My wife and I fell in love with Disney Cruise Line immediately after our first sailing, and first cruise ever, on the Dream in September of 2015. Within 3 years of taking our first cruise, we had gone on 11 Disney cruises, all of them being on the Dream except for 1. One of the reasons we were able to do this was because we are Florida residents. I had the Disney Cruise Line Florida resident discount web page as my home page and would keep my eye out for a cruise we could take. Port Canaveral is only about 7 hours away for us and those 3-night cruises on the Dream over the weekend were typically affordable and easy for us to fit in our schedule.
Having sailed on the Dream so many times, 13 sailings as of writing this article, the Dream became “home” to us. Whether it be a favorite crew member, activity, food, place to hang out, or just the ship in general; cruisers develop an attachment to their favorite ship. I always call the door we boarded through on deck 3 the “happy and sad door.” Walking onboard, hearing your name announced, and then all the various crew members saying “welcome home” truly made it feel like that, home. Then, of course, when we had to say goodbye, that same entrance became the sad door as the tears would fall, especially if we hadn’t booked another cruise yet.
When news of Disney’s newest ship, the Wish, came out in August of 2019 I was excited because I knew whatever Disney designed after their years of experience would be incredible. Later, when the itineraries were announced and I saw that the Dream was moving to Miami, my heart sank knowing that I wouldn’t be able to jump onboard the Dream for a quick weekend trip. How would I feel about the Wish? Would I get the same attachment towards her as I did the Dream? The questions began to flood my mind.
Thanks to being Platinum with Disney’s Castaway Club, our fabulous Dreams Unlimited Travel agent was able to book us a room aboard the Wish for her Maiden Voyage. My wife and I were both insanely excited but also terrified about how we would feel about going on a new ship. In the days leading up to the Maiden Voyage, I avoided any social media posts or reviews of the preview cruises that various Disney content creators and celebrities had been on so that I could go in with a fresh perspective of the ship. I didn’t want any pre-conceived ideas or opinions about the Wish.
The day came, we boarded the Wish for her Maiden Voyage and, from the moment you set foot onboard, it was evident that Disney had truly designed a “castle on the sea.” Once inside the Grand Hall on the Wish, as I turned 360 degrees to take it all in, the first thought that came to my mind was “Disney took a deluxe resort and placed it on the sea.” Everywhere I looked felt elegant and my mind kept going back and forth between was I in the middle of Cinderella Castle or standing in the lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort. It became quickly evident that the Wish was in a class of her own and that meant I was going to have to adjust my thought process.
While I could certainly write a review of the Disney Wish, this article is about helping you maintain perspective when sailing on a new ship. Whether it be Disney’s newest ship, a ship you haven’t sailed on before, or even another cruise line; Here are my tips for helping you embrace a different ship.
1. Take reviews you read or watch online with a grain of salt
Each of us have our own ideas and feelings about the things we like. Just like the age-old argument of “Is Disneyland better than Disney World”, each person is going to feel differently. It’s still a good idea to read or watch reviews to get an idea of things you might want to try but keep your mind open for your own views.
2. Realize that all ships can’t be the same
Just like people, not every ship can be the same. Otherwise, why would they make different ships? In DCL’s case, there are currently 3 classes of ship: Classics (Magic & Wonder), Dream class (Dream & Fantasy), and the Triton class (Wish). When you sail on ships of the same class, overall, they’re going to be almost identical but there are still subtle differences. Between classes of ships there are usually major changes such as with the Wish the removal of midship elevators.
3. Adjust your perspective and try not to over compare
While this tip doesn’t necessarily apply to other cruise lines, the example of the Disney Wish is somewhat unique. I found that when I reminded myself what Disney told us the Wish was going to be, “a Castle on the Sea”, that I enjoyed her much more. When I let myself start comparing the Wish to the Dream or Fantasy, I would quickly start nitpicking at every little thing that was different and long for the Dream instead of living in the moment I was in on the Wish.
4. Let yourself have new experiences
Don’t board a new ship and immediately try to recreate experiences you’ve had on other ships or look for your favorite food or drink. Explore the ship, discover new experiences and menus. Let yourself be surprised when you find out something you like is on this other ship instead of going in saying to yourself “I’m going to be so disappointed if XYZ isn’t onboard.” A great example of this for me was discovering that the Wish had the “All Hands on Deck Cheese Platter” on their room service menu. While I was a little sad that some other items I liked from room service weren’t there, it was offset by the huge number of offerings they had available in quick service. It’s all about perspective and trade-offs.
Going from the Dream to the Wish for me was a challenge as it was a very different experience but, even sitting here reading my own advice, I find myself excited to sail on the Wish in the future to experience all the things we didn’t have a chance to on the Maiden Voyage. Don’t let what someone else has said dissuade you from trying a new ship. Go, live your life, and create new memories for you and your family! Who knows, maybe you’ll discover your new home on the sea.