For a multigenerational cruise from Australia, Disney Wonder is undeniably 'the happiest ship on earth’.
A grandmother, eyes twinkling beneath bedazzled Minnie Mouse ears, is holding hands with her wide-eyed granddaughter who, in turn, is clutching a well-loved Ariel doll. Her older brother is busy bouncing with delight to a whirlwind of Disney tunes and squeal-inducing appearances by Mickey Mouse and friends. As the ship slowly pulls away from Circular Quay, the children’s parents exchange relieved smiles in anticipation of their holiday on Disney Wonder, the ultimate multi-generational cruise for families Down Under.
The mid-sized vessel, comprising 875 staterooms, delivers all the magic complete with Princesses, pirates and that ever popular Mouse, with an air of elegance. The ship’s design team has expertly incorporated a little Disney whimsy, with interactive magic woven into every corner, without making the ship feel cutesy or childish.
Room to move
The staterooms, located across six tranquil cabin decks, offer families a luxurious retreat at sea, complete with carefully-curated amenities. The popular Concierge Family Oceanview Staterooms with Verandah feature spacious balconies and well-appointed bathrooms boasting a generous bathtub and separate toilet. There are also a select number of connecting staterooms that perfectly cater to multigenerational families. The most luxurious suites are the Concierge Royal Suites with Verandah, with art deco décor with original artwork, vintage Disney hallmarks, warm wood finishes, elegant furnishings and lavish marble-and-granite bathrooms. These suites have two separate bedrooms and can sleep seven, and if you have extended family along, you can add an adjoining One-Bedroom Suite with Verandah.
Indulge in rotational dining across the ship’s main dining venues, each offering top-notch cuisine with a side of storytelling. Triton’s is a delightful venue that also plays host to The Royal Court Royal Tea – an enchanting tea party featuring beloved Disney Princesses. Animator's Palate is a standout for its unique interactive experience showcasing the evolution of Disney animation with a clever personal twist, and Tiana’s Place treats jazz-loving families to live music and delightful New Orleans-inspired dishes. Casual dining options include a diverse buffet at Cabanas – the Mickey Mouse Waffles are a must – , Pinocchio’s Pizzeria, gyros at Pete’s Boiler Bites, and Daisy’s de Lites for healthy grab-and-go snacks. While these are all included, adults-only Palo treats guests to sophisticated Northern Italian cuisine for an additional fee. The food is so sublime that we return the following morning while the kids are having a blast in the kids club, for a showstopping sea day brunch.
Doing it for the kids
Disney's commitment to families is evident in its next level kids' clubs, where Disney magic shines through in every activity. Kids can participate in themed events and meet and greets with the Disney characters who pop by during the day. The Small World Nursery caters to infants, while Disney Oceaneer's Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab are for kids aged three to 10. Older kids can enjoy parent-free zones in specially designed hangout spaces, exclusively for tweens and teens. And for an added touch of magic, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique transforms little ones into Disney royalty for an extra fee – worth every cent to see the smile on your child’s face!
On deck, sports enthusiasts can play basketball or ping-pong on the sports deck. Families can splash in Goofy’s Pool and explore Aqualab and Dory’s Reef. There’s also the Twist 'n' Spout waterslide, where I spy the grandma from the sailaway party laughingly take on the AquaDuck waterslide, emerging with a Disney-dusted spring in her step.
Evenings sparkle with themed poolside parties with fireworks and live entertainment, plus three Broadway-calibre productions, 'Frozen: The Musical Spectacular', 'The Golden Mickeys' and 'Disney Dreams,' a dazzling showcase of beloved characters and timeless Disney tunes. All are equally spectacular, leaving the kids wowed and the adults humming show tunes.
Disney Wonder is not only about the kids. There’s a surprising variety of entertainment, activities and dining experiences open exclusively to guests 18 and over. While the little ones enjoy the youth activity spaces, adults can escape to the exclusive Quiet Cove Pool on Deck 9 – a serene adults-only retreat with a poolside bar, Signals, and specialty coffees at the Cove Cafe, accessible only through the adults pool area.
Or they can rejuvenate with massages, facials, and couple experiences at Sense Spa & Salon. For those who’ve indulged a little too much, the state-of-the-art fitness centre offers personalised fitness programs and a variety of classes.
As night falls, we explore the adults-only 'After Hours' district on Deck Three, featuring diverse clubs and the English-pub-inspired Crown & Fin and the breezy outdoor bar Signals offering views of the sea, shore and sunset from Deck 9.
Something magical does happen to guests on Disney Wonder. Even if they were not Disney fans, did not have children and did not expect to love it, by the end of day one the smiles on their faces and the Mickey ears perched on their heads said it all.
Disney Wonder is ‘Wonder-ful’ indeed.
As to Disney artwork, logos, and properties: © Disney.