Booking a Disney Cruise is no small event. Sailing with Disney Cruise Line is not cheap. But for what you pay in cruise fare, you make up for with pretty much everything else. Just like with everything else it does, Disney goes above and beyond to make the cruise experience magical for all of its guests. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your Disney Cruise both before you embark and while you’re onboard.
Before You Board
Check in Online
When you first book your cruise, you will be given a paid-in-full date. This is also the date that you can check-in online. You will be asked to fill out information about your party, as well as your travel plans before and after the cruise. The process is easy and straight forward. You will still need to check-in at the terminal to get your Key to the World card but this process is so easy and quick if you do all the work beforehand.
Reserve Special Activities Online
Many, if not all, of the special onboard activities can be booked online after you have paid the entire cost of your cruise. This option is available up to three days before you embark. These activities include adult dining at Palo and Remy, spa appointments, and special character meet and greets. It’s important to note that most character meet and greets don’t require a ticket. But the popular characters, such as Anna and Elsa and the princesses, require a free ticket. Schedule these as soon as possible because they do fill up. It is also a good idea to book your shore excursions ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re onboard.
Schedule a Free Character Call
To add an extra bit of magic, you can schedule a character call before your cruise. We scheduled one for the morning we were scheduled to embark before leaving for the port. Character calls are a good way to get the kids excited for all the fun they’ll have onboard. It was exciting to see our kids crowd around the phone in our hotel room listening to the message from Mickey and Minnie. It really set the tone for an awesome cruise.
Catch a Show in the Walt Disney Theatre
You can’t go on a Disney Cruise without seeing at least one show. The shows onboard are entertaining and really well done. There are two showings every evening that coincide with the dinner times. No matter what dinner seating you have, you will be able to catch one of the shows.
Order Room Service
I include room service on the list because why not? Most of the items on the menu are free. Where else can you get that? Whether you just don’t feel like going all the way up to Cabanas for breakfast or you want to treat yourself to cookies and milk before bed, be sure to take advantage of the room service.
Make Use of the Kids’ Clubs
Whether you want to have an adult-only dinner, book a spa appointment, or just spend some much needed relaxation time by the pool, rest assured your kids will be well taken care of in the kids’ clubs. Well-trained counselors are always on hand to assist kids in structured activities as well as to supervise unstructured play times. For the under-3 crowd, the It’s a Small World nursery is available for $9 an hour.
Dine at an Adult Only Restaurant
If you’re able to, I strongly suggest taking advantage of the adult-only restaurants. We didn’t have the option of dining at Remy (available on the Dream and Fantasy) but I can say with absolute certainty that dining at Palo is completely worth the $30 per person charge. The food is the definition of fine dining and the atmosphere is just as good. You won’t regret it.
Consult Your Cruise Navigator
There is a lot going on every day onboard. In order to see all the activities available, your room steward will deliver a schedule to your room every evening for the next day. This is your cruise navigator. Make sure you look at it every day so you can be aware of activities you want to do.
Book Your Next Cruise While Onboard
If you are interested in going on another cruise in the future, do yourself a favor and book it while you are onboard. We didn’t do this and now that we’re planning our second cruise, we wish we had. Disney Cruise Line does not offer many discounts. The 10% discount you get for booking onboard is one of the few discounts available. Plus you also receive an onboard credit. If you are unsure of when you want to go, you can book a placeholder by putting down a $250 deposit. You still get the 10% discount and onboard credit. A placeholder is good for any cruise within 24 months.
Regardless of what you choose to do on your cruise, you will have a great time. These are just a few suggestions to help you make the most of your time with Disney Cruise Line.