When Disney announced in 2017 that it would be adding not two but three more ships to its fleet, excitement was high. The vessel, built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, was scheduled for completion in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Unfortunately, COVID-19 interrupted that plan.
But on June 30th, the Disney Wish, the newest ship of the Disney Cruise Line, was officially christened and set sail on a three-day cruise to the Bahamas. I was lucky enough to be able to witness the christening and embark on this unique voyage.
Unlike other ships, the Disney Wish does not have a godmother. Instead, the vessel was christened by godchildren—Colby, 10; Megan, 16; and Jenna, 13—to represent all the children—past, present, and future—of the Make-A-Wish-Foundation. Celebrating that wishes do come true, the moving event was perfectly appropriate for a ship named Wish.
5 Reasons to Sail on the Disney Wish
All Disney cruise ship passengers participate in rotational dining with an assigned experience for each night. The waitstaff rotates with you, giving dinner a uniquely personalized touch. The team knows your name and will do everything to make your dining experience special.
On the Disney Wish, the three rotational dining experiences are the 1923 Restaurant, an Homage to Roy and Walt Disney and the Golden Age of Hollywood; Worlds of Marvel Avengers: Quantum Encounter Dinner Show; and Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure, sure to please the entire family. Of course, there are two other dining options.
While kids will love the Frozen-themed dinner best, I was mesmerized by the decor and the food offered at the 1923 restaurant.
For an additional fee, you can enjoy the Palo Steak House ($45) or Enchanté, a restaurant where the menu is crafted by Michelin-starred Chef Arnaud Lallement—of L’Assiette Champenoise, near Reims, France ($125). Both restaurants also offer a special brunch. Guests must be at least 18 years old and must be in formal or semiformal attire.
There is less formal dining available at the Marceline Market and the Mickey & Friends Festival of Food stalls. I loved Marceline Market, as it has an international choice of food with indoor and outdoor seating. It has kid-friendly meals, but the focus is on more adventurous eaters.
The Mickey & Friends Festival of Food stalls are geared towards families looking to grab a quick lunch or dinner. The stalls offer kids pleasing fare such as pizzas, burgers, tacos, ice cream, and more.
2 BROADWAY-QUALITY SHOWS
On a four-night cruise, you will be treated to three Broadway-style shows. The show on the first night is typically the revamped Disney Seas the Adventure! At first, I was worried that the performance would be a repeat of what is shown on Disney’s other ship, but I was proven wrong. The show is a perfect choice to start the cruise and features the best of Disney’s live entertainment and lots of beloved characters. Kids and those young at heart will love it!
Disney’s The Little Mermaid does not need much explanation; everybody will love the tale of the young redhead who wants to be human. The show includes new choreography and orchestration. The professional presentation and cutting-edge puppetry will leave you mesmerized.
As for Disney’s Aladdin—A Musical Spectacular, sit back and enjoy the show. You will not regret it!
3 CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES
Families with kids are presented with a palette of unique activities. Located under The Grand Hall, connected with a fun slide, are Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab. How fun it would be to be a kid again! I would have a hard time picking between the activities for toddlers and tweens and Disney’s Star Wars: Cargo Bay experience.
I can promise you that your kids will love—totally love—the Oceaneer Club and Lab. Older kids can visit one of the two movie theaters or hang out with friends at The Edge or The Vibe Club.
In the evening, take your little ones to the Grand Hall, where at 10 p.m. projections around the atrium and the impressive chandelier end the day with “The Kiss Goodnight.” The show is repeated at midnight for those young at heart and kids still not ready for bed!
4 THE STATEROOMS
The Disney Wish has a capacity of 4,000 passengers. Of its 1,254 staterooms, 53 are concierge staterooms and 23 are concierge suites. More than 90% of the staterooms have ocean views, and 948 rooms offer a balcony.
If you want to splurge, you can go for the Royal Suite or the Tower Suite.
The rooms are well appointed and have plenty of storage. I stayed in a room with a balcony, and my favorite thing was to order breakfast to be delivered to the room.
5 ADULT ACTIVITIES
Relax and consider a visit to the adults-only Quiet Cove, or spend a few hours at the Senses Spa. I also highly recommend just booking a day pass for the Rain Forest experience. The fee is a whopping $79, but it includes hot tubs, scented showers, a sauna, an ice chamber (my favorite), heated tile lounge chairs, steam and dry rooms, and access to a fantastic outdoor area.
There are plenty of bars and lounges on board. Here are my recommendations:
The Rose (the lounge between the entrance to Palo Steakhouse and Enchanté) was my absolute favorite. The Rose has tables with porthole views of the ocean and a great wine list. Quiet time with a book and a glass of wine—what could be better?
Keg and Compass has beautiful decor, and I suggest visiting in the evening. Three beers (Maelstrom Stout, Twisted Tentacle, and Uncharted Lager) are specially brewed for the Disney Wish.
The adults-only Nightingale’s is a modern yet elegant piano bar inspired by the “Sing Sweet Nightingale” song from the 1950 Disney classic Cinderella. I loved it!
The Star Wars Hyperspace Lounge is super popular. Make sure to reserve a time for your visit.
Liliane Opsomer is the coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World With Kids.