A Disney Cruise is the perfect family vacation! But does that mean that everything will be perfect on your cruise? Not necessarily! Unfortunately even Disney cannot ensure that everything will be smooth sailing at all times. There are a few common issues that you may experience on your Disney Cruise.
Many guests have very high (if a teeny bit unrealistic) expectations when boarding a Disney Cruise. (Or going to any Disney destination for that matter!) But there are some common issues that you may encounter during your Disney cruise. Knowing what they are ahead of time, and how to handle them, means that you will be able to return to your relaxing vacation that much sooner!
Common Plumbing Issues on Disney Cruise
I’m getting the unpleasant one out of the way right at the top! Plumbing issues are very common on cruise ships. The way the system is designed means that flushing issues are almost guaranteed at least once on your cruise. (The longer the cruise, the higher the chances!) And it may have nothing to do with your stateroom. A clog in another room can mean issues for all of the rooms in your section.
The best way to do your part to prevent plumbing issues is to follow the rules. DO NOT flush anything other than toilet paper (in moderate amounts). No wipes, sanitary products, NOTHING. And if you notice an issue, call maintenance right away from your room phone.
Not Getting the Dining Time You Want
Disney Cruise Line has two assigned times for dining in the main dining rooms – Main Dining (usually around 6:00 pm) and Late Dining (usually around 8:00 pm). Main Dining is BY FAR the most popular option and tends to fill up quickly. So what happens if you REALLY want Main Dining and don’t get it?
First off – don’t panic. Your first step is to request to be added to the wait list for Main Dining. You can do this by calling Disney Cruise Line or asking your Travel Agent. Then if you have not been moved off the wait list by the time you sail, plan to go to the Dining Request table on embarkation day and request the switch in person. Still no luck? STILL DON’T PANIC.
Late Dining is not the end of the world! In fact, you may discover that on a cruise, you may PREFER late dining. Not only does it give you more time to enjoy ports of call, but I find that I enjoy the shows more when I see them first. When I am on Main Dining and I go to the shows after dinner, I find that I am sleepier and less able to fully enjoy them! This is true for kids as well. I have seen many a young prince and princess carried out of the show sleeping or crying because they are exhausted.
If you are traveling with young kids, Disney Cruise Line offer Dine & Play. You can sign up for this on your first night and what will happen is that the kids in your party will be served right away, then the counselors from the Oceaneers Club will arrive to whisk them off to play, leaving you to finish your meal in peace and quiet.
Not Getting Palo or Remy Reservations
Ok, yes. I did say that Palo is the best restaurant on Disney Cruise Line. But it does happen that you cannot get the reservation you want for Palo or Remy. I am on two straight cruises of missing out on Palo brunch myself! (Still bitter…)
What to do if you cannot get the reservation you want? First of all – keep trying! Plans change all the time. If you cannot get the reservation before you board, on embarkation day go directly to wherever they are taking Palo/Remy reservations and see if you can make one there. Still no Palo or Remy love? There is a wait list.
Worst case scenario? If you cannot enjoy Palo/Remy on your cruise, I guess you will just have to plan another!
Weather Issues on your Disney Cruise
“Into each life some rain must fall.” – Longfellow
This is true not only of life but of cruising. Rain, wind, and the resulting rough seas are all possible on a cruise! On our recent Bermuda cruise out of NYC, Sharla and I experienced all of the above. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! But it is best to be prepared for common weather issues.
If you are prone to motion sickness or worry that you will be, talk to your doctor and use whatever method they recommend BEFORE you board the ship. Preferably a full day before! Sailors will tell you that motion sickness is much easier to prevent than cure. If all else fails and you find yourself under the weather (so to speak), order a cheese and cracker plate from room service, send someone up to the pool deck to get you ginger ale, and enjoy some of the On Demand movies in your stateroom. (This is also when you may wish you had read my article on choosing your stateroom!)
Pack layers and wet weather gear. It can get chilly at night, especially up on deck! A raincoat or small umbrella packs easily in a suitcase and may be the difference between staying on the ship or being able to enjoy a port of call without looking like a drowned rat.
Getting sick while on vacation is a bummer! Whether it is motion sickness, a common cold, or God forbid something worse, there is good news. There is a full staffed medical center onboard with physicians and nurses! The shops onboard carry basic supplies but it is really important to bring some over the counter medications from home. Keep in mind, the shops can only open when the ship is not in port! Also, the shops due not carry stomach meds as a stomach illness on a cruise can spread like wildfire. If you are experiencing moderate to severe stomach distress, it is important to let the medical center know!
Keep in mind that medical treatment onboard is not included in the cost of your cruise. You can request reimbursement from your health insurance, but many health insurance policies do not provide coverage for treatment out of the US. This is another important reason to consider purchasing trip insurance!
Hopefully this will help you to be prepared for any “rough seas” ahead. But don’t worry – a rainy day on a cruise is still better than any day back at work!
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