Over a year ago, I wrote an article entitled “My Top Ten Reasons for Sailing with Disney Cruise Line“. If you haven’t read it, I hope you’ll give it a go. All of the reasons are still tried and true. In this article, I’m going to focus on something that I didn’t list in the article but can enhance your cruise – port adventures!
Each of the current four Disney ships have so much to offer. If you haven’t heard by now, there are two more ships to be added to the fleet in 2021 and 2023 as well. But part of the reason for cruising is the ability to visit different ports of call.
This article will cover general points to keep in mind. There are many ports of call depending on where you are sailing – Alaska, Eastern/Western/Southern Caribbean, Bahamas, Europe, Norwegian Fjords, Mediterranean, etc. Disney Cruise Line (DCL) offers many different travel itineraries, lengths of cruises, and along with that, port adventures to truly experience your destinations.
Because Disney Cruise Line caters to families, most of the port adventures offered will be geared to families. However, some Port Adventures may have age restrictions. So when it’s time to reserve your excursions, be sure you have done your homework ahead of time. If you are sailing with Disney Cruise Line for the first time, you can reserve your port adventures 75 days prior to your sail date. If you are a Silver Castaway Club member (1-4 cruises with DCL), you can do this at 90 days. As a Gold Castaway Club member (5-9 cruises with DCL), you can do this at 105 days. As a Platinum Castaway Club member (10+ cruises with DCL) or you are sailing concierge level, you can reserve port adventures 120 days prior to sailing.
For budgeting purposes, the Disney Cruise Line website will indicate the cost for each port adventure, broken down by age of participant. It will also indicate if there is a minimum age to participate. You will not be charged for a port adventure until you are on the ship. It will be charged to your onboard account.
Activity level/What to expect:
When you are looking at the Disney Cruise Line website for your port adventures, there will be details about each one and what is included in your excursion. The description will include the anticipated activity level. Is a member of your party restricted to a wheelchair? Do you have a child in a stroller? Do you have trouble hiking any distance? Read the descriptions carefully. They will indicate whether or not a wheelchair or stroller can be accommodated. The description will also tell you if you should wear good walking shoes, wear/bring a swimsuit, how you will be getting to your destination (ferry, taxi, walking). It may also indicate if any meals or snacks are included or if you will be responsible for that cost.
Length of excursion:
Each port adventure will indicate the approximate length of your excursion. You may not know the exact time of departure and return until you are onboard but it will show whether you will be gone for 2 hours or for 6 hours. Perhaps you want time on your own at a specific port. Or maybe you simply want to return early and enjoy a mostly empty ship – no lines for the AquaDuck! Perhaps you are traveling with little ones and know that a long excursion just isn’t for your family. This could be important information in deciding what works for you.
DIStracted Tip: One big advantage to booking through Disney Cruise Line is a guarantee that the ship will not leave the port without you. Port Adventures are coordinated with the ship’s arrival. If the ship is late, tour times will be adjusted. If an excursion runs late, DCL will wait (or arrange complimentary transportation to the next port of call, according to the DCL website). If you are off on your own and your ship is scheduled to depart at 5:00pm, you had better be back onboard before that time or you can wave good-bye to your ship.
Each port of call has something unique to offer. Perhaps it’s swimming with dolphins, exploring the culture and history of the port, horseback riding, zip lining, or simply relaxing on a beach and enjoying island breezes. There are many port adventures to choose from and you should have no trouble finding one that fits your family.
Have you cruised with Disney Cruise Line? Is there a particular port adventure that you enjoyed?
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