There is always something magical about Disney, especially Disney cruises. The ships are idyllic resorts packed with some amazing entertainment, character meet-and-greets and more. Disney cruises are expensive, but they’re pretty special.
But which ship is the best one to cruise on? Which is the ship that has captured the hearts of the fans, and which one has got some serious work to do to catch the others? You might be surprised!
Let’s take a look at the Disney ships ranked best to worst according to online reviews.
How I gathered the data
I’ve not sailed on every Disney cruise ship, although I have sailed on a couple of them. But for me to be the one deciding the ranking of all the ships based on my experiences of Disney Magic and Disney Wish alone wouldn’t be fair.
So instead, I turn to the experts – and by that I mean the thousands of people who’ve cruised on a Disney ship before. After all, what fairer way is there to rank the ships than on the overall experience of all the past guests who’ve left a review of the ship?
Each one has an average score out of 5 for their reviews, so I’ve taken the averages of those scores to put the ships in order from best to worst, based on public opinion.
Let me tell you – I was shocked to see which ship came in fifth place.
However, before we get to that, let me clarify what “worst” means. “Worst ship” does not mean “bad ship”, and the Disney ship that came bottom of this list still has a very respectable score of 3.8 out of 5.
So it isn’t a terrible ship and most people still have an amazing time.
Which is the best Disney cruise ship to go on?
According to customer reviews, the best Disney cruise ship is the Disney Dream, although it has a very similar average review score to Disney Fantasy. All of the Disney cruise ships are popular but Disney Dream, which launched in 2011, is marginally preferred.
Here’s the list of all five ships.
The Best Disney Cruise Ships By Reviews
1. Disney Dream
The top ship in the Disney fleet, according to customer reviews, is the Disney Dream. Disney Dream launched in 2011 as the first of the Dream class, and she was around 50% bigger than the two ships to come prior, meaning she had more space to pack in exciting experiences.
Disney Dream is also the ship that will host Marvel at Sea, an experience where guests will be able to meet up to 30 Marvel characters on their cruise. It’s only on limited sailings but it is exclusive to Disney Dream, so bear that in mind when you’re booking your cruise if you have a Marvel fan in the family.
Obviously being top of the pile, the reviews for Disney Dream are overwhelmingly positive, especially about the quality of the entertainment, the variety of things to do, and the amazing crew.
Negatives tend to focus on the ship feeling a little crowded – a lot has been packed in. Some guests feel cramped in the cabins too, but remember there’s no need to spend too much time in your room with so much ship to explore.
2. Disney Fantasy
Disney Fantasy is the sister ship to Disney Dream, launching a year later in 2012. The ships aren’t identical twins although they are almost identical sizes. Disney Fantasy is better for longer 7-night cruises while Disney Dream primarily offers 3-night and 4-night sailings.
Disney Fantasy’s exclusive experience is Pixar Day at Sea. Again, this is only available on limited cruises, but if you’ve got a Pixar fan in your cruising group then consider this ship for your cruise – where you’ll be able to sing, dance and play with all your favourite characters from that studio.
It’s also the ship that has the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – the famous shop from the theme parks that transforms kids into princesses, knights and pirates.
Reading the reviews, guests love the entertainment and the facilities. Negative reviews for Disney Fantasy are a little odd – there are a lot criticising how the ship is aimed at kids more than adults. Perhaps because the ship focusses on longer itineraries, adults assume there will be more for them?
Either way, plenty of adults still have an amazing time, according to the majority of reviews.
3. Disney Wonder
Disney Wonder was the second ship to launch for the cruise line, back in 1999, and similar to her sister ship the Disney Magic she has been well maintained. She is a smaller ship in the fleet, although the core experiences of great dining and live entertainment are very much present.
Having said that, the reviews that are negative do focus on the ship feeling like the most dated in the cruise line, and to be fair Disney Magic has had more upgrades added. Comments on the Disney Wonder include that the ship has some quirks of older ships, like a lot of vibration and noise, and there are areas that just feel a bit worn.
But the positives far outweigh any negatives, especially where the families have made the most of the kids clubs, the daytime entertainment such as the quizzes, and the character meet and greets.
4. Disney Magic
Disney Magic is the oldest ship in the fleet for Disney cruise lines but she has been really well maintained. In reading through the customer reviews of the ship, I only saw a couple of minor comments about the ship looking tired and worn, and most people didn’t even mention it.
Instead, people remember the good things – and there are a lot. Reviewers love the classic feel of the ship, including elements such as the Promenade Deck which you can stroll around, but also the more modern additions including the AquaDunk water slide.
The entertainment and the food get a lot of positive comments, as do the crew across the entire ship.
Waiters on Disney Magic, in particular, get a lot of praise for how they care for their guests on rotational dining, and remember their preferences every night. It’s a common theme across Disney cruises though.
Other minor negatives beyond the wear of the ship include the pool being quite small, but also a lot of the bad reviews are around health protocols during COVID-19, which are no longer relevant.
5. Disney Wish
The Disney Wish is the newest of the Disney cruise ships, and she is absolutely stunning. She is packed with a lot of exciting features, including the first Disney attraction at sea, the AquaMouse – which takes the ‘water coaster’ idea of the earlier ships and adds better theming and a story.
And yet here the ship is – at the bottom of the list.
Let’s start with the positives. And despite the amazing attractions, it’s actually the crew that get the most mentions in reviews – people love just how hard they are working to offer that typical Disney experience. Often on newer ships there can be issues with service and crew standards, but the feedback is unanimously positive for the team on Disney Wish.
Other positive comments mention the quality of the food and the entertainment.
It’s important to note that newer ships also have fewer reviews, so the bad scores can affect the average more. But there are fair comments in the reviews – mostly about the design of the ship.
Passengers say that issues are caused due to bottlenecks and split restaurants that cause crowds and long delays. For an expensive ship that has been significantly hyped, there seems to be a lot of frustration at these flaws which will be hard to correct. Other reviews mention the cabins feeling smaller and having limited storage space.
Choosing The Best Disney Cruise Ship For You
Choosing the right Disney cruise ship isn’t as simple as just picking the one that has the best review scores.
The ships have a lot of similarities, but also some differences, and comparing the features of the Disney ships is important to making sure you have the best experience.
Plus you should consider the itineraries – finding the right ship is as much about where she cruises too.
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The nicest Disney cruise ship is Disney Wish. While the older ships have been beautifully maintained and refurbished, Disney Wish is significantly newer and features a lot of modern design touches and comforts to make the ship feel really special.
The newest Disney cruise ship is Disney Wish, which launched in 2022, although in 2024 that title will be taken by Disney Treasure when she makes her debut. Generally, Disney ships launch in pairs, but a third Wish-class ship is also expected in 2025.
The oldest cruise ship sailing for Disney Cruise Line is Disney Magic. She first launched for the company in July 1998, and she remains a very popular choice for Disney fans. She has been refurbished several times to maintain the high standards of the Disney company.
The biggest Disney ship is the Disney Wish, both in terms of passenger capacity and internal volume, the common measurement of cruise ship size. She can hold 5,000 passengers and has a gross tonnage of 144,000 – around 10% larger than Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.
The smallest ship in the Disney fleet is the Disney Magic. She’s a twin ship of Disney Wonder, but not an identical twin, and while the passenger capacity is the same she has a smaller gross tonnage of 83,969 – just 161 gross tons fewer than her sister ship.
Disney Dream is, to most people, the better ship compared to Disney Magic. It is newer and larger, with more features to enjoy, such as the AquaDuck water coaster, although Disney Magic does have the AquaDunk water slide.
The Disney Fantasy is the cruise ship that offers the Star Wars Day at Sea – a day-long adventure experience with meet and greets and various activities, although it is not always available. Disney Wish has the Star Wars Cargo Bay for kids and the Hyperspace Lounge bar for adults.
Disney Dream has the Marvel Day at Sea, which will feature guest appearances from up to 30 different Marvel characters. Disney Wish has the Avengers: Quantum Encounter restaurant and the Marvel Super Hero Academy.
The AquaDunk is a water slide that was added to Disney Magic as part of a refurbishment. This is the only ship it features on. Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy have a ‘water coaster’ called AquaDuck, while Disney Wish has the AquaMouse, considered the first full Disney attraction at sea.
The Disney Wonder is the ship that currently offers cruises to Alaska. At other times of the year she offers sailings to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific as well – while the other ships in the fleet primarily stick to the Caribbean or Europe.
The Bottom Line
Every Disney ship has a bit of that Disney magic, not just the Disney Magic. Choosing which one is best for you will come down to marginal things.
You might have specific Disney cruise waterslides you want to try, or it could be that your kid (or partner) is a huge Star Wars or Marvel fan. Or maybe you really want to visit one of Disney’s private islands – Castaway Cay or Lighthouse Point?
Just make sure you check out which features each ship has, and the itineraries on offer, and you’ll be sure to have an amazing time on your Disney cruise.
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