Going on vacation is one thing, going on a cruise is a whole different ballgame.
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First off I must say, we are still talking about our first Disney Cruise and it’s been a while since we got back. After months of research, and now our own experience, I want to pass on everything we learned to help you out too.
- Passports/ birth certificates
- Driver’s License
- Medical Insurance Cards
- Travel Insurance Information
- Disney Cruise Line Baggage Tags
- Cruise Documentation
- Third Party Excursion Information (If you didn’t purchase your excursion through Disney.)
**Keep all of this in your carry on or in your purse when you get onto the ship.**
While passports aren’t necessarily required on a closed loop cruise, meaning you start and end in the U.S., just to be safe I would recommend having them. This is more of a safeguard should you get off the ship and need to fly back to the US due to an emergency. That being said, make sure that your passports are up to date. Also, check the expiration date on your driver’s license as you’ll need that to get on and off the ship.
I made a folder of all our confirmation’s for the trip including the hotel, excursions, and our online check in forms for the cruise. Inside this folder is also where I kept the Disney Cruise Line baggage tags that were sent a few weeks prior to the cruise. If you’re flying, do not attach the Disney Cruise Line bag tags to your luggage until AFTER you get off the plane. Attach the baggage tags to all the bags you’re dropping off at port to be brought to your stateroom later.
I highly recommend wearing your bathing suit under your clothes when you get on the ship. The first thing we did was eat lunch and until our room was ready, we hit the Aqua Duck and the pool. While we swam about, we left our carry on items on a few of the chairs by the pool. As for what to wear, we decided to do matching shirts, which was a lot of fun because a lot of other families did too. You definitely don’t have to wear matching shirts, but you’ll want to dress comfortably. Depending on what time you’re able to actually get on the ship, it will be a while before you actually make it to your stateroom.
If you’re going to bring alcohol or other beverages onto the ship, those liquids must be brought in your carry on luggage. (You’ll want to review the Disney Cruise Line rules for how much you can actually carry on to the ship.) We did bring two 6-packs of beer (one per adult) in our small rolling bag.
Carry On Luggage
- Cash/ Credit Cards
- Cell Phones & Chargers
- Lanyard (to wear your key to the world)
- Prescription Glasses/ Contacts
- Laptops & Chargers
- Hair Ties
- Diapers/ swim diapers/ wipes/ bottles/ formula (If you’re traveling with little ones)
- Drink koozie
- Matching T-Shirts
- Bathing suit under clothing
Speaking of luggage, we purchased two of these suitcases and it held everything I have listed in this post and we had plenty of room. For four people for the entire four days.
I also brought a weekender bag to carry on in addition to our rolling luggage and found this one which is even more perfect than what I used.
What to wear
This is probably the biggest question asked in all the research that I did. Let me first start by saying, you wear what feels the best and the most comfortable to you. The very first day, we would have been perfectly fine wearing our matching shirts and shorts to dinner. Instead, we did opt to change into fresh clothes.
My husband wore a short sleeved button down shirt and khaki pants, the girls and I wore sun dresses. Some call it resort casual, business casual, or church casual. Looking around, I saw a range of clothing choices. The only places where there is a more strict dress code is the two adult only restaurants.
We were on a four day cruise with the first day being our port at Nassau. Since we were doing a dolphin excursion, we opted to wear our bathing suit and coverup off the ship.
The next day for Castaway Cay we started the day with running the 5K so when we left the ship, we wore our running clothes.
After we finished running, we brought our bathing suits, cover ups, and flip flops with us to change into. The last full day was a day at sea and again we opted for bathing suit and cover up. The day we left the ship, we wore clothes comfortable for traveling.
There was one night where we noticed families were dressed way more fancier. We’re talking tuxedos and ball gowns. We did not participate in getting that dressed up, but there were also plenty of people who weren’t that dressed up either.
For the little princesses and/ or prince in your family, we also saw plenty that dressed up in royal attire. There is also a Bippidi Boppity Boutique onboard the ship.
Clothing, shoes, and accessories
- Swim suits (I would recommend at least 3 for a four day cruise)
- Cover up
- Flip flops or sandals
- Pajamas (a couple pair per person)
- Sundresses or resort casual wear for dinner
- Light jacket or sweater to wear at dinner, the evening shows, or walking around the ship at night.
- Shirts and shorts or dress pants for the gentlemen for each night
- Athletic wear if you’re planning on running the 5K on Castaway Cay or playing basketball on the sports deck.
- Tennis shoes and socks
- Jeans or pair of long pants- the evenings can be chilly and so can the theaters
- Sun hat or baseball cap
- Underwear/ bras
- Snorkel Mask (We didn’t want to rent one and risk getting sick)
There is one night where everything turns into a pirate theme. When we came back from Castaway Cay, there were pirate bandanas waiting for us in our room. We opted to bring a very simple outfit: white t-shirt we cut to look like a pirate, black capris/ shorts, and a red sash I cut from fabric. One of the families in our fish extender group gave us all pirate eye patches.
You can get as elaborate or again you don’t have to dress up at all. If you choose not to dress up, you may feel bummed because this is a big night and almost EVERYONE dresses up for it. Dinner is pirate themed, there’s a show, and fireworks… it’s really fun.
- Pirate costume
- Pirate accessories (eye patch, hook, earring, hat, parrot
- Or if you don’t want to dress up in full costume, I saw some really funny pirate inspired T-shirts people wore.
Stateroom set up
I’ve mentioned in my other post that we were a part of a fish extender group. That being said, we packed in our luggage we left at the port our gifts for the other family as well our fish extender, which I made. I also purchased this cute cookie cutter to give as a gift as well I found on Etsy.
The fish extender hangs on the fish hook outside the door and has pockets for the gifts to be placed in. We also decorated our door with magnets, NO TAPE, and I found this super cool magnetic paper that worked with our printer. We decided to do a Tangled theme for our door. You don’t have to decorate your door, but in the sea of doors, it’s nice to easily identify your room.
The stateroom itself was very well laid out even though it was smaller than a normal hotel room. There was plenty of counter space and a bottom shelf in both of the bathrooms to place all of our stuff. Disney Cruise line does a really great job providing full sized shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and body lotion.
Our host refilled them once during the trip. Not needing to bring those items alone helped out tremendously. I did buy a hanging toiletry bag to make things easier.
Speaking of making things easier for packing, I highly recommend packing cubes. We tried to keep our luggage to a minimum since we weren’t sure how the storage would be and packing cubes allowed us to fit more into our suitcases.
In the bathroom with the shower, there is a clothes line that stretches across and we brought our own clothes pins to hang up our wet swimsuits.
I mentioned that there were two bathrooms. One is a toilet and a sink, the other is a sink and the shower. I broke up our toiletries so someone could be in the shower in one and someone else getting ready in the other. The room also comes with a hairdryer and a specific plug in the living area where it should be used. Getting ready at night was the only time the room felt tight, which is why getting a room with a balcony was nice. I would step out to get fresh air and let the girls get ready.
There is plenty of room under the main bed to store your suitcases. As soon as we could get into the room that first day, I unpacked our bags and got everything put away. The closet is actually a really good size to hang up clothing. I also purchased a hanging shelf and laundry bag.
It was so nice to have an area to put dirty clothes and additional shelving for storage. On the back of the cabin door I used extra strength magnets to hold our lanyards so they didn’t get lost in the room.
We also used a magnetic dry erase board to leave each other notes regarding our whereabouts. Disney will not allow power strips to plug in additional chargers so keep that in mind when you’re deciding what to bring. There were plenty of plugs for each of us to plug in our devices at night. Our room host even used velcro ties to clean up the loose cords, which was very thoughtful. I also noticed that families who had little ones in diapers, Disney provides a diaper genie for each room.
- Door Decorations
- Fish Extender Gifts
- Magnetic hooks
- Clothes Pins
- Hamper for dirty clothes
- Packing Cubes
- Toiletry bag
- Electronics/ chargers
- Ziploc bags for extra food, toys, wet bathings suits from excursions
- Beach bag for carrying off the ship
- Toothbrush/ toothpaste
- Make-up Remover
- Razor/ shaving cream
- Seabands/ Dramamine
- Over the counter medications: Acetaminophen, aspirin, anti-diarrheal, allergy medication, heartburn medication, saline to name a few. And don’t forget the kid versions of these medicines too.
- Bandaids/ antiseptic ointment
- Feminine hygiene products
- Birth Control
- Aloe Vera
- Sunscreen (1 bottle per person/ day just in case)
- Hair products
- Curling Iron/ Straightener
- Contacts/ contact solution
- Daily vitamins
- Lip balm
- Wrinkle release spray
- Hand sanitizer
- If you don’t want to use the shampoo/conditioner/ body wash/ lotion Disney provides you can bring your own
Other Items to Consider
We brought our own candy to take to the movies and the shows. Just picked up a few of our favorites at the dollar store. Since there is unlimited soda and other beverages throughout the ship, we did bring a reusable cup, but later heard they’re not a fan of that, so we just used the cups they had provided. They were small, but good enough for what we needed.
**Speaking of the little cups, grab one and head to the ice cream machine. Put some of your candy on top for a little ice cream sundae action.**
We brought a mat to have autographed by the characters, but the lines were super long with the younger kids so we skipped it. The cast members on the ship and on Castaway Cay also had pins you could trade. As a part of our fish extender gift, especially for Pirate Night, we brought glow sticks. If you’re planning on downtime, I would maybe consider headphones to block out noise, Kindle or other reading device and charger, laptops and charger if you need to do some work.
**The first day you get a little bit of free wifi, otherwise you’ll need to purchase a package if you think you’ll need it once on the ship. I did buy the larger package and didn’t come close to using it all. Then again I tried hard not to be on my phone all that much except to take pictures. I wanted my kids to disconnect and only felt it appropriate that I disconnect too.**
- Autograph book
- Reusable cups
- Glow sticks
- Other electronic devices and chargers (ie. Kindle, laptops etc)
- Portable USB charger
Remember, whatever you pack you have to bring back. Not to mention if you purchase any souvenirs or if you are a part of a fish extender group. We went in with the mindset that we were there to unwind and took a very laid back approach, even to how we dressed. Every family is different, so please just see this as a suggestion and you do what you think is the most comfortable for you and your family.
Don’t forget to read all about our first Disney Cruise. I hope you have a magical time!
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