Why is it a one-teime thing for you? Is it because of the cost or a once was sufficient type of experience? Dollar for dollar, is it as good or better than the parks?
For us, it was the cost. I have 5 kids so to fly 7 people to Florida, pay for two staterooms, etc. it was really a lot of money. But, it was our dream trip we had been looking forward to for 10 years ever since my wife's sister took her family. We wanted to wait until the kids were the right ages for everyone to get something out of it.
Another concern keeping us from maybe not cruising again was it did make my wife sick, especially across the Atlantic the first and last nights. In the Caribbean itself it wasn't too bad. We could maybe try a Disney cruise up to Alaska or something--I've heard those are more mellow. But, I think my wife's done with ships As for me, I loved it (we thought I'd be the one getting sick). The cost is quite reasonable for transportation to multiple locations without ever having to pack and re-pack and move, you get unlimited food, the entertainment is great, and it's relaxing.
We've only done this one cruise and we knew the one had to be Disney, since we didn't know if we'd ever have another cruising opportunity. I don't know how to compare it to other cruiselines from my own experience. I loved having all the activities for the kids. There was also the nice bonus of it not being a drunken bikini-fest like I've heard other Caribbean crusies "can" be (took young sons, they don't need to see that--it's not good for me either . We knew the Disney entertainment would be clean and appropriate for the entire family. There isn't a casino onboard and that is a plus for us. My sister has cruised several lines and said Disney is at least comparable, if not better in all areas.
Compared to the parks, that's hard for me to say because they're such different trips. Cruising is more laid-back. Theme Parking is pretty busy (at least the way I do it). My wife and I did WDW just the two of us in 2004 and had an amazing time. But, we figured we can give the kids a somewhat comparable experience at Disneyland (and have multiple times). We did not do WDW with the kids along with the cruise due to time out of school and funds. We'd love to take the kids to WDW sometime though. For us the airfare to Florida is tricky compared to driving to Disneyland. So, dollar for dollar, Disneyland is by far our best value to get the "Disney fix".
That said, I'dHIGHLY recommend a Disney cruise to anyone thinking about cruising--especially if that person is a Disney fan. It was for us a trip of a lifetime.
So, to tie back to the thread topic :I'd like any form of Disney ship by Olszewski as a late souvenir. We do have some fun stuff we bought on the cruise, so if the Olszewski isn't ever an option, we're still happy.
Thanks for the very interesting and informative answer Dr. G!
I've done several cruises (three times to Alaska as a matter of fact) and really do love them. I never really toyed with the idea of taking a Disney cruise since my wife is not a big Disney fan (although she loves cruises too). When we were looking into the DVC program last year, the Disney cruises went on the radar because it was an option available if we banked three years worth of point). I believe Disney will be starting a route in Hawaii in the near future, so that would definitely alleviate air travel costs (which living in Hawaii, is a big factor). I would love to do the Alaska route, simply because that state is so incredibly beautiful and breath taking (the next place I would want to reside in after Hawaii).
I definitely get the not having to pack and unpack, and having all your meals and rooms covered...so to speak. It's just that I am a big park fan, so when I think of the dollar cost, I always prefer to opt for a park. However, the service aboard a cruise ship is amazing and I can only imagine how much better Disney does it, so again, thank you for sharing,
As a side note, I visited the opening of the Aulani this past Monday! Here is a link to my photos in case anyone is interested:
At this point, if I had to choose between a Disney cruise out of Florida or a trip to WDW with the kids, I'd pick WDW to have a different experience. I likely wouldn't do a Disney cruise again to the same place (Western Caribbean) but would certainly consider another locale.
I think any Olszewski's would be awesome. Personally, I'd love for him to do the DLP Castle! Wilderness Lodge would also be amazing.