Random thoughts and tips from our 4 night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral:
As soon as possible, get your Disney Cruise account set up and your reservations linked. Go into your planning dashboard and complete all of the information. Specifically select the earliest boarding time possible
Plan to arrive at the port around 10:30 so you can hopefully board after 11:00 am. Wear swim gear, cover-ups, etc and go straight to the pool. Don’t go to your room. Go get chairs, lunch, etc.
You will drop luggage off at the port when you arrive. They take luggage to your room.
We got off the boat at both Nassau and Castaway Cay. However, the only excursion we pre-booked was the day at Blue Lagoon. It was beautiful. The local food was -meh.
We didn’t do Atlantis, I just felt the cost was super steep and you don’t have that long off the boat, by the time we traveled to Atlantis, we would have only had a few hours.
I didn’t plan anything for Castaway Cay. This is the best day. Plenty of seating, food on the island, etc. However, it is crowded. We did break down and rent the kids inter tubes here.
Kids clubs are all free. You don’t need a reservation for any of that. Gaines (age 5) LOVED kids club, Campbell too (age 9). They couldn’t get enough “club.” I had to encourage them to leave and hang with us. However, my older girls were way less interested. There just weren’t that many kids in the clubs for their age ranges (12-14). That was the biggest disappointment to all.
Character experiences do not require a reservation, except for the princesses. We didn’t meet any characters. My kids were too old, disinterested- sad!
It was hard to make myself do it, but one night Keith and I dined at Palo. I put the littles in club and the older two just wandered the boat. Our meal at Palo was ah-mazing!! Seriously a dinner to remember. If you can possibly make it happen, do it.
Be prepared for Pirate Night. This is normally Nassau day, but your planning dashboard in the account will tell you. You will want to eat w the kids this night and not at adult dinner. Everyone does dress up and it is super fun. We just ordered cute pirate t-shirts off Etsy and wore the pirate bandanas left in our cabin.
I didn’t pre-purchase the photo package. If you have any photos you just love, you can buy them at Shutters on the ship (we did not).
There will be a ton of rooms with door decorations. These need to be magnetic and can be found on Etsy. You will see tons and they are helpful for the kids to find their door down the long hallways when all look similar.
There is a popular fishhook activity on the ship. You trade treats and trinkets with other families on the ship. We did not participate and my kids never seemed to notice.
Definitely get the Disney Cruise Navigator app on your phone. This will be great while ON the ship. This works in airplane mode and you and your family can use it to message with each other while on the boat. This will also have the daily schedule of shows, character meet and greets, movies, etc.
I loved the second dinner seating. It is pretty late, but the main time is SO early. You have to get everyone ready for dinner so early. The one major plus to the second seating is that the kids club will come and get the kids from dinner when they are done eating and take them to the kids club. They do not do this at the early dining time. We typically ordered room service nightly to snack on (the cheese/grapes tray specifically) while showering and getting ready for the later dinner.