Thursday, February 5, 2015

5 Tips To Enjoy Your Disney Cruise!

1. Arrive early to the port!      

Family Picture in the Terminal.
Key To The World Card
       Getting to the port early translates into more time on the ship! This process starts months before your cruise, when you do on-line check in. You want to check in as soon as you can. One step in the check in process is to select your port arrival time. You want to pick as early as you can which is often 11am or noon. If you wait until 2pm, you have already missed out on lunch on the ship. By being at the port sooner you can avoid long lines and get the chance to meet Mickey or Minnie while you wait for your boarding group. Most of the Disney buses from the resorts leave later in the morning so if you are staying on Disney property the night before your cruise, you may want to explore other transportation options (I can help with this). The first few hours on board is a great time to explore the ship and familiarize your self with the layout of the ship or better yet - take a tour! We also like to hit the pools right away before the crowds roll in.

2.  Keep your Navigator with you!

The daily Navigator is your guide to everything. When I say everything I mean EVERYTHING!  Do you need to know what time Tinker Bell meets? When is the trivia contest in the Pub?  What time does the buffet open?  All that can all be answered in your navigator.  It tells you the what and when of everything you need to know. You'll get the next days' navigator when the turn down service is completed in the evening. Read it over before you head to bed and plan the next day.  You can also use the new app on your smart phone. Just make sure to download it before you leave for your cruise! The app is handy, but the paper navigators are just easy to see everything at once. 
Here is a whole post just about the Navigator.

3. Enjoy Meal Time

Everyone thinks of food when they think of cruising, but I'm not saying to enjoy just the food.  Enjoy the atmosphere of the main dining rooms. Disney has put such detail into where you eat and what you eat, don't just grab a slice of pizza from the quick service restaurants on the ship.  We have used diner time as a chance to sit together and talk and tell stories of the day. This was a true highlight on our extended family cruise.  We were often headed in different directions during the day, so the evening meal was great for meeting up. We often found ourselves one of the last groups to leave. We also were glad we had the kids dine with us rather then in the kids club. How often will you have the chance to order escargot for a 6 year old and not worry if they like it or not?  When we traveled on our adults only Disney cruise, we were nervous about sitting with strangers but by the end of the trip they were no longer strangers, but new friends!    Oh, and of course the food is amazing - but I'm sure you already knew that!

4.  Plan your port days

adult only beach on Castaway Cay
View of the Dream in Nassau
This is something that you want to look at well in advance of your trip. Actually the best time to research it is in advance of online check in. The reason for this is once you check in you can start booking shore excursions. You can look at the excursions on Disney's web site to start your planning. However this does not mean you have to book an excursion. You should just know what you plan on doing so you don't get off the ship and find yourself saying "I wish" or "I would have"   We have used a day in Nassau like a day at sea so that we could enjoy the ship. Many people get off the ship and that works to your advantage if you've already seen the places where the ship visits. That is when we booked spa treatments and the kids rode the aquaduck over and over and over. We didn't plan a lengthy excursion so we could get back on the ship and enjoy the ship.   Here is a post to sum up a possibility of a way to spend a day in Nassau.

5. You can't do everything

Pirate Party!!!
Snorkeling at Castaway Cay
There is so much to see and do on a Disney cruise that it is impossible to do it all on one cruise. Read over your navigator and highlight what you want to do for sure and let the gaps fill themselves in. You won't find relaxing acutally listed on the schedule, so you may want to pencil that in somewhere.  Some highlights I would not want to miss are the Broadway style shows, princess gathering, or some of the family fun in the D lounge.  Sometimes the kids are more concerned about the scheduled activity in the kids club or the movie that is showing. Remember: it's your cruise you can do as much or as little as you want.  Don't forget to order room service - it's included in your cruise fare! (Just don't forget to bring a couple dollar bills onboard with you to tip your room service server.) There's nothing quite like enjoying a Mickey Bar at midnight in your stateroom!

Here are a few random Pictures, and while my last tip was that you can't do it all during one cruise, I want to tell you that you can still do a lot!!
Mickey Bars from room service.

Mt. Rustmore on Castaway Cay.

Enjoying my last little bit of phone service before the ship leaves port.

Boarding through some giant Mickey Ears.

Come early and avoid this line to check in at the port.

Finish every meal with ice cream.  Cabannas has hand scooped ice cream. 

Door decorations make it much easier to find your door in the long hallways and it's just FUN!

Mini Golf on Goofy's Sports Deck.

The view from the Mini-Golf is tough to beat in Nassau.

Princess gatherings happen only a few times per sailing - get a ticket in advance at the Port Adventures desk on the first day of you cruise.  It is great because you meet 4 or 5 princess in a row! (Check your 1st Navigator for the exact location of the ticket distribution for your cruise.)

Pirate night brings out lots of fun costumes.

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