Caribbean cruising with Mickey Mouse

Disney cruises are pricey, but the company does know how to pack in the fun. Lucky Gilson kids (and adults, too)!

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published Oct. 12, 2008, in the Boston Globe)

The Gilson Family

The Gilson Family

WHO: Diana, 39, and William “Gilly” Gilson, 46, and their children Will, 6, and Carli, 5, of Sharon, Mass.

WHERE: Caribbean.

WHEN: A week in April.

WHY: “People told me, if you’re really not looking forward to having your kids stand in long lines at Disney World, try a Disney cruise,” Diana Gilson said. “Our accountant had done the Western Caribbean cruise about four times and loves it, so we did that one.”

EASY PREP: “Disney does a great job with sending you a DVD that has pictures of the ship, what to pack, what the scene is like,” Gilson said. “It really takes very little thought. The only challenging part is you must absolutely have a passport for every person traveling, so I got the kids’ passports very early.”

FUN FOR ALL: “This was our first cruise, and everyone said the staterooms were bigger than usual,” she said. “We had a double bed, two bunks that folded up, and two bathrooms.” They also sprung for a balcony, where they would watch the sunset and other boats pass at sea. “Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and Goofy are walking all over the ship, and the kids just love that. For adults there’s a spa, workout room, and track, and they could have alone time when they dropped the children off at clubs organized by ages. Gilson, a pediatrician who said she’s “crazier than most parents about safety,” gave the ship and activities her “absolute seal of approval” in that department.

Bill Gilson dances with Athenea the Dolphin

William Gilson dances with Athenea the Dolphin in Cozumel, Mexico

PORTS OF CALL: The ship departed from Port Canaveral, Fla., with a first stop in Key West. “They have an aquarium and a really cute butterfly garden,” Gilson said. On Grand Cayman island, all family members were thrilled by an optional submarine ride. “We took a 20-minute catamaran ride out to the middle of nowhere and then this huge white sub comes up. We went 103 feet down and we saw everything from barracuda to angel fish to a shipwreck in the clear, clear Caribbean water.” An opportunity in Cozumel, Mexico, to interact with dolphins at Chankanaab National Park was equally exciting. “You can kiss them, dance with them, and give a dolphin a belly rub.”

Will, Carli and mother Diana Gilson have a grand time at Castaway Cay

Will (left), mother Diana and Karli Gilson have a grand time at Castaway Cay

PRIVATE ISLAND: The final stop was Castaway Cay, Disney’s own Caribbean island. “They’ve got everything there. Places to eat and buy souvenirs. We got my daughter’s hair braided. There’s this little fort built 20 feet from the coast that children can swim out to and play in. Our kids spent most of the day in the water.” Everyone liked it so much that the Gilsons are considering the Disney Eastern Caribbean Cruise next year, she said. “It’s for people who totally want to spoil their kids.”

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One Response to “Caribbean cruising with Mickey Mouse”

  1. karel Says:

    It is fantastic to to see that children of 5-6 years can be happy. Why should we provide them with computers with horrible games and web-cams.

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