Are the DCL Fans Right About Disney Wish?

We set sail on a second Disney Wish cruise to see if the DCL fans are right that this brand-new ship is the worst in the fleet!

Are the DCL Fans Right About Disney Wish?

Disney Cruise Line’s first new cruise ship in 10 years arrived earlier this summer. Disney Wish is much different than the four previous DCL ships, and the fans have not been too welcoming. Are these negative reviews justified? Well, we are back from our second sailing on Disney Wish to see if the fans are right about this new ship.

Are The DCL Fans Right About Disney Wish?

The Quiet Cove on Disney Wish

The most complaints we hear about Disney Wish have to do with the adults-only area, the Quiet Cove. Located all the way aft on deck 13, many regular DCL cruisers are not happy with this space.

Among the complaints is that the area is too small. Given the ship is 144K gross tons, and carries 3,200 passengers, we agree that the area is tight for the number of adults on the ship.

Not to mention that accessing the deck is not the easiest. Cruisers either need to walk through the pool area and up the stairs, or wait for the couple of elevators that actually go all the way up to this aft deck.

Top Activities for Adults on Disney Wish

Further, cruisers do not like the location right behind the AquaMouse with parts of this attraction directly overhead.

The critics also do not like the setup, as accessing the pool is difficult, especially for those with limited mobility. Instead of an inset pool, the main infinity pool is a plunge pool that requires steps to enter.

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Are the DCL Fans Right About the Adults Only Space?

During our first sailing on Disney Wish earlier this summer, getting prime seats at the Quiet Cove was not an easy task. Essentially, cruisers needed to wake up bright and early to claim a spot. Although, on our second cruise in October, getting seats did seem a bit easier. We were able to find seats in the shade on a few occasions during this sailing.

With the ship comparable in size to vessels like Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, this area should definitely have more lounge chairs and deck space. The adults only solarium on competitor brands are much roomier than the Quiet Cove on Disney Wish.

During our time at the Quiet Cove, we did not hear a lot of noise from the AquaMouse though. Granted, we did sit mostly on the starboard side, where the AquaMouse entrance is on the portside.

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Even on the portside, we did not hear much from riders, except for the loungers directly next to the privacy shield separating the two spaces.

However, we do agree that finding the Quiet Cove is not the easiest. Yet, once you figure it out, it’s really just a short walk. Although, having to trek through the main family pool area to get to the adults only area feels rather ironic. Not to mention, the pool deck is often very crowded and the deck surface can be wet and slippery.

Overall, we didn’t spend too much time at the Quiet Cove, as there are many other areas around the ship to enjoy. For instance, there is the forward sundeck on deck 14 near the Chip and Dale Pool. This pool is larger and never all that busy. It also has plenty of loungers facing the sun on the starboard side.

No Open Promenade Deck

On decks 4, 5, and 6, you find Disney Wish’s attempt at a Promenade Deck. However, as the DCL fans point out, this promenade deck does not wrap around the ship. Further, it includes several sets of stairs.  So, it is not ideal for those who like to use this space for walking or jogging.

There are several reasons for this, including the new outdoor spa area at the front of the ship. The stairs from deck 5 actually lead up to a viewing platform at the front of the ship on deck 6. This area is nice for getting some views of the upcoming locations. Plus, you can spot the hidden Mickey located in the Senses Spa outdoor area. Though, the deck 4 promenade area abruptly ends on both the starboard and port sides of the ship.

Are the DCL fans right about Disney Wish?

Thus, we need to agree with the DCL fans that we do not like that Disney Wish doesn’t have a walking/jogging track that circles the ship.

Almost all cruise ships feature this midship open area. So, the fact that Disney did not properly design this space on Disney Wish is a bit of a letdown.

In all honesty, if I do workout, I tend to use the cruise ship’s gym anyway though. Disney Wish has a fairly good-sized fitness center on deck 5 forward. So, cruisers could opt to use this space instead to get in some cardio.

The Food Isn’t Good on Disney Wish

Another complaint we hear from Disney Cruise Line fans has to do with the food on Disney Wish. Several have indicated they were disappointed in the food onboard this new ship. Many claim to prefer the cruise line’s typical pool deck quick service options. Further, several have given the main dining room food poor reviews.

Given that Disney Wish is the only ship in the fleet on which we have sailed, we don’t have a direct Disney Cruise Line comparison. Though, we have sailed on 14 other cruise lines with 60+ cruises. So, we have eaten plenty of cruise food.

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All along, we had heard that Disney Cruise Line offers a premium cruise experience, so we had high expectations about the quality of the food.

Contrary to others reviews of the Mickey and Friends Festival of Food, we really liked this venue. All of the different food stations offer well-prepared, fresh, and delicious menu items. Among our favorites were Donald’s Cantina serving Tex-Mex options and Mickey’s Smokestack, including BBQ items like brisket, ribs, cornbread, and mac and cheese.

So, for us, the casual eats on Disney Wish were on-par with other cruise lines.

Main Dining Room Did Not Impress

However, when it came to the main dining room, we were not impressed. During our first cruise on Disney Wish, we dined at all three complimentary restaurants. Overall, the food at 1923 was our favorite. My filet mignon was cooked to a medium temperature, with just the right amount of seasoning. Plus, the apple cheesecake was a decadent dessert that was the best on the ship. Still, it was on par with a main dining room meal on a contemporary cruise line.

After 1923, it was downhill. I was not a fan of much at Worlds of Marvel, besides the coconut shrimp appetizer, which has been removed from the menu. The Frozen Dining Adventure’s attempt at authentic Norwegian food was uninspiring as well.

Are the DCL fans right about Disney Wish?

Given our expectations, the complimentary dining rooms did not impress us on Disney Wish. However, we dined at Palo Steakhouse during our second sailing on the ship, and we were very impressed with this meal. While this adult-only restaurant is an up-charge, we certainly thought it was worth it.

Now, we plan to sail on another DCL cruise ship in 2023 to see how the food on Disney Wish compares to the rest of the fleet. Despite all the glowing reviews, it is possible that the food on Disney Cruise Line is just more akin to other contemporary brands like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line than we were expecting.

The Ship Layout

With the brand-new Triton class design, DCL made several changes to the ship’s overall design and layout. Similar to newer vessels, like Norwegian Prima or Virgin Voyages, the ship eschews large open spaces for smaller more intimate areas.

Given we have sailed on several of these new ships from other cruise lines, and have heard similar complaints, this is not too surprising to us.

Many popular venues found on other Disney ships are still onboard, just in new formats or areas. Still, the Disney fans do not seem to appreciate this new design.

The traditional pool deck on other ships has been transformed into a more divided space. Now, several small pools are scattered between decks 11 and 12, with one all the way forward on Deck 14 too.

Are the DCL fans right about Disney Wish?

This new tired system seemed to spread out families well. In our opinion, the pool deck actually functioned better than one large pool packed with kids. If anything, it let more individuals enjoy the pool deck with pools of various sizes, depths, and views.

Although, the interior decks on Disney Wish do have a few questionable design choices. The Guest Services desk takes up the portside of Deck 5 midship. Guests need to wait in a line, while other guests are using the hallway to get from either end of the ship. Across the way, character meet and greets also occur, which can make the space quite hectic.

Further, it seems a bit odd that there are two coffee shops, located only one deck apart. Both of these venues serve a similar menu and offer limited seating that is in the middle of a main walkway.

Finding venues can be a bit tricky if you don’t know exactly where to go, but at least you are able to walk from one end of the ship to the other. Some of the newer ships from other cruise lines actually have more dead ends and limited pathways.

Admittedly, it might take a little searching to find the pre-teens area on Deck 5 or the midship elevators and stairs on Deck 3, but this wasn’t too much of an issue for us.

Never Any Crowds on Disney Wish

While it might not seem the most logical, the ship’s layout functions pretty well in our opinion. Disney Wish’s main venues felt the appropriate size. While small, lounges like the Bayou, Hyperspace Lounge, or even Luna’s were never overly busy. Further, we could always find a seat for shows in the Walt Disney theater arriving approximately 20 minutes before showtime.

What's Included on Disney Wish

This is a stark contrast to our recent sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line’s new ship, Norwegian Prima. Here, venues were standing room only 30 minutes before shows and events even started.

Yes, there were large lines in front of the main dining rooms before each dinner seating, but we suspect this queuing occurs on all Disney ships with the rotational dining.

Like anything new, it takes time to get accustomed to the changes. We suspect that DCL fans will come to appreciate the layout as it provides more public venues, options, and new ways to enjoy all the Disney magic onboard the ship.

Hyperspace Lounge

Another let down for DCL fans is the Hyperspace Lounge on Disney Wish. Critiques here range from the space being too small, to the underwhelming theme and décor, to the drink prices. After all, there is a $5,000 drink on the menu.

Not to mention, the cruise line initially required individuals to make reservations for the venue. Currently, the venue is walk-up, and with no wait or lines during our second cruise on the ship, we suspect it will remain as such.

Now, if you are a Star Wars fan, you should check out the Hyperspace Lounge. We visited the venue on each of our cruises. I liked the cocktails and enjoyed the “jumps” to familiar locales in the Star Wars universe.

What's Included on Disney Wish

However, with all of the hype around this venue at the launch of the ship, it’s honestly a rather ordinary cruise ship bar. I can concur that I was hoping for theming that was more like Oga’s Cantina in Galaxy’s Edge. Unfortunately, this dark space is Star Wars themed, but it does not feel like part of the universe.

On Disney Wish, the most intricate venue for fans of a galaxy far, far away is the Cargo Bay on Deck 2 in the kid’s Oceaneer Club.

Be sure to head down there during “open house” to checkout this spectacular space. It is an extremely detailed and engaging area. There are even character meet and greets with Chewbacca and Rey during your cruise. This encounter gives big kids like me an excuse to visit this space for a quick photo with popular Star Wars characters.  


Are you a fan of Disney Cruise Line? Have you sailed on the new Disney Wish yet? Drop us an anchor below to share whether you agree with these common complaints about DCL’s new cruise ship.

Don Bucolo, or “DB”, loves everything about cruising- the ocean, the food, and the atmosphere. While he may be obsessed with doing extensive amounts of research on ships and all elements of a cruise, Don enjoys sharing his new found knowledge with fellow cruisers. When he is not sailing the high seas, he does whatever his wife tells him to do-it only took 10 years to realize this.
Don Bucolo
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2 comments on Are the DCL Fans Right About Disney Wish?

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  1. I have cruised on all DCL ships plus Norwegian, Carnival, Princess, Holland American, and Royal Caribbean. The Disney Wish is better than Carnival but it is by far The Worst Disney Ship in all the ways noted in your writeup plus more. The Aquamouse is not as well designed as the Aquaduck, with the bumpy uncomfortable conveyor belt and small video screens pretending to make this an attraction. Food doesn’t compare to other ships. Lack of fresh fruits on pool deck is sad. Lack of midship elevators makes no sense. Tiny movie theaters and 2 foot pools are just a joke. Sadly the Treasure is supposed to mimic this disaster of a ship.

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