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Old 12-16-2012, 09:42 AM   #1
DisneyHookedMe
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Thoughts from the returning first time cruiser

The following is the thoughts of a first time cruiser who just returned from a Disney cruise. Just thought I'd share some things I learned that might help you on your trip.

My cruise was out of Galveston and went to Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Costa Maya. It was my fiancee (we got engaged on the boat) and me. So here's some things I learned...

-Don't bust out your camera and try to photograph the baggage loading area. I got quite a rude awakening when I did that.

-The world of Disney begins when you get on the boat, not at the port. Meaning that the employees of the port don't have that Disney vibe that encouraged you to book the trip in the first place. Once you hit the front door of the ship, that's when the magic begins.

-If you have the means to travel around the port city, I highly recommend it. In our case, we rented a car in Houston and dropped it off at a rental car location in Galveston. This gave us the opportunity to see the port city, but also gave us an opportunity to drop by a local liquor store to get some adult juice. Also, find out what the local laws are on selling alcohol, in the case of Texas, they stop selling it at 9pm.

-In regards to alcohol, as you've likely heard Disney does not restrict you bringing it on board but it must be in your carry on bag. When you get on the boat, there may be some time before your room is ready so keep that in mind before you decide to pack up 18 bags of vodka.

-Try to find or start a facebook group for your trip and post a link to it, if allowed, on cruise forums. Kami and I really enjoyed getting to know the people before we got on the ship and we had a meetup on the first day followed by a few different events on the ship.

-So you're on the ship now...things will be very busy on the first day. You'll hear lots of announcements but the most important one is about the safety drill. It's mandatory, takes about 20 minutes and isn't a scary experience at all. They just tell you where you'll meet, how to use your life vest (you don't need to bring it) and some other safety precautions. After that, it's time to go into relax mode.

-On the first day, you will be asked over and over if you would like to have beer and water delivered to the room. One way to avoid thinking oh crud we didn't bring water or having to tow around a case of it is to buy a brita water bottle. Brita makes pitchers of course but they also make sport bottles. We found this saved us lots of money since we drink a lot of water. I think a 2 pack cost us around $15 but it was well worth the money.

-The tv selection is very limited and the good news is you'll be having so much fun you likely won't even turn it on for days. If you decide to watch tv, your choices are disney channel, disney xd, music by disney, movies from disney...you get the point.

-Port excursions can be done cheaper on your own but do come with some risk. I'd personally recommend planning an excursion through Disney on whatever day is your shortest time off the boat. In our case, that was our day in Costa Maya. The bus got back to the port right at the time the boat was scheduled to leave. If you book it through Disney, they hold the boat. If you don't, there's no guarantee that will happen. We found other excursions by searching review sites.

-If you have a picky eater in your group, your server staff is there for you and will work with you. I was amazed at the extra mile they went and never once made anyone feel bad about it.

-Palo is a wonderful experience and worth the money. That's where I proposed and the staff was amazing that day. Brunch might be a better choice if you have a picky eater in your party.

-The elevators are very very slow so plan on walking a lot of stairs.

-The best show, in our opinion, was Twice Charmed. The rest we skipped but watched some of them on the tv in our room, none of the rest of the shows appealed to us.

-If you might be doing laundry on the boat, the "Tide Pods" are awesome and easy to pack, but you probably don't want to get any until you get to the port city since airport security will likely insist you put them in your checked baggage. A small bottle of dishwashing soap is also handy for washing out any bottles you may have brought for booze or sodas.

-Cove Cafe is one of the best places to get a wifi connection but expect a very slow connection.

-If you get a photo with a disney character, there's usually staff wearing red shirts standing by. A professional photographer will take a photo, but you can also ask the cast member in red to use your camera. That saves you $$ since shutters is very expensive.

-If you have time, take The Art of the Theme tour. It's a great behind the scenes look into some of the elements that make up your Disney cruise.

-The pirates day is so much fun. If you don't want to dress up like a pirate, consider buying pirate tshirts online like we did. People loved them and it was a cheap way to be in the spirit. They'll give you a bandana but a lot of people dress up for this event. It's a fun evening.

-If you are a karaoke fan, good news and bad news. Karaoke is offered nightly. Adult karaoke on our cruise was only offered one night but it was the most fun I've ever had at karaoke. The other nights are referred to as superstar karaoke, that's for families and the song selection is more restricted.

-Snacks outside of the theaters do cost you so consider packing your own favorites or ordering cookies from room service.

So there's my tips, some I've sure you've heard, some you may not have. Hope this helps the fellow first timer. Have a great time. Disney does a great job of getting you hooked to the cruise experience. Sadly, it does come to an end.
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:51 AM   #2
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Thanks!
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:54 AM   #3
Camilo
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Thanks you so much for the tips and congrats on the engagement....

We will be doing our first Disney cruise on February 11th, 5 nights Western Caribeean out of Miami.

Could you please tell me where you got the T-shirts: Ebay?
Can you provide me the link if it was a good deal?
Thanks...
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:02 AM   #4
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Thanks for all the great tips and advice

Im sailing my first DCL cruise January 18th out of Galveston and really looking forward to it!! So exciting. Im a month from arriving in Galveston, staying 2 nights prior to the cruise


Also, I think you can get pirate tshirts right off the Disney site. And right now, they have been offering weekly deals, just had 20% off your purchase. Just search for 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. That's where I bought mine and my moms
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:09 AM   #5
DisneyHookedMe
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We bought our pirate shirts off of Zazzle. They have a huge selection. My fiancee got the pirate cat shirt and I have a pirate santa shirt. Disney does have some fun themed mouse ears on their website for pirate night.
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:35 AM   #6
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Thank you for posting-that was very helpful! Looking forward to our first cruise next June (hopefully first of many)!
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:53 AM   #7
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Great post. Thank you.
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:33 PM   #8
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My husband got a really cool Got Rum shirt off ebay he wore for pirates night.
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:14 PM   #9
DisneyHookedMe
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Few more tips I remembered...

-The Passporters book for the Disney Cruises is pretty helpful so it might be worth the investment. They sell both regular and Ebook versions.

-Expect it to take a day or two to get used to the rocking of the boat. It's subtle but you will still feel it. Dinner seemed to be when we felt it the most.

-If you jog or walk daily, there's a "track" that goes around the ship. On the Magic it's on deck 4.

-If you're planning on bringing alcohol on board, plan to have a drink it down party with the friends you meet on the boat because you likely won't drink it all in a week. I'd suggest not doing it on the very last night since you'll be busy packing.

-Best thing I did on day one was have my shirts for the week sent off the be pressed. It's pretty cheap to do, saves you a ton of time and makes it easy to get ready.
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:54 PM   #10
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Thank you for these wonderful tips!
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyHookedMe

-If you jog or walk daily, there's a "track" that goes around the ship. On the Magic it's on deck 4.
Good tip!
For you runners/walkers out there: It's 3 laps around for a mile. I've read of runners training for a marathon using the track. I'm not sure I could handle 60 times around the track. But you do what you have to do!
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:33 PM   #12
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Nice tips! I'm not even a first-timer, but I appreciated the reminder to get food from room service for various snack times (like going to the theater!!!) We didn't take advantage of room service nearly enough!
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:34 PM   #13
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YIKES!!! Just realized it's been 2 years since we cruised.... time to make some ressies!
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