If you have children and love to cruise, then this is the cruise line for you! We've only been once, but we loved it so much that we booked another cruise before we stepped off the ship (and got 20% off the next cruise).
We booked our cruise only 2 months away from our sailing date. This is considered really last minute in the cruising world. While it was absolutely wonderful, I did take lots of notes on how to improve our next cruise. If you have more tips, please share them in the comment section!
- Ensure everyone has a current passport. You will need this information to complete your pre-boarding paperwork, which is a prerequisite for selecting other items.
- Select an early boarding time. Maximize your time on the ship.
- Booking way in advance and completing your pre-boarding paperwork will help you achieve the dining schedule you prefer.
- As soon as you book, check into the cabanas for Castaway Cay.
Things to Pack (other than the normal clothes, sunscreen, camera)
- A signature book. We bought one during our last visit to Disneyland and I cannot believe that I forgot it! We saw SO MANY characters and had plenty of time to get a signature from all of them.
- Rather than spend money on disposable water bottles, pack re-usable water bottles for the entire family. The cruise ship has free filtered water/ice available 24/7 on the pool deck. You can keep hydrated, be green and save money! A total win-win-win. Note: Sodas are also free and available at the drink station. Click here for water bottle ideas.
- To stay on track of all the fun activities, bring a highlighter! Use it to highlight the activities in the daily Navigator, so you can quickly glance to see what's up next.
- Pirate gear. Seriously. Everyone gets into Pirate Night. You can go simple with a bandana (provided by Disney Cruise Line) or elaborate with a full Captain Hook costume. Regardless of how you dress, be sure the kiddos have something fun to wear or accessorize with on Pirate Night. Click here for costume ideas.
- Casual clothing is key. For dinners, the guys wore a nice shirt and cargo shorts, while the gals wore sundresses. Keep it classy, but comfortable.
- Something magnetic to decorate your stateroom door. It's just fun and it helps the
adultskiddos find the room easier. Click here for ideas.
Onboard the Ship
- On day one, the pool deck is CRAZY. The pool is like human soup. If you have small kids, this is quite intimidating. Once the pool gets too busy, head indoors to discover the ship. Playing the detective scavenger hunt is a fun way to see lots of the ship and keep the kids entertained.
- Bring lunch (from the buffet) to the Buena Vista Theater to watch a movie. You gotta eat anyway, so you might as well beat the heat and catch a Disney movie.
- Get to Castaway Cay no later than 10AM and grab extra towels when you get off the ship. Here is a picture showing the difference between 10AM and 12PM.
- On Pirate Night, make a point to visit the lobby. Fun stuff.
- The production shows are totally worth it. The best seats are in the middle front section. Confetti, snow, streamers will fall from the ceiling in this section and you can see the characters up close. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the show and people start lining up an hour before the show starts. The theater has tons of seats, so if you don't care about prime seating, then you can just show up a few minutes before the show starts.
- The kids club is amazing. Amazing. Visit it during the open house times - even if your kids aren't going to go.
- Plan on lots of stair climbing (or being very patient for elevators). We discovered lots of people take the elevator to go up just one floor (when they appeared able bodied to take the stairs).
I hope these tips help make your next Disney Cruise fantastic! And I really, really hope you share some tips with me!