You’ve booked your Disney Cruise Line voyage and paid in full! You’ve selected your shore excursions, gourmet dining, spa, and childcare extras! Now all you have to do is relax until you get your official Disney Cruise Line documents.
Approximately 45-30 days prior to your sailing, you will receive your official Disney Cruise Line documents in the regular mail. The official documents come in the form of a spiral-bound booklet, approximately 5” x 8”. If you have not received your cruise document booklet 30 days before your trip, notify your travel agent or Disney Cruise Line. DCL can be reached at (800) 951-3532, whenever you have a question or problem with your booking, calling here is your most likely first step.
Please note that if members of your sailing party live at different addresses, they will likely receive a spiral documentation booklet at each address. This will even happen if the only members of the party at a particular address are children, as may be the case with grandparents taking grandchildren on a cruise.
DO NOT THROW OUT YOUR DISNEY CRUISE LINE DOCUMENT BOOKLET. (Really, I mean it.)
BRING IT WITH YOU TO YOUR SAILING. (Yes, I mean this too.)
DO NOT PACK IT IN ANY CHECKED LUGGAGE. KEEP IT WITH YOU IN CARRY ON LUGGAGE ON YOUR WAY TO YOUR EMBARKATION PORT. (And you know I mean this part.)
WHAT’S IN THE DOCUMENT BOOKLET
Inside the front pocket of your documentation booklet, you’ll find two luggage tags for each member of your party. If the information on these tags is incorrect, or if you find you need more tags, call Disney Cruise Line as soon as possible.
Please refer to your personal documentation information about when to affix the Disney Cruise Line luggage tags to your bags. Depending on your pre-trip travel, the timing of your luggage tag application may vary. For example, if you have arranged with DCL for a transfer from a Walt Disney World resort to Port Canaveral, you will place the DCL tags on your bags at your WDW hotel. Other guests may be instructed to place their DCL tags on their bags just prior to arriving at their embarkation terminal.
Much of the pure informational content included in your official Disney Cruise Line documentation booklet can be found on the DCL website; however, some of it is unique. You should read the booklet soon after your receive it, checking it for accuracy and noting any “to do” items it sparks.
Again, if you encounter any errors in your documentation, alert your travel agent or DCL as soon as possible.
Your spiral-bound cruise document booklet includes:
- A Welcome Letter. Friendly, but unimportant.
- A Vacation Checklist. Things to do now, before leaving home, and at your embarkation port.
- Embarkation Information. Includes lists of required citizenship documentation. You’ll need or want a passport for most Disney cruises, but here’s a reminder about other personal identification that may be required. This section also notes your specific cruise boarding time. Pay attention to this and don’t be late; the ship will not wait for you.
- Vacation Summary. Most of this is a duplication of the “Reservation Summary” section of the Disney Cruise Line online Planning Center; however, it’s a good tool to double check that your information is accurate.
- Onboard Airline Check-In Information. Information on how to check-in for your post-cruise flight home.
- Gratuity Guidelines. Information on standard cruise gratuity levels for your stateroom attendant, dining room server, dining room assistant server, and your dining room head server. Gratuities can be prepaid via your onboard account.
- Ship Contact Information. This is emergency contact information to leave the folks at home. Guests at sea may be contacted by calling 1-888-DC-AT-SEA (1-888-322-8732) from a U.S. line or by calling 732-335-3281 from an international line. Satellite phone rates apply with substantial fees. Callers should know the sailing guest’s ship and stateroom number.
- Gifts and Amenities Form. This is a paper duplicate of the “In-Room Gifts and Shopping” section of the DCL website Planning Center. Use this form if you prefer to place an order via mail or fax rather than online.
- Disney Cruise Line Data Protection Notice. Boilerplate legal language about how DCL may use your personal information.
- Disney Cruise Line Contract and Contract Signature Form. This must be completed and brought with you to check-in at your embarkation port terminal. The Cruise Contract itself is several pages of dense legal verbiage. Much of the contract specifies the limits of the Cruise Line’s liability in the event of accident or injury. The document is fairly standard, but if you have concerns please seek the advice of counsel.
- Minor Authorization Form. This form must be completed for minors under age 18 traveling without their parent or legal guardian. This gives permission for the adult(s) in their traveling party to have temporary care of the child(ren) during the duration of the cruise. This document is meant to supplement, not substitute for a notarized document allowing the minor(s) to travel abroad without one or both parents.
- Embark-Departure Form. This form asks for information about your travel plans following your cruise (travel to WDW, travel to an airport, driving home, etc.), as well as requesting the name of an emergency contact. Much of this form is duplicative of information you may have provided during your online check-in process.
- Payment Authorization Form. This form asks you to link a credit card to your account for on board charging. You may also authorize or deauthorize charging privileges for specific members of your traveling party. This may be duplicative of information you provided during online check-in.
- Ground Transfer Purchase Option. Guests who would like to use Disney’s post-cruise ground transportation options (bus to WDW or bus to Orlando International) should arrange for this at least 14 days prior to sailing by calling 1-866-325-6685 or 407-566-7797 or via the Disney Cruise Line online Planning Center. However, there may be a limited number of ground transfers available for purchase at the time of embarkation. If you’d like to inquire about last minute ground transfer availability, use this form.
HERE’S WHAT REALLY NEEDS YOUR ATTENTION
Most guests will be fine ignoring the Welcome Letter, the Data Protection Notice, and probably the Gifts and Amenities Form. Pretty much everything else warrants at least a quick scan.
You should read the entire Cruise Contract, but you’ll probably just skim it.
You’ll closely read the Vacation Checklist, Embarkation Information, Vacation Summary, Gratuity Guidelines.
You’ll give a copy of the Ship Contact Information to a few folks at home (a close relative, the neighbor watching your house, your pet sitter, and caretakers for any infirm family members).
You’ll want to act upon the Onboard Airline check-in only if you’re flying directly from your disembarkation port to your home.
You’ll need to act upon the Minor Authorization form only if you’re traveling with a minor, but not both of his or her parents.
You’ll need to act upon the Payment Authorization Form if you’d like to link a credit card to your onboard account. This is not strictly necessary; you can settle your account with cash, travelers checks, or Disney gift cards, but a credit card makes things easier.
You’ll need to act upon the Embark-Departure form.
You’ll need to act upon the Ground Transfer Purchase Option if you’d like to use Disney transportation to get to Walt Disney World or to a local airport immediately following your cruise and you have not previously registered and paid for this service.
You’ll need to act upon the Contract Signature Form. Sign it and bring it to the embarkation port with you.
Ahoy voyagers! Do you find the Disney Cruise Documentation confusing or easy to deal with? Have your experiences been with the DCL Documentation been positive or negative? Let us know in the comments below.