How to get the most out of Disney Cruise?
December 28, 2012 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Going on a Disney cruise with both adults and kids. It will be on the Magic and to the Western Caribbean. Any tips/tricks/suggestions to get the most out of the experience?
posted by shivohum to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Visit the forums at Cruise Critic. There is a specific forum for Disney cruises, and those people know everything there is to know about every minute aspect of everything cruise-related.
posted by Daily Alice at 2:00 PM on December 28, 2012

CruiseCritic! Got some great tips before our cruise, and also met up with some other fun folks from the forums once we were on the boat.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:28 PM on December 28, 2012

The premier forum, as far as I know, is the DIS Boards, which we have found to be comprehensive, though I warn you that hearing about everything in advance can take away some of the surprise.

Pre-cruise: Depending on your tolerance for noise, check your cabin position on the deck charts; many cabins are adjacent to nightclubs, theaters, or the engines. Check the schedule for semi-formal nights to make sure you have enough dress clothes. Definitely go to a Palo brunch, as the position at the back of the ship has spectacular views that you don't get at night. Decide early whether you will travel on passports or birth certificates and drivers' licenses, passports get way more expensive if you need them in less than a couple months. Birth certificates must be the official raised seal versions, those issued by hospitals will not be accepted, you will be denied boarding, DCL will deny all responsibility, and you will get no compensation. Ditto for any visas required by non-US persons. If you buy cruise insurance, never buy the Disney insurance. Third party insurance from a reputable provider like TravelGuard is cheaper and covers more.

Depending on your nerves, definitely consider arriving the previous night, which will also help arriving early. Hotels in Cocoa Beach are cheap, and it's a schlep from the airport to the cruise terminal. If you have a large group traveling together, definitely check the price for a limo. In general the cruise transfers are the most expensive, cheapest is typically two one-way car rentals. However, the direct route is a toll road that has like a dozen tollbooths (apparently Florida has not learned about the "toll ticket" concept) that only accept small change! Definitely order a sticker-style SunPass toll tag in advance. It says you have to adhere it to the windshield but just hold it against and make sure you have also registered your rental car license plate as a backup.

First day: Board early (noonish) to get the most out of your day. You can get lunch and use the pools, though you won't have access to your room till after 1 and your bags can take until the evening. If you weren't able to pre-book a Palo reservation, they are first come, first served after boarding. You can also put in requests for a different dining time or a table by yourselves, if that is your preference. Again, these are requests, if the ship is completely full there is not a lot of flexibility, so don't get your hopes up.

Once on board, there are so many things to do that you can't hope to do a tenth of them. Pick one thing per person and you won't be disappointed.

Last night: make sure your bags are packed, but don't forget to keep your toiletries with you, plus clothes for the morning! If you have early dining, you will have a really early breakfast time, but you can ask the maitre'd if there are later slots available.
posted by wnissen at 5:41 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

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