Things you wish you knew before your first cruise?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by sjv919, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. sjv919

    sjv919 Mouseketeer

    Jul 24, 2012
    My gf and I just booked our first cruise, yay!! We're going for only 3 nights to the Bahamas in Feb 2014 (to see if we like it, I'm very afraid of ships and open water and demanded DCL if I was going to sail ANYWHERE) and I was curious of what you guys wish you would have known before your first cruise. DCL or any, really! Should be kinda fun and maybe I could learn some stuff :)
  2. tweis

    tweis DIS Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    Congrats! :thumbsup2

    1. I wish I had budgeted for a deposit to rebook onboard. If you rebook onboard you save 10% off current prices, pay a 10% deposit instead of 20% and you receive OBC based on the length of the cruise you book. 7 nights or more $200 OBC less than 7 $100.

    2. I wish I had booked with a TA that offered OBC for my first cruise.

    3. I wish my family would have slowed down a little bit instead of rushing around trying to do everything. You can't do everything so there is really no reason to try. We have a 7 night booked and I plan on loosening up a little bit and relaxing more.

    4. My husband and I just took a 3 night without our kids and had a blast. Sign up for mixology if your interested in that type of thing. We did and had so much fun.

    5. Start taking Bonine or another type of seasickness meds the day BEFORE you cruise. We got horribly sick on our last cruise so we will take preventative measures next time. ;)
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  4. CanuckTraveller

    CanuckTraveller Mouseketeer

    May 23, 2011
    I would suggest you approach cruising like any new experience. There will be things you love, things that don't suit you, and things that will disappoint. If you go in expecting to have a good time and to with the flow, you'll have a great experience.
    There are many opinions about whether to pack over-the-door organizers/pop up laundry bins/take anti nausea medication etc. Read them, take the advice with a grain of salt and remember the go with the flow rule! You can't have fun if you've packed your whole house, "just in case"! Fwiw we don't bring any special organizers, the anti nausea meds are packed but never used, and we try not to overplan, though we do have plans for what to do in every port.
    Enjoy your cruise!
  5. jrabbit

    jrabbit DIS Veteran

    Jun 13, 2002
    I wish I knew that they would start feeding us as soon as we boarded the ship:) really (this is a true story), on our first cruise (1999) - boarding time was to start at 1:00pm. to me that's "after lunch" so we went to a character breakfast/brunch at WDW (around 10:30) before heading to the ship - because we would not get any food onboard until dinner time :lmao::rotfl2::lmao:

    Seriously, I have a list of DON'Ts
    * People stress about the "perfect" dinning rotation. Don't sweat it - you will enjoy all of the dining rooms and you will be served and catered to to the best of DCL's ability.
    * Don't make a check list of all of the "magical" things that have happened to prior cruisers - that turns it into a "scavenger hunt" or worse - a check list. Go looking for specific's and you will be disappointed (because it's expected and therefor not "magical")
    * Contrary to what Cruise Director Jimmy says "If you see it, Eat It!" - don't try, you cant eat it all (I've tried and failed miserably)
    * Along the same line - You cannot DO IT ALL! don't try, you will run yourself ragged. BUT, sleep is for AFTER the cruise:) somehow try to balance those two conflicting "musts" out - good luck
    * Don't forget to relax and enjoy
    * Don't sweat the small stuff - everything usually works itself out
    * This won't be a perfect vacation (because that's life), so don't worry if some things go wrong
    * DCL does NOT control the weather
    * Don't get sunburned - the sun is most likely way more intense on the cruise (assuming Caribbean / Med) than where you are from. Use sunscreen - a sunburn can really put a damper on your vacation
    * Don't skip the shows (most are very, very good)
    * Don't over-pack - but you will need more clothes that you think

    Hope that gives you some good advice and have a great trip.
  6. gssmks

    gssmks Believing in Pixie Dust

    Jul 27, 2005
    That buffet restaurant where breakfast and lunch are served turns into a table service restaurant in the evenings. It offers selections from the other dinning rooms (not the full menus) and you do not have to go during your assigned seating time. And most importantly for my family, dinner took about 40 minutes instead of two hours. On our first cruise, we did not learn about this until the last night. On our second cruise, we did not eat one night in our assigned dining room.
  7. Plaid Princess

    Plaid Princess Recovering CM, Pilot in Training

    Jan 30, 2008
  8. sjv919

    sjv919 Mouseketeer

    Jul 24, 2012
    So happy I posted this! Getting a lot of awesome advice and info - yay!
  9. Fjobe

    Fjobe DIS Veteran

    Feb 2, 2011
    Our cruise was pretty wonderful, so there really wasn't a whole lot I "wish" I had known before. I guess the only 2 things I would have done differently are:

    1)Planned a 7 day cruise (4 nights was not long enough)

    2)I would have booked on board. I planned ahead to not book on board because I didn't want to do anything in the moment. I wanted to give myself a chance to reflect on the cruise and decide if it was worth repeating. Now that I know we want to go again, I really wish I would have saved ourselves some money by booking on the cruise.
  10. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

    Apr 17, 2010
    We love cruise director Jimmy. What a nice guy. Of my 5 cruises, he's the only one that we still talk about today. :thumbsup2

    OP--learn alot from the DIS but don't try to do everything people tell you. Just go with the flow and you should have a great time.
  11. yaddakal

    yaddakal DIS Veteran

    Jan 29, 2009
    The pool deck is hot, really hot! Never read this:(

    Rebook onboard... It's refundable so just do it.

    3 nights was too short but great to know we liked it !
  12. Aby

    Aby Obsessive and Compulsive

    Mar 29, 2009
    I knew this before my first cruise from lurking here....

    If you want a less cramped shower, you can use the changing room showers in the gym/spa area! I'm sure this would come in handy if you have a lot of people in your room too. They have a shampoo/conditioner/shower gel dispenser and lockers for your stuff. I never found it busy and used it every day (I never even set foot in our cabin's shower!)

  13. Lobofan5

    Lobofan5 Mouseketeer

    Sep 3, 2011
    GOOD ONE! My family is really tall and this sounds like a winner for us!

    I wish I went on our first cruise YEARS earlier than we finally did. I can' t imagine life without having a cruise to look forward to now!
  14. cmesq61

    cmesq61 DIS Veteran

    Oct 23, 2004
    Do you need a spa pass to use the showers or is it free?
  15. cris0809

    cris0809 Might be why the rum is always gone

    Apr 22, 2009
    Showers are in the "locker rooms" which are available to everyone. It's a place to go and store your stuff and get ready/clean if you use the gym. :thumbsup2
  16. DisneyNurse19

    DisneyNurse19 Mouseketeer

    Aug 24, 2012

    I agree with all this, after reading the boards i feel like i am starting to panic :scared1: Everyone is talking about requesting a particular server or dining rotation

    Why have i not asked for a specific Server or a specific Dining rotation before? :confused3 For one i never knew you could but really i have never had a problem with any of my servers or dining rooms, to me it would be another headache and disappointment if you didn't get what you requested :sad2: :cool1:

    One thing not to forget, your pirate costume! pirate:

    We also booked a 3 night cruise last year as my DS GF did not know if she was going to like it, she now wished she could have done a 'round the world' cruise with DCL :cool1:
  17. tinkertaylor05

    tinkertaylor05 DIS Veteran

    Mar 20, 2010
    Just wanted to say I also have a fear of the sea/open water, if I sit here now and start to think about it I can get in an almost state of panic .... everyone that knows this thought it ridiculous for me to do a cruise :rotfl: anyways I booked a whitewall verandah for that very reason if I needed air I could get it whilst not having to look directly at the sea :sick: you know i wasn't one bit bothered by it, sure if I stood there looking at the spray etc when we were moving but otherwise it was all beautiful so please don't stress about any of that like I did!

    100% agree with the budget for an onboard booking .... we made one I am so glad I was able to.

    Take stretchy pants .... just do it ..... I didn't think I would need them, I didn't even eat all day etc but after dinner how I wished I had some with me.
  18. epfootballcutie04

    epfootballcutie04 DiSnEy PrInCeSs

    Dec 23, 2005
    I've had the opportunity to go on a handful of Disney Cruises and here's my little list of things to keep in mind:

    *Do Make time for all the shows! You will have time to go to them no matter which dining time you have. Some of them I like more than others, but I've never left a show thinking "that was the worst hour (or so) that I'll never get back!"... :-)

    * It really doesn't matter what your dining rotation is. You will get to experience everything and on some cruise lengths, more than once. Don't worry about requesting a server... they *should* all be outstanding and if they aren't then that is why they have managers... don't be afraid to kindly address any concerns with a manager right away so they have appropriate time to fix your concern and take care of you!

    *for the ice cream stations on the pool deck, go to the soda machine and grab a big cup and fill THAT with ice cream instead of the little tiny cones they offer! Then go into the buffets and get fruit or other yummy goodies they may have as toppings!

    *If you can, wait till the ship is at a port to do the Aqua Duck, the lines are generally much shorter (not ALWAYS the case) or in my personal experience non existent while the ship is at castaway!

    * Bring something (pillow case, vinyalmation, photo matte, etc) to leave at guest services with a package of sharpies to have the characters sign it! My husband and I did this on the Dream. We are in our 20s and don't have any kids, but it was our favorite souvineer from the ship and best yet... it was FREE!

    * Palo Brunch is SO good! The chicken Parm was the best I had in any of the dining rooms and the dessert buffet was heavenly. WELL WORTH the 20 bucks per person to eat there in my opinion!! I can't speak for Palo Dinner since I haven't done that yet but I hear outstanding things about it.

    * Something to keep in mind, Disney Cast Members will do everything in their power to make your experience memorable and magical but please please please, don't ASK for "magical" things to happen. Should you note it on your reservation if you have something you are celebrating- definitely! But.... don't "expect" things to happen because of it. You will only get disappointed and it's not worth it! I used to work at Disney and I can't begin to tell you the number of times guests were upset because they "expected" magical moments. Do cast members do them, by all means YES! do they do them for every single guest? No. They wouldn't be extra special then :-) Think good vibes, smile and enjoy your vacation!!! You deserve it!!! And if something extra magical happens then boy, do you have an awesome story to tell those back home!

    * If you can, participate in a fish extender! They are a lot of fun!

    * Play Bingo, once! It's expensive, so if you can afford it play until your hearts content! It's fun if you like games and the cast members that work it are pretty funny most of the time :-)

    * Go to the adults only shows! They can be hysterical!

    * "Meet" people online before you sail! That way, you'll already know some people on the same sailing as you. You could link reservations and possibly sit with them at dinner like my husband and I did, or simply have a couple new friends to grab an after dinner cocktail with! Or hang out at the pools with, so on.

    * Remember to smile, your on vacation!

    * Don't forget sunscreen!!! I don't really burn that easily and I don't know what it is about Castaway, but I can apply sunscreen generously about every half hour and I burn to a CRISP every time I'm there. I just so happen to think Castaway is worth it lol but... seriously... don't take it for granted. Gob it on! A lot of it!

    * Speaking of Castaway, from what I hear, the earlier that you hit the island, the lower the tides will be... IDK how true this is but hubs and I hit the adult beach right when the ship docked and we could walk for QUITE a ways out into the ocean and the water was only up to our waist. A couple hours later, it had rose significantly. I'm sure a lot of factors go into this though... but something to maybe keep in mind.

    And finally.... I know "it's Disney" and people expect perfection and rightfully so... the cast does everything they can for everyone they can. Please remember so say please and thank you and flash them a sincere smile every now and then. Stop them and talk to them about how much fun you've been having, what your favorite thing has been so far, what you're looking forward to.... talk to them about where they are from, why they wanted to work for DCL... talk to them about their families.... doing this has been one of the most fun things for me!! You always hear that tipping is so important and that is VERY TRUE if you feel the service was worth it but when I was working at WDW, a simple guest smile would MAKE MY DAY! a simple "thank you!" would make me work even harder for the next guest and boy oh boy do those DCL cast work LONG hours and like EVERY day of the week!! Just keep that in mind and who knows, you could be the provider of a magical moment for a cast!

    ABOVE ALL ELSE... Have a WONDERFUL cruise:good vibes
  19. SoozCruise

    SoozCruise Earning My Ears

    Apr 22, 2013
    I wish we had booked our next cruise for sooner than a year from now. :)
  20. IrizarryandIsrel

    IrizarryandIsrel Earning My Ears

    Jun 22, 2013
    Thank you !! Great info !!

    Sent from my iPad using DISBoards
  21. IrizarryandIsrel

    IrizarryandIsrel Earning My Ears

    Jun 22, 2013

    Sent from my iPad using DISBoards

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