Good Morning Friends! Today I am going to talk about tips and tricks for smooth sailing on the Disney Cruise Line!
Orlando’s forecast: partly cloudy and 79 degrees. Ahhh… 11 days to go before I am back in my happy place. This warm trend/lack of rain better continue when we get there!!!
Today’s Disney Quote:
“The only reason I know of for making a buzzing noise is that you’re a bee, and the only reason that I know of for being a bee is to make honey. And the only reason I know for making honey…is so I can eat it” –Winnie the Pooh
Daily Disney Song: Heffalumps and Woozles
So…traveling on the Disney Cruise Line for the first time can be a little overwhelming. Especially if you plan to visit Disney World before or after your trip. What to pack, what not to pack, how to manage family and adult only time on the ship, which ports to get off the ship and visit, which ones that are not so safe, when to take advantage of quieter times on deck and at the pools. And that’s just the tip of the ice berg! So, today I am going to focus on tips and tricks for getting to Port Canaveral, what to pack, and how to make life a little less stressful while on board.
— If you have your own transportation, get to the port early, as early as 10:30 or 11 a.m. The line to register the kids for the Oceaneer’s Club activities can get quite long and they begin boarding the ship right about noon. If you’re in the first few groups, you can go directly to Cabana’s and have a leisurely lunch while you wait for your room to be ready.
— You have two options for parking at the port: in the garage ($90) or on a surface lot ($110). We chose the surface lot because we were told the lines to get out of the parking garage can get pretty crazy. We walked off the ship, over to the car and were on our way with no wait at all. Well worth the extra $20 if you’re in any hurry (and we were since we wanted to go to WDW for the day). Got to WDW right at 9 a.m. for park opening.
— Read the directions to use the Wave phones. We didn’t, and couldn’t figure out why they weren’t working! You must dial a 41 first if you’re going phone to room or room to phone. Phone to phone, just dial the phone number. Wave phones work on Castaway Cay.
— It is futile to try and limit soda and ice cream for the kids. Just explain to them that the cruise is special and regular rules apply once back on land.
— It’s hard to find 12 seats together at the buffets. Stick to the table service dining when possible.
— Take an iPod with soft music or white noise. It is VERY quiet at night (except for kids [not ours!] running down the hallways).
— We stored lots of “junk” in the coffee table. The top opens and there’s lots of room for things you don’t need, but don’t want to lose. Just don’t forget to empty it when you pack the last night.
— Try to schedule a short nap (or at least an hour of relaxing time) each day if you plan on any of the late-night adult activities. Morning comes very early on the ship and you don’t want to be dragging all the rest of the day.
— Remy is awesome, but only worth the $75 up-charge if you truly enjoy food and food preparation as an “art,” and understand that this is an “experience” and not just another great meal.
— The second family beach (near Pelican Plunge) on Castaway Cay is much less crowded than the one near Scuttle’s Cove.
— Cookie’s BBQ on the island is outstanding! Get off the ship if for no other reason than to have lunch, and don’t pass up the ribs!
— Bring a couple bottles of pump/foam soap for the bathrooms. It’s much less messy than those little bars of soap.
— Be sure to keep your smart phone on airplane mode (except when using it to access WiFi is you purchase a package). Otherwise, texts, “push” messages and e-mails may come through at international data rates.
— Lost Key to the World cards are not a problem; just get a replacement from Guest Services. You WILL need your Key to the World cards to debark on the last day, so don’t pack it in your luggage.
— Bed rails are available. Think about doing without a porta-crib. It makes your room much less crowded to just use the bottom bunk with a rail for a little one if at all possible.
— Don’t forget that Disney will let you bring aboard wine in your carry on luggage (NOT in your checked luggage!). You cannot carry an opened bottle around the ship. If you take an unopened bottle to dinner, there might be a corkage fee.
— If characters are scheduled to appear twice during a day (around 4:30 and 7:15 usually), go to the earlier appearances and get there a bit early. The lines are MUCH shorter than the evening appearances.
— Don’t wait until the last night to go to Shutters (for your photos). It’s a zoo! Same advice for any souvenir shopping. The stores are really crowded on the last night, so shop earlier in your cruise.
— If your gratuities are not pre-paid, go to Guest Services the second or third night of the cruise to take care of it. If you wait until the last day, you will have a much longer wait in line.
What to pack:
Please be aware that if you board the ship early you will need to carry this with you until your room is ready.
- Airline E Ticket for everyone
- Cash or Travelers Checks- Bring small bills for tipping.
- Cell Phone- Don’t forget to turn off or place in airline mode. Otherwise you can have a large phone bill when you return from your cruise. You might want to check before cruising with your phone company to see if they have an international or at sea plan if you need to use the phone.
- Credit Cards- Be sure to make copies of them front and back before you leave. Leave a copy with relatives in the event they are lost or stolen. Also bring a list of the contact phone numbers for your credit cards.
- Cruise Documents-You can fill out the paperwork online to check in but be sure to bring the signature page with you.
- Dramamine or Bonine for motion sickness
- Eyeglasses or contacts
- Important telephone numbers/email addresses. I always program all of my confirmation numbers, airline, cruise line, WDW, resort hotel, travel agent, family phone numbers in to my cell phone. And be sure to give a family member the phone number to contact you directly on the ship. That can be found in the planning section of the FAQs on the Cruise Line website.
- Jewelry/Valuables- Try to bring as few valuables as possible. Don’t pack anything valuable in your luggage!
- Passport, Birth Certificate, License- Make copies of these documents also. Bring copies and store them in a separate place in case you lose the originals.
- Spare Set of casual clothing- In case your luggage is delayed getting to your room.
- Sunscreen- Bring plenty. You will need it.
- Swimsuit- You can wear it under your clothes so you can go swimming while waiting for your room to be ready.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste for everyone
- Athletic clothing/workout wear
- Bathing suit At least two per person for Caribbean cruises
- Shirts – dress shirts
- Shirts – golf shirts
- Shirts – t-shirts or long-sleeve
- Shoes: beach footwear/sandals
- Shoes: formal
- Suit Depending on cruise’s formality
- Sweaters May want for the theatres
- $1 or $ 2 bills-Room service gratuities are not included in your cruise gratuities paid; be sure to have lots for ports. Also you should have small bills when purchasing stamps at the Post office on Castaway Cay.
- Anti-bacterial wipes or gel.
- Aspirin or other medicine
- Baby powder- Great for getting sand off your feet.
- Batteries (camera batteries also)
- Cameras- Digital, Waterproof, and or disposables. Buy waterproof before leaving- they are expensive on board!
- Clothspins & clothesline-You may be able to hang a clothesline on your verandah.
- Coffeemaker-This is only if you are desperate for coffee all the time.
- Dramamine – Or get the patch from your doctor before the trip
- Dry erase board-To communicate with your family, you can put magnets on your stateroom door
- Dryer Sheets Multiple uses, freshen luggage, drawers, shoes, etc.
- Earplugs In case you have noisy neighbors
- Extension Cord or Power Strip There are few outlets in the cabin (possibly only one). There is an outlet on the desk where you can use the power strip for charging batteries, cell phones, use your personal hair dryer.
- Feminine needs
- Film/Memory Card (bring more than you think you will need)
- Folder or Large Envelope-Store the daily navigators and other papers
- Glow necklaces- Fun for the family at night.
- Hair dryer-Cabin-Hair dryers are weak in the room. If you are particular about this bring your own.
- Hamper-Collapsable for your dirty laundry.
- Highlighters-Have a different color for each family member. You can use them to highlight activities in the daily navigator.
- ID holder/dry box-One for each family member or at least the adults.
- Laptop & cords- Ship has wireless internet access.
- Laundry Detergent- consider buying a product that is detergent and softener in one. I like Tide Pods, I put them in a plastic travel soap holder so that they don’t break during travel. You will not need coins to operate the laundry machines, you will swipe your Key to the World card an it will be charged to your on board account.
- Luggage-Pack a foldable extra luggage bag for the souvenirs and laundry.
- Magnetic door sign or photo holder-Helps kids find their stateroom easily. DO NOT USE TAPE ON THE DOOR!
- Moisturizer/Lotion- Be prepared for dry atmosphere.
- Night Light-Plug this in your cabin bathroom. You can also leave the light on in the bathroom and crack the door slightly.
- Over-the-door Shoe Holder- Alternative: sweater holder with shelves and closet hooks. The holder helps to keep all your small items in one place.
- Pillowcases & colored Sharpies- If you leave the pillowcase and colored Sharpies at Guest Relations they will have the characters sign the pillowcase. DCL recommends only one per stateroom.
- Post-it Pad-Good for leaving notes for one another or your cabin steward.
- Reading Glasses
- Safety Pins
- Scrapbook/Autograph Book- Save a page opposite the autograph for the photo
- Sense of humor- Remember you are on vacation. Don’t let the small things get your down.
- Sewing Kit
- Shampoo and Conditioner- Disney does provide them in the room but they are small.
- Shaving Kit
- Sports bottle/water bottle/mug- When getting drinks on Deck 9 they request you use their throw away cups when filling your mug or bottle. We like to take our resort refillable mugs from Disney World.
- Stain Stick or Packet
- Suction cups/hooks-Use for hanging wet suits or on the porthole to hang lights
- Sunglasses Don’t forget these…the glare off the ocean can be strong.
- Sunscreen/Sunscreen spray- Spray for the scalp
- Thank You Cards-You will receive tip envelopes but these will let you leave a special message if desired.
- Tote Bag/Beach Bag/Day Bag
- Zip straps – Use for luggage that’s placed in the hallway on the last night
- Zip top Bags
If you have any questions at all, feel free to leave a comment! Happy Sailing!