If you’ve never been on a cruise before, planning can be a little scary. It’s really unlike any other vacation, and a lot of the preparation and tips you might read about to a theme park simply don’t apply. And even if you have been on a cruise before, a Disney cruise is just a little different. So here are six of my favorite tips for a first time Disney cruiser.

1) Keep Clothes Close 

As you prepare your luggage for the cruise, keep in mind that you will be separated from your luggage during your initial arrival at the port. Bags are checked at the curb and delivered later to your stateroom. We keep our swimwear in a small carry-on bag so that we can enjoy the pools shortly after we board. At the conclusion of our trip we use a similar sized bag to keep items with us the final night. On the final night of the cruise, guests are asked to set their larger luggage outside the stateroom. Guests collect these larger bags once back on shore the next morning. So I like to keep a smaller bag for night clothes, toiletries, etc. from that final night stay.

2) Mark Your Room

Your stateroom doors and walls are metal so if you want to have some fun personalizing your room craft some decor from magnetic sheets (like these Avery items). Consider making a little note or magnet to leave on other decorated rooms in appreciation for their efforts. We’ve seen some amazing designs and had lots of fun ourselves.

3) Point the Way

It’s easy to get turned around while walking through interior hallways. To help you out,  remember images on the carpet will look right side up when you are walking toward the ship’s bow referred to Forward. The Walt Disney Theater where all the stage shows occur is found Forward. While several dining locations including Cabanas are found Aft (the rearmost interior location of the ship).

4) Play Time

Check the schedule for the Oceaneer Club, Oceaneer Lab, as well as the Tweens/Teens areas for the Open House time slots. During these periods, all guests (even if they are the proverbial childless millennials) can enter. We initially used this period to enter the Kids Zone with our son so he could explore with us before having to attend without us. Adults outside of staff are not permitted access at other times aside from extenuating circumstances as part of their security measures.

5) Extra Treats

Vanellope’s Sweets & Treats Shop offers free samples of their gelato and ice cream flavors. So many delightful ones to try we don’t want you to discover this little treat too late in your journey to enjoy a wide variety. Stop by a few times during your cruise to enjoy something a little sweet and cold. And when you stop by any of the coffee bars on the ship you’ll see a variety of delightful pastries on display. It was hard for me to believe but these tasty bites are available without additional cost unlike the specialty coffees and other beverages at these spots.

6) Even More Treats

And finally we’ll share our favorite little late night treat. Don’t forget room service is included with the cost of your cruise. Enjoy a late night cheese plate or cookies. Some people enjoy getting the Mickey premium ice cream bar for a late night treat. Oh and don’t forget to order a few glasses of ice water as well to sip through the evening. Much better than relying on the sink or having to trek out to the self-service beverage stations.

Bonus Tip

A Disney travel agent is always helpful, but especially for something as daunting as a first time Disney cruise. They can help make sure you get the best rate, get reservations and port adventures and answer all of the myriad questions you’ll undoubtedly have. Of course, we recommend our long time travel partner….

Laughing Place recommends MouseFanTravel.com for all your Disney Cruise travel planning