Combining the magic of Disney with Alaska’s enchanting natural beauty, a cruise to Alaska on a Disney line is full of fun and adventure for travelers of all ages. If you are looking for an ideal family vacation with something for everyone, a Disney Alaska cruise is a great choice.
A Disney cruise to Alaska provides the finest accommodations aboard large and brightly colored ships, a wide selection of shore excursions, dining options and activities, and children’s programs for all ages. This article will give you all the information you need to decide if a Disney cruise to Alaska is right for you.
Why a Disney Cruise?
With so many cruise lines to choose from, you might wonder what makes a Disney cruise unique. There are several reasons why families choose to cruise with Disney. First of all, the Disney line is known for its kid-pleasing atmosphere and activities on and off board. Shows, games, movies, kids clubs, and Disney characters will keep kids entertained onboard, while family-friendly shore excursions will introduce them to Alaska’s history, culture, glaciers, and wildlife.
The Disney Wonder Cruise Ship
On your Disney cruise to Alaska, you will travel on the Disney Wonder, one of the original Disney classic cruise ships. To fully appreciate the ship’s design, features, and details, be sure to sign up for the Art of the Ship Tour.
With 11 decks and accommodations for about 2,700 passengers, the Disney Wonder is actually one of the smaller Disney ships. It measures 964 feet in length and includes a crew of 950. It is known for its colorful décor, fun style, comfortable rooms, and its choice of restaurants and entertainment areas.
Staterooms accommodate up to five guests making them ideal for families. They are 25% larger than those of most other cruise ships. Furnishings are high quality and bathrooms are split, with a separate shower room. While balcony staterooms are highly recommended, you can save money by choosing an interior cabin.
Cruise duration and itinerary options
Whether you decide on a five-night, a seven-night, or a nine-night cruise will depend on the amount of time you have. On the longer cruises, you will have the opportunity to stop at more ports and to see more of Alaska’s sights.
Stops on the five-night cruises include Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Disney cruises also include a glacier experience through Tracy Arm or Endicott Arm. Sign up for the Glacier Explorer Disney excursion in order to get closer to the glacier on a catamaran.
On the seven-night cruise, which is the most common, Icy Strait Point is included. The nine-night Alaska cruise adds additional stops at Hubbard Glacier, Sitka, and Victoria, Canada. All of the Disney Alaska cruises depart from Vancouver.
Depending on your preferences and your budget, you can choose an inside cabin, a concierge suite, a room with ocean views, or a room with a private verandah. Whatever you choose, all the rooms are tastefully decorated, comfortable, and equipped with storage space, in-room TVs, and seating areas.
With so much to do on the ship, you probably won’t be spending too much time in your cabin, but it’s nice to know you have a comfortable, quiet place to rest and relax between activities.
The port adventures provided on a Disney Alaska cruise are designed to appeal to both kids and adults. All you need to do is choose your preferred excursions, and Disney will do the rest of the planning for you.
With adventures ranging from gold panning to dog sledding, everyone is sure to find something they are excited to try. Here are some of the best shore excursions to consider for your Disney Alaska cruise. Be sure to book your shore excursions early as many will fill up well in advance of the cruise.
Whale Watching at Icy Straight Point
This excursion will take you up close to humpback whales on the Whale and Marine Mammals Cruise. You will travel through the waters of the Icy Strait to the Point Adolphus area, home to a large population of humpback whales as well as other marine life. From there, you will have the opportunity to visit the shops at Icy Straight Point.
Liarsville Gold Rush Trail and Salmon Bake with Disney Characters
The kids will love this fun-filled excursion, which includes panning for gold, exploring a gold rush town, and enjoying a delicious salmon bake in the company of their favorite Disney characters. You are guaranteed to find gold on this adventure, which can be combined with a ride on the White Pass Scenic Railroad.
Glacier Seaplane Expeditions – Juneau
This breathtaking excursion takes you on a small seaplane tour of five incredible glaciers. The whole family will appreciate the views of ice fields, mountains, and glaciers during the tour. Keep a lookout for bears, as it is common to see them on this trip.
Alaskan Fish Camp & Wilderness Dining – Ketchikan
This experience involves a guided fishing expedition in the beautiful surroundings of Ketchikan. Afterwards, you will enjoy dining on your catch in the remote wilderness. For families looking for an authentic Alaska adventure, this excursion is a must.
Dog Sledding and Glacier Flightseeing
A helicopter will take you on a short flight over glaciers and fields of snow to a dog camp for an intimate “mushing” experience. Meeting professional mushers and their dogs will give you the opportunity to learn about the history of dog sledding and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show – Ketchikan
Located close to the cruise ship, this popular 90-minute show includes performances by some top lumberjacks and is fun for the whole family. Following the show, you and your family will have a chance to take photos with the lumberjacks and get their autographs.
With several unique dining options, you will have no trouble finding something you like to eat. Disney offers rotational dining, which involves moving to a different dining room each night. The wait staff moves with you, so they will be able to get to know you and provide personal service.
Dining locations include Animator’s Palate, featuring a dinner show and an Asian cuisine, Triton’s for American and French food, and Tiana’s Place for southern cooking and live jazz music. Tritan’s place features a Little Mermaid theme, while Tiana’s Place features a Princess and the Frog theme.
For lunches and light dinners, check out Cabanas, Daisy’s de-lights, or Pinocchio’s. For adults, Palo offers an Italian style cuisine with live music and gorgeous views.
As you might expect, one of the best parts of a Disney cruise to Alaska is the wide selection of activities for kids. Each day, you will be provided with a list of activities happening around the ship. With Broadway-style shows, parties, movies, classes, and games, your kids will never be bored. Some events need to be booked in advance, such as the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique packages, the meet and greets with Disney characters, and the Royal Court Royal Tea experience.
For adults, there are cooking classes, wine tastings, and educational talks. A spa and salon, workout facility, a one-mile walking path, nightclubs and lounges, and an adult-only pool are also available. There is an adults only entertainment area on Deck 3 with three themed bars.
Disney cruises are known to be kid-friendly, and their Alaska cruises are no exception. Clubhouses, storytelling, themed rooms, and the Oceaneer Lab provide fun activities for children. Edge, an activity center designed specifically for tweens, provides movies, a karaoke machine, and arts and crafts. Vibe is a lounge for teens that features music, TVs, video games, board games, and a dance floor. For babies and toddlers, childcare is provided in the “It’s a Small World” nursery.
In addition to these programs, Disney cruises provide kids’ menus, kid-friendly entertainment, and a family club that is fun for everyone. When your kids are happy and busy, you are sure to have more time to relax and enjoy your vacation.
Disney Alaska cruises are accessible and provide accommodations for those with physical and hearing disabilities. Available on every ship, wheelchair accessible rooms include wide doorways, ramped bathrooms, open bed frames, and emergency call buttons. Sign language interpreters for shows and theaters are provided on some cruises.
Tips for families
A Disney cruise to Alaska is a unique experience. To make the most of it, here are a few tips for families planning their cruise.
Be sure to arrive in Vancouver a few days before your cruise departure date. This will ensure that you will not miss your cruise if your flight is delayed. It will also give you the opportunity to explore this charming Canadian city. While you’re there, check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Stanley Park. Known for its excellent food, shopping, walking, and exploring, Vancouver is a great place to get started on your Alaska cruise adventure.
Expect cool temperatures and some rain. Alaska weather is unpredictable and will vary depending on the time of your visit. The weather is not likely to be as warm as on most cruises, so be sure to pack some warm clothing. Packing layers is a great way to be prepared for whatever is in store for you. Rain gear and closed toe shoes will come in handy for wet days. To help keep you warm on those cool and rainy days, Disney provides hot chocolate and blankets.
Consider a room with an ocean view or verandah. While it will cost a bit more, the access to views as you cruise along the stunning coast will make it worth the extra expense. A private veranda gives you the opportunity to enjoy the sights from a different vantage point and to spend more time relaxing outside in the fresh air.
Book excursions early because the popular port adventures fill up quickly. You will find there are many choices for excursions, so take some time to see what’s available. Don’t wait too long though, or you might miss out on something special. Whether you decide to stick with the Disney excursions or to book some private excursions, booking ahead will ensure that you get spots in your top choices.
When is the best time of year for an Alaska Cruise with Disney
There are several factors to consider when deciding when is the best time to go on a cruise to Alaska. Disney cruises to Alaska run from May through September. The best time to go might depend on your family’s vacation schedule and school vacations.
If you are flexible about your dates, you might find better deals and discounts during the shoulder seasons of the spring and fall. These are good times to go if you prefer to avoid crowds and lines, especially on excursions.
What to pack
As already mentioned, you should be sure to pack some warm clothing, layers, and rain gear. Additional items to put on your packing list include sunscreen, a sunhat, a bathing suit, some nice clothing for formal dining evenings, a camera, and binoculars for wildlife viewing.
Disney Alaska cruises are popular, so be sure to book early in order to save your spot. Booking early might also help in getting a better price and reserving your top choice of rooms. Although last minute deals might come up, they are not common.
While there are many cruise lines that travel to Alaska, Disney is unique in its focus on creating a family friendly and kid pleasing environment. With so much to do onboard and so many terrific port adventures to choose from, it’s hard to go wrong on a Disney cruise to Alaska.
An Alaska cruise with Disney will provide your family with a chance to explore Alaska’s stunning landscapes and natural beauty all while being surrounded by the magical backdrop of Disney stories and characters. This combination is sure to make for a journey your family will always remember.