Tips from seasoned DCL Passengers
Cruise huh? You excited yet? My first cruise I was ever on, I had it booked over a year out. Waiting for that trip drove me insane. I learned a ton, from planning to enjoying my time on board. Cruising with Disney is an experience of a lifetime. If you are reading this while deciding to cruise, that’s a no brainer. DO IT. If you are reading this after you’ve booked and this is your first cruise, this post will help you with some tips to make your first cruise a memorable one. If you’ve cruised before, then enjoy! If you have tips of your own, send them in! We would love to come up with a second list, and share all of the other amazing DCL tips!
Getting yourself prepared – Prior to your cruise!
In the mail, you will receive a booklet, full of information for your cruise and bag tags. Make sure you thoroughly read all of the information and place those bag tags on your respective bags prior to heading to the port. Do not place your bag tags on prior to your flight so they don’t get damaged in transit. To avoid the horrible feeling of watching your ship sail away without you, we recommend flying in at least one day prior to your departure date. This will avoid any mishaps with delayed or cancelled flights. We also recommend being at your port earlier then later. Some ports are harder to reach then others. If there was one main highway in and out, one traffic incident can change things drastically.
Treat the staff like extremely well
I’m putting this early in the post because we feel this is super important. There is a number of staff that are on the ship just to look after you. Your stateroom attendant, your servers at your meals. There is a whole team on board to look after you. Make sure you treat them with the same love and care as they extend you. You are part of their family while you are on board, and they light up and show their love back when you include them in yours. Also, tip them well, bartenders seem to have heavy pours, and your stateroom attendant will leave you extra treats!
Booking rooms with obstructed views
There is a select number of rooms that are what’s called Obstructed view. These rooms are ocean view, porthole or verandah rooms that have something partially blocking your view. These rooms, usually cannot be sold as ocean view because of these obstructions and are usually priced lower as inside rooms. If you would be okay with rooms with such obstruction, maybe look into these. You’d get an outside facing room, for a cheaper price.
Eat, eat, and eat some more
This is something that you will never get used to. The dining. The food is stellar, every night, everyplace. Disney runs on a rotation, you move as a table group through the various ships restaurants. The menu is different every night, but don’t fret. If you enjoy something on the menu, you can order that any night, regardless of where you are. The only exception would be on themed nights, where the menu in all the restaurants is the same. The portions are perfectly sized, not too large so you can order more than one entrée. You can order all the appetizers, all the entrée’s and all of the desserts. I don’t usually recommend this, but the food is so good you’ll need to try! By the end of your cruise, you’ll be able to create a perfect meal. You can pick your favorite course that you’ve had all week, the Mega-Meal, if you will. You have two other options for fine dining for dinner. These restaurants will incur extra costs, but is certainly worth the experience. Make sure if you decide to do these, to make reservations ahead of time to make sure you get to enjoy these. Our advice, if this is your first trip, even first trip on a Disney Ship, Enjoy the meal rotations instead of the paid eateries. We think getting a feel for what you are already paying for, before spending more money is a benefit.
Entertainment – The show must go on
The shows that are on board the Disney Ships are world class, Broadway quality. Disney always strives to provide world class entertainment. You must take the time to see the shows, they will blow you away. On one of my recent cruises I was granted to the opportunity to meet the cast and crew, and tour the theatre. What an amazing facility! You won’t be disappointed. The lineup varies from ship to ship, so make sure to check out what is on board yours!
Your port days are important on a few different levels. Depending on your itinerary, and your interests, you can utilize your days in different ways. Certain places draw more attention then others. A recent cruise we were on was a 4-night Bahamas trip. One day in Nassau, one day at Castaway Cay and one day at sea. We found that most of the ship emptied at Castaway, and given the real estate that you have, its certainly not a bad idea to get off the ship and explore the island. But the Nassau day, we got off the ship for about two hours, and returned. When we returned, we found the ship was empty, and therefore most of the on-board amenities were free for use! Utilizing port days to have free-reign of the ship is a huge advantage to the seasoned sailer.
Sailing with your young ones? Need a break to enjoy some peace and quiet? Looking for an afternoon spa-like experience? Drop the kids of at one of the kid’s clubs and head over to the senses spa. Take advantage of a treatment, massage or a rain forest room pass. Complete game changer, and will take your family vacation to the next level!
Disembarking. No one wants to talk about it. But we have too! The night before you get off your ship, you will have the option to leave your luggage outside of your room for it to be taken off the ship. You do not have to take advantage of this, but we recommend you do. Otherwise, you will have to lug your luggage around the ship to breakfast and off the ship into port with you. This is one last stress reliever Disney tries to help you with. Especially if you are travelling with kids, you don’t have to worry about carrying the whole family’s luggage out with to breakfast with you.
Most of all, make sure to take advantage of everything. This ship is your home for your trip, and enjoy every second of your Disney Cruise Vacation!