After conquering the parks, we decided to conquer the high seas aboard the Disney Cruise Liner, The Fantasy. It’s been two weeks since we returned; and I still think back to each day’s activities, the people met and the places discovered.
We took the 7-Day cruise from Port Canaveral and traveled to Tortola, St.Thomas/St. John and Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island).
In this first blog post, I want to give you the details of booking and then arriving on the cruise.
We booked this late March ’16 cruise in September ’15 with travel agent, Kristie Bennett of Dreams Unlimited; and received a $400 onboard credit. She was wonderful and talked to me one day for 45 minutes explaining the ABC’s of a Disney Cruise. She is a fabulous resource.
Seventy-five days out (since we are first time cruisers), we were able to book our excursions and any onboard activities that need reservations such as brunch/dinner at Palo or Remy (adult-only restaurants), Bibbity Bobbity Boutique and Senses Spa. Note: 1) I booked my excursions at midnight, popular excursions book fast! 2) After your first cruise, you officially become part of the Castaway Cay Club (silver, gold, platinum levels). Then you are able to book your excursions, reservations, etc. 90, 105 & 120 days out.
It is recommended that you arrive for your cruise the day before. If your flight is delayed, the cruise will leave without you. We arrived in Orlando on Friday evening and stayed at the Airport Hyatt Regency. We ate dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, McCoy’s and it was excellent.
We chose to take the Disney Magical Express from Orlando to Port Canaveral. Unlike taking the “FREE” Magical Express from the airport to Disney World (must stay on Disney property), you must book the Disney Magical Express and it’s $70/per person, round trip. We felt the cost was worth it…..we left our bags in the Hyatt on Saturday morning and did not see them again until Saturday evening in our stateroom. Same for leaving the cruise, our bags were taken at 8:30pm the last night of the cruise and we did not see them until we landed in Cincinnati the next evening. Plus, Disney transportation is always reliable and one less thing to stress about.
One month from arrival, you will receive your cruise itinerary booklet. This will include all luggage tags, reservations, stateroom, Disney Magical Express reservation information and much more. Keep this in your travel carry-on!
Day 1 of the cruise, we arrived at Port Canaveral at 10am (get ready to wait and have a snack in your purse). You will check-in and then immediately proceed to check-in your children at the activity center desk. They will receive their magic bands (their pass in and out of the onboard activities centers). Don’t do this on the cruise, there will be a massive line. Also, you will be charged $15 for this band. When you return it the last day of the cruise, you will receive a credit.
At 11:15am, Disney began calling assigned groups to enter the ship. Not sure how to improve this number, but frequent cruisers were higher on the list. We were group 11 (out of 40); and finally were on board around 11:50am.
Your stateroom will not be ready until around 3:45pm. Make sure to wear a swimsuit and coverup when arriving to the ship. As we entered the ship, we went straight to Deck 11 for swimming and lunch, which were already available.
As we were chilling at the pool, drink attendants walked around with drinks of the day, etc. Make sure to create a drink budget. Milk, juice, soda and coffee are free. We also ordered bottled water and beer for our room for a nominal fee and it’s delivered to your stateroom. For beer drinkers, be sure to get the Beer Mug deal. The mug costs $15 (you get to take it home) and you receive 22oz beers for the price of 16oz the entire cruise.
My next few posts will be about daily activities and excursions. Hope these logistic planning tips help!