Have you ever asked yourself, “Why Disney Cruise Line?” I sure did! So, I went all-aboard on the Disney Dream, whisking away my husband and two kids on a 4-night Halloween on the High Seas Bermuda Cruise departing from New York City. In this article, I’ve compiled a few things we learned during our family adventure. From beginning-to-end, it was easy to see why people continue to choose Disney Cruise Line, and why you should too!
#1. Port Arrival Time = Port Arrival Time
As a first-time Disney cruiser, we were able to check-in 30-days prior to our sail date. At this point, we were paid-in-full, had pre-booked our glass-bottom boat excursion, and were ready to go! We checked-in using the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App, and the process couldn’t have been easier. We loaded our passport photos, registered for the kid’s clubs, and chose our Port Arrival Time.
What is a Port Arrival Time, you ask? It’s exactly that – the time you should arrive at the port. So, why did I have my family arrive early, park at an off-site garage in NYC (to save a few dollars), and walk multiple blocks with our luggage in tow, just to wait for 2 hours? I have absolutely NO IDEA!
Disney Cruise Line has an extremely organized system for parking, arrival, and onboarding. Once we arrived at the terminal (after our walk from the off-site parking garage), the porters took our luggage to be delivered to our stateroom. After that, people were separated by their Port Arrival Times. This made the onboarding process streamlined and easy.
As I have now learned, there is no need to complicate the process by arriving too early, and almost more importantly, using the terminal parking facilities is Worth. Every. Penny. if you are driving to the port.
Once we made it through security, we received Disney Oceaneer Bands for the kid’s clubs, our onboarding passes, and enjoyed some fun photo-ops!
#2 You WILL have Disney character encounters.
Now, the waiting was over as we walked on the Disney Dream! Immediately, we were immersed in magic, as our names were called out to announce our arrival. My kids (and me!) were in awe of the gorgeous chandelier, spiraling staircases, and hidden Mickeys everywhere we looked!
Speaking of Mickey, it quickly became clear that there’d be no shortage of character experiences during our cruise. After the mandatory Safety Drill, we enjoyed a Sail Away Celebration, complete with The Fab Five! Each day, there were opportunities to wait in short lines to meet the characters, from Mickey & Minnie to Captain Hook, and even Jack Sparrow!
Being a Halloween on the High Seas cruise, my family got to enjoy a Mickey’s Mouse-Querade Halloween Party, complete with trick-or-treating through Cabanas and dancing WITH the characters.
But even if you aren’t on a “themed” cruise like us, Disney will have their infamous Pirate Night. My kids are still singing the sea shanties we learned and reminiscing about the exciting FIREWORKS AT SEA!
#3. The Disney Cruise Line Navigator App is AMAZING.
How did we make sure not to miss these amazing parties and plan our activities each day? It was all thanks to the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App! From the time of booking, all the way to the end of the cruise, the app was incredibly user-friendly.
Once I book a cruise for you, I will give you instructions to download the app and create your account. From here, you can schedule your cruise extras, view your itinerary, and check-in! But the app continues to be your best friend throughout your sailing.
After you’re connected to the ship’s Wi-Fi, you gain access to the daily activities. You can see everything, from craft and trivia times to when and where you have your dinner plans. If you choose to “heart” a certain activity on the list, it is automatically added to your day! The Disney Cruise Line Navigator App clearly posted when and where each character would be, so it was easy to plan ahead.
You will also have the ability to chat, kind of like texting. On day two, our kids went to the Disney Oceaneer Lab, and unfortunately, my son wasn’t feeling very well. The Cast Members were able to message us directly to let us know what was going on and kindly asked that we pick him up from the kid’s club. I could also chat with my husband, asking him things like, “What flavor ice cream do you want?”, or “Should I save you a seat at the movies?”
But fear not, if your phone dies while exploring the ship, you’ll still see activities posted throughout!
#4. A Disney Cruise is Fun for Everyone!
The term “multi-generational” comes up a lot in the travel industry. What vacations are good for all ages? Now I know that a Disney cruise is without a doubt one of those options.
While I spent most of my time searching for ducks with the kids, doing crafts in the D-Lounge, and partying-it-up at deck celebrations, there were SO MANY other options. On Disney cruise ships, there are adults-only (18+) restaurants, pools, and lounges.
Picture yourself dropping off your kids at their club, knowing they are safe with background-checked Cast Members (who can send you a chat if needed). You take a break to enjoy a few drinks-of-the-day, sing a little karaoke, and then soak up the sun at the adults-only pool away from the traffic caused by the AquaDuck waterslide. Sounds fabulous to me!
You can even pre-book wine & whiskey tastings, 18-and-older excursions, and more (using my favorite app, of course!). On a Disney cruise, you really can do as much or as little as you want, and there is something for the whole family to enjoy each day!
#5. Disney Knows BEST!
All-in-all, it was continuously clear that DISNEY KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING, and their service is the best!
On the night my son wasn’t feeling well, the Royal Palace dinner staff had us leave them with our menu choices and promptly delivered the food to our stateroom. I was able to enjoy my meal by moonlight on our stateroom’s private verandah.
The nights we did make it to dinner, our table was waiting with our favorite drink selections. And on our last night, they sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY for my daughter’s 7th birthday.
Disney has learned how to perfectly arrange their daily offerings, making sure no one has to miss out on shows, movies, deck parties, anything! Their customer service is unmatched, whether you’re enjoying the parks, or a cruise, or both! This is just one of the many reasons that a Disney vacation is an exceptional choice for all.
Now that I trust Disney Cruise Line with my own family, I’d love to help with your vacation next, knowing that with Disney and me, you’ll be in good hands before, during, and after your trip!
Yo Ho, Yo Ho! A Disney life for me!
To learn more about cruising with Disney, reach out to us and request to speak with Jaime.
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We hope you enjoyed these 5 tips for cruising with Disney!