Are you getting ready to book your first Disney Cruise? Maybe you’ve already booked but you have no idea what comes next. Lau Family Travels wants to share their top 10 tips for first time Disney cruise tips with you to make sure you have the perfect cruise! There are SO many things to know about cruising with Disney, but these are some of the most important if this is your first Disney Cruise.
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Top 10 First Time Disney Cruise Tips
Book in advance – the earlier the better!
Cruises get more expensive the closer you get to the sail date. You will get the BEST price if you book your cruise as soon as you can. There aren’t typically deals or specials when it comes to Disney Cruises, however if one is offered after you book you can always call to get it applied to your reservation!
Wondering if infants cruise for free on Disney? Check out our guide to infant cruise costs.
Use an experienced travel agent.
If it’s your first cruise I HIGHLY recommend using a travel agent. You pay a lot of money for your cruise and there is a LOT of things to know! Book with a travel agent who is familiar with Disney Cruises and you won’t regret it. It will cost you NOTHING extra to do so, but the amount of knowledge and tips you get will be priceless!
Arrive in town the night before your cruise.
Missing the ship would be a real big bummer. Things happen. And usually the worst things happen at the worst times. I always recommend flying or arriving into the port area the night before your cruise. Yes, you will be paying for a night to stay at a hotel somewhere, but it’s really worth it. Disney won’t hold the ship for anyone, so you’ll want to make sure you are there with plenty of time! Not to mention – rushing to get to a ship doesn’t sound like the best way to start your relaxing cruise vacation!
Be sure to check out our Disney cruise embarkation day tips here
Book port adventures & specialty dining as soon as you can!
If you are a first time Disney cruiser you will be able to book your port adventures & make specialty dining reservations (for Palo & Remy) 75 days prior to your sailing. You also are able to complete your online check in during this time as well. Things tend to get booked up very quickly on Disney cruises by the pros that know what they are doing. You can also cancel activities or dining reservations before your sailing if you decide not to do them!
For information on destination specific cruises check out these cruises
On select sailings (typically 7 nights or longer) there is a special Disney Character Breakfast offered. This breakfast is free, however you have to have tickets to attend. You can book this breakfast during the same time as you book port adventures and other specialty dining restaurants!
Consider booking a themed cruise for extra fun.
There are plain ol regular Disney Cruises & then there are Disney Cruises with lots of little extras. Consider a Halloween themed cruise like the Halloween on the High Seas Cruises. Or maybe you love the Christmas season? A Very Merrytime Cruise might be for you! Are you a Marvel or Star Wars fan? You could go on a Marvel or Star Wars Day at Seas Cruise! With all of the added extras you’ll be sure to have an even better time.
Purchase travel insurance – especially if you are traveling during hurricane season!
There is nothing worse than getting ready for your cruise and finding out there is a hurricane on the way about to threaten the whole thing! Hurricane season is between June 1st and November 30th with PEAK season being from August 30th to October 31st. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing travel insurance if you are going to be going on a cruise during those months. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Speaking of being safe than sorry… get a passport!
Technically speaking if you are on a closed loop cruise you don’t HAVE to have a passport. A closed loop cruise means it starts in the United States and ends in the United States. However, if you for whatever reason miss the ship while it’s at port in another country, or you have a medical emergency and need to be evacuated from the ship you will NEED to have a passport to get back to the United States. This could easily end up being a HUGE nightmare and not one that’s worth the risk.
Be prepared for sea sickness just in case.
We were on a VERY rocky cruise on our first Disney cruise. We had gone right after a hurricane went through and the seas were still a little rough. I was prepared with Bonine, Children’s Dramamine and Sea-Band Acupressure Nausea Relief Wrist Bands. We had the Sea-Bands on the first two nights, but then we ended up taking them off and we were fine. We did feel a little sick the first night, but from what I’ve heard that’s fairly common. After that it was smooth sailing (although not literally, because those waves were intense the WHOLE time)!
Don’t forget to budget for items that are not included in your cruise fare!
Unbudgeted items can add up quickly. One of the biggest costs will probably be the gratuities. Trust me. Disney service is WORTH this cost, however this will be something that is added onto your bill at the end of the cruise. You can have the amount lowered or raised depending on your level of service by going to guest services on board, however they will automatically charge a certain amount if you do not. You can use the Disney Cruise Line Blog’s cruise tip calculator to help determine how much that will be.
Some other unbudgeted items may include souvenirs, alcohol, specialty coffees, and some special food items. Make sure you budget a little extra money for emergencies as well.
My Last Tip for a First Time Disney Cruiser is….
HAVE FUN & RELAX!
Seriously. Most likely you chose a Disney Cruise because you want the joy and magic of Disney without the crazy hustle and bustle of the theme parks. This vacation is supposed to be about enjoying yourself and finding some time to relax! Find a quiet spot on the ship and listen to the waves. Watch the sunrise or the sunset over the horizon. Try something you’ve never tried before. You’ll be booking your next cruise before you know it!
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