After taking our first Disney Cruise last year, we were hooked and knew we needed to book another Disney cruise as soon as possible. Some may call it fate, others a series of mishaps, but in the end, we landed on a Disney Very Merrytime Cruise! Christmas is our absolute favorite so even though it wasn’t our original planned itinerary, you definitely wouldn’t hear us complaining about the switch.
Sailing on a Disney Very Merrytime Cruise
Sailing on the Very Merrytime has been a dream since hearing such a thing existed. What could be more magical than a Disney Christmas Cruise?!
Our Disney Very Merrytime Cruise itinerary was sailing to the Bahamas on the Disney Dream. Quite fitting name for our ship if I do say so myself. We previously had sailed on the Wonder, so we were excited to see a different ship!
We’ve talked before about not being huge fans of Nassau, but we were really itching to get back to Castaway Cay. Our itinerary included no days at sea(which I don’t recommend) so we used our Nassau Port day to enjoy the Disney Dream and didn’t even bother getting off at the Port.
We actually sailed out on the first Very Merrytime of the season in early November and it was the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. And if you thought the atriums of the Disney Cruise ships were gorgeous(which btw, they are), then seeing the atrium all decked out for Christmas will make you feel like a kid on, well, Christmas morning. It’s so magical, you may just find yourself fighting back the tears.
Not only is the atrium beautifully decorated, but most of the other common areas are too. The restaurants, the hallways and even Castaway Cay(if your itinerary includes it) gets dressed up for its holiday best!
Things to do on a Very Merrytime Cruise
We wrote about our 5 must do’s on a Disney Very Merrytime Cruise so be sure to check that out for our favorite activities onboard. And that’s just the beginning. All throughout the cruise, there are holiday themed events, treats and even Christmas music playing throughout the ship.
Mrs. Claus has storytime onboard, the characters are dressed in their festive best for all the events, Christmas merch is in full swing in the shops and Christmas crafts for families or ones specially for the kids in the youth clubs.
We were unfortunately unable to see it due to the timing of our cruise, but there is also a life size Gingerbread House onboard in the atrium! It is usually ready by the second or third week of November. We did see it being assembled and it always made the atrium smell delicious!
In addition to all of the holiday fun, there is also all of the regularly scheduled programming that is unthemed. Broadway shows are still shown every evening, movies play on deck by the pool and in the movie theater, Pirate Night and Fireworks still steal the show and all fun you expect from a Disney Cruise is still intact. Trivia, Scavenger Hunts, Wine Tastings…..you name it.
There is so much to do on a Disney Cruise and the Very Merrytime Cruise just steps that up one notch. Do as little or as much as you like!
Castaway Cay on a Very Merrytime Cruise
Ahhhh Castaway Cay, a little piece of Heaven on Earth! We fell in love with Castaway Cay the first time we visited and you know how people say absence makes the heart grow fonder? Well they’re not wrong. While the cruise ship is dressed to the nines in holiday flair, Castaway Cay is a little more on the modest side of Christmas décor.
A beautiful tree and fun little winter scene will be waiting for you as you disembark the ship, and there are small touches throughout the island to spread that holiday cheer. We recommend getting photos with these festive displays on the way back to the ship; it will be less crowded and you’ll likely have better lighting as the sun starts to go down.
Other than that, Castaway Cay is as gorgeous and as fun as we remember, with all of the same beauty and amenities that made us fall in love with it in the first place.
Tips for a Very Merrytime Cruise
Take at least a 4 night Very Merrytime cruise
This is obviously advice that you can take with a grain of salt, but if your budget and schedule allow, we don’t recommend taking any less than a 4 night Very Merrytime Cruise. There is so much to see and do in addition to the regularly scheduled programming that you’ll likely feel rushed, trying to fit it all in. Since the holiday season generally tends to feel rushed in general, we think your cruise vacation definitely shouldn’t.
Dress for the weather
Not all Very Merrytime Cruises include trips to the Caribbean. But if your cruise is taking you to somewhere that is considered “warmer” during this time of year, keep in mind that you may need to pack a variety of clothes. Not only can it be considerably hotter than you’d expect, but during the winter, sometimes the temps can get pretty chilly at night. Make layers your new best friend.
Be sure to check the weather ahead of time as well; don’t assume because its “warmer” that it will be warm. We traveled Nov 9 and we needed shorts and t-shirts during the day and sweatshirts in the evening.
Remember it’s a Christmas cruise! Pack your ugly sweater for all the fun photo opps, decorate your stateroom door and get in the Christmas spirit. We even purchased these cute little card holders and decorated them for our Key to The World Card. You didn’t pay extra for a Very Merrytime Cruise for nothing! We purchased this set as an extra amenity before our cruise started to add some holiday flair and it was the perfect souvenir from our trip!
Is a Disney Very Merrytime Cruise worth the cost?
The question you’ve all be waiting to be answered… is a Very Merrytime Cruise Worth the cost? This is a completely personal question and unfortunately one that isn’t as easy as a hard “yes” or “no”.
Let me start by first saying, that the cost of the Very Merrytime Cruise will rely on a lot of different things. When you’re sailing (November cruises will generally be cheaper, except on Thanksgiving), what kind of room you choose, where you’re sailing, the ship you’re sailing on, when you decide to book…… these things will all have an impact on the cost of your cruise.
In our case, sailing on the Dream, to the Bahamas, at the beginning of the season, the cost was actually not that much more than I expected it to be. When I don’t suffer from sticker shock after seeing the price of a trip, I know its at a price that I am comfortable with. For us, this cruise was completely worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat at that price.
That being said, some of the Very Merrytime Cruises can be quite pricey, especially as you get closer to the holiday. The answer for everyone is going to be different on this, but keep in mind that Disney cruises are already more expensive than other cruises.
If you have made peace with that fact alone, then you will most likely find that a Disney Very Merrytime Cruise is at an ok price point for you.
If you are finding that the cost is leaving you feeling a little less than magical, you might want to consider the pricing of a non-holiday themed cruise and go from there. Or put it on your Christmas list to Santa, that’s what I would do.
While some events we write about are easy for us to say “do it once” or “pass it altogether”, a Disney Very Merrytime Cruise can really be a once in a lifetime trip, or an annual holiday tradition depending on your family. But if you’re looking for a trip that combines the magic of Disney with magic of the season the without the crowds you’ll find in the Parks and while feeling like you’re actually on vacation, then a Disney Very Merrytime Cruise may be exactly what Santa ordered.