First Time Cruiser Questions

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by lin7, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. lin7

    lin7 DIS Veteran

    Jun 12, 2008
    This will be our family first time cruising, quite a last minute trip as we are hoping to book the Fantasy for their March 2, 7 nights Western cruise, later this week. I have a few questions, I'm hoping to get answered

    1. How does customs work on a cruise? Do you go through customs like you do at the airport at every port you drop in? Do you do this when you are leaving the ship? I hate going through customs, for some reason even though I havent done anything wrong, I always feel so nervous lol. Can someone explain the process. Do you also go through customs when you come back to the States as well?

    2. What time is late and early dining? Can't seem to find that on their website?

    3. How come I dont see any details on the Disney site, when is formal wear night and so forth? Or Iam just blind? Can someone can me more info on what is expected for the nights concerning dress code?

    4. Silly question, but two of the ports is in Mexcio, but Mom loves anything Spicy, and would love to buy like dried spicy peppers? Is there some sort of market we can go to that you would recommend, and is this allowed back on the ship?

    5. How crowded will the ship be for the March 2 sailing? Is this peak or slow time for cruising?

    6. Any advice for a totally new first time cruiser?
  2. KateMW

    KateMW DIS Veteran

    Oct 7, 2009
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  4. jdb in AZ

    jdb in AZ It could end up curdled

    Feb 11, 2011
    Keep reading the DIS.

  5. STLEdge

    STLEdge Mouseketeer

    Jul 16, 2012
    The only time you go through "customs" is when you return to the United States at the end of the cruise. Our experience is that customs at the port is even less of a hassle than at airports - they typically just look at your passports and waive you through. You'll have to fill out a declaration form the night before disembarking, just like you would on an airplane.

    Disney doesn't post this as far as I know, but you can look around these boards to find the schedules for various cruises or use Google to find the "personal navigators" - these are daily schedules that are delivered to your stateroom each night advising the schedule of activities for the following day - many people upload their old ones to the internet, so if you can find navigators from a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise on the Fantasy, they will tell you which night is which. I just did this cruise in October, and I'm pretty sure formal night is night 2, the pirate party is night 5 (Cozumel), and semi-formal night is night 6, but take a look at the Navigators, they'll give you all kinds of information about what to expect.

    There are also tons of posts on these boards about dress codes and everyone has their own opinion about them. Bottom line - unless you're wearing something completely inappropriate, the dress codes aren't really enforced except in the adult dining areas.

    Relax. Take everything in. Don't try to do everything, it's impossible. You're going to have an amazing trip.
  6. lin7

    lin7 DIS Veteran

    Jun 12, 2008
    Thanks for the answers, appreciate it. I also have a couple other questions.

    1. We are a family of four, can we request seating for four? Is this common seating for four? And would I do that through my travel agent? Anyone recommend any good TA?

    2. If I book through a TA, do I book my excursion through the TA if I book Disney excursions, or do I have the ability to book them myself?

    3. Also, I have browse through pictures and seen stone crab claws for the cabanas lunch, is that still available?
  7. stargirl0716

    stargirl0716 Earning My Ears

    Aug 23, 2012
    You could always do what I do. This is our first disney cruise and my mom is sure that they have me pinned. I've called to ask many questions as they pop up. They already answered it for you but I did call to ask them what nights theme dinners were. You can get a good look at how things are if you look at the navigators too. I know they may change some, but can be informative. I intend on looking at the navigator for a trip that is sailing the exact number or days/destination...not sure if this helps any, I just felt the need to reply.

    -Disney Dork Adrienne
  8. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2003
    You go thru Customs any time you enter the US (and many other countries). You do not go thru Customs on the way into the terminal; you go thru security. This is similar to what you do at the airport, but more friendly and less undressing involved.

    When you get off the ship, you will claim your luggage in the terminal (unless doing on board airline check in)...get in line and when you get to the front of the line you'll hand your Customs declaration to the agent along with your documents (birth certificate + photo ID or a passport). Sometimes they look at the stuff, sometimes not. They have the right to inspect luggage, etc. but I've never seen this in port. We have had luggage inspected at airports (came back from London and the dude inspected my dirty laundry!) You'll get the Customs declaration form from DCL on the last full day of your cruise. It is simple to complete and there will be both written instructions and a talk on the TV in your room telling you how to do it.

    IF you have exceeded your Customs allowance, you'll be directed to another area to pay up!

    On most cruises, main seating is 5:45 and late is 8:15

    The schedule of what night is what will be in your stateroom when you board. I think it is in the documents you get from DCL as well.

    Anything in March and April will be as close to a full ship as possible--there is this thing called "spring break....." But don't worry. DCL always tries to fill ships. The real question is at what price they filled it.

    If you used a TA, you can still do all your own on line booking of spa, Palo, excursions, etc. Financial transactions and changes to your reservation need to go thru the TA. Yes, you can request a table for 4. Call your TA. I'm not permitted to recommend my TA on this site--sorry. There are many excellent agencies and agents out there. BE SURE that they are available when you are (9-5 M-F may not be what you want), and communicate the way you want (do you want to talk to a live person on the phone or is a text message or e-mail OK...or a combination). Make sure they have been on at least one of the ships themselves and have personally attended the training the DCL provides for agents.

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