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Old 12-03-2012, 09:58 AM   #1
Lizzyanne1
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Tips for a First time Disney Cruiser

We are setting sail on our first Disney cruise in January. I would love any must see/do tips for while we are on ship. Let me know your tips, secrets, or ideas to make it extra special. My kids are 6, 4, and 2. Thanks!!
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:18 AM   #2
kandasmom70
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Talking Just finished our 1st cruise

We just came back from our first cruise ever, aboard the Disney Fantasy. My girls are 9 & 7 and had the best time ever. The older one liked it more than going to Disney because there is less walking. LOL We did the 7 day Western Caribbean with 4 ports (Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Castaway Cay). We booked beach adventures on the 2 Mexico stops, but if we return we won't be doing that again. Most people leave the ship, so the pools are empty. At the first port, my kids enjoyed having the pool/slide/water play areas all to themselves; as well as no line for the Aqua Duck water coaster. You are at the Disney island all day long & 1 day at the beach would have been plenty. Plus, depending on your ports of call, it will probably be too cold to swim. The water was chilly for us during the last week of November. Make sure you take advantage of the Oceaneer's Club/Lab & the Nursery on board. They have activities running all day/night long to keep them busy. My kids would just walk themselves down & check in for the day. Also, we did the 2nd seating dinner (8:15pm) which was recommended to me. You & the kids can catch the earlier 6:15pm shows on board before having dinner. That way, in case they are tired-they wont fall asleep during the 8:15pm show. My kids were up until after midnight every day & slept in late because we kept the curtain closed to the porthole. You won't need beach towels-Disney provides towels on deck @ the pools & if you go ashore to swim. You also don't need to pack a hair dryer. The one in the room is great. Every day you get your "Personal Navagator" paper that lists out the times for everything on board the ship-movies, the dining times (breakfast, lunch), all of the Character Appearances, etc. Bring a few resuable cups to save yourself trips up to the deck for drinks. All of your coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks & Hi-C lemonade are free; but running up to the pool every time someone is thirsty gets old. (Also, room service is available 24/7 & free of charge for the food.. but a drink will cost you extra) Yes, they have disposable cups.. but they are only like 12 oz. I took 2 containers to keep water in the fridge in our room. The doors in the room are magnetic, so we brought a dry erase board with us to leave notes to each other. You will see people with magnets decorating the outside of their cabin doors. If you have any pirate-themed items for the kids (& yourselves) bring them for Pirate Night. Disney will provide you will cute bandanas for your head, but there are people would were really decked out. It was really windy up on deck, so pack something warm. There is self serve washers/dryers on board. It costs $1 for a one time use box of Tide & then $2 for the washer & $2 for the dryer. But that is worth it by saving on the amount of clothes you pack. I can guarantee that you will have a wonderful time. We all did & hope to go back again soon.

Last edited by kandasmom70; 12-03-2012 at 11:21 AM. Reason: forgot something
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizzyanne1 View Post
We are setting sail on our first Disney cruise in January. I would love any must see/do tips for while we are on ship. Let me know your tips, secrets, or ideas to make it extra special. My kids are 6, 4, and 2. Thanks!!
What ship? What Ports? It makes a difference.

From PC, you can order gift baskets/buckets/etc. for the kids custom made to your specifications from The Perfect Gift. Shirley will work with you to have exactly what you want and they will be in the cabin when you arrive. However, you can also accomplish much the same thing by making a trip to the dollar store or Target and picking up some inexpensive "pixie dust" items to leave on pillows or whatever. If you have a birthday, tooth loss, or other occasion, go to GS and they will give you a little envelope with Mickey shaped confetti that you can use as you choose.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizzyanne1
We are setting sail on our first Disney cruise in January. I would love any must see/do tips for while we are on ship. Let me know your tips, secrets, or ideas to make it extra special. My kids are 6, 4, and 2. Thanks!!
Just came off our first on Saturday! Skip Costa Maya! Enjoy the ship! Wish we had done that! Absolutely use the kids club even if you have to force the kids in! I did that with my 6 yr old a couple of times and every time she came out LOVING it!
We did late dining(8:15)at the advice of my TA. Great decision! Kids club comes to the entrance of each dining room around 9:15 to pick the kids up. So no bored kids as you enjoy dinner!
We did the Fury Catamaran snorkel and beach break in Cozumel. It was awesome! Not sure about ages for that one as far as the 4 and 2 yr old...meaning not sure if they can just ride along wo snorkeling. ???

Find the cruise meet page here on Dis and get involved in an FE(fish extender gift exchange)...amazing!!!
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:12 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lizzyanne1 View Post
We are setting sail on our first Disney cruise in January. I would love any must see/do tips for while we are on ship. Let me know your tips, secrets, or ideas to make it extra special. My kids are 6, 4, and 2. Thanks!!
Just a few generic tips independent of what ship you are on.

1) First and foremost, don't try to do to much. Rushing around and trying to do everything just takes away from the fun of the cruise. They will give you a schedule for the next day the night before. It is delivered to your room by your host during your dinner service. Take a look at it and pick out those things you want to do most.

2) Take a look at the Meet thread for your cruise. It is a good way to meet others on your cruise and participate in the Fish Extender exchange if you are inclined to.

3) DCL goes above and beyond (in most cases) in the customer service area. If there is something you don't like, let them know and see if they can fix it. For example, if your kids would rather have something off the adult menu, just ask.. if you would like two appetizers..

4) Take a look at the excursions prior to the cruise and try to book one if it interests you. As the PP mentioned, most passengers do go on cruises and unless you plan on going on the same cruise again, I would really recommend you at least try to see the sights. However, don't rush to do too many excursions, (refer to rule 1)

5) Get to dinner on time. You will probably be seated with another family of your like demographic. The servers don't start serving the table until both families are there. So try not to be late and make the other family wait.

6) Water (in bottles) is expensive on the ship. If you drink alot of it, some people take bottles in their carryon. It must be in your carryon though.. not allowed in checked luggage.

7) Some people do bring the MEGA cups (7-11 style) to fill up on the drinks. The disposable cups are on the small side and make for multiple trips to the drink stations.

8) Remember to make a budget. While most things are included, those things that aren't can add up quickly (gratuities, excursions, photos, alcohol, etc)

9) If you are on the newer ships, check out the aquaduck, midship detective agency, goofy golf etc.

10) Above all, have fun and refer to rule #1.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:07 AM   #6
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9) If you are on the newer ships, check out the aquaduck, midship detective agency, goofy golf etc.
Second this - the Midship Detective Agency is actually a great way for you and your family to learn your way around the ship - we did that the afternoon we got on our first cruise before the lifeboat drill and were very glad we did - the nomenclature on the boat can be confusing but you can quickly learn what things are aft, which are forward, and which are midship and which elevators or stairs are the right ones to take when going various places.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:43 AM   #7
Lizzyanne1
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Love all this!! We are on the Magic out of Galveston on January 12. What about autographs?
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:02 AM   #8
bmer1rick
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Love all this!! We are on the Magic out of Galveston on January 12. What about autographs?
There will be plenty of opportunities to get pictures and autographs from all the characters on board (and Mickey and Minnie sometimes make appearances at the port--not sure of Galveston though). You can pickup at autograph book before the cruise or on board.

Also, many DS'ers bring a pillowcase, picture frame or vinyalmation. You can drop it off at GS as you board the ship and it will be delivered to your stateroom on the last night. If you search the site for character signatures you will find alot of info...

Here is one.. http://www.disboards.com/showthread....cter+signature
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by bmer1rick
There will be plenty of opportunities to get pictures and autographs from all the characters on board (and Mickey and Minnie sometimes make appearances at the port--not sure of Galveston though). You can pickup at autograph book before the cruise or on board.

Also, many DS'ers bring a pillowcase, picture frame or vinyalmation. You can drop it off at GS as you board the ship and it will be delivered to your stateroom on the last night. If you search the site for character signatures you will find alot of info...

Here is one.. http://www.disboards.com/showthread....cter+signature
Mickey and Minnie showed in port in Galveston.
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:58 AM   #10
kcashner
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Love all this!! We are on the Magic out of Galveston on January 12. What about autographs?
Tons of time for autographs and photos. Keep your camera handy--the character attendants are happy to take some pics with your camera, which saves a whole lot of money over the Shutters pics.

We love the Magic. She doesn't have all the glitter and glitz of the new ships, but she is a grand lady. Remember that you can have dinner in Topsiders if you want something a bit more quiet or at a time other than your scheduled dinner (not available first or last night). If you go to Palo, ask for Andrea from Croatia (call a day ahead and they'll arrange it for you if she's not on vacation). Go to all the shows. For a quiet spot during the day, the "not so secret" deck 7 aft rules. Unfortunately, they had to lock it at night....

I don't know which of my fav servers will be on the ship....sorry.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:00 PM   #11
TDluvsDaisy
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My food tips are:
*Order room service. They have some yummy items! We always order the All Hands on Deck when we get to our stateroom on the first day. Great snack while you unpack.

*If you want something but it's not on the menu, ask anyway. My DD and DH saw coconut shrimp on a plate outside of a stateroom halfway through our 7 night cruise (it wasn't on any menu). They talked about it for the next 2 days. Then they decided to mention it to our head server. The next night we had 2 big plates of coconut shrimp waiting for us. We finished them all. The next and last night we had 3 big plates waiting for us. Our head server just smiled and said "If you want something, anything, that is not on the menu just ask. We will do our best to get it for you."

Yeah. We will remember that.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:03 PM   #12
MomofStitchandLewis
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Also planning a first Disney cruise...

My boys are 9 & 10. We are sailing on the Dream from Port Canaveral for a 3 day to the Bahamas. What specifically can anyone recommend for this type of trip? (Besides bringing water bottles & using the Kids Club which we will definitely do - thanks! )
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:41 PM   #13
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My boys are 9 & 10. We are sailing on the Dream from Port Canaveral for a 3 day to the Bahamas. What specifically can anyone recommend for this type of trip? (Besides bringing water bottles & using the Kids Club which we will definitely do - thanks! )
My son was definitely bored on Nassau. We should have stayed on the ship. I didn't consider paying to go to Atlantis cause it just wasn't my thing.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:53 PM   #14
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One more thing about the budget, if you're a control freak like me. I give myself a certain amount of money per day to spend, usually 200.00, and put aside daily envelopes in cash (actually I'm old fashioned and use traveler's checks) marked accordingly. I put these in the safe. Then each day, you usually walk by Guest Services desk at least once, at that time I zero out our balance and pay up. I couldn't stand it if we had a nice big bill on the last day. It's just a little thing, but helpful to keep it in check
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:35 PM   #15
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My boys are 9 & 10. We are sailing on the Dream from Port Canaveral for a 3 day to the Bahamas. What specifically can anyone recommend for this type of trip? (Besides bringing water bottles & using the Kids Club which we will definitely do - thanks! )
A few things.. I have a DS10 also.

1) the Aquaduck
2) Midship Detective Agency
3) Goofy Golf
4) Play some of the kids (or Family games): Mirror, Mirror; etc.
5) Pickup a copy of this book and do the hunts.. http://www.intrepidtraveler.com/hmsea2/
6) Participate in the FE .. My son loved handing out the gifts and getting the gifts also.
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