The Disney Cruise Line has spared no expense in making its cruise ships top notch. Their every detail is designed to amaze guests, and the shipboard entertainment, dining, and other activities all come together to make a ship that is more like a destination in itself than just a floating hotel.
If a particular port of call doesn’t appeal to you, rest assured that staying aboard is not going to leave you out of any action. In fact, you may have more fun than the folks on the shore!
One way to enjoy a Disney Cruise Ship is to check out the dining.
Dining As An Attraction
One of the major attractions of the Disney Cruise Line that Disney has definitely made a priority is its dining. Almost everything available on shore is also available on board from hot dogs to chilled oysters. A variety of dining experiences are available as well, from the tumult of tots in the low-end dining halls to cavalcades of caviar in exclusive, adults-only restaurants requiring reservations. There are three family restaurants per ship, plus at least one “alternative” (you-must-be-at-least-this-mature-to-enter) restaurant.
Let’s take a look at some of the best Disney Cruise dining options.
DCL has choices galore when it comes to dining whether you have little ones in tow or you’re a party of adults. Each night, guests are cycled through the restaurants, taking their dining companions and wait staff with them. Each of these restaurants has a different menu and a different theme, so even passengers with short attention spans may make a game of noticing all the differences between the previous night’s venue and tonight’s. But what exactly is available?
One tried and true restaurant theme is that of continental cuisine (essentially, made using classic American and European ingredients not including British food). This menu is served up at Lumière’s on Magic, Triton’s on the Wonder, the Royal Palace on the Dream, and the Royal Court on the Disney Fantasy.
The menus are all quite similar, but Lumière’s, for example, offers appetizers such as applewood-smoked bacon and wild mushroom tarts, chilled jumbo shrimp, and duck confit and entrées such as their signature salted sea bass, slow-braised lamb shank, and three-cheese lobster macaroni.
Dessert includes everything from fresh fruits to ice cream sundaes. Guests can also forego dessert or apps and opt for one of Lumière’s signature adult beverages such as the Cosmopolitan à l’Orange, made with Grey Goose Vodka, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice and a hint of lime.
Caribbean And American
On Disney’s Magic and Wonder, Tiana’s Place serves Caribbean and American-influenced dishes. This restaurant recently replaced Parrot Cay but now uses Disney’s Intellectual Property with a Princess and the Frog theme.
Instead of Tiana’s Palace, the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy host the Enchanted Garden, inspired by classical French aristocracy’s gardens but with a relaxed attitude towards their sensibilities, offering three meals a day. This carefully appointed restaurant’s ceiling changes through the course of the day to mimic a sunny blue sky, setting sun, and dark night with stars. The Garden’s emphasis is on fresh ingredients in keeping with its garden theme, and its drink menu mirrors this design aesthetic.
Highly Themed Food Fun
The Animator’s Palate, is now serving on all four of the current Disney Cruise Line ships. This restaurant is a highly stylized reserved rotational restaurant whose décor and entertainment may overshadow guests’ conversations
Most don’t mind, though, as they enjoy Pacific Rim specialties while watching the sketches on the walls go from black and white to completed color cartoons before their eyes over the course of the meal. Wait staff even change their costumes from black and white to all-filled-in to match what the big screens are showing. The fare here is varied with adventurous appetizers, delicious main dishes, signature drinks, and artistic desserts.
Fine Dining For Adults
All of the reserved rotational restaurants mentioned above are on a fixed course. Guests rotate through them regularly getting equal exposure to all that the restaurants have to offer.
However, for a more intimate, pleasant and child-free dining experience, adults aboard all four ships have the option of dining at Palo, the cruise line’s higher-end yet casual northern Italian dining experience.
Palo strives to be a beautiful restaurant that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Guests would do well to take its appeal seriously, however, as reservations are required at least seventy-five days in advance of a trip. Smart vacationers will want to schedule a visit to Palo on a day when they are scheduled to repeat one of the basic three rotational restaurants.
Additionally, there is a surcharge for each visit to Palo, between $30 and $60 per person, and any extra services that are rendered there. However, Palo offers a High Tea at no surcharge on certain cruises.
Remy, on the Disney Dream and the Fantasy, is Disney Cruise Line’s answer to fine French dining on the high seas. A pricey surcharge (anywhere between $50 and $105 per person) is quickly forgotten when the amazingly high level of service kicks in. Guests are treated to up to nine small courses, and no one leaves hungry. For $100 per person, expert wine pairings are offered for each course. A tip for those on a budget (which includes most of us) is to opt to order a single bottle of wine from the enormous wine selection and cut the cost down by about ¾.
Though it may sound intimidating, Remy’s atmosphere manages to never be stuffy, instead accentuating the welcome and friendliness of all involved in making this wonder happen.
Dining on the DCL: varied enough?