Because the process can be daunting.
For me, as an invitee of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, booking a Disney cruise was a breeze.
They handled everything and I did nothing and my life was a breeze.
Just how I like it.
But, for those thinking about booking a Disney cruise for the first time on their own, there are a bunch of things you and your family might like to know.
Like, why I’m never taking another one for starters.
Don’t get me wrong.
It wasn’t bad.
Not by far.
It was magical and epic and beautiful and fun.
It was all of the things you’ve heard about Disney cruises plus more and I can see why families, from all over the world, choose Disney Cruise Lines for their vacation.
And I would too.
If it weren’t for my persistent motion sickness that really just wouldn’t let me be great.
And it wasn’t for lack of effort.
Yet and still, I found myself head first in the toilet at 1:30 am calling Earl and everyone else I could think of.
I’m just one of those people.
The sea is not for me.
Aside from that unfortunate body betrayal, I found the ship, the staff, the entertainment, and the food to be beyond delightful.
As did Dude 3 and Mimi.
I don’t have a point of reference, this being my first cruise and all, but if you’re thinking about booking a Disney cruise for your family, I’d strongly recommend you consider Disney Cruise Lines -they really do know how to make vacation magic.
Booking a Disney Cruise: 20 Things to Know About Your 1st Trip
It is Perfect for Families of All Ages
It is awesome for people with babies (not newborns, you have to be at least 6 months of age), toddlers, tweens, and teens. Mom and Dad will dig it, Grandma and Grandpa will dig it. You can take your whole family on the cruise, spend the day enjoying what you want to enjoy, and then meet up in the evening for dinner and shows. It is the perfect multi-generational family vacation option.
It’s All Inclusive
Except for alcohol. Unlike adventures to many all inclusive island resorts, cruise booze is on you. You have to purchase your wine, beer, and liquor and it’s not cheap. You’re allowed to BYOB though, up to a certain amount.
The Food is Delicious
I ate steak every night and it was cooked perfectly each time. I also had duck, salmon, shrimp, lobster, and all kinds of desserts. The breakfast buffet was slammin’. And, for the record, slammin’ is not a word I use loosely or often. In fact, it probably hasn’t come into play for me since at least late 1997.
It’s All You Can Eat
Even at sit down/order meals. I tested this theory in a variety of ways. I ordered extra potatoes with a meal, no problem. Dude 3 didn’t like his dinner one night so we traded it for something else, no problem. I couldn’t bring myself to not try all of the desserts on the menu, so I went ahead and ordered them all! NO PROBLEM!
Room Service is Included Too
You should tip your delivery dude, but other than that, order up.
If You Love Buffet’s, You Won’t Be Disappointed
As I mentioned, the breakfast buffet game was on point. Their after party buffet game was on point. The Castway Cay island buffet game was, you guessed it, on point! Every time they rolled out the delicious they did it right.
And They Can Handle Allergies Too
Our waiter asked us before our meal if there were any concerns. They also have plenty of vegetarian and gluten free options available, as well as lighter fare meals for those on weight loss plans.
It’s Basically Impossible to Be Hungry
Because even in between the regularly scheduled meals, they have options where you can just walk up and order. Pizza and a café and just so many options.
Your Tips Are Covered
Tipping is paid up front when you book your cruise and is given to servers and room staff when you leave. If you think they were spectacular you can totally give them more. And, note, tips for room service is not included so maybe bring some cash for that.
But You Won’t Need Cash for Anything Else
In fact, they don’t take it on the ship at all. Everything you purchase is charged to the card on your room. Pro tip: if you are staying with a friend or other adult family member, you can both add a card to the room to keep purchases separate.
You Have the Same Staff the Entire Trip
So they really get to know you -how you like your steak, how you take your coffee, if your kid hates broccoli but should be brought it anyway.
Think About the Timing
I’m a little torn on this one because we went in early February and we had a blast on our trip. It was nice to get away from the cold at home and the weather was super. But, the water was cold. Dude 3 said it was so cold it burned. Of course he wound up swimming, along with tons of other people. Only, not this person. I need the water to be refreshing compared to the air. Not the case in February.
But Price is a Factor as Well
The entire trip will be less expensive if you go in the off season. Basically, not in June or July and not around any holidays.
Think About Space
The rooms can be tight. Like turn-sideways-to-pass-each-other-in-places tight. But there was plenty of sleeping space and sitting space. Not that you spend much time in your room outside of sleeping. We had a stateroom with a veranda. We could go outside and look at the ocean. Not me, but the rest of the people who didn’t barf at the site of the sea.
But, Don’t Think You Won’t Get Seasick
You might not, but also, you may. If it is an issue you have struggled with in the past or think you may struggle with again, be proactive. Start treating seasickness before you even get on the ship. It could help. Also, I noted that I felt better when I was mid ship, inside. I had a terrible time in the restaurant that was all the way forward, top deck. Some people say you should book your room accordingly, I’m not sure it would’ve helped.
Everything is Super Clean
You know how viruses can spread on cruise ships and Disney does an amazing job of making sure that doesn’t happen. They require you to sanitize your hands before you enter an eating area. They have plenty of opportunities to wash and they have pretty strict policies for controlling illness among staff and guests.
Your Kids Will LOVE the Kid Centers
This I can say with confidence. Dude 3 is NOT a fan of these places. At all. He most often declines or rebels, with tears even. As soon as we boarded the ship, we took a tour of the facilities together and he agreed to give it a try. I had to pry him from the room for meals! The staff was fun, they played a ton of games, offered a ton of activities, and he made friends with other kids. From what I hear, the teens on the cruise enjoyed their areas as well.
And The On-Board Parties
We loved dancing on deck with the Disney characters and entertainment staff. Each night was a different theme/event and each was super fun. The pirate night was our favorite of course. And the fireworks! Disney Cruise Lines is the only cruise line that offers fireworks at sea!
There Are Plenty of Things to Do
Some people fear they will feel trapped or get bored on a cruise. Not likely. Each day you are provided with a full schedule of events and activities to partake in. You can swim at one of the many pools, run on the track, play games (foosball, basketball, and shuffle board were among our favorites), take a class, play trivia, play Bingo, watch shows, see first run movies in the multiple on board theaters, and dance the night away at a club. And, depending on your cruise length, you will disembark at least once, if not more, times so you may explore land locations as well. If you get bored, it’s because you don’t like fun.
Castaway Cay is An Added Bonus
If you’re cruising through the Bahamas, your itinerary will include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. It is a beautiful, resort-like destination offering water activities, beach time, island biking, and other recreational activities your entire family can enjoy. They have gift shops and restaurants on the island as well. You can book countless on-island activities before boarding or on the ship at the excursions desk when you board. Or, you can rent a bike and enjoy the island air and beautiful scenery from your bike seat. Some of these excursions, like the biking, are an added cost but there are plenty of things to do for free -like play on the beach, and play in the ocean, and shoot hoops by the sea. It’s kinda perfect.
Thinking about booking a Disney cruise?
These posts from other experienced Disney cruisers are the perfect way to help you plan.
To help you save some cash and make good choices: How to Save on a Disney Cruise
To make the most of your cruise: 15 VIP Tips for the Disney Wonder
Proof that you really won’t get bored on your cruise: 100 Things to Do on a Disney Cruise
For those with very young children: Disney Cruise Guide for Infants and Toddlers
An up close look at Disney’s Castaway Cay: A Tour of Disney’s Castaway Cay
The most helpful site of all is truly the Disney Cruise Line site. They are organized, informative, and the best place to get up to the minute information about cruising with your family.
Disclosure: I was invited to the annual Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I paid a discounted rate for my experience at Disney Parks and aboard the Disney Wonder. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.