Pearl Island Bahamas and Things We Loved On Our First Disney Cruise

Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line hosted us, including our excursion to Pearl Island. All opinions are my own.
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Disney Cruise to the Bahamas

When Disney Parks invited us to visit Walt Disney World AND go on a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas, I honestly couldn’t believe it. For several days, I was in shock. I first received the invite in the late fall of 2021. We were supposed to depart at the end of January, but due to the surge in Omicron, they postponed the trip. Thankfully, they rescheduled it for the end of March, and I was able to take some time with my kids so we could participate.

Although I wasn’t super excited about them missing a week of school this felt too special of an experience to miss. I’m so glad I went with my gut, because this trip was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we are so grateful to Disney Parks and the Disney Cruise line for having us. If you want to read more about our experience at Disney Parks, you can read about that here. Now onto our cruise.

Our First Cruise

This was the first cruise my kids and I have ever been on. Although I’ve been close to going on other cruises, the pandemic canceled a couple of trips that had been planned. Regardless of those missed opportunities, I’m so glad that my first cruise and my kids’ first cruise was the Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. It is so special that all of us got to experience a major travel first together! I’ve traveled quite a lot in the last decade, so a lot of times, travel doesn’t feel that new to me, but a cruise is unlike anything I’ve experienced before.

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If I’m really honest, I actually wasn’t sure I’d like the cruise. I get claustrophobic pretty easily and I don’t like being in places with a lot of crowds or tight spaces. That was my biggest fear. I was worried I’d get on the ship and feel trapped. I’m so glad to report, I never had any feelings of feeling claustrophobic and I never felt overwhelmed by my surroundings at all. I actually was shocked at home normal I felt being on the cruise (except for a little bit of motion sickness). It really did feel like a massive resort right on the water.

Probably the only thing I wish I could have changed about the cruise was to make it 1-2 days longer. Three days went so quickly. I finally felt like I had gotten the hang of the ship, where everything was located, how to live our best life on the ship, and then it was time to get off. If I could do it again, I’d love to do the 5-day cruise option. I think that would be the perfect amount of time for the kids and me. Any longer would probably be too long, but I was wishing for another day or two in the Bahamas.

What Our Room Was Like

We stayed in a deluxe family stateroom with an ocean view and veranda. I was surprised at how spacious our room actually felt. When I first walked in, I was concerned there was only one bed, but then I learned quickly that there was actually a couch and a ceiling compartment that converted into bunk beds, which were perfect for my kids. There were two separate bathrooms upfront, one for the toilet with a sink and one for the tub with a sink. It was nice to have two separate bathroom spaces. My favorite part about our room was the balcony. It was so nice to be able to get some fresh air and see the view of the Bahamian islands. I also did love the convertible couch into bed because it really did provide us more living space to be able to put the beds up during the day.

Disney Cruise: Activities for Kids

There are endless activities for kids. They have two pools on the main deck along with two water slides. The ship also had a 9-hole mini-golf course and a basketball court. We played basketball and golf one morning.

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The Disney Cruise also offered the Oceaneer’s club, which is their version of a kids’ club. It was a great place for kids to go to play, do activities, meet other kids, and have fun. The Oceaneer’s club space was very neat. It had different themed rooms, like Star Wars and Toy Story. It’s hard to describe them, but it felt almost like they were in a mini amusement park. One afternoon, I did drop the kids off at the club so I could get a little work done and explore some of the adult-only spaces.

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Disney Cruise: Activities for Adults

There were several areas on the ship specifically meant for adults. There was one pool area that was for adults only and also had a swim-up bar. They offered a gym and a spa specifically for adults. On our last day, I found out there were several clubs, bars, and shopping that were all geared toward adults. Since I was the only adult with my kids on this trip, I didn’t get much of a chance to experience the adult-only areas, but I can definitely understand now why adults would choose to come on a Disney Cruise without their kids, there is just so much to do.

Day Excursions: Pearl Island Bahamas

One thing I did not know about our Disney Cruise before we received our itinerary is that they offer excursions – or what they call ‘port adventures‘. Depending on your cruise, you can experience different types of excursions.

They signed us up to participate in the Pearl Island Bahamas day trip. On the morning of our second day, we disembarked from the ship in Nassau Bahamas. We were escorted to a smaller passenger boat and then boated about 30 minutes to Pearl Island. It was a gorgeous and picturesque island that was quite small. You could walk the entire Island in maybe 10 minutes or less. On one end was a lighthouse and on the other was a bar and some lounge areas. There was one main beach area that overlooked stunning turquoise water.

When we first arrived, we signed up for snorkeling. Then, we had an hour to explore the island before our snorkeling time slot. So, we decided to swim in the water and the kids played with the various water toys they had. They tried stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking, which was a ton of fun. They also just enjoyed playing in the water with some of their new Disney Cruise friends.

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Later, we went snorkeling. It was the kids’ first time snorkeling. They struggled a little bit with the masks and breathing through the tube. Since this was their first time, I totally understand their struggle. Still, they did get to see some gorgeous fish and coral. I didn’t see anything surprising during the snorkeling, but it is always magical to swim amongst schools of fish. This is actually my second time snorkeling in the Bahamas (read about our free Bahamas vacation part 1 and part 2), and it’s always special.

Castaway Cay

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On the third day of our cruise, we were supposed to visit Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island. Unfortunately, due to the weather and wave conditions, they were not able to get the boat close enough to shore to anchor the boat. Although we were all a bit disappointed not to get to experience another private island, we did enjoy the free day on the boat. Honestly, we didn’t get much time to explore the boat, so it was nice to have some downtime on our last full day on the boat.

I definitely wouldn’t mind going on another Disney Bahamian cruise simply so we could check out Castaway Cay. I’ve seen other people’s trips and it looks really amazing to get to experience their private island. However, it was very special to get to experience Pearl Island.

What to Pack

My number one advice would be to pack 1/3 of what you think you need. We honestly lived in our swimsuits during the day and our pjs at night. I packed so many cute dresses and extra clothes I never even wore. Even after a week in Florida – between the parks and cruise – I probably wore less than half of what I packed. I know some people like to dress up for dinner, so that would be the one caveat. If you think you will want to wear more than one outfit in a day, then you might need more. However, I found myself re-wearing my favorite beach cover-ups more than once rather than wearing the other ones I’d packed.

What to Eat

One thing I actually loved about the cruise was the fact that all of our dinners were planned for us. Our itinerary through the Disney Cruise Line app told us exactly what time we were eating and the location of dinner. I also loved that we had the same two waiters at each dinner and our last breakfast. It felt so personalized because they always remembered our names and even what we liked to drink. They quickly learned our eating preferences too, so suggested things they thought we’d like to eat. It definitely made the experience feel more personalized.

These dinners were also some of my kids’ first experiences with multiple course meals. Although not the only time, it was one of the few times they’ve sat through multiple courses with white linen tables. I thought it was great for them to have that experience now and I will definitely seek out more opportunities for them to experience more formal dining back in LA.

Overall, I was impressed with the food quality, selection, and options available on the ship. If you have food allergies or want to eat lighter, there are tons of options for you. And if you want to indulge or imbibe, that’s available too. We only had room service two times – one time they brought us a cheese plate and one time they brought us chocolate-dipped strawberries. This was arranged by the Disney team, so I can’t say too much about the 24-hour room service, since we just didn’t use this service.  

Final Thoughts on a Disney Bahamas Cruises

Our Disney Bahamas Cruise was a really special and unforgettable experience. When I asked the kids what their favorite part was, they really couldn’t give me just one answer. But I think that’s the perfect answer. It was so much fun and such an overall great experience, that there wasn’t just one thing they loved.

For me, the highlight, by far, was our day trip to Pearl Island. There is something so magical about Caribbean waters, I just can’t get enough. The runner-up for me would be the fireworks show and dance party on the main deck on our second night. It was so cute watching the kids dance and enjoy the magic of fireworks right off of our cruise ship. Overall, the entire experience was pure magic. If you get the chance to go on a Disney Cruise to Bahamas with a stop at Pearl Island, I’d say a resounding yes.

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