Step 3: Make a Daily Plan

Step 3You have already selected your cruise in Step 1 of the DCL Prep School 6-Step Planning Process. This means your daily itinerary of sea days and port days is set. Now it’s up to you to decide how to make the most of each day. On each cruise, there are four types of days: embarkation, at sea, in port and disembarkation. Each day has its own pace and activities you will want to enjoy. Understanding each day will help you make the most of them.

Embarkation Day

This is the day you have been waiting for. The countdown is over, and it is time to check in the ship. On embarkation day you will want to get settled in your stateroom and then get to know your ship. Once the ship leaves port, there is a Sail Away deck party and then it will be time for dinner and DCL’s signature Broadway-style entertainment. This day moves so quickly, my advice is to try not to get overwhelmed.

DCL Prep School Tip: If you are eating lunch on board, instead of dining in Cabanas or Beach Blanket Buffet, opt to eat at the lower deck restaurant (Depending on your ship – Cariocas, Parrot Cay or Enchanted Garden). The food is just as good, and the pace is far more relaxed.

At Sea Days

My favorite days are spent at sea. Sea days are perfect for a splash in the pools, spa treatments or to partake of Disney’s adults-only dining at Remy or Palo. DCL often offers special character parties for guests on at sea days. My kids like spending the extra time in the kids clubs participating in games or just chilling on their own.

Port Days

Adventure awaits. I like to book Port Adventures directly with Disney Cruise Line. When you book with DCL you are guaranteed that if you are delayed on land, the ship will not leave port without you, but if it does, it is up to Disney to help you catch it. At some ports we choose not to book a Port Adventure. We will walk through the port area, enjoying local food and a little shopping.

If it is a port I have visited several times, I may even stay on board to enjoy the ship. With many guests departing for Port Adventures and exploration, you feel like you have the ship to yourself. Pools, restaurants and other areas are considerably less crowded.

Disembarkation Day

The saddest day of the cruise. No matter the length of your sailing, this day comes far too quickly. Your stateroom host will provide you with information for entry into the port of your final destination. (For closed loop cruises, this will be the same as your departure port.)

Disembarkation Briefing: A brief, informative program is available on your stateroom television information channel, and runs on a loop. Typically hosted by your Cruise Director, this show will answer most of your questions concerning entry to your final port.

Settle your onboard account early: If you do not have a credit card on file for onboard charges, you will need to completely settle all stateroom charges prior to leaving the ship. Lines can get quite long the evening prior to disembarkation. Plan to go to Guest Services in the afternoon before disembarking for shorter lines.

Breakfast is served early on disembarkation day. Your time of departure will depend on  your evening dining time and your transportation at the port. You will be provided with detailed instructions for your family the day prior to disembarkation. If you have any additional questions about disembarking, Guest Services is available at all times.