cruise2This week marks a milestone for me as far as travel goes – my very first cruise! I will be joining other Traveling Mom bloggers aboard the new Disney cruise ship – the Fantasy, for a 3-day press cruise. It’ll be part work, part educational, part networking – and a whole lot of fun.

So what have I done to prepare? Well, the first thing I did was to check for any and all relevant posts here on TMOM to see what I’m in for and what I need to know. And I found some great information about why cruise safety drills are so important, how safety is a priority for Disney Cruise Lines, how to plan your days at sea when on a Disney cruise, and even took a virtual tour of a one-bedroom concierge suite on the Disney Wonder and a stateroom aboard the Disney Dream, sister ship to the new Fantasy (this tour includes some helpful packing tips from our very own Disney TravelingMom!).

Passport laws have changed since September 11, 2001 – and I did some research on what I would need when traveling in the Bahamas, and whether a passport or a passport card would be required. Then I shared what I learned as I applied for and received my very first US passport.

One thing I wish that I would have learned about earlier is the Disney Cruise Planning DVD that you can get for free – it has a lot of great information about dining options, video tours, and more.  But I did learn a lot and get some very helpful advice from everyone who attended the #TMOMDisney Twitter party on March 12th. Some of my favorite tips included:

  • PSI Bands as an option to help combat seasickness – since all TMOMs on our cruise are getting one, I feel much better about any nausea worries!
  • Packing a power strip to make sure I can keep all of my electronics fully charged while on board.
  • Don’t over pack – apparently cruise ships have washing machines. Who knew? 😉
  • Internet access will be limited or non-existent during most of the cruise so must remember to turn off devices to save on battery power and enjoy being unplugged for a while!
  • International cell rates kick in a few miles off shore from the Florida coast, so will turn off phones or cell service to avoid added charges or add an international calling plan to stay connected.
  • Board early so that will have plenty of time to enjoy the ship on the first day of the cruise.
  • The daily personal navigator will show up in my stateroom every night and outline everything going on aboard the ship the next day.

Now that the cruise is just days away, I’m frantically packing and checking to make sure that I have everything I’ll need. Like an umbrella (just in case), sunscreen, sunglasses, sandals, and all the essentials. And I’m keeping my eyes open for any extra pirate gear that we might have around the house that I can bring for Pirate Night. Aarrrgghhh!

So is there anything that I’m missing? What are your best tips for a cruise newbie? Please share!

Deb is Traveling Mom’s Social Media Manager and writes as West Michigan TravelingMom, as well as at Just a mom’s take on things…. You can also find her on Twitter – she’s @DebMomOf3