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Rough Seas Ahead: Coping with Inclement Weather on a Disney Cruise

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 04-04-2013

We love cruising, and particularly with Disney.

But there is one huge downside to the whole idea of cruising, and it's something you can't control. The weather you experience on your cruise can make or break your experience, so what's the best way to deal with it?

First, before you cruise, if you are prone to motion sickness, then make sure that you have a stockpile of medication that can help you. This may take some work beforehand to work out what's best for you. I've never forgotten going whale watching off Monterey in California, and popping a sea sickness tablet, and that was it -- I was completely knocked out by the thing, and barely saw any whales as I was so sleepy.

Learning from that, I ended up going to a pharmacist and managed to find some tablets that wouldn't make me drowsy. When we took the hydrofoil from Naples to Sorrento on the inaugural Mediterranean cruise back in 2007, we literally went up and down, with the waves in front of us higher than the boat. As you can imagine, many people didn't do well with this, and when I got off the boat, I could've kissed the pharmacist, as I managed not to be sick during this appalling experience.

At this point, it's worth saying that Disney are very good at adapting to bad weather. Following this shore excursion, when we got back to our room, we had been compensated for the hydrofoil problems, with a third of our shore excursion refunded to us, which was fair, as we were still able to visit Sorrento (albeit feeling not so great!) and Pompeii.

Disney also came to the rescue during our most recent cruise on the Fantasy in December. Our second port of call was San Juan in Puerto Rico, and when we arrived there, the first thing we noticed from our balcony was how ominous and dark the sky looked over the city. Sure enough, the heavens opened up a little while later, and we were booked on a walking tour. Crew Members held us in the Walt Disney Theatre for an extra 20 minutes in the hope that the rain, which was really a deluge, would clear away. In the end, the word came that we could set out on the tour, but it was still dripping down, so everyone was offered a free poncho as we headed off the ship, and I have to say we were immediately grateful for these, as otherwise we would’ve been soaked to the skin. I think it’s fair to say, that without this foresight from Disney, the tour would’ve been a complete disaster. Admittedly, with the rain, it wasn’t the most fun tour, but it could’ve been so much worse had Disney not helped us out.

There must’ve been something about us on that cruise, as we also experienced wild weather when we got to Castaway Cay. We could see that the wind was blowing when we arrived, by the movement of the palm trees, but it didn’t seem to be too bad, so we set out, heading for Serenity Bay. We had a couples’ cabana massage booked, and although we saw a little bit of rain beforehand, it was nothing to worry about. Imagine our shock when we suddenly started to get drenched during our massage, as a storm hit the island!

We quickly learned that, even with the windows of the cabana closed, it still wasn’t waterproof, as there’s a gap between the walls and the ceiling that allows water to get in. Again, the Cast Members were superb, and we were told to wrap ourselves up in the sheets and blanket on the massage beds, which we needed. Once we were fit to head out, they took us to their check-in kiosk, and allowed us to shelter in there while they stood outside, getting soaked. Again, without the additional layers, we would’ve been soaked to the skin as well.

Disney really came through for us in another way, too. We were only halfway through the massage when the rain hit, so they told us that we could have a massage on board the ship later in the day for no additional charge, which was superb customer service.

By the time we got back to the room, a new small Navigator had been printed up, and delivered, detailing all the additional on board activities that they were now putting on, because of the poor weather outside. Very few people were still on Castaway Cay, because of the rain and the intense wind. Despite that, we had a superb line-up of things to do on the ship, which helped to make up for the disappointment of not being able to spend longer on Castaway Cay.

Our sea sickness medication also came in handy later that night. Disney tends to be very good about warning you if they’re expecting bad weather at sea, as armed with that information, you can decide what to do. On a previous cruise, after hearing that it would be a rough night, we took the decision to abandon our regular dining room, and instead got counter service food, and headed to bed early.

Sadly, on this night, it wasn’t an option, as it was my 40th birthday, and we were booked in at Remy. Despite my medication, I could still feel the movement of the ship, and was feeling pretty ill by the time we got to dessert. It doesn’t help that Remy is at the aft, and on deck 12, where you feel the movement much more. Our server was a star, and got me outside to get some fresh air, and sat with me, got me a free drink, and then brought me in when I felt a bit better.

As with all our other experiences in bad weather, Disney really does come through when you need it most. It's certainly never fun when weather gets in the way of your enjoyment of a cruise, but I will say that you’re in safe hands with Disney, and they will do everything they can to minimise the impact on you.

About the Author: Cheryl is the author of the e-book, PassPorter's Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers, and is the co-author of PassPorter's Disney Vacation Club Guide: For Members and Members-To-Be. Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have travelled around the world, taking in a number of Disney cruises, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani in Hawai'i, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney and Hong Kong Disneyland on the way. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

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Updated 04-04-2013

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