We here at Disney Addicts are just back from a 3-day Bahamian Cruise aboard the Disney Dream. For those that haven’t cruised with Disney before, we can’t recommend it enough. Each sailing is brimming with amazing cuisine, fun family activities and wonderful ports of call. We also learn (or remember) helpful tips each time we sail that we like to pass on to our readers to help you get the most out of your time at sea. Here are 10 tips we wanted to share with you after our most recent cruising experience.
1. Pick up lanyards for each member of your family and bring them with you. For those that haven’t cruised with Disney before, when checking in for your cruise you are issued with a Key to the World Card. These cards function similar to MagicBands in the sense that they are the key to your stateroom door, hold information on your dining rotations, are used to turn on the electricity in your stateroom and also serve as your payment method. Because the ships operate under a cashless system, you’ll find you rely on these cards slightly more than y0u do you Bands. With this in mind, its handy to have some lanyards packed that can hold your keycards. All cruise line ships do sell them but at a whopping $15 a lanyard.
2. Wave Phones aren’t very reliable . The staterooms aboard you cruise do come equipped with two Wave Phones that can be used sort of like walkie talkies for guests to communicate on the ship. In theory it sounds great. Guests sharing the stateroom can each take a phone around the ship that way you can check in with the other members of your party. The phones can also be used to ring different staterooms. However, during my entire cruise our Wave Phone didn’t work once. We heard other travelers complain about this as well. Instead, I recommend using the Navigator App on your smartphone. Connecting to the service is free and there’s a chat function that allows you to communicate with other guests..
3. Sit-down meals are available throughout the day (most days). Most people when starting to plan their cruise know all about the rotational dining system each evening where guests for dinner each night try out one of three amazing restaurants before moving on to the next one on the next day. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that when it comes to breakfast or lunch you aren’t relegated simply to quick service options. During our cruise Royal Palace served breakfast and lunch sit-down options each day except for the Castaway Cay day when the crew disembarks to prepare the food that will be served at Cookies.
4. Gift Shops are only open while at sea. The range of shops available on Deck 3 are absolutely fantastic and carry a wide range of options from luxury goods to toys and Disney merchandise. However shop hours can be extremely limited. During our cruise, the shops were never open while we were at port, meaning those looking to souvenir shop need to do so when the ship is enroute.
5. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on board offers mermaid makeovers. When most people think Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique its all about princess gowns and tiaras. However, for something different try the mermaid experience. Your little mermaid in the making can choose between one of three amazing mermaid costumes that include a bikini top, bikini bottoms and then a coverall. They also have a mermaid twist put in their hair, get cheeks painted with colored sunscreen and get their nails painted. My daughter loved this makeover and I loved how functional it is. Unlike the gowns which get used once and are packed away, my daughter wore the bathing suit throughout our entire cruise. The cost for the experience was $99 for us which included gratuity.
6. Disembark early for Castaway Cay – If you’re planning on spending a day at Disney’s private island, it pays to be an early bird. Since most guests on the ship disembark at this port, the beaches and facilities can get crowded and fast. However, we found that most guests will sleep in, have a lazy breakfast and hit the island around 10:00. This means those arriving around this time may find lines for floats, snorkeling rentals and water slides lengthy. It also means most of the conveniently located sun loungers have already been claimed. We got off the ship right at 8:30 am and found the island nice and empty which gave us plenty of time to get organized and settled in before the throng.
7. Get a free pillow case for autographs at Goofy’s Pajama Party. One of our favorite Disney Cruise Line projects next to decorating our stateroom doors is bringing a pillowcase which characters can sign throughout our stay, and can then be used when tucking in for the night. We first found the idea on pinterest and etsy also sells some wonderfully customizable pillow cases that you can decorate and bring with you. However, it seems like Disney has caught on to this trend. If you’ve signed your kids up for the Oceaneer’s Club during your cruise, make sure they attend Goofy’s Pajama Party on the first night of your cruise. There’s singing, dancing and each of the kids also gets a pillowcase that they can color and customize.
8. Ride the AquaDuck during meals and showtimes. The one thing that my daughter was most excited about going in to our Disney cruise it was the onboard waterslide/raft ride the AquaDuck. However, lines for this ride can be comparable to those you’ll find at any Disney theme park. If this slide is high on your must-do list, then try hitting it at the start of dinner times or during the evening stage shows. You’ll find the lines considerably smaller during these times.
9. Visit Senses Spa on embarkation day for special deals and discounts. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to treat ourself to a spa day while on your cruise, its worth stopping by the spa on the day you board and feeling out what sort of discounts might be available. During my recent cruise, I was offered three treatments for the price of one and also got to relax in their heated loungers and enjoy the aromatherapy showers. There’s good bargains available for those willing to haggle a wee bit. These offers are subject to availability and may not be on offer if the spa is already heavily booked
10. Steer clear of the midship elevators and use the For and Aft ones instead. Elevators can be a nightmare on cruise ships especially around busy times like meals, shows, deck parties etc. Don’t spend your time waiting for an elevator in the heavy traffic midship area. Be willing to do a bit of walking to the For or Aft sections of the ship and you’ll find crowds to be tinier and waits to be minimal.
These are just a small handful of our favorite cruising tips. Be sure to keep following along with Disney Addicts for the latest Disney Cruise Line tips and tricks.
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