We cruised! Is that even a thing? It is now! I am excited to share with you some details and best moments during the cruise which of course are family friendly because you know that’s how this mama bear rolls. Let’s do it!
Disney Cruise App & Communications: I knew I was going to be on a boat without internet for several days. That was a given. However, you can still stay connected to those traveling with you through the Disney cruise app. While internet is not complimentary on the Disney Cruise, there is no additional fee to use the app when connected to the cruise’s WiFi. You can access the daily schedule through the app, and mark “favorite” any activities you want to join. The app will send you reminders so you don’t miss a thing! I would take a look at the Daily Navigator (printed version of the schedule) and mark on the app the activities we wanted to join to get the reminders 15 mins before a show or activity was scheduled to start. You can have internet access for a fee, but who needs it when there is so much to do and enjoy while on the cruise?! Bragging rights… I get it, but we decided against paying for it.
Character Greetings: Let me tell you that one of the reasons why I avoid themed parks is because I don’t do very well with lines. Like hate them! But we were able to get pictures with every character we wanted and the wait was fairly reasonable . Disney Cruise Line (or DCL moving forward) schedules multiple appearances for each character throughout the cruise. You will often have several chances within one day to meet and take pictures with a character. Line moves fairly quickly and the cruise photographers will take your picture as part of the photo service they offer but also with your own cellphone if you ask. This was my favorite thing to do with my youngest, he is 3-years-old now. I thought he would be scared of the characters but he was fascinated by every single one of them. The people underneath those costumes are really good at their job playing silly, doing poses, making everyone feel especial. My little one had a great time with every character and was patient waiting in line knowing it would be awesome when it was his turn to get a hug and a high-five with the characters.
The Shows. Every night there is a special show scheduled at two different times which work great based on your designated dining time; more on the dining later. The shows are about 45-60 mins long which is just about how much you can keep a little on that seat without going crazy. The show line is up is promising. A different show each night that is sure to please the whole family, and they sure do. Not gonna lie and say we watched and enjoyed every single one of them because that was not the case. A few of the shows conflicted with my youngest nap time and we missed the shows, but the ones we did made it to were great! I loved the ventriloquism & comedy show of Lynn Trefzger. She totally gets parents!
Activities for Kiddos & Youngsters. The cruise offers great choices to keep your kiddos busy, yay! If your little ones are 3-years or older, they can check-into the club that is designated especially for their age range. If your little is younger than 3-years-old, there is a choice for them but it is an additional fee which I can’t tell you what is because we didn’t get to use that one but I know is an hourly fee. Our kids used the clubs multiple times. They have organized activities for them which is great. The staff at the kids club were very friendly and they have a great security system. My daughter kept asking to go to the club because she made friends there. There is a no diapers rule at the Oceaneer’s Club which is designated for kids 3-years or older, and this was a big problem for us. Our youngest, who is 3-years-old, was not fully potty trained at the time. Our plans were never to check him in for more than 2 hours because after all it was a family vacation and the majority of our plans were family activities. He wasn’t allowed with pull-up diapers… bummer! At home we had been working on potty-training but he was still having accidents. I thought it was best to have him have a pull-up diaper instead of an accident that would create more inconvenience for the staff, but he wasn’t allowed with them. If I would have known the diaper rule on the cruise, I would have worked harder for him to be fully potty-trained by then. There might be a note written about this somewhere and I missed it which is why I bring this to your attention to be prepared if your little ones are in the same situation.
Dining Time. One of the things about dining is that you get to select from one of the two seating times for ALL your dinners during the cruise. We were going with my husband’s friend who was aware of this as a cruise expert, so we made sure that it was noted in our reservations to be seated together. Every night we had the same server and assistant server which actually was really nice. They actually pay attention to the details and get a step ahead of the game. The first two nights we ordered the same drinks for the kids so by the time we were seated on day three they had pre-placed their drinks. They both memorized our names, and they were very friendly with us and the kids. It felt like we’ve known each other forever. It was actually a really nice experience. There was a different theme each dinner, and all the food we tried was delicious! I did gained some pounds during the cruise and I think most came from dinner meals. During the day we were kind of running around between activities; we had a nice breakfast but lunch was all over the place for us and we usually grabbed something light leaving plenty of space for dinner, ha!
Pool Time. Disney Fantasy has two family pools, one adult pool, one kid pool (though is very small in length) and a couple of water areas (you know where little ones round around and there is water dripping or splashing from different places). They also have a couple of water slides which my kids tried and enjoyed. Now remember how I said there is no diapers allowed in the kids club? Well, diapers are also not allowed in any of the pools. Trust me, after thinking about it, I get it; they want to keep the water as clean as possible. But it sucks! Had I been traveling with a baby or toddler, I would have wanted my little person to get in the pool with the rest of us while using a water diaper. I mean… it’s a pool (don’t get me started in pool water)! And because we were playing it safe with the little man since he had not mastered potty-training at the time, we had water diapers. Bummer! He couldn’t used the pool with diapers which truly sucked especially since it was hot and humid and he loves the pool. He went in without a diaper after doing the whole potty thing in the room and for short periods of time to avoid accidents. So, take note of these of you had little ones who required water diapers.
Port Adventures. For our ports we had St. Kitts, Antigua, Puerto Rico & Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island). Is up to you how much you do, or don’t, while the boat docks at the ports. We signed up for tours in St. Kitts and Puerto Rico (additional fee for these), and wonder around the streets in St. John’s, Antigua. We loved both adventures we signed up! We selected activities in which our whole family could participate. As I mentioned on my booking details post, DCL is prepared to get you on and off that boat efficiently. They had left tickets with our time and meeting location on my stateroom on day 1. The check-in process for the activities was fast and easy, and they guided us off the boat unto our transportation and off we went. Very smooth process! You can save some money and book your tours directly with the local tour companies; DCL partners with these companies to support the experiences they offer. If you book directly you can save a few bucks for sure but you lose the guarantee DCL offers to wait for you should something create a delay and you are not back at the boat for departure time. I compared prices offered by DCL vs. booking directly with a tour company for the experiences we booked and there were some differences: the price was very similar only a few bucks less per person, they usually offer more times to pick from for the tour, and the ages allowed were different. We went directly with DCL because as I said the savings were very minimal for our tours, and I wanted to have the guarantee that they would wait for us should our tour be delayed especially for the one in Puerto Rico which was a long tour and it took most of the port time.
Disney’s Castaway Cay & 5K. Loved it! One of my favorite places for sure and we didn’t even get to experience half of what the island has to offer, ha! Beautiful sand and warm clear water rocks! The beaches here in California have really cold water, so I absolutely love it when the ocean water is warm. There was a 5K run or walk scheduled for first thing upon arrival to the island which I signed up for. It was brutal! Now do let me clarify on this one because for me it was brutal but others seemed to enjoy themselves running on a 80+ degrees weather that is also very humid. I didn’t! However I wanted to earn my 5K medal genuinely, so I jogged/ walked combo and completed the whole thing. Yay me! Back to island stuff now. You can rent cabanas that give you a more exclusive experience but I didn’t feel too crowded at all with just chilling on the beach along a bunch of people. I mean is big enough so don’t feel rushed to rent one unless you roll like that. They offer several water sports and experiences on the island for an additional fee. Make sure to sign up for what you want ahead of time as they do fill up quite fast. You will be happy to know the island has an adults only side if you aren’t traveling with little ones like we did.
The Service. Incredible! From the moment we arrived at Port Canaveral to the moment we returned and boarded our shuttle back to our hotel, we were always treated with the best customer service. Every interaction we had with staff anywhere on the cruise and even the terminal was always pleasant. DCL’s reputation is top of the line for cruises and they sure live up to it. The staff made every effort to establish a personal relationship with every single one of us. For instance, our dining servers Dan and Esmeralda, became familiar since day 1. They would ask about our family, share about theirs, remember details about us and find a creative way to make us feel spoiled by using those details to do something special for us. It was truly an amazing experience and it all comes down to the amazing service we received every second of the trip.
I have so more to share but they are really memories I created with my family during our trip. We had an amazing time! I can’t promise your experience will be the best ever or the worse ever; that simply can’t be done. But hopefully the info provided here might help you if you are planning a Disney Cruise. Don’t forget to check out my other post with booking details to get details on planning for your cruise.
Mama Bear Kim