So, you’ve chosen a Disney cruise as your next family vacation? Congratulations! But, what next? For the purpose of this post I will be taking you through the process of my 3 day cruise to the Bahamas in January. I have gathered some useful tips and tricks to making the most out of your Disney Cruise Vacation. I am 21 and went with my family, mom, dad, and little sister (16), we were also joined by a close family friend. We did not have any little children with us, but you can certainly cater activities to the age group you are with. We sailed on the Disney Dream and stayed in a Concierge cabin with a veranda while our family friend stayed in a regular cabin with a veranda. As an aside, a veranda is necessary, there was nothing better than sitting out with a cup of tea in the morning watching the ocean go by.
THE MAGIC BEGINS BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Before you embark on your adventure, you can bring the magic of surprise to your little ones, or not so little ones if you wish. You can request a phone call announcing your Cruise from a Disney character. I am 21 years old and my mom had Minnie Mouse call me on my cell phone to let me know our vacation plans. I was so excited and it made the experience personalized having one of my favorite characters invite me on the cruise.
For younger children, create crafts or countdowns themed with their favorite Disney characters to hype them up and keep them occupied before you leave for your vacation. There are plenty of templates on sites like Pinterest and the Disney Blogs.
HOW DO I EVEN BEGIN TO PACK FOR THIS ADVENTURE
I have enough trouble packing for a weekend, packing for a cruise was almost crippling. Closet space is small so be ready to get creative. Once you have selected and paid for your cruise, you will receive an itinerary. This is a lifesaver. It will let you know exactly what happens each day, including where you will be dining so you can plan appropriately. This itinerary was my saving grace. I meticulously planned outfits for each day. I added any accessories I would want with each outfit and only packed one or two extra things just in case something got dirty.
The weather in the Bahamas can be tricky. January is rainy season, we lucked out though and saw mostly sunny and warm days. Pack a light jacket with a hood just in case. I packed one pair of boyfriend jeans that rolled up at the ankles for a relaxed look if the temperature dipped, it didn’t. Don’t forget to pack one nicer outfit as there is always one night that dinner is fancier than others.
Please keep in mind that ‘cruise casual’ is a nicer way of dressing than normal casual. Nobody wants you tromping about in your bikini. Remember a proper cover up (I wore board shorts and a tank top). I mainly wore cotton or blousy tank tops with pastel and khaki shorts. Flip flops were my go to shoe choice, but I noticed many people in tennis shoes and Sperry’s who seemed to be just fine. I wore wedges one night and regretted that decision, moving ships do not mix well with heels.
ONBOARD FOR THE FIRST TIME
Like any Disney adventure, once you are on the ship, you are family. The Crew greets each family walking onto the ship and your names are announced. You will then be directed to your cabin. Crew members will deliver your bags your room which was wonderful, everything showed up before we went to dinner that first night. Staying in Concierge gave us the advantage of a concierge guest only lounge and deck, as well as early access to the cabin.
The personal daily Navigator is your on-board lifeline. Use it, know it, love it. This piece of paper will give you character meet times, movie times, Broadway show times, and so much more! There is always something fun happening on-board, there are deck parties, movie showings by the pool, and pirate fights. Don’t forget to stop by the parade of princesses to catch up with your favorite Disney Princess.
My favorite part of each day was the Broadway style productions on stage. There were multiple performances each night to match up with dining schedules and each performance left me in awe. I loved seeing the characters come to life. My favorite production was the villains. Pain and Panic, Hades minions, got the crowd warmed up and Ursula graced us with her presence for a while. These productions gave the family something to look forward to in the evenings after a fun day seeing sights.
BAHAMAS PORT 1, NASSAU
In Nassau, we went to the Atlantis resort to go on a tour of marine wildlife. The tour was fun, our guide was engaging and comedic, but it was more like going to the zoo or Sea World which I can do at home. We saw sharks and fish, but we did not really experience the island. Atlantis is a resort and casino. It was basically Vegas surrounded by water. An interesting experience, but not exactly thrilling. Shopping in Nassau was fun. There are areas to negotiate prices and streets lined with tourist shops. I ventured into a few shops and ended up with a dress. The weather was beautiful and the people friendly. Next time though, I will probably forgo debarking the ship in Nassau if we return and relax on-board.
BAHAMAS PORT 2, CASTAWAY CAY
Oh yeah, Disney has their very own island, and it’s awesome! Castaway has the Disney touch, making you feel as if you are a castaway on an island. With all of the comforts you could ask for of course. My dad, family friend, and I are adventure seekers. We chose parasailing as our first activity on the island. My mom and sister waited for us catching rays on the beautiful beach. Parasailing was awesome, but our boat broke down about halfway through so others on our boat were unable to take their turn. Lunch is provided on the island buffet style, we sat on picnic tables. If you’re old enough, stop by the bar hut and grab a drink. The bartender suggested the Castaway Freeze to me and he did not steer me wrong. Bacardi rum and real fruit made for the perfect cool drink.
Shopping on Castaway was just okay, not really anything to write home about. The items were very tourist items found in any gift shop. I did find a tank top and a few souvenirs to take back to friends.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MAKING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR VACATION
There is a little something for everyone on-board. For kids, the kid zones are a great way for them to make friends and give parents a bit of a reprieve. For teens, the teen zone and young-adult zones are a way to encourage their engagement on-board. My 16 year old sister had a blast and made friends she still talks to. Enjoy the buffets, I made a point to get ice cream after dinner each night, and the soda fountains got me caffeinated more than once.
Take pictures, lots of pictures. Later, you can put them into an album, Pinterest has templates for Disney Cruise photo album ideas.
All in all, Disney has conquered the high seas and they will spoil you for any other cruise line. The crew are attentive, friendly, and energetic. Everyone is dedicated to their jobs and it shows. Guests of all ages have entertainment and activities. There was not a moment I was bored, or doing something I was not interested in. I cannot wait to set sail on my next DCL adventure.