Disney Cruise Line and Princess Cruises offer a variety of experiences catering to diverse preferences. Disney cruises typically span three to eleven days, while Princess Cruises features a broader range of lengths, from 2 to 32 days.
Both cruise lines showcase unique routes and ports of call. It is therefore important to think about the destinations you would like to visit when selecting a cruise, especially on longer voyages.
The itinerary you choose also affects the travel documents you need. You’ll need the appropriate paperwork, such as a visa, immunization record, and passport for a Disney cruise or a Princess cruise, depending on your cruise’s location.
Reach out to The Vacationeer to help you plan your cruise, be it a shorter Disney Cruise or an extended Princess Cruise. Their expertise ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience from start to finish.
Disney Cruise Line focuses on popular, family-friendly destinations, including the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Alaska, Hawaii, and Europe.
Aerial view of a Disney Cruise Ship at Villefranche | Image © Disney
In recent years, Disney has expanded its offerings to encompass more exotic locations such as Australia and New Zealand. Additionally, Disney Cruise Line guests have access to exclusive destinations like Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, where they can immerse themselves in a tropical paradise infused with Disney magic.
Princess Cruise Line, on the other hand, offers a more extensive range of destinations, including the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, Alaska, Europe, Asia, and even unbelievable world cruises (lasting more than 100 days!).
While Princess does not have exclusive destinations like Disney, its wide variety of options makes it easy for travelers to find a cruise that suits their preferences.
Disney Cruise Line is celebrated for its family-focused activities and captivating Disney-themed experiences. Guests onboard can delight in character meet-and-greets, Broadway-style shows, themed deck parties, and interactive experiences such as themed trivia, scavenger hunts, and animation workshops.
Image © Disney
Additionally, Disney Cruise Line offers luxurious spas and state-of-the-art health clubs for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation.
In contrast, Princess Cruise Line caters to a diverse audience with a sophisticated variety of activities for all ages. Guests can enjoy a wide range of entertainment options, including live music, comedy shows, educational programs, themed parties, and interactive game shows.
Onboard Activities | Image © Princess Cruises
Additionally, Princess Cruise Line boasts luxurious spas, cutting-edge fitness centers, and engaging activities like art classes, wine tastings, and cooking demonstrations.
Disney Cruise Line offers an array of included dining options to suit the tastes and preferences of its guests. With a unique rotational dining system, passengers can experience a variety of themed restaurants with distinct atmospheres and menus, such as the enchanted Lumiere’s and the undersea-themed Triton’s. From elegant, fine dining establishments to casual buffet-style eateries like Cabanas, the options are diverse and cater to a wide range of palates.
Additionally, Disney Cruise Line provides character dining experiences at Animator’s Palate and adult-only specialty restaurants like Palo and Remy that feature exquisite culinary creations and a sophisticated ambiance (for an extra fee).
In comparison, Princess Cruise Line also provides a broad selection of included dining options for its guests. The main dining rooms, such as the Da Vinci Dining Room and Michelangelo Dining Room, offer both traditional and flexible dining schedules, accommodating different preferences for meal times. Passengers can also choose from a variety of casual dining options, including buffets at Horizon Court, poolside grills like The Trident Grill, and pizzerias such as Alfredo’s Pizzeria.
For those interested in specialty dining (extra fee), Princess Cruise Line offers a range of cooking classes and restaurants offering diverse cuisines, including steakhouses like Crown Grill, sushi bars such as Kai Sushi, and Italian trattorias like Sabatini’s.
Best for Kids: Disney Cruise vs. Princess Cruise
Disney Cruise Line creates a magical atmosphere for children with a plethora of entertainment options, such as meeting cherished Disney characters, enjoying Broadway-style shows, joining themed parties, and splashing around in various water play areas, including pools and water slides.
The cruise line features age-specific kids’ clubs, including the Oceaneer Club (ages 3-12), Edge (ages 11-14), and Vibe (ages 14-17), which offer safe and engaging spaces for kids to socialize and participate in exciting activities. Additionally, all ships offer group babysitting and playtime at It’s a Small World Nursery for children under three years old.
Become an intergalactic creature keeper at Star Wars: Cargo Bay onboard Disney Wish
While Disney Cruise Line leads in catering to young guests, Princess Cruise Line also boasts an array of activities and kids’ clubs for unforgettable experiences. The Princess Pelicans (ages 3-7) and Shockwaves (ages 8-12) programs involve arts and crafts, movies, video games, theme nights, and water-based activities like pools and splash zones. The Remix program (ages 13-17) provides a dedicated space for teenagers to socialize, engage in activities, and attend teen-exclusive parties.
Overall, Disney Cruise Line stands out as the top choice for kids, offering unparalleled Disney-themed entertainment and experiences tailored specifically for younger guests. Although Princess Cruise Line has commendable options, it might not quite achieve the same level of immersive magic as Disney Cruise Line. Nevertheless, it caters to families looking for diverse experiences by providing a variety of enjoyable activities and dedicated spaces for children and teenagers, making it a solid alternative for a memorable family vacation.
Best for Adults: Disney Cruise vs. Princess Cruise
Disney Cruise Line, renowned for its family-friendly entertainment, also offers an impressive array of adult-exclusive experiences. Guests can find tranquility in serene retreats like the Quiet Cove Pool and the luxurious Senses Spa or explore adult-only sections such as Palo, Remy, Skyline, and Cove Café.
A standout example on the new Disney Wish, which my wife and I recently enjoyed, is the Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge. This immersive, adults-only bar serves up themed cocktails and provides panoramic views of iconic Star Wars destinations.
These offerings create a perfect escape for adults seeking some solitude, whether they are on a couples-only cruise or simply looking to take a break from the family for some quality alone time.
Conversely, Princess Cruise Line is acclaimed for its sophisticated atmosphere and diverse adult-centric amenities. The Sanctuary, a secluded haven with plush loungers, private cabanas, and attentive staff, offers tranquility for an additional fee.
Princess Cruise Line also presents gourmet dining experiences like Chef’s Table Lumiere and wine tastings. Evening entertainment encompasses Broadway-style shows, live music, and a lively casino.
So which cruise line is better for adults: Disney Cruise Line or Princess Cruise Line?
Both cruise lines cater to adults, but Princess Cruise Line targets a mature audience with relaxation, refined entertainment, and enrichment activities. Disney Cruise Line blends family charm with exclusive adult areas, offering a unique experience. If you prefer sophistication and serenity, choose Princess; for a magical experience with adult-only spaces, opt for Disney Cruise Line.
Best for Families: Disney Cruise vs. Princess Cruise
When it comes to family-friendly vacations, Disney Cruise Line shines as the ultimate choice, offering immersive entertainment, enchanting character interactions, and a wide array of activities for all ages. While Princess Cruise Line also provides family-oriented experiences, Disney Cruise Line has the edge with its distinctive blend of magic and wonder.
Disney Cruise Line engages the entire family through Broadway-style shows, deck parties, and themed events like Pirate Night. Additionally, the cruise line boasts family-friendly dining options, such as Animator’s Palate, where the dining experience comes to life with animation and interactive elements. Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, provides a tropical paradise with activities for the whole family, including water play areas, snorkeling, bike rentals, and character meet-and-greets.
While Princess Cruise Line caters to families with its youth programs and family-friendly activities, it may not provide the same level of immersive magic as Disney Cruise Line. However, Princess Cruise Line does offer Movies Under the Stars, a unique outdoor movie experience, and Discovery at SEA, an engaging educational program developed in partnership with Discovery.
In conclusion, Disney Cruise Line is the top choice for families seeking a magical, all-encompassing cruise experience. With its blend of Disney-themed entertainment, character experiences, and family-oriented activities, it stands out as the ultimate family vacation.
Best Overall: Disney Cruise vs. Princess Cruise
Disney Cruise Line and Princess Cruise Line each offer distinctive and memorable experiences, catering to different types of travelers. Disney Cruise Line is particularly well-suited for families with children and Disney enthusiasts, as it provides a magical and immersive experience, complete with character interactions, Disney-themed entertainment, and exceptional service. For families and kids, Disney Cruise Line is the clear winner, offering unforgettable memories and enchanting experiences that will delight every member of the family.
However, Disney cruises tend to be more expensive than other cruise lines, and their itineraries primarily focus on popular and family-friendly destinations. As a result, Princess Cruise Line may be a more appealing choice for couples and adults seeking a sophisticated and elegant cruise experience. With a diverse range of destinations, onboard activities, and dining options, Princess Cruise Line offers a more refined and relaxing vacation without sacrificing quality and service.
That being said, there’s still plenty for adults to enjoy on a Disney cruise, especially if you love the enchantment of Disney vacations. Disney Cruise Line offers exclusive adults-only areas, upscale dining options, and a variety of entertainment tailored to an older audience.
Ultimately, the best overall choice between Disney Cruise Line and Princess Cruise Line depends on your individual preferences, travel companions, and budget. Both cruise lines offer exceptional vacation experiences, each with its unique selling points. By carefully evaluating your specific needs and desires, you can make an informed decision and choose the perfect cruise line for your unforgettable journey.