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How exciting, you’ve booked your Disney Cruise! But, now what?
Booking your cruise is always the most exciting part, isn’t it? You’ve chosen the date, the ship, the itinerary, and the stateroom type. But now it’s time to prepare for your Disney cruise before you board the ship. Below, I list some of the most common things you’ll need to do before setting sail. Making sure you have things organized before your trip will help to ensure a trouble-free vacation for you and your family!
Get Your Travel Documents In Order
Different itineraries may require different documents in order to travel. In most cases you will need just your Passport, but be sure to double check if anything else is needed! The last thing you want is to show up at the departure port, ready to board the ship, and then be turned away because your missing a vital travel document! Disney does a great job of listing the requirements for all of their itineraries. You can find that webpage by clicking here: Passports, Visas and Citizenship Documentation for Disney Cruises.
I also like to print copies of our reservation confirmation, flight details, etc and keep that information handy in case I need to reference before or during our trip. Being in Canada, we usually have to cross the border into the US to get to a cruise port. I like to have all my documents together and ready to show the border agent as proof of where we’re headed.
Once you’ve got all of your paperwork in order, it’s a good idea to keep them together in a safe place where you can easily find them when needed. I like to use one of these sealable plastic envelopes pictured below. Then I just put that folder into my personal travel bag when we leave for our trip. It’s easy to whip it out when I need it, and keeps the documents from getting mixed up or lost in the bottom of my bag!
Make A Decision About Travel Insurance
You’ll want to look into your options for travel insurance as this point too. Some choose to travel without it and take their chances, while others wouldn’t dream of travelling without it. Personally, our family always opts for travel insurance. We did have a situation during one of our vacations where we needed to use our insurance and were glad that we had it. On our way home, our flight had been cancelled due to bad weather at our connecting airport. The earliest we would be able to book a new flight was the next day. This meant that we needed to find somewhere to stay for the night and would need to feed our family dinner and breakfast too. Our insurance covered the cost of the hotel and our meals, which ended up being more than the amount that we paid for insurance. In that instance, it wasn’t an emergency, but it did pay off to have had insurance for our trip.
I won’t make any recommendations for companies to use for insurance, because there are just so many, and it will depend on your individual needs and preferences. I will say though, that Disney does have it’s own travel insurance for those that want to purchase it with their cruise, and often times your own healthcare or even credit card companies will include some type of coverage too. Just make sure to do your research here to find what will be best for your own family and situation.
Download The Disney Navigator App
Disney provides a super awesome app that you can download for free. You can find it and more info here: Disney Navigator App.
So what does the app do? Well, before you even set sail the app will let you manage your reservation, complete your online check-in information, explore and book activities and more. Once your onboard the ship you can use the app to chat with family, friends and shipmates, check the daily activities and dining choices, review your pre-booked activities, see your day-to-day itinerary, get special offers, and even find your way around the ship using the deck plans!
Start Planning And Booking Activities & Excursions
New cruisers can start booking activities and excursions up to 75 days before their cruise. For those that have sailed with Disney before, you can book earlier (depending on your Castaway Cay level). Guests booked in a concierge stateroom can also book activities and excursions earlier.
The more popular choices will book up fast, so if there is something you have your heart set on, such as a meal at Palo or Remy or a cabana rental at Castaway Cay make sure your ready to book as soon as your booking window opens!
Now that you’ve prepared for your Disney cruise and have those important tasks out of the way, all that’s left is to sit back and relax until it’s time to start packing! Some of the more fun things to do while waiting, to build up your excitement are:
- watch videos and/or read trip reports from others who have taken the same cruise before you
- join a facebook group for your specific sailing date to make friends before you even set sail
- join a Fish Extender group if that’s something you’d like to participate in. You can usually find sign-up information in the facebook group for your sailing date.
- make some cute door magnets to decorate your stateroom door once onboard
- plan a fun way to surprise your children or other cruise mates if they don’t already know about the cruise
And of course, ENJOY YOUR DISNEY CRUISE!
Are you a homeschooler going on a Disney cruise? You might want to check out my post A Disney Cruise: How To Effectively Homeschool On The High Seas for some great tips and advice for learning opportunities while enjoying your vacation!