Tucked away at the very highest and furthest aft (rear) part of the Disney Cruise Line ships, is an adult-exclusive oasis. Palo, a premium dining option on all of Disney Cruise Line ships featuring Italian cuisine, serves dinner every night of your cruise as well as brunch on days at sea. Reservations are required and can be made online in advance of your cruise, or on the ship. (Subject to availability!) The current cost is $40 per person, subject to change.
For me, Palo is an absolute must-do on any Disney Cruise. If I HAVE to choose between brunch and dinner, then I choose brunch. But in a perfect world, I do both!
Atmosphere at Palo
Let me be clear – I love children. I am a mother. But there is something about the peace and quiet of a child-free zone, especially when juxtaposed against the family friendly atmosphere of the rest of the ship. The soft murmur of adult conversation, the clink of wine glasses, and the ever so slightly hushed tones of the servers combine to create a soothing backdrop to an incredible meal.
The decor of the restaurant highlights the Northern Italian theme with Carnival masks, and beautiful Italian artwork. The name itself refers to the striped poles (aka Palo) that can be found along the canals in Venice. The elegant dark wood and rich fabrics create a warm and inviting feel to the dining room. Floor to ceiling windows surround the restaurant offering warm natural light during brunch.
Then there is the dress code. Palo requests that guests dress up a bit. For men, they request dress pants or slacks, and a collared shirt. For women, dresses, skirts, or dress pants and a blouse. In a recent shift, Palo has begun to allow jeans if they are not ripped or torn. (Once upon a time, Palo required men to wear a jacket. I’m not going to lie, I miss the original no-jeans, jacket required dress code.)
Service at Palo
For me, good service is critical to an enjoyable mood. If your food is incredible but your service is terrible? The meal is ruined for me. The servers at Palo are the best of the best. Hand picked from among the Disney Cruise Line service team, these servers and pros would be welcome in any Michelin-starred restaurant in the world.
The servers are experts on the menu. Pro tip – if your server makes a suggestion, try it. On a recent cruise at Palo brunch, Julia suggested the Chicken Parmesan. We overlooked it because, I mean, it was Chicken Parmesan. We can get that at home, right? Our server Julia nodded politely and brought it anyway. Oh my goodness, this was the most incredible Chicken Parmesan I have ever had in my life!
The servers are also well educated in wine pairings but Palo also has a Sommelier. If you are a wine drinker, the Sommelier will be happy to visit your table to discuss the possible options for your meal!
Food at Palo
The atmosphere is elegant, the service is impeccable, but let’s be clear. It’s really all about the food. And the food at Palo is phenomenal.
At brunch, Palo offers a combination buffet and a la carte experience. Entrees ranging from waffles and pancakes to pizza and pasta are ordered with your server. Appetizers, pastries, cheeses, seafood (SO MUCH SEAFOOD), and desserts are available buffet style at stations located throughout the dining room.
For dinner, choose from pizzas that are the perfect balance of crispy and chewy, pastas that are impeccably al dente, fresh seafood, and indulgent proteins such as lamb and filet mignon. But best of all? Feel free to choose as many as you want. Your $40 per person premium does not limit you to a set meal. You are welcome to mix and match and order something even just to try it! (And as I mentioned, if you don’t, your server may just show up with it anyway!)
But promise me this. If you order nothing else, order at least one of the chocolate souffles. The souffle is accompanied by both chocolate and vanilla bean sauces. And it is heavenly! Light and fluffy but also creamy and decadent. This paired with a coffee is the perfect way to end the night!
It is Worth Every Penny
In my opinion, Palo is worth every penny of the premium fee, and then some. But not only it is worth the additional charge but it is worth packing dressier clothes, leaving the kids in the kids club or nursery, skipping a restaurant on the dining rotation, and more!
Palo reservations can be booked online in advance on the Disney Cruise website and opens for everyone 75 days prior to your sailing. (Previous Disney Cruise Line guests can book between 90 – 120 days in advance, depending on how may times they have sailed.)
What do you think? Have you need to Palo? Do you prefer brunch or dinner? Let us know in the comments!