January 24, 2010
Here's the thing about a Disney cruise: Don't bother booking if you're totally kid-averse (and why are you sailing with the Mouse, if that's your attitude?). But you can have plenty of adult-only time aboard one of the company's beautiful ships without feeling like an involuntary baby sitter.
My husband and I have taken two cruises on the Disney Magic, both times with older teenagers in tow. We're taking another this summer, this time sans kids. We know from experience where we can hang to avoid the stroller/toddler brigade (not that there's anything wrong with them).
For the most part, the forward part of the ship is the haven for folks 18 and older. There, we will find one of the three pools, the bars and clubs and the Vista Spa & Salon (I reviewed some of our paperwork — bills — from the last two cruises, and it looks like some of my family passed a lot of time in there). The fitness center also screens out youngsters. I witnessed a mother of a 10- to 12-year-old boy argue, fruitlessly, her child's mature mastery of their health club at home.
Disney knows everything and uses that knowledge to enforce. Palo, an upscale restaurant that can be booked in addition to the regular seating rotation, strictly holds to a minimum-18 age limit, which dinged one of our kids, who was just under 18 and forced to endure a walk of shame back to our table in Animator's Palate, leaving older siblings/cousins behind to dine.
Other grown-up pleasures we've enjoyed have included the From Stem to Stern wine tasting and a backstage sort-of tour through the kitchens and nether regions of the ship. In addition, the beautiful art deco-style Buena Vista Theater shows first-run movies, many past the bedtimes of the youngest travelers.
And the best part? Adults aren't barred from the kid-friendly parts of the ship.
So, lighten up, sign up for the second dinner seating, take in adult-enticing details such as the Dale Chihuly chandelier, enjoy live entertainment and even search out a hidden Mickey (or a hundred). The Magic brings out the kid in everyone.
— Maureen Hart, Tribune Newspapers
Copyright © 2013, Chicago Tribune