Embarking on your first Disney Cruise? Here are our BEST Disney Cruise Tips for Total Beginners. Much like any Disney Vacation, the more you know before you go, the better. This list will help you navigate dining, boarding, activities, money, ports, and more. Here are some Disney Cruise tips to know before you go!
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- 1 Disney Cruise Tips for Total Beginners
- 2 Basic Disney Cruise Tips
- 3 Disney Cruise tips once you’re onboard
- 4 Disney Cruise Tips to Save money
- 5 Tips for tipping on a Disney Cruise
- 6 Tips for using the internet on a Disney Cruise
- 7 Dining tips on a Disney Cruise
- 8 Tips for Excursions on a Disney Cruise Line vacation
- 9 Tips for Adults on a Disney Cruise
- 10 Packing Tips for you Disney Cruise
Disney Cruise Tips for Total Beginners
Your first Disney Cruise should be fun! First off, let us just say that a Disney Cruise is THE perfect cruise for beginners. Perhaps it’s the fact that you can’t take anything too seriously with Disney characters around every corner. Or cartoons are on the Funnel Vision, the giant screen by the pool. Maybe it’s the never-ending flow of ice cream you can just have all day long on the boat.
Or maybe it’s the fact that there is a cheery show every morning put on by your Cruise director that lets you know all the things you’ll need for the day. And the truth is on a Disney Cruise you don’t really have to show up anywhere specific because everywhere will have something awesome going on. Whatever it is, a Disney Cruise is a great place to start your new cruiser lifestyle. Perfect for kids and adults, here are the things you’ll need to know for your first Disney Cruise.
Basic Disney Cruise Tips
Here’s a few basic Disney Cruise Line tips to help you navigate the waters of being prepared for your cruise!
Check in for your Disney Cruise 30 days before
Check into your Disney Cruise as soon as your 30 day mark hits. This will allow you time to get all of your information in to be checked and corrected in case there are errors. It will also give you the best chance of getting an early port arrival time. You can learn all about the check in process on Disney Cruise Line here.
Choose an early Port Arrival Time if possible
When you check-in online you choose a Check-In time. This is not your boarding time, but rather the time you can arrive at the cruise terminal and begin the check-in process. We like to choose an earlier time if possible, so that we can grab lunch onboard, and explore the ship before it gets too crowded. Many cruisers even go straight to the pool right away! Which why we recommend bringing your swim gear in your Disney Cruise carry on.
Realizing we could board much earlier in the day and avoiding the crowds was something that has allowed us to start our vacation right away and enjoy more time on the cruise ship we had paid for. To maximize the most of your time (and in our opinion, your money)on the cruise we’d recommend getting there as early as your schedule allows. Keep in mind if you’re taking the Disney Cruise Line bus from a Walt Disney World Resort you won’t receive a check-in time. You’ll just check-in when the bus drops you off.
The Boarding Process on Disney Cruise Line
On our first Disney Cruise, it was our first ever cruise and we had never boarded a cruise ship before so had no idea how the whole thing was going to go down! What the heck were these “cruise documents” that everyone kept referring to? Frankly, we were scared to death we were gonna get all the way to Florida and be turned away at the cruise terminal because we didn’t have these elusive documents. This is probably where it would’ve been helpful to have a Disney travel agent. But we didn’t really have the foresight to take advantage of that. Anyway, Spoiler: the boarding process is actually very simple. Here’s the breakdown.
Boarding Process Steps
- Arrive at the cruise terminal
- Leave checked luggage(with the proper luggage tags for your cruise ship attached) with a porter.
- Then, you’ll be directed to a security checkpoint.
- After you’ve gone through security, which is very similar to airport-style security, you’ll again be directed to the appropriate line for Check-In!
- At this point, you will need passports (or whatever type of travel I.D. your cruise destination requires) as well as your cruise documents. P.S. The mysterious cruise documents will be different based on your situation and cruise choice. You will have received your Disney cruise line pamphlet in the mail, and believe it or not, if you open that baby up— it’s got a list of the documents you will need! All we needed was our passports and signed documents from the My Disney Cruise Line site. The documents mostly state we understand the charging privileges and the hazardous materials rules.
- Then it’s photo time. You don’t have to have your photo taken, but you can if you want.
- You’re then given your Key to the World card and a boarding number.
- Wait for your number to be called
And you’re done!
Updated Boarding Process at Disney Cruise Line for 2022
Currently, all guests boarding Disney Cruise ships are required to not only be full vaccinated; but are also required to take a Covid-19 test prior to sailing with a negative result. You can choose to test at port or you can submit a PCR test taken within 2 days of travel. If you choose to test at port, you will go directly to the testing area BEFORE you go through security. It’s actually one of the very first things you have to do!
You no longer receive a boarding number either. Since it’s a very slow trickle in of cruisers, once you’re tested, have gone through security and checked in, you will head to the terminal and be able to board the ship! That is, of course, as long as you’re near your port arrival time. If you arrive 2 hours early, then it’s not like you can just walk right on. So be mindful of that.
You also no longer get your Key to the World card prior to boarding. These are left at your stateroom door and you can pick them up when you get on the ship.
Download the Disney Cruise Line App
This is a must do and we highly recommend downloading the Disney Cruise app before setting sail. You can’t actually use the app until you are onboard and tapped into the ship’s Wi-Fi. The Disney Cruise Line app is the only thing that can be used on the ship’s Wi-Fi for free. Disney Cruise Line has recently gotten rid of paper navigators and now requires the use of the app to access the daily schedule.
The Disney Cruise Line app has tons of useful information. And you’ll likely use it most of your trip. Things like your dining rotation, activities and even the drink of the day are listed here. We recommend taking a look in the morning to see what your day will look like.
Disney Cruise tips once you’re onboard
You’re onboard the ship, hooray! Here are a few Disney Cruise tips to help you once onboard.
Attending the Safety Assembly on a Disney Cruise ship
The only thing you HAVE TO DO is attend the safety assembly. If you do nothing else, you must go to the safety assembly on the first day. It will be on your navigator and is usually at 4 p.m. If you don’t go, they will come find you. This is serious business and the only thing you absolutely have to do while onboard. You don’t have to disembark at the port, you don’t have to go to dinner, you don’t have to go to the shows or participate in any of the activities but you do have to go to the assembly. It is mandatory.
UPDATE FOR 2022: Currently, you will be doing the safety assembly on your own. This must be done before the ship sails away, and you can find out all the information in your Disney Cruise app once onboard. It basically consists of a check in with the Cast Member in charge of your assmebly station, and takes about 5 minutes.
Make sure to see the shows onboard the Disney Cruises
Even if you choose to do nothing all day but lay by the pool and relax, you need to take the hour out of your evening and attend the live shows. They are incredible and so fun. We have been to Broadway and seen shows there, so we can honestly tell you that the talent, costumes, and stage sets are all right up there with the best of them.
We were lucky enough to see Frozen in its inaugural year on the Disney Wonder. And if you think you’ve seen Frozen or heard the song Let it Go too many times, you’re wrong. This show blew my mind! We also had the pleasure of seeing a new Beauty and the Beast show on the Disney Dream and it was one of the most fantastic shows we’ve ever seen. We only met a few other people who chose not to go to the shows and they regretted not going. Don’t suffer from FOMO. Just go to the shows. There are two each night so that both dinner rotations are able to attend.
And get there early! We recommend about 30 mins early if you want a good seat as seats do fill up quickly, especially on the smaller ships.
Learn Disney Cruise Ship Lingo
If you’ve never sailed on a cruise before, some of the lingo can be difficult to get used to. What the heck is starboard? Where is the Aft? There are maps all over the Disney Cruise ships, learn them. Disney does offer walking tours of the boat on the first day to help you get acquainted with your ship. Or you can do this on your own! We highly recommend this little walkabout. Sure, it may cut in a little to your first day on the boat, but it will keep you from getting lost later. On our Very Merrytime Cruise, we found out that the Disney Dream has a fun Mid-ship Detective Agency game that helped us orient ourselves to the boat and have a blast at the same time.
Know when the Onboard Shopping is available
Forget your swimsuit, sandals, or sunscreen and want to buy it on board? Or maybe you saw the cutest sun hat that you’d love to wear at Castaway Cay in the shops on the cruise ship. It’s important to know when the shops are open for business so you can plan accordingly, especially if you’re buying something you need. As a general rule, the shops will be open at sea, and closed when at ports. Specific gift shop hours can be found in the Disney Cruise Line App and at the individual shops.
Make time to relax on your Disney Cruise
If we didn’t answer it here, know that every question you have can be answered by cast members on the ship. You can take your Disney Cruise with an expectation of the same world-class service you expect from Disney. We have loved every Disney Cruise we have taken, and much of that magic can be attributed to the Disney Cast Members onboard.
Start Early to Beat the Crowds
Plan to be early everywhere. Arrive early for the shows. And early for Pool Time. Or early for Trivia. If you guys follow any of our tips regarding beating the crowds at Walt Disney World, you know we ALWAYS recommend getting an early start. There’s good reason we never stop saying this. Because it actually works for just about every situation. Disney Cruises are no different. The main pool area, which is also where you can grab unlimited soft serve, quick-serve meals and watch movies all day, gets very busy. If you’re trying to avoid the crowds, get there before 11 am. This will ensure that you can grab a seat, and enjoy the ambiance. Or just relax for a few moments before the crowds really start arriving. The pool area is busiest from 11 am-3 pm most of the time, and it can get pretty packed.
Alternatively, if you are traveling sans children or your kids are in the kids clubs, the adult-only area is usually pretty calm and serene. So hopping over to that side is a great way to give yourself a break from the crowds.
The only exception to this is meals. You don’t really need to arrive early unless you want to. The doors don’t open until just a couple minutes before dinner has started, so if you arrive early, you’ll likely just be waiting around with everyone else. This is one scenario when arriving right on time will make you wait the least.
Decorate your Cruise Ship Door
You can make door decorations to spruce up your door. We always make our door decorations and love coming up with different ideas and themes. Or if you’re not as crafty, or just don’t have time, there are plenty to be found on Etsy. Many other people bring magnets, garland and other decorations. It’s an easy way to add a little extra magic to your cruise! And helps you find your door too. The hallways are long and seem never-ending and the door magnets will help you find your way!
Watch the Cruise Ship Morning Show
Every morning, the cruise director and activities director will air a 15 minute-ish show on your cruise TV from 6 am-noon. This little show gives you all the info of everything that is happening onboard that day. Our cruise director was hilarious and we absolutely loved this show as something to watch while we were getting ready.
Be Prepared for Sea Sickness on a Disney Cruise
Let me tell you a little story called “I don’t get seasick”. Once upon a time, there were two sisters who thought they didn’t suffer from what some people call seasickness. They happily enjoyed their Disney Cruise for three whole days feeling fantastic. On the fourth night, however, their cruise ship was cruising at 21 knots to get back to Port Canaveral on time the next day and suddenly they began to feel much less than fantastic and had to lie down. They even missed a meal and ordered room service because they just couldn’t walk around the boat anymore feeling queasy. Luckily they had brought Sea Bands and were feeling better after a while. But it was a close call.
We had an itinerary that was pretty tight and had to make it back to port at a certain time. So, we had to go full speed ahead on our last night and it left the ride pretty bumpy. We had brought Sea Bands as a “just in case” and were so glad we did. You can also bring Dramamine or any other motion sickness OTC if you prefer that route. Sea-Bands are even great for kids, so grab some just in case. Check out what to buy before your Disney Cruise so you can go prepared.
Attend Pirate Night on your Disney Cruise
If traveling in the Caribbean you will have the chance to take part in Pirate Night. Pirate Night is one of our favorite activities on a Disney Cruise! Dress up as little or as much you want but either way Pirate Night is lots of fun. They have a special Pirates of the Caribbean menu for dinner too. Plus you can get special Pirate themed treats later at night. Play Pirate games and attend a Pirate dance party. The famous fireworks happen at 10:30 pm over the water which are just amazing! Disney Cruise Line is the only cruise line that is currently allowed to shoot fireworks at sea, so don’t miss it. It’s a lot of fun. So just trust us and go.
Get to know your Waitstaff and Room Host
Your waitstaff and room host/hostess will be with you throughout your entire trip. Even though you will not be in the same restaurant the whole time, your servers are scheduled on the same rotation as you are. So basically, you will see them every day. Unless you skip dinner of course. Get to know them; they are invaluable resources for excursion recommendations, newbie questions, best places to see the fireworks from the boat, best things to do at the port, etc. They’re extremely interesting people and love to interact. We learned so much from the friendly staff on board that it really is the equivalent of having your own tour guide. They’ll be excited to share their experiences and thrilled to hear yours. Many of them are from all over the world so take the time to get to know them, you’ll be glad you did.
Disney Cruise Tips to Save money
Cruising with Disney on a budget? Here are a few things to know that can help you avoid sticker shock at the end of your cruise.
Know What’s Included in your Disney Cruise Line Vacation
A Disney Cruise is generally all inclusive! But that doesn’t mean that it includes everything. There are some things completely excluded. Knowing this ahead of time will save you a lot of time and heartache later. All of your meals, soft drinks from the drink station, hot cocoa, tea and coffee from the drink station, soft-serve ice cream from Eye Scream, kids clubs, and main evening entertainment are included.
What’s not included on a Disney Cruise
Most of your everyday items and services are included on a Disney Cruise vacation. However, there are some things that aren’t. Things like alcoholic drinks, specialty coffee drinks, teas, and smoothies are all available for an extra cost. If you decide to eat at Palo or Remy, fine dining experiences are not included, so if you plan to indulge in either (or both!) of those, plan for an additional cost.
Port Excursions you want to participate in at your port of call or Castaway Cay ( like snorkeling) are also extra. Spa services and gratuities are also not included. Room service is included, but the gratuities for it are not. Most activities are included, however, occasionally there are some that are not. Things like alcohol tastings generally will cost you more, and are anywhere from $25 per person to $55 per person. The Royal tea for little ones is also an additional cost.
The Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy both have sweet shoppes that include items at additional cost. Onboard the Disney Fantasy, you can find specialty items at Sweet on You. And onboard the Disney Dream, Vanellope’s is home to gelato, cupcakes, cookies and more.
Now, don’t get us wrong, we love to treat ourselves on vacation. But if you’re trying to keep your spending in check onboard your Disney Cruise, you can easily avoid many of these charges by replacing them with the free options instead.
Bring your own Snacks to the Movie Theater and Stage Shows
If you’re planning to attend the nightly stage shows(which, yes, you are) or if you’re going to the movie theater, don’t feel obligated to purchase snacks at the concession stand. These are not free. And you can actually bring your own snacks into the theater! Another fun tip about the concession stand onboard Disney Cruise ships…. you can get many of those coveted popcorn buckets onboard! They’re usually cheaper on a Cruise than inside the Disney Parks. Which is a great bonus and you do get refills for less too! And if you want to save even more on popcorn, you can actually bring your own Disney Parks popcorn bucket to get inexpensive refills as well!
You can bring alcohol on a Disney Cruise
Disney Cruise Line actually allow guests 21 years and older to bring their own wine, champagne and beer on board. If you are planning to drink while on your Disney Cruise vacation, but want to stick to a budget, we recommend bringing some of your own alcohol. While the drinks on the cruise ship are delicious, they are expensive and can add up quickly. Alcohol must be brought in carry-on luggage and wine and champagne come with an extra corking fee. There are limits to this of course. For Disney Cruise Line’s full alcohol policy, click here.
Bring your own bottled water on a Disney Cruise
You can also bring your own bottled water onboard a Disney Cruise. This can save you a lot of money if you prefer bottled water, because the bottled water onboard is a bit expensive. You can bring one case of bottled water and it must be sealed and in the original packaging. You can find more information about bringing bottled water on your Disney Cruise here. Alternatively, you can also just bring a water bottle and refill it at the drink stations for free.
Bring a Water Bottle
As we mentioned previously, Yyu are allowed to bring your own bottled water onboard. However, if you forget to stock up before your trip, the drink station is available 24/7. Be sure to bring you water bottle and fill it up. Mind you, while this is the most eco-friendly, hiking it to the upper decks to refill your water bottle, where the water station was a bit of a hassle. Especially from a 1st floor cabin. Sure you save some money and get some extra steps in, but at the end of the day, no one wants a daunting task in front of them. You’re on vacation after all! Fill up your water bottle and call it a night.
You can also purchase bottled water onboard. But know the case of bottled water on board is very expensive so if you choose to go that route, be sure to budget it in.
Book your Next cruise BEFORE you disembark
If you LOVED your Disney Cruise and want to start planning another, the best time to book is while you’re still on the boat! This is one of our best ways to get a Disney Cruise on a Budget. Disney Cruise Line offers a discounted deposit, a percentage off your next cruise and on rare occasions, a stateroom credit on your next booking. This is very easy to do! All you have to do is go into your Disney Cruise line app, and there will be a button that says “save 10% on your next cruise”. Click that, and make your deposit. Once you’ve done this, you’ll receive an email stating that you have booked a placeholder.
After you’ve received that email, you can either forward the info to your Disney Travel agent, so that they can take care of the reservation for you; or you can call into Disney Cruise Line yourself when you’re ready to choose your specific itinerary for the discounted cruise.
Tips for tipping on a Disney Cruise
Tipping on a Disney Cruise is always a bit elusive! Especially since you have so many people helping you. Your waitstaff alone consists of at least three people.
How do you tip on a Disney Cruise?
Seriously, this may be the most important tip on this list! Or at least the one that will save your eyes from bleeding when you see your post-cruise final bill. As far as gratuities are concerned, Disney Cruise Line automatically figures a tip amount for your head server, assistant server, server, and room host/hostess. Yes, you will be tipping lots of people. It will add up to lots of money. Typically the gratuities are about $15 dollars per person, per night. So if you know how many nights you’re sailing, and how many people you’re bringing, you can do the math and add it to your Disney Cruise Budget.
As a courtesy, Disney Cruise Line will charge the default amount to your account at the end of the trip for all these servers. You can choose to change your default tip amount at the concierge desk onboard. For reference, they charge about $15/per day/per person. Of course, Disney leaves the amount up to you, so if you feel that someone deserved more or less, you can settle that with Guest Services.
Gratuities for other services on Disney Cruise Line
For all other gratuities, like for spa services and some of the specialty drink locations, even on Castaway Cay (if you’re going there) the tip will be built in. It will show you on the receipt and is usually calculated at 18%. Again, if you want to tip higher, just add in the amount you want to tip, otherwise, it is already figured for you. You can add additional gratuity to these charges; but you don’t have to.
Is cash accepted onboard a Disney Cruise?
Nope! The most accepted form of payment is your Key to the World card. That said, you use your Key to the World card just like you would a magic band at Disney Parks. Your credit card is attached to it. You can choose to settle your account with cash but this is done at Guest Services at the end of your trip. Or they will charge the card on file. Everything charged during your stay will be a part of this bill. Because of this we highly recommend that you have your Key to the World card on you at all times.
And don’t try to tip with cash either, they’ll have to hunt you down the next day to give you your cash back. Strange, we know, but true. Be sure to have a cardholder. We used these ones and they worked like a charm!
Tips for using the internet on a Disney Cruise
You’re on a Disney Cruise, you don’t need the internet right?! As much as we believe in the power of unplugging, we know it’s not always possible. Unlike soem other cruise lines, Disney WiFi is not free, and is not included with your cruise fare. Here are a few tips on using the internet onboard your Disney Cruise.
The Wi-Fi on a Disney Cruise Can Be Expensive
This is something that is going to change later in 2022. But it’s important to know that currently, Cruise Wi-Fi can be a bit pricey. But if you sign up for Connect @Sea, Disney Cruise Line’s internet, on the first day, you’ll receive 50 MB for free. So make sure you set that up on your first day!
The Wi-Fi on a Disney Cruise can be pretty bad
Ok, so the Wi-Fi on a Disney Cruise does work, don’t get us wrong. But, it is slow, expensive and if you’re not careful, you can use it up very fast. Do you know how we all love to share our little stories on Instagram? Well while you have Instagram open, if you have notifications turned on, receiving those notifications will be using your allowed data. The same goes for Facebook, Pinterest, and that 6-second video you just watched. The same goes for everything on your laptops and tablets. Have malware software that loves pop-ups? Those will use your data too.
If you get the Wi-Fi be sure to turn off all notifications, pop-ups, etc to save on your data usage. You can also choose a pay-as-you-go plan onboard, but be careful with this because it can add up quickly. We recommend making a note of everything that needs to be turned off prior to boarding; and then once you’re at sea, turn off all those extras to help you get the most out of your data.
Get an international data pan for WiFi onboard the Disney Cruise ships
Do you really need Wi-Fi? Maybe check with your phone provider for international packages that could be cheaper. We found out that Verizon currently offers Travel Pass, which is an add-on that will allow you to use your phone abroad for $10/day on your current plan. So if you normally have 4 GB/month, you can use Travel Pass just as you would at home and it will just deduct that from your regular monthly data allowance. Another option is renting or buying Skyroam. Skyroam is a hotspot that will tap into another country’s Wi-Fi without racking up those international fees on your phone bill. The biggest issue with Skyroam and other alternative options is that it will not work at sea, only once you are in port, so keep that in mind if you choose to go that route.
Some of the larger cell service carriers offer Cellular at Sea. This allows you to use your cell phone data while at sea. So if you really need internet, it’s a good option to look into.
Dining tips on a Disney Cruise
Looking forward to eating on your Disney Cruise? Here are a few tips for dining on a Disney Cruise.
Every Restaurant on a Disney Cruise is all you care to enjoy
It’s not really advertised as all you can eat, but it basically is! Disney Cruises are known for their food. And they always have a great selection. So maybe you want to try two appetizers? Or maybe all of the desserts? Go ahead! You can order everything on the menu if that’s what your heart desires. And no, it won’t cost you extra.
How does dining work on a Disney Cruise?
On a Disney Cruise, your dinner rotation is set. It’s called Rotational Dining and will be the dining schedule you have your entire cruise. You can find this information in your Disney Cruise line app. This lets you know which restaurant you will be in on which nights. On your cruise itinerary online it will show if you have the first seating or second seating. The first seating is at 5:30 and the second at 8:15. You can request to change this if you choose to. They can’t always accommodate requests for changes, but it never hurts to ask. Sometimes there is an option to change this ahead of time. And sometimes, you have to wait to get onboard. As always if you have any questions about your dining rotation, just ask Guest Services.
What is Rotational Dining on Disney Cruise Line?
Rotational dining is a system that is unique to Disney Cruise Line. Each night you are assigned to one of the three main dining rooms. And each night when you switch dining rooms, your waitstaff rotates with you. It gives them an opportunity to get to know you and what you like; and you get to know them! You can read all about rotational dining onboard a Disney Cruise ship here.
What restaurants serve breakfast and lunch on a Disney Cruise?
This will vary from ship to ship, and even between itineraries. But every ship that has a Cabanas onboard will serve breakfast and lunch at Cabanas. These meals will be buffet style. Usually, two other restaurants onboard will serve breakfast and lunch as well so that you have options. However, during the phased reopening of Disney Cruise Line, this is not always the case. On our most recent cruise, they actually only had one restaurant other than Cabanas available for these meals. The ship was sailing at a lower capacity, so it wasn’t really an issue, but good to note. You can find out who’s serving what meals in your Disney Cruise App.
You May be Sitting With Strangers at Dinner
Eating with strangers may or may not appeal to you. As a first-time cruiser though it totally took us by surprise! There is a chance that if this is your honeymoon cruise or you’re celebrating a special occasion, you may be seated alone. You will need to let Disney Cruise Line know ahead of time though if you want that option. This seating layout is part of the Disney Cruise Rotational Dining Schedule.
Since we were a party of three traveling together we were paired with another party of three. When just my daughter and I traveled, we were actually seated with two other families. While it’s not a big deal and we’re happy to make new friends, it just took us by surprise. We’ve eaten at Biergarten in Epcot before, so the idea of eating with strangers is not totally new. But we’re giving you this heads up so you don’t have an awkward first meeting. As a side note, if you are paired up with another family for dinner seating, you will be with them for the entire duration of your Disney Cruise. So be nice, get to know them. Hakuna Matata.
If you’d prefer to dine alone, however, you can always request a private table. Disney Cruise Line does not guarantee that they will provide you with a private table, but they will accommodate you if they can. You can dot his by emailing them, or by stopping by guest services while on the cruise.
UPDATED FOR 2022: Currently, Disney Cruise Line is not seating separate parties together. We were told on our Disney Fantasy Cruise in May 2022, that this will likely come back in 2023, so be aware that it can change at any time.
Tips for Excursions on a Disney Cruise Line vacation
You’ve booked your Disney Cruise Line excursions and are ready for adventure! Here are a few tips for navigating your Disney Cruise Line excursions with ease.
Disembarking the Ship
Each day that your cruise visits a port of call, you will be given instructions on when and where you can disembark. Whether or not you’ve booked your excursions through Disney or a third party, you’ll need to know how to access the gangway to get off the ship and what time you can do so. If you booked through Disney Cruise Line, you can find all of the information in your Disney Cruise Line app.
Don’t Feel Obligated to leave the Cruise ship at your Port of Call
Honestly, we actually struggled with this concept. Your goal for a cruise is to sail somewhere, right? Not necessarily! It could be that your goal is just to sail. In fact, after getting back on the boat early for our Disney Nassau Cruise, we were amazed to see how many people never actually left the ship! And were living it up with the ice cream and movies. It’s your trip and you get to choose how to spend it.
We love supporting the local economy when we cruise. But we also know that not every port is right for every person. So there may be a location on your itinerary that just doesn’t suit you and that’s ok.
Tips for Adults on a Disney Cruise
If you’re an adult without children, you may be wondering if a Disney Cruise is right for you. Of course it is! You’re never too old for something you love. So if you love Disney and want to explore the world of cruising, then a Disney Cruise is for you. They have plenty of adult only spaces and activities along with the Disney magic you love.
Disney Cruises Are for Adults
We always see many Adult only groups on our Disney Cruises. Whether you’re a childless couple that loves Disney, or want to plan a girls trip, or are just a single person who wants to travel solo, Disney Cruises are for everyone. There are so many things to do for Adults on a Disney Cruise just out to have some fun! You can visit the adult only pool, bars, clubs, the spa, Serenity Beach if you port at Castaway Cay and of course the famous Palo or Remy adults-only restaurants.
The Disney Cruise Adult Deck
Even if you brought the kids, you’re still going to want to head over to the adult only areas at one point. With so many families on the cruise you can expect a lot of noise, crying, meltdowns etc. and you will need to escape. If you are traveling with children you can still have some fun too because the kids clubs are amazing and will give you a well deserved break if needed. The Kids Clubs are separated by age group and staffed by a cast member, usually with crafts and games on hand. So feel free to just drop the kiddies off.
Tips for Meeting the Characters on a Disney Cruise
There are so many fun characters to meet on a Disney Cruise! They don’t always announce who will be out, but they do mention when and where characters will be out. Just look at the daily navigator in your Disney Cruise app and it’ll show you what time a character is meeting, and where. Then you can see for yourself if you want to stand in line to meet them!
There are also a ton of free roaming characters onboard a Disney Cruise, so just keep your eyes peeled! We’ve had some of the most fun character interactions with free roaming characters.
Disney Cruise line has a pretty cool meet and greet called the Princess Gathering. On our cruise, we got to meet Cinderella, Ariel, Tiana and Belle all in one location. And we also got to meet Anna and Elsa in Animator’s Palate (coolest restaurant EVER) for the Frozen Gathering. But you need to make sure you get tickets. These are FREE and can be booked ahead of time through your Disney Cruise Line Itinerary. If you decide at the last minute that you want to meet them, you can always check with Guest Services to see if there are any available. There is a cast member in charge of just checking your tickets. So make sure you get them.
UPDATE FOR 2022: This is currently not how the meet and greets are working with the Princesses, but we didn’t want to delete this section just in case they bring it back! As of June 2022, character meets are still distanced and you can see all of the Princesses at the Appear and Wave, which is held in the atrium.
Packing Tips for you Disney Cruise
Packing for a Disney Cruise is a little different than most other vacations. Not only do you need to know what to bring in your Disney Cruise carryon for the first day; but you also need to pack several different types of clothing for different occasions.
Pack Layers for a Disney Cruise in Any Weather
Even on some of your warmest cruises, remember you are on the ocean. It can get very breezy at night, causing you to wish you had brought that extra sweater or jacket. We have found that mostly during the day, we could do tees and shorts but at night needed a little something extra. Check out what to pack for a cold-weather cruise.
What to Pack for a Disney Cruise Vacation
Not sure what to pack for your Disney Cruise Vacation? We can help! We have an entire post dedicated to packing for a Disney Cruise, along with a free printable.
Is a porthole or verandah room worth the extra cost on a Disney Cruise?
There’s a lot that determines if this is worth it. But depending on your itinerary, length of cruise and just personal preference, it definitely could be!
This is actually a pretty highly debated topic in Disney Cruise Line Facebook groups. Should you spend the extra money for that porthole? Or even the verandah? This is a very personal preference and will really depend on how you vacation. We personally love going back to our stateroom to recharge, so for us, having that beautiful ocean view out of a porthole in the comfort of our room was really priceless.
If you don’t plan to spend any time in your room, we would recommend saving the extra hundred dollars and getting an inside stateroom. However, if you plan on spending time in your stateroom, or even just need a window, then we recommend getting a room with at least a porthole. We’ve stayed in both a verandah room and a porthole and don’t regret the cost of either. That being said, I don’t think I’d personally spend the extra money on a verandah for a shorter cruise, but again, it’s a personal preference!
Use a Disney Travel Planner for your Disney Cruise
If things still seem overwhelming, we get it! Don’t hesitate to use a Disney Travel agent to help you book your trip and take care of all of the details. Their services are free and they can help you navigate the waters of booking a Disney Cruise vacation. For a no obligation Disney Cruise quote, click here!
We hope these Disney Cruise tips have been helpful; and have helped you get excited about your next adventure with Disney Cruise LIne. Have a magical cruise and Bon Voyage!