Smooth Sailing for First-Time Disney Cruisers

Disney cruises have so much to offer that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget some important details, especially if it’s your first time sailing.  Here are some tips to help you prepare for a magical first time at sea.


Pick the Best Stateroom
While inside staterooms are the most affordable, keep in mind there are no windows or views outside from these staterooms.  If a view is important to you, ocean-view staterooms are available for just a little bit more.  However, if you are a photo buff or like a little extra room to sit and relax in your room, a verandah stateroom is the way to go.  The location of your room can also make a difference if you are prone to motion sickness.  The lower and more central you are in a ship, the less roll and sway you will feel. 

Get Trip Insurance
Many people forgo travel insurance to save money.  However, if you or someone in your party needs some kind of medical attention while on the cruise (especially when you’re out of the country), the cost can really add up.  Travel insurance helps cover these costs.   Travel insurance also covers canceled trips (due to flight delays or cancellations, work schedule changes, illness, or jury duty), emergency evacuations, lost or delayed luggage, phone assistance, hazardous sports, identity theft, and more.


Use Your Personal Navigator App
There is so much more to do on a Disney Cruise! The Personal Navigator is your schedule of events listing all of the entertainment options for the day. It’s available on your phone with the Disney Cruise Line App.   You can download the Disney Cruise App before getting on the ship. It’s free and so useful!  Along with a digital version of the Personal Navigator, it has a map of the ship and offers a way to communicate with the other guests in your group through its own texting system.

​Complete Your Online Check-In as Soon As Possible
Make sure to check in as soon as possible (30 days prior to your cruise).  Not only is it important to complete and print your cruise contract.  But, this is also the best time to book excursions, specialty dining, spa times, and nursery reservations.

Select an Early Port Arrival
When completing your online check-in, you’ll be asked to schedule your port arrival time.  Disney schedules arrival times in 15-minute intervals to control traffic flow.  Pick the earliest boarding time available so you can get on the ship as early as possible and start your vacation!


Remember Travel Documents
If you are on a closed-loop cruise, which means that you embark and disembark at the same port, you are required to bring a photo ID and your birth certificate.  However, to get off the ship in a foreign location, you also need your passport.  If you’re on an international cruise, you’ll definitely need your passport.  Tip:  While it may not be required on a closed-loop cruise, it is strongly recommended to travel with a passport, just in case things don’t go as planned.  If you need to cut your trip short and travel from ANY location outside of the US, a passport will be required.

Plan for Tipping
At the end of your cruise, your stateroom account is charged a tipping fee for housekeeping and dining. If you want to know how much you’ll be charged before your cruise, check out Disney Cruise Line’s Tip Calculator.  If a certain crew member really impressed you and you would like to tip him or her a higher amount, you will be provided with envelopes in which you can place cash for an additional tip for one or more members of your service team. By the same token, if a member of your service team disappointed you, you can visit Guest Relations on the last night of your cruise and lower the tip amount.


Don’t Pack Essentials in Luggage
Your bags will be delivered to your stateroom after you board the DCL ship.  So, pack anything you’ll need immediately in your carry-on, swimsuit, dinner attire, basic toiletries, medications, etc.  On the last night of the cruise, you’ll pack your luggage and leave it outside your stateroom door. Cast Members will take your luggage and send it to the airport or to your next destination if you’re doing a land and sea vacation. This means you won’t see your luggage again until you get to your next destination whether it’s home or another hotel.  Pack what you’ll need in your carry-on, and don’t forget a change of clothes for the next day.

Avoid Sea Sickness
Disney Cruise Line ships are huge, and many people don’t even feel the rocking.  However, if it’s your first cruise and you’re not sure, bring along some motion sickness pills or call your doctor for a prescription for motion sickness patches.  Motion sickness pills are also available onboard but are more expensive.  So, bring them with you just in case!

Know Your Dining Options
Disney Cruise Line dining is sure to satisfy your appetite 24 hours a day.  Disney’s innovative rotational dining system lets you rotate to one of 3 themed restaurants each evening, while your servers follow you from venue to venue.  You can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Cabanas buffet as well as quick service pizza, ice cream, and sandwich offerings available morning, noon, or night.  And don’t forget Disney Cruise Lines’ 24-hour room service for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You can even have Mickey Ear ice cream bars delivered to your stateroom!


Enjoy the Theaters
Each evening of your cruise, Disney offers live entertainment in the Walt Disney Theatre.  Many are Broadway-style musicals that should not be missed.  In addition, each ship has its own movie theater that offers several current movies each day.

Explore the Ship
The Disney Cruise Line ships are like no others.  Each one is unique with intricate details including tons of Hidden Mickeys.  Don’t just run around the ship going from activity to activity; take time to enjoy the beauty of the ship which transports you to the golden age of cruising.


​Dreaming of your next vacation to Disney or beyond? I would love to help you design the perfect land or sea experience for your family!  Click here to schedule a “Let’s Get Acquainted Session” with me so we can start planning your family’s next great adventure. ​

Related Posts

Dreams and Wishes Travel

Dreaming of your next vacation to Disney or beyond? I would love to help you design the perfect land or sea experience for your family!  Schedule a “Let’s Get Acquainted Session” with me so we can start planning your family’s next great adventure. ​