Disney Wonder caters to families—no surprise—but a ride on Sapphire Princess offers many family amenities, and is often quite a bit less expensive.
|Princess Cruises Sapphire Princess||Disney Cruise Line Disney Wonder|
|Double Occupancy: 2670||Double Occupancy: 1754|
|Gross Tonnage: 115875||Gross Tonnage: 83000||14 decks||11 decks|
|CDC Score: 98||CDC Score: 99|
|Launched: May 27, 2004||Launched: 1999|
Parents considering a cruise with children might assume that Disney Cruise Line is the first and last place to look for an ideal family experience at sea. And Disney does an excellent job of catering to the under-18 market as well as providing adult options that allow parents some quality time of their own at sea. But when Disney Cruise Line arrived in the market in 1998 it forced most existing cruise lines to reexamine their family offerings, and today Sapphire Princess is an example of a ship that provides facilities and activities for kids, staffed by carefully trained crewmembers. While not as extensive as the services on Disney Wonder, the three facilities on Sapphire (each dedicated to a different age bracket) will keep kids engaged from beginning to end of the cruise, and provide parents a bit of escape. Bonus: Sapphire Princess is generally priced less that Disney Wonder on comparable itineraries.
For couples without children, the choice between the two might seem obvious—go with the ship that caters to couples. But Disney Wonder offers a quality experience for adults, and we have found a small number of couples on-board this ship enjoying the Disney treatment, even without kids. Most of them were members of Disney Vacation Club (a plan similar to timeshare), but Disney Wonder does deliver restaurants that are somewhat better than Sapphire Princess, and the stage shows (though mostly family-oriented) are head and tails above the shows on Sapphire in quality. Still, couples should not be lulled into thinking the Disney Wonder offers an intimate adult-oriented experience; on an average cruise, the ship will have upwards of 1,000 kids roaming its decks. Aboard Sapphire Princess, the number of kids varies heavily by time of year, but can range between as few as a couple dozen to several hundred, and the ship is a considerably larger vessel for them to blend in to.