If you are preparing for a Disney Cruise, I’m sure you are overwhelmed with all the information that is out there. It is hard to know what items you will need to pack, what to expect in terms of your stateroom, or even what activities you family will want to be sure and do. The first thing you need to do is choose your Disney Cruise line ship & destination. After that, there is still more that you will need to do to be prepared. Use this planning guide for a Disney Cruise to get ready.
Planning Guide for a Disney Cruise
When you begin planning your Disney Cruise, the first thing you will need to decide is what time of year you want to travel. You will find that most people choose to take cruises in the summer months because it is an easy time for family vacation. Disney knows this too and prices their cruises accordingly.
If you are hoping to get a good deal on a Disney Cruise, you are best to cruise off season! You’ll find that the deals are better and often the ships are less crowded (which means you might score a free upgrade).
The next thing you will need to decide is where you want to go. Disney Cruise Line offers many different destinations, but the most popular are to Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean. You can go for as little as three nights to as many as 14 depending on your trip (and your budget!).
There are currently four ships in the Disney Cruise Line Fleet: Magic, Wonder, Dream and Fantasy. Each ship will give you a different experience. You will find that the Fantasy is the most expensive and usually only travels to the Caribbean. This is because it is the newest ship.
If you want to travel on the closest ship to the Fantasy, choose the Dream. It is the sister ship and nearly the same features and goes to both the Caribbean and Bahamas.
While the Magic and Wonder are older ships, they have both been refurbished in the past 4 years and have some things that make them pretty amazing ships for being older.
Once you have the perfect cruise picked out for your family, there are more things you will need to think about:
- Decide whether you want to be part of a Disney Cruise Fish Exchange. There are many different ones to join, but you will want to find one early so you can buy or make your Fish Extender & shop for Fish Extender gifts before your cruise.
- Pick out new items for your cruise. You may want Pirate themed items for Pirate Night or to purchase Disney Cruise themed items ahead of your trip.
- Decide what your are going to pack. You might want to make a list ahead of time so you don’t forget anything. Keep in mind that there are somethings you won’t need because Disney will provide them for you. You will also want to decide on whether you are going to bring wine or beer onboard.
- Create a budget. It is easy to spend like crazy when you are on vacation, but if you allot a daily spending limit, you won’t find yourself with a large bill at the end of your cruise. You will also want to take into account how much you will need to tip while on the cruise.
- If you are traveling with kids, you should take a look at the kid areas on the ship you will be sailing on. Kids 10 & under will want to check out The Oceaneer Club & Lab, while 11-14 year olds will be more interested in The Edge. There are even spaces & activities for older teens!
- Most Disney Cruises make a trip to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. There are a ton of activities you can do besides just swimming in the ocean!
- Will you have a day at sea? Here are some things you can look forward too.
- You will be on a three restaurant rotation. Each has a different theme. You don’t always have to eat at the main restaurants. There are plenty of other places to eat where dining times aren’t set, and then there is also room service (which is FREE).
- Wondering what the boarding process for a Disney Cruise is like or whether you should cab it or shuttle into the port? Be sure to do your homework ahead of time. Each port is a bit different.
My family are Gold Level Castaway Club Members of Disney Cruise Line which means that we have been on more than five Disney Cruises. While I am no expert (okay, I kinda am), I do feel like I have a good grasp on preparing for a Disney Cruise. I don’t say this to brag, but to let you know that I have experience to help those that haven’t cruised before know how to prepare.