Disney Cruises 101

If you’re planning the most magical cruise on the sea, there are a few things you’ll need to know. Follow our top Disney Cruise tips, and you can expect smooth sailing with your favorite Disney characters.

Get the Disney Cruise Planning Tools.

Both the vacation planning video and e-brochure provide an excellent overview of destinations, ships, restaurants, activities and more.

Cruise During the Off Season

Disney rarely offers discounts on cruises, so if you’re looking to save money, journey during the offseason. Generally, January, early February, May, September, and October draw fewer crowds which mean better prices. Also, watch for “last minute restricted fares.” Available when regularly priced cruises don’t fill up, these fares are typically released 1-2 months before the sailing date. If you’re flexible with planning “restricted” are a great option, but book as soon as you see them as they often sell out quickly.

Ask About “Secret” Verandah Rooms

Certain rooms on Disney ships offer a little more bang for your buck. While not officially classified as verandah rooms due to obstructed views, these staterooms do feature balconies. Ask your Disney Cruise agent about these staterooms; Disney’s Magic & Wonder rooms 6134, 6634, 7120 and 7620; Disney’s Dream & Fantasy rooms 8022, 8164, 8520, 8662. There are even “secret” connecting staterooms on all ships.  Folding back the dividing panel in these rooms connects the verandahs.  And, while there are no guarantees, you can always ask for an upgrade at the port when you check in.

Make Reservations In Advance

To ensure you get your preferred times and activities, book spa treatments, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, popular character breakfasts, babysitting, and the adult-only restaurants in advance. Don’t forget to register for the kid’s club online as well, but remember your cruise does need to be paid in full to take advantage of advanced reservations.

Download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App

Let the countdown begin. The newly redesigned app lets you access vacation information, send messages to your party once on the ship and even count down the days to your Disney Cruise with the built-in cruise countdown.

Stay in the Port City Before Your Cruise

Avoid any unforeseen delays and stress by arriving the day before your cruise and staying in a hotel near the port. This is also a great way to add on a few Disney days. Often less expensive than booking separately, combining park days with a Disney Cruise cuts down on costs. Ground transportation is available for an additional fee. Speak to your Disney cruise representative for details.

Request a Call from Mickey or Minnie

Get the kids excited about their upcoming cruise by requesting a call from their favorite characters. From the Disney cruise website, login to your reservation and just choose the date and time you want your child to receive the call.

Become A Castaway Club Member

Become a Castaway Club Member from the moment you sail on your first Disney Cruise. Silver membership begins with your first Disney Cruise.  Complete five cruises and become a Gold Member, while 10 or more Disney cruise vacations earn you Platinum status. Membership entitles you to exclusive offers, reservations for port adventures and dining, a dedicated Castaway Club phone line, welcome aboard gifts and much more.

Beverage Options

Soft drinks are available at meals and the beverage stations on each included at no extra charge. While Disney Cruise Lines does not offer daily alcoholic beverage packages, they do provide discounts for bottles of wine during dinner. If you do not finish the bottle, your server corks the wine for your meal the next evening.

Check Out Inside Tips For Your Next Disney Cruise

These tips should get you started on planning your Disney Cruise, but for even more great pointers, check out our post Tips For Your Next Disney Cruise.

The Best Pet–Friendly Cruises

If you’re looking to share a cruise with your furry friend, unfortunately, there aren’t many options. Currently, only Cunard Queen Mary II lets guests travel with their fur babies. The luxury liner is an excellent choice for transatlantic crossings and your pet will be pampered in the same way you are.

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Sail the transatlantic route (sailings between New York and Southampton) on Cunard’s Queen Mary II, and bring your four-legged pals along. Dogs and cats are welcome aboard the only true ocean liner at sea today. The luxury liner features gourmet restaurants, a blissfully invigorating spa, and a world of possibilities with onboard activities. Your furry friend will receive the same lavish attention. While your pet can’t cozy up in your cabin, the onboard kennels include a lamp post from Liverpool and fire hydrant from New York. Cunard attendants make sure your prized pooch or favorite feline is fed, walked and pampered with pet worthy amenities like treats and toys. No need to bring bowls and pet beds, unless of course, you chose too, as Cunard provides all your pet needs on their 6 or 7-night cruise. There’s even organized playtime and designated visiting hours to interact with your pal. The cruise line does recommend booking 12-18 months in advance, as the ship only takes 12 animals per sailing. So If you’d like to bring along your companion, book your trip early.

While Cunard’s Queen Mary II is the only actual cruise line to allow dogs and cats, many sightseeing cruises permit pets. Check out our round up of some pet-friendly sightseeing cruises.

Watermark Cruises: Baltimore & Annapolis, Maryland

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Not only are Watermark Cruises pet-friendly, but dogs ride free! As long as the pups are leashed and friendly, they can enjoy a cruise around the harbors as well!

Acadian: Bar Harbor, Maine

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Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Coastal Maine on Acadian’s pet-friendly boat tours. The company offers a variety of excursions from nature cruises to Tours of Somes Sound.

Dolphin & Snorkel Tours: Panama City, Florida

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With a focus on personal experiences, these tours offer everything from snorkeling excursions to dolphin tours and welcome your four-legged friends.

Monterey Bay Whale Watch: Monterey Bay, California

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The year-round whale watching tour boasts high success rates for whales and dolphin sightings and embraces your canine companion.

Key Largo Princess Glass Bottom Boat: Key Largo, Florida

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Not only are dogs welcome on this boat, but they are greeted with a bowl of water. Explore the underwater beauty of John Pennecamp State Park with your favorite four-legged friend.

Many other day cruises and tours welcome pets, so the next time you visit a city, be sure to look for pet-friendly options.

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