Disney Cruise Line

The 10 Steps of Online Check-In for Your Disney Cruise

by on August 19, 2015

You’re going on a Disney Cruise!  Woohoo!  I am often asked what you need to do to get ready for your cruise.  Well one of the big things is your online check-in!  Checking in online is important for a few reasons.  It will save you time at the port once you arrive, it gives you a chance to make sure all of your information is in the system correctly so there won’t be any problems when you arrive, it’s a chance to address any special needs you may have, and you’ll get to pick an arrival time at the port!

Online check-in opens on different dates depending on your Castaway Club level and the category you are sailing in.  If you are a Platinum level Castaway Club member, meaning you have sailed more than 10 times, or if you are sailing concierge, you can check-in online at midnight, 120 days before you sail.  If you are a Gold level Castaway Club member, meaning you have sailed more than 5 times, you can check-in online 105 days before you sail.  If you’ve sailed at least once you are a Silver level Castaway Club member and can check in online 90 days before sailing.  Everyone else can check in 75 days before you sail.  It will be available online until 4 days before you sail.

Pro-tip – You do NOT have to be paid in full to check in online.  In order to book excursions, adult restaurants, etc. when your booking window opens, you must be paid in full.  That is not the case for checking-in online.  You can do that at midnight when your booking window opens, regardless of whether you are paid in full.

Here is a step by step description of online check-in, so you will know exactly what to expect!

1. Retrieve Reservation – Your very first step will be going to DisneyCruise.com and retrieving your reservation. At the top of the screen on the far right, you will see a tab called Planning Center. Hover over it with your mouse and you will see My Reservations.  Click on it.  You can click on the Online Check-In as well to login and retrieve your reservation, but if you click on My Reservations you can do it all on the same screen.

Retry

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When “book early” saves money on a Disney cruise – and when it doesn’t

by on August 18, 2015

The conventional wisdom for getting the lowest price on a cruise is to book as early as possible.  But is that advice really true for all destinations? After all, there’s enough competition in the cruise industry to make a 4-night Bahamas cruise almost a commodity, but less competition for extended Alaska and Mediterranean cruises.

To answer this question for the Disney Cruise Line, we gathered more than 5 million prices from DCL’s website over the past two years, for every combination of family size, stateroom category, ship, and cruise. (Yes, that’s a lot of data. Try it out yourself on our DCL Fare Tracker page.)

To simplify this discussion, we’ll looked at the prices for 2 adult/2 child families in Disney’s Deluxe Family Ocean View Stateroom with Verandah staterooms, for sailings in July and August 2015 as follows:

  • 4-Night Bahamas cruises on the Dream
  • 7-Night Alaska cruises on the Wonder
  • 7-Night Western Caribbean cruises on the Fantasy
  • 7-Night Mediterranean cruises on the Magic

Disney charges different prices for its Deluxe Family Ocean View Staterooms with Verandah (DFOVSV); staterooms on higher decks usually cost more than the same room on a lower deck. In the charts below, we show the price trends for the highest- and lowest-priced staterooms in that category, along with the average price of all DFOVSVs on all decks. We’re using a 20-day rolling average for the prices, to smooth out tiny variations in price over time.

For Bahamas cruises, “book early” is a great strategy, as shown in the chart below. Our typical family would save about 13% – over $600 – by booking 8 months in advance or more, versus booking 90 days out. And because the price goes  up consistently the closer you get to the cruise date, it’s always cheaper to book this kind of cruise as soon as you can. And that’s true regardless of whether you’re booking a stateroom on a high deck or a lower one.

4N-Dream-Bahamas-Jul2015

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Disney Cruise Line Updates Alcohol Policy

by on August 17, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Ahoy there. If you’re cruising on Disney Cruise Line September 30 or later, you should be aware of a new alcohol policy for guests wishing to BYOB. Thanks to Tammy Whiting for being on Twitter this morning and catching this while we slept in.

The previous policy was very generous, allowing guests to bring in whatever they could hold in a carry on bag. The new policy is more strict and more in line with other cruise line policies:

Disney Cruise Line Alcohol Policy

  • Each Guest 21 years and older may bring two bottles of unopened wine or champagne (no larger than 750ml) or six beers (no larger than 12oz) onboard in carry-on luggage at the beginning of the voyage and at each port-of-call.
  • All alcoholic beverages packed in checked luggage will be removed and stored until the completion of the cruise.
  • Wine or champagne in excess of the two allowable bottles or beer in excess of the six beers will be stored and Guests may retrieve them at the end of the voyage.
  • All liquors and spirits (including powdered alcohol) are prohibited and will be stored until the completion of the cruise.
  • Guests must retrieve any stored alcohol at the end of the cruise. Uncollected alcohol will be destroyed and no compensation will be offered.
  • Alcohol brought on board may not be consumed in any lounge or public area.
  • Effective Sept. 30, 2015, the corkage fee charged to Guests who bring their own wine or champagne into one of our restaurants will be $25 per bottle.

The Disney Cruise Line Terms & Conditions page has been updated to reflect these changes.

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10 Steps of Embarkation Morning for Your Disney Cruise

by on August 5, 2015

Embarkation day for your Disney Cruise is here! The day you’ve been waiting for and counting down to forever!! Are you feeling overwhelmed and excited?  If it’s your first time, you may be. You may want to know every step of what’s about to happen. Well I’m here to help!  You’re supposed to be relaxing: and for me, knowing what’s coming helps with that. So here’s what’s going to happen the morning of your Disney Cruise embarkation, step by step! All before you even eat lunch!

Disney Fantasy Inaugural 1 089

Port Canaveral, Florida

1. Arrive – That’s right, get there! But when? That’s the question.

When you checked in online, you picked a port arrival time. Don’t worry, you don’t have to time your arrival so you are pulling up exactly within that tiny window of time. When Disney started asking guests to pick port arrival times, they were dealing with the larger number of passengers on the new ships resulting in a much more crowded terminal in Port Canaveral. Disney hoped that by having people pick a time they expected to arrive, it would spread out arrivals and alleviate that problem. And don’t confuse port arrival time and boarding time. When you pick your arrival time, you are picking what time you think you will arrive, not what time you will board the ship. Having said that, the arrival time you pick will correlate somewhat to your boarding time.

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Disney Cruise Line: 78 Things to Do on a Day at Sea

by on July 22, 2015

I’ve been living the life these days, having completed the Grand Slam of voyages on all four Disney ships in a 12 month period, including a recent 11-night trip on the Disney Magic with stops in Norway, Iceland, and the UK. While port stops can be amazing, I can honestly say that I’m just as happy, if not more happy, on the days at sea. I’m shocked when I hear new cruisers worried that they’ll be bored on sea days.

As if!

Spend your sea day getting in shape.

Spend your sea day getting in shape.

In these days of hyper-connectivity, sea days are those rare unicorns of time in which you can completely unplug and relax. But if you’re at a loss to imagine what you can do without dry land under your feet, here’s a list of just some of the things you can do to fill your time on a sea day.

1. Sleep. I am not a good sleeper at home, but there’s something about the plush bedding on the Disney ships, combined with the gentle rocking of the waves, that put me out like a light. During particularly strong bouts of insomnia, I’ve actually considered booking a cruise just to get some delicious at-sea shut eye.

2. Watch old Disney films. The in-room televisions (particularly on the Dream and Fantasy) are a treasure trove of old Disney movies. Escape to Witch Mountain? Don’t mind if I do.

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What I Wish I Knew Before My Day at Castaway Cay

by on July 22, 2015

Greetings from Paradise!

Greetings from Paradise!

So I have a confession to make… I recently took my very first Disney Cruise! It was a 3-night Bahamian Cruise aboard the Disney Dream with stops at both Nassau and Castaway Cay; and yes, for those of you who are wondering, I was completely enchanted with Castaway Cay! It was the icing on the cake of my Disney Cruise experience and I’m already trying to figure out how to get back as soon as possible.

I have already shared What I Wish I Knew Before My Disney Cruise for my fellow cruising rookies; but this article is all about What I Wish I Knew Before My Day at Castaway Cay for those who have yet to experience island paradise Disney style!

Now, for those of you who don’t know about Castaway Cay, let me fill you in. Castaway Cay is Disney’s own private island in the Bahamas. This means it was designed for Disney Cruise Line guests only and a Disney Cruise is the only way you can get there. Cool, right? The island is truly paradise, the closest thing we can have to Neverland in reality, and is packed with things to do or places where you can do nothing at all. I’m also happy to report that Disney’s excellent service, detail, and sense of magic is alive and well here as well, just in case you theme park regulars were doubtful.

Now let’s get to the info, shall we?

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Current Last Minute Disney Cruise Line Deals

by on July 14, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Looking for last-minute specials on Disney Cruise Line? The following cruise is showing availability.

Disney Cruise Line Last Minute Deals

  • 10/23/15 – 14-night Eastbound Panama Canal on Disney Wonder – sails from San Diego – IGT from $3374 for 2 adults, OGT also available (no VGT).

The 5 night Bahamas and 7-night European cruises with restricted availability from last month are no longer showing restricted rates.

Fares are current as of today, July 14, and subject to availability. Florida resident and military specials may available for some cruises as well. Ask your travel agent for details.
Want even more Disney Cruise Line information? You’ll love The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line or our Disney Cruise Line subscription.

 

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What I Wish I Knew Before My Disney Cruise

by on July 3, 2015

Cruise4

The Disney Dream at Castaway Cay… Perfection.

Several weeks ago, I took my very first Disney Cruise! I had debated whether or not to try out the Disney Cruise Line for years, as I am one of those people who likes to go 12 hours straight at Disney World and wasn’t sure if I could handle being confined to a single ship. But after hearing so many glowing reports about the Disney Cruise Line from other Disney fans, I decided to take the plunge with a 3-Night Bahamian Cruise on the Disney Dream with stops in Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. So how was it? Let’s just say that I’m already looking at booking my next cruise! But I have to admit, as a cruising newbie, there were a few things that I had to figure out during my incredible 3 days aboard the Disney Dream; and while I have very few, if any, complaints I still couldn’t help but think on what I wish I knew before my Disney Cruise that would’ve made things a little easier.

So if you’re planning your first Disney Cruise, or it’s been awhile since you cruised with Mickey and the gang, here’s a few things that I wish I knew before my Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream. Bon Voyage!

Animator's Palate onboard the Disney Dream

Animator’s Palate onboard the Disney Dream

1. Your Dining Rotation is on Your Key to the World Card – Your Key to the World Card is the most important item you will have on your cruise. Not only is it the key to your stateroom, it’s needed to get on and off the ship and tells you which muster station to report to. What I didn’t know before my cruise was that the three capital letters printed at the bottom of the card were my restaurant schedule for the cruise. For example, my card had AER printed next to my dining time. Maybe you fellow cruisers are smarter than me, but I had no idea what that meant! As it turned out, the first letter stood for Animator’s Palette, where I was scheduled to eat the first night on board. The second stood for the Enchanted Garden and the third for the Royal Palace.

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FAQ Dining with Kids on Disney Cruise Line

by on June 24, 2015

A common refrain on Disney cruises is, “If you see it, eat it.” It’s no secret that, for many guests, a key attraction of cruising is the food. This holds true for kids as well as adults. Just the thought of the unlimited ice cream available on the pool deck is enough to send some kids begging you to book another voyage. Here’s everything you need to know about dining with kids on Disney Cruise Line.

All the Mickey waffles you can eat on the Disney Fantasy

All the Mickey waffles you can eat on the Disney Fantasy

THE BASICS

What type of restaurants are on board the Disney ships?

Much like the Disney theme parks, there are five main classifications of dining venue on board the Disney ships.

  • Counter Service. This is the equivalent of the quick service venues in the parks. You walk up to a counter, ask for your food, a cast member hands it to you, and you take it yourself to a table. The counter service restaurants are primarily located in a cluster on the main pool deck of each ship. Typical offerings include pizza, small sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, fresh fruit, chicken fingers, etc. You’ll also find fountain soda dispensers and soft serve ice cream dispensers nearby. All these items are included in the cost of your cruise. There are additional counter service windows located near the theaters on each ship. These counters offer packaged snacks like M&Ms, fresh popcorn, and canned sodas. These items are not included in the price of your cruise.
  • Rotational Dining. This is the equivalent of the standard table service restaurants in the parks. You are seated at a table and presented with a menu, a server takes your order, brings your food, and clears it when you’re done. With the exception of a few specialty beverages, the cost of these meals is included in the price of your cruise. There are three rotational dining venues on each ship. These are also known as the main dining rooms (MDRs).You will “rotate” through the three main dining rooms on different nights of your sailing. The longer your voyage, the more times you’ll experience each restaurant. But don’t worry about getting bored, the menus change nightly.
  • Buffet. While the buffet-style restaurants in the Disney theme parks hew closely to the table service model, the buffets on the ships are more like a cross between a food court and a school cafeteria during the breakfast and lunch hours. The buffet location will operate as a table service location for dinner service. With the exception of a few specialty beverages, the cost of these meals is included in the price of your cruise.
  • Cafe and Lounge. This is the equivalent of a Disney World hotel bar, or the in-park Starbucks (though they don’t serve Starbucks coffee). Each ship has several cafes, offering specialty coffees and teas, and lounges offering primarily adult beverages and soft drinks. None of the beverages here are included with your cruise, but there are snack-size food items at these venues which generally are included.
  • Adult Dining. This is the equivalent of the fancy signature dining restaurants at Walt Disney World. On the Disney Cruise Line ships, these restaurants are restricted to guests ages 18 and up. The adult dining venues are Palo on all four ships, plus Remy on the Dream and Fantasy.

Additionally, you’ll find that room service (in-room dining) is available for all staterooms on the Disney ships.

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Current Disney Cruise Line Last Minute Deals

by on June 16, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Looking for last-minute specials on Disney Cruise Line? The following cruises are showing availability.

Disney Cruise Line Last Minute Deals

  • 6/20/15 – 9-night Norwegian Fjords on Disney Magic – sails from Copenhagen – IGT from $3999 for 2 adults, OGT and VGT also available.
  • 7/29/15 – 5-night Bahamas on Disney Dream – sails from Port Canaveral – IGT from $2832 for 2 adults, OGT and VGT also available. This cruise has 2 stops on Castaway Cay.
  • 8/3/15 – 7-night Dover to Barcelona on Disney Magic – sails from Dover – IGT from $3417 for 2 adults, OGT and VGT also available.

Fares are current as of today, June 16, and subject to availability. Florida resident and military specials may available for some cruises as well. Ask your travel agent for details.

Want even more Disney Cruise Line information? You’ll love The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line or our Disney Cruise Line subscription.

 

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