Alaska2011 437This second installment in a  five-part series features Disney Cruise Tips #3 and #4 so that you can fully enjoy a Disney Cruise vacation with your family.  This culmination of my best hints and ideas is from my  year-long tenure as the Disney Cruise Mom on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel where I dispensed advice to other Disney Cruise Line guests.  To get the complete list of top ten, stayed tuned here for the list which includes:

Part One: 1) Know Before You Go and 2) Pack Wisely
Part Two: 3) Brief the Kids and 4) Slow Down
Part Three: 5) Stay Organized and 6) Be Entertained
Part Four: 7) Maintain Your Health (and Weight) and 8) Get Educated
Part Five: 9) Explore Your Surroundings and 10) Hakuna Matata!

A voyage on a Disney ship is for the entire family from ages 12 weeks to great grandparents!  So, include everyone on the planning and make sure you take time to slow down and enjoy the entire experience – together as a family as well as individually.

  1. Brief The Kids.  Surprising the kids with a Disney Cruise is a fabulous idea, but if they’ve never cruised before, I actually suggest surprising them with a Character Call weeks or even months ahead of time.   You can schedule a character call through the online Planning Center once your Disney Cruise has been paid in full. A Disney Cruise is an extra special vacation, but it may be quite different from anything they’ve experienced before.  Some aspects of cruising can be somewhat intimidating to children, and you may need to brief them about the way things work on a cruise ship.  Allow them to explore the website and thumb through guidebooks you’ve purchased or borrowed.  Educate them on the ports of call you visit and explain cultural differences, if any.  Instruct the kids about safety onboard including what a muster drill is and what to do in case you are separated on the ship accidentally.  Explain the kids’ clubs to them and time spent there as well as with the family.  Make sure you acclimate the kids to their various spaces on Embarkation Day and introduce them to counselors as well as other kids.  The toddlers and the teens especially need to feel at ease with making friends in these areas without you.
  2. Slow Down.  You are not in a Disney park.  If you’re a Disney fan and have visited the parks many times, you may carry the “conquer it all” mindset over to Disney ships, too.  Don’t do it.  Slow down, relax and don’t succumb to the pressure to do and see it all on board or in the ports of call.  You’ll definitely want to read your Personal Navigator (newsletter/schedule) which is delivered to your stateroom each evening.  Yet, as The Lion King song says, “There is more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done.”  Relax and only do those things that interest you most, and then forget about the rest.  After all, if you book your next Disney cruise while currently at sea, you can save as much as ten percent and get onboard credits, too.