My husband and two small children, 8 and 6 recently returned from a Disney Cruise vacation. These 2015 tips helped to make our experience more enjoyable. This was my second time sailing with Disney and from my first experience, a lot has changed.
We set sail from Cape Canaveral on the Disney Dream, one of Disney Cruise Lines largest ship. We booked the Concierge Stateroom and was able to get personalized service and inside tips. All of these tips, plus a few of my own suggestions, I’ve compiled for your family to enjoy.
2015 Disney Cruise Tips
1. Book your cruise as early as possible. They require a small down payment to secure your cruise and stateroom. If possible, confirm the Concierge staterooms, there are many perks! Read about them in my post Discover the Magic of Disney Cruise.
2 . Select a stateroom closer to the center of the ship. You’re less likely to feel any motion on the boat.
3. An Oceanview State room is ideal for cruises over 4 days. If you have a short cruise, an inside stateroom would be fine. The time goes by fast and you spend very little time inside.
4 . Select the Main Dining if you’re traveling with small kids. It books quickly so be sure to do this as soon as you give them your deposit.
5. If you’re traveling with another family, “link” your reservation when you book so you can dine together.
6. Select your “Port Arrival Time” as soon as possible. This is the specific time you will be allowed to board the ship on the first day. You can usually confirm this time after you’ve completed your cruise documents.
7. If you arrive earlier than your “Port Arrival Time”, you can ask to board. If the ship is ready to board, they will let you on.
8. Pack a day bag with swimsuits for your arrival. You will not have access to your luggage for a few hours after you get on board.
9. Save money on transportation by renting a car to drive to the terminal.
10. If you do rent or drive your own car, reserve terminal parking in advance. The parking lots need to know your arrival time and cruise information. It will save you time and money. Cost about $60 for a 3day cruise.
12 Bring your own water. They have large packs of water for sale on board but the prices are inflated.
13. Bring your own reusable beverage container. There’s soft drink fountains in the food areas but they don’t provide lids or straws to carry out.
14. There are a few Princess Meet & Greet opportunities on the cruise but you must RSVP. As soon as you get on board go to the Activities Desk to get your family on the list and get tickets.
15. Disney’s Cruise Line host a Pirate Night on all of their cruises. Everyone will be dressed in pirate gear and saying Argh! Make sure you’re not left out of the party. Be sure to pack your gear.
16. Wait until you get on board to book your spa service. They will send you an invitation in the form of a coupon to your stateroom.
17. They have spa passes for sale on board the ship. You can pay to access to the spa per day or for the entire cruise. It cost about $20-$25 a day.
18. Make a reservation at one of the adult only restaurants. For only $10 per person we enjoyed a fine Italian meal at Palo on board the Dream. The adult dining gets books fast. Read more about our experience at Palo on my DCL review.
19. The food on board the ship is all you can eat, including the adult restaurants that cost extra, unless otherwise noted. They prefer to serve you one entree at a time, but our servers didn’t mind us ordering up.
20. Buy the bottle of wine your first night on the cruise. It’s much cheaper and if you don’t finish it they will serve it to you the next night and for the rest of the cruise, at your request.
21. Pack semi-formal attire for everyone. The adult restaurants require you to dress up. No jeans, shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, or sneakers. Also, there there will be family portrait stations set up during the evening.
22. Disney photographers will come to your dinner table to take your photos. You can ask them to take your family’s photo with your personal camera. They don’t mind.
23. Bring your own portable iron. They do not have irons in the room for safety reasons. You can pay for the laundry service or press it yourself in the community laundry room.
24. You can use your stateroom’s cordless phones outside of the room to keep in touch with other cruisers. These devices are meant to be portable and can be used to call or text another stateroom or the other handset assigned to your stateroom. Disney also uses it to contact you if your children are in the kids center.
25. Attend the nightly shows. Disney puts on a live performance every evening, depending on your cruise length of course. This is the Disney experience you paid for. These shows are one of a kind and very entertaining!
26. Get to the shows early or send your spouse to save your seats. Do I really need to tell you why?
27. If you have small children use the booster seats provided. Pick one up on your way in. They are located in the back of the theater.
28. If your cruise stops in Nassau, then you must go to Atlantis on Paradise Island. It is a beautiful resort with casino, shopping, dining, water park, beaches and lots more!
30. Run Disney Castaway Cay 5K. It’s usually held the morning you dock on Castaway Cay. You can register to attend when you get on board. This is a free event for the whole family but can get really hot.
31. On Castaway Cay, beach chairs and umbrella are limited to first come first serve. Get there early to claim your family’s spot on the beach.
32. Reserve the private Cabana on Castaway Cay. The cabanas are in a secluded area of the beach away from the crowds and comes with some extra amenities. They are perfect for large families. These sell out weeks before your cruise so act fast.
33. Be sure to download the Disney Cruise Live Navigator app before you set sail. It’s a handy tool that keeps you informed of all the activities on board the ship. It works with or without a connection.
If you’ve already book your trip on a Disney Cruise or anticipate booking it soon, I hope these tips are as helpful to you as they were for us. You are going to have so much fun. Don’t forget to check out the Daily Activities newsletter that is delivered to your room each morning. There is a lot of information hidden inside. Bon Voyage and I wish you the best!
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To view more photos or find out more about our Disney Cruise Concierge experience check out my post Discover the Magic of Disney Cruise Line Concierge.
Have you recently experienced a Disney Cruise? I’d love to hear about it. For suggestions or questions about DCL fee free to leave me a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org