I had the pleasure of enjoying my first Disney Cruise in January of 2012. I had never cruised before in my life, and honestly, I’m not typically a beach and ocean kind of girl. My family and I headed out on the two-night christening cruise of the Disney Dream, and as we pulled back into Port Canaveral, I was sad to have to leave so quickly. Since then, I’ve spent time learning a bit more about the Disney Cruise Line, hoping to take my family on another Disney Cruise. Even with the amount of time I’ve spent learning about the four Disney Cruise Line ships and the various ports of call — with more being added all the time! — I was still surprised to find out how much I never knew about Disney cruises while aboard the reimagined Disney Magic last month. In just four days, I gained a new understanding of what it means to be part of the Disney Cruise Line family!
Here are seven things I bet you never knew about Disney cruises:
1. Disney Cruise Line cast members make changes to the schedule during the cruise: I had an opportunity to chat with the Cruise Director and Assistant Cruise Director about activity scheduling and was curious to find out how many people stay on the ship while it’s in port. I was excited to check out Nassau, but honestly didn’t want to give up too much ship time. With so many great restaurants and activities, who needs an island? It turns out that the cruise director and her supporting cast members keep track of what is happening each day — including how many guests have disembarked for the day — and they rearrange the activity schedule accordingly. If more people than anticipated stayed on board, they may even put out a second Navigator, or daily schedule, to the staterooms to announce new programming!
2. Cast member uniforms correspond to the role they’re playing: When you look around the ship at all of the smiling cast members, it’s easy to assume that their uniforms were simply designed to perhaps fit a nautical theme or match the ship’s decor. In fact, each uniform designates the role that cast member is playing in that moment. Here’s a tip: If you see a cast member wearing a blue and red striped rugby shirt, they’re part of the activities team. You may also want to note that any cast member is happy to direct you as needed regarding any topic at any time. You wouldn’t expect anything else from Disney.
3. The same cast members play a variety of roles: During my first day on board the reimagined Disney Magic, a lovely blonde cast member named Brittany, wearing her snazzy dress whites, provided several of us with a fabulous tour of the ship. Later I saw her singing and dancing in her sharp white pants and red and blue striped rugby shirt. The next day on Castaway Cay she was wearing the yellow shirt that all cast members on the island’s activities team were wearing. And that night — complete with a brunette wig — she became Buccaneer Brittany, sailing the seven seas with her pirate pals. If you think you see the same cast member in different outfits playing different roles, you very well may be right!
4. Open house periods allow kids of all ages to learn about what’s next for them from Disney Cruise Line: One of the most magical aspects of Disney Cruise Line ships is the way they’re divided into different areas for different age groups. We were able to check our children in to the Oceaneer Lab and Oceaneer Club and know that they were with kids their own age, well-supervised, and participating in age-appropriate activities. But did you know that during certain open house periods throughout the cruise, kids and families can visit various areas so that they get a feel for what’s next in their Disney Cruise Line experience? For example, tweens may want to visit Edge, the area reserved for kids ages 11 to 14, to begin to get a feel for what they’ve got to look forward to on future cruises.
5. There are no irons in the staterooms: This seems intuitive now that I know it, but did you realize that there are no irons and ironing boards in the Disney Cruise Line staterooms? No worries, though. Laundry service is available, and guests are permitted to iron their clothes in the laundry area as needed.
6. Some families have been on scores of Disney cruises and keep coming back for more! While not every ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet can undergo the same sort of transformation as the reimagined Disney Magic every time Disney is looking to change things up a bit, the Disney Cruise Line does frequently add new menu items, activities, ports of call, and other features to keep guests coming back for their favorite features while giving them something new to experience, too. Why do this? Because some families have taken scores — 50, 60, 70! — cruises on board the Disney Cruise Line. Phew!
7. Regular cruisers make themselves known: If you’ve ever visited a Disney Resort, you’ve likely walked past doors and windows and noticed signs, characters, and more that were placed on display by the guest occupying that room at the moment. I’ve noticed this most often at the Value Resort properties at Walt Disney World Resort, where frequent guests place a variety of Disney stuffed animals and signage in their room windows, usually complete with information about their family and how often they’ve visited the World. I had no idea that Disney Cruise Line attracted the same types of enthusiastic guests who display everything from signs to white boards complete with markers for other guests to leave messages! Walking up and down the halls of the reimagined Disney Magic reminded me more of a college dorm than a cruise ship. I loved seeing the signs placed by various guests and was blown away by the Disney loyalty DCL inspires.
I’m grateful to have had the chance to visit the reimagined Disney Magic courtesy of Disney so that I had the chance to learn all of this and more! (All opinions are my own.)
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