We just returned home from a fantastic 7-Night Disney Cruise on the Disney Fantasy. With so much planning that goes into cruising embarkation day is basically the crucial first step. The day will be a little hectic, so here are 10 tips for embarkation day.
1.) Make Sure You Have Your Passport/Confirmation On You
You don’t want to arrive at port without your identification and cruise documentation (we were asked for our cabin number and a confirmation). This is the first thing you will be asked for when you get to the port. They don’t even let you park without it, so have it ready and accessible to show when you pull up. You will need a passport for each member of your party. If you arrive on Disney transportation you will still need this once you get into the port, so make sure it is not packed in any luggage you are checking.
2.) Get To The Port Early But Be Prepared to Wait
We wanted to get on the ship as early as possible so we would have plenty of time to look around, get lunch and have our son nap before the Muster Drill. After arriving at the port around 10:30 am there were no lines to park and no lines to check in, but we did have to wait a bit until we were called to board the ship. We didn’t get on board until closer to 12:00 pm and we had a very hungry family by then but got to leisurely enter the ship with no crowds.
3.) Bring Essentials in Your Carry On But Pack Light
The cabins are not ready until at least 1:30 pm, so pack accordingly, but lightly. You will have to carry around whatever you bring on board. You must bring on any wine or beer and with Disney Cruises, you can bring on two bottles of wine or 6 beers per adult per port. We weren’t going to bring a stroller but brought one on since we didn’t want to carry everything and our son until the room was ready. Having the stroller saved us! If your kids are older and beyond stroller age, you may want to give everyone a backpack. You may want a change of clothes if you plan to head to the pool, any valuables, and any essentials that you may need in case it takes a while to get your luggage.
4.) Know What is Allowed Through Security
There are certain things you cannot bring on board, so make sure you check the rules and regulations and don’t attempt to bring something you cannot. You will hold up the line and security is pretty serious. We had milk for our baby and I had checked with Disney Cruise Line that it was allowed before bringing it. Once we got to security they wouldn’t allow it, so even if you check the rules and then get stopped, just be polite and follow what they say. It was annoying to throw out our son’s milk, but it wasn’t the end of the world.
5.) Eat in the Restaurant, not Buffet
Right after we got on board we asked where lunch was being served and headed straight for Animators Palate. The restaurant was basically empty and it was the perfect start to our cruise! Once we left lunch and headed to check out the top deck before our room was ready and the buffet was PACKED. We were very glad we got to eat without any crowds and had a nice sit-down meal. We also found the food in the sit-down restaurants generally better than the buffet.
6.) Be Ready for the Muster Drill
There is a mandatory safety drill for everyone on board the ship that happens around 4:00 pm before you set sail. If you have a napper as we do then you want to make sure the nap is happening during that time, as there is very loud noise to announce the drill and you cannot miss it. They will come to find you. If you don’t have a napper just be ready to stop whatever you are doing and go to the drill at that time.
7.) Don’t Miss the Sail Away Party
The sail away party is very cute and very fun! You really don’t want to miss it. The show is adorable and the kids have fun dancing. It’s your first chance to get into the Disney Cruise mood and they include fun things to do on the ship and about the ports you are going to visit, so really why not go!
8.) Make Any Changes You Need To
On the day you board, if you need to request a change or look into additional reservations guest services, port adventures desk, the spa and restaurants can help. It will make the rest of your cruise more relaxing if you get that out of the way as early as you can. Plus they save some last minute reservations to book onboard so if you wanted a spot at Palo, Remy or the character breakfast now is your chance to try to get it.
9.) Check Out and Check In At the Kids Clubs
The kids need to be signed up for the kids club, but you also need to pick up their bands that will allow them to be checked in and out, so go ahead and do this the first day. The kid’s clubs will offer open houses throughout the cruise, but the longest hours are on the first day. It is a perfect opportunity for parents to check out the club and see what the kids will be doing, meet the staff and play together before adults aren’t allowed in. The Open House hours was one of our favorite things to go to on the ship.
The Disney Cruise staterooms are full of storage and if you unpack your suitcases you will have so much more room to enjoy your cabin while being able to find things easily. There is plenty of space in the closets, drawers, bathrooms and even a little cubby inside the coffee table. After you’ve unpacked there is space under the bed to store your luggage.
This goes without saying, but do the activities, go to dinner, check out the ship and have fun. There is so much to do on a Disney Cruise and embarkation day is really the craziest but a very exciting day! Take all the photos and enjoy those memories!
Have you gone a Disney Cruise? Do you have any tips for embarkation day? We’d love to hear what you would add to our list in the comments!
If you want to see the full recap of our embarkation day on Disney Cruise Line check out our vlog here!