1. Gorgeous, Sparkling Ships
Disney went above and beyond when designing the aesthetic of their ships. They hearken back to ocean liners with a dark hull, not black because that is not allowed, but a very dark navy blue. The life boats are yellow to match the color of Mickey's shoes, which required special permission from the Coast Guard; but they match the rest of the ship so perfectly that it would be difficult to imagine the typical orange eyesores. The wraparound promenade deck immediately made me think of the movie Titanic, with its teak loungers. Art Deco or Art Nouveau is the style of the interior decor, depending on the ship, with a Dale Chihuly glass-blown chandelier in the atrium. Sure, if you are looking for Mickey, you will find him; but the surprise is: you do have to look. Disney is long known for placing "hidden Mickeys" around their theme parks, outlines of Mickey which are hidden in plain sight, and the Disney Cruise Line continues this tradition throughout the ship.
Not only are the ships beautiful, but they are sparkling clean as well. I have never seen a crew working so hard to keep a ship looking brand new as I did on the Disney Magic. You will not find these ships looking rough around the edges in any way, shape or form. With the higher percentage of children, they seem to double down on sanitizing and cleanliness. And that is something that an adult can certainly appreciate.
With the majority of the staterooms starting at 200 sq. ft., Disney has some of the largest standard staterooms in the business. Yes, there are even inside staterooms with that square footage. Additionally, almost all staterooms include the double bathroom concept, which Disney has pioneered with a sink and small tub in one room, and a sink, toilet and shower in another. Even with only two adults, this feature is a godsend. All staterooms include a sofa which can fold out to form a bed, and are beautifully decorated. The Disney Dream and Fantasy have also added a new feature for inside staterooms: a virtual porthole which shows a real-time ocean view of what your cabin would see, were it on the exterior of the ship. Fun characters from Finding Nemo float across from time to time (for those of us who are kids at heart).
Most cruise lines have an area set aside for adults only. Usually it includes some hot tubs, lounge chairs, maybe a pool. Well, Disney ships have all that and more. Inside the adults only deck area, there is a coffee bar as well as a traditional bar which you can enjoy with the guarantee of no kids hanging around. Remember what I said about Disney going overboard on cleanliness because of kids? Well, the same holds true with adult amenities. It seems that because they know their reputation, they provide more for adults than most other cruise lines. In addition to the deck areas, there is also a night club district on every ship that is exclusive to adults in the late evenings. (Sometimes the largest lounge has family comedy in it around 7:00, but after that, no kids!) The spa is top of the line with couples suites, complete with ocean view hot tubs and all the relaxation you can afford. The Rainforest room in the spa deserves a special shout out for aromatherapy scented steam rooms and showers.
Remy, on the Disney Dream and Fantasy, is the most expensive specialty restaurant at sea ($75) and features French specialties. Both restaurants are adults-only, and on the two newer ships, there is an adults only bar between the two restaurants called the Meridian Lounge.
I must concede that the Disney produced shows are geared toward Disney fans and families. Some are so sappy I found myself rolling my eyes continually. But, the comedians, magicians and other performers are decidedly NOT Disney and almost always perform an extra "adults-only" show in one of the lounges after the second dinner seating. Every single night there is some sort of show or activity geared especially to adults with a themed dance party following. One night was the tried and true marriage game; another a Quest-style scavenger hunt (bras and all). We were never bored in the evenings before or after dinner, and always looked forward to whatever offering they had for adults. The "assistant cruise director" is entirely focused on adult entertainment, and has a personality to match. Again, they are trying very hard to help you realize that this line is not just for kids. Add in the true movie theatre with first-run 3D movies (even adult features like "Up In the Air") and the large variety of drink tastings around the ship, and adults are unlikely to get bored, even without the casino.