You have planned and waited for your Disney cruise, for months and maybe even a year. It is finally here. You are going to board the ship. The excitement is high. Here is a list on how to make this long-awaited cruise incredible and memorable.
Early Bird can Always go to Lunch.
Arrive early at the port. The more time you can spend on the ship, the more value you get for your dollar. We like to be among the first people to board the ship, so we can enjoy the whole day. Disney asks you to select an arrival time when you do your online check in. They do not enforce that time rigidly. The time is a suggestion so that the terminal will not be overly crowded. If you show up earlier, you will still be admitted to the terminal and will be checked in.
BOYB. Bring your own bottle. A Disney cruise allows each adult passenger to bring 2 (720 ml.) bottles of wine or champagne, or a 6 pack (12 oz.) of beer onto the ship when you board. The bottles must be sealed and in your carry-on bag. Stronger spirits are not allowed. There is no need for soda, as the soda is FREE on Disney.
Character meet. Disney cruises have a meet and greet for the Disney characters. Some of the most popular character greets and character meals are by ticket only. These tickets can be acquired before you cruise on the Disney cruise app or at the customer service desk on the ship.
The non-ticketed greets are published in the Navigator, but if you want to get every photo opportunity, there is a phone number you can call that has a recording of the schedule. The lines for the character greets usually start forming about 15 minutes before the scheduled greeting time, so if you can get there 10 minutes beforehand, you won’t have a long wait once the characters arrive.
A lot of the characters like Daisy Duck are known to freely wander the pool area and the ship, surprising guests. I met Mickey on the elevator and received a kiss from him. Check out your Navigator’s schedule to see when your favorite Disney characters are available for meet and greet.
Day bag. On the embarkation day, you won’t get access to your room until about 1:30 pm, so it is important for you to pack a bag that contains everything you’ll need between boarding the ship and dinner. Here are some suggested items to include:
- Flip-flops or water shoes (the deck can get hot)
- Reading material, iPad, video games or other entertainment
- Camera, if you aren’t using your phone
- Medications you might need between noon and dinner time
Explore the ship. The first day is a great time to explore the ship. Take a walk around the ship to orient yourself. It takes time to get familiar with where various features are on the Disney ships. My sidekick (spouse) is always turned around on the ship. Remember you can always ask a Cast Member for help!
What is a Fish Extender?
Fish Extender. You may ask, what is that? If you have ever been on a Disney cruise before you may have seen those homemade decorations hanging outside cabin doors? They’re called fish extenders, and they’re used by a network of families who have packed small gifts, treats and trinkets to exchange with each other throughout their trip. The kids love this. If you are interested in learning more visit the DisBoardsCruise Meets forum, CruiseCritic’s Roll Calls, or a group on Facebook.
Games. A Disney cruise is all about family, whether your family involves kids or adults. What better way to interact than over a game? I always bring some games from home, but there are games available in the ship library. There are also all the outdoor activities on board. Get playing!
Hear the music. Just as in Disneyland and Disney World, Disney cruise ships have music playing everywhere. Take time to listen to the background music and even sing along. They have a channel on the TV of the music which you can listen to as you get ready in the morning. That will put you in the Disney mood.
Ice Cream, We All Love Ice Cream
Ice Cream. Soft Ice cream is free on the Disney cruise. They usually have a different flavor each day. My teens soon learned to get a glass from the buffet and fill it with ice cream and soda for an ice cream float. That and the cheese fries were their snack as they watched the movie by the pool.
Join in. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and volunteer for game shows and more. There are many interactive games and activities to join in on the ship each day. They are all listed in the Navigator with type, time and place. Some of the best times we had as a family was playing the trivia games, group Yahtzee, and more.
Kick up your heels. Disney loves dance parties and music. Do not miss the Sail away party or the pirate night deck party. Also, go to the character dance parties, where you will dance with Goofy and Donald Duck. Much better than a hug!!
Learn something new. Every ship has classes that you can enjoy. Be sure and take advantage of these. The Wine Tasting and the Food Art are always the most popular. Check the Navigator for time and place of each class, and if you need to sign up, go to guest services to reserve you spot.
Make reservations. If you enjoy fine dining, we definitely recommend making a reservation for Palo and/or Remy, particularly on a 4-night or longer cruise. There is a small extra cost (larger for Remy) but it is well worth it for the cuisine, the atmosphere, and the opportunity to enjoy a nice dinner without the kids.
Go to the Senses Spa and make your reservations if you haven’t already done this online. The popular treatments such as the Couples Spa do book early onboard a Disney Cruise.
Who You Know Makes a Difference
Note names. Take the time to meet your Cabin Steward. They work really hard to make your stateroom comfortable. If you need anything, you just need to ask them. They will be happy to help you.
Also, take the time to learn your waiters’ names in the dining room. Learn something about them and their families. They will make you experience memorable.
Oceaneer Youth Club. Take the kids to the open house for the Youth clubs. Most kids love the kid’s clubs on the Disney cruises. This enables them to make friends and be involved with fun activities. The Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab are for ages 3-12, Edge is the “tween” club for ages 11-14, and Vibe is the teen club for ages 14-17. There is also a nursery for younger kids, by reservation. These clubs give you the chance to go and enjoy some time in one of the adults only areas on the ship! My grand kids never want to leave the kids area.
Photographs. Photos are taken all over the ship. Take advantage of them. Consider buying the Disney Cruise Photo Package. It is also very easy for you to take hundreds of your own pictures. A cast member will gladly take a photo of your family with your camera or phone. You will have many amazing memories from this Disney cruise that will remind you of these happy times.
Yes, You Can Have Quiet
Quiet adult cove pool. Disney cruises are not just for kids. There are some adult only areas. Check out the Satellite Falls on the Disney Fantasy and the Quiet Cove Pool on any of the Disney ships. It tends to be quieter than the main pool.
Room service. For only the cost of a tip, there is room service available. The Mickey bars (Mickey head shaped ice cream bars) are only available from room service. We always have them bring cookies and milk for a bedtime snack each night.
Snag a map at the customer service. If you are person who likes a map you can hold in your hands, get a ship map from customer service. This map will show you were the nearest restrooms are, food locations, entertainment, and even where your cabin is located.
Theater. Disney cruise ships have a live theater and a movie theater. Disney cruise line has the absolute best entertainment at sea. It is a Broadway production each night. Do not miss any nights.
For a motion picture you can catch one in The Buena Vista Theater and the Funnel Vision at the pool. They are a great place to watch classic and new release Disney movies. Plan to sit under the stars and watch a great movie by the pool, at least one night of your cruise.
Unplug. Quit looking at your phone. Be present. Be In the moment and see what is all around you. Savor the moments and time on board the Disney ship, because the times seems to go so quickly. This is what you have been looking forward to. Make the most of this time with your loved ones
Valet. When you arrive at the Port, hand off your bags to the dock workers, valets. Tipping is theoretically optional, but it’s customary to tip them at least $1-$2 per bag, and we tend to tip on the high side for very helpful or friendly porters. Keep your carry-on/day bag with you. You can keep your luggage and take it on yourself, but then you have to lug it around all day. Use the valets!!!
I Can Finally Keep Track of People
Wave phones. Each cabin has 2 wave phones to use on the cruise. This allows you to keep in touch with others in your party.
eXamine the Navigator. The Navigator (a daily newsletter listing the next day’s events) will be put in your stateroom each night. You can also download the Navigator app onto your phone.
The Navigator is the plan for your next day. It will also lists the hours of operation for everything from the excursion desk to the restaurants. You may want to bring a highlighter pen on your cruise so you can mark the activities that interest you.
Y? because they love you. Just like the Mickey Mouse Club Song says: “m. i. c., see you real soon. k. e. y., why, because we love you. m.o.u.s.e”. No one does love, caring, and pampering like Disney. Enjoy all the happiness and fun. Soak it up.
ZZZZZ’s. Be sure and get some rest. Recharge yourself.
By applying these ABC’s, a memorable, joyous, and incredible cruise is yours for the taking.
If I forgot anything that needs to be on this list, I’d like to hear from you.
See Ya Makin’ Memories.