Archive | Disney Cruise

8 Ways To Maximize Your Disney Cruise Check In Day

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Check In Day on the Disney Wonder, 2016

Disney cruises are so exciting!  While you may be anxious to set sail and arrive at your first destination, the magic really begins the day you board the ship. There are tons of things to see and do onboard, so here are 8 ways to make the most of your check in day:

#1: Get to Port the Night Before

I strongly recommend arriving in port the night before you set sail. If you travel to the port the day of departure, there’s a chance of your flight being delayed and (literally) missing the boat. Spend the night before in a hotel and give yourself peace of mind that you’ll make it on time.

#2: Check in Early

If you booked your cruise with a Disney travel agent (which I highly recommend), ask your agent to arrange for your check in time to be as early as possible. This is definitely key to making the most of your day.

Meeting Spider Man at the Oceaneer Club

#3: Register at the Oceaneer Club

Disney cruise ships have a wonderful kids’ club that will keep your children entertained while you grab an adults-only dinner or some quiet time at the pool. During the registration process, you’ll need to fill out some paperwork and your children will be given a magnetic arm band that grants them access to the club. If you’re working with a Disney travel agent, they can pre-register your children so you complete this process during embarkation rather than on the ship, where there are sure to be long lines.

#4: Bring a Carry On Bag

You will surrender your luggage during the embarkation process and your bags will be delivered to your state room later in the day. Bring a carry on bag with your essentials, including a swimsuit (see #7).

#5: Book Any Excursions, Tastings or Dining Reservations

If you need to make any changes to your existing reservations or if you want to sign up for other events onboard (such as wine tastings), be sure to stop by appropriate desk (Port Adventures Desk for excursions and Guest Services Desk for reservations) immediately upon arrival. This will give you the best chance of getting your favorite activities booked at your preferred time slots.

#6: Eat Lunch

Take advantage of Disney dining as soon as possible upon your arrival. There should be an option of a buffet or a sit down lunch. Enjoy the great food and familiarize yourself with the restaurants and their menus.

Checking out the waterslide and pool

#7: Ride the Waterslide

Once you’ve had something to eat, be sure to change into your swimsuit (see #4) and check out the pool. I recommend riding the waterslide as soon as possible. If the ship you are cruising on has an Aqua Duck, it’s sure to become one of the most popular attractions of the cruise. Even if it’s a regular slide, enjoy it now before the lines get too long.

#8: Explore

There is so much to see and do on a Disney cruise. Have fun exploring the ship on your own, or take an organized tour. You’re going to have a wonderful time, so enjoy and take it all in.

I hope these tips make your embarkation day smooth sailing (pun intended). If you’re a veteran cruiser with other tips on how to make the most of your check in day, please share in the comments!

11 Things To Pack For Your Disney Cruise

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My family and I depart this week for a 10-night cruise from Port Canaveral to the southern Caribbean and we’re in the midst of packing. This is our second Disney cruise, so I’ve learned to pack a few key items to make everything go more smoothly:

#11: Door Decorations

On our first Disney cruise I was surprised at the extent families decorated their state room doors. Some had magnets with names of every family member and others had blinking lights. Door decorations don’t need to be fancy, but I recommend putting at least one small thing on your door to help your kids find your room (or help you find it after a few cocktails).

#10: Reusable Water Bottles

Reusable water bottles

Disney cruise ships  allow guests to bring a few plastic water bottles on board, and they sell water bottle packages you can have delivered to your room. Spare the expense and pack a reusable water bottle instead. There are stations all over the ship where you can fill your bottle up with fresh water, and you won’t get confused as to whose water bottle is whose.

#9: Wine

While on the subject of beverages, Disney allows each guest over age 21 to bring two bottles of wine on board. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the cost of a Disney cruise and while Disney sells wine packages, they can be pricey. Bring your own wine and enjoy a glass of wine out on your verandah while watching the sunset, or pour yourself a glass and bring it to dinner(though this is technically not allowed, it is rarely questioned. You will be charged a corkage fee if you bring a full bottle).

#8: Little Black Dress

Disney cruises usually include a “formal” and “semi-formal” night during your cruise. Those descriptions are open to interpretation and you’ll see people in everything from ball gowns to blue jeans. Pack a little black dress that can be dressed up or down with accessories. An LBD works in virtually any scenario and you’ll almost certainly wear it again to a wedding, corporate event or cocktail party. For the male equivalent of an LBD, pack a sport coat, tie, collared shirt and two pairs of slacks. Wear the tie for the formal night and pair the sport coat and shirt with more casual slacks for the semi-formal night.

#7: Workout Clothes

There is so much delicious food on a Disney cruise that it helps to balance things out with a little exercise. I am not much of a runner but Disney ships usually organize group runs/walks around the decks, and if you are visiting Castaway Cay, there is a 5K on the island the morning you arrive. Pilates is more my style and I was surprised to learn that there were pilates classes available onboard on my first cruise. If I would have brought workout clothes, I definitely would have tried a class or two. If nothing else, yoga pants are comfortable and great for lounging around in your room on the evenings you’d rather stay in.

#6: Gift for State Room Host

On a Disney cruise you’ll quickly realize that the state room hosts are some of the hardest working people on the ship. They clean your room every day, and do all the “extras” like leaving folded towels and chocolates on your pillow. While you have the opportunity to tip your state room host at the end of the week, it’s also nice to bring them a little something as a token of appreciation for all their hard work.

#5: Lanyard

Drinking wine (#9) and wearing my lanyard (#5) on the Disney Wonder

When you embark on a Disney cruise, each member of your party receives a “Key to the World” card that not only opens your state room door, but also serves as your identification and virtual credit card. You need to have this card with you at all times so it helps to have a lanyard to wear so you don’t have to worry about leaving it in your pocket or purse. If you’ve been on a Disney cruise before, you’ll probably be issued a lanyard upon arrival as a “thank you” for being a veteran cruiser. If not, pick one up at a dollar store beforehand and make sure it has a sealable pouch to keep your card clean and dry.

#4: Waterproof camera

There are many water activities on a Disney cruise, from the pool and waterslide on deck to the beaches, waterparks and snorkeling excursions available at various destinations. Bring a waterproof camera to capture the special memories at these locations.

#3: Packable Pail

If you have young kids and you’re traveling to a beach destination, consider bringing a Packable Pail that collapses so it doesn’t take up too much room in your suitcase. My 5-year-old had great fun with his pail on our last trip to Castaway Cay and he found a playmate with other beach toys. They shared and created sandcastles together.

#2: Beach Bag

Beach bag

If you’re traveling to any kind of beach, pack a beach bag to carry your sunscreen, Packable Pail (see #3), hats, cover ups and whatever else you might need. This could be as simple as a canvas tote from home, or you could bring a more elaborate bag with a cooler to keep cold drinks. A bonus is that you can also use it for souvenirs or dirty clothes when you disembark from the ship.

#1: Disney Gift Cards

Buy Disney gift cards in advance to pay for port adventures or any other extras during your trip. Not only does this help you budget, but you can also save money if you buy them at Target using a Target credit or debit card because you get a 5% discount. When you are buying hundreds or thousands of dollars gift cards, that adds up.

I hope these suggestions prove helpful on your next Disney cruise adventure! What other things do you recommend packing for a Disney cruise that I may not have listed here? Leave your best tips in the comments.

Disney Cruise Line Summer 2015 Itineraries Announced!

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It is an exciting day around here! The Disney Cruise Line has announced the itineraries for the summer of 2015 and there are some new destinations on the list! Check them out and check out the video too! 

Norwegian Fjords Itineraries
On 7- and 9-night sailings departing from Copenhagen, you will be immersed in both the splendor and charm of Norway with exciting new ports, steeped in Viking history. These will all be on the Disney Magic.
NEW 7-night Norwegian Fjords
Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger and Bergen, Norway
Departure Date: June 6
NEW 9-night Norwegian Fjords
Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger, Molde, Olden and Bergen, Norway
Departure Date: June 20
NEW 11-night Norwegian Fjords and Iceland
Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Oslo, Kristiansand and Stavanger Norway; Akureyri and Reykjavik (overnight), Iceland; Torshavn, Faroe Islands; Dover, England
Departure Date: June 29
Northern Europe Itineraries
These itineraries depart from Copenhagen, Denmark and Dover and are also on the Disney Magic.
NEW 7-night Northern Europe
Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden
Departure Dates: May 30, June 13
12-night Northern Europe
Ports: Dover, England; Copenhagen, Denmark; Warnemunde, Germany (July 10 cruise only); Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia
Departure Dates: July 10 and 22
Then in August, The Disney Magic will also return to the Mediterranean to popular European destinations on 5- and 7-night sailings departing from Barcelona, Spain. 
That is the line up for the new destinations. 
The Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for 7- night cruises departing from Vancouver, Canada.
The Disney Fantasy and the Disney Dream will continue to sail to the Bahamas and the Caribean from Port Canaveral, Florida for the summer months. Every itinerary on the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy will include a stop at Disney’s own private island- Castaway Cay!
The itineraries are released, now what? If you are a Platinum or Gold level Castaway Club member, I can start your bookings Wednesday March 26th at 7am. As you know the best possible rooms are selected first! All other bookings can start on Thursday March 27th. Email me today to get lined up so we can secure your room on one of these amazing itineraries!  It is never too early to plan your 2015 Summer vacation!  

Holiday Photos on a Disney Cruise

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Hi there! I’m actually on a Disney Cruise that is all decked out for the holidays. The entire lobby is filled with garland, lights, and a beautiful tree.

My favorite Christmas picture so far was on formal night with Minnie Mouse in front of the garland lined staircase.

There really have been a lot of opportunities for holiday photos.

Main Christmas tree in the lobby

Snowmen with snow on Castaway Cay.

Santa Goofy!

Santa Claus was even here.

And Donald in his Christmas Sweater.
My second favorite photo is the kids with new friends and old friends. So sweet!

Where is your favorite place on a Disney Cruise for holiday photos?

Adventures by Disney on a Disney Cruise

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In keeping with our theme of Adventures by Disney this week, did you know that there is a cruise option through Adventures by Disney? If you are booked on the Mediterranean cruises for 2014, you can add on an Adventure by Disney. There are two options to choose from: a Pre Cruise Adventure and an Adventure during your cruise.

For the Pre Cruise Adventure you will do three nights and four days in Barcelona.  Like with all Adventures by Disney, you will be greeted at the airport to begin your vacation. You will have time for lunch and to explore Barcelona a bit on your own with guidance from your guide before the welcome dinner at Montejuic El Xalet.

Your second day will begin with a privately guided tour of La Sagrada Familia, one of Gaudi’s most famous designs. Then you will visit Parque Guell. This is a wonderland of mosaics. Then it is on to a Catalan style lunch in a 17th century farmhouse along with a stained glass activity of your own. You will have time on your own for dinner and to explore the old Barcelona.

Your third day will begin with a tour of Montserrat, a Benedictine monk retreat. You will have a private tour and you will see the holy grotto known for miracles and mysteries. Then the Junior Adventurers will go hiking with one of the Adventure guides while you enjoy some free time in Monserrat. This evening you will head to Pueblo Espanol, a village that was built for the 1929 International Exhibition. You will have your farewell dinner this evening.

Your fourth day you will board the cruise ship and begin the next part of your Adventure!

You should know these pre-stays book fast! Just like an Adventure by Disney trip, they are going to take you up close and personal and are a fantastic way to visit the country you are in. Pricing for the pre-stay for 2014 in Barcelona is $1899 per adult and $1799 per child. This includes all transfers, most of your meals. It does not include gratuities for your Adventure Guides or your alcohol.

The second Adventure by Disney associated with the Mediterranean Cruises corresponds to your cruise. There is a five, seven, nine, and twelve night option. If you are booked on the seven night cruise, you must do the seven night option though. Just something to note. Imagine being on a cruise and every time you step off the ship, you have an Adventure Guide leading the way! Typically at most ports you can choose an excursion and that’s what you do. On this Adventure your full day is planned! You even have some special exclusive events for just people booked on this Adventure on the ship. These also book fast and they limit the number of people just like on an Adventure by Disney. The price for the seven night option is $2399 per adult and $2279 per child.  An example of an itinerary for one of the days is : In Naples you will do a private tour of the Isle of Capri. You also visit a farm and learn how mozzarella and olive oil are made and you get a private pizza making lesson! How fun!

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