By David Platt, your Mouse Master specialist
I just returned from a magical five-night excursion aboard the Disney Wonder, and it got me thinking: if I could make a ‘top five’ list of Disney Cruise Line tips, what would they be? In no particular order, here they are:
#5: Take advantage of the activities for the kids Disney’s Oceaneer Club for kids 3-12. Edge for kids 11-14. Vibe for kids 14-17. What’s one thing they all have in common? They’re FREE. That’s right— drop your kids off as much as you want, be assured they’re going to have a great time, and enjoy some adults-only time. Have smaller fry? It’s a Small World Nursery is available for an additional fee.
#4: Don’t line up early for dinner
There are two seatings for dinner— Main (usually at 5:45 PM) and Second (usually at 8:15 PM). If you happen to walk by one of the three main restaurants 15-20 minutes before those times, you’ll be treated to massive lines of people waiting for it to open. I get it— it’s a natural inclination to want to be FIRST, and when you see a line of people, instinct tells you to queue up. Don’t. Your table is reserved; you’ll end up sitting in exactly the same spot no matter what time you arrive. Arrive right on time (or even better yet— five minutes late after the long line has been seated) and you’ll likely waltz right in and sit down.
#3: Splurge on adults-only dining
Depending on which ship you’re on, adults can take advantage of fine dining at either Remy or Palo for a small additional fee. It’s one of the only meals that you have to pay for onboard, but it’s totally worth it. Reservations can be hard to come by, so make your reservations as soon as your booking window opens up!
#2: Get on board early
After you’ve paid in full for your cruise and completed online check-in, you can select a port arrival time. Complete this step as soon as you can, and pick the earliest arrival time available. The sooner you get on board, the sooner you can take advantage of all that food that’s already paid for. Getting onboard early also increases your chances of getting any last-minute Palo or Remy reservations you might need. Want to get in some pool time when the pool is virtually empty? Wear your swimsuits underneath your clothes or carry them onboard with you in a daybag. Most people don’t think to carry swimsuits with them, so can’t hit the pool until after their luggage arrives at their stateroom later in the day.
#1: Book another cruise while you’re onboard
You’re almost certainly going to want to cruise with Disney Cruise Line again. If you book a future cruise while onboard, you get a 10% discount (in most cases— there are a few exceptions) and an onboard credit of at least $100. Not sure which cruise you want to take quite yet? You can put down a $250 ‘placeholder’ deposit that locks in those perks for up to two years. When you’re ready to book a cruise, call Disney Cruise Line or your travel agent and you’ll still get the discount and the onboard credit.
By David Platt, your Mouse Master specialist
When thinking about cruising on the Disney Cruise Line, most probably automatically think of Florida cruises—an overwhelming number of DCL cruises depart from either Miami or Port Canaveral, FL, traveling to the Caribbean or the Bahamas.
But for you West Coasters like me—did you know there are several DCL itineraries sailing from the West Coast? The Disney Wonder offers varied destination cruises from late spring through the fall. In 2017, for example, DCL departs from both Vancouver BC and San Diego.
Guests can sail on the magnificent Disney Wonder from Vancouver to stunning Alaska, on itineraries ranging from five to nine nights. You’ll sail through the majestic Tracy Arms Fjord, stopping at locations such as Ketchican, Skagway, and Juneau (ports of call vary by itinerary).
For something a little different, try cruising the California coast! DCL offers 4- or 5-day itineraries cruising from sunny San Diego to Vancouver, BC (or vice versa). Ports of call vary by itinerary, but may include Victoria BC and San Francisco. For big Disney fans, that San Francisco stop could be a perfect opportunity to pair a Disney cruise with a visit to the Walt Disney Family Museum.
If you’re looking for a sunny adventure, try one of the DCL itineraries travelling the Baja California peninsula departing from San Diego. Ranging in length from 2 to 7 nights, ports of call on these itineraries may include Ensenada, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas.
And then there’s the big kahuna of the DCL West Coast cruises: the 14-day Panama Canal cruise from San Diego. This repositioning cruise includes stops at Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta before traversing the Panama Canal. Other ports of call include Cartagena, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, before disembarking in Galveston, Texas.
With a stunning variety of destinations, Disney Cruise Line has destinations for almost everyone. From the sun-drenched Bahamas to the icy majesty of Alaska or the Norwegian Fjords, DCL is there to take you on the vacation of your dreams.
I'm delighted to bring you the debut of my new site, The Mouse Master. When you come here, you'll not only find the latest news about Disney Destinations, but you'll also find a great resource for planning your own vacations. Stay tuned for the latest news, specials, promotions, and commentary on Disney Destinations!
I'm David Platt, your Mouse Master Disney Destination specialist. I'm delighted to bring you the latest news on Disney Destinations.