Spotlight on Mexico and the Caribbean

Summer is officially upon us, which means we’re dreaming of beautiful white sand beaches, the sound of waves crashing onto the shore, palm trees swaying in the wind, and the taste of a piña colada (or two) while basking in the warm rays of the sun. If you’re like us, a trip to the tropics is just what you need to escape life for a bit, relax, unwind and recharge. 

Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula: It's Not All Cancun

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula: It’s Not All Cancun
Spotlight

It’s no surprise Mexico is one of the most visited countries in the world. 35 UNESCO World Heritage sites, friendly people, sunshine, tacos, and tequila – need I say more? If you want to explore the Yucatán Peninsula away from the resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, these popular places are a good place to start.

After flying into Cancun, head:

South to Tulum

This photogenic little town’s popularity may have skyrocketed recently thanks to Instagram, but it’s for good reason. 1,000-year-old ruins, cenotes, and white, sandy beaches are just some of its major drawcards, and don’t miss La Eufemia – a waterfront taco joint serving some of the best fish tacos that lets you hang out in their beach chairs all day. Tulum’s cenotes (natural sinkholes) are hidden treasures predating the Mayans by thousands of years, and swimming in them will soon become your favorite activity. Gran Cenote and Cenote Dos Ojos are two of the most beautiful.

West to Chichén Itzá

Dating back to 550AD, Chichén Itzá is one of the Seven “New” Wonders of the World, and these ancient Mayan temple ruins are shrouded in mystery. You’ll be surprised to find out there’s more to see than the crowning glory, El Castillo, including the intricate Temple of Warriors, the Great Ballcourt where Mayan athletes used to compete, and the Observatory. Many people travel from the coast to see the ruins within a day, but it’s suggested to stay one or two nights nearby in the town of Valladolid. Doing so will give you a chance to visit some of the cenotes in the area (Cenote Samulá and Ik Kil cenote) and staying close to the ruins means you’ll beat the tour bus crowds by a few hours.

North to Las Coloradas (Río Lagartos)

This tiny Mexican fishing village sits on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Local guides will often take visitors out on their boats where pink lakes, mud baths, flamingos and crocodiles won’t disappoint you. The region is part of the Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve – a protected wetlands area also home to turtles, jaguars, and sea birds. But the main attraction is the cotton candy pink lakes which get their color from the red-colored algae and plankton thriving in the salty environment.

East to Isla Holbox

With the Caribbean Coast cluttered by all-inclusive resorts, Isla Holbox is a breath of fresh air. With no roads or cars, it’s the epitome of ‘slow living.’ The beach is like a shallow pool, extending far beyond the shore, and hammocks are hung from wooden stilts in the water allowing you to watch the sun sink slowly while pink-reflected sea laps over you. If you’re in Holbox between mid-May and mid-September, it’s one of the best places to swim with whale sharks, and on nights when the moon isn’t too bright, you can see bioluminescent phytoplankton.

Before you leave, make sure to visit Alma Beach Bar – a rooftop pool bar overlooking azure Caribbean waters. And getting back to the mainland is easy; ferries leave every 30 minutes, or it’s a two-hour drive back to Cancun.

On Location in Mexico and the Caribbean with Travel Impressions

Dreaming of that iconic beach vacation – sipping on your drink of choice with your toes in the sand while waves crash along the shore and the sun’s rays shine down?

We caught up with Travel Impressions to find out how you can take that picture-perfect vacation you have in mind and turn it into a personal tropical paradise.


Ready to soak up the sun? Contact your Ensemble travel agent and start packing your bags. Paradise awaits.

Five Reasons to Still Travel to Cuba

With its brightly-colored colonial houses and rattling old cars, Cuba has long captured the American imagination. But the regulations on travel to the Communist country have changed from one government to the next, making it hard for any vacationer to keep up.

Discover Mexico City's Thriving Cocktail Scene

Discover Mexico City's Thriving Cocktail Scene
Travel Style

While Mexico is best known for its tequila and mezcal, recent years have brought a deluge of beautifully crafted cocktails to its capital. Bars like Licorería Limantour have made waves internationally and are leading the up-and-coming scene. Now, there's a chance to bar hop some award-winning cocktail bars and see a new side to CDMX.

Mexico City is a sprawling and intense metropolis. Grand Art Nouveau houses with crumbling facades line multi-lane highways crowded with vehicles. Street vendors steep the city in the smell of slow roasting al pastor while world-class restaurants abound boasting minimalist aesthetics and gastronomic prowess. The cocktail scene, once confined to passable martinis found in the fancier hotels, grew from these culinary roots, and now the city’s most fashionable neighborhoods are dotted with contemporary bars and a new generation of bartenders redefining cocktail culture as something distinctly Mexican.

Casa Franca

La Roma, made famous by the Oscar-winning movie, is also one of Mexico City’s most vibrant neighborhoods. Its main boulevard, Avenida Álvaro Obregón, is lined with bars, restaurants, and cafes, shaded by the towering Jacaranda trees. Off a side street, you’ll find Franca, a casual bistro with excellent pizza, but head next door through the double doors and up a narrow staircase for its sister cocktail bar, Casa Franca. Made of a collection of small sumptuously decorated rooms, with heavy drapes, brocade wallpaper, gilded mirrors and golden lighting, it feels like a 1920’s salon. Watch the jazz band, which takes centerstage in the main space, or take up one of the bar stools in the adjacent room and marvel as the bartenders create one pleasingly strong cocktail after another.  

La Licorería Limantour

Just over the road from Casa Franca is Licorería Limantour. If there was one bar in the city considered the mother of Mexico’s modern craft cocktail movement – even in Latin America – this is the one. Opened in 2011, it now ranks amongst the best bars in the world. They use a staggering array of fresh ingredients, herbs, syrups, and spices, with an emphasis on the homegrown, incorporating Latin American traditions and flavors into the menu. The drinks may be upmarket served in beautiful receptacles, but the two-story Art Deco space – like so many bars here – is low key with windows opening onto the buzzing street outside. Their most popular cocktail is the Margarita Al Pastor – a twist on the classic through the lens of a traditional dish, which is entirely better than it sounds.

Maison Artemisia

Also in La Roma, Maison Artemisia is an ostensibly chic French restaurant in a beautiful 19th-century restored house; but after eating your short rib ravioli, you’ll want to head straight upstairs for the tiny cocktail bar. It specializes in absinthe (it’s run by a group of French expats, naturally), but the menu is far wider for those who might not be fans of the Green Fairy. Cocktails come in crystalware, and they never allow in more people than is comfortable for an enjoyable experience.

Baltra

In nearby Condessa, a dreamy upscale neighborhood dripping in greenery and known for its young professional – and dog-loving – residents, you’ll find Baltra. Hailing from the same people behind Licorería Limantour, Baltra is its more casual cousin. The atmosphere is closer to cocktail hour in a friend’s front room – you even have to buzz to get in. There are no servers or hosts, which encourages you to walk up to the bar and chat with your friendly bartender. The menu changes regularly but is inspired – as is the decor – by Charles Darwin’s travels through the Galapagos Islands. The shelves are decorated with natural kooky animal specimens in bell jars (a seahorse?), maps, and other curiosities.

Hanky Panky

Finally, head north to the edgier neighborhood of La Juarez for Hanky Panky. Half the pleasure of this reservation-only hotspot is figuring out how to get in. The speakeasy craze might have swept through New York and London and out the other side, but here in Mexico City, it’s still going strong. Hanky Panky is hidden within a taqueria, and your journey will at some point involve a refrigerator door. Once you’ve passed the test, however, you’ll find yourself in a sophisticated cocktail bar with deep red leather bar stools, intended to keep you comfy as you work your way through the menu. Each cocktail was created by some of the world’s leading bar talents, but you would be remiss not to order the Hanky Panky, the namesake cocktail, originally devised in London’s Savoy Hotel in 1903.

International culinary delights

Tempting dishes from our featured destinations give you a taste of local culture. From succulent roasts to exotic spicy fare and some divine desserts, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious recipes to try at home.

Bruschetta with Black Olive Pesto, Ricotta, and Basil

Use only a high-quality whole-milk ricotta for this recipe; our preferred brand is Calabro.



Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 recipe Toasted Bread for Bruschetta
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, finely shredded
  • 1 loaf crusty country bread

Preparation

Black Olive Pesto
Process garlic, olives, oil, shallot, and lemon juice in food processor until uniform paste forms, about 10 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula once during processing.

Combine ricotta with salt and pepper to taste in small bowl. Divide olive pesto among toasts and spread to edges. Top with ricotta and carefully spread over pesto. Drizzle with extra oil, sprinkle with basil, and serve.

Toasted Bread
Adjust oven rack 4 inches from heating element and heat broiler.

Slice 1 loaf crusty country bread (about 10 by 5 inches, ends discarded) crosswise into ¾-inch-thick pieces and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until bread is deep golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and repeat on second side.

Lightly rub 1 side of slices with ½ peeled garlic clove and brush with extra-virgin olive oil. (You will need ¼ cup oil.)

Season to taste with salt. Process garlic, olives, oil, shallot, and lemon juice in food processor until uniform paste forms, about 10 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula once during processing.
Combine ricotta with salt and pepper to taste in small bowl. Divide olive pesto among toasts and spread to edges. Top with ricotta and carefully spread over pesto. Drizzle with extra oil, sprinkle with basil, and serve.

Step aboard the world’s greatest ships

Each month we’re showcasing our cruise partners to bring you the latest on the cruise line and their ships. With different cruising styles and a variety of ships to choose from, you’ll find these profiles helpful for selecting the cruise that’s right for you.

Discover fun and relaxation for everyone

Photo: Disney Cruise Line

Discover fun and relaxation for everyone in the family on a Disney Cruise. A Disney cruise brings families together to create long-lasting memories with original, musical live shows, dazzling deck parties, incredible destinations like our private island and so much more. From sun-up to well past sundown, adults can escape to exclusive locations and experiences—from exciting nightlife and an adults-only pool area, to intimate dining and luxurious spa treatments.

From the moment you step on board to your last wave goodbye, your vacation includes almost everything you and your family could hope for—and much more.

Enchanting Entertainment: Behold Broadway-caliber musicals and fireworks at sea, celebrate at deck parties and watch new Disney movies in 3D.

Spacious Staterooms: Whether it's a cozy retreat or an extravagant suite, staterooms are designed with your family in mind—boasting innovative comforts and modern features you won't find elsewhere.

Disney’s Private Island: A port of call on many Bahamian and Caribbean itineraries, Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island paradise reserved for Disney Cruise Line Guests. Offerings include:

  • A buffet-style barbecue lunch
  • Beaches, including a family beach and adult-only beach
  • Beach chairs, umbrellas and hammocks
  • Island entertainment
  • Clubs for kids and teens
  • A splash zone
  • Pelican Plunge waterslide

Variety of Dining Options: Savor a wide variety of dining options sure to satisfy even the pickiest of palates, thanks to fresh, expertly prepared dishes available 24 hours a day

Imaginative Youth Clubs: Play in themed clubs for every age, staffed by specially trained Disney counselors.

Nightclubs & Lounges: Discover adults-only areas that include a variety of bars and pubs.

Pools & Recreation: Splash it up in freshwater pools and waterslides at sea.

The Ship

Disney Cruise Line ships are stunning vessels that pay homage to the grand era of the luxury ocean liner. Disney’s 4 distinguished ships pamper Guests with state-of-the-art comforts, legendary service and Disney-exclusive activities that bring families together en route to exotic ports of call. From bow to stern, each magnificent ship brims with restaurants, nightclubs, shops and recreational facilities that make cruising a pleasure for Guests of all ages. With so much to experience built right in, getting there is half the fun!

Disney Magic

Created with your entire family in mind, the Disney Magic combines classic nostalgia and modern amenities with Disney’s signature service. Step aboard for spacious staterooms that ensure everyone’s comfort. Get lost in original Broadway-quality entertainment. Indulge in first-rate dining. From bow to stern, set sail for unforgettable storytelling that only Disney could bring to life.

Disney Wonder

Imagine a place where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and kids can immerse themselves in fantastical worlds only Disney could create. Renowned for its classic design, modern innovation and timeless whimsy, the Disney Wonder is home to 11 decks overflowing with restaurants, pools, recreation and more—ready to transport you to exotic locales waiting to be explored.

Disney Dream

Let your imagination set sail. Be front-and-center at original Broadway-caliber live shows, dine on artfully prepared meals in wondrously themed restaurants and make a splash on the AquaDuck. Combining classic beauty and modern luxury with legendary Disney storytelling, the award-winning Disney Dream invites you to embark on an unforgettable voyage where dreams really do come true.

Disney Fantasy

Chart a course for adventure and wonder, where elegance and sophistication mingle with storytelling and whimsy. Sister ship to the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy is a masterpiece of design and engineering boasting Art Nouveau allure alongside modern technological advancements. Set sail for exotic destinations aboard this 130,000-ton marvel while enjoying Disney magic at sea.


Ships’ Registry: the Bahamas. Disney artwork, logos, and properties: @Disney

The Ship
Disney Cruise Line

Accommodations

Whether it's a cozy retreat or an extravagant suite, staterooms are designed with your family in mind and are equipped with innovations that ensure the ultimate in comfort and relaxation for Guests of all ages. From an imaginative inside retreat to a spacious and abundantly appointed suite, our world-class accommodations let you and your loved ones travel the high seas in high style. Standard amenities include:

  • Split bathrooms (in most staterooms) and privacy curtains that make getting ready easier for everyone
  • In-stateroom, H20 Plus-branded spa, bath and shower toiletries
  • Ample storage space, including room underneath the bed for tucking away luggage
  • A refrigerator
  • A hairdryer
  • Television and in-room movies
  • Attentive housekeeping services twice a day—including turndown service

Four main categories encompass 10 different room types—or different deck locations within those types.

Concierge
Our most luxurious accommodations, each with a large private verandah and premium amenities and services:

  • Concierge Royal Suite with Verandah
  • Concierge 2-Bedroom Suite with Verandah
  • Concierge 1-Bedroom Suite with Verandah

Verandah
Our most spacious non-Concierge staterooms, each with a private verandah, some with partial views:

  • Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah
  • Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah
  • Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Navigator’s Verandah

Oceanview
Enjoy more space than Standard and scenic vistas through a real porthole window—or possibly 2!

  • Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom

Inside
Our base accommodations, featuring a classic nautical motif, porthole mirror and no exterior view:

  • Deluxe Inside Stateroom
  • Standard Inside Stateroom

A number of staterooms provide extra comfort and convenience to Guests requiring an accessible stateroom. These staterooms include details such as open bed frames, roll-in showers, lowered towel bars and closet bars, and accessible vanities. Visit the above room categories for a complete list of features found in each room type.

Accommodations
Disney Cruise Line

Dining

Savor a wide variety of dining options sure to satisfy even the pickiest of palates, thanks to fresh, expertly prepared dishes available 24 hours a day. Dining options include:

  • Three lavishly themed Main Dining restaurants
  • A charming casual buffet
  • Convenient quick-service dining
  • 24-hour room service
  • Complimentary soda, tea and coffee on deck and in the dining rooms
  • All-you-care-to-enjoy soft-serve ice cream
  • Late-night snacks in the adult nightclubs and lounges
  • Kids clubs dining

On all four ships you will find Palo where you can savor classic Northern Italian cooking with a modern twist at this chic adult-exclusive restaurant—it’s a feast for the senses!
Named after the signature long poles used by gondoliers in Venice, Palo serves Italian fare in an intimate setting amid stunning seaside views.

Wine Pairing with Dinner

Enhance your dining experience for an additional fee with a collection of wines strategically paired with delectable Italian dishes from the Palo menu. "Esperienza del Vino" features a selection of 5 recommended Palo dishes—including dessert—matched with the perfect Italian wines.

Brunch

Palo continues its commitment to fine Italian cuisine during brunch, offering a tasty medley of hearty favorites. Brunch is served while the ship is out at sea during 4-night and longer cruises.

On the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, you will find Remy. Offering the most luxurious dinner experience on board, Remy is an adult-exclusive restaurant serving fine French fare.
A French-inspired menu of superior seasonal ingredients ensures dining at Remy is always a first-rate gastronomic affair. Gourmet selections are specially crafted by Chef Scott Hunnel, from the award-winning Victoria & Albert's at Walt Disney World Resort and advising Chef Arnaud Lallement—a 3-Michelin-starred chef who helms the celebrated l'Assiette Champenoise restaurant just outside Reims, France.

In addition to fine dining at dinner, Remy also serves 3 other extraordinary dining experiences:

  • Remy Champagne Brunch
    Indulge your palate during an elegant Champagne brunch featuring a glass of bubbly and a French-inspired prix fixe meal that includes such delicacies as vegetable risotto, lobster cannelloni, sea bass, veal, gnocchi—and a decadent dessert.
  • Remy Dessert Experience
    Treat your taste buds to a delectable 5-course dessert menu served with coffee. This adults-only event features an in-depth discussion with Remy’s Executive Chef and Pastry Chef, who will take turns explaining the history and evolution of each sweet selection.
  • Petites Assiettes de Remy
    Embark on a tour of Remy and a 6-course wine tasting paired with small plates of gourmet cuisine. Hosted by Remy’s Executive Chef and Sommelier, this unique “tiny plates” dining experience is offered during the early evening hours on the first day of your cruise and concludes with dessert at the private Chef’s Table.

These dining events are offered while the ship is at sea during cruises of 4 nights or longer.

All menu items and prices are subject to change without notice.

Dining
Disney Cruise Line

Activities

Behold Broadway-caliber musicals and fireworks at sea, celebrate at deck parties and watch new Disney movies in 3D. A wide variety of activities and experiences for the whole family include:

  • Extravagant live shows and entertainment every night of your cruise
  • Unique deck parties starring favorite Disney Characters
  • Immersive kids clubs for every age with specially trained counselors and the longest complimentary hours at sea
  • Adults-only nightclubs and lounges
  • Themed dance parties, trivia, mixers and karaoke
  • Character meet-and-greets at designated onboard destinations
  • Fun-filled activities for every age—sun-up to well after sundown
  • First-run and classic Disney movies out on deck or in state-of-the-art theater spaces
  • Live music throughout the ship

Splash it up in freshwater pools, aqua play areas and waterslides, or stay shipshape while out at sea thanks to onboard recreational centers. Onboard destinations include:

  • Mickey’s Pool or AquaLab, where kids can soak up some soggy fun—home to a sparkling pool, a winding waterslide and wading pools
  • Goofy’s Pool or Donald’s Pool, designed for families looking to participate in splash-tastic activities together
  • Quiet Cove Pool, for Guests 18 years of age and older in search of a more serene swimming environment
  • Wild water coasters—AquaDuck or AquaDunk—that propel thrill seekers on an exhilarating journey through an acrylic tube over the side of the ship to an unforgettable splashdown
  • Fanciful water play areas and splash pads for little ones 3 years of age and under
  • Satellite Falls, a relaxing adults-only splash pool with a cascading rain curtain on the Disney Fantasy
  • A fully-equipped fitness center, home to weight machines, cardiovascular equipment and numerous exercise classes
  • An open-air sports deck featuring basketball courts, virtual sports simulators and, on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, miniature golf

Activities
Disney Cruise Line

Family

A Disney cruise brings families together to create long-lasting memories with original, musical live shows, dazzling deck parties, incredible destinations like our private island and so much more.

Enchanting Family Entertainment

Behold Broadway-quality live shows, dance beneath fireworks at a Pirate-themed deck party and come face-to-face with popular Disney, Marvel and Star Wars characters.

Onboard Accommodations

Looking for a relaxing retreat or an extravagant suite? All staterooms feature innovative comforts and modern amenities for families looking to travel the high seas in high style. Staterooms are designed with your family in mind as privacy curtains, storage space and divided bathrooms with separate sinks in most staterooms make getting ready easier for everyone.

Dining for Every Taste

Savor artfully-prepared, gourmet specialties, abundant buffets and quick-service bites inside restaurants peppered with Disney magic—and delight in the convenience of 24-hour room service. Each onboard restaurant is fantastically themed and features food kids find irresistible, as well as friendly servers who take extra special care of little ones. With our convenient Dine and Play program, kids can enjoy their meals earlier and then be escorted by counselors to youth clubs while adults can continue to enjoy dinner at a leisurely pace. And, in addition to 3 lavishly designed Main Dining restaurants, we also offer charming casual buffets, quick-service eateries and convenient in-room dining.

Pools & Waterslides

Splash it up with the entire family in themed pools and at aqua play areas—and make waves riding twisting waterslides. Children can swim in Mickey's Pool or make a splash in AquaLab, while AquaDuck on the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy propels children on a thrilling water coaster ride that includes a 4-deck drop.

Our Private Island

At Disney Castaway Cay exclusive to Disney Cruise Line Guests, you’re invited to find your place in the sun at our expansive family beach, snorkel in sparkling lagoons, glide down waterslides and feast on a mouthwatering barbeque lunch.

Youth Clubs

Children of every age can find something to love at age-appropriate clubs hosted by specially trained Disney counselors. Kids can play alongside some of their favorite Disney, Marvel and Star Wars Characters, while tweens and teens can enjoy a near-endless range of activities, games and surprises designed just for them.

Character Experiences

Deck parties, kids clubs and designated autograph sessions are only a few of the opportunities to meet, greet, share hugs and snap pictures of some of your favorite Disney Characters.

Family
Disney Cruise Line

Services

Creating unforgettable vacation experiences for our Guests is the primary motivation of our dedicated Disney Cruise Line crew. Year after year, we’ve earned recognition as a leader by not only travel professionals and hospitality industry groups, but—most importantly—by Guests. Inspired by these achievements, we look forward to providing you with an extraordinary cruise vacation that’s a dream come true for the entire family.

Disney Cruise Line was distinguished as Best for Families by the 2018 Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards, and the Disney Magic won Best for Families in the 2019 Cruise Critic Cruiser’s Choice Awards.

Families choosing to sail with us experience a one-of-a-kind vacation that boasts something for everyone. Whether it’s imaginatively themed play spaces overflowing with activities for the kids, exciting nightlife and intimate dining for the adults, or Broadway-style live shows and deck parties to bring everyone together at the end of the day, a Disney cruise is designed with your entire family in mind.

Services
Disney Cruise Line