Cruising and Disney go hand-in-hand, especially for those who love the Disney parks. Disney Cruise Line offers a wide variety of options for Disney-themed sailings. It's important to remember, however, that cruising aboard a Disney Cruise Line ship isn't the only way to make your Disney dreams come true.
Here are five ways to combine a love of Disney with a cruise on the high seas.
1. Sail With Disney Cruise Line. Disney Cruise Line sails to a variety of destinations around the world, including Alaska, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico and the Mediterranean. Disney characters can be found onboard every sailing, plus there are plenty of Disney shows, movies, and other Disney-themed attractions onboard Disney Cruise Line's ship. Disney Cruise Line also offers seamless ways to combine a Disney 3-, 4-, or 7-night cruise with pre- and post-cruise visits to Orlando's Walt Disney World theme parks. These Disney vacations include round-trip airport transfers, Walt Disney World resort stays, park tickets, transportation from Orlando to the Port Canaveral cruise terminal, and the Disney cruise itself. Check the packages section of the Disney Cruise Line website (http://disneycruise.com) for more information.
2. Sail from Port Canaveral and Visit Walt Disney World. Prices on Disney Cruise Line ships can often be higher than those on other cruise lines. That doesn't mean that a Disney vacation experience is out of your family's reach, however. Simply fly into Orlando, visit the Walt Disney World theme parks, and then sail from nearby Port Canaveral, located approximately 45 miles away. Cruise lines sailing from Port Canaveral include Carnival and Royal Caribbean in addition to Disney Cruise Line. A variety of cruise itineraries are available, including 3-, 4-. 5- and 7-night cruises to destinations such as the Caribbean, Mexico and the Bahamas. All cruise lines offer transfers from the Orlando airport, but if you're sailing with friends and family, renting a car or minivan might be a cheaper option. Companies such as Avis have an office near Port Canaveral and provide a shuttle to the pier. Some hotels offer shuttles as well.
3. Sail from Tampa and Visit Walt Disney World. While vacationers often associate Port Canaveral with Orlando vacations, it's important to remember that the port of Tampa is relatively close to the Orlando theme parks as well. Located about 85 miles from Walt Disney World, Tampa's port can be easily reached in less than two hours by car. A wider variety of cruise lines sail from Tampa, including Carnival, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean. Cruises from Tampa can sometimes be less expensive than those from Port Canaveral and airfares can be lower as well. Cruises departing from Tampa typically sail to the Caribbean or Mexico, and both short cruises and week-long itineraries are available.
4. Sail from Southern California and Visit Disneyland. On the West Coast, Disney cruises are easily possible by combining Disneyland in Anaheim, California with a cruise from convenient ports such as Long Beach, Los Angeles, or even San Diego, California. While Disney Cruise Line ships occasionally cruise from Southern California, a wide variety of other cruise options are offered on Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess. Destinations for cruises from Southern California include Hawaii, Mexico and Central America.
5. Choose a Cruise that Stops at Port Canaveral. If the flights to Florida and Orlando hotel stays are too expensive, donít give up on including Disney in your cruise vacation. Itís still possible. Just choose a cruise that includes Port Canaveral as one of its port visits. These cruises leave from a variety of U.S. homeports including Baltimore, New York City, Bayonne, New Jersey and Galveston, Texas. Cruise lines offering stops in Port Canaveral as part of their 7- or 8-night itineraries include Carnival, Disney, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean. Ships typically allot 10-12 hours for their visit to Port Canaveral, providing plenty of time to take a shipís shore excursion to Walt Disney World or rent a car and visit on your own. Check with each cruise line for more information on available Walt Disney World shore excursions and make plans in advance to avoid disappointment. Disney-related shore excursions tend to sell out fast.