Thursday, September 23, 2010
Your First Day Onboard a Disney Cruise
Here’s what the rest of your day might look like. . .
The Disney Cruise Line Port Terminal is two stories tall. You will enter the lower level, and go through security—metal detector and have your carry on bags scanned. It’s similar to an airport, but liquids are OK here. Then it’s up the escalator or elevator just around the corner to the second level. Take all your cruise documents to the lines on the left. Only one person from your travel party needs to go through the line. This is when all the fun paperwork is completed. And, if you have done most of it ahead of time on-line, it will save you loads of time. Just remember to not pack away those travel documents in your luggage, as you will need to have them with you to board the ship. When all the paperwork is completed, you will be assigned a group number. That number is important, as groups of guests board the ship in that order.
While you wait for your group number to be called, you can explore the Port Terminal. Bathrooms are just to the right after going up the escalators. You can register your tikes for the kids clubs and get your pager at the end of the Port Terminal on the right. If you want to get a peek at the ship, there is a door and balcony on the far right, too, just past the kids club registration. You can watch all the luggage come aboard. There’s a cut away model of the ship on display in the middle of the Port Terminal. You can find characters hanging out here, too.
Oh, did I hear your group number being called? Now it is time to go on-board. Take all your day bags and make your way to the large Mickey ears at the far left of the Port Terminal main hall. Along the gangway, you will stop for a pre-boarding photo. Once that is done, it’s time to come aboard. Disney Cruise Lines crew members will announce your family’s name and the rest of the crew will applaud your arrival. What great fanfare! Since you are coming aboard in the Lobby Atrium on deck 3, you will have a choice to go to deck 9 and eat or around the corner to Parrot Cay to eat lunch. Since we can’t wait to get outside, for us it deck 9. The day bags come with us as we take the elevator to deck 9 and head to the aft or back of the ship to eat at Topsiders. Take the wipes for your hands from the crew member passing them out. You will get used to using these before you enter any of the restaurants on board. Take your tray and begin your first trip down the buffet.
After eating, you may explore the ship or take a dip in one of the many pools. We find that this is a great time to hit the Mickey pool, as it is usually not very crowded. Remember to keep those day bags and hopefully you have packed swim gear and sunscreen. There are bathrooms on either side of the pool for you to use to change. This is important, as while guests come aboard as early as 11:00-11:30 am, the staterooms won’t be ready for you until 1:30 pm. So enjoy the ship until that time. This is a novice cruiser mistake, thinking that they will be able to go right to their stateroom and unpack. First, the rooms aren’t ready and second, it will be a few hours before your luggage arrives at your stateroom.
If you haven’t made port adventure reservations (also known as excursions), now is a great time to check out the port adventure desk on deck 3 in the lobby, just opposite guest services. Remember that you can reserve all of your port adventures on-line prior to your cruise. This is also a good time to make spa appointments if you haven’t done that yet on-line. The spa is on deck 9 forward or in the front of the ship.
One way to get the most out of your cruise vacation is to get the most out of your first day on-board. Even though it is not a full day, make the most of it!
Around 4:00 or so, all ship board activities are suspended, as it is time for the mandatory safety drill. You will find the vests in the top of the closet in your stateroom. Your assembly station is listed on the vest as well as posted in your stateroom, and on your key to the world card. If you have a child enrolled in the kids club, your assembly station is listed on their bracelet. All assembly stations are on deck 4.
When all stateroom guests are accounted for at the assembly stations, the drill is complete and it is now time for the Sail Away Party! Click here to read more.
Watch the land fade away as your ship pulls away from port. We have often seen dolphins and manatees swimming beside the ship as it pulls away from port. Your stateroom verandah or any outside deck offers a great view!
For us, dinner comes next, as we usually have the main seating for dinner. There will be dining tickets in your stateroom with your dining rotation, dining time, and table number. Bring those tickets with you to dinner on the first night to your assigned restaurant. The crew will use the tickets to help you find your table. You will get to meet your tablemates, if you have them—click here to read more, and you serving staff. They will get to know you and your preferences. Don’t be surprised if they have your drink preferences waiting for you when you arrive at dinner tomorrow night and the next, as they rotate through the restaurants with you.
After dinner, it is time for the show and any other festivities. Check your Personal Navigator for a list of events—click here to read more. Characters will be out in full force, as will the ships’ photographers. After dinner you can go to Shutters and check out your pre-boarding photo taken earlier in the day. Will your post cruise photo show you more relaxed? I’m sure it will! Enjoy the rest of your cruise!