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Going on your very first Disney Cruise and want to make it extra magical? Check out our 12 best tips that will help you make it special for your entire family!

I remember my very first Disney cruise like it was yesterday. I was so excited to get on board and start all the wonderful adventures we had planned. It was mine and my husband’s honeymoon, and we were sailing on the Fantasy headed to the West Caribbean to see Mexico, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Disney’s beautiful private island, Castaway Cay. I was so pumped and ready for a magical week with my new husband!

And boy did Disney deliver. Ever since then, my husband and I have been obsessed with Disney cruising. We have gone on 4 (soon to be 5) and can’t get enough of them.

If you’re taking your very first Disney cruise soon, there’s something I want you to know: you’ll be hooked!

Today, I’m so excited to share with you our 12 best tips for making your first Disney cruise extra special for the whole family!

Celebrate a birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, or other important life event

If you have a special life event coming up around the time that you’d like to take your cruise, make it a trip to celebrate that milestone! Whether it’s your child’s birthday, your wedding anniversary, or a high school/college graduation – celebrate it with Disney Cruise Line! If you let them know that you’re celebrating something, they will make sure it’s extra special for you. Plus, what an amazing way to celebrate with tons of Disney entertainment, traveling outside of the country, eating delicious food and taking in breathtaking views!

Ears Tip: Be sure to get a celebration button from guest services when you board! Cast members love to say “Congratulations!” or “Happy birthday!” and it really makes you feel special!

first disney cruise

Get a verandah stateroom

As travel advisors who have been on Disney Cruise Line many times, we always recommend getting a verandah room if your budget allows. The views are absolutely amazing and it’s a great way to make your cruise even more special. You can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while you watch the sunrise or set, take the kids out on it to look for dolphins/fish, or order {free} room service and have breakfast on your balcony. This will definitely add that extra level of special that your entire family will enjoy.

first disney cruise

Have some adult time

Contrary to popular opinion, Disney Cruise Line is not just for kids. In fact, there are so many fun and relaxing things for adults to do without the kids onboard any of Disney’s ships! If you don’t believe me, take. a look at our blog post that shows you 15 things for adults to do on Disney Cruise Line. My husband and I have taken all but one (out of 5) of our Disney cruises as a couple with no kids. Disney truly knows how to pamper adults too!

There are lots of adult-only areas onboard where you can relax, sip your favorite drink, and get your tan on by the pool. There are several adult-only hot tubs, pools, bars, lounges, and even restaurants that you can visit, as well as a spa. On Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, you can enjoy lots of adults only activities including an adult-only beach, bars, massages, excursions, and more. Disney also offers wonderful adult-only excursions at virtually any of the ports that they visit. My husband and I have done several of these and loved everything about them!

When you set aside the time for you and your spouse on your first Disney Cruise, you’ll make memories that you’ll remember forever. It’s always great when mom and dad get some one on one time for themselves!

Our Dinner View at Palo

Let the kids enjoy the kids clubs

One of the most amazing things about DCL is that the kids clubs are FREE! There is no extra cost for your kids to participate in the kids clubs onboard. There are different clubs and they vary by age: The Oceaneer Club, The Oceaneer Lab, Edge, and Vibe. The Oceaneer club and lab are for kids ages 3-12, Edge is for ages 11-14, and Vibe is for teens 14-17. Each of these clubs offer different experiences for kids and are perfect for meeting new friends from around the world and doing super fun activities together!

Try new foods/drinks

My favorite thing about dining on a Disney cruise ship is that food is included and unlimited (specialty drinks and alcohol are available for an extra fee). So if you don’t like something you have on your plate, you can switch it out for something else at no extra charge! This makes for a great opportunity to try new things and make your cruise even more memorable.

I remember when my husband and I first saw calamari on the menu at the Royal Court onboard the Disney Fantasy – we were so intrigued! We had never tried calamari but we had heard how good it was. So, we both got a plate of it as our appetizers. Steven loved it, but I wasn’t a fan. Our waiter asked me what else I would like and brought out another appetizer for me. Even though I ended up not liking it, it was still an experience I remember to this day. It was nice to try something different without being afraid that I couldn’t switch it out for something else!

disney cruise for adults
disney cruise for adults
The AMAZING Chocolate Souffle at Palo – a must try!

Go on an exciting new Port Adventure

If this is your first cruise ever, this tip probably won’t apply to you (because you’ve never been on a Port Adventure before so all of them are new to you!). But, if you’ve cruised with another cruise line before, you’ve probably been on several shore excursions. Disney likes to call these “Port Adventures”, and they’re just what they sound like, adventures you get to embark on while in port.

On our Disney Cruise honeymoon, my husband and I swam with dolphins in Falmouth, Jamaica. This was something I have always wanted to do, and we finally got to do it together! It was an absolutely incredible experience that I will remember forever, and I can’t wait to go do it again. On your cruise, make sure you do something that you’ve always wanted to do or take part in an experience that you’ve never tried before. You just might like it!

disney cruise for adults

Buy a special souvenir

I usually don’t like to buy tons of souvenirs when we go on vacation because we already have 34586234 “trinkets” and “souvenirs” from other vacation destinations crowding up our house. But, when we go somewhere for the first time, I like to get something special to help us remember the trip.

My go-to item is usually a special ornament that we can hang on our Christmas tree every year. It’s simple, memorable, and doesn’t take up much room in my house. I call that a win!

Get matching family shirts

I have to admit, I am obsessed with matching family vacation shirts. They make for such adorable photos! For my daughter’s first Disney cruise (and the rest of my family’s first cruise), we got matching shirts to wear on embarkation day and on Pirate Night. I will always cherish those photos that we got of my daughter in her little onesies!

pack for a disney cruise with a baby

Decorate your stateroom door

It’s become a phenomenon on just about all of the Disney Cruise Line sailings to decorate the stateroom door with magnets or fish extenders. The doors are magnetic, so it makes them really easy to decorate. I’ve even seen some people get personalized magnets that say something like “Weaver Family’s First Ever Cruise!” This is something the kids could have a lot of fun with before and during the cruise by helping pick the magnets out and putting them on the door!

Meet your favorite characters

If you’ve been to Disney World, you know how hectic character meet and greets can be if you don’t have a FastPass. On a Disney cruise, it’s a totally different ballgame. The lines are much shorter and there are many more opportunities to see your favorite characters (including characters that can be hard to find sometimes in the parks). Some popular character meet and greets (like Ana and Elsa from Frozen) require a ticket to get in, but it doesn’t cost anything. You just need to reserve your tickets online ahead of time.

On our daughters very first cruise, we took her to see Ana and Elsa on the Fantasy. She was only 7 months old at the time but was absolutely mesmerized by them. I will never forget the smile on her face when she saw them and when they interacted with her! There’s just something about seeing your baby smile when they finally get to meet their favorite character!

disney cruise

Take a special themed cruise

DCL offers several fun themed cruises throughout the year like Halloween on the High Seas (our favorite), Very Merrytime Cruises, Marvel Day at Sea, and Star Wars Day at Sea. These cruises just add even more excitement to your Disney Cruise with awesome themed activities for the whole family. For example, on the Halloween on the High seas cruise, you can go trick or treating, carve pumpkins, participate in costume contests, and so much more – and it’s all included in the price of your cruise! One of these exciting sailings would be a great and easy way to make your cruise even more special and magical for your entire family.

halloween disney cruise

Don’t try to do it all!

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you’re on your first Disney cruise is to try to see and do it all. You only tire yourself out and make it UN-enjoyable for yourself! While I do think you should take advantage of all that Disney has to offer, only do what is important to you. Don’t feel like you have to do “all the things” to get your moneys worth or just to say you’ve done it. Make time for rest, relaxation, quality time with family, and adventure!

Have you been on a Disney cruise before? What are your best memories from it?

If you’d like to take a Disney Cruise Line vacation but don’t know where to start, we would be more than happy to help! My husband and I are certified travel advisors for all Disney destinations with an award winning agency – Ears of Experience, LLC. We have years of experience vacationing at Walt Disney World and with Disney Cruise Line.We do all of the planning so you can enjoy your vacation! Email us at today and let us help you plan your magical getaway!

Want more Disney Cruise Line vacation tips? Check out our other posts:

The Ultimate Guide to Castaway Cay for Adults

The Complete Guide to a Romantic Disney Cruise for Couples

19 Tips for a Stress-Free Disney Cruise with a Baby

15 Important Tips for Your First Day on a Disney Cruise