We just recently returned from yet another Disney Cruise, which made me reminisce about the first cruise we ever took and what tips and information would have been useful to know in advance. Below, I’ve listed 6 useful tips for first time cruisers, although you may find them useful even if you have cruised with Disney before!
- Character Meet and Greets – These are scheduled throughout the day, but what I discovered is that many people don’t think to arrive early. Cast members will begin allowing guests to line up about 15-20 minutes before the character comes out, so it really helps to arrive early! Each time we did this, we were within the first 10 families in line.
- Daily Navigator – This is the schedule of events for each day on the ship. You’ll receive one when you check-in and it will list the sign-up information for the adult beverage seminars, princess meet and greets, etc. You’ll also receive one for the next day at turndown service each evening. Have your kids look at this and decide what activities they would like to do the following day. This makes it easy to fit everything in and allows everyone to have a shot at doing something they want each day.
- Navigator App – This was a valuable tool while on our trip! You can download this onto your smartphone ahead of time to use on the ship. Once onboard, if you pull up the app, you’ll have access to all of the Navigators for the entire cruise and you can actually pull things up by activity type – Adult, Kid’s, Family, etc. The app also includes deck plans, restaurant menus, and texting capabilities (complete with adorable Disney emojis!).
- Princess Meet and Greets – This is a ticketed event and you’ll need to pick up your ticket at the place specified on the Navigator you receive at check-in. These do go fast, so be sure to head here as soon as you can on embarkation day. If you have several rooms linked together (we traveled with a large group of family and friends), you can send one person to pick up the ticket for all of the linked reservations.
- Oceaneer’s Lab/Club – Our kids LOVED this area of the ship and were actually begging to go back after we toured it and met the counselors on embarkation day. If you are nervous about leaving your children there, ask one of the counselors about their security measures and they will be more than happy to explain everything to you. It really sets your mind at ease! Registering the kids at the port is the easiest, as it can get backed up in the Club on embarkation day and they close everything by about 3:30pm for muster at 4pm.
- Onboard Booking – If you even have an inkling that you may want to take another Disney Cruise (why would you not want to?), book a “placeholder” cruise while onboard! Disney offers 10% off and an onboard credit for any cruise you book within 24 months. The deposit for a placeholder is $200 and will go towards the future cruise you book. For this offer, you must book while onboard because the second you disembark the ship, the onboard booking offer expires.
What is your favorite tip for first time Disney Cruisers?