Set sail on Disney’s Fantasy — without kids

Matt Stroshane / Disney

Ooh La La on the Disney Fantasy is inspired by an elegant French boudoir adorned with velvet-tufted walls, Victorian furniture and Louis XIV-style chaise lounges. For adult guests only, the lounge is part of Europa, a nighttime entertainment district that celebrates European travel.

A Disney Cruise can trigger thoughts of in-your-face cartoon characters and a shipload of screaming kids.

Yes, Mickey Mouse and the gang are on hand to pose for photos and there is no shortage of children on these ships. But those seeking adult-focused fun and kid-free spaces will not be disappointed by a Disney Cruise. I recently sailed solo on a media preview sailing of the company’s new ship, Fantasy. Sailing sans children allowed me to explore the grown-up side of this family-focused cruise line.

Get pampered at Senses Spa Salon
While most passengers were whooping it up on the top deck during a sail-away party, I was soaking my tootsies in a tub of bubbling hot water and gabbing with other gals during my pedicure at Senses Spa Salon. With 17 private treatment rooms, salon, barber shop and fitness center, there are plenty of pampering options to choose from.

Davina Chojnowski of Boston found the spa to be a romantic place to spend time with her husband on their honeymoon. “I’m pretty sure we had a spa treatment every day,” she said. After side-by-side spa treatments, couples can nibble strawberries and sip some bubbly on a private verandah with a hot tub and double lounge chair in one of two spa villas.

Kent Phillips / Disney

The Disney Fantasy includes Satellite Falls, a circular splash pool with benches and a rain curtain, exclusively for adult guests.

Dive into calm pools
There are two splashy spots on Fantasy where adults can escape the boisterous family fun of the ship’s main pools. Grab a cocktail at the swim-up Cove Bar and cool off in one of three freshwater pools that make up the Quiet Cove Pool. Satellite Falls is a water-lover’s heaven with a circular splash pool and a cascading rain curtain.

Dine like royalty
In addition to three elaborately themed main dining restaurants and casual poolside fare provided in the price of a Disney Cruise, there are two adult-only restaurants aboard Fantasy. French-inspired Remy is the most lavish. Dinner starts with a Champagne cocktail made tableside, followed by up to nine small courses ($75) with optional wine pairings ($99).

In addition to dinner and brunch ($20), adults can enjoy a high tea ($15) at Palo, an upscale restaurant specializing in Northern Italian cuisine. Bring fancy garb and a big appetite to enjoy these swanky venues.

Drink and dance the night away
The ship’s nighttime district, Europa, provides a virtual journey through Europe with a lively Italian piazza, an Irish pub with plenty of TVs on which to watch the latest game, and a London dance club. The Skyline bar features changing scenes of European skylines, complete with miniature animated cars and people. As a Francophile, my favorite is Ooh La La, a femininely French bar inspired by a jewelry box with lush furniture and a Champagne-bubble chandelier.

Act like a kid again

Christine Hardenberger, owner of Magical Mouse Plans Travel, said that although Disney is widely known as a family-centric brand, about 30 percent of Disney vacations booked though her agency are for adults traveling without children.

Matt Stroshane / Disney

Those aboard the Disney Fantasy watch “Buccaneer Blast!” – a fireworks show choreographed to music featuring songs from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.

Despite more than 70,000-square-feet of space on Fantasy dedicated to those 18 and older, many adults embark on a Disney Cruise because they want to experience the joy of reconnecting to their inner child. Vacationers want to chuck their to-do lists and business suits in favor of a spin down the AquaDuck waterslide or dancing at an all-ages pirate deck party complete with fireworks.

Explore the Caribbean
After sister ship Dream began its shorter, three- to five-day itineraries last year, Fantasy was designed to keep cruisers busy during weeklong sailings, said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Fantasy’s Caribbean itineraries alternate between an Eastern route (with visits to St. Maarten and St. Thomas) and a Western route (stopping at Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel). All include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, which features Serenity Bay, an adult-only slice of beach paradise.

Get the Disney Experience
Ozer Balli, Disney’s vice president of hotel operations, believes adult cruisers sailing without children choose Disney Cruise Line because “the brand offers a trust factor and a quality level that never disappoints.”

Kimberly Button, a former Disney Cruise Line employee and author of the Disney Activity Guide app, is planning a Disney Cruise vacation this year. “There’s just something special,” she says, “something that you really cannot even explain or put your finger on but you know that it’s there, that you find on Disney and no other cruise line.”

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