The Disney Wish, the cruise line’s first new ship in 10 years, has upped the ante on what is already considered a luxury brand. For more than $25,000, guests can live like royalty in two-story suites with a spiral staircase and a hot tub on the verandah. There’s also an expansive spa and a $5,000 drink “experience” in the adult Star Wars bar.
These are among the many new luxe features aboard the Disney Wish, which set sail from Port Canaveral in mid-July for three- and four-day cruises to the Bahamas.
Since the Disney Magic debuted in 1998, the cruise line’s ships have won numerous awards for best family cruising. The Disney cruises charge a premium for their many kids clubs, “free” sodas, elevated food choices and fireworks nights. They tend to cost two to four times more than cruises aboard mainstream lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean, according to the consumer travel site Points Guy.
For Disney fans, even those without kids tagging along, the extra touches of service in a family-friendly atmosphere have earned a loyal following.
The mammoth Disney Wish, weighing about 144,000 gross tons, has capacity for 4,000 passengers. It takes guests to Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, called Castaway Cay, where lounges and umbrellas are already set up and lunch is an extension of the ship’s food service.
The new ship boasts a number of firsts, including AquaMouse, a waterslide that sends riders whooshing through a tunnel with music and scenes from classic cartoons. The Senses Spa offers the cruise line’s first Rainforest Room that extends outside. It has scented showers, heated tile lounge chairs and hot tubs.
There are numerous adult areas including Hook’s Barbery, where in addition to a nice shave, you can concoct your own Old Fashioned from a hidden bourbon bar.
Also for adults only is the first Star Wars Hyperspace Lounge. It is designed as a high-end bar in outer space — as opposed to the grubby aesthetic of Oga’s Cantina at the Hollywood Studios theme park that is based on the famous bar scene in the original movie.
The upscale bar has a “space window” that appears to show familiar ships and planets from the films floating by. The drinks are otherworldly, too, costing $15 to $20 each. They feature nifty twists like a glowing image of the Death Star in one drink’s foam or a server shooting a tiny gun that produces a bubble full of smoke that lands on top of the glass.
But the most buzzed-about drink on the menu is the Kaiburr Crystal, which costs $5,000. The drink, named after a Star Wars relic, is more of an experience than a libation. It arrives in a droid-inspired container. After the customer punches in a code, smoke, lighting and sound effects reveal four silver-plated cups with some very expensive cognac, port and bourbon.
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The $5,000 price tag includes other perks, like a bottle of sparkling wine from Skywalker Ranch, a special entertainment-themed escort off the ship and an invitation to tour George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, the campus located 40 minutes north of San Francisco that is not open to the public.
Another first on the Disney Wish are the luxurious Royal Suites that feature statement pieces like a spectacular stained glass frieze two decks high. Each suite has two master bedrooms with a living area, open dining salon and a private hot tub on the verandah. Two of the four Royal Suites stretch over two levels with an elegant spiral staircase.
The suites don’t come cheap, costing more than $25,000 for a two-story Sleeping Beauty-themed Royal Suite. Many are already sold out for the rest of the year.
The 1,966-square-foot Concierge Wish Tower Suite costs upwards of $30,000 for a single cruise and is located in the forward funnel of the Disney Wish. It is “Moana”-themed with custom Polynesian artwork. A double-height living room features a chandelier and floor-to-ceiling glass windows to take in sweeping ocean views. There are two main bedrooms, a children’s room, 4 ½ bathrooms, a dining room, a wet bar and a library, all accessed via a private elevator. Oh, and there’s access to a private sun deck, too.
Even the more basic staterooms on the Disney Wish offer more amenities than on most cruise ships. Veranda rooms, which have understated decor themed for Cinderella or one of the other Disney franchises, come with a queen-size bed and a living area with a fold-out couch, desk, shelving and TV. There is patio furniture on the verandah and a bathroom that is separated into two parts — one with a toilet and sink, and the other with a shower, bathtub and another sink. These are standard features for Disney cruise ships but a rarity in the cruise industry.
The verandah rooms start at $2,153 for two adults on a three-night cruise to Castaway Cay.
“Disney Cruise Line’s legion of fans sail for the unique mix of on-board entertainment and activities that allow Disney to charge a premium for its voyages, relative to other major cruise lines,” said Robert Nile, founder of Theme Park Insider. “With Disney Wish, Disney looks to level up those on-board experiences, setting a new standard not just for Disney but also the entire the cruise industry.”
If you go
Disney Wish: The newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line. The cost of a three-night cruise starts at $1,751 for two guests in an inside room. An oceanview room starts at $1,925 while a verandah room starts at $2,153. A concierge room that sleeps six to eight costs $4,313 and up. A four-night cruise is priced from $2,243 for an inside room for two adults, $2,507 for an oceanview room, $2,803 for a verandah room and $5,843 for a concierge room. disneycruise.disney.go.com.