Last weekend my husband, Pat, and I boarded the Disney Wish for our second cruise on Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship. Below is a trip report of our sailing and some helpful tips if you’re planning or thinking about planning a Disney Cruise vacation.
Day 1 – Embarkation
Prior to our sailing, we completed the online check-in process which involves uploading your passport, a photo of yourself, and completing some other tasks, like setting up our onboard payment method. You’ll receive a printable boarding pass that you’ll need to be sure to bring with you to board the ship. As part of the online check-in process, we selected our boarding group which also dictates our port arrival time. Ours was group 17, port arrival 12:45 PM, so we started our drive to Port Canaveral around 10 AM. It takes us about an hour and 15 minutes to get to the port and of course we had to stop for coffee on the way!
If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort you can reserve a shuttle from your resort to the port. This is also available from Orlando International Airport and costs $78 per person round trip or $39 per person one way. The shuttle is a great option if you don’t want to rent a car and park at the port and pay for parking. The parking cost for our 3-night cruise was $75.
We arrived at the port around 11:45 AM and were directed to a numbered location at the front of the terminal to drop off our bags with an attendant. Your bags are then brought onto the ship and will be placed in front of your stateroom door, allowing you to board the ship without having to worry about them. Bags usually arrive around 4-5 PM, so be sure to pack a carry-on with anything that you might need before then. Of course, you can take all your bags on with you, but just remember that staterooms are usually not available until 2 PM.
PRO TIP: Be sure to have a couple dollars to tip the attendant.
After dropping off our bags, we parked our car and began the in-person check-in process. We presented our boarding pass and our passports and then went through a metal detector before entering the waiting area. Our boarding group was called within a few minutes and we entered a short line to get our boarding pass scanned one last time before boarding the ship.
PRO TIP: Prior to boarding the ship you’ll have the opportunity for a family photo. Photo packages are available and can be purchased before setting sail through the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App.
We boarded the ship and made our way to Deck 11 to Marceline Market for lunch. Marceline Market is a buffet dining location that is open for breakfast and lunch and offers a variety of cuisines. Other options are available for lunch including Mickey and Friends Festival of Foods on Deck 11, which has several quick service windows with food options including a tacos, burritos, pizza, bbq, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, and ice cream. A main dining restaurant will also be open for a table service lunch. Three main dining restaurants are Worlds of Marvel, Arendelle, and 1923.
Once we’d filled up on lots of food from Marceline Market, we headed to Luna, a lounge on Deck 4 to see if we could get a reservation for PALO Steakhouse. This was a huge win, as we were able to grab a 6:30 PM reservation for PALO Steakhouse on the last night after not being able to find any reservations through the app!
PRO TIP: Head to Luna Lounge on Deck 4 if you weren’t able to get a reservation for an adult-dining experience prior to your sailing to see if any reservations are available.
We headed to Currents Bar on Deck 14 for a drink and to lounge on the deck before checking out our stateroom after they were able at 2 PM.
We booked a Deluxe Family Stateroom with Verandah and loved having the extra space! On our first Disney Wish cruise, we stayed in a Deluxe Stateroom with Navigator Verandah and loved the room, but the extra space in the Family Stateroom was so nice to have. I’ve had a few people ask me is a verandah is worth the cost and for us, it totally is. Every morning we order room service the night before and sit on the verandah while we drink our coffee.
At 3:55 PM, all guests were required to attend an assembly drill. You are provided a letter that correspond to a location on this ship where you need to check in and take part in a safety drill should there be an emergency. This process took about 20 minutes and all guests must attend.
After the assembly drill, the Sail Away Party began on Deck 11. We skipped this, as the deck gets pretty crowded and instead explored the kids clubs during the Open House hours. I totally recommend checking all of the kids clubs out because you 100% will wish you were a kid again!
There are a number of kids clubs that are created for specific age groups:
- It’s a Small World Nursery: Families can take advantage of baby-sitting services for ages 6 months to 3 years. The space is themed to different areas of the world. NOTE: There is an hourly charge for babysitting in this location.
- Disney Oceaneer Club: Children ages 3 to 12 will get to explore themed spaces from some of their favorite stories. Fairytale Hall includes Rapunzel’s Art Studio, Belle’s Library and Anna and Elsa’s Sommerhus. The Walt Disney Imagineering Lab allows kids to participate in hands-on activities includes a Ride Studio where they can design a roller coaster and take a virtual ride on it. Marvel Super Hero Academy and Star Wars Cargo Bay allows kids to become part of their favorite stories and learn from their heroes. Mickey & Minnie’s Captain’s Deck, children can enjoy an indoor play area.
- Edge: Children ages 11 to 14 can hang out in a space inspired by a New York City loft apartment that includes a snack bar, TVs and lots of area to hangout with friends.
- Vibe: Teens ages 14 to 17 can hangout in a space that is inspired by artists’ lofts in Paris and offers lots of room for gaming and meeting new friends.
We headed back to our room to change for the night and made our way to trivia at Keg & Compass, the classic pub onboard before watching that evening’s show in the Walt Disney Theatre, “Disney Seas the Adventure.” Each evening of a 3-night sailing, a broadway-style show is performed – “Disney Seas the Adventure,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Aladdin.” We watched them on our first cruise and loved them all!
After the show was over, we headed to Arendelle for dinner. We had the second seating (8:15 PM) and were seated with two other couples who were so great to sit with. Disney Cruise Line created “rotational dining,” which means that each night you move to a different main dining restaurant and the dining team moves with you. This allows you to experience all of the different restaurants and get to know your dining team. We were so happy to have our waiter, Omar, each evening. He had incredible recommendations and ensured that we had everything we needed.
Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure is a “Frozen”-themed theatrical dining experience, that brings the kingdom of Arendelle to life. When you enter Arendelle, you’ll be joining in the celebration of Anna and Kristoff’s engagement led by Oaken and get to see the happy couple along with Elsa and Olaf. The show is led by a group of traveling musicians who Pat and I both thought were wonderful. Sets take place between your courses so as not to negatively impact your dining experience. The characters will come around to great guests throughout the evening.
There’s a lot more activities that take place after dinner, but we opted to grab some tea from Deck 11 (there’s a drinks station that is open 24 hours a day here) and head back to our room to watch a Disney movie on the on-demand Disney network available on the ship!
Day 2 – Nassau
We woke up to our coffee being delivered by room service and drank a few cups on the verandah as we watched the ship dock at Nassau. We decided not to get off the ship at this port and instead enjoy relaxing onboard. We got ready and headed up to Marceline Market for a full buffet breakfast and then grabbed a coffee from the Cove Cafe on Deck 13. The Cove Cafe is in the adult-only area of the ship and offers specialty coffees. There are two similar cafes on Deck 4 (Wishing Star Cafe) and Deck 5 (Enchanted Sword Cafe) that are open to all ages. All three of these cafes do charge an additional cost for drinks, but it’s well worth it in my opinion and you can get a card to be stamped each time you purchase a drink to get the 6th drink free.
After our morning of drinking coffee and eating lots of yummy food, we grabbed a spot at the Chip ‘n Dale Pool and read for a while. We loved this spot because it’s set back from the other pools and doesn’t get very crowded. Plus, there’s a nice shaded area which was great for us!
At 11:30 AM we headed to the Grand Hall for the Princess Gathering. This is a meet and greet opportunity with four princesses – Moana, Cinderella, Belle, and Rapunzel where photographers are present. Unlike the other character meet and greets onboard, you are required to have a reservation. Reservations can be made through the DCL Navigator App and open 30 days prior to your sailing date.
PRO TIP: If you’re not able to get a reservation for the Princess Gathering in advance, check the app once you board the ship and also stop by Guest Services to be added to the waitlist.
We had not been able to get a reservation on the day our booking window opened, but I checked the app once we boarded the ship and were able to grab reservations then.
This is definitely a must-do for little ones who love princesses. Another experience your kiddos might be interested in is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. It’s a similar experience to that offered in Walt Disney World and Disneyland, but there are some different costumes available including Captain Mickey.
We spent the rest of the day exploring the ship and grabbing a few drinks and lots of food along the way. If you’re a Star Wars fan I highly recommend setting aside some time to visit Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge on Deck 3.
We skipped the show this evening and instead took part in some of the trivia offered throughout the cruise. Pat and I love doing trivia and it’s offered in different bars and lounges across the ship, so you get to have a nice drink, answer some Disney questions, and chat with fellow Disney fans!
Dinner this night was in 1923, a restaurant that pays homage to Disney animation and history.
Day 3 – Castaway Cay
We went through our normal morning routine, with coffee on the verandah as we watched the ship dock at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. We were able to get off the ship at 8:30 AM and walked to the start of the Castaway Cay 5k, a self-paced race that is held each time a ship is docked at the island. If you’re doing the 5k, you’ll head to the second stop on the tram and go near the bike rental location where you’ll see a sign noting the start. There are signs throughout the island that direct you on the course and it gives you a great tour of the area! Once you complete the race, you can collect your medal!
We finished the 5k and spent some time just taking in the beautiful surroundings. Castaway Cay includes family and adult-only beaches, kids club locations, dining, bars, and lots of activities. Some of the activities are an additional cost and must be reserved (i.e. massage, snorkeling, etc.), so be sure to take a look at the available excursions on the island prior to your cruise.
Lunch was served on the island at Cookies, Cookies Too, and Serenity Bay BBQ, starting at 11:30 AM. Instead of grabbing lunch on the island, we headed back onto the ship and ordered room service and relaxed in our stateroom, freshening up after our 5k.
In the afternoon we had booked a Wine Tasting seminar in Nightingale, a Cinderella themed bar on Deck 3. The Wine Tasting requires advanced reservations and has limited availability. The tasting is $45 per person and includes an hour long seminar with six different wines, plus a pin. There are a variety of tastings available onboard including beer, champagne, rum, whiskey, bourdon, and gin. We’ve done several throughout our 5 cruises with Disney and enjoyed all of them, but loved the champagne and beer tasting the most.
After wine tasting, we did some shopping in Mickey’s Mainsail, Dory’s Forget-Me-Knots, and Treasures Untold. Each of the shops have a variety of items, with Mickey’s Mainsail having the largest offering. The shops are only open when the ship is at sea, so we waited until the evening to head there.
At 6:30 PM, we checked in for our PALO Steakhouse reservation. Everything about this experience was phenomenal. Our server, Sylvio, was personable and took the time to get to know us and what kind of food we like to make recommendations catered to us. The food was some of the best we’ve ever had and the chef came out to our table to thank us for joining them and ensure everything was as expected. There is a prix fixed menu with four courses that costs $45 per person, but we ordered an appetizer and entree each and paid just around that amount.
PRO TIP: Be sure to pack clothing that aligns with the dress code for PALO Steakhouse and Enchante.
To end the evening, we competed in some more trivia and then grabbed ice cream from Joyful Sweets on Deck 13. This is a speciality sweets shop inspired by “Inside Out” and was well worth the extra few dollars for ice cream!
We headed back to our room, packed up our bags, and went to sleep a bit early, as we had an early wake up call the next morning because we would be doing Express Walk Off.
Day 4 – Disembarkation
At 6:30 AM we grabbed breakfast at Marceline Market and then got in line in the Grand Hall for Express Walk Off at 7:15 AM. Express Walk Off is available for guests who do not need assistance with their bags. It works out great for us because we head right home and are able to get to work!
For all other guests, Disney will collect all bags the evening prior to disembarkation and have them placed in the cruise terminal for pick up after getting off the ship. This is a great option for families that don’t want to deal with their bags that morning. With this option, you also can have a table service breakfast at one of the main dining rooms and wait for your disembarkation group to be called.
What to Know If You’re Planning a Disney Cruise
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about our cruise and took away from helpful information! If you’re planning a Disney Cruise, I’ve put together a couple helpful downloads that can help you navigate the process. Of course, I am also here to help! As a travel agent certified in Disney Destinations, I provide complimentary planning assistance to families who book their travel through me. You can start the planning process with my help here!
Disney Cruise Line Planning Guide – includes a check list for each step of the planning process, what documents you’ll need, and a packing list.
Guide to Disney Cruise Line Navigator App – overview of the Navigator App and all the ways you can use it before and during your sailing.
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