Step 1: Select Dates

Step 1The first step is often the most difficult, but our 6-Step Process makes each step simple.

The first step in planning your Disney Cruise Line vacation is selecting your sailing dates. Unlike visiting the Disney Parks, where you can arrive and depart on any day you choose, DCL operates on a precise schedule with specific departure dates for each sailing. To choose which cruise is right for your family, first you need to decide when you want to cruise and how long you want to sail.

Pull out that calendar. Look at work and school schedules, and don’t forget sports, after school activities and holidays. Find the dates which work best for you. Note that DCL only travels to certain locations during specific times of the year. For example, Alaskan and European cruises typically run from May thru September.

DCL Prep School Tip: When considering athletic schedules, don’t forget to add a week for post-season tournaments. Those dates are not typically released ahead of time.

Once you have narrowed down your time frame, look at the published DCL itineraries. That will allow you to see where each ship sets sail from at any given time.

Take into account:

  • Departure port.
  • Length of cruise.
  • Ports of call.

Another important factor in choosing your cruise is determining how you will get to the departure port. Do not forget to price in the costs of

  • Travel to the port: airfare or driving
  • Parking at the port if driving.
  • Hotels before and after your cruise.
  • Pet sitting or kennels.

Selecting your cruise dates is only one step of the planning process, but it is one of the toughest. Once it is done, you can go on to planning where you will stay onboard and all the activities you want to enjoy. *page contains affiliate links