No matter how much research you’ve done while planning and booking your cruise when the embarkation day arrives it’s important not to fall victim to common cruise mistakes. Some of the most important things you need to know about your cruise involve embarkation day.
How do you know what you need to know if you don’t know what you don’t know? It’s easy really, because here are the first five things you need to know about the start of your Disney cruise.
- Pack a day bag-Keep anything you need access to from the check-in point until dinnertime on your person. Travel documents, medications, even a swimsuit and sunscreen if you want to hit the pool. Don’t over do it because anything you carry on you will be carrying with you until the staterooms are ready (approximately 1:30pm or later). There are no “bell services” desks to leave your bags with.
- Staterooms will not be ready when you board-Don’t assume that you’ll be able to head to your stateroom when you board and take a nap or a shower, etc. Keep in mind the several thousand passengers from the previous sailing have only been off the ship for a few hours by the time you get onboard. That leaves the staff very little time for “turnover” so be patient. Staterooms are usually ready by 1:30pm but that is always subject to change. The stateroom hallways will be roped off so don’t plan on sneaking in before everything is “show ready”.
- Luggage won’t be available until later-When you use Disney Resort’s Magical Express service your luggage “magically arrives in your room after you do”. The Cruise Line process is very much the same. You will tag your luggage at the port and hand it off to the porters and it will be delivered to your stateroom later in the day. Luggage is loaded in a constant cycle during the check-in process as everything has to be onboard before the sail away time. There are far more pieces of luggage than there are stateroom attendants and even less space to maneuver both of those things. The staff works incredibly hard to make sure everyone has their luggage by dinnertime, but the first night’s dining attire is always cruise casual, so you’re safe in whatever you’re wearing if your luggage comes late.
- Go to the Spa raffle-Check your Personal Navigator very closely and around the 3:00/3:30 time frame and you may notice the spa raffle listed. This is free to enter but does require you to be present to win (this is the only time you will see the words “free” and “spa” in the same sentence!) Stop into the spa at your convenience to fill out your raffle slip then set a phone alarm (or some sort of reminder) to return a few minutes before the time of the drawing. You will only have to the count of three to claim your prize if you are a winner so don’t be late! There are usually multiple prizes raffled off including a facial, several types of massage, ionothermie treatment and a men’s shave. Raffle attendees will also have the exclusive option to book a discounted spa treatment, usually some sort of “sampler” which is, in my opinion, the best spa option if you want that top-to-toe pampering.
- The safety drill is mandatory-before the ship sets sail there will be a mandatory safety drill. Note the word mandatory, meaning not optional. Your Key to the World Card will have a large black letter on the front of it, that is your assembly station. When you hear the notice for the drill, proceed toward the nearest Cast Member and ask them where to find your assembly station. Disney tries to make the safety drill brief and painless but regardless of your opinion on it or how many times you’ve cruised it’s not optional. All services on the ship will be shut down during that time so there will be no other options during that time anyway.
These five tips cover the important “getting onboard” aspect of your cruise. Check back for continuing posts on how to avoid the five biggest rookie cruising mistakes and learn how to cruise like a pro, even if you’re a first timer (don’t worry…we won’t tell!)
To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or for a free quote email Michele@PixieVacations.com or check out her other tips and tricks on her blog