You guys. Do you want to know if you should go on a Disney Cruise?
…yes. Absolutely yes. I might be biased. But yes. We finally went on our first Disney cruise, in fact my first cruise ever, and it was everything I hoped it would be and more…to the point of being overwhelming. So here are some tips that worked for us!
Use a Certified Disney travel agent. Hear me out. I know a lot of Disney blogs push them, especially because their services are 100% free, but for the cruise I felt like it was necessary. Deb from Mouse World Travel is a personal family friend, and I was so excited to finally book through her- as I usually plan my own WDW trips. Not only did she take away the stress of all the logistics (Which stateroom to pick, meal seatings and reservations) she gave us a bonus onboard credit- AKA bought us a whole bunch of boat drinks!
Hey, speaking of drinks! (I like cocktails.)
Have a plan of attack for your alcohol. It’s not included with your dining plan, so if you don’t want to go overboard (ha! cruise puns!) spending money on booze, you gotta know what you’re doing. Each guest is allowed to bring 2 bottles of wine or a 6 pack onboard in their carry on. We personally opted to bring a few bottles of champagne - and intended to take advantage of the drink-of-the-day specials (a different drink every day for $5) and the beer mug (buy the souvenir mug and all your 20oz beers are the price of 16oz) It worked out great…plus we could order room service OJ in the morning to make DIY mimosas! Another way to maximize your drink value is to take a Mixology class. For the price of a couple drinks, we had a fun afternoon learning bartending skills and drinking our own creations.
You Probably Don’t Need to do Excursions
Do you even know how to excurse, anyways? But seriously- for a first time cruiser, there is SO SO SO much to do on board, that we had some serious FOMO when we decided to do things like get off the boat, or lounge.
(Like, how cute is my husband for real though.)
If you do decide to excurse (I’m going to continue to use this as a verb) here’s what we did:
Used a simple map of Nassau so that we could walk to our destinations. We visited the Queen’s Staircase/Fort Fincastle and then walked to John Watling’s Distillery. We bypassed the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas which honestly looked very cool, and I wish we had more time to check it out. (That FOMO again!) John Watling’s was a lovely property, but if you’ve seen one rum distillery you pretty much get the idea.
Fast. Diet. Make Room. Prepare Yourself.
The food is All You Care to Eat, not just in the buffet restaurants either. You can order multiple meals at the sit down restaurants, and even if you don’t— your server might do it for you!! We loved our server, hand-picked by our travel agent because of his great reviews. When I’d ask questions comparing dishes... he would just bring both! I think one night he may have brought the entire dessert menu to our table. But seriously y’all…you are going to be SO FULL at all times of day. I went back for THIRDS of my favorite meal, the blackened tilapia at Cookie’s Too on Castaway Cay.
Pictured here, 3 servings of tilapia (in my belly) and the airplane runway I ran down to burn off the calories.
Things I Would Do Differently Next time:
WTF…ish Extender. Outside your stateroom is a fish-shaped hook where the crew will leave relevant itinerary information. It has become a habit of cruisers to participate in gift exchanges by hanging containers (they look like shoe organizers) on these hooks…hence, Fish Extender. There are Facebook Groups organized by Cruise ship/sailing date (again, if you use our fabulous Disney Certified Travel Agent Deb, she’ll put you in one) and a lovely volunteer manages the gifting groups via a Google Doc. Since we were last minute cruisers I decided not to participate; but after seeing that you could join an adults-only exchange and trade really awesome looking creative gifts, I kind of want to do it next time.
Fish hook to the left. I was confused at first when I kept reading "Fish Hook" cause I pictured a hook that you catch fish on. Door decor provided by our wonderful travel agent, Deb at Mouse World Travel!
Relaxing? Spa Day. I read some really positive reviews about getting a day pass to use the saunas, Rainforest Room showers, hot tubs and heated lounge chairs in the Senses Day Spa. I was also excited about doing yoga classes. I would take a HARD PASS on both. It was a little too crowded for my taste (hey there, people conversing loudly in the sauna! What’s up, couple giving each other sensual massages in the hot tub!) and the showers were downright terrifying to me. Press a button, hold your breath, and get ATTACKED by different pressures and temperatures of water…not relaxing IMO. The yoga class unfortunately did not have it’s own dedicated space, and it wasn’t the greatest experience to be downward-dogging amidst the treadmills and stationery bikes. Next time I’ll stick with running on the track that circles the ship, and utilizing the in the locker room shower with spa body products available fo’ free.
DO ALL THE THINGS! Because I had every intention of laying by the pool getting a tan, and exhausted myself by watching all the Broadway style shows and eating a 7 course meal every night at dinner, I missed out on a lot of fun activities! They had classes on towel folding, trivia, gameshow nights…there were a LOT of options, many of them inclusive, and scheduled right through 11pm. One thing I did do (because I'm RunDisney fan) is the Castaway 5K. Am I crazy for working out on vacation? I mean, I get a free souvenir prize necklace just for doing physical activity? SIGN ME UP!
Pin this image to share with other Disney Cruise newbies, and if you're ready to cruise: send a message to my friend Deb and tell her Shauna sent you!