15 Reasons Why a Disney Cruise is Perfect for Solo Travelers
As a millennial who’s gone through her fair share of burnout and stress-related health issues, I know that a reset now and then is more than necessary. I’m talking a full-on, no-phone, no-people kind of reset.
If you’ve been verging on that whole “I’m about to chuck my phone out the window of a high rise and hide in a closet” thing, trust me — I’ve been there. And I have a bit of a suggestion on an escape you’ll find quite appealing.
Leave everything on land behind, and hop on a Disney Cruisepronto. I know you probably think I sound like a psycho, but hear me out. I just did this myself, and it’s legit. I never, ever thought I’d go on a cruise alone, but I got the opportunity and sprung for it, and I’ve never been happier about taking a chance on something. Here’s why it’s IDEAL for solo travelers.
1. You’re forced to unplug. So we should clear something up straight out the gates; the WiFi is more expensive than anything you’ll experience on land, and there’s no service otherwise. I’m talking about $90-$180 a day (on the shy side) if you were using Instagram and iMessage regularly.
As such, many cruisers opt to unplug and save their WiFi for “emergencies” (we get it, sometimes you have to check IG). If emails have been clogging your phone’s storage and destroying your will to go on, then take my word for it: skip the internet, save the money, unplug, and achieve nirvana in international waters.
2. You’re away at sea, no one can ask you to make plans. Have you ever felt like whenever you skip town, your college roommate’s best friend from art history class or that one person you vaguely met on Facebook in 2008 seems to come out of the woodwork and be like “OMG! I live here too! Let’s get drinks!”
On a cruise, you don’t have to make plans with anyone. You’re literally on a ship in the middle of the ocean — no obligations, no after-work mixers when you’re exhausted, no sister’s dog’s birthday parties (sounds like fun, but still). It’s all you, your agenda, your way. Want to watch one of the musical theater shows? Cool! Go wine tasting? Great. Sleep in? Rock on. Choose your adventure, no strings attached.
3. There’s fine dining like you wouldn’t believe. If there was ever a time to treat yo’self, it’s on an “I’m burnt out and taking care of myself” cruise adventure. When I sailed solo on the Disney Dream, I experienced two fine dining restaurants: Palo and Remy.
Palo is an unbelievable adults-only Italian restaurant, in which I had the best steak of my entire life; Remy (which was created by Michelin three-star chef Arnaud Lallement and five-diamond chef Scott Hunnel) is the Ratatouille-inspired adults-only French restaurant — and was arguably the best overall culinary experience I’ve ever had.
Even if you aren’t down with fine dining and just want some seriously delicious food, there’s plenty to be had aboard Disney Cruise ships. Every single meal I consumed was absolutely superb, and the staff that followed me to each restaurant ensured that I was more than well fed the entire time, with a perfect wine to match each meal.
4. And a spa… Ohhhh the spa. I’ve never spent better money than I have on my massage on the Disney Dream. In a room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the unending sea, I spent one of the most serene hours of my life. I got to truly unwind and turn my brain off, and it was pure bliss.
The spa also has a day pass for the “rainforest” area, which includes different kinds of “tropical showers,” in addition to steam rooms and saunas, as well as hot tubs that overlook the ocean in big glass rooms. Would highly recommend checking this out as well.
And of course, if sweating is one of your go-to stress relievers, there’s a gym adjacent to the spa (with a juice bar!), where you can work with a personal trainer or run on a treadmill that looks directly at the Bahamas (or whatever beautiful location your cruise is stopping at). I got lucky and visited the gym while we were stopping off in Nassau, so my view was the Atlantis resort.
5. And did we mention all the cocktails and wine? Okay, enough about the fitness. I could go on and on —and on and on and on! — about the magnificent wines, artisanal cocktails, beautiful champagne, and frosty tropical libations on this ship. Whether you want to sip your woes away with an icy Bahama Mama or kick back with a one-of-a-kind French Chardonnay (or, I don’t know, get WILD with a $1,000 an ounce rare whiskey), then Disney has something special for you.
6. You can stream Disney movies… and Marvel, Star Wars, and more… for free in your room. I’m not going to lie, there was an evening of my cruise in which I put on Cinderella, filled a bath (using my Mickey bath bomb I picked up at a shop in Disney Springs), put on a face and hair mask, ordered tea via room service, and just chilled out. It. Was. GLORIOUS.
The selection of on-demand streaming is seriously impressive and comprises not only the classic animated films but so many new ones from Pixar, Marvel, and even the latest Star Wars movies.
7. Or you can go to the movie theaters. In your pajamas. Live your life. The cruise I was on debuted Dumbo and had Captain Marvel in the theaters, in addition to some older classics and Mary Poppins Returns. This was actually my first experience going to the movies alone, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how relaxing it all was. 10/10 recommend.
8. The staff gets to know you, so you won’t feel too lonely. If you’re more extroverted, and despite being burnt out you’re a little intimidated by the thought of five days on your own, listen here: You’ll feel right at home. The wait staff sticks with you, so you’ll be with the same servers each night you go to the restaurants. You’ll also quickly get to know the staff with room service and housekeeping, in addition to bartenders and baristas.
They’ll remember your name more quickly than you’d imagine possible! By the end of the trip, it was almost a tearful goodbye when I parted with my servers and barista at Cove Cafe.
9. You can hang at Cove Cafe for coffee or charcuterie. Speaking of Cove Cafe, this little poolside respite (which is also adults only!) was a marvelous little hangout with AC, delectable tea and coffee concoctions, and even afternoon aperitifs and charcuterie. You can read, snack on complimentary croissants and pastries, sip a muddled strawberry-mint iced tea, and escape the hot Caribbean sun for a short while.
10. Hit up the bars for champagne or try the gin trolley if you want to experience the nightlife. If you’re game for music and dancing, or just some craft cocktails, there are different lounges and bars to fit your mood. These evening activities come in different wrappers, like Pink, the champagne bar; Meridian, the high-end, travel-inspired bar with the aforementioned $1,000 an ounce whiskey; or Pub 687 where you can grab a beer and watch the game if that’s your style. There are also activities like trivia night if you care to make some new friends.
11. There’s an adults-only beach at Castaway Cay where you can truly find stillness and peace. The most calm, serene, and lovely part of my particular cruise aboard the dream was the adults-only beach, Serenity Bay, on Disney’s Castaway Cay. This stop off is exclusive to Disney Cruises in the Caribbean, and I’d highly recommend factoring this into your cruise decision. It’s quiet, clean, tranquil, and unlike anything I’ve experienced (and I’ve been to the Caribbean five or six times now).
12. It’s incredibly safe. Traveling alone can feel intimidating, particularly when you haven’t done it before… and if you’re going anywhere international! However, I felt completely at peace knowing I was with Disney staff. There are about 1,500 crew members on the Disney Dream, which means you can find someone very easily, wherever you are on the ship or island. Having this sense of security meant one less thing to occupy my mind and bog me down with anxiety — and that’s priceless to me.
13. Oh yeah, there’s a sweet shop dedicated to all things delicious. Vanellope’s on the Disney Dream has ice cream, gelato, baked goods, truffles, and anything else you need to curb a sweet tooth/assuage your tensions with refined cane sugar. It’s my go-to, honestly. And if you’re sailing alone, you don’t have to fight with siblings or significant others over this amazing Vanellope race car sundae. WOO!
14. You can hop to different places without worrying about packing, unpacking, and hauling luggage. Want to hop to a few islands without the stress of luggage shenanigans? A cruise is ideal. Leave all your belongings strewn about your room, because you’re in a traveling hotel.
15. There’s nothing quite like the Disney touch. I don’t know if it was my room service host sending me chocolate strawberries (because we had a heart-to-heart about needing to unplug and get away alone), or my barista creating a “Safe Travels” design in my farewell cappuccino, or the fact that my server remembered my onion allergy without me saying anything (and had the chef remake me a special ahi tower appetizer from scratch), or the mind-blowing Champagne brunch at Rémy, or the wine tasting that revealed to me that I CAN, in fact, enjoy a chardonnay (it just has to be from France), or maybe it was floating in the perfectly pale aqua sea, snorkeling in complete silence without a care in the world on Castaway Cay — but this cruise had me in. my. feelings.
You don’t have to be a kid, you don’t have to be super into Disney princesses or parks, and you don’t have to be with anyone but yourself — this brand knows how to bring the magic, even if (and perhaps especially if) you’re in the middle of the open sea.
Despite the fact that I needed a solo getaway, traveling alone still makes me anxious, but this was the most at ease I’ve ever felt on a vacation by myself. Must be the pixie dust.
(Photos via Dominique Michelle Astorino)