Mickey and Minnie Mouse with The Wish
  • On Jul 12, 2023
    Emily from MD Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    My family is thinking of taking our very first Disney Cruise Line vacation in the future. Can you suggest some itineraries and ships that would be good for first time cruisers? We're a family of four with two kids under 10 always up for adventure!

    Ahoy there, Emily!  

    Thanks for sailing over my way with your thoughtful question. I see you’re an experienced visitor to the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort, so dipping your toes into Disney Cruise Line feels like the next right thing! I’m happy to share my advice based on my family’s fabulous experiences onboard. 

    You truly can’t go wrong with any ship, so my advice is to think practically and “sea” where that compass leads you as the ships are planned for specific regions and seasons. First, when would you like to sail? Are there any constraints such as a school calendar to plan around? Watch the Disney Parks Blog for new itineraries to be announced seasonally, which are then available to book approximately 18 months out. I find these opening day prices to be the best rates, if you can stand the longer countdown to your vacation.

    Next, perhaps think about a logical departure port for your family. Disney sails out of many locations now, offering convenient choices. As a fellow mid-Atlantic girl, I’ll share that sailing out of Port Canaveral is seamless and very accessible to us for easy travel days. (You could even add in a day or two at the Walt Disney World Resort!) My family has also sailed out of New Orleans twice, and it was a fun city to explore and an easy embarkation day at the port. Disney recently added the new Port Everglades to their schedule, so you could also look into sailing out of Fort Lauderdale. 

    If your family isn’t certain about their sea legs, a shorter itinerary is a smart choice for a first cruise. The beautiful new Disney Wish sails out of Port Canaveral twice a week with 3- and 4-night sailings to the Bahamas. The Disney Magic and the Disney Dream offer a variety of great 5-night itineraries to either the Western Caribbean or the Bahamas – all from the Florida and Louisiana ports I mentioned. 

    Speaking of destinations - if you can get to Disney Castaway Cay on a first cruise, I know you’ll be hooked! This private island offers a practically perfect, tropical day for your family with additional activities for the kids and a delicious beachside lunch buffet included in your cruise fare.

    You can search by any of these criteria on the main page of the Disney Cruise Line website, Emily. I like to filter by cruise length, departure port, and sailing month to browse exact itineraries listed. Check out the Port Adventures offered for any given itinerary to be sure you’ll have exciting port days that meet everyone’s abilities and interests. The Youth Clubs will offer your kids a taste of independence while you can relax (with your eyes closed!) at the adult-exclusive areas onboard.

    There’s more to do than can ever be done onboard, so check out what’s included in your cruise, but I say let the destination, duration, and budget navigate you to the right decision. Please sail back with any additional questions you have as you design your next amazing vacation.  

    Wishing you blue skies and sunshine,
thumbnail image for Amy

Meet the Panelist: Amy, Virginia

Hi friends! I'm Amy, a lifelong Disney dreamer from horse-and-wine country, Virginia. My family of three is BIG on fun and treasures every adventure together. We've been making memories at the Walt Disney World Resort and aboard Disney Cruise Line since my son was a toddler; we love our family traditions balanced with "what's new" each visit. I have a passion for Disney details, a love of digital tools, and an eye for practical planning. I can't wait to help you make the MOST of your magical vacation! Learn More About Amy

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