DCL, ABD, and More Do and See Planning Tips

Choosing Amazing Port Adventures for your Disney Cruise

Choosing Port Adventures for your Disney Cruise
Dolphin Encounter Excursion at Atlantis, Nassau

You’ve booked your Disney Cruise and now it is time for the fun to really begin – it’s planning time!  Cruises are a really special type of vacation. You only need to unpack once, and the beautiful ship you are aboard becomes your mobile hotel bringing you to a variety of destinations. Deciding how you are going to spend your port days is a crucial part of planning your cruise, and I have tips on how to choose the best port excursions for your family.

Decide on Your Cruising Comfort Level





There are three main options for approaching port excursions:

  1. Book excursions directly through Disney Cruise Line
  2. Book excursions through an external tour operator
  3. Plan your own adventure

These three approaches to selecting port excursions depend on your comfort level as a cruiser and as a traveler in general. No worries – no matter how you decide to proceed, you can easily find amazing port adventures that deliver all that your cruise ports have to offer.





The Newbie

Choosing port excursions that are booked directly through your Disney Cruise Line is the safest option and a good choice if this is your first cruise or you are a more tentative traveler. Referred to as Port Adventures, these have been selected specifically by Disney to offer options suitable for a wide variety of travelers, little ones through adults.

Some examples of the variety of Port Adventures offered in Nassau, the port stop (aside from Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island) on their Bahamanian cruises are:





  • Adventure Jeeps and Beach
  • Atlantis Aquaventure
  • Blue Lagoon Island Dolphin Encounter
  • Graycliff Hotel Wine Luncheon

You will be able to pre-book your Port Adventures online prior to your sail date. The date on which your excursions become available to book will vary based on your Castaway Club member level. Castaway Club is Disney’s cruising loyalty program and has Silver, Gold and Platinum levels. If this is your first cruise and you aren’t a Castaway Club member yet, no worries. Most of the excursions have a large group capacity.

One additional piece of information to note: when you exit the ship, you will no longer be in the hands of Disney Cast Members but with external, vetted tour agencies. It is important to note that if there were to be a delay in your port excursion’s return time, the ship will be held from departing the port ONLY for the Disney-booked Port Adventures.

Choosing Port Adventures for your Disney Cruise
Atlantis Aquaventure Excursion, Nassau, Bahamas

The Explorer

If large group tours aren’t really your thing, or you have a specific activity in mind for your port day that doesn’t happen to be on Disney Cruise Line’s list of options, you can book your own independent or even private tours. We were cruising with friends who are fit, outdoorsy and adventurous and they wanted to do a kayaking trip with their family of four. They looked into Disney’s Port Adventures and found that their youngest didn’t meet the minimum age requirement. They were able to find a private kayaking tour through Viator that would allow the whole family to participate.

There are local tour agencies available that would love to help your family plan a fun, independent adventure. Be sure to do your due diligence researching any tour company prior to booking. If you are using a travel agent, be sure to ask them for their assistance, resources and suggestions.

Choosing Port Adventures for your Disney Cruise
Huana Coa Canopy Adventure, Mazatlan, Mexico

The Travel-Savvy Adventurer

If you have a high comfort level with international travel and want to explore a port on your own, the third option is simply to wing it. On one cruise, upon arrival in Nassau, my dad, husband and oldest son, hopped off the ship, found a friendly looking cab driver and asked him to give them a tour of the city. They had an amazing half day checking out Nassau from the locals’ perspective and it was an adventure that my son still talks about today, many years later.

Be Open to Unexpected Magic

As those of us who have a passion for travel know, regardless of how much time you spend researching and planning, sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned. My family has done a lot of excursions, some great, and some that weren’t our favorites. I make sure to note the kinds of excursions that my family loves and others that we can avoid the next time around.

One of our favorite ways to spend a port day is relaxing at the beach. On our most recent cruise to Mexico, my daughter and I spent the day at the beach while the guys in our family were off ziplining. To our surprise, there were tons of tiny sea turtles! We had the most magical time watching the staff at the beach resort rescue these baby sea turtles and guide them to safety. It was a day we will never forget.

Choosing Port Adventures for your Disney Cruise
Baby Sea Turtle Rescue, Mazatlan, Mexico

Regardless of how you decide to choose and book your Disney Cruise Port Adventures, you are sure to have an amazing time enjoying the cultures of a variety of different countries.

Ready to learn more about a Disney Destination vacation for your family? As an agent with Chip & Co’s official travel partner, Key to the World Travel, I would love to help with your first, or next, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line or Disneyland vacation! Email me at missy.graner@keytotheworldtravel.com or simply fill out the quote request below. And be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram.





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Missy Graner

Before becoming a travel agent specializing in Disney Destinations with Key to the World Travel, Missy Graner was a Disney travel super fan. She took her first trip to Walt Disney World in 1979 as a child, and now enjoys annual trips to the Disney parks and on Disney Cruise Line with her husband and four kids. Having traveled with her own kids as young as 5 weeks to now 19 years old, she knows that there is no perfect time to go to Disney, every age is unique and magical.


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