Tips to Make Sure Your Embarkation Day With Disney Cruise Line is Smooth Sailing
So you’ve decided to plan a Disney Cruise Line getaway! If it’s your first time cruising with Disney, you may be wondering what to expect when you arrive at the terminal and when you board your Disney ship. We here at MickeyBlog think that Embarkation Day can be one of the most exciting and action-packed days of your sailing. First, you get to see your magnificent ship for the first time as well as do everything from planning out the rest of your sailing, touring the ship or taking part in many first-day activities designed to get you off on the right foot. With that in mind, we’ve prepared a couple of tips and tricks to ensure that everything is tickety-boo on your check-in day!!
Before you Set Sail:
Complete the online check-in. Unlike a trip to the theme parks, Disney Cruise Line needs a lot of information from you before you board the ship. Fortunately, long lines at the Check-in counters can be eliminated for those that opt for the online check-in option. Checking in online provides you with a chance to address special dining requests, select arrival times, and even register your little ones for the Kid’s Club which on the first day can be pandemonium. Your window to check-in online varies by the date depending on how many times you’ve cruised before. For first time sailors, this is typically done 75 to 4 days before setting sail.
On the Day:
Arrive Early: I am a firm believer that it pays to check in for your cruise as early as possible. The earlier you board the ship that more you can really take advantage of your first day at sea. The first step is to pick an early arrival time when you complete your online check-in. The early bird catches the worm here as check-in slots fill up fast. Trying to set this up last-minute means you might be forced to check in later because earlier slots are booked.
Flying in on the Day?: For some families, it is a necessity to fly in on the day your cruise will embark. If this is the case you need to make sure that your flight arrives early. Disney Cruise Line Suggests that guests arrive at the airport no later than 11:00 am. This should give you a pretty safe window to get out to the cruise terminal even if your flight is delayed.
Back a Disney Cruise Line Carry-on – For embarkation day, I always suggest families put together a simple carry-on of items that it would be helpful to have on the day. For early boarders, thee may be a gap between when you board the ship and you are allowed into your stateroom. Make sure you’ve got a change of clothes for everyone, swimming costumes, mediations and anything else you might need while you wait!
It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask For an Upgrade – I say there’s nothing wrong with checking to see if upgrades are available on the day of your sailing. Especially if you arrive early and have some time to kill at the terminal. Be on the lookout for the Supervisor’s Desk where they should be able to assist you. I’ve had clients report that they’ve upgraded their stateroom category for deep discounts of up to 50% if there’s availability. However, guests should note that upgrades are never guaranteed nor should they be expected. But, if you’re looking for that extra little bit of pixie dust it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Once On Board:
Get Little Ones Check-in to the Kids Clubs – If you’ve already completed the online check-in process once on onboard, you can stop by the Check-In Desk at the Oceaneer’s Club to register your children for the fun kids club activities available on your ship. Kids will be given their bands and you’ll have a chance to ask questions on how the various clubs work. On embarkation day the kid’s clubs will also hold an open house which is a perfect time to pop by and get your little ones acclimated.
Sign Up for Port Adventures and OnBoard Activities – If you did not book your Port Adventures online at disneycruiseline.com, embarkation day is a great time to do this. Once on board be sure to pop by the Guest Services Desk as soon as possible to get meet and greet tickets, sign up for character breakfasts, tea time celebrations, beverage tastings and even the Castaway Cay 5K. Or if you haven’t signed up for port excursions you can also do this at the Port Adventure desk but this typically doesn’t open until after the ship has departed.
Go Character Hunting – If you board your Disney Cruise Ship early and have little ones in tow, then embarkation day is a great time to go character spotting. The ship will be filled with a rotating cast of familiar Disney faces. You’ll find everyone from Minnie and Donald to Mickey and Goofy. Depending on the time of year and the sailing you can also encounter friends from Marvel, Star Wars and more! Ship photographers will also be making the rounds which makes it a nice to start building your photo package. Looking for one character in particular? Be sure to check the Navigator App. Oh and the earlier in the day to meet characters the better. As the ships fill up so do the lines!
Talk a Walt Ship Tour – One of my family’s favorite things to do on embarkation day is to learn about all of the amazing features and amenities on board with one of the introductory walking tours. Check the Navigator App and you’ll usually find a couple of tour times taking place just after lunch. We can’t think of a better way to get acclimated.
Take a Dip – If you want to enjoy a relatively empty pool, embarkation day is the time to do it. It’s the perfect chance to take a ride or two on the amazing waterslides (without the crazy lines) or soak up the sun from one of the poolside lounge chairs. As the ship fills up the pool deck will become crowded. Early in the day is a perfect time for soaking up the sun and taking a swim.
Grab Lunch – The quick service dining locations on each of the ships serve up lunch buffets from the time you board. Bring those appetites and enjoy a nice relaxing meal with the dining rooms remain relatively empty. Earlier in the day, it is easy to find seating and you won’t typically have to wait in line. Eating early is also a great way to tide yourself over until dinner later that night.
We here at MickeyBlog want your embarkation day to run as smoothly as possible! But first, you need to book that cruise! Did you know Disney Cruise Line itineraries are currently available to book through until April of 2020? Fill out our form below to receive your FREE, no-obligation quote with MickeyTravels.
Why not consider working with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner? As an agent with MickeyTravels, I can help you with everything from finding your perfect sailing and stateroom to sharing tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your time at sea. Best of all my services are absolutely FREE! Contact me at 1.800.801.4025 via email at email@example.com or on Facebook and let’s get planning!
Images copyright Disney.