We recently went cruising on the Disney Dream for the second year in a row as part of the Castaway Cay Challenge. Now that we’ve done the 5 day, 4 night Caribbean cruise twice, I’ve got some tips to share. I wanted to share some helpful tips we didn’t find anywhere else but that could come in really handy. Keep in mind, we are two thirty-something adults traveling without children so these might not all apply to you if your travel party differs or has different needs. But no one told us this stuff before we went so use our learnings!
In no particular order:
- Decorate your door! You’ll notice people all over the ship decorate the doors to their cabins. Whether it’s balloons, signs, pictures etc. The doors are metal so you can use items that hang with magnets. We put up a dry erase board with markers and people left us fun messages!
- The beds in the state rooms are built high with lots of space underneath to store your luggage. The rooms can be tight, so take advantage of this smart design. Put your clothes in the drawers and stow those big bags away!
- Itemized bill. If you are traveling with a friend and plan to split the costs, make sure each person uses their room own room key for purchases. At the end of the trip, Disney gives you your bill itemized according to each person’s card spend so you can quickly so who owes what!
- Forget the ports! Ok you don’t have to do this, but there are benefits to staying on board the ship while everyone else gets off the boat in Nassau. Most importantly, the ship empties out so you have the place to yourself! No trouble finding empty lounge chairs, etc. So if you feel like staying on board, don’t feel guilty. It’s all you!
- Early bird specials: If you like to drink (like I do), get to the bars before noon for that bloody mary. Most drinks before noon are half priced. I had a bloody mary for under $4.00!
- Room Service breakfast. Why leave? They’ll bring any meal to your door and it’s all included. So order breakfast to your room and dine in! We had a balcony room so each morning, breakfast outside looking over the ocean was one of the trip highlights.
- Bring a tote bag. You’re going to be trekking around the ship. Bring a small tote bag to put items like your towel, a book to read, phone, headphones, sunblock in so you don’t have an armful when you’re going up to the deck. This will also come in handy when you get off the boat at Castaway Cay.
- Water. Order waters from room service at the beginning of the trip. If you order a bunch up front to last you the week, you’ll save money over ordering a couple as you go. Water is one of those items NOT included in the price of the cruise.
- Let’s face it, it’s tight quarters in the room with friends and family. And sometimes the bathroom has an odor that’s not necessarily caused by you! Boats sometimes have an odor. Or maybe it was you! This tip comes from a Delta Flight attendant that can be used anywhere. Crack open one of the coffee pods that you use in the coffee maker and place it in the bathroom. Coffee smell masks a lot of odors really well!
- Sign up for Gym classes early. The spin classes and other fitness classes tend to go quick. So generally try to sign up for slots on the first day! If you do get there too late, they’ll put you on a standby list. Spots usually open up as people celebrate a little more than they planned the night before their spin class.
- The cruise ship has outlets for both American plugs and European plugs. If you bring an international travel adaptor you’ll add capacity to your phone charging needs by using the other plug slots.
- Bring booze. Disney allows you to bring on a limited amount of alcohol. This can be a great savings. Check the Disney cruise website for current allowances. We were allowed two bottles of wine per person. If it’s wine you like, make sure you buy wine bottles that have twist off caps or be sure to bring a bottle opener! We were at WDW the weekend before the trip and we were able to find a couple of great bottles of wine in the France Pavilion at EPCOT for under $15.00.