A Disney Cruise is a magical experience. Once you have sailed on a Disney cruise you will most likely want to sail again and again. However, there is a first time for everyone. Here is our Top 10 list of things which every Disney Cruise first timer really needs to know.
There are Ways To Save Money on a Disney Cruise
Disney pricing doesn’t tend to work like most of the other cruise lines. It is rare to find last-minute discounts.If you know that you want to sail on a Disney Cruise it is usually much better to book as early as you possibly can. Prices tend to go up, not down.
There are some exceptions to this rule. Rarely there are some itineraries which are difficult to sell. These tend to be the slightly unusual sailings, such as repositioning cruises, or the ones which are longer than a week. It is rare that you will see the price of a 7 night Caribbean or Alaskan cruise go down.
Here is our guide to saving on your Disney cruise.
Not All Staterooms are Created Equal
Once you have decided which Disney cruise that you are going to sail on you will need to choose a stateroom.
The stateroom that you choose is going to determine the price of your cruise. What you have to remember is that everyone on the cruise has the same experience and can use the same facilities on the ship (with the exception of Concierge guests who get extra perks). It doesn’t matter if you stay in the lowest priced stateroom or the highest price one you will still dine at the same restaurants and experience the same facilities and entertainment.
However, some staterooms are more spacious than others. A Verandah is a nice addition. However, think carefully about whether or not it is worth the extra money to you.
Here is our guide which gives you lots of tips about how to choose a stateroom:
Most of the staterooms on Disney ships are excellent. However, you need to think about where you want to be on the ship. Do you want to be close to the pools? Or would you rather be closer to the entertainment? The Disney Fantasy and Dream are large ships and you can spend a lot of time walking around – so make sure you think about exactly where you would prefer to be.
There are some staterooms which can experience more noise than others. It is always a good idea to talk to an expert Disney Travel Agent who knows the ships. Their services are free and they can help you choose the best stateroom for you and your family.
A Disney Cruise Is Incredibly Relaxing
One of the things which you may not realize before you go on a cruise is just how relaxing it can really be. Of course there are many activities to keep you busy throughout the day and evening. This is always something that you could be doing. However, a Disney cruise helps you take a step back and realize that it is a good thing to do absolutely nothing once in a while.
Our daily lives are so hectic these days it is nice to go to a place where you are not connected and you have to take a step back from being on a mobile device all the time. This is good for the kids too.
A Disney Cruise has something for everyone. You may be surprised to know how many places and activities are designed just for the grown ups. Check out our guide:
Make The Most of the Disney Cruise Entertainment
There are plenty of things to keep you entertained on a Disney Cruise. Disney knows how to entertain an audience and they are the best at sea for presenting Broadway quality shows to their guests. Who can resist Frozen: A Musical Spectacular or Tangled: The Musical?
It is true that some of the shows are better than others, but there really is something for everyone. The quality of the production is unmatched at sea. Arrive early to get a great seat and enjoy a cocktail whilst you watch the show.
Remember that if you miss one of the shows they are recorded and shown on your stateroom television.
The Restaurants are Special
All of your food is included on a Disney cruise. On each ship there are three rotational dining restaurants. All have their own very special theme and entertainment.
You may have heard about the unique rotational dining concept on a Disney cruise. What this means is that each night you go to a different restaurant and your servers some with you. This means you get to experience each of the restaurants on the ship and that you always get the very best service. The waiters on a Disney cruise are exceptional. They get to know you and most are extremely good at what they do. You will find your favorite drinks on the table waiting for you each evening. They will go out of their way to make your experience very special.
Most of the food is good. Some of the dishes are outstanding. Remember that you can order whatever you want from the menu. If you can’t decide between choices, why not order more than one? Your waiters are used to this request and will be happy to bring whatever you want.
Palo is an Amazing Experience
This one is just for the grown ups. Palo is the restaurant which is open only to the over 18s. For an additional charge of $30 you can enjoy brunch or dinner at Palo. This Italian themed restaurant is well worth the extra charge and we always splurge at least once on a trip.
We prefer the Palo Brunch simply because we enjoy the rotational dining so much. If you book Palo for dinner you will miss the experience of one of the restaurants.
Adults can also experience Remy on Disney Dream and Fantasy. However, we still think that Palo is the best option. The food is exceptional and we think that the $30 is still good value. Remy is excellent and is certainly one of the best restaurants we have ever experienced. The $90 charge for dinner is reasonable if you take into account the quality of the food and the experience. However, we would prefer to eat in Palo a couple of times and still be up on the cost compared to Remy.
There are Lots of Chances to Meet the Disney Characters
If you or your children enjoy meeting the Disney characters a cruise is a wonderful experience. If you have ever visited the Disney parks you know that you can spend a great deal of time in line, often out in the hot sun, to get a chance of meeting your favorite Princess or Mouse. On a Disney cruise there are plenty of chances to meet your favorites.
The times that each character will be appearing are clearly marked each day in your Personal Navigator. It is easy to plan which character to see.
A Disney cruise is one of your best chances to spend some time with Anna and Elsa. If you have a Frozen fan in your party you need to know that Anna and Elsa appear on every cruise, but you will probably need to get a ticket to see them. Make Guest Services your first stop when you get on the ship to ask how Anna and Elsa appearances are being dealt with.
Most other characters you simply have to get in line at the appropriate time, but the Frozen characters are so popular it requires more organization!
Beverages are Included
One of the costs which can add up on other cruise lines is charges for soda. Disney is one of the only cruise lines which offers free non alcoholic beverages.
On the Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic the Beverage Station is on Deck 9 close to the Mickey Pool and Beach Blanket Buffet. There are two Beverage Stations on Deck 11 of the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. The Beverage Stations are open 24 hours a day.
You will have to pay for any soda or beverage you order in any of the bars. However, you have your choice of soda or soft drinks in the restaurants on board a Disney cruise ship and you will not be charged. There is a charge for specialty drinks such as smoothies, cocktails and all alcoholic beverages.
Disney allows guests to take on board up to 2 bottles of wine or 6 bottles of beer. This can save you a considerable amount of money. If you drink the wine in the restaurant there is a $25 cordage charge. However, you can enjoy your drinks in your stateroom for no charge.
Castaway Cay is Magical
Castway Cay is Disney’s own private island. It is one of the most popular port stops for a good reason – it is wonderful.
Yes, you are sharing the island with up to 3,000 other people, but this is a Disney designed paradise island.
One of the best places to relax on Castaway Cay is the adults only beach at Serenity Bay. Only the over 18s are allowed on the beach. This means it is much less crowded and certainly a lot quieter than the family beach.
One of the best value Disney Cruise Port Adventures is the Castaway Cay Getaway Package which is $43 for adults and $24 for children. For this you get a discounted 3 in 1 rental package of
snorkel equipment for the day, a float or inner-tube rental for the day, and a bicycle rental for one hour. Snorkeling is one of the most fun and reasonably priced activities on Castaway Cay. Relaxing in a float out in the ocean is a wonderful way to spend some time. The bike rental is a lot of fun and a great way to see parts of the island that you normally would miss.
Remember to make the most of your day on Castaway Cay. There is a barbecue on the island so there is no need to get back on the ship to eat.
You Do Not Have To Leave The Ship
Disney ships sail to a lot of exciting ports and you really should take the chance to explore. However, sometimes it is nice just to stay on board the ship and enjoy the quieter space. If you are on the Disney Dream or Fantasy this can be a great time to experience the AquaDuck without the lines.
The Disney ships are beautifully designed. It can be a good idea to take some time simply to explore. The Disney cruise Art of the Theme Tour runs on all of the ships. Look in your Personal Navigator for times. This is a great opportunity to tour the Disney ships and learn about all the details you may not notice.
What tips would you give to a Disney Cruise First Timer?