Q – My husband and I were surprised, as were our friends Tad and Susie, with whom we have cruised six times, that Disney did not make your excellent list of the World’s Ten Best Cruise Lines. You must be childless snobs or Disney has gone downhill as they are rated at or near the top on other sites. We have two kids, ages 11 and 14 and Tad and Suzie have three kids in the same general age group. We trust your information is the best and we respect your honesty but we need to know if we would be making a mistake booking a seven-night Disney cruise next May 27th to the Western Caribbean on the Fantasy. We’ve been on Royal Caribbean on four of our prior cruises and Crystal, which we loved, on non-family cruises.
A – Disney is tough to evaluate accurately because they are a true family-oriented cruise line whose on-board product is geared to the fact that a majority of guests are traveling with their children or grandchildren. We concur with the generally high ratings that Disney receives and with their new-ship building program, highly successful rehab program, and numerous awards, Disney deserves the accolades and is certainly in the running, along with Celebrity as the best of the mega-ship lines.
But this is a family resort at sea – a unique product. We are not “childless” and we’ve taken our family aboard Disney ships more than once. Disney ships have been sailed numerous times by our CSI (Certified Ship Inspectors) Team. They are not included in our top ten because they are not inclusive, they operate ships with high density ratios, and their policies are not always consumer-friendly. Their food is institutional and not cooked to order, their entertainment appeals to a rather limited mass market segment, and prices for drinks and other services come at additional cost. We also think they are sometimes overpriced for what they offer. Disney is certainly four-star, they are excellent at what they do, but they are not among the world’s top ten cruise lines. If we expanded our Ratings to include the “Top Twenty” cruise lines Disney would surely be among them.
As to whether or not we are “snobs” – you better hope that we are. If we did not have high expectations on your behalf, our ratings and commentary would be worthless. If you are traveling with young children and you want to make them totally happy at sea, there is Disney and everyone else follows. When it comes to adults, that’s a very different cartoon.