If you love all things Disney and are looking for a different type of adventure with some familiar elements, Disney Cruise Line (DCL) is your perfect solution! Like Walt Disney World and all the Disney Parks, DCL has something for everyone in your family, and then some! DCL combines all the things we love about Disney, like great entertainment, luxurious accommodations and world class dining, with exotic destinations and a wide range of port adventures and excursions! Disney Cruise Line offers a variety of itineraries including sailing out of Port Canaveral, Miami, Galveston, Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, and Barcelona, Spain, to name a few. Whether you’re looking for a short Caribbean getaway or a full cruising experience, DCL has something for you, so come and discover the Mouse at Sea!
Disney Cruise Line Frequently Asked Questions (Submitted by Corinne Leon)
1. What is the best time of year for a Disney Cruise?
Like any Disney vacation, there are times of the year that are more popular than others, for a variety of reasons. Times of the year when children are out of school (summer, spring break, Thanksgiving and Christmas) are busier, and consequently, more expensive. With all DCL cruises, it’s advisable to book as early as possible to secure the best rates – as soon as new itineraries are announced is probably the best time. For certain itineraries, the weather may play a part as well – for example, the fall months are hurricane season in the Caribbean, so while the fares may be less expensive, you run the risk of encountering bad weather and possible port cancellations.
2. Are we allowed to bring alcohol, and other drinks, onboard?
Yes, alcohol, beer, and other drinks are allowed onboard. Here is Disney Cruise Line’s Alcohol Policy:
Guests 21 years and older may bring a maximum of 2 bottles of unopened wine or champagne (no larger than 750 ml) or 6 beers (no larger than 12 ounces) on board at the beginning of the voyage and at each port of call. These beverages must be packed in carry-on (not checked) bags or luggage.
Guests wishing to consume wine or champagne that they have brought on board in one of the dining rooms will be charged a corking fee of $25.00 per bottle.
- Any alcohol packed in checked luggage will be removed and stored until the end of the cruise.
- Any wine or champagne in excess of 2 bottles or beer in excess of 6 beers will be stored until the end of the cruise.
- Bringing liquors and spirits (including powdered alcohol) on board is prohibited. These items will be stored until the end of the cruise.
- Guest MUST retrieve any stored alcohol at the end of the cruise. Items not retrieved will be destroyed and no compensation will be offered.
- Alcohol brought on board may not be consumed in any lounge or public area.
Once onboard, you can enjoy your alcohol in your stateroom or on your verandah. If you need glasses, just let your stateroom host or hostess know, and they will provide them. If you decide to bring your own wine to the dining room, you are welcome to bring your unfinished wine back to your stateroom with you, but ONLY your stateroom.
3. Do cell phones or smart phones work on the ships? What are the internet fees?
For some phone service carriers, cell service may be available with the Cellular at Sea program that DCL uses. Pricing will vary depending on your carrier so check with them before your cruise to find out what international roaming charges you might incur.
|Pay As You Go||1||25¢|
Rates are always subject to change so you should check with Guest Services once you board for specific fees and internet usage instructions. If you are sailing on the Dream or Fantasy, there are WiFi hotspots such as the Vista Cafe (Deck 4) and the Cove Cafe (Deck 11). Connectivity in your stateroom can be inconsistent, so if you are having problems, try these hotspots. Depending on the ship’s location, the internet can be a bit slower than on land, so also take that into consideration when purchasing your minutes.
4. What are the different kids’ clubs available?
For children between the ages of 3 and 12, they can enjoy both Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab. The Club may be slightly geared towards a younger group, but both are available for kids in this entire age group. You may sign up your children online or when you are waiting at the port terminal to board your ship.
For younger children, between the ages of 12 weeks to 3 years, there are babysitting services available (at an extra charge) at Flounder’s Reef Nursery on the Magic and the Wonder, and at It’s a Small World Nursery on the Dream and the Fantasy.
For tweens, between the ages of 11 and 14, they can hang out at The Edge. And for teens ages 14 to 17, they have their own space called Vibe. Teens also have their own beach on Castaway Cay as well as their own excursions (no little kids or adults allowed!).
5. What types of items can be autographed?
During character Meet and Greets, guests usually have the characters sign autograph books. These can be purchased on board, or you may buy or make your own before the cruise.
As well, you may also leave two items per stateroom with Guest Services in a plastic bag labeled with your last name and stateroom number. Include permanent or fabric markers (such as Sharpies) for the characters to use. Your items will be returned to your stateroom by the last night of your sailing. If you have more than two items, you can always have them signed at the various character Meet and Greets. Some popular items are photomats, Disney Vinylmations, Christmas ornaments, Mickey shaped plates, T-shirts, tote bags, pictures of the ship, or pillow cases.
In addition to the Disney characters, there is usually an opportunity to meet the Captain of your ship, who will also autograph items. As well, it’s also fun to have your favorite castmembers, servers, friends, etc. sign an autograph or scrapbook, which makes for a great keepsake.
6. What is “rotational dining”?
Rotational dining is the style of dining where you are assigned a table number and a server and assistant server team, much like other cruise lines, but on DCL, you will move around each evening. For dinners only, your party (and the entire dining room!) will be rotated to a different restaurant on the ship, but you will keep the same servers and tablemates. This way, each guest will have the opportunity to experience each of the 3 main restaurants on board, if they wish. Your dining rotation is provided to you when you board the ship, plus the servers will usually remind you where to go the following night at the end of your dinner. For breakfast and lunch, you will not have a rotation schedule to follow.
7. What is the dress code for the dining rooms?
On regular evenings, the dress code is usually “cruise casual”, which means that guests should not wear swimwear, tank tops, or shorts to the dining rooms. Jeans are allowed. Men may wear casual slacks and a shirt, women should wear capri pants, casual slacks, skirts or dresses.
On 3 and 4 night cruises, there is an “optional dress up” evening, where the men may wear a jacket and tie, and the women may wear a dress or pantsuit. On 7 night sailings or longer, there is usually a formal night and a semi-formal night. On all sailings, one night will be designated as “Pirate Night” where guests are encouraged to dress like a pirate for dinner. Each guest is usually provided with a pirate bandanna, in case you don’t have anything more “pirate-like”.
8. Tell me about the Palo and Remy dining experiences. Are gratuities included in the extra price for those restaurants?
Palo – This is an Italian-inspired, adults-only restaurant onboard all 4 of the DCL ships. They offer a champagne brunch buffet (on 4-night and longer cruises) and dinner for an additional charge of $20 per person.
During dinner, gentlemen will be required to wear a dress shirt. Gentlemen wearing polo shirts, t-shirts, shorts, or jeans will not be allowed admittance. Jackets and/or ties are recommended but not required. “Cruise casual” is acceptable for brunch.
Remy – This is a French-inspired, adults-only restaurant exclusive to the Dream and Fantasy. Remy also offers a champagne brunch (at sea days) for $50 per person (plus $25 for the champagne pairings) and dinner for $75 per person.
For both Palo and Remy, you may reserve your spot as soon as you are allowed to make any online reservations (75 days ahead for first time cruisers, 90 days for Silver Castaway Club members). Timeslots are often difficult to obtain but if you are not able to secure one, they do hold back a few spaces, which you may try and book as soon as you board the ship.
During dinner, the dress code at Remy is a tuxedo or jacket (sports or suit jacket) with dress pants for men. Ties are optional. For women, a cocktail dress, pant suit or skirt/blouse is required. “Cruise casual” is acceptable for brunch/lunch.
In reference to gratuities, a small portion of the restaurant charge does go to your server. For example, at Palo, your server may receive $5.00 out of the $20 that is charged per person. If you decide to add something more to their gratuity it can be charged to your stateroom.
9. Tell me about the Castaway 5k run. Do they give out medals for this race?
In the past, runners received a plastic Mickey Mouse “Winner” medal upon finishing the course. There have been mixed reports, so you may also receive an official race number and a Finisher’s certificate. There may also be T-shirts for sale right next to the starting line at Buy the Seashore.
Be sure to check your Personal Navigator, the daily cruise newsletter, for all the details the night before your day on Castaway Cay.
10. How do gratuities work? How much should I tip?
Disney Cruise Line is home to hundreds of cast members who work hard to provide you with outstanding service. In recognition of their efforts, DCL has provided the following guidelines for tipping:
|Per Guest per cruise||3-Night||4-Night||7-Night|
|Dining Room Server||$12.00||$16.00||$28.00|
|Dining Room Asst. Server||$9.00||$12.00||$21.00|
|Dining Room Head Server||$3.00||$4.00||$7.00|
|Dining Manager||Your Discretion|
|Room Service||Your Discretion|
|Vista/Senses Spa & Salon||18% applied to all services|
|Babysitting||Gratuity not expected|
not included in port
For guest convenience, Disney Cruise Line automatically adds the suggested amount to your onboard account, based on the length of your cruise and the number of guests in your stateroom. You can also choose to pay your gratuities in advance up to three days before your sailing date by contacting the cruise line. If you would like to pay for the gratuities in cash or make changes to the amount, stop by the Guest Services Desk anytime during your vacation.
During our trips on the Disney Cruise Line, we have found it very convenient to keep some single dollar bills in an envelope, ready to be used for room service tipping. Also, keep in mind that a 15% gratuity is automatically added to bar, beverage, wine and deck service tabs. Gratuities can be paid in cash or charged to your stateroom account.