Walt Disney World & World Travels

Wonder of Wonders -What did I learn

Posted on: June 28, 2009

These are the questions from my 1st post in this series:

  • What should I pack?  What did I pack that I didn’t need and what do I wish I had brought?
  • Do I need a passport or should I have one even if I don’t need it? What are the new passport rules?
  • How are the cabins? Can you see/feel the difference between the different categories?  Is it worth paying for the ocean view? 
  • When will my documents arrive?
  • What should I know to make it easier and more relaxing?  

Packing:  my packing list was probably a little different than most because I needed to have “business/cruise casual” clothes for work/seminar times & then regular clothes.  I was actually really happy with what I took as far as clothes.  Casual comfy shorts & tees are perfect for most everything except dinner.  I wore sundresses at night for dinner and felt that I was dressed appropriately-not too casual and not too dressy.  Make sure you have bathing suits & a cover up is nice to have.  If you get cold easily, you may want a light sweater for dinner & the shows.  What did I forget to pack?  I should have packed the charger for my camera!  I actually took less pictures than I would have liked because I was afraid the battery would die before the end of the trip.  What I didn’t need was my hair dryer.  There’s nowhere to plug it in the the bathroom and there is a built in hair dryer that worked just fine.

Passport:  Right now, American citizens do not NEED a passport for cruises that start and end in the same port.  However, if anything were to go wrong–miss the ship in Nassau, get sick and need to emergency fly back to the U.S.–you would be in for a lot of headaches without a passport.  I would strongly recommend getting the passport, it’s worth it for the peace of mind.

Cabins:  I was impressed with the size of the cabins.  Any DCL cabin that is “Deluxe” has the split bath, a really great feature.  The split bath is a sink & toilet in one bath and the other bath has the shower & sink.  Makes it super easy to get ready with multiple people in a cabin.  That is an upgrade that I think is worth paying for!  I was in a Category 6, Deluxe Cabin with Verandah and LOVED IT!!!  I really liked being able to go out on the verandah but if it came down to not being able to go or having a verandah I’d take a Deluxe Ocean View Cabin in a heartbeat.  The “port holes” are quite large and give a good view and natural light.  I like having a view, but I’m also a little claustrophobic.  The inside cabin would be fine for those who aren’t bothered by claustrophobia and are a great choice for families that need 2 cabins or the the Cat 5 Deluxe Family Stateroom with Verandah.

Documents:  Your cruise documents will arrive when they arrive…..don’t worry, arrival a few days before your trip is not unusual.

What should you know: 

*The kids clubs are amazing!  Even if you think your kid(s) won’t want to go much, register them while you’re still in the Cruise terminal!  You’ll be surprised how little you see your kids on this trip because they will be busy having the time of their lives!  After touring the kids clubs, I wish I could go there! 

*Even with kids, choose 2nd seating for dining.  Yes you’ll be eating a little later, but (1) you’ll never go hungry on the ship as there is food available all the time! (2) you’ll have more time in ports before needing to be back on the ship and (3) the new Dine & Play allows the kids to dine with you, have their food brought quickly and then the counselors will pick them up at the restaurant.  They go play in the clubs & you enjoy the rest of your meal child free!

*The Vista Spa offers specials through out the cruise, check your navigator for each day.  They also offer a day pass or cruise pass for the Rainforest Room.  Great way to enjoy the relaxation of the spa with out the pricier “treatments”.  Go to the Spa to purchace the pass.  No charge for fitness equipment or exercise classes but make sure you bring your gym shoes or you won’t be allowed to participate.

*Gratuities can be pre-paid before you sail, which is very convenient!  You’ll get envelopes & tickets with your servers’ names on them for you to hand out the last night of the trip.  Better than worrying about having cash for that. 

*Don’t pack the credit card you’re going to use for your room charges.  You’ll need it in the cruise terminal when you check in.  If you forget and have the credit card in your luggage, don’t worry.  They’ll set your Key to the World card up to be paid in cash at the end and you can go to guest services on the ship at anytime and give them your credit card info.  If you’re doing a Land & Sea package, you will already be set with your KTTW Card from your resort portion of the trip.

*Carry a day bag for when you get on the ship.  Have your bathing suit, sunscreen,sunglasses, camera & your ID, Passport & Credit Card.  That’s all you’ll need until your luggage arrives in your cabin.

While it may sound self serving to say this, I strongly recommend using a travel consultant that specializes in Disney and Disney Cruises.  Don’t miss out on an amazing dinner at Palo because you didn’t know there was an adult only restaurant on board, a couples spa treatment on the ship or a cabana massage on Castaway Cay or excursions in port.  If you have a travel consultant that doesn’t mention any of these options or specials that might apply to your cruise dates, you need to find a new agent immediately!   Other than that, relax and enjoy.  You’re about to embark on a wonderful experience!

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