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How To Find Your First Disney Cruise

10 Top Tips

If you’re thinking about your first Disney Cruise, here are 10 tips to make sure you have a magical time onboard.

We’re the cruise gurus, so you don’t have to be.

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10 Cruise Tips For First Time Disney Cruisers

Ahoy! You’re going on a Disney Cruise for the first time. Congratulations and welcome aboard. This calls for a sail-a-bration (sea what we did there)! But, before you cast off, we’ve got a list of the top 10 invaluable tips for first-time Disney cruisers like you. These tips will ensure that your inaugural cruise goes off without a hitch. Let’s dive with everything you need to know.

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Gotta get that funnel photo

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Never been on a cruise before?  Going on a Disney Cruise can be an exciting adventure, filled with anticipation and dreams of sunny beaches and exotic destinations. But before you set sail cruise newbie, it’s important to remember that the early bird gets the worm. In other words, the sooner you book your cruise, the better chance you have of securing your preferred ship, itinerary, and accommodations.  If you book late, you’re left with what isn’t popular.

So why should you book your sailing as far out as possible? Let me count the ways:

Sunny days onboard your first Disney cruise
Sunny days onboard your first Disney cruise

Just like with any popular event or holiday hotspot, the best cruises tend to fill up quickly. By booking early, you increase your chances of snagging a spot on the hottest ships and most sought-after itineraries. Whether you’re dreaming of exploring the stunning fjords of Norway, lazing around the Caribbean or discovering the vibrant culture of the Mediterranean, early booking ensures you won’t miss out on your dream Disney cruise.  Sometimes first-time cruisers leave it late and end up not enjoying their experience.

2. Finding the Perfect Cruise Length

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to the length of their cruise. Some people enjoy a quick weekend getaway, while others prefer a longer adventure. By booking early, you have a better chance of finding the cruise length that suits your schedule and preferences. Whether you want a short and sweet escape or an extended voyage, early booking gives you the best shot at securing the perfect cruise length.

3. Securing Preferred Ports of Call

One of the most exciting aspects of a cruise is the opportunity to visit different ports of call along the way. Whether you’re dreaming of sipping margaritas on a Mexican beach, meeting Mickey at Disney’s Castaway Cay or exploring ancient ruins in Greece, seasoned Disney Cruise Line guests know that booking early increases your chances of securing your preferred ports of call. 

4. Choosing the Right Room Type

From cosy interior cabins to luxurious suites with private balconies, cruise ships offer a variety of accommodations to suit every taste and budget. However, the most desirable rooms tend to get snapped up quickly. By reserving early, you have a better chance of securing the room type that aligns with your preferences and budget.  Chat with one of our Disney Cruise Gurus to start planning your first cruise.

Meeting Disney Characters onboard the Disney Dream Cruise Ship
Meeting Disney Characters onboard the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

#2 Meet Disney Characters 

There’s a ton of chances to hobnob with your favourite Disney characters on a Disney Cruise. Some meets are all over the place and open to all, while others need a bit of strategizing to get in on. The characters you’ll find may change from ship to ship and from one cruise to the next. We’ve got some insider tips on how to score some face time and Disney magic. 

Check the Disney Navigator App

Make sure to check the schedule for character meet and greets on your Personal Navigator or the Disney Cruise Line app. Unlike at Walt Disney World where you can be queuing for hours to meet Mickey, try to arrive a few minutes early (around 10 minutes) to avoid long wait times and to ensure you have plenty of time to meet all your favourite characters.  

The characters aboard the Disney ships are always changing, adding an element of surprise to every sailing. You never know who you might meet on board our different ships.

These characters can be expected on most Disney Cruises:

All the ships will be throwing awesome deck parties and celebrations, and you can count on seeing some of your beloved Disney characters there. On Embarkation Day, Mickey and his pals will be stopping by, and don’t miss out on the legendary See Ya’ Real Soon, Pirate Night and ‘Til We Meet Again parties. Get excited for some magical moments at sea! 

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First Time Cruise Help

If it’s your first time cruising, it can all seem overwhelming and confusing. That’s why we offer a First Time Cruise Help Service at Rock the Boat Travel Agency.

The best place to start is by talking with one of our team members. It all starts with you – finding out what you like and just as important, what you don’t like. Coupled with our cruise know-how, we’ll suggest the perfect first time cruise for you. Request a call with one of our team.

First time cruisers enjoying being on a cruise ship as a family

#3 Research Your Disney Cruise Stateroom

Now, choosing the perfect stateroom can be quite the adventure. It’s like searching for hidden treasure on a vast interactive map. But fear not, for I am here to be your trusty guide in this quest for the ideal abode at sea.

One of the first things you should do when researching your stateroom selection is to familiarize yourself with the different types of Disney Cruise staterooms available on the ship. There are usually various categories such as inside, oceanview, balcony, and suites. Each type offers different amenities and views, so it’s essential to understand what each category entails.

Location, Location, Location!

When it comes to staterooms, location is key! You need to consider whether you prefer to be aft (at the back), forward (at the front), or midship (in the middle of the ship). Each spot has its quirks and perks. Do you want to catch the sunrise from your porthole or be closer to the buffet for those midnight feasts? The choice is yours!

Additionally, consider the location of the stateroom on the ship. Rooms situated near the elevators or public areas may experience higher foot traffic and noise. On the other hand, towards the front or back of the ship may be more susceptible to motion. Understanding these factors will help you make an educated decision based on your preferences.

Consider factors like motion sickness, noise sensitivity, and budget when choosing a stateroom

If you are prone to motion sickness, selecting a stateroom in the middle of the ship and on a lower deck can help minimize the rocking sensation. These typically experience less movement compared to those located at the edges of the ship. It’s also worth noting that higher decks tend to be more expensive.

Noise sensitivity is another crucial consideration. If you value a peaceful environment, it’s best to avoid rooms near loud venues like clubs or theatres. Reading reviews and opinions from previous cruisers can provide valuable insights into which are the quietest.

Chat with one of our Disney Cruise Gurus to start planning your first cruise.

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#4 Watch Your Watch During Port Adventures

When you embark on a cruise and visit various ports of call, it’s essential to keep track of local times to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Exploring new destinations is always exciting, but it’s equally important to be aware of the time and be back on the ship by the designated time to avoid being left behind.

Make sure you're back on time to the Disney Cruise Ship
Make sure you’re back on time to the Disney Cruise Ship

1. Keep an eye on local times when exploring ports of call.

One of the first things you should do when you arrive at a port of call is to set your watch or mobile device to the local time. This simple step will help you stay on schedule and prevent any confusion with ship departure times. Many ports of call may have a different time zone or follow daylight saving time, so it’s crucial to adjust accordingly.  The ship should be on the same time zones as the port and they’ll tell you onboard if the clocks change overnight.

2. Be back on the ship by the designated time to avoid being left behind.

While it may seem tempting to stay a little longer exploring the beautiful port cities, it’s crucial to be back on the ship before it departs. Otherwise, you might find yourself waving goodbye to the ship while stranded on the dock, watching your dream holiday sail away.  Check the all aboard time when you leave the ship.

Now, I understand that sometimes it can be tough to tear yourself away from the incredible experiences on land. But think about it this way: the ship is like a floating buffet waiting for your return. There’s food, entertainment, and all the comforts of home. So, don’t risk missing out on all that and be sure to make it back on time!

And don’t forget your Key To The World Card!

3. Disney Cruise Line will change course or reschedule in rare cases for safety.

While it’s rare, sometimes unexpected events can occur that may require alterations to the ship’s itinerary. It could be a storm or any unforeseen circumstance that ensures your safety. So, if the captain decides to change course or reschedule a port of call, don’t worry – they have your best interests at heart.

Don't forget your sunglasses on your first day
Don’t forget your sunglasses on your first day

#5 Pack a Carry-On for Embarkation and Disembarkation Days

Ah, the excitement of embarking on a cruise! Whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned sailor, packing a carry-on bag for embarkation and disembarkation days is essential. Not only will it make your journey smoother, but it also ensures that you have all the necessities within arm’s reach. So, what should you pack? Here are some must-haves:

Sunscreen and Sunglasses

Picture this: you’re lounging by the pool on the deck, sipping your favourite cocktail, and soaking up the sun’s rays. But wait, what’s that? You forgot your sunscreen and sunglasses in your checked luggage! Don’t be that person with a sunburn and squinting eyes. Pack these essentials in your carry-on to protect your skin and enjoy the views without any discomfort.

Bathing Suits and Extra Clothes

It’s time to dive into the sparkling blue waters and make a splash! Don’t forget to pack your favourite bathing suits in your carry-on. You never know when the urge to take a refreshing dip might strike. Additionally, having extra clothes on hand is always a good idea, especially if you have dinner reservations or want to explore the ship as soon as you step on board.


We all have our little health quirks, whether it’s allergies, motion sickness, or a chronic condition. Make sure to pack your medication and any necessary medical supplies in your carry-on. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and having your medications readily available will give you peace of mind during the voyage.

Phone, Camera, and Chargers

Do you really want to miss capturing those breathtaking sunsets, fun-filled activities, or candid moments with your loved ones? Of course not! Remember to pack your phone and camera in your carry-on, along with the necessary chargers. You’ll want to share those envy-inducing cruise photos on social media, after all!

Keep your passport with on and to hand
Keep your passport with on and to hand

Wallet, Passport, and Pre-Arrival Documents

You’ve already done your online check-in, but make sure you don’t forget the essentials for a smooth embarkation. Keep your wallet, passport, and pre-arrival documents safe and easily accessible in your carry-on. You’ll need them for the check-in process, and having them all in one place will save you from rummaging through your luggage in a panic.

Early Onboarding Time – Seize the Opportunity!

Now that you’ve packed your carry-on with all the essentials, here’s a pro-tip: try to snag an early onboarding time. This allows you to board the ship before most other passengers and gives you a head start on exploring all the incredible amenities and activities. Trust me; it’s worth waking up a little earlier! Chat with one of our Disney Cruise Gurus to start planning your first cruise.

BYOB-Friendly: Bring Your Own Alcohol

Did you know that Disney Cruise Line is BYOB-friendly? Yes, that’s right! You can bring your own alcohol on board within limits. Check the guidelines provided by the cruise line regarding the quantities allowed, and ensure that you pack your favourite drinks accordingly. Just imagine sipping a glass of wine on your private balcony as you sail into the sunset – pure bliss!

Hopefully you won't get seasick, but if you do there are some easy cures
Hopefully you won’t get seasick, but if you do there are some easy cures

#6 Avoid Seasickness and Stay Well

Embarking on a sea adventure can be an incredibly exhilarating experience. From the stunning views of the open ocean to the thrilling onboard activities, there’s so much to look forward to. However, for some unfortunate souls, motion sickness can quickly turn the excitement into a nauseating nightmare.

Pack Sea-Bands or Over-the-Counter Medicine for Motion Sickness

If you’re prone to motion sickness, it’s a good idea to pack some motion sickness remedies. Sea-Bands are a popular choice, as they apply pressure to specific points on your wrists to relieve nausea. Additionally, over-the-counter medicines like Dramamine can help prevent and treat motion sickness. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any medication.

Get Fresh Air and Acclimate to the Ship’s Motion

One of the best ways to combat seasickness is to get fresh air and acclimate your body to the ship’s motion. Spending time on deck and looking at the horizon can help your inner ear adjust to the movement of the ship. It’s also a good idea to avoid reading or focusing on objects that are stationary, as this can worsen feelings of nausea.

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Don't forget your phone and make sure it's fully charged for your first day onboard Disney Cruise Lines
Don’t forget your phone and make sure it’s fully charged for your first day onboard Disney Cruise Lines

#7 Download the Disney Cruise App

When embarking on a magical Disney cruise, it’s important to stay connected with your travel party and have access to essential itinerary details. To ensure a smooth and worry-free communication experience, make sure to download the Disney Cruise Line app.

Make sure everyone has the app

First things first, make sure you have the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app on your phone. This nifty little app is your key to unlocking the full potential of your cruise experience. Not only does it provide you with access to Wi-Fi onboard the ship, but it also offers a range of useful features such as upcoming events, shows and character meets.

Use the App’s Messaging Feature

The Disney Cruise Line Navigator app not only keeps you informed about the ship’s itinerary but also offers a convenient messaging feature. Gone are the days of trying to find your travel party on a vast cruise ship. With the app’s messaging feature, you can easily send and receive messages to stay connected with your loved ones throughout the day.

Whether you’re coordinating meetups for dinner, planning activities, or simply checking in with your travel companions, the messaging feature ensures seamless communication. It’s a great way to stay connected while exploring different areas of the ship or even when you’re off enjoying an exciting excursion at one of the ports of call.

Check Phone Call, Wi-Fi, and Data Plan Options

Before setting sail, take a moment to review your phone call, Wi-Fi, and data plan options. Being on an international cruise doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to stay connected. Many mobile providers offer affordable add-on packages specifically designed for travel, so be sure to explore all the available options. After all, you don’t want any unexpected surprises when you receive your phone bill!

Animator's Palette is one of the best restaurants
Animator’s Palette is one of the best restaurants

#8 Try Everything!

In order to make the most out of your cruise experience, it’s important to try everything that the ship has to offer. From the moment you step on board, you’ll have access to a wide variety of activities and entertainment that are included in your cruise package. Chat with one of our Disney Cruise Gurus to start planning your first cruise.

A feast for your taste buds

One of the best parts of being on a cruise is the incredible variety of dining options available to you. From casual buffets to fine dining experiences, there’s something to please every palate. And the best part? It’s all included in the price of your sailing! So go ahead, don’t be afraid to order multiple dishes or try that exotic meal you’ve always been curious about. Who knows, you might just discover a new favourite food!

Don’t be afraid to order multiple dishes or try something outside of your comfort zone.

When dining onboard, it’s common to have multiple options for each course. Instead of restricting yourself to just one dish, feel free to order a few different ones to sample. This way, you can taste a variety of flavours and find new favourites.

Make a splash

When it comes to onboard activities, the sky’s the limit – or should we say, the sea’s the limit! From the thrilling AquaMouse to the exhilarating AquaDuck, there’s no shortage of ways to make a splash and have a splashing good time. And let’s not forget about the Pelican Plunge – a waterslide adventure that’s sure to leave you smiling from ear to ear. So put on your swimsuit and get ready to dive into some serious fun!

Take advantage of the included activities and entertainment on the ship.

One of the great things about cruising is that there is always something to do. Whether you’re interested in lounging by the pool, testing your luck at the casino, or watching a Broadway-style show, the ship has it all. Take a look at the daily schedule of activities and plan your days accordingly.

If you’re looking for an extra dose of excitement, why not try one of the ship’s mixology classes or other extra fee activities? Not only will you learn how to make some impressive cocktails, but you’ll also get the chance to mingle with fellow adventurers and create memories that are worth every penny. So go ahead, raise your glass – it’s time to toast to a fantastic experience!

On your sailing adventure, remember to embrace the motto of “try everything”. Whether it’s trying new dishes, exploring thrilling activities, or indulging in extra fee experiences, this is your chance to make the most of your time at sea. So go ahead, be bold, and let the ocean be your playground!

Relax with a drink and watch the world sail on by
Relax with a drink and watch the world sail on by

#9 Relax and unwind onboard your First Disney Cruise

A Disney Cruise is all about relaxation and enjoyment. It’s your chance to leave the stress of everyday life behind and indulge in some well-deserved leisure time. While there are plenty of exciting activities and adventures to embark on during your cruise, it’s important not to forget to take a step back and unwind. Here are some tips for making the most of your relaxation time on the ship:

1. Take Time to Enjoy the Amenities on the Ship

One of the great things about a cruise ship is that it offers a wide range of amenities for you to enjoy. Whether it’s a luxurious spa, a refreshing pool, or a state-of-the-art gym, take advantage of these facilities to relax and rejuvenate. Treat yourself to a pampering spa treatment, take a dip in the pool, or simply bask in the sun on the deck.

2. Indulge in Poolside Ice Cream, Hammock Lounging and Reading 

Nothing says relaxation like lounging by the pool with a delicious ice cream cone in hand. Take the time to indulge in this simple pleasure and let your worries melt away. Find a comfortable spot in a hammock or a cozy chair, grab a good novel, and allow yourself to be transported to another world.  Maybe a little room service too? Chat with one of our Disney Cruise Gurus to start planning your first cruise.

3. Unplug and Be Present in the Moment

In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s easy to get caught up in the constant barrage of notifications and updates. Take this opportunity to unplug and be present in the moment. Put away your phone, disconnect from social media, and focus on the here and now. Engage in meaningful conversations with your loved ones, savour the flavours of the delicious food, and take in the breath-taking views. By disconnecting from the outside world, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the cruise experience.

A woman is fedup and holding her head in front of a laptop
A woman is fedup and holding her head in front of a laptop

#10 Most Important Disney Cruise Tip: Make Sure You’re Covered And Protected

While no one likes to think about worst-case scenarios, it’s always recommended to have peace of mind during your travels. Adding travel insurance to your cruise package can help protect you from unexpected events or emergencies that may arise.

Travel insurance covers a range of scenarios, such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost luggage, medical emergencies, and more. It acts as a safety net, providing financial protection and support in times of need. Before selecting a travel insurance policy, read the terms and conditions carefully to ensure it meets your specific requirements.

Also make sure you can trust with whoever you plan your Disney cruise with.  Our customers have left over 6243 5 star reviews about us on Trustpilot. Chat with one of our Disney Cruise Gurus to start planning your first cruise.

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