Cruising Alaska is a dream vacation for most, and Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder offers the perfect itinerary to explore the 49th state. From the magnificent one-of-a-kind excursions to fantastic entertainment and the attentiveness of staff, you’ll wish this cruise lasted longer.
If you’re an adult wanting to plan your dream vacation, you may be thinking, “Why would I want to spend this once in a lifetime trip on a kid’s ship?” But that’s the beauty of Disney Cruise Lines. There is such a strong focus on kids and the kid’s areas that many times throughout the day you can walk around the upper deck without seeing any kids at all—they’re too busy being entertained in their own unique areas.
Plus, the ship features special 24/7 adult-only areas—including an upper deck pool, bar area, coffee shop and the exquisite restaurant, Palo. At night, even more areas aboard the ship transform into adult-only areas—including the whole front portion of deck 3 known as After Hours.
Families traveling aboard the Disney Wonder have the option to interact with their kids as much or as little as they choose. Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Lab is specially designed for children aged 3-12 and immerses them in the world of Disney.
Kids have the freedom to safely and securely move between the two and pick the activities they wish to participate in. And Open Houses allow parents to join their kids in some of the fun. Older kids can join in the activities more suited to their age group with the Vibe and Edge areas. There is a nursery for children who are not quite three or potty-trained yet.
The daycare areas are open from 9 am—or will even open sooner if there is an earlier morning excursion on port days—and close at 11 pm.
Parents who have a later dining time also have the Dine and Play option, where you’ll get to enjoy your meal as a family, but after the kids are done eating a Youth Activities Counselor will come by to pick up your kids. This allows you and your spouse to take your time with all the delicious courses and have some together time after dinner. Kids will just need to be picked up from Disney’s Oceaneer’s Club by 1 am.
The ports of call are similar to what you may see on other cruise line itineraries’—Dawes Glacier, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. But what really sets Disney apart are the excursions they offer to their guests—some even come with special character experiences like the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp & Salmon Bake in Skagway. Although the cruise ship will float by Dawes Glacier, giving you excellent views of the impressive glacier, there are excursions allowing for guests to board a small boat to get up close to this glacier.
In Skagway, guests have a multitude of options, including dog sledding, kayaking, going on a wilderness safari, panning for gold, zip-lining and more. My personal favorite excursion of the whole trip was here—Glacier Discovery by Helicopter. It was a clear day, so the helicopters were even allowed to land higher up than normal on the glacier, allowing us to see a great expanse of natural beauty. We got to eat glacier ice, drink the pure water from the streams and see the fast-flowing rivers that cut through the ice and burrowed their way deep underneath.
The capital of Alaska, Juneau, offers just as many once-in-a-lifetime experiences through the Alaskan wilderness. Get your adrenaline pumping with the Alpine Zipline Adventure, 5-Glacier Seaplane Exploration, enjoy a salmon bake, go gold mining, hike the Mendenhall Glacier and more.
Here, our group opted for the impressive Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest and were blown away at all the wildlife we saw up close on the trip, from multiple sights of humpback whales to sea lions playing a friendly game of “Who’s the King of the Mountain?” on a buoy and some people even swear they saw a black bear on a nearby coast. The scenery was gorgeous and unlike anything you’d see in the lower 48 of the United States—passing so many mountains that some didn’t even have names, along with numerous glaciers.
Ketchikan is the salmon capital of the world and is filled with unique experiences, from being able to cook your own catch, learning about local crabbing, exploring the local rainforest or enjoying the Exclusive Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. By the time you reach Ketchikan, you may be a little tired. Not to worry/ this is normally the last port of call before another day at sea and heading back to Vancouver, meaning you can spend this last day at sea relaxing at the Senses Day Spa.
Entertainment is a huge priority onboard the Disney Wonder, and it’s evident in the multitude of fun activities that are always available. My personal favorites were the three Broadway-quality shows performed in the Walt Disney Theatre—including Frozen, A Musical Spectacular.
There are character meet and greets located throughout the ship and at multiple times throughout every day, allowing for smaller lines. And the Deck Parties like Mickey’s Sail-A-Wave Party! are a fun time for all. There is even special entertainment during dinner, like live music at Tiana’s Place and getting to see your own artwork become animated at Animator’s Palate. Be sure to use the Navigator App to stay up-to-date with all the day’s activities.
The staterooms on the Disney Wonder are some of the most spacious I have seen for a large ocean cruise ship, with plenty of storage space and enough room to easily accommodate a family of four.
The bathrooms are also unique in being split into two portions, with one area including a vanity and toilet while the other includes a second vanity, bathtub—yes a tub on a cruise ship!—and shower combo. I would highly encourage anyone wanting to sail through Alaska on the Disney Wonder to book a balcony room. While onboard we saw dolphins, seals and black bears, all from the comfort of our private balcony.
Booking with Disney Cruise Lines gives you the peace of mind that you and your family will be in for the trip of a lifetime, and you’ll receive superb quality throughout the duration of your cruise. After all, they were one of only fourteen cruise ships to receive a perfect health score.