Oh the Magic and Wonder of a Disney Cruise! It’s a like a Dream come true, a real life Fantasy. ;) A Disney Cruise is truly without compare—perhaps one of the best vacations you’ll ever take. If you’re looking for tips about choosing your cruise, this it not the article for you. (Instead check out our four articles comparing the ships starting here .) But if you’ve booked your cruise, you’re in the right place, because now we’re gonna talk about the all-important planning and packing steps.
After you’ve chosen your specific cruise, you’ll need to work on transportation to and from the port. If you’re driving in, be sure to reserve space for parking your vehicle either off site or in the port garage. If you’re flying, you’ll want to secure transportation to and from the airport via shuttle, cab, or Uber. Disney Cruise Line offers transportation to some major airports, but smaller airports sometimes offer better fares. Be sure to research and reserve the option that’s best for you.
2. Excursions & Special Reservations
For first time cruisers, you’ll be able to check in and make reservations 75 days prior to your set-sail date (sooner for previous DCL cruisers). Before that date, you’ll want to have a good idea of what type of shore excursions, spa treatments, wine tastings, and special events that you’re looking for, and think through any nursery reservations you may need. Simply click on your itinerary and use the “Add Activities” button on each day to search through what’s available. You can also call to reserve portable cribs and other baby gear prior to cruising, and those items will be delivered to your cabin.
3. Fish Extenders & Other Groups
Outside each cabin door is a decorative fish. Years ago, cruisers started hanging little pockets off of these fish for communication and delivery purposes. Over time an optional, unofficial gift exchange started as a result. Fish Extender or FE groups can be found by searching for your specific cruise ship and date on Facebook or the DISboards. Usually a passenger will volunteer to organize the FE groups into manageable sizes. It’s so fun to give and receive little gifts! Also, sometimes Christmas ornament exchanges and magnet exchanges will form as a spin-off of FE groups. If you’re interested in this extra bit of cruising fun, look for your group and see what people have started…or start your own!
4. Checking In
You’ll want to check in via the Disney Cruise Line website as soon as possible. Not only will this save you time in port, it also allows you to choose your port arrival time. This is especially important if you’ll be in town early in the day. In that case, you’ll want to choose the earliest arrival time—no sense in waiting around on land when you can be on board the ship! To check in, be sure to have your identification documents, flight numbers, and other travel paperwork handy. You’ll also be able to check your kids in to the Oceaneer Club during this stage, which will save time later.
5. Navigator App
Before you leave, be sure to download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app. It works onboard the ship without paying for wi-fi, and will be essential for planning and communication. The Navigator app will list all of the day’s activities including show times and workshops to help you plan your best day ever! Plus, you can use the app to communicate with other passengers just like texting. Tip: bring old de-activated phones along for kids if you want to be able to text them in the Oceaneer Club.