First off let me start by apologizing for how long this blog post took me! It's just I had like 500 pictures to go through PLUS there is so much information that I'm not gonna lie...it led to procrastination! However this week I needed to get it finished and posted and TaDa...it's finished.
(All opinions are my own based on our actual Disney Cruise Vacation) For those that want to cut right to the chase...Would I Disney Cruise again? Hell YES!
We decided on the three night Bahamas Cruise out of Port Canaveral. We sailed on the Disney Dream. The port is about a 3 hour drive for us so we booked a hotel in Cape Canaveral (Cocoa Beach) so we could begin the vacation early...plus our hotel (Radisson) let you park at your hotel while you cruise and even provided free shuttle service back and forth from the cruise!
We scheduled to begin boarding at 11:15 (basically the earliest time) so we could get on the boat and start having some Disney fun! The boarding process seems like it would take forever and be chaotic but my husband and I were both super impressed with the process.
TIP #1: Each adult can bring two bottles of wine or champagne in their carry on bag!
(I had read this before but assumed it was per couple..the lady at check in is actually who told us we could have brought two more)
TIP #2: Pack a carry on with everyones bathing suits, suntan lotion, sunglasses ..basically everything you would want in case your checked luggage arrives late in the day.
As soon as we boarded we headed to the top deck for the buffet lunch. After that we changed into our bathing suits (in a pool bathroom). The rooms are not ready till 2:30 on the dot! Our ship had two large pools on the upper deck, two water slides and an splash pad (like Nemos Reef) to play in.
TIP #3: If you plan to use the pool on your first day make sure you board early and have your suits! They begin closing up the pool deck at 3pm to get ready for the Sail Away Party.
TIP #4: Just get ready for a pretty large bill at the end of the cruise. HAHA Seriously though...they walk around with all these fun daily drinks and souvenir cups that you WANT. All you need is your room card ID and all these things magically become yours.
TIP #5: Buy a card holder that you wear around your neck. The ID cards do everything for you and you need them for everything. Including turning on the light in your cabin. It's a perfect way to keep them safe and have them easily accessible.
The Sail Away Party is so fun! You won't want to miss it! Mickey was at the port when we first arrived but the Sail Away party was the first chance to see all the characters! It's a lot of FUN!
We chose the earlier of the dinner times which meant each night we had a scheduled dinner time of 5:45...the later time was 8 I think. Two reason we liked the earlier time better..
1. My children aren't used to eating late
2. The nightly shows in the theater began at 8
We had a stateroom on deck 2 that we found to be incredible convenient to most things. (Sometimes the elevators get pretty busy/slow) Being on deck two made getting to most things including restaurants and the lobby easy and fast.
Our lounge area turned into bunk beds and each night while we were at dinner our room host would set up the bunks and leave fun items or create towel animals for the girls. My oldest was CRAZY IN LOVE with her top bunk because the ceiling had little glowing stars! I swear Disney thinks of everything! Another cool feature in the room was two bathrooms...one sink with the shower and one sink with the toilet.
Each night as we left our room for dinner we would run into the scheduled visits with a princess. The longest we ever waited was maybe 15 minutes. Each character on board was so friendly and they never rushed the children. They take pictures for you as well with your cameras or phones!
The nightly theater shows were AWESOME! Do not miss these!! They last anywhere from 45-60 minutes and are like little Disney Broadway shows.
There is also real movie theaters on board but unfortunately we never went to a movie. For us taking two hours to watch a movie wasn't worth it. Maybe on a longer cruise. (They did premier Beauty and the Beast on ours)
Each dinner was literally better than the last. The dining on the Disney Cruise is incredible!! You have the same wait staff each night so they can really become personalized to you and your family. Sometimes I wouldn't even know what something was and our waiter would tell me to trust him and holy cow was everything amazing. I mean everything.
TIP #6: When ordering your nightly appetizers and soups...if you aren't sure which one you want the most (because they all look so good) you can order both..or all! I happen to love appetizers so each night our waiter just started bringing me my favorite two on the menu!
When booking your excursions book the Blue Lagoon! Trust me! I was so hesitant over what private island I wanted to book and after some research and asking friends we decided on blue lagoon. It tells you that you have to walk like 30 minutes off the boat to the ferry port but it is honestly like 10 minutes. I almost brought a stroller thinking my little one would get tired. I am SO glad I didn't. Blue Lagoon was such a magical little island. The Ferry over was entertaining as well. You can order cocktails, they play music, dance and sing. Plus they point out all the celebrity homes on your way. Once on the island they provide free chairs, floats, noodles and you get an island lunch buffet included with two non alcoholic drinks. There is a bar where you can order some fruity cocktails as well. We walked all around the island and explored and decided to go ahead and purchase a Dolphin Kiss which was only $20! That is an awesome price and trust me I know because here in Florida we have dolphin encounters as well. Plus that includes the FREE professional pictures they email you.
TIP #7: Buy the Dolphin Kiss
Leaving the Blue Lagoon has two ferry options. Either leave around 2:30 or stay till 4. We chose to stay till 4. I mean hello you're on Blue Lagoon Island!
Saturday night is Pirate Night on all the cruises! It doesn't start till around 7:30/8 ish so you have plenty of time after your excursion to still play on the ship plus get ready for dinner. Now I learned one thing I'll share. All dress codes go out the window on Pirate Night. I follow rules..I can't help it so I made my family dress up and go to dinner that night. When we arrived EVERYONE had their pirate gear already on. Mom Fail. So after dinner we went back to the cabin and changed quickly. Key word here is quickly because the elevators we super busy and everyone was trying to get to the top deck for the night to begin.
TIP #8: Wear your pirate gear to dinner on pirate night. Don't change after dinner like we did.
I tired to prepare for this cruise the best I could so I knew ahead of time to buy some pirate gear for the kids and I bought bandannas for my hubs and I. No need. When we got to our cabin Saturday afternoon we had four Disney Pirate Bandannas waiting for us on the bed. I did however buy a bunch of glow necklaces and bracelets at the Dollar Store which worked out great!
Pirate Night is so much fun but it gets PACKED. So get up to the top deck early for a good spot!
TIP #9: Make sure you download the Disney Cruise app. This little app told me when and where each character was on the ship so that we could magically bump into them on the cruise! The girls thought it was the coolest thing to turn a corner and see their best buddies!
CASTAWAY CAY ISLAND
Basically the most amazing place EVER! You dock at Disney's private island and are able to leave the ship first thing in the morning. Which we did! You don't need any towels or kids life vest as they are provided for you. They sell souvenir Disney Cruise cooler bags which I recommend buying. You can fill these for a discounted rate whether you buy beers or waters. Make sure you check your cruise app as well because the characters make appearances on the island all day!
Once you leave the boat they have golf cart trams that can drive you over to the beaches but we enjoyed just walking. It is around a 5 minute walk and unbelievably beautiful! Plus there are lots of photo opportunities you wouldn't get!
TIP #10:Take the walk over to the beaches (at least one way)
We found a spot by the family beach and set up under an umbrella. There are fun water playgrounds and snorkel areas set up all over the island. They even have smaller beach chairs (as well as loungers) you can move right down to the water. This water was so crazy beautiful. We have traveled a lot especially in the Caribbean and I think the water on Castaway Cay is the most beautiful I've ever seen.
TIP #11: Make sure to attend the Island Dance Party
I made sure to watch the time because the cruise app had told me at noon there was a character beach party. We got to the designated area right on time and the girls (and me lol) got to dance with Minnie and Goofy! We did conga lines with them and they even taught us all a new dance they made up.
The island has a lunch buffet that was actually pretty impressive (which obviously it's Disney) as well as a tiki (cash) bar. On Castaway Cay they also had beach service which we took advantage of.
My personal favorite of the whole cruise was Castaway Cay. The view of the island from the ship was breathtaking.
The last night we ate at the Animators Palate. This dinner experience was SO fun! Right as dinner begins the whole restaurant goes "under water" and Nemo characters begin swimming around on the TV port holes throughout the whole dining hall! It was super awesome!
The whole ship is just amazing. I know I keep saying that but it's true. We did not have one bad experience on the whole cruise. Meeting all the characters was fantastic. The dining was out of this world. The ports of call were outstanding. Our cabin and all the staff were awesome! We would definitely go on another Disney Cruise! We may take a year off but I know in our future we will return for sure! It was just way too much of an experience to not do it again!
Until next time Mickey!!