Are you ready to book one of the most magical vacations you can have?  Disney Cruise Line vacations are truly a time to relax, unwind, unplug, and make memories with your family and friends!

As wonderful as Disney Cruise vacations are, they require a fair amount of thought, planning and preparation before you embark.  Are you wondering where to start?  We’ve got you!

Here are 6 steps to your Disney cruise process:

  1. Before you book your Disney Cruise vacation, ensure your travel parties’ passports are up-to-date and valid for your proposed travel dates.  The U.S. government passport office cannot guarantee passport processing and delivery in any certain time window, so before you do any work on this vacation, you will want to make sure you are cleared to leave and return to your home country!
  2. Once you’ve booked your Disney Cruise and paid your deposit, the first thing to consider is how and when you’re going to get to the port.  Goofy Getaways always recommends our clients plan to arrive in the general area the day before you board, just in case you should run into any flight delays or traffic while driving.  DCL will not hold the ship for anyone who is running late, so carefully consider your options!  Your Goofy Getaways travel planner will be happy to help you find a suitable hotel room for your night-before stay near the cruise port and a transfer shuttle to the port the next day, or a transfer shuttle from the airport on your embarkation day.  Alternatively, most cruise ports offer parking garages with variable daily rates.
  3. After your pre- and post-cruise transportation and plans are set, the next big milestone you’re going to have is your final payment date – for most cruises through September 2022, this date will be 60 days before you sail.  This is the date that your final payment for your cruise is due, but is also the day you can start reserving excursions and special pre-booked experiences aboard your sailing.  These experiences include things like specialty dining at Palo and Remy, spa appointments at Senses, on-board activities of all kinds, and kids’ club reservations.  Some experiences DO book up completely on the day they are released, so Goofy Getaways recommends that you make your final payment in the days leading up to the actual due date, in order to have the broadest selection of experiences available!  Please note: experiences will be available to book starting at MIDNIGHT EDT for those who have already paid in full, both on the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app and under My Reservations on the Disney Cruise Line website.  If you log in and find that an experience you really want is already showing as unavailable – don’t worry.  You can keep checking and refreshing your choices in case someone decides to drop plans they’d previously made, or Disney Cruise Line often holds some availability for a wide range of experiences open for everyone to book once aboard the ship!
  4. At 30 days before you set sail, you can begin your online check-in process.  Online check-in needs to be completed at least one day prior to embarkation.  This multi-step application can be done online on the Disney Cruise Line website or on the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app.  You will fill out important documents and select a port arrival time.
  5. At 15 days before you set sail, you must create accounts on Safe Passage.  Safe Passage is a clearinghouse for cruise passengers to submit their Covid vaccination or Covid testing documents to be screened and approved before arriving at the port.  Each adult traveling must create their own account to upload their own records, and a parent or guardian must upload documents for each minor in the travel party.  From the Disney Cruise Line website: “Currently, Disney Cruise Line continues to require all vaccine-eligible Guests (based on US eligibility requirements) to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at the time of sailing. This is a requirement for all Guests (US and international) ages 5 and older. Guests who are not vaccine-eligible because of age must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result (paid for by the Guest) taken between 3 days and 24 hours before their sail date. Guests ages 4 and under must complete the testing requirements. The test should be a NAAT test, rapid PCR test or lab-based PCR test. Rapid antigen tests are not accepted. ”  Safe Passage will green-light your records and submit results to Disney Cruise Line.
  6. On your Embarkation Day, there’s a few more steps before being welcomed aboard.  First, all guests log into the Navigator app to complete a pre-trip Health Questionnaire.  Second, all guests, regardless of vaccination status, are required to take a COVID-19 rapid test at the port, either in the parking garage or in a tent adjacent to the cruise terminal.  If anyone in your party has a positive COVID-19 test, your entire party will not be permitted to board.  While this can certainly be a heartbreaking turn of events, all guests should be prepared to pivot their plans should they be denied boarding.  Finally, drop your luggage with the porters and head to the terminal to verify your previously submitted check-in documentation, and you’ll be hearing your “Welcome Aboard!” announcement before you know it!

Knowing these steps can help reduce stress as you prepare for your Disney cruise vacation.  Ready to learn more? Reach out to your Goofy Getaways Travel Planner today.

Written by Travel Planner Kristin Winn ()