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So, you’re thinking about or have booked a Disney cruise, now what?
First of all, congratulations, that’s awesome; we are super excited for you.
There are a few things that you should know before your first cruise and this is a list of tips that we have compiled to make your first cruise a little more magical.
Taking a Day of Flight Before Your Cruise is Risky
We aren’t saying that it won’t work out alright for you but there are a lot of things that can go wrong with airlines. Just because the weather in your area is great doesn’t mean that flights aren’t delayed due to mechanical difficulties or weather somewhere else. If you are late to the cruise, they will absolutely not hold that ship for you or your party regardless of what your sob story is so in order to save yourself a lot of unneccessary headache, and possibly some heartache, fly in the day before and get to know your port city a bit.
Download the Navigator App
You will want to do this as soon as possible. The Navigator App is a great way to countdown to your cruise and then once you board the ship and connect to the wifi, you don’t have to buy a wifi package for this, you can download the free 50 MB package which will be enough for you to download the app. This will allow you to see all of the on board activities for the cruise, you can “like” the ones you want to remember and you can even get a reminder of those “liked” items through the app fifteen minutes prior to the start of the event.
Important to note that if you have cruised previously and remembered getting the paper navigator, this will no longer be provided by your stateroom host or hostess the night before. You can still get the paper navigator at guest relations or request that your state room host brings you a navigator when they do turn down service but the app is where it’s at and is the best (in our opinion) and easiest way to plan your day and stay on top of all cruise activities and events.
We actually prefer the app as opposed to the paper navigators. It is so simple, just pull it up on your phone and scroll through all of the events for the day and you can “Heart” various events you want to be reminded of that you are interested in.
It tells you where they are, what time and also gives you access to things like the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink of the day, menus for the restaurants and more.
Embarkation Day Can be Chaotic
Prior to our first cruise, we had no idea how chaotic embarkation day was. From the time you get on the ship until an hour or two after the sail a wave party, it is loud and crowded and confusing and… chaos. We are not telling you this to scare you off a cruise because once the chaos ends, it is relaxing and amazing but prior to our cruise, not one cruise vlog we watched or blog that we read talked about how crazy embarkation was. We did an entire blog highlighting tips for embarkation day so be sure to check that out to learn more about embarkation and how to make that run smooth for your crew.
Your Entire Party Must go to the Safety Drill
The safety drill isn’t fun, no one is ever going to tell you that it is. It is, however, mandatory. Every single person in your party must be present for the safety drill. So just go. Go to the drill, be there on time, get really close to some of your other cruisers that share your same letter and learn how to put a life vest on. Don’t be that person whose name gets called over the loudspeakers throughout the entire ship when you don’t show up or the family who has to walk past 500 other annoyed cruisers who are unable to get on with their cruise because the entire ship is waiting on you. You can’t get away from it and if they have to, the crew will come bang on your state room door and if you still don’t show up, you will have to do it again the next day, so just go. Rant over.
Know When Events Are Taking Place
This goes along with downloading the app, but there are a ton of things going on all over the ship for guests of all ages. Once you have downloaded the app, you can figure out which events you want to take part in. Many events start right on time and for things like character greetings, lines can form early. If you are wanting to meet Mickey Mouse at 11:00 a.m., head up there five or ten minutes early or within ten to fifteen minutes of the allotted time and be sure you get to meet the characters you are wanting to see.
Don’t Wait Until The Last Night to Get Those Photos
There are some really great photo opportunities on the cruise. Throughout your entire cruise, there are character opportunities and photo opps available in the ships atrium. The characters often come our for meet and greets in different outfits throughout the cruise, so check back frequently to see if it is something you are interested in. On the last night, everyone wants those photos and the lines get really long. You are better off getting your photos earlier in the cruise than waiting for the last night.
You Don’t Have to Get Off The Ship at Every Port
This is your vacation, you do you. For many first time Disney cruisers, there is a misconception that there is nothing to do on the ship when the ship is at port. Not true! Grab your handy dandy navigator app and check out the fun events for guests of all ages, just grab your suit and a good book and catch some rays in the adults only pool area or head over to the family area and watch a movie on funnel vision. There is so much to do on a Disney cruise and you can be as active or as relaxed as you want. If you want to get off the ship at every port, do it but if you want to relax on the ship, do it. It’s your vacation.
Book a Placeholder
If you think you are going to want to do another cruise within two years of the cruise you are going on, book a placeholder. You can put down $250 and will get 10% your next cruise. Every little bit helps because as we all know, Disney cruises are pricey.
Shops Are Only Open When The Ship is at Sea
Due to international laws, shops on the ship are only when the ship is at sea. So, don’t plan to do your shopping when you first board the ship or when the ship is at a port.
You Can Make Requests
On a Disney cruise, you can always make requests for things that you are wanting. Disney cannot guarantee that your requests will be accommodated but you Where you want to sit, who you sit with and also your rotational dining schedule.
Call prior to setting sail to request these times of things. If you are a couple or a family of three and you would prefer to just sit at a table with your crew, you can request that.
In addition, if you had food allergies or preferences, be sure to relay that prior to boarding the ship so that they can put that in the notes for your serving team and make your experience that much more magical.
You Can Pay Your Balance in Increments
When you board the ship, any merchandise that you buy or drinks that you purchase or additional food that is purchased is charged to your stateroom where you have a card on file. There are no cash or credit card transactions in the shops or restaurants. That being said, if you have gift cards that you want to use, be sure to head over to guest services to use those before you spend $300. Every time you spend $300, the card that you have on file will automatically be charged and trust me, that $300 goes fast, especially in those souvenir shops.
Bring a Small Carry on For The First Few Hours of Embarkation Day
Depending on when you board the ship, it could be several hours before you are allowed into your state room and several more before you actually receive your luggage to your state room. Your vacation has begun! Pack a bathing suit, a light jacket and a change of clothes or whatever you may want for the first few hours of your vacation so that you can get into ultimate relaxation mode.
Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.