I must say that I had very high expectations for our Disney cruise. For the amount of money that we spent, I was hoping to feel the Disney Magic that I keep hearing people feel at the parks. Disney does go above and beyond to make you feel welcome and appreciated. As soon your family steps foot on board they have a welcoming group that announce your name (over the intercom) and welcome you with clapping staff members lined up on either side of you. They are very organized with their boarding process and we didn’t seem to wait in line for too long to get on the ship.
Here are a few tips prior to boarding to save you time later.
⁃ Sign your kids up for the Kids Club
⁃ Add any gift cards you may have to your account prior to boarding
⁃ Double check your dining time, if yours doesn’t suit you, be prepared to line up outside the Royal Palace around 12:45 to meet with restaurant managers (doors open at 1pm) to change your dinner time. This is first come first serve. I got there around 12:50 and was 2nd in line. They accommodated us and even put us with friends that just happened to be cruising as well. You’ll need your friends room # to make this happen if you have a similar situation.
Once we boarded, we went right up to the 11th floor & got the kids changed into their suits. We found a few chairs, parked our bags that we carried on and the kids immediately started playing in the pool & the Finding Nemo splash park area. While I went to change our dining time my husband and the kids got in line for the Aqua Duck water slide that goes around the perimeter of the boat. They had a blast.
Here are a few tips once you have boarded.
⁃ use The navigator app to see what shows are happening or any other activities you & your children may want to participate in. We downloaded this before we boarded since we knew we’d be busy once we got on the ship.
⁃ If you want to just swim and enjoy the Aqua deck & pool I would head up there right away (11th floor) and find seats near the pool. These fill up quickly and very few are shaded if you’re not quite ready to bake in the sun.
– Get some lunch. Cabana’s has a buffet with a lot to choose from. The kids got pizza and chicken tenders and we got some crab and salad.
Shortly after that we had to get ready for dinner. Our first night we ate in the Enchanted Garden, this was our favorite meal of the 3 night cruise. We both got the sea bass & risotto for the main entree, our friends had scallops and my stepdaughter ordered the adult pork tenderloin meal. All were delicious. We asked them to serve the kids first since the entire meal typically takes 2 hours. Once the kids were finished my friend and I brought them to the kids club. They spent a couple hours there, so this gave us time to finish dinner and head up to The Cove adult bar for a little bit until we got the page that the kids were ready to be picked up. They all came out happy with some items they made while there.
We stayed on the ship in Nassau, the kids didn’t want to get off since they knew we would be off the entire next day at Castaway Cay. They hung at the kids club for a cooking class and a Lightning McQueen build your own race car event. Other than that we hung by the pool. Played shuffleboard on the 4th deck. We also played mini golf which is on the 12th floor. The kids did nap the 2nd day since we knew it was going to be a late night if we wanted to see the amazing fireworks. It was also Pirate night and the fireworks didn’t start until 10:30pm. After dinner and before the Pirate festivities we did go see Villains vs Heroes and it was wonderful. I was very impressed with the talent.
Castaway Cay was our favorite part of the trip! You can sign up for a free 5k the morning we get to Castaway Cay, they even give out great medals for those that finish.
I got up early & went down to the departure doors before they were even opened so I could grab us a few chairs on the beach. My husband and the kids met me after they ate breakfast. They do offer a tram, but I walked along with another (overachiever) and we were the first ones to get the chairs we wanted. The tram makes a couple stops so definitely takes a bit longer, but the route I would go with kids in tow. The first beach is very nice, but doesn’t have easy access to the water park (pictured a few pics below) and the kids enjoyed that. Also, if you have any children 5 or under be sure to grab a vest because they are required for the water park & the smaller sizes go quickly. My son is 4yrs, 49″ and 47lbs and fit into the smallest size perfectly. They have the Disney version of Mount Rushmore, which was cute & fun for the kids. We signed up for bike rentals & a snorkeling excursion (for our 11yr old & my husband) ahead of time. Since they went snorkeling I bought my son some of the cute beach toys they had. The hammocks were amazing and surprisingly not always occupied.
All in all it was a lot of fun. Our kids didn’t care too much about visiting with the characters so I am not sure if another cruise would have suited us just as well, but I am definitely happy we marked this off of our bucket list. Disney does go above and beyond to make you feel welcome. I also was a big fan of them giving sanitizing wipes anytime you enter an area serving food. Every section of the boat I was on was impeccably clean.
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