I never thought I was a cruise guy, but doing the Disney Cruise this year has changed my mind. My family and I had such a great time that we are doing it again next year ! It was totally worth every dollar we paid for it. And seeing how excited my kids were when they met the princesses… well that was just the icing on the cake.
We did the 4-day Bahamian cruise during the week of March Break. The ship departed from Port Canaveral, Florida with stops in Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.
In the process of planning our trip, my wife and I got lots of advice on the dos and don’ts of a Disney cruise. Some of those tips were helpful and were nice to know, but a few of them made a really big impact on our vacation. Those are the tips I’m going to share with you today.
- Stay at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport– Since Port Canaveral, is approximately 45 minutes from Orlando. We decided to fly into Orlando the day before our cruise to ensure embarking the ship would be free of the stress resulting from flight delays. It was a great plan. The Hyatt Regency is all about convenience. It’s right inside the airport and as an added bonus, they will take all your bags from the hotel room straight to your cabin on the ship.
- To meet the ship at Port Canaveral, you’ll have to either rent a car or take a shuttle bus. We chose to take the Disney shuttle. A bit more expensive, but so convenient, and it really added to the Disney build-up!
- You will not see your suitcases until you get into your cabin later in the day. Put the things you need for the day (e.g., snacks, water, swimsuits, a change of clothes) in a smaller travel bag on the day you embark.
- Ask for the early dinner seating – there is so much to do on the ship each day and your kids will be so excited to do everything. By the end of the day, they’ll be totally out of gas. An 8pm dinner is just way too late.
- Don’t bring a big stroller. Buy a $20 umbrella stroller to get through the airport. Strollers and wagons are available at the purser’s office and at Castaway Cay at no extra charge.
- Take a surge protector to plug in all your stuff. There are just not enough outlets in the cabin for the chargers for all the gadgets, hairdryers… etc.
- Bring fun magnets and a magnetic dry-erase board and markers for outside your cabin door. It makes it easier to find your room and it’s fun for the kids to get messages.
- The Oceaneer Club (Kid’s Club) was a big hit with our kids – plan 5 minutes for pick-up and drop-off. It’s a process to get in and out but it’s well worth it and the kids had so much fun there. Make sure to bring the Disney Wave Phones with you (available at no charge in your cabin) as the Kid’s Club will call if you are needed.
- Bring autograph books. The characters will sign them. It’s a great souvenir of your trip.
- Soft drinks and water are free and readily available all over the ship, but alcohol is very expensive. You are allowed to bring a small quantity of your own alcohol on board. Bring a six-pack or two for your cabin and if you enjoy wine with your dinner sign up for the wine package, it’s a great value.
- Stay on the ship in Nassau – it’s nice to have all the ship’s offerings (e.g., Kids’ Club, swimming pool, splash pad, water slide, shows, etc.) all to yourself.
Put cell phones on airplane mode. Forgetting to do so will be very costly.
The Disney Cruise was our best family vacation ever. I highly recommend it and I hope these tips make your cruise as enjoyable and magical as ours was.