It’s no secret that a Disney Cruise makes for a spectacular family vacation. After months and months of anticipation, it is so exciting when your embarkation day finally arrives. Embarkation day is a really fun experience and if you are a first-time cruiser, or a repeat cruiser looking for some new tips, there are some great ways to make the most of your first day on board.
Port Terminal Arrival
Be sure to arrive at the port terminal in time for your boarding window. Once you have completed your check-in at the port and have your Key to the World Card in hand, it will be time for you to wait for your boarding group to be called onboard. Smile pretty for your embarkation day group photo and get ready for a really unique and special boarding experience – it’s one of my favorite parts of any voyage.
Check out the Ship
Once on board, take a moment to really drink in the beauty of your Disney Cruise Line vessel. They are all unique and all stunning. It’s a good time to start to familiarize yourself with the layout of the ship. It is important to note that your stateroom won’t be ready for you until at least 1:30 PM (occasionally slightly earlier, but don’t count on it). Make sure you have a day bag with you that contains your essentials like medications and sunscreen.
Attend a Kids’ Club Open House
I highly recommend completing your children’s kids’ club registration online before you leave, but once you board the ship, you can venture up to the Oceaneer’s Club and Lab to finalize their registration on board and receive their wristbands. It is also a great time to explore the clubs with your kiddos, as once the ship sets sail, there will be limited opportunities for parents to be in the spaces with their kids.
If you have boarded in time for lunch, you will have a variety of options for where to grab a bite. My family always heads to the Cabanas buffet located on the same deck as the pools on all four ships. I have hungry teenage boys and this buffet will not disappoint. You can also grab a bite at any of the quick service options out near the pools. There will likely be meal service available at least one of the other restaurants on board if you are looking for something a little more low-key and indoors.
Go for a Swim
Embarkation day is a great time to check out the pools and other water fun offerings! If you are sailing on the Disney Dream or Fantasy and the AquaDuck is up and running, this is also a great time to ride when lines and crowds are low. Parents of older children who don’t need direct supervision, this is a great time to score a lounge chair and enjoy a sail-away cocktail. Bar staff will also be selling water and beer packages that will be delivered to your stateroom later on embarkation day.
Check out Your Stateroom
After 1:30 PM you can head to see if your stateroom is ready. Your luggage will be delivered by your stateroom host and that can take a little bit longer. Once your luggage has arrived, now is a great time to unpack because once you officially set sail, you won’t want to waste a moment getting your stateroom organized. You will be shocked at how much storage space Disney Cruise Line fits into these rooms!
It’s also a good time to get your stateroom door decorated with the magnets that you brought from home. These are a great way to add some personality to your door, and also to make it easy to identify when you return later. There are a lot of stateroom doors that look exactly the same.
If you are a new cruiser you may not have heard of a muster drill, but this is a required safety exercise that must be completed by all cruise ships before the ship is allowed to leave port. Heed this warning – do not skip the muster drill! I know it seems like there are better things to do than to go and line up with your family, and many other families, on the lifeboat deck, but attendance at the drill is mandatory and they check everyone in, so if you don’t go, the staff are required to come and find you later and have you attend a separate safety presentation.
Sail Away Party
Once the official safety business is completed, the time has come to officially set sail. Disney Cruise Line celebrates this special moment with the Sail Away Party on the pool deck. This is a really fun gathering where cast members join their guests to officially kick off what is sure to be an amazing vacation. I know my family can’t wait to head out on our next Disney Cruise this summer!
Ready to sail away on your own Disney Cruise? 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or simply fill out the quote request below. And be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram.
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