We just got back from our very first Disney Cruise, my first cruise EVER. It was really one of the most amazing vacations we have ever taken. I have a series of posts that I am working on that will focus more on tips for your first cruise and Castaway Cay info but I thought first I would give a full trip report/review.
We went on the 3 Day Bahamian Cruise sailing from Port Canaveral on the Disney Dream. We spent a few days at Disney World before the cruise.
SIDE NOTE: If you plan on doing a land/sea vacation I can't recommend more doing the Disney days BEFORE your trip. Getting off the amazing Disney Dream and headed to Disney World will kind of feel like a let down. OH and take a tip from us and don't do a super late After Hours event the night before though. We were totally wiped out for the first night of the cruise. So Disney World days before not after, and make sure to take it easy the day before you get on the boat!
PREP WORK Do your online check in, have that form printed, filled out and with your important documents. Cameron and I don't have passports so we just used copies of our birth certificates and our drivers Licence. Make sure you don't pack these in the suitcase! Have all of you cruise documents easily accessible. Put your luggage tags on your bags!
FRIDAY We left Disney Wolrd around 9am to head to the Port. I am not going to go into super detail about the parking process if you are driving because it had already changed since our friends had gone last so I don't know how often that changes.
If you are driving yourselves from Disney World I will reccomend buying a sunpass. There are SO MANY TOLLS form Disney World to Port Canaveral I think it saved us like 20 min time having the sunpass.
Make sure the driver has their Passport/Birth Certificate and Drivers Licence in hand as you are pulling up. Cameron had to show it a few times before we even got into the port. Once you pull up, they will come to your car to get your bags. It will be a lot easier and smooth if you already have your bags tagged with the luggage tags they give you. Your bags will meet you in your room later that evening.
Overall the process of checking in was super simple. We arrived about 15 min after our scheduled check in time. Have all of your documents handy, you don't want to be the annoying person who has to dig through all of their bags to get their Passport out. They take your photo, and issue you your Key to the World Card (Keep this safe and handy! It's room key, light switch, how you charge things to your room, and how you get on/off the boat) and they also give you the Naviagator for the day. That basically tells you all that is going on. By the time we got through the line, and used the bathroom it was time to board!
Making your way to the boat, you walk through an area that looks a lot like an airline terminal and onto the beautiful BOAT. A cast member will ask your name and announce you as you walk into the main lobby. Be ready to be amazed!
Now you have some options, you will not be able to get into your room until 1:30pm. So depending on your boarding time going straight there probably won't be an option. We went right up to deck 11 and began eating at the buffet, Cabanas. Once we ate our weight in shrimp, we walked around for a bit. Before the boat departs it's considered open house. So adults are able to check out the kids areas which will be off limits for the rest of the cruise. The kids area is AMAZING and it's worth a walk though whether you have kids to register for the kids clubs or not.
We basically walked around and checked the ship out until it was time to head to our room. The pools are open, so if you wanted to you could wear your swimsuit onto the ship and jump right in.
Since the rooms opened at 1:30pm, a crowd starts to form by the stairs on your floor. I would reccomend chilling out somewhere else and giving it about 5 min to let the crowd get to their rooms. When you get to your room, enter using your Key to the World card and stick it in the little metal slot right inside the door because that's how you turn your lights on! The lights will not come on unless your key is in the slot.
We took the next hour or so to NAP. Like I mentioned before super late night at Magic Kingdom made us kind of sleepy for the first day of the cruise. We had an Inside Stateroom, and it was perfect for the two of us. I was nervous about it feeling small or claustrophobic but I didn't feel that way at all. The room and bathroom are very well thought out, and the virtual porthole gives you a window like feel.
Our Stateroom Host knocked on our door and introduced himself. Beware of feeling creeped out, everyone on the cruise will remember your name even the first time you meet them. Disney magic for you!
Around 3 our bags showed up at our door. At 3:45 everyone is asked/required to attend the safety drill at their emergency meeting location. We got ready for the safety drill, dinner and more exploring. It didn't take long at all, but you do have to wait for EVERYONE on the ship to get to their locations so one slow family may slow your drill down. Activities and entertainment start as soon as the safety drill is over.
We decided to really RELAX as much as we could on this cruise since we do the total opposite at Disney World. Because of that we took time to enjoy the sunset, walking around and the spa more than seeing all the shows and movies. So you really have to decide what kind of vacation you want because there is SO MUCH TO DO on the boat!
There is a Sailing Away party as the ship is leaving Port. I reccomend at least being on deck 11 or 12 for this because the music is super fun and the ship's horn plays Disney tunes. It's pretty magical. We had second dinner, so we decided to relax some more on the loungers on deck 4 to watch the sunset, then do some shop browsing before dinner at Royal Palace. (You could also use this time to go see the show for the night, or catch a movie)
After dinner I went back to the room to grab a sweater and we walked around (a very windy) deck 11 for a little bit before heading back to the room and going to sleep!
SATURDAY We decided to sleep in Saturday morning because we had an 11am brunch at Palo (on of the adult's only restaurants on the ship) We also decided to enjoy the ship that day and not get off the boat at Nassau. I would reccomend this if you are taking a short cruise like we were.
SIDE NOTE You have to make reservations for Palo, and it does cost extra. At the time of our sailing it was +$30 per person. I have to say it was well worth it, and one of the highlights of our trip.
I decided to go up to deck 11, where Cabannas and the drink stations are located to get up some fruit and coffee to hold us over until our brunch reservations. You can bring anything from the buffet or quick service locations back to your room, just ask for a lid.
Once I got back to the room we watched Good Morning America (you can watch select stations/shows/sporting events on a few channels on the TV but they also have tons of Disney movies to stream on demand) and got ready for our brunch at Palo.
Palo is a dining event basically. They want you to stay for hours and enjoy all the food. There is a cold buffet, and then hot entrees (both breakfast and lunch items) for you to order. You also get 1 mimosa or glass of wine included in your brunch.
It was unbelievably good, and we had a lovely view of the Bahamas while we ate.
After brunch we rolled ourselves back to our rooms. Meghan and I changed into swimsuits, and headed to use our Rainforest Room passes.
SIDE NOTE The Rainforest Room is apart of the Spa on board. Meghan purchased day passes for the two of us, less than $20 each. The pass gives you access to the Rainforest Room for an entire day, 8am - 10pm. The Rainforest Room is a series of sensory showers, with varying water pressure, lights and some aromatherapy and saunas. You also have access to some amazing hot bed loungers and jacuzzis overlooking the water. I HIGHLY RECCOMEND THIS.
Meghan and I stayed in the Rainforest Room for about 3 hours. Then we met Cameron and Corey on deck 11 to grab something to eat.
Cameron and I ended up heading back to the Rainforest Room together after we ate something, and we watched the ship sailing away from Nassau from the jacuzzis that overlook the water. It was perfect!
Again, we decided to relax in the Rainforest Room for a bit longer instead of going to a show or movie that night. Then to dinner at Animators Pallete and PIRATE NIGHT! Our stateroom host left some Mickey pirate bandanas on our bed, super cute!
So Pirate Night people go all out. You will see entire families dressed up. You will also see people not dressed up so don't feel bad if Pirate wear isn't your favorite. We had second dinner, so immediately following dinner we headed up to deck 12 to get ready for the fireworks!
We were in the PERFECT spot to catch some of the Jack Sparrow themed show before the fireworks started. If you are on deck 12, on the right side if you are facing the movie screen is where I would suggest you stand.
The fireworks were more amazing than I expected! Then the night continues with a Pirate dance party on deck 11 and I think some snacks at Cabannas as well (we were too full from dinner to check it out).
We headed back to the room to get some rest before Castaway Cay, Disney's private island.
The next morning we woke up and got ready for our day as Castaway Cay. We decided wear our swimsuits and get our beach bag ready so we could head straight off the ship after breakfast. After another amazing breakfast at Enchanted Garden we headed down just one floor to the gangway. You will need to make sure you have your Key to the World card, as you scan it as you are leaving and reboarding the ship.
I will go into more detail about Castaway Cay in a seperate post, but we had the best day. We spent most of the day on the adult beach, Serenity Bay. After lunch, a BBQ served on the island, we stayed on the family beach before heading in for the day. There are characters to meet and the water is just total perfection.
Once we got back on the boat, we decided it would be a good time to ride the Aqua Duck, the super fun waterslide. We waited for about 20 min in line, and it was so much fun we rode it twice. By that time it was getting late so we decided to get some coffee and head back to our room to get ready for dinner.
In our room that night was all the info about disembarking the ship the next morning. We had luggage tags (should you decide to have them take your bags off the boat for you), and since we prepaid for our tips we also had tiny envelopes and slips to give our head server, assistant server, server and stateroom host. We also had the survey to fill out, basically about your experience on the trip, and a place to mention anyone who made the trip even more magical.
Once I took care of all of that and we finished getting our sunburned selves ready for dinner Cameron and I did some shopping. Then we decided to watch the last sunset of our trip on the loungers that are located on deck 4. The water was so perfect, even the crew members were mentioning how it's NEVER like that.
We had our last dinner at Enchanted Garden. I distributed our tip envelopes, and we were so tired from the long day in the sun that we headed straight back to the room to pack up and get some sleep. We decided to take our own bags off the ship so we didn't have to give them to our stateroom host that night.
A benefit of having second dinner is that the morning you leave, you get to eat breakfast at 8am instead of 6am! It didn't take us long to back up everything and say goodbye to our beautiful room and we headed to breakfast. Once breakfast was over it was time to disembark.
You will need the same paperwork that you needed to board the ship, so make sure it's all handy! Once you are off the ship, you go straight into customs. One last check, and you are free to go. We were back at the car by 9am I believe. It was a pretty simple process.
Then just like that it was over! What an amazing trip, as always we can't wait to go back.