I went on my first cruise about 8 years ago with my mum and my sister, I loved it and I was addicted straight away! do you cruise? is a travel blog, set us to show that cruising can be for anyone. Looking at crusing with a fresh perspective. I hope that through setting up this blog I can work to dispel these myths and encourage other younger people to just give it a go.
While you might want a nice relaxing holiday and a cruise could definitely be the right choice for you. There might be a few things you can do while you are on board that you didn’t know about. So here are my top cruise secrets for things you didn’t know you could do on a cruise.
Enjoy Cocktails in the Cinema
Most ships nowadays have a cinema or at least another venue that doubles up as one. This will usually be included in the price of your holiday so you can go to the cinema as often as you like and as most cruise lines have an amazing cocktails menu, why not drink them while you are watching the latest James Bond or Bridget Jones. You can’t do that in a normal cinema.
Room Service at Midnight
On the majority of cruise lines, 24-hour room service is included in the price you pay. So you can eat what you want when you want. So why not take in a late night theatre show then head for a drink then back to your cabin for a late night snack, or even a three-course meal if you are feeling really hungry and the best thing is it will be delivered to your door and you don’t have to do the cooking.
Visit a Planetarium
The Queen Mary 2 is a world-renowned ship and probably one of the most famous ocean liners in history but did you know that you can visit the planetarium while you are on board. It’s one of the only planetariums at sea, so it’s definitely something not to be missed if you are ever cruising onboard the luxury liner. Other cruise lines, such as Viking are now catching on to this trend and offering a planetarium on some of their newer ships.
Relax with some Yoga
While you are on a cruise most people do have a tendency to over-indulge, so you may want to do some exercise or relaxation to counteract that. Cruise ships will have a gym that anyone can use if they wish. But also if you check the daily newsletter that will be left in your cabin. There will be classes each day that you can go and take part in. On some ships, these classes will be included but on others, you may have to pay to book in, so it’s best to check once onboard.
Go on Deck in the Winter
If you choose to go on a winter cruise (which I would definitely recommend) then you won’t be able to use the outdoor parts of the ship as you would in the summer. You can however still use the hot tubs, especially when it’s cold. Why not sit up on board and enjoy the warmth whilst you are brought cocktails, what could be more indulgent on your holiday.
Try Ice Skating
One of the newer additions to some of the larger ships especially Royal Caribbeans fleet are Ice Skating Rinks. So if you have a sea day and you are stuck for things to do, why not try a spot of ice skating, that’s got to be a different experience on a cruise ship. Some of the rinks also double up as theatres for ice shows in the evening which is even better.
Sunbathe Surrounded by Mountains
Obviously one of the main attractions of a cruise is travailing to places that you might not have been to before. One of the most amazing experiences I had was cruising around Norway. The ship was docked for the day in the Fiords and the weather was amazing, really warm, and definitely warm enough to sunbathe. So we spent the afternoon by the pool topping up our tans surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It was incredible and definitely an experience I will never forget.
Play some Golf
Well not proper golf, mini golf which is a lot more fun and easier for the less skilful, like me! There are loads of cruise lines who are picking up on this as activity on board their ships. So if you are sailing with Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Lines or Princess then you may just have a mini-golf course on board your ship.
Dine in a Celebrity Restaurant
Celebrity Restaurants are big business, so cruise lines are all trying to jump on board. Some ships will have several celebrity restaurants. P&O’s Britannia has a restaurant with food chosen by Eric Lanlard specialising in French Patisserie. Sindhu by Atul Kutcher with an Indian theme and the Glasshouse by Ollie Smith the wine expert where all the food is carefully chosen to match the wine. Most of the restaurants incur a separate cover charge, but some are more than others, and if they are open at lunchtime then the cover charges are normally less, so go and give them a try.
What’s your favourite thing to do when you go on a cruise? Let me know in the comments below.
Have you ever thought of trying a mini cruise? Read here about why it could be the perfect option for your first cruise.
If you are anything like me and you want to make yourself feel like you are on a cruise, even when you aren’t, then you will love dressing with a bit of Nautical Style. I love Nautical themed clothes even when I’m not on a cruise and so I thought I would share some of my favourites. So you can have some nautical style even when you aren’t at sea.
How cute is this scarf? Just a touch of nautical style and perfect to just throw on with an outfit as you are leaving your cabin for the day. I love a scarf to dress up an outfit and this is perfect for a cruise. Or lovely for an evening out with a smart jacket, to add a different touch to an outfit.
I love a striped top! I probably own way too many of them. They are my go-to style whether on holiday or at home. They are so easy to throw on with a pair of jeans and some flat shoes. Then you are ready for the day with a touch of nautical to your look. I love the half sleeves on this top, really nice for a cool summer day.
I am totally in love this Joules Beach Bag. It’s so pretty and perfect for carrying your things if you are just going to the pool or if you are going out for the day on an excursion. It’s definitely going to put you in the perfect holiday mood. But I love this bag so much that I would use it even when I’m not on a cruise. I think it would be great if you were just popping to the shops.
Havaianas are my favourite make of flip-flop and the only ones I have ever found that don’t hurt my feet. I have quite a few different pairs now, but naturally, because of my love of cruising and being at sea, I needed a nautically themed pair. I love the little anchors and the rope detail on them and they work perfectly with a striped sundress.
These sun hats are so on trend this summer and so perfect for capturing that perfect Instagram shot. I love this one, so pretty and even better it scrunches up so you can pack it in your case, without damaging the hat. Perfect for keeping you cool in the sun and everyone will know to leave you alone! You are on holiday after all!
I love this dress. Perfect for a day out with a sun hat and some sandals, but would also work really well for a more formal evening on a cruise if it was worn with some heel. Just the type of dress for a holiday that has multiple uses and is just so pretty.
There are just so many gorgeous things about at the moment that I can’t fit them all in this post. But I love all of these things and they will definitely give you that Nautical Style.
What are your favourite nautical themed items? Let me know in the comments below.
If you are looking for an amazing travel bag take a look at my review of the Mia Tui Jennie Travel Bag here perfect for flying or for a cruise.
A few weeks ago I had a very unexpected surprise when I got to go for lunch at the Shard. It was very last minute but we had a Friday afternoon free and thought we would see if we could get a table and to our surprise we did. I had never been to The Shard, but it had been on my wishlist for a while so I was really looking forward to it. I was also hoping that the weather would be ok, so we would get some half decent views, but wasn’t holding out much hope as London in January isn’t really know for sunshine.
We booked a table at Hutong and which serves Northern Chinese cuisine and is very themed in its decor but all works really well. I loved the atmosphere and the service was brilliant and of course, the views are what really make the restaurant. We didn’t have a window table, but that didn’t really matter, we still had really good views from where we were sitting. If you book far enough in advance you can ask for a window seat and will be more likely to get one but they can’t guarantee that.
So, onto the food. We chose to have the experience menu, which is available at lunchtime every day. It gives you a really nice selection of different food to try and is very good value. You can take a look at the menu here. With the menu, you get a selection of starters, a sharing main and then dessert. Four courses are £35 or you can add a glass of sparkling wine for £39. There is also a vegetarian menu available or they can swap out certain things with meat in them if you ask.
The started consisted of a selection of dumplings. Two steamed, one with shrimp filling and one with edamame and a crispy dumpling with pork belly. They were all really tasty, but my favourite has to be the pork belly, it was so tasty and the pastry was amazing. I could have eaten a lot more than just one!
This was a light salad of sliced beef, served cold with a chilly dressing. The beef was really tender and the dressing had a real kick to it. I do enjoy spicy food but nothing too hot, my lips were definitely tingling by the time I had finished but I still really enjoyed it.
This was a sharing main, which included crispy coated fish with chilli peanuts, choy sum in a spicy dressing and vegetable fried rice. I really don’t like peanuts so I wasn’t really sure about the fish but on my gosh it was amazing. The coating was delicious and the peanuts just tasted more of chilli than anything else, which was fine with me. It was only sprinkled on top of the fish, so if you really didn’t like it you could just take it off, or ask for it without. The greens were really fresh and tasty with a really spicy dressing which worked well with the fish. Then there was the vegetable fried rice, yeah just rice, by oh my I think it was the best rice I’ve ever had, it was just so yummy and there was loads of it, and we ate every last bit.
Last course was a dessert of sweet rice cakes. They were crispy on the outside and gelatinous on the inside and had a kind of treacle dressing with them. They were very sweet and tasty but definitely an interesting texture. I’m not sure if they were totally to my taste. But I tried them and didn’t hate them.
While the food was amazing, and we had a lovely time at Hutong, I’m sure the main reason most people go to the Shard is for the views. The weather a bit overcast the day we went but I still managed to take some lovely pictures. The views from the restaurant were amazing but you can also get some really good views, just as you are coming from the lift to the restaurant. You have to walk up a floor once you get out of life so you get the chance to have a wander around and take it all in. There are also several bars where you can enjoy a pre-dinner drink if you have the time. Also, the last thing to note is not to miss the toilets, most of them have the most amazing unobstructed views and are perfect for taking the best pictures.
Have you visited The Shard? Let me know in the comments below
Keep an eye out for more food reviews coming soon, in the meantime take a look at some other restaurants I have visited here.
Last year I was invited by Viking Cruises to spend the day on the Viking Sky one of their Ocean Cruise Ships. This was the first time I got to experience what it was like to cruise with Viking, and I fell in love straight away. Since then I have cruised with them around Norway and had the most amazing time, you can find out all about here. I thought I would take a look back at my first experience of Viking and share with you everything that I found out about their gorgeous ships.
I spent the day onboard, starting with welcome drinks and then we had a tour of the ship finishing with lunch in The World Cafe. Firstly I just want to start by saying I loved the Viking Sky. It was such a beautiful ship, simple and understated but so elegant. I was unsure when I knew I would be going on this visit what I would actually think of it. It’s such a small ship compared to the ones I would normally choose to sail on. I always think if I choose a larger ship there will be more for us to do when we are on board and the majority of the time this is true. But I was so pleasantly surprised when I stepped on board. The central atrium certainly isn’t small and the way the whole ship is decorated a styled it makes it feel a lot larger than it actually is. It’s Scandi style at its best and most certainly all to my taste.
We were taken on a brilliant tour of the ship, which gave us all a really good idea of what it would actually be like to spend a week or more on there. Firstly we were shown around the spa. I think this was probably one of my favourite places on the ship. It was so relaxing and calm, the perfect place to unwind after a long day of excursions.
There were lots of different things to try out but my favourite by far was the Snow Grotto. I had read about it before actually going on to the ship and I loved it when I saw it. Fresh snow is pumped in every morning and then you can just sit in there, for as long as you dare. Best of all the entry to the spa is included in the price you pay for your cruise. You just pay for treatments if you want them. I thought this was a brilliant bonus. It was such a nice spa and most other cruises I have been on you need to pay for passes just to get access.
We then went on to look at the restaurants on the ship. There are seven places to eat on the ship and all of them are included in the price, as well as the 24 hour Room Service. We took a look at the ships main dining area simply called The Restaurant where you can choose to eat every night if you wish, without having to choose a time or having to book.
There are also 2 speciality restaurants, which you don’t have to pay extra for but you do need to make advance bookings. The first is Manfredi’s an Italian restaurant. It was quirky and decorated with Hollywood movie stars giving it some old school glamour. The second, slightly more formal is the Chef’s Table offering a tasting menu every evening to make it a more upmarket experience. House wine is also included with lunch and dinner, so you don’t need to pay any extra if you want a glass or two!
We ate lunch in the World Cafe, the ship’s buffet restaurant. The food was lovely. So much to choose from and all freshly prepared, freshly baked bread and salads and hot food if you wanted something more substantial. There was even a gelato station, that has different flavours every day, so you could try all of them if you wanted! Again all drinks were included at lunch and they came round to top the water up throughout the meal.
Another thing I really liked was that there was a constant supply of mineral water while you were on board. This is something that can be really pricey when you are on a cruise. You have bottles in your room which are replaced every day and there are water stations all over the ship so you can help yourself. There was even a large fridge by the gangway so you take a bottle as you were leaving the ship for an excursion.
The Little Details
We continued our tour and got to go out on to the top deck of the ship which is covered with grass. There are loads of relaxing places to just sit and watch the world go by. From here you can also look down on to the main pool which has a retractable roof, so even if the weather is bad, the roof can be closed and you can still enjoy the sunshine. They have really tried to bring the outdoors inside on the ship and it really works.
I love being able to just sit down with a really good book, but unfortunately, I rarely have time to actually sit and read. Apart from when I’m on holiday, and especially when I am on a cruise. I always feel like I have the time to just sit down with a really good book and relax and read (while drinking a few cocktails too of course). So I thought I would put together a list of some of my favourite books that I have read over my past few holidays and it might give you some reading material for your next trip.
My first pick may be one you have already or if not you have probably heard of. Following on from the massive worldwide success of the Da Vinci Code Dan Brown has become a household name. I was a bit late to his books but once I read the Da Vinci Code I was hooked and can’t wait to read the next instalment of the Robert Langdon Series as soon as they are released. I really enjoyed Origin, it took a while to get into it but once I did I was really impressed with the book. I love the mix of a thriller and the historical aspects Brown packs into his books. I know that some people can find this a bit boring but for me, it really adds to the whole story. I love reading his books especially when they are set in places that I have quite often visited on a cruise and this being set in Spain and mostly in Barcelona made it all the more interesting.
This was actually the last book I read and I managed to pick up in a charity shop for a couple of pounds. My mum recommended it to me and said that I should read it so I took it away with me and I read it in 2 days. Its a dark thriller but it was so good I just couldn’t put it down. It was really easy to read and definitely the type of book where you just want to keep reading to find out what is going on. Set in an English country village and a newly married couple and everyone thinks their life is perfect, but then things are never as they seem.
This was another quick read and perfect for a holiday. I read this one too in a couple of days and was up reading it late one evening because I so wanted to finish it, but then I was on holiday so it didn’t really matter. It’s another dark thriller, can you see a theme yet? But honestly its really gripping and definitely worth a read while you are on a cruise. I would totally recommend it!
If you enjoy Dan Brown’s books then this may be one for you. I found it on the off chance but it really is the perfect mix of history and thriller. Flitting between modern day and Italy in the times when the Medici’s ran everything you really do get washed away in the history of the whole thing. A definite read for those who love murder and mysteries in a historical setting. This is a good book to read while you are away on holiday and taking time out. You do need to concentrate though to keep up with everything that’s going on in it so I wouldn’t recommend starting while you are too busy.
This next book has been around for a while, but it was so good I had to include it on my list. It took a while to read mostly because of the way it’s written but once you get into it’s so good. It begins when Nick wakes up and his wife Amy has disappeared and everything begins to unravel. This has now been made into a film, which is also really good, but the book is definitely better. So if you haven’t seen the film, definitely read the book first.
This is another bestseller that has recently been turned into a film and I would say that this is even better than Gone Girl. The book is really different to the film, they changed the story and the setting a lot before they filmed it. So I would say you could read the book and still really enjoy it even if you have seen the film. But again if you haven’t seen the film then definitely read the book first. The whole story is narrated by Rachel, who is looking from the train at people she doesn’t know, but then suddenly becomes involved in their lives. Totally gripping and definitely worth a holiday read.
I really hope you like my recommendations and you find something interesting to read on your next cruise. Let me know what you think of them in the comments below. Have you read any of them before? What was the last book you read while you were on a cruise?
Cape Town is one of the main cities that attract tourists to South Africa. With so much to offer and so much to do you can have the most fantastic time there. I visited Cape Town back in April and here are some of my favourite experiences.
We booked a villa to stay in rather than a Hotel. There were 7 of us so this seemed like the best option and made it a lot cheaper than booking separate hotel rooms. Definitely something worth considering if you travelling in a larger group. It meant we could cook meals and bbq for ourselves, and we had a private pool. We found ours on Airbnb and it was so easy to choose and book.
We were staying about 5 minutes away from the V&A Waterfront. A vibrant marina with restaurants and shops. It was such a lovely place to spend time, to just sit and have a drink and watch the boats coming in. There are some really interesting restaurants serving every type of food, but obviously being next to the sea they have some fantastic seafood. My favourite meal of the whole trip was at the Harbour House, situated right on the waterfront. The seafood there is just amazing. Order the rock lobster, a cape town speciality if it’s on the menu, I loved it. It can get really busy though, so it’s best to try and get reservations in advance if can.
From the waterfront, you can also book boat trips around the harbour, which offers some amazing views of Cape Town. Also from here, you can sail over to Robben Island the former Prison. The Ferries to the Island depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront several times a day and normally include a tour of the island when you arrive.
One of the must do things thing when visiting Cape Town is to take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. This can get really busy during peak season. If you are driving up to the entrance of the cable car it can be quite difficult to park, but there will be people directing you to the empty spaces, so keep a lookout for them. You can pre-book tickets online for the cable car, which if you are visiting in the busy season is a must. Otherwise, you need to queue for the tickets then queue for the cable car. It wasn’t too busy the day we visited and probably took about half an hour to actually get through the queue and to the top.
Once you are at the top, there is a small cafe and bar, so can have food or drink if you want. Other than that, there are different walks you can take depending on how long you want to stay up there. Or just enjoy the views, which really are amazing, until you are ready to take the cable car back down the mountain. It really was an incredible experience, the views were out of the world, something to put on the must do list when visiting Cape Town.
If you are staying in Cape Town, then you will also have access to places slightly further afield. If you love wine then you can take a trip to Stellenbosch. We went and stayed for a couple of night at Speir, a vineyard set on acres of land, with a hotel and several restaurants. It was really nice to get out of the city and into the countryside for a few days and it was about an hour away from Cape Town, so really easy to get back to the city again.
If you want to spend the day out then consider going to Boulder Beach, you can drive there and back in a day or book a trip there. This is where is where you go to see the penguins! We had such a brilliant day, and you can spend as much time as you want just watching the penguins and if the weather is ok you can even take a dip in the sea if it’s not too cold.
Book a Safari
One trip I would definitely recommend if you have the time is a Safari. There are quite a few different ones around 2 and a half hours from Cape Town that you can choose from. You can book in and drive yourself or book trips where a driver will take you there and back.
We went to Inverdoorn Game Reserve. We arrived and went out on Safari for around 3 hours which was brilliant, then went back to the restaurant for lunch and then we were able to sit around the pool and enjoy the weather before returning back to Cape Town in the evening. You can stay overnight at the Reserve as they have a hotel there. This gives you a chance to see more animals as you can go out on an early morning Safari or an evening trip. Read more about going on Safari while cruising here.
We spent 10 days in Cape Town and the surrounding area and we honestly had the most amazing time. It’s such a vibrant city with so much to do. There were so many more things I wanted to do but we simply just ran out of time. But I guess that means that we will have to go back, and I can’t wait!
Take a look at Tui Holidays for the latest deals to South Africa.
Have you visited Cape Town? What are your favourite things to do? Let me know in the comments below.
If you are thinking about booking a cruise, then a good thing to think about is whether you choose summer or winter. I have cruised in both summer and winter, so here are some things to think about when making your choice and hopefully might help you a bit too.
Obviously, the first thing to think about is what do you want the weather to be like. If your main aim when you go on holiday is good weather, being able to sunbathe and just relax then you are best trying to go in the summer. Obviously, the chances of better, hotter weather are much more likely.
Summer in Winter
If the only time you can travel is in the winter, then why not try the Caribbean, you are almost guaranteed good weather and lots of suns. It can be quite pricey but many lines will include flights in the price of your cruise. You can if you are clever about it though get some really good deals and it can be cheaper than booking in the summer holidays. Take a look at my post Why you need to Cruise if you are on a Budget for some tips about booking a bargain.
Give a Winter Cruise a try
If you aren’t really sure but don’t mind the thought of the colder weather then give a winter cruise a try. I really don’t think you would regret it. I wasn’t sure but I liked the idea of it and I certainly didn’t regret it. Obviously, it’s a very different experience as you can’t really utilise the ship as you would in summer but I still loved it. You also get a different experience in the ports, but if they are places you have visited before, it can be nice to visit in the winter to see different things rather than in the summer.
Don’t be afraid of the Weather
If you are put off by being on a ship in the winter then don’t be. If you suffer from sea sickness then try to get a cabin in the centre of the ship, you are less likely to feel any movement there. Also go for the bigger ships, in rough water they have more stabilisers and so move less than the smaller ones. I travelled on a mid-size ship last year with P&O and once we had gone through the bad weather the captain told us that we had been sailing through force 9 gales, we were really shocked, it was a bit bumpy at times but you really wouldn’t have known.
Look out for the Excursions
One thing to think about if you are looking at a winter cruise of a hot weather cruise in the winter is the excursions. It’s best always to check as you are travelling out of season there might not be as much on offer as there is in the summer. So if there is something that you really want to do bear in mind it may not always be on offer if you are travelling in the winter.
Think about Packing
If you are thinking about going on a cold weather cruise rather than hot, then think about your luggage especially if you are joining a fly-cruise, you are going to need to pack more winter clothing and so more than you would probably need if you were going in the summer. Just bear this in mind if you have luggage allowances and so may be restricted to the amount you can take.
If you are travelling on a cruise to Norway at any time of year the weather can be really unpredictable. Take a look at my Packing for Norway post for some ideas.
Christmas Themed Cruises
If you want to try a winter cruise but you aren’t sure then why not think about a short Christmas Market cruise. They are normally about 4 or 5 days and can give you a taste of what it’s like cruising in cold weather. You get to see some really pretty places and do some Christmas shopping. Also, the ships are all ready and decorated for Christmas with trees and decorations and it really adds to the whole feel of things.
What do you think? Do you prefer cruising in the winter or the summer? Let me know in the comments below.
If you are thinking of booking your first cruise, take a look at my tips for booking your perfect cabin here.
Take a look at these winter cruise offers for more ideas.
Earlier in the year, I went on my first Disney Cruise. I have always been a huge fan of anything Disney so taking a Disney Cruise was high on my list. We had the most amazing time sailing on the Disney Dream so I thought I would put together my reasons for why you should cruise with Disney.
We sailed on the Disney Dream. Disney has 4 ships in all with the Dream being one of the newer ships. They also have 3 more ships on order so there are loads of options when booking. The ship was amazing, a gorgeous cruise ship in its own right but then you add in all the Disney details and it really turns it into something special. There were little details everywhere that turn it into a totally immersive experience and the theming throughout the ship was nothing less than I would expect from Disney. If you love Disney and you love cruising you will love these ships!
There are 3 main restaurants on the ship. The Enchanted Garden, The Royal Table and The Animators Palette. Disney has rotational dining, which means you sit at the same table each night with the same people and serving staff, you are just in different restaurants. So during your stay, you will get to try each restaurant at least once. I love this idea. Each evening you get to eat in a different setting, which are all amazing and with a different menu. The food was gorgeous and we tried so many different things and received the same brilliant service every night from the waiters.
I expected the shows on a Disney Cruise to be good and they definitely didn’t disappoint. My favourite was the Golden Mickeys. A musical based all around an award ceremony. You could even buy your own Golden Mickeys onboard to take home with you. Just before we went on our cruise I had read loads about the new Beauty and the Beast show and was really looking forward to seeing it, but unfortunately the night it was scheduled to be on it ended up being cancelled. I was really disappointed because that was the one show I really wanted to see while onboard, but I guess that means that we will just have to book another cruise, so it’s not all bad!
If you book a Disney Cruise that sails to the Bahamas then you will get the chance to visit Castaway Cay. This is Disney’s own private Island and is one of the stops on certain cruises. This was one place that I had to visit so made sure that it was included in the cruise itinerary we booked. We got to spend the entire day relaxing on the beach and having spa treatments. The island works in the same way as the cruise ship. Your lunch is included as it would be on the ship and if you want drinks or anything from the shops you just pay with your cruise card and charge it back to your onboard account.
Cruising without Kids
You may think that being a Disney Cruise it is really geared towards families, which is very much is, but that doesn’t mean that they forget about the adults travelling without children. I wasn’t really worried about being a couple without children on a Disney cruise as we visit the parks a lot and never feel out of place. But I can see why this might be a concern to some people. Disney really push the boat out to make sure that you have the best cruise possible. At dinner, we were on a table of 6 with 2 other couples, who we sat with each night. It was really lovely to have adult company when dining. There is also an adult area at night with several different bars to try and during the day there is a separate adults pool area with swim up bar and hot tubs. So they really have thought of everything to make your cruise really memorable.
So those are my top 5 reasons to cruise with Disney. In all honesty, I can think of loads more, but I’ll save those for another post. We loved cruising with Disney for me it was the perfect combination of Disney and Cruising, both of which I love. So if you are a Disney addict like me it’s definitely worth considering a Disney Cruise.
Have you Cruised with Disney? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments below.
Disney Cruise Line Secrets: All the things you didn’t know you could do on a Disney Cruise
This year we took my first Disney Cruise and it was amazing! We loved every minute of it and had some amazing experiences along the way. So I thought I would share some Disney Cruise Line Secrets with you, that I didn’t really know about until I was onboard.
No Hassel Embarkation
If you are staying at Disney World, like we were before your cruise, then everything is just so easy. A day or 2 before we were due to leave, we received luggage tags and info of what we needed to do the day we check out of our hotel. On Embarkation day, we left the hotel on the Disney Cruise Line Bus, they took our luggage off us at Disney World and then we didn’t see it again until we arrived in our cabin and it was waiting for us. So easy and really started the cruise off nicely.
You are treated like a star
I had no idea, that when we first walked onto the ship, we would get such a wonderful welcome. They make sure that one family boards the ship at a time, and you are announced as you walk on to the ship and there are two lines of Disney staff all clapping a cheering. I was so surprised, but I absolutely loved it!
Disney Cruise App
One thing that I thought was brilliant and just made the whole cruise so easy was the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App. It has all your cruise information, maps of the ship and menus for the restaurants. But the best thing for us was the message function. As we are from the UK and it’s really expensive to use our phones. We could message each other if we were in different places, and because you can use the app on the ships wifi for free, it didn’t cost us anything. Such a good idea and really useful.
Mickey Bars at Sea
As with many cruise lines, Disney offers 24 hours room service. But there was one, really special thing you can get that won’t be listed on the menu, a Classic Mickey Ice Cream Bar. If you call room service you can ask for this and they will bring it to your room and it won’t cost you a thing. While cruising we found out that you can also do this in the restaurants too. One evening after dinner, we asked our waiter and he brought out six, for everyone on our table.
Eat all you want
As with most Cruise Lines at dinner, you can order multiple dishes. A lot of people don’t know you can actually do this, and we rarely take this option. But as we were sitting with 2 other couples, it was actually really nice to order some different things that we could all try. Or if you are really stuck between 2 meals you can always just order both, you are on holiday after all. Also because you rotate to different restaurants, it’s really easy to get dishes that you loved again, just ask your waiter and they can normally sort this out for you from a different restaurant and bring it to your table.
Tea is Served
British people are known for having a bit of an obsession with tea and coffee, and will normally expect a Kettle in their stateroom so they can make their own hot drinks. Being an American cruise line this is not something that’s included, but there is no need to worry. You can just call Room Service and they will bring you fresh tea and coffee straight to your cabin, so you won’t have to go searching for it.
Each Cruise has a Pirate Night, you can choose to dress us and some people really go all out, or if you don’t want to get totally dressed up then there will be a few accessories left in your room. But the highlight of the evening has to be the Fireworks. It really was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had on a cruise, watching a Fireworks display on a ship in the middle of the ocean was just incredible!
Dress Codes can be a big issue and one that could really discourage people from even going on a cruise. I love dressing up and it’s probably one of the main reasons I love going on cruises. You can wander around in your casual clothes during the day and then make a real effort in the evening. However, I know this isn’t for everyone.
There are so many options with different cruise lines that it really doesn’t need to be as big an issue as some people care to make it.
I have cruised on very formal cruise lines to ones which weren’t formal at all and you never needed to dress up for the entire cruise. I personally really like being able to dress up and making an effort on a few nights of my holiday, so there are the types of cruises I tend to go for.
Even if you pick a very formal cruise, for example, we sailed with Cunard in November, you can choose to dress down if you want. People do have a tendency to get really dressed up and go very formal on the Queens but, if one evening you don’t fancy it then you are welcome to head to the buffet restaurant where you can wear what you want. There will still be people wandering around in floor-length dresses and tuxes and there will always be people who will tut, but really I just ignore them! After all, it’s my holiday too.
Cunard decided to change things up when they announced that they would be relaxing their dress code. There were a lot of traditional Cunard goers that were in an uproar about this. However having sailed with Cunard twice in the last year, all I could tell that had changed was they had made thing less formal for the day that people were boarding the ship. This worked for us as our bags hadn’t arrived when we needed to start getting ready for dinner.
Which Cruise Line is Best for you?
If you really don’t fancy getting dressed up at all on your cruise, then you could go for a Cruise line like NCL as you could spend your entire holiday in casual clothes and that would be totally fine and you wouldn’t be breaking any rules and hopefully offending people too much.
There are so many choices now with different cruise lines and what they offer, there really is something for everyone whether you really like to go all out or you just want to relax because you are on holiday. So do your research before book so you know whatever you are going for will really suit you. And most of all whatever you choose just enjoy your holiday and don’t worry about what other people are wearing when they walk into the restaurant, just wear what you feel comfortable in.
I would say though, not to let a cruise line that has a stricter dress code totally put you off booking a holiday. You may miss out on some amazing destinations and beautiful ships just because you don’t fancy dressing up. There are always ways around it!
If you are thinking about going on your first cruise read my tips here for what to do on board. Or here for essential items you should think about packing to make your trip even better.