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So you think you're not a cruiser? Why this new ship may be the one to prove you wrong

July 17, 2022
10 min read
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Editor’s note: TPG writer Summer Hull sailed on Disney Wish on a free trip provided by Disney Cruise Line. The opinions expressed below are entirely hers and weren’t subject to review by the line.


For 38 years, I said: "I don't cruise." And for 38 years, that was firmly true.

I'd seen snippets of at-sea wet T-shirt contests, drinking competitions, overcrowded pools and masses of people stuck together on a ship on the ocean with frequent buffet visits and it looked ... awful.

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But then, in 2019, I tried a short three-night cruise as a test. I went with Disney Cruise Line, as I was comfortable with the company's brand on land and figured Disney would likely be the line for me if I was ever going to try cruising. Worst-case scenario: We'd go to Disney World when the ship docked back at Port Canaveral in Florida and still have a good time there even if we hated the cruise.

Fortunately for me, I didn't need to go to plan B. During that brief sailing, I discovered just how wrong I had been about cruising.

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There was so much more to cruising than what I had initially imagined. I loved it, so much so that I have gone on three subsequent Disney cruises since that first voyage and have three more sailings actively booked. Most recently, I got to go on the new Disney Wish.

While cruising won't ever be for everyone, Disney Wish is the ship that could turn some non-cruisers into people who love being at sea way more than they ever expected. Although folks who are already fans of the Disney parks, brand and service will likely be easier to convert to cruising, you don't actually have to be a Disney person to have a great time on this ship. If you enjoy Caribbean resorts, lazy pool and beach days, Broadway-style shows and seemingly endless food and beverage options, chances are you'll love sailing on Disney Wish.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Here are five reasons why self-professed non-cruisers should reconsider vacationing at sea to go on a Disney Wish cruise.

The decor resembles what you'd find at a high-end hotel

Disney Wish is not a kitschy floating cartoon version of a ship. It's a high-end hotel out on the ocean.

If you look closely, you will see some Disney touches, but beyond the clearly themed corners of the ship (such as the "Star Wars" bar), you'll discover upscale details that could easily be found on land at a luxury resort.

For example, in the Grand Hall, you'll find an intricate chandelier mounted on the ceiling that just so happens to resemble an upside-down version of Cinderella's ballgown skirt.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Then there are the suites, which may not be the accommodations you're booking but give you a sense of the elevated, modern design featured throughout the ship.

While your individual cabin may not look quite as chic (unless you are working with a large budget and plan far enough in advance to snag one of the coveted suites), you'll quickly realize that accommodations on Disney Wish are much more elegant than the everyday cruise cabin. Even entry-level interior cabins are still pretty darn good.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Related: Best cabins to choose on a cruise ship

All of the food is exceptional

When you sail with Disney, the price of your cruise covers tons of food options, including the main restaurants you rotate through each evening.

But you're not simply getting more food on Wish — you're getting more high-quality food.

Disney Wish's complimentary food is better than anything I've had at all-inclusive resorts I've visited — and that's saying something, as I've been to some pretty stellar resorts.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

You'll have your pick of restaurants, plus room service, poolside snacks and a buffet, all of which your cruise fare covers, so have a ball. Don't waste one extra bite on something you don't love when there are so many other options freely available. Trust me: The servers don't seem to mind bringing you more options.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

If you consider yourself a foodie and really enjoy sitting for a meal in an upscale dining venue, budget a little extra for one (or more) of the adults-only restaurants. While these spots are not cheap — dinners at Palo and Enchante start around $45 per person and $125 per person, respectively — you will not be disappointed by the plates presented to you.

After one meal at any of the onboard restaurants, you will quickly realize that this ship does not offer the mass-market cruise buffet of your nightmares. Instead, Disney Wish focuses on fine dining provided at a leisurely pace with excellent service.

So, if hearing Elsa sing at Arendelle or immersing yourself in the world of comics at the Marvel-themed restaurant is not your thing, you can rest easy knowing you'll have plenty of refined options to choose from.

Related: Cruise ship restaurant nirvana: The 9 best meals you can have at sea

Amazing bars, drinks and lounges are available throughout the ship

Whether you want cocktails, mocktails or just a fun place to hang out, Disney Wish delivers.

Where else can you go from a New Orleans-themed lounge with music, beignets and hurricanes to a piano bar with fancy, bubbly drinks to a pool bar with a view and popsicle drinks before concluding your day at a space-themed bar?

And those are not even all the options available.

The Bayou Bar on Disney Wish. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Your cruise will be at least three nights long, so know that you don't have to hit up every bar in one night. That's a relief because you may find it hard to pull yourself away from a bar (or two) during your sailing.

After all, the bars and lounges on Disney Wish are not just lovely physical spaces. They are also places where you'll find creative cocktails that are thoughtful and tasty.

Sure, drinks are not included, but most of the more imaginative options cost between $12 and $15, making them comparable to (if not more affordable than) similar options served on land. Having tried a few myself, I can attest that the drinks are well worth the extra expense.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Related: There's a $5,000 'Star Wars' drink on Disney's new cruise ship — but its contents are a mystery

You will not get bored

If you think you'll be bored on a cruise, let me assure you that you won't be on this one.

With two movie theaters showing new hits daily, a larger main theater with live shows, a dedicated space for activities like bingo and family games, five sit-down restaurants, numerous grab-and-go outlets, coffee shops galore, more than a half-dozen pools, a waterslide, an amazing spa and salon, a barbershop with a secret drink menu and so much more, there's no way you could possibly get bored while on Disney Wish.

That's true even if you spend all your time on the ship, though you'll probably find yourself on shore for at least a few hours when the ship is docked at Disney's private island in the Bahamas or another port.

Disney's private island. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

So, even if you decide you hate sitting on your balcony looking at the ocean or are not into some of the onboard programming, you will have plenty of other options both on the ship and on land. Not to mention, kids in your crew will have ample ways to pass the time, whether it's in the "The Incredibles"-themed activity area or one of several meticulously planned kids clubs.

Long story short: The three or four nights you have on Wish will quickly pass.

Related: 5 reasons why Disney cruises aren't just for kids

It doesn't feel like a ship

OK, this one will be weather dependent, so please don't come for me if you sail during a storm, but assuming you encounter mostly clear skies, you may barely notice you're on a ship if you don't look outside.

As someone who is on the motion sickness-prone end of the spectrum, I was pleasantly surprised by just how smooth my cruise was in early July. I couldn't feel a darn thing 99% of the time I was on Disney Wish during its media preview sailing. In fact, I didn't even notice when we pulled into or out of a port, something I've really heard and felt at times on other ships.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

While there is no guarantee your experience will be like this, you can rest easy knowing that even if you do feel the ocean more than you wish at night, you'll be docked for at least eight hours (in most cases) during the day before moving on to the next port.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Related: How to avoid feeling seasick on a cruise

Bottom line

If you love new hotels, resort life, beach views or all things Disney and think you don't like cruising but haven't tried it, I'm here to suggest you give it a shot.

Disney Wish is not like other cruise ships out there; it's an all-new experience that takes some of the best things to do on land and puts them together on a ship.

While it may not have surfing, rock climbing, ice skating and other boundary-pushing activities you'll find on larger ships, Wish offers an elevated experience that appeals to kids and adults alike — even those who think cruising is not for them.

So before you write off cruising completely, consider setting sail on Disney Wish. If there's ever a ship that will change your view on cruising, this one's it.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases