Let’s breakaway from the norm! Our go-to move is to hold-ff our verdict until the end, however, when talking about Serenity Bay we can’t help ourselves. Oasis is an understatement. Needless to say, since returning from our Disney Crusie we continue to dream about Serenity Bay at Disney’s private island Castaway Cay. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s review what you should know about this piece of Bahamian paradise. It’s time to lounge!
All great things start from the beginning. Our write-up of Serenity Bay is no different. To kick-off it off there is few aspects of Serenity Bay everyone should be aware of. This section of Castaway Cay is an adult-only area. In Disney terms, an adult is defined as anyone 18 years old or older. The second thing to know is beach chairs and lounge chairs are on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For a more private experience, you’ll want to look into renting a cabana. You can reserve a cabana via the Disney Cruise app prior to setting sail.
Cruise Insights: On our Disney Magic cruise we found there were plenty of chars at Serenity Bay to go around.
Stepping off your ship you’ll have a couple of options to get to Serenity Bay. The first of our options is to walk. In our experience, it’s about a 15 to 20-minute walk from the ship or about a 10-minute walk from where the Castaway Cay 5kbegins. Our second option would be to take an open-air tram or two. On Castaway Cay there is a tram that goes from the ship to the center of the Castaway Cay. From there you would switch to the Serenity Bay tram.
At the tram stop, the cast members on the island will let you know which tram is going to which destination. For us, we walked to the center of Castaway Cay for our 5k, then enjoy the island breeze on our tram ride to Serenity Bay.
Cruise Insights: Around the Castaway Cay tram stop is the shopping area with a few different shops with Castaway Cay merchandise and the good to have beach items, like sunscreen.
Beyond The Book
Once you arrive at Serenity Bay, there are a variety of things to enjoy. Beyond reading a good book, and the breathtaking taking views. And of course, Nate’s favorite, taking a nap, in a hammock. Right next to where the tram drops you off you’ll find a little hut for rentals, called Windsock. They have bikes, floats, and tubes to rent.
Just across from Windsock, is the open-air bar with a patio. With palm trees creating the perfectly shaded canopy, you can enjoy a tropical drink, beer, cocktail of your choice. The patio overlooks the beach and the turquoise colored ocean. So relaxing! If you prefer to enjoy your drink in your lounge chair, no worries there are cast members walking up and down the beach to take your order.
For all shopping, boat rentals, waterslides, snorkeling, and character meet ‘n greets, you’ll want to head back to the family beach. Everything you purchase on Castaway Cay you can charge back to your stateroom.
Cruise Insights: On the backside of the bar area you’ll find the restrooms, along with a shower to wash off your feet, etc. No one needs the extra sand.
It’s island barbecue time! While on Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line prepares an island barbecue at both the family beach and Serenity Bay. The buffet-style lunch is filled with grilled to perfection meats and veggies, as well as your staples, like burgers. You can see them preparing your food right in front of you. For us, we always like to enjoy the local favorites like the grilled fish. Around the buffet, you’ll find a variety of shaded picnic tables to enjoy your meal.
Save room for dessert. Beyond the soft-serve ice cream, the buffet offers a variety of tropical sweet treats to taste. It’s a perfect way to cap off your meal, before heading back to your chair for an afternoon siesta.
Passholder Insights: The barbecue lunch usually begins around 11:30 am then runs until 2 pm. We found heading over a little later in the day, had fewer people.
Almost worth missing the ship! Yes, we definitely thought about missing our ship and staying at Serenity Bay. It’s amazing! By far the most relaxing aspect of our cruise. It’s the perfect beach day. A couple of good things to know, you are able to bring your own cooler bag on to the island. Additionally, if you head to any of the bars they will refill your cooler bag with ice. All this cruise talk got us wanting to set sail again. Looks like a trip back to Castaway Cay may be in order!
Our room awaits! Beyond the lunch buffet, the next big thing to see on the first day of your Disney Cruise is your stateroom. For our sailing on the Disney Magic, we stayed in a Disney Cruise oceanview stateroom. It looks like our room is ready. Let’s head down the second deck and open that door for the first time!
Every Disney Cruise has a variety of different room types. On the Disney Magic, the options include the following type of staterooms, inside, oceanview, verandah, and concierge. Our room is the Disney Cruise oceanview stateroom, it’s room 2078 to be exact. The 214 square foot room sleeps 3 to 4 people and includes a queen bed, single sleeper sofa (if 2 or 3 guests), upper berth pull-down (if 4 guests) and either one large porthole or two smaller portholes (in Category 9D staterooms on Deck 1).
On the Disney Magic, you’ll find options for the Disney Cruise oceanview stateroom on the following decks, 1, 2, 5, 6, and 7.
Cruise Insights: The lower decks feel less of the movement (swaying) of the ship. If you’re looking for the smoothest ride you may want to consider a lower deck.
Woohoo! Stepping into our Disney Cruise oceanview stateroom for the first time was impressive. Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to enjoy a variety of different cruise line staterooms and we have to say the Disney Cruise is by far the most spacious. From the oversized porthole to the split-style bathroom and the amount of natural light, we had high expectations walking in and needless to say, they were all exceeded! Let’s breakdown each of the aspects of the room.
Cruise Insights: One of the big things to do on every Disney Cruise is decorating your stateroom door. Walking around the ship you’ll see all kinds of amazing door decorations.
Is there anything more important than the bed? We think not. Like true travel professionals every time we step into a new room we got to take that flying leap onto the bed to test it. After sticking the landing, we got a 10 from the French judge, we noticed right away that Disney Cruise Line went with the same beds you find most of the deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World. We were smiling from ear to ear.
Additionally, we opened the soft bed to check it out as well. What we liked the most about it was how the convertible bed included a full matress, not the typical folding mattress you find in most sleeper sofas. Our Disney Cruise oceanview room was configured for three guests, so we did not have the upper-berth pull-down bed.
Cruise Insights: Between the bed and sofa there is a curtain that allows you to separate to the two sleeping areas if you’re sharing the room with other people.
Or should we say bathrooms! In our Disney Cruise oceanview stateroom, we had a split bathroom. One of the bathrooms had the shower, tub (yes, tub) and a sink. In the other bathroom were the toilet and another sink. First and foremost, we’ve never seen a tub in any of the standard staterooms on other cruise ships, this is a huge benefit for families with little ones. Additionally, we found having two sinks in the room to be a big time saver when getting ready in the morning or for our dinners.
Cruise Insights: All rooms include a hairdryer, as well as the H20 bath and shower products. For us, we like to travel as light as possible and found these perfect for our cruise.
Doesn’t everyone pack too much? We definitely do. No matter how hard we try we always end up with more luggage than we need. What was fantastic about our Disney Cruise oceanview room was the ample amount of storage space, both for what we brought and our luggage. Our room had a good-sized closet for hanging anything we wanted, along with shelves and drawers inside. Around the room, there were two nightstands with drawers and a desk with drawers and shelves as well. Needless to stay we had plenty of room to unpack then storge our luggage under the bed.
The one area that could have used a little more space for us was the counter space/shelving in the bathroom. Not a huge issue, especially with the bathrooms being larger in size.
Cruise Insights: None of the rooms include an iron or ironing board. If you need on the ship all you’ll have to do is call your room steward and they’ll bring one.
Best cruise ship room we’ve had! When comparing the Disney Cruise oceanview stateroom to similar options on other ships, there is no comparison. Every little detail is well thought out. We found the room to feel a lot larger than the 214 square feet, especially with all the natural light from the oversized porthole. We would definitely book this type of room on our next Disney Cruise. Our room review is in the books!
We’re back and talking apps! No, not the bite-size goodness from the Nomad Lounge, we’re here to chat about the Disney Cruise Navigator app. Similar to a trip to Walt Disney World, where My Disney Experienceis your best friend, Disney has an app for the cruise line. We’re getting down to the essentials in this DVC Duo guide to the Disney Cruis Navigator app. Let the downloading begin!
What Is It?
It’s an app, Nate. Yes, yes it is. The Disney Cruise Navigator contains everything you’ll need both prior to setting sail and while on your Disney Cruise. Whether you book through a Disney travel agent or on your own the app will become your new friend. After booking your cruise everything you’ll look to do can be done within the app, from making your payments to book excursions and anything in between. If you have a My Disney Experience account, your information should be the same with the app.
Cruise Insights: You can download the Disney Cruise Navigator app at any time to use the app you’ll have to load your reservation number and birthday.
Before your embarkation day, there is a variety of things you can do within the Disney Cruise Navigator. First and foremost you can review all the fun activities to sign-up for, whether it’s champagne tasting or shore excursions, as well as the famous Palo brunch. The app has all the details and associated prices. As soon as you book your cruise you can begin reviewing your activities and when you book events.
Prior to stepping aboard one of the best things you can do within the Disney Cruise Navigator is to check into your cruise. Within the app, you’re able to fill out all your documentation including adding each of your party’s passport information. Additionally, you’re able to add a credit card to your room for on ship charging.
Cruise Insights: Leading up to your cruise the app includes a fun countdown screen showing how many days until you set sail. On your first day, the countdown counter turns in Disney emoji. Say it with us, awwww!
All Disney Cruise ships include WiFi and depending on your cell phone carrier you may have international coverage in ports. What’s important to know is on the first day, every guest can connect to the internet and receive 50 MB of internet usage at no additional charge for the duration of your sailing. This offer is only available on the first day. Beyond the free offer, you’re able to purchase data packages to stay connected through [email protected]
Whether you decide to purchase data or not on the ship, the Disney Cruise Navigator app will work when connected to the WiFi. If you purchase data through Disney Cruise Line the use of the app does not count towards your allotment.
Cruise Insights: We always like to put our cell phones into airplane mode once aboard the ship to ensure we do not incur any roaming charges.
The Disney Cruise Navigator app is filled with tons of information once you’re aboard the ship. Below is a breakdown of tall the different things you can do:
Review each of the restaurant’s menu and dress code
Maps to each of the decks
Daily activities on the ship, including the different character meet ‘n greets
Specials for the day, like Drink of the Day
Port related information
Basics around allowances, transportation, etc.
Times and floors for the different Youth Clubs and Lounges
When reviewing the different activities you’ll see a heart in the upper right corner. If you click on the heart it will turn red and automatically be added to the “My Activities” section. When the time comes for the activity you’ll receive a push notification reminding you of the event. It’s a great way to not miss anything while you’re enjoying your cruise.
The last big part of the app is the messaging system. Within the Disney Cruise Navigator, you’ll find a messaging app that lets you stay in touch with your party while aboard the ship. It’s a fantastic way to let people know where you are or heading, as well as just chat. You’ll also receive communication from the cast as well. Additionally, if your kids are enjoying the youth clubs you’ll receive messages every time they check-in or out (if you let them have the ability to do so on their own).
Cruise Insights: Recently, Disney Cruise just updated the app to allow guests to put a deposit on their cruise directly through the app.
Fantastic! Overall, we found the app to be very easy to use and set-up. Without much research or practice, we were able to take full advantage of the functionality. We would highly recommend at least one person within your party to have the app, as it is the best place to find all the different activities. Alright, let’s check our phones to see what should enjoy next!
Bahamas and running, two things that usually don’t go together. Well, unless you’re talking about the Disney Cruise Castaway Cay 5k. When your Disney ship pulls up to Castaway Cay, and you’re soaking in the tropical views, the last thing that comes to mind is let’s run a 5k. But should it be? We’re lacing up our running shoes and seeking out some friendly competition in the Castaway Cay 5k!
What Is It?
It’s a race. Oh, we should probably elaborate. Every Disney Cruise that has a stop at Castaway Cay will have the option to sign up for the Castaway 5k. This free, yes free, Disney race has only two requirements. First, guests must sign-up at guest services prior to running the race. The second is all runners must be at least 10 years of age. From our understanding, there is no limit to the number of spots for the run.
Cruise Insights: We like to head to guest services on our first day to register for the Castaway Cay 5k, that way we don’t forget 🙂
Rise and shine, it’s race day! Depending on what time your Disney Cruise docks at Castaway Cay it will determine the start of your race. For us, it was 9 am. Once docked, our cruise director announced that all runners would meet at the bike rentals. Upon arriving at the bike rentals we had to sign in and sign a waiver form. After handing the form back to the cast members we received our numbers. We’re ready to race!
Cruise Insights: The bike rental shop is next to the family beach. Prior to the beginning of the race, we dropped our stuff on lounge chairs you can find beachside.
Let’s go! We’ve got a number pinned on our shirts, we’ve double-checked our shoes, it’s time kick this race into overdrive. The Castaway Cay 5k is unique in that it’s an island style race – we’re talking about a laidback run here. It’s exactly what we were looking for in a “vacation race”.
Unlike a traditional runDisney race, there are no corrals or large productions prior to the race. A few minutes prior to the race a cast member shares a few directions regarding the run, then it’s time to run. The course takes you from the family beach out to the island’s runway. That’s right, Castaway Cay has a small plane runway that runs through the middle of it. Adjacent to the runway is a loop (doubles as a bike path) that brings you out to the observation tower. Along the way, you pass lost cargo from the plane that landed on the island years ago.
After a couple of laps around the loop, you’ll make your way back to the start. Crossing the line you’ll receive your medal. It’s why we all run, right? For the medal!
Passholder Insights: There’s a water station at the entrance to the loop. Definitely stay hydrated as we found it on the warmer side around the loop.
Tons of fun! Whether you run or walk, the Castaway Cay 5k is a blast. Everyone participating in the run was cheering for each other and there was a ton of energy on the course. We’d definitely recommend checking out the Castaway Cay 5k if you’re looking for a fun way to get some exercise in the sun. Alright, after all that running it’s time to pull up a lounge chair. Serenity Beach here we come!
Places, everyone! We’ve got a show to do! Well, more like an article to write on the Disney Cruise shows. There are two main reasons to head out on an ocean cruise – the food and the shows, and luckily these are the two things Disney is well-known for. The big question is whether or not they have brought their renowned Broadway productions to the Disney Cruise theaters. There is only one way to find out. Grab some popcorn, the show is about to begin!
How Does It Work?
Once you embark on your Disney Cruise, every night aboard the ship there will be a different performance of a show. Each night there are two productions, an early show at 6:15 pm and then a late show at 8:30 pm. Which show you would attend would be determined by your rotational dining choice.
Onboard all Disney Cruise ships the nightly shows take place within the Walt Disney Theatre. All of the theatres are located towards the aft (rear) of the ship usually on one of the lower levels.
Cruise Insights: We recommend trying to get to the shows at least 15 minutes prior to the performance starting to find a good seat.
What Are The Shows?
Which Disney Cruise ship are you on? Each of the ships has a different line up of Disney Cruise shows. On our trip aboard the Disney Magic we were treated to the following performances: Twice Charmed, Disney Dreams, and Tangled: The Musical. Each of the ships includes one feature or larger production around the retelling of a Disney movie, for example, Tangled or Frozen, that is unique to the specific ship. The other productions are original shows written specifically for the Disney Cruise Line that put a twist on the stories we know and love. There was also a comedian who performed a variety show one night which we chose to forgo.
Fantastic! All the productions we saw on our cruise were impressive. There were original songs and the scripts were familiar yet fresh. No spoilers here, but let’s just say keep your head on a swivel for some of the shows!
Cruise Insights: For all Disney Cruise shows the staff requests that guests do not film or take pictures of the productions within the Walt Disney Theatre.
Beyond The Theatre
To the top deck and beyond! Ok Buzz, we’re flying to the top of the ship! Disney Cruise shows are not just contained within the Walt Disney Theatre alone, they extend to the outdoor stage as well! A few times on your trip, shows (or deck parties) will take to the deck in form of the Sail-A-Way Party on your first dayand the Pirates in the Caribbean nighttime show on Pirate Night.
In the DVC Duo house, both of these shows are can’t miss for different reasons. For the Sail-A-Way deck party, it sets the tone for your vacation! Who doesn’t love a lighthearted tropical dance party complete with characters in Hawaiian shirts?! Hello, vacation! In regards to the Pirates in the Caribbean deck party, where else are you going to see fireworks at sea? The only thing more impressive is the amount of other cruise lines lining up in the distance for a peek!
Cruise Insights: On Pirate Night we recommend watching the show from the “balcony” area, as it’ll give you the best view of the fireworks.
How do they do it? It blows our minds how the production staff pulls off these amazing shows. We’ve seen traveling Broadway shows in our local theatre and we would say these are on par. From the performers to the production and the overall originality, we give them two thumbs up. Definitely worth it! All that’s left to do is see the shows on the other ships! We’d better get planning!