Some people take many cruises in their lifetime, and others take just a few or maybe just one.
If a Disney Cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you, you’ll want to make it the best it can possibly be. Knowing some common Disney Cruise Line mistakes can save you lots of time and frustration by knowing what you need to know before you cruise.
Here are ten mistakes you don’t want to make for your Disney Cruise.
10. Booking just any room
The Disney Cruise Line sails to some amazing places, and you’ll want to have your camera at the ready. But if your room doesn’t give you a good view to the outside, you’ll have to run to an observation deck every time you see something cool. If it’s important to you to get good pictures of the sights, be sure to book a verandah room. While these tend to be the most expensive rooms, you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
If you want to take the risk, you can arrive to port early and check on discounted upgrades for rooms. If the ship isn’t full, there’s a good chance you can get a great deal; but if the ship is full (and it often is), you’re out of luck. This is a pretty big risk to take since you have no way of knowing how full the ship is and other cruisers know about this trick so they’ll be trying it, too.
9. Forgoing Insurance
Many people forgo travel insurance believing that nothing bad could actually happen to them on vacation. Sure, it’s a way to save some money, but if you or someone in your party needs some kind of medical attention while on the cruise (especially when you’re out of the country), you could rack up a huge bill. Travel insurance will help cover these costs, which can sometimes reach into the thousands of dollars.
There are many more things that travel insurance covers too, including cancelled trips either on your side or on the cruise line’s side (weather delays or cancellations, work schedule changes, jury duty), emergency evacuations, lost or delayed bags or flights, phone assistance, hazardous sports, identity theft, and more.
Some are unlikely like bankruptcy of the Disney Cruise Line (yeah, right!) while others are completely plausible – like lost baggage or delayed or cancelled flights.
Having this insurance can be an expense, but many agencies provide yearlong travel insurance, which is worth the cost if you travel more than once a year. Insurance saved a lot of people when Disney World and DCL essentially shut down all operations for several days ahead of the 2017 hurricane season then had to change ports of call due to damage on island destinations.
Not having insurance means forfeiting your payments for these vacations if something catastrophic does happen.
8. Forgetting travel documents
In the age of technology, this can be less of an issue since your tickets and boarding passes are probably on your cell phone, but you don’t have a digital version of your passport, birth certificate, or photo ID. Forgetting any of these things can delay or completely derail your ability to get on a plane or on (and off!) the boat.
If you are on a closed-loop cruise, which means that you embark and disembark at the same port, you only need your ID and your birth certificate. However, to get off the ship in a foreign location, you also need your passport. If you’re on an international cruise, you’ll definitely need your passport.
Forgetting any of these things or not having them in the correct format, which can happen especially to honeymooning couples (wives who forgot to change their name!) could mean that you have to sit on the boat while others are out on excursions – or you might even have a very hard time getting back into the country!
7. Over packing
If you’re an over packer, you’ll want to really limit yourself if you’re taking a cruise. Although the rooms provide adequate space and storage, bringing a lot of unnecessary things into the room can really reduce the space you have pretty quickly. Don’t bring things you don’t need and don’t bring too many of something.
Even if you’re on a 7-day cruise, you won’t need seven swimming suits. There’s a laundry service onboard every ship, and there are also self-service washers and dryers. Keep in mind that you’ll probably buy souvenirs while on board, so you’ll need to have space in your bags to bring things home with you.
6. Packing essentials in luggage
This is a problem on both the first night and the last night.
Just like in Disney World when you opt for Disney’s Magical Express Luggage Delivery, your bags will be delivered to your stateroom after you board the DCL ship. However, there can be a delay as with Disney World’s luggage delivery. Pack anything you’ll need immediately in your carry-on. Don’t forget your swimsuit, clothes for dinner, and some basic toiletries to wash up in case your bags don’t arrive before then.
On the last night of the cruise, you’ll pack your luggage and leave it outside your stateroom door. The friendly Cast Members will take your luggage and send it to the airport or to your next destination if you’re doing a land and sea vacation. This means you won’t see your luggage again until you get to your next destination whether it’s home or another hotel.
Pack what you’ll need in your carry-on, and don’t forget a change of clothes for the next day. Also remember that you’ll be going to the See Ya Real Soon Farewell party that night, so don’t put on your pajamas just yet!
5. Sticking to a schedule
It’s important to remember that you’re not at home and you probably won’t have a regular at home schedule aboard the Disney Cruise Line. Of course, you’ll want to eat regular meals and not overindulge on junk food or adult beverages, but enforcing kids’ bedtimes will only mean you miss things that could be a lot of fun. There are things for kids to do well into the evening. Don’t worry. They’ll get the sleep they need.
4. Over spending
When I’m on vacation, I try not to worry too much about money. If I want something and I can reasonably afford, I buy it. However, I also try not to buy things on an impulse.
Souvenirs are fun, but make sure you’ll actually use what you’re buying. Excursions are great, but can you do something on your own or book somewhere else for less? One thing people spend a lot of money on is pictures, but most PhotoPass Photographers will take pictures with your camera.
Make a budget and decide how much you want to spend. Try to stick to it, but don’t stress too much.
3. Choosing the buffet
The night that you board, the Cast Members will try to push you towards the buffet. They’ll often tell you that the wait for the restaurants will be very long when in fact you’ll only wait a few minutes. If you want the buffet, go for it, but if you really want to eat at one of the restaurants, wait for it.
2. Forgetting the motion pills
Some people are fine cruising in the water. After all, the Disney Cruise Line ships are huge, and many people don’t even feel the rocking of a smaller ship. However, you should still bring motion sickness pills with you if there is any chance you might get sick. Getting sick will ruin your vacation, and motion sickness pills will be very expensive aboard the ship. Bring them with you just in case!
1. Putting things off
Great! You’ve got a whole week of vacation! You’ve got plenty of time!
This is the number one mistake people make on a cruise. For whatever reason, vacation time goes faster than work time. Assuming you have time and putting things off until the end of your cruise can be really bad.
Don’t wait to jump in the pool, eat at the restaurant, ride the Aquaduck, play a fun round of bingo, or meet the characters. If you are on a Very Merrytime Cruise, take a few minutes to enjoy the special Christmas decorations. Sure, they’ll be there later but you might run out of time or find that everyone else thought they had a lot of time left, too.
Lines for Shutters, the on-board photography store, will get very long towards the end of the cruise as can lines for the rebooking desk. If you want pictures, get there the day before your last day. If you want to take advantage of the rebooking discounts, it’s good to get that in early. Once the offers go out to the rooms, the lines will get longer.
A cruise is a great time to take pictures. If this is something you like to do, start snapping pics as soon as possible. You may only see some things once or you’ll forget to get the pictures towards the end of your vacation. If you think you want a picture of it, do it then.
Ever made a mistake in planning your Disney Cruise?