You're going on a Disney Cruise and you have a zillion questions! Relax, we have the information you need to plan ahead and have the best time on your voyage.
Starting with the travel documents to the onboard activities, everything you need to know is here. How much is a Disney Cruise? What do I need to wear when dining? What are the kids clubs like? What's there to do at the ports of call? What's the difference between the stateroom categories? Do I need to bring a crib for my baby? The answers to these and all of your inquiries can be found in our Disney Cruise Line information section. You can even take a peek at the daily schedule by looking at the Personal Navigators that are issued onboard.
When Disney Cruise Line entered the cruise business in 1999, they made cruising a genuine "family" experience. Up until that point, most cruise lines focused mostly on adults, with very little consideration (in services or offerings) given to younger members of the family. When the Disney Wonder launched in August of 1999, it redefined the cruise industry and its impact over the last ten years has been evident.
Disney was the first cruise line, for example, to offer a majority of balcony staterooms - something that has now become commonplace on new ships. Disney's staterooms were also substantially larger than on most ships at that time - also a trend the industry has adopted. Disney Cruise Line was the first line to include a bathtub in most every stateroom (a necessity when traveling with young children). And, while we're on the subject of children, Disney built a ship with kids in mind - from Flounders Reef Nursery (for toddlers), to the Oceaneers Club (for kids 3-7), Oceaneers Lab (kids 8-12) and Aloft! - the 'teens only' hangout, a Disney cruise had the younger set fully covered. And the industry followed suit with newer ships on lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean both trying to 'up the ante' when it comes to kid-specific areas. The fact is, that in the family market, anyone else is simply vying for second place.
Your favorite Characters will make appearances throughout the the entire cruise; even the Disney Cruise ship's horn gets in the spirit.
Almost everything is inclusive on the Disney Cruise Line: meals, entertainment, most snacks and room service. They've thought of it all when it comes to experiencing a cruise with those special Disney touches.
Disney Cruise Line Planning
Like any other Disney vacation, planning a Disney Cruise takes some research if you want to find the best price, and get the most out of the experience. First, you need to decide if you're looking for a 3 night, 4 night or 7 night cruise. If you're a first time cruiser, and are unsure if cruising is for you - you might want to consider one of the shorter itineraries. But be warned - most people that do a 3 or 4 night cruise end up wishing they had done a longer one!
There are lots of details to learn as well before you set sail on your Disney cruise - from what travel documents you will need to onboard activities. How much is a Disney Cruise? Cost is always a factor, so spending the time to research how to get the best price for your cruise is usually a good investment. What about staterooms? There are several different stateroom categories onboard each Disney ship. If you're traveling with kids, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the various onboard services for children. And, if you need some time away from the kids, the 'adults only' areas onboard the Disney ships offer many opportunities to relax and unwind while at sea. Each evening on the Disney Cruise Line, at the Walt Disney Theatre, a special show is offered for your entertainment. And don't forget about ports of call. Each port offers unique shore excursions and shopping opportunities. And if you do some shopping on the islands, you'll want to be familiar with customs regulations upon returning to the U.S.
Of course the best port of call on any Disney cruise is Castaway Cay - Disney's private island in the Bahamas. In our opinion, a day on this island is almost worth the cost of the cruise itself. It is exactly what you would imagine a caribbean paradise would be. Lush foilage, pristine beaches, crystal clear water. Like the ship, the island is also divided into areas specific to certain groups. You have a beach reserved for families, teens and adults respectively.
If you've already been on a Disney Cruise Line vacation, then you're automatically part of the Castaway Club - Disney Cruise Lines affinity program for repeat cruisers. If you've already sailed with DCL once, you should have received your Castaway Club card in the mail. If you didn't - call 1-800-449-3380. For more info on Disney Cruise Lines Castaway Club - click here
While it may seem like a lot to take in, don't worry - we have a lot of information here on our site, but don't overlook our discussion forums either. Our Disney Cruise Line discussion forums on DISboards.com You should also check out our Disney Cruise Line planning guide - it will help you in making the right decisions for your family vacation.