You’ve saved for months, maybe years, to take the magical cruise of a lifetime. Of course, you want to make the most of it! I’m here to help you avoid rookie mistakes that first-timers tend to make before and during their cruise. Here are 7 of the most common:
Rookie Mistake #7
Not having the proper paperwork
Do you HAVE to have a passport? No, not if you are sailing in and out of the same port, but SHOULD you have one? Yes, yes you should! Any number of things can happen when you’re out of the country. And if, heaven forbid, for some reason you have to fly back, instead of sail back to your country, you are going to have a BIG problem re-entering with just your birth certificate. So plan ahead, and just consider it a travel expense, and get those passports! Now if you don’t believe me and choose to sail with just your birth certificate anyway, make sure it’s an original, certified copy.
Rookie Mistake #6
Not having travel insurance
First, let me be clear, I do not represent a travel insurance company in any way. But, I’m telling you that not having travel insurance is a little bit like not having homeowners insurance. You wouldn’t do it because it’s too big of an investment to risk it. And while a 7 night cruise may not be as much as a mortgage, it’s still a significant investment, and you should protect it. And did you know if you get sick on the ship, most travel policies include sickness and will even reimburse you for your time in the infirmary. I promise you, the infirmary is NOT cheap. My friend Amy got strep throat and her infirmary bill was over $700. She submitted it to insurance and was reimbursed within two weeks. Be like Amy. Buy the insurance. 😉
Rookie Mistake #5
Not paying attention to all aboard times.
Folks, Disney castmembers, as we all know, are amazing. Truly gracious. Truly amazing. But if they tell you to be on-board by 4:30 because they’re sailing at 4:45, they aren’t just suggesting it. And the captain WILL leave you behind. If he’s in an especially giving mood, he may wait a few minutes, but ultimately you WILL get left behind. In which case, see Rookie Mistake #6, because you’re going to need it.
Rookie Mistake #4
Not showing up on time for the muster drill.
What’s the muster drill, you ask? It’s a mandatory safety briefing where you’re told what to do and where to go in case of emergency. In other words, how to save your life, and the lives of your family. Kinda important, right? You’d be surprised at how many people think they don’t need to attend. Notice the word MANDATORY. It includes you and every single member of your party. Don’t try to hide in your stateroom. They will come find you. And you will go. The easy way or the hard way. And believe me when I tell you, if you’ve kept 2,000 other people waiting because you don’t understand the word “mandatory”, you will be glared down and jeered at, and will have a “reputation” the rest of the cruise. Also, in the unlikely event that there is an emergency, and the captain says that everyone is to report to their muster stations, this means EVERYone. Yes, you have to get the sleeping toddler up. Yes, your elderly grandmother in the wheelchair has to go too. EVERYone has to go. We had a “Mr. MOBE” (man overboard) scare on one trip and everyone was required to report to their muster stations. We stood there for almost TWO hours waiting on everyone to show up. Not only were we inconvenienced, but had their actually been someone overboard, critical time was wasted. So don’t be a jerk. Just go.
Rookie Mistake #3
Following the herd.
I tend to not be a herd follower by nature, which in many cases has served me well. Disney Cruises are no exception. When the herd heads toward the main elevators after the show lets out, don’t follow them. If your stateroom is forward, then walk to the forward elevators and take those instead. Don’t waste precious time waiting for elevators. When everyone is gathered around the pool deck for the sail away party, go up a level and watch from there. You’ll have a lot more room, and the view is actually better. You get the idea. If a large group is headed in one direction, find an alternate route.
Rookie Mistake #2
Not taking advantage of the kids/tween/teen clubs.
I understand that some kids are shy. Our daughter is shy. Like, at the time of our first sailing, she would barely speak to someone she didn’t know, and she was TWELVE. So when I say I “get it”, I really do. And if you have a shy kid, they will likely resist going. Convince them to go anyway. The kids clubs are SO. MUCH. FUN! My daughter was really, really scared to go, but we convinced her to go anyway and she was SO glad she did! Now it’s the thing she looks forward to most! The castmembers are awesome and really get the kids involved. They have tons to do besides just playing video games. On our last cruise the teens actually made a MOVIE! The castmembers shot and edited it, but the kids did make-up and costuming and acting, of course. Then they invited the parents to watch it on our last night at sea. This is just one small example of the awesome things they do with them! Trust me, your kids will love it!
Rookie Mistake #1
Not using a travel agent.
And finally, the #1 mistake that new DCL cruisers make is not using a travel agent. Besides actually booking your trip, a good agent will advise you on the best stateroom, the best excursions, and all of the insider tips that only a seasoned professional will know. And they’re free. Disney pays their commission, so you don’t have to. So you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
I hope these tips have helped you a bit! Please leave a comment below if you have any questions! Have a magical trip!