your sailing. Sign up right away for the best availability.
Holiday Treats on the Disney Christmas Cruise
After Storytime with Mrs. Claus, a hot chocolate and cookie station was set up in the lobby. Parents of smaller children would appreciate the “warm chocolate” that was the perfect temperature for younger cruisers. My kids, who always seem to find hot chocolate too hot, really enjoyed it.
Character Costumes on the Very Merrytime Cruises
While the characters still wear their popular cruising costumes (including the pirate costumes), they also wear some festive attire. On our last night, we loved seeing the fab five (plus Daisy, Chip, and Dale), wearing holiday sweaters. It made for a fun photo opportunity.
If your sailing takes place on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day, you’ll also enjoy holiday activities such as caroling and special towel animals.
Our Very Merrytime Cruise was a 3-night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream the day after Thanksgiving day. However, there are several itineraries available on the different Disney Cruise Line ships.
Here are the other options:
- 3-4 night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream from Port Canaveral (the three day is the one we did, the four day just adds an extra day at sea.
- 7-night Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy, including several Caribbean stops (Castaway Cay being one of them). This ship also departs from Port Canaveral.
- 4, 6, and 7-night Caribbean and Bahamian cruises from Galveston, Texas on the Disney Wonder.
- 5, 6, and 7-night Caribbean cruises from New York City on the Disney Magic.
Overall, we really enjoyed our Very Merrytime Cruise. I think younger children (elementary-aged or younger) would especially appreciate the Christmas-themed activities and events. To learn more, visit the Disney Cruise Line Very Merrytime Cruise page.
When booking a Disney Cruise, I recommend booking with Get Away Today. Plus, when you mention Family Travel Magazine, you get an extra $25 onboard credit! Give their agents a call at 877-510-2929.