Disney Cruise tips you might want to know before sailing.
Choosing to go on a cruise for the first time can be little unnerving. It was for me, at least.
I was super excited, don’t get me wrong, but with my over-active imagination, anything and everything could go wrong on a boat. Although I’m happy to say our cruise was simply wonderful and we survived to tell about it, there were a few things I wish I knew before heading out.
Rest assured, these are minor things but ones I would have liked to know beforehand, none-the-less.
Since I have only ever cruised Disney, these tips will apply mostly to Disney cruises. If you have never cruised with Mickey, or are on the fence about it, feel free to read my post 8 Reasons You Should go on a Disney Cruise. You simply can’t find a better cruise line! (IMHO)
Jumping right in:
1. I wish I had brought a rolling carry-on.
Your room is not ready until early afternoon so, depending on when you load the ship, you must cart your carry-ons for a couple of hours.
We loaded at 10 am and went straight to reserve a few things at the reservation desk where we waited in a long line of like-minded cruisers. Then we toured the ship after which we had lunch. (I totally recommend eating at one of the restaurants–only one will be open at that time–instead of the cabanas. There is little to no wait times, it’s air-conditioned and you can enjoy a nice, quiet meal while you wait.)
By the time our room was ready, my arms were killing me. What I wouldn’t have given for a rolling bag!
2. You will not need to bring snacks.
I brought a ton of snacks, mainly because we traveled 19 hours to port, but I made sure we had plenty for the cruise, too. Let me just say, we unloaded the snacks into a cupboard and never opened it again until we packed to go home.
If you are hungry, you can order room service for free (except for alcohol and packaged items) and the cabanas are open until late. Not to mention, you are so full after every meal. I never touched the snacks, not even when I left the ship for Nassau or Castaway Cay.
3. Pack light.
This kind of piggy backs on point #2 and I was told not to pack so much, but some things you have to “learn” for yourself. I wore half the clothes I packed, I never used my hair dryer (they provide a really good one) and so many of the odds and ends things I packed I never used.
However, there were a few things I am glad I packed, but more on that in another post.
4. The pools are tiny.
Our family isn’t big on public swimming, mainly because we’re spoiled with our own pool and don’t like to feel crowded. That was exactly how I would describe the two pools on our ship.
We took our girls to the kid’s pool only to have to pull them right back out because one of our daughters (I won’t mention names to protect the innocent) forgot there were other swimmers and just had a good ol’ time. The only problem was, she bumped into more than one person in the first 30 secs in the pool.
So, we took them to the other pool which was slightly less crowded but still, there was no swimming involved, just floating. Neither Steve or I like crowded places, so we took the kids on the AquaDuck, instead. (Should have started there: so much fun!)
5. I should have packed sea lice lotion.
Every time I mention sea lice, I’m asked if it’s a real thing. Yes. Yes, it is. I even had the welts to prove it. Basically, sea lice are baby jellyfish. They tend to be worse after a storm as they can lose tentacles and those tiny, dislodged pieces can still pack quite a punch!
When we went in September, they were pretty bad, especially by the cabanas. It feels like you got stung by a bee but the burning doesn’t go away until you take a hot shower. After that, the welts itch like crazy for about a week.
I will definitely be bringing sea lice lotion on our next cruise. They do sell bottles of it on the ship, which I found out after Castaway Cay, but anything you buy on the ship is more expensive.
6. I didn’t realize Pirate Night was the same day as Castaway Cay.
After swimming all day in the sun, I was falling asleep at dinner. But it was Pirate Night, which is kind of a big deal on the ship. Everyone dresses up. (Us included.)
Then we just had to get pictures with Captain Jack Sparrow and after dinner, there is a show, fireworks and dance party. We called it quits after the fireworks.
Even after we were all in bed, you could still hear the party going on above us on the top deck. I couldn’t believe anyone was still awake! haha I was so relieved when they turned in for the night and I could finally sleep in peace. 🙂
All that to say, I would have enjoyed Pirate Night a lot more had I not spent the day at Castaway Cay. Not that I would have skipped the island–NO WAY!–but I might have been better prepared with a nap or something.
7. I wish I had ordered the Mahi-Mahi!
Hands down, the best dish ever to cross my palate was the breaded Mahi-Mahi! The sad thing was, it wasn’t my dish because I was stubborn and didn’t listen to my server’s suggestion and ordered chicken instead.
My sweet husband allowed me to try his fish but he had to draw the line after three bites. 🙂 If I hadn’t been shy, I would have ordered a second plate for myself. It was simply amazing!
8. I wish we attended the Golden Mickeys with our girls.
This one will always haunt me.
There are so many things to do on the ship that some of the events overlap and you have to choose between them. We always attended the plays, but one of them coincided with Pluto’s Pajama Party in the kid’s club.
Our girls had been looking forward to the party ever since they heard of it, we even bought them new princess nightgowns for the event. So, Steve, mom and I attended the show while the girls went to their activity.
No one told me how amazing that show was and nowhere does it say anything about the Disney princesses taking part. The show’s description in the itinerary actually sounded kind of boring; we almost skipped it ourselves.
But no, we went, and I was sick to my stomach the entire time, knowing our girls were missing it.
Not only were there so many princess characters in the play but both Belle and Ariel had lead performances, the only performances they had the entire week. Did I mention they are two of our girl’s favorite characters?
The three of us swore never to tell the girls what happened that night. As if I couldn’t be made to feel any worse, the girls didn’t even enjoy the pajama party. And, one of the girls cried the last day of the cruise because she never got to see Belle.
I saw Belle, but I wasn’t about to tell her that!
9. No one told me of the amazing friendships we’d make on the ship.
Before we cruised, we joined a couple Disney Cruise Facebook groups that were super helpful. We found a group that was designated for those cruising on our boat the same week we were and it was so much fun planning and getting excited together! Our little group talked together nearly every day; we were like family!
Then you get to know your servers and see them every day for dinner and by the first night, you can’t wait to see them again the next day. We never skipped a dinner; we loved spending time with Jason and Jackie.
By the time our short week was over, we hated saying goodbye to everyone! Thank goodness for technology allowing us to stay in contact!
10. No one told me about the Disney conversion.
If you read my post 8 Reasons You Should go on a Disney Cruise, you will know I was not a Disney person. One cruise later and I am a believer.
I see hidden Mickeys every where I go and when I pass a car with a Disney Cruise decal, I have to wave.
I even stood in line next to a woman one day who had a DCL purse and introduced myself by asking which ship she sailed on. Within seconds, her family and mine were engaged in an excited conversation about Disney Cruises and how much we love them.
You can’t help it. It becomes you. We loved it so much, we are already planning our next cruise! This time, I’ll be better prepared to make it even more amazing!
Have you ever been on a Disney Cruise before? Tell me in the comments if there were things you wished you knew before you sailed.