Written by Jennifer Jamieson – Magical Tripcations Travel Planner
Ahoy, mateys! No doubt about it, any Disney fan worth their pirate’s booty will tell you that the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction is hands down a swashbuckling load of fun! And we all know how the trek to a forgotten jungle outpost is not-to-be missed. But today, we’re going to “sea” what magic awaits you aboard the Disney Cruise Line. And just so you know, the Disney Cruise Line does not disappoint when it comes to pirate adventures. So, what sort of insider knowledge can we share to ensure that you have the most magical time aboard the Disney Cruise Line? Here are our top 9 Disney Cruise tips.
# 1 Keep Up with the Navigator
The Navigator is a newsletter delivered nightly to your stateroom and contains the listing of the next day’s events. It is your go-to-guide for everything from ship to shore. Carefully review it to plan your excursions, character meet and greets, and to take note of hours of operation, etc. Take it with you when you leave the ship as it contains information such as emergency contact information and when you need to be back on the ship.
Before you board the ship, download the Navigator App available for iPhone and Android phones. You will be able to connect to it using the ship’s free WiFi; however, the free WiFi is only available for the Navigator App. The app lists restaurant menus and other helpful information only accessible via the app.
Part of the fun of cruising is noshing on yummy food, right? And the Disney Cruise Line is no different; however, the way they approach their dining is extra magical! Each ship has what is called rotational dining which means that each night of your cruise, you will rotate along with your wait staff through each of the enchanting restaurants.
Got a picky eater or two? No problem! The dining staff will make every effort to ensure everyone in your party has an enjoyable meal…AND they will remember your likes and dislikes and respond accordingly at every meal without you even needing to say a word. Happy family + full tummies = magical dining experience for all!
“All three of the big, main restaurants all serve breakfast and/or lunch. I don’t know how we missed this on our other cruises but we absolutely loved meeting as a family for a three course lunch a couple of times during our cruise. The menu is different, it doesn’t cost any extra and the food is better than the buffet lunches served elsewhere on the ship.” Beccy A.
The ship also has two fine dining restaurants that are available for adults only and require a reservation and additional charge. Palo and/or Remy are exceptional dining experiences in lovely atmospheres with delectable cuisines and well worth the additional cost. These restaurants are very popular so make your dining reservation as soon as you can.
#3 “Sea” all the Shows
“The entertainment is out of this world!” Pete P. One of the best features on any Disney cruise is the Broadway-style entertainment included in your cruise fare. With original scores and chorography bringing stories to life, these shows are one of the highlights of your cruise and not-to-be missed!
The shows are presented twice nightly in the Walt Disney Theater and show times correspond to the dinner schedule. Doors open about 30 minutes prior to the show and it’s a good idea to get there a little early. You can’t save seats so make sure your entire party is with you.
You can also see first-run and classic Disney movies onboard. There are also a multitude of “game” shows that feature anything from Disney Trivia games for prizes, bingo for money, Karaoke, magicians and more. Check for more information in the Navigator!
#4 Deck Parties
We mentioned that the Disney Cruise Line does not disappoint when it comes to pirate adventures. You’ll get to party like a pirate when you check out the “Pirates in the Caribbean” show and deck party.
First, you’ll feast on a pirate-themed dinner and then head to the pool deck for a yo ho, yo ho good time complete with a “Pirates in the Caribbean” show topped off with fireworks. Think about this…fireworks at sea, exploding over the moonlit ocean sounds extra magical!
Have a young Jedi in your family (or the grown up variety)? Ask about the special Star Wars Day at Sea aboard the Disney Fantasy!
#5 Pin Trading
If you’ve ever been to a Disney Park, you’ve probably noticed guests wearing lanyards lined with pins. The same thing happens aboard the Disney Cruise Line where guests proudly display their collections. “We loved going to the Pin Trading Event. Our kids collect pins and always find 1 or 2 worthy of their collections.” Beccy A. Cara K. adds “If you’re a pin trader, they’ve got all kinds of things for that. I love the time they set aside to trade with the ship’s captains and crew. It’s awesome! I’ve got tons of pins!”
#6 Get to Know the Crew Members
From the moment you embark to the sad moment you disembark your cruise, the Disney service is top notch. Crew Members are there to help you, answer questions and make your voyage the best experience ever. “You have never seen Disney Service at its best until you board a Disney ship. Crew Members welcome you immediately upon entering the ship by announcing your family over the PA. From there, it only gets better. ” Pete P. “Get to know the crew members. They will make your cruise amazing.” Debbie R.
Gratuities are not included in your prepaid fare. You will receive a service charge invoice in your stateroom before your cruise is over. Tips are recommended for Crew Members that serve your meals, clean your stateroom, etc. If you disagree with the automated tip amount, you can speak to Guest Services and they can adjust your invoice.
#7 Make an Appointment at Senses Spa
We did mention relaxation is one of the biggest highlights of any cruise and there is a spa onboard with this in mind. The spa treatments book up quickly so try to make an appointment as soon as you can or the first day you embark. The spa offers a variety of services from hair appointments to manicures to massages.
“Don’t miss the Rainforest.” Cara K. The Rainforest is a co-ed spa area on each ship. Depending on the ship, there are steam rooms, saunas, warming loungers and Jacuzzis. “There’s a juice bar, too. It’s definitely worth every penny!” You can purchase a day pass or a longer pass for the length of your cruise.
#8 Don’t Miss the Character Meet and Greets
Of course you and your family will see many beloved Disney characters while on your cruise so don’t forget your autograph book and kids’ costumes.
To find the characters, check your Navigator newsletter or Navigator app for the daily schedule of Character Appearances and location. You can also dial 7-PALS from your stateroom phone or check the digital board in the Lobby Atrium for more details. And don’t forget your camera but if you do or the photo doesn’t turn out, you can purchase professional photos taken by the Disney photographers onboard.
#9 Here’s a Key to the Cruise Lingo:
Embarkation – getting on the ship for the first time.
Debarkation – getting off the ship at the end of your cruise.
Port – the left side of the ship as you face forward.
Starboard – the right side of the ship as you face forward.
Aft – is the rear of the ship.
Navigator – a daily newsletter listing the day’s events. It is delivered nightly to your stateroom with turn down service.
Bonus Tip: Consider using a Magical Tripcations Travel Planner for your next Disney Cruise Line vacation. No swabbing the deck or pirate booty needed because all our planning services are free!
With our guidance, tips and tricks, we’ll have you in shipshape in no time. We’d love to help you plan your next magical voyage aboard the Disney Cruise Line. To learn more, see our blog post Why Use a Disney Travel Planner.