Things I wish I knew before a cruise
Things I wish I knew before a cruise
Many people plan their cruise out a while in advance taking into consideration destination, ports of call, itinerary and time of year- rightfully so! When I took my very first cruise, we didn’t consider anything- we said, it’s a great price, it’s Disney, it’s soon, let’s do it! While my Disney cruise was AMAZING and I enjoyed every single bit of it, I do wish I had more time to prepare and know more about what Disney Cruises have to offer. Here are some of the things I wish I knew before our cruise on the Disney Dream.
DCL Navigator App
When we first got onto the ship, we were completely lost! While in a sense, it was nice because we looked at everything with a sense of wonder and exploring a ship was a great experience, we did feel like we lost valuable time on a short 3 day trip. The navigator app is an amazing tool that allows you to look at the schedule of events and locations onboard the ship for your entire stay. You can see which events are scheduled or available for different age groups. This is where I was able to find a toddler activity every morning for my daughter and some arts and crafts activities during the day. We were lucky enough to make it to those on the last day of the cruise. This is where we were also able to find our dinner time and location since you are scheduled to go to a different restaurant each evening. Another great thing we were able to look up on the app were the times the characters were going to be out and where! We were also able to see which movies were playing on the pool deck. I felt like such a pro and was ready for more by later in our second day. I only wish I had more time! As I look to our next cruise, I know exactly what to prepare for, what to look for and how to use the navigator app. It is such a wonderful tool for the things I listed and so much more!
Know more about the ship
There is so much information and blogs out there about cruises, I know I would have used some resources to get a little more acquainted with the layout of the ship and where things are in order to not feel so lost on the ship. On our first day, we did get lost a few times before finding our restaurant for dinner (which we arrived late to because we weren’t familiar with the Navigator app!). Don’t get me wrong, after the first day and exploring the ship and getting familiar with using the app, it’s very easy to make your way through the ship. Not to mention the cast members who go above and beyond making you feel right at home and are readily available for any questions or directions you may need!
Choosing an earlier boarding time
When you complete online check-in ahead of time (highly recommended!), you are able to choose a boarding time. When I checked in, we had a variety of times available to choose from. When faced with this decision, we easily decided on a later boarding time to give us time to arrive at the port since we were driving into Port Canaveral from Miami. By choosing a later time, we realized we wasted time that could have easily been enjoyed onboard. By the time we boarded, people were already enjoying themselves in the pool and having lunch, which we missed due to late boarding time! Even if you’re flying in, it’s highly recommended to fly in the night before, so if you have a choice of when to board, make it earlier so you enjoy the ship sooner!
In retrospect, I do think having a travel advisor would have been very beneficial for something like a cruise where there is so much to do. I know I could have done the work myself, but I would have been much more comfortable talking to someone who is an expert on cruises and everything they have to offer. I would have been much more prepared and could have enjoyed the cruise right off the bat! Now that I’m a professional travel advisor, specializing in Disney destinations, I learn as much as I can so that my clients can avoid the mistakes I made! I can’t wait until our next cruise!
Vianey George-Homestead, FL
Hello! My name is Vianey and I am a Travel Planner with Living With The Magic Vacations! Disney magic has always had a special place in my heart. From simply watching the movies as a little girl, to Disneyland trips any time we visited family in Southern California. The magic has carried over into my adult life when I first visited Disney World in 2015. Since then, I have gone back year after year for different purposes- honeymoon, weekend getaways, runDisney events, family trips, a bachelorette and now I get to share the magic with trips to Disney World with my 2 year old daughter. Each trip has been unique and unlocked many special “core memories” that I will cherish forever. I’ve experienced Disney through many lenses and I’m so excited to help you plan your own trip, whatever the purpose may be!