A few helpful TIPS I’ve discovered as I’ve planned cruises:
1. This is the best guidebook out there on Disney Cruises: Passporter’s Disney Cruise Line Guidebook. If you are the kind of person to read a guidebook, get this one. 🙂
2. If you want tips and reviews on the food, restuarants, and bars on the DCL, you should go to the Disney Food blog. There are several great articles with lots of pictures, that will help you plan and decide about the food aspect of your cruise.
3. If this is your first Disney Cruise, book with an Agent. I’m not just saying this because I am an Agent, I promise! 😉 There are lots of questions that arise as a first time cruiser, and it’s invaluable to speak to the same person each time about your concerns and questions. Plus your agent should be a great free resource for information on Ports of Call, staterooms, activities, etc.. It’s a win/win because Disney travel agents are fee-free, as Disney travel company pays them their commission.
4. Book your cruise EARLY! It may seem insane to book a cruise a year in advance, but people book cruises early, causing the good rooms to be booked up. The prices on cruises are typically cheaper the earlier you book AND if a discount is released after you booked your cruise and you booked with a Disney travel agent, your agent should automatically apply the discount to your existing reservation, saving you money!
And the FAQs that I get as an agent, with their answers:
Q: How do I find a cruise, customize my cruise, choose a specific stateroom, and pay for my cruise? In other words, where do I start?? Help!
A: Simple – contact me and I will learn about your family’s unique values, desires, and dreams when it comes to your cruise, and recommend the best cruise, stateroom, and vacation experience for your family! It’s the easiest, hassle-free way to book a Disney cruise!
Q: Do I need a passport?
A: Yes and no. Everyone in your party will need a valid, approved form of I.D, but it doesn’t have to be a passport. This is the list of acceptable forms of I.D.:
- A valid U.S. Passport
- A valid U.S. Passport Card
- A valid state-issued Enhanced Driver’s License – this is a special type of license that provides proof of identity and US citizenship; not all states offer Enhanced Driver’s Licenses – visit http://www.getyouhome.gov for the most up to date list of participating states
- A valid Trusted Traveler Card (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- Government-issued photo ID along with one of the following:
- Original or copy of their state issued birth certificate
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State,
- Certificate of Naturalization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- Guests under the age of 16 may present one of the following:
- Original or copy of their state issued birth certificate
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State
- Naturalization Certificate issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Q: Can coolers, food items, alcohol, etc… be brought onboard the cruise ship?
A: Coolers are not permitted except for those needed for medications, baby food or items related to dietary constraints. Only pre-packaged food items (not homemade) can be brought on board via your carry on bag. Water bottles can be brought onboard the ship on your carry on bag, too. Unopened alcohol can also be brought onboard the ship, via your carry on bag.
Q: How early can I board the ship?
A: For Disney’s Bahamian and Caribbean cruises, check-in registration begins at 11:00 a.m. and embarkation begins at 1:00 p.m. All Guests must board the ship no later than 4:00 p.m. For the European and Mediterranean cruises, check-in registration and embarkation typically begins at 11 a.m.
Q: What forms of payment should I bring with me on my Disney Cruise (cash, credit cards, foreign currency)?
A: On the ship, you won’t need any form of payment because Disney Cruise Line has a convenient “cash-free” system on board the ship. When you arrive at the Disney Cruise Line terminal at Port Canaveral, your signature will be requested for check-in. At this time you may also present a credit card, which will give you charging privileges aboard the ship. You may, however, want to bring cash or a major credit card for Ports of Call. In the Bahamas and the Caribbean, U.S. dollars and major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. For European and Mediterranean cruises, bring traveler’s checks to the ports to exchange for local currency.
Q: Is there babysitting on a Disney Cruise?
A: Yes! Group babysitting is available for children 12 weeks to 3 years old. Guests may book babysitting times online in advance of embarkation or may sign up their children on embarkation day. The facility is open for select hours every day. Rates and times are subject to change and space is limited.
Q: I’ve got a teenager – what is there for them to do on the ship? Will they be bored?
A: There’s lots of things for teenagers to do on a Disney Cruise and the last thing they will be is bored! Teens can enjoy music, movies, video games and other teen-only activities inside the ship’s teen-only lounge (ages 14-17). Teens will find big-screen plasma TVs, a lounge area, dance floor and the latest gaming technology. Teens have plenty of freedom on a Disney cruise under the watchful eyes of trained counselors. There are also teen-only excursions on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.
Q: Are there things we can do as a family on a Disney Cruise?
A: Being together as a whole family is an important part of your cruise vacation and Disney Cruises offer lots to being the whole family together! Family activities include deck parties, original Broadway-style live shows, a family pool, family karaoke, first-run family films, family-friendly excursions on land—plus nightly family dining options that are one-of-a-kind.
This post will be a work in progress…as I continue to get questions, I’ll add them to list. If YOU have a question, add it to the comments section, and I’ll answer it 🙂