Preparing For Your Disney Cruise: A Disney Feature -
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |  

Preparing For Your Disney Cruise: A Disney Feature

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Message Board Guide (Moderator)
Last modified 3/1/2007 > Articles > Disney Cruise Line > Planning  

We all know that planning is the key to an enjoyable Disney vacation, and that doesn't just apply to the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, the Disneyland Resort in California, or even Disneyland Paris. The same approach also works for the Disney Cruise Line, as anyone who's cruised with them before already knows.

If you haven't cruised with Disney before, then you're definitely missing out! Imagine all the Disney magic you've experienced at the parks and then transfer it to a luxurious cruise ship, where you're stuffed with food throughout your time on board, can enjoy top quality shows every night and a myriad of activities throughout the day and evening, and you get the idea. But wait -- even better, nearly every day is a new destination to sail into and enjoy!

However, with all these options on board, it can make for a daunting time in the planning stages. Having gone through it before our first Disney cruise -- a three night Bahamas itinerary just to get our "feet wet" as it were! -- and now again, as we prepare for our 11-night cruise around the Mediterranean, we've learned that there are simple ways to make planning your perfect Disney cruise easy.

Firstly, think about any previous experiences you've had on the water. Are you a good sailor or does it take you a while to get your sea legs? If you're in any doubt about your ability to enjoy a cruise, then opt for a shorter time at sea to see how you fare. That was our logic, as I knew that sea sickness was a real possibility for me and I wasn't sure how I'd like being unable to escape on to dry land. In the event, although we both experienced problems on the first night, we were fine after that and the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder are so big that you feel as if you've got a small country to explore, without worrying about not being able to get off the ship while it's sailing!

Your choice of cruise may also be based on the ports being visited. That was certainly the case with us, as we'd talked for a long time about visiting Pompeii and Florence in Italy, so when Disney announced their Mediterranean cruise itinerary and both were included, along with stops in the south of France, Sicily and Sardinia, it was clear we were meant to be on one of those cruises.

Once you decide which cruise appeals to you and you've made your booking, the first thing you need to do is check that passport. U.S. Passport laws are changing and chances are you will need a passport no matter which itinerary you choose. For the most recent requirements, visit the U.S. Department of State web site. As a British citizen, it's perhaps more important for me to have a passport to travel around, but it certainly opens up the whole world to you and it's proved to be a great investment for us.

If you've not got a passport or your current one is close to expiring, then you need to get working on the replacement as quickly as possible. I had a close call with mine, after realizing that I would need it for a day trip to Paris in mid January, but also then remembering that I had to renew it prior to our cruise in May. Plenty of time you say? Not when the Disney Cruise Lines asks you to supply your passport numbers 75 days before your cruise. For me, that worked out to early March. Fortunately, my passport was safely back in my hands by early February, but it was a worry I could've done without and it just goes to show how easy it is to forget about checking your passport well ahead of your travel dates.

It's also a good idea to acquaint yourself with the Disney Cruise Line web site. Armed with your reservation number, suddenly the "My Disney Cruise" section of the website will open up a whole new world to you, where you check your reservation details, check-in online and book things like shore excursions, spa treatments, dining at the adults only restaurant Palo or children's activities.

You'll also be able to view prices, so you'll know how much to save up, as these various areas make up the majority of your expenditure on board and they can quickly mount up, especially if you're on an 11-night cruise, as we've discovered! Now we know exactly how much we need to save to enjoy ourselves on board, we can make sure we save enough money beforehand.

It's worth knowing on exactly which date and at what time you can make these bookings, as the online allocation tends to disappear quickly. Concierge guests and guests who have booked the Romance At Sea package can book activities, spa treatments, child care and Palo reservations online 105 days prior to their cruise, Castaway Club members (previous Disney cruisers) can book 90 days prior, and everyone else can book 75 days prior to their cruises. Mark your calendars and plan to be online at 12:00 a.m. pacific time/3:00 a.m. eastern time to secure your choice of times.

Before your booking window opens for all these activities, now is the time to learn more about what is offered and there's no better way to do that than by reading PassPorter's Field Guide to the Disney Cruise Line. It will prove to be an invaluable resource as you plan your trip. You won't believe how much information this guide contains about your Disney cruise. When I first got a copy, my jaw dropped to the floor as I found out about the best times of the year to cruise, the different categories of stateroom, when and how you can book your shore excursions, the restaurants and activities on board, and the various ports of call. Once you've done your background reading, then you're ready to make your bookings either online or during your first couple of hours on board. Check your PassPorter also for information on guidelines regarding dress codes and packing lists to help you get organized!

If you haven't yet booked a flight to go with your cruise, then now's the time to look into that. We played a waiting game for about two months, before we lucked out and found suitably low fares from London to Barcelona. In hindsight, we should've looked at the airline websites before we made our cruise booking to see how expensive flights would be. We'd forgotten that we were due to fly out at the start of school holidays in the UK, which of course forced flight prices upwards.

Generally, a good rule of thumb is to book a flight that gets in the day before you're due to cruise. At least then if the worst happens and your flight is delayed or even worse, cancelled for some reason, then you don't have to worry about missing your ship. Although our cruise to the Med doesn't leave until Saturday evening, we weren't taking any chances, with our flight arriving on Friday lunchtime, leaving us time to enjoy Barcelona before we set sail. On the way back, the same thing applies. Be realistic about your flight time. Once the ship docks, you need to disembark and then get to the airport, get checked in and clear security, so be sure to leave plenty of time for all those things.

Now, you're all set. Happy cruising and don't forget to say hi to Mickey from me!

About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

Recent Disney Cruise Line Articles:
Top Ten Favorite Adult Experiences Onboard Disney Cruise Line - A Disney Cruise Line Review last updated 08-13-2015
Cruising with Special Needs - Part 2: Wheelchairs - A Disney Cruise Line Planning Article last updated 07-30-2015
Cruising with Special Needs - Part 1: Autism - A Disney Cruise Line Planning Article last updated 07-23-2015
Our First Four Night Cruise on the Disney Dream - A Disney Cruise Line Review last updated 07-09-2015
Make Your Magical Memories - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 06-25-2015

More Related Links:

Disney + Disabilities = Magic! - Enjoying Disney World with Disabilities last updated 11/07/2008
Saving Money for Disney - Tips and Tricks last updated 2/25/2011
Baby Steps - Six Sanity Savers For Baby's First Trip to Walt Disney World last updated 3/7/2011
Disney Dreaming - Book Excerpt from PassPorter's Walt Disney World last updated 1/16/2009
Walt Disney World for Veteran Visitors - Finding New Things To Do last updated 1/16/2009

Reader Comments:

View all comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)

Updated 3/1/2007 - Article #311 

Read additional articles from

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  



We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2015
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


RSS Test PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Planning Your Disney Cruise Voyage
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Get onboard and share your plans and ask your questions about sailing the high seas on the Disney Cruise Line! Forum sponsored by

Tell me about the cabana at Castaway
by ferrazalves
26 Aug 2015 at 4:05pm
Hi! We're booked for December sail from Miami, and we managed to book a Cabana at family beach for our party. What do we expect there? Is it worth...
(click title above to view replies)

Have you left your kiddos in the children's area after 8pm?
by maggie101
24 Aug 2015 at 11:08am
My kids are asking me questions that I cannot answer... We will be on the Dream 3 night. We are traveling with our children and our grandchildren...
(click title above to view replies)

still a Pirate Night on 3 day Dream cruise with Halloween?
by LLP14
20 Aug 2015 at 9:46pm
We will be on the Dream September 25 for a 3 night cruise, and just got our invitation and encouragement to dress up for Halloween activities. Do...
(click title above to view replies)

door organizers
by mrsbruhaha
19 Aug 2015 at 3:46pm
i tried searching for a per-existing thread about this but couldn't find one. i know they no longer allow the over the door hanging organizers, but...
(click title above to view replies)

Dream Deck 7 Aft - detective agency noisy??
by minnie2013
18 Aug 2015 at 3:00pm
Hello! We are booked in stateroom 7660 on the Dream. I recently read someone comment that the Midship Detective Agency has a location near...
(click title above to view replies)

Total Visits: 10843

PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
News & Updates
Message Boards
Concierge Desk
Books & E-Books
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.