Where do you start?

katyringo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 21, 2017
Hello!

We are looking into a Disney cruise possibly next year. We usually spend our vacation $$ on an over the top Disneyland trip. Thinking about doing something different.

I will admit it’s difficult to give up my beloved Disneyland for anything else so may be you can convince me.

I also have no idea on where to even start in planning a Disney Cruise. Type A here. Want to know and read about any and all available possibilities, activities, things to book in advance, things that cost extra, etc. Hit me with all your best resources.
 

Jess_S

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 14, 2015
My best resource is these boards. Also check the Disney Cruise Line Blog. I would start by checking the DCL website to get a sense of the cost of various itineraries and go from there. DCL is pretty inclusive for a cruise line. Big items that are not included are tips, alcohol and port adventures. Other places to spend extra are specialty dining, fancy coffee, mixology classes and spa. But other than tips, all of the extras are totally optional.
 

mmmears

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 30, 2005
Just a few thoughts...

- you don't need to do a type A plan for a Disney cruise (unless you are headed somewhere like Europe or Alaska or an island where you have a list of things you want to see and do).

- you could potentially combine a short visit to DL or WDW depending on which port you choose to sail out of, so you could still get some park time if that is important to you.

- DCL is really great, and this board is a good place to start. Also log onto the real DCL site and take a look at the different itineraries and see what interests you. I would start with figuring out where you want to go and how long you'd like to cruise (even just a rough idea will help), and then asking more questions.

- Like everything Disney there are lots of extras you can purchase, but unlike DL you can also have a great time without spending tons of money onboard since your room and dining are included in your cruise price.

- people will say you have to do this and that - if it's your first cruise don't try to do it all. Try to relax and take it all in. If you try to do it all you'll be running the whole time and you won't have time to enjoy the cruise. I know more than a few people who regretted overplanning their first couple of cruises.

- ask away. There are lots of people here to help.
 
  • Carrie in AZ

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2003
    How many people in your party and what are their ages? What does everyone like about DL - the resort, attractions, characters, restaurants?
     

    katyringo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 21, 2017
    How many people in your party and what are their ages? What does everyone like about DL - the resort, attractions, characters, restaurants?
    2 adults and a would be 7 and 3 year old.

    We love shows and characters. We always splurge on show packages and character meals at Disneyland. Or course we also love rides.. lol. We like “expirences” in the park like the band and dance parties and such. We also like food. When in the parks we usually have lots of dinning reservations- at least one a day during our trips.
     

    katyringo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 21, 2017
    That being said we don’t do fancy meals.. tastings and wine don’t appeal to us. We’ve never done the higher end places at Disneyland.
     

    Marc D

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2016
    Depending on your timeframe, I would either browse this forum or buy the Unofficial guide to Disney cruise Line. The second will give you a condensed look at what you can expect from a DCL cruise without having to gather all that information from different posts. I believe they just published the new 2019 version recently.
     
  • fredandkell

    I'd rather be cruising
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2013
    This forum is the best. Disney cruising is not like the parks. You don’t have to preplan every little thing. You honestly can just show up without planning anything and have a fantastic time. (I’m very type A as well but sometimes it’s nice to take a break from all the obsessing. To me, the best use of your planning is for the port days—deciding what you’re going to do.)
     

    cruisehopeful

    Wishing I was taking a nap on a ship.
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2015
    It's super different than a Disneyland trip. Which itinerary would you be considering? Or which starting port? There are short cruises out of San Diego, so you could combine that with a short Disneyland trip.
     

    GPaLarry

    Have earned one ear!
    Joined
    Jun 28, 2016
    You can find YouTube videos galore to help give you a virtual tour of each DCL ship and experiences. One key guide to what goes on aboard each ship is a Navigator newsletter that is given to you when signing in portside and each night on your bed. It has a calendar, hour by hour, of the next day's activities. Many are reprinted on DisBoards sites...check them out. However, as stated above, don't overplan. Let the magic come to you. The only basic planned required involves what can you afford, when can you get off work and where do you want to go first (once you do it chances are you'll be back). You will hear about decorating your door, fish extenders, Pirate Night, etc. Let your first cruise be your orientation to what is possible/available on the trip. Take notes for your next one. For now, just do the basics, meet the paperwork deadlines and prepare for more mouse fun. Best of luck!!
     

    CamColt

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 7, 2000
    I will agree with a lot of what has been said. These boards are a wealth of information, you don't need to go over the top with planning for a cruise like you do in the parks, and if you have any specific questions, feel free to start new threads when you need to ask them.
     
  • Cruise Diva

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2018
    DreamsUnlimited is a good place to start. They have webcasts/videos on planning a Disney Cruise and what to expect when on board.
     

    hcox31

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2014
    I have planned all of our cruises myself (#4 coming up). I always start with "what dates work with my schedule", then I go from there. Cruise booked, start watching flights (cause it can be very spendy from Canada), and then start thinking about what will happen between flight (how are we getting to port, where are we staying before hand?), then what happens after (how are we getting to the airport/hotel etc after the cruise? where are we staying?). By then our booking window will open up and then I can start to think of all the stuff onboard (bookable activities, port adventures etc). I did a LOT of reading between booking and sailing time, learning what I could about what can be booked etc. These boards helped a lot.
     

    dad of 3 addicted to DCL

    Waiting for January
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2017
    I started at the DCL website. It gives all the basics of a DCL vacation with descriptions of the ships, staterooms and most of the public areas. After that, the http://disneycruiselineblog.com/ gives all kinds of trip reports, reviews of the restaurants, excursions and whatnot. The boards (here) deep dive into various topics. Some of the discussions get a bit heated :rolleyes: but those of us who are DCL hooked (me!) feel strongly about our favorite vacation.

    The unofficial DCL book (find it on amazon) is a great resource as well. You can get extensive discussions about price fluctuation, ports, ships, food (fast and not-fast) and so on.

    I started at the official DCL site, the unofficial DCL book then the boards for details.

    Type A? Yeah, I can relate. I have a master spreadsheet to track payoff of the cruise (I use the Target Red card to purchase Disney gift cards to get 5% off), track the excursions, compare and contrast stateroom types... I do the planning to make our vacations happen, DW does the planning to make them awesome.

    If you and yours decide to do a DCL cruise, beware! It's addicting...:)
     

    CamColt

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 7, 2000
    DreamsUnlimited is a good place to start. They have webcasts/videos on planning a Disney Cruise and what to expect when on board.
    And if you book with them not only do you get an on board credit(free money!), but you get information and planning help as you wait for your cruise date to arrive.
     

    Carrie in AZ

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2003
    I think you’d really like a cruise! Sooo many opportunities for character interaction amd photos. Your kids may really enjoy spending time in the clubs and, if they do, you will be able to enjoy some adult time. We have loved cruising DCL. We just show up and let the fun begin!
     

    Riss

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 31, 2018
    When we went on our cruise my family did very little planning, like probably next to none. I was worried that we would end up missing something while we were on the ship but that wasn't the case at all! There's so much to do and so little that's needed to plan that it just felt like most things were taken care of for us. One big plus, I think, is part of the rotational dining, knowing that for the standard dining rooms you don't have to make a reservation. My parents had gone on previous cruises before where you had to reserve dinner every night in order to get a spot.

    I did do my research, to kind of know what to expect, but it was definitely a lot less itinerary and planning than our subsequent trip to WDW.

    One thing I did, that some have mentioned, is check out the DCL blog. I looked at past navigators for dates that we were interested in and just overall to get a feel about what type of things were offered on the ship and what I should expect. I also looked at this forum, checking out questions and responses, finding things that I wouldn't have even thought about. Videos were also a big help as it helped me get sort of familiar with the layout of the ships.
     

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    The biggest lesson to learn with cruises is "There is no way to do it all, so don't even try." The sooner you get that in your head, the easier it is to actually enjoy your cruise. :)
     

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