Disney Cruise Lines: Experience the luxurious side of family vacations

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

There are certainly plenty of cruise lines to choose from, but all are not created equally when it comes to serving the needs of children. Disney Cruise Lines is one of the best cruise lines for the entire family. And with a number of sailing options available, families can choose which itineraries and budgets work best for them. Once on board, adults and kids alike will experience a truly luxurious vacation.

From the moment we arrived, Disney went above and beyond to create a stress free vacation for us. We were a little unsure of the customs process, having never before traveled beyond U.S. borders. But, before we even went to the terminal counter, a friendly Disney representative assisted us by making sure all of our paperwork was in order and ready for approval.

While I took care of the forms, my husband took our kids to register for the children's programs. And when hunger pangs struck, snacks were available in the terminal. The entire painless process goes very quickly and, before you know it, you're ready to board the ship.

This type of streamlined service extends on board as well. Our luggage, retrieved by ship stewards when we arrived at the port, automatically appeared at our cabin. The most work we had to do for the sailing was decide which activities our family wanted to participate in. There were no meals, housekeeping, entertainment or activity planning to worry about. For us, like most overworked parents, this was true bliss.

Part of the luxury of a Disney cruise is once unpacked, you're free to immediately begin enjoying yourselves. Forget the cars, maps and hotel reservations. You have arrived. Families can spend entire days together on board, or children can enjoy the award-winning children's programs while adults participate in activities such as wine tastings, spa visits or well-deserved naps on deck.

Visiting the ports of call are wonderful ways to experience new cultures and activities. They're a great way to sneak in some educational information for your kids. While families are free to wander on their own, Disney does have a recommended list of shore excursions that are available in each port. (If you know of particular shore excursions that are important to your family, make sure to register before boarding. Shore excursions fill up quickly.)

One of my family's favorite ports of call is Castaway Cay-Disney's private island in the Bahamas. The sheer beauty and tropical climate was a great escape for all of us.

Taking the cruise offered not only the chance to experience new people and places, but the opportunity to enjoy one another without work schedules, appointments and practices to juggle in between. The only thing on our to-do lists was to spend time with each other. That's luxury at its finest.

To plan your Disney cruise, visit disneycruise.com, or call (800) 951-3532.

Rosanna Scott, mother of two, is a writer specializing in family/parenting issues and travel. She is the author of the children's book, Peter & Friends at Camp.