I’ve been considering a family cruise for quite some time, and of course, Disney Cruise Lines is a top choice. So, I had to check in with Beth Barbara of popular Disney blog, Disney with Children, who shared with me 10 things to know before you board a Disney Cruise. Beth is also a travel agent with Once Upon a Time Vacations, so make note of her tips before you begin to plan.
1. You Can Schedule a Character Call from Mickey. Yes, before you leave home, you can schedule a character call from Mickey. He’ll tell your child how much he wants to see him or her and will talk about all the fun they’ll have together. It’s a fun way to surprise little ones with a Disney Cruise.
2. Pack Your Carry-On Bags Carefully. Once you board, you won’t see your bags for two to five hours. However, the pool, and even more so, the slide, will be beckoning your children. With this in mind, make sure to pack swimsuits, sunscreen and any other essentials in your carry-on bag to keep with you.
3. You’ll Want to Skim Your Navigator. When you check in for your cruise, you’ll be given a Navigator, which lets you know all the day’s activities on-board the cruise ship. Definitely skim the Navigator so you don’t miss out on any meet and greets, like one Beth nearly missed with Anna and Elsa from Frozen.
4. Your Door Will Be Decorated (by Everyone). On board the cruise ship, the door to your cabin will be decorated by staff and other guests. Look for lots of magnets, including those that create a Disney character. Beth went with a Pirate Mickey for her door. Look for lots of great decorative on Etsy.
5. Bring a Pillowcase and Fabric Markers. It’s key to pack a white pillowcase for every family member in your cabin, and bring along some fabric markers, too. Once on board, drop them off with Guest Relations. Many of the characters will sign the pillowcases, which will be returned to your cabin before you disembark for home.
6. Make Tervis Your Best Friend. Look for unlimited soda refills on-board Disney Cruises. You’ll also find plenty of other cold drinks on-board, so make Tervis your friend. Tervis makes adorable plastic tumblers that you’ll want to bring with you everywhere. As a bonus, they’re big enough so there’s no need for constant refills.
7. You Can Eat Whatever You Want. If you can’t choose an entrée, order more than one (or order all of them!). The food is very good. When you eat in the Main Dining Room and see more than one appetizer, entrée or dessert that appeals to you, let your waiter know. He’ll happily bring whatever you want to try.
8. Get a Cabana on Castaway Cay. If your Disney Cruise makes a stop at Castaway Cay, consider booking a concierge level cabin. Castaway Cay has a limited number of cabanas and priority reservations go to those on concierge level. Amenities include cushioned chairs and chaises, a shaded deck, towels, sunscreen, cold beverages, a storage locker and an outside shower.
9. Bring Change and Small Dollar Bills to Castaway Cay. Castaway Cay has a post office, so bring small change to mail a postcard with a stamp from Castaway Cay. The clerks often can’t make change for a $20 bill or higher, so bring change and small bills if you go.
10. Stay in On Port Days. Don’t feel the need to leave the ship on port days. In fact, Disney Cruises offer so much on-board that you don’t need to go on excursions at port. In fact, port days are the best days to go on popular rides, like the Aqua Duck, an amazing water slide on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. There’s also plenty to do in terms of games, meet and greets, and other family activities on port days.
Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe