Disney Cruise App. Down load the App before leaving. Wifi onboard the ship for use within the App is free. The App allows you to chat with people within your stateroom or group. You can see the days events and schedule the event to alarm. You will never miss anything. Also whenever your kid checks in or out of the club you will get a message.
Drive to the port. You can drive it for about a 3rd of airline tickets. We were 18.5 hours from New Orleans. We spent 220ish bucks in gas (big SUV 21mpg) and 265 for hotels to go back and forth. Parking at the port was 140 for the week. If the 3 of us flew, it would have been 1200-1500.
I know some of you would fly Southwest or Jetblue. Don't know about Jetblue. But I will not fly Southwest. They have a systemic maintenance problem.
Park with Disney. The port parking offered by Disney is where you want to be. It maybe more expensive, but worth the extra 40 bucks.
We shipped out of New Orleans. The parking was right next to the ship. It was gated and patrolled. Best part, porters were waiting to take the bags from trunk to stateroom.
Porters. Use them. They are Jonny on the spot when you pull up in the car. They will unload the bags from the car if you want them to. Then they are sniffed by the dogs. (you have to wait for that) And your free! The bags go straight to the ship.
On the way out, find your bags and find a porter. The porter fast tracks you thru Customs. Then takes you straight to the car. Everyone else is stuck in line for Customs. Best 20 bucks ever!
Beach Towels. At every port the crew will be there to issue you as many towels as you can carry. Don't bring them.
Internet, Wifi. On board is massively expensive. Don't get hooked with the free 50mb deal. Just don't! It is a pleasure from long ago not to be connected to the outside.
Tips, tipping. The Disney recommended tipping is per set up. If you don't as guest services to change the amount, each guest is charged 13.40 per day. We did 7 days. It was 95ish per person for the week. That money is than broken down between the 2 servers, the stateroom guy, and the head server. We give the servers and stateroom guy a little extra cash beyond the Disney amount. They were exceptional!
Any time you order room service, from a bar, or a pool boy 15% is tacked on. A beer at the pool is 8.05 with the tip.
Kids clubs. 3 different clubs for different age groups. All of which is free baby sitting and entertainment. If you have a baby, you pay and you must schedule the care time before leaving.
Every kid gets an RF ID bracelet. You can select weather the child can check themselves in and out. Or they are deposited and withdrawal like a bank. If they can check in and out, the App alerts and room phone alerts to their status.
The kids can even eat there if you wish.
Palo, the upgraded restaurant. You can book two meals there per cruise. It is a waste. You will drop 165 to 215 easy for a meal available in regular dining.
The meal my wife chose was terrible. The waiter knew it and ordered a different meal for her. Both arrived at the same time. Her chose looked like dog food, over cooked. He told her the meal she picked was shit, try the one he ordered.
*Each person booked is 40 bucks.
*The entire menu is available in rotational dining.
*There is a no kid policy but your kids can dine in the club if you want an adult night.
*The 7 course wine paired meal is an additional 65 per person. The wine is a 7 dollar bottle at best.
*The service in rotational dining is better.
Bar & Pool side service; Everything get 15% added as a tip. Just sign the paper and move on.
Alcohol Policy. There is no liquor or soda package with Disney. Every adult can bring 6 regular sized beers on board per port. (none of the half liter german beer bottles)
I don't drink wine or enough wine to be able to give an opinion. But, Wine can also be carried on board, but there is a fee to open it at dinner.
Lesson Learned; Every room has a mini refrigerator. You can get 12 in there easy. So bring at least a 6er on at every port. You will save yourself 48 bucks per 6er.
Disney beer mug. Get one! The mug gets you 1.5 beers for the price of one. It pays for itself after two beers. That glass mug in your room, turn it in at the closest bar for a mug card/token. Now your not carrying a mug around just a card.
Lesson Learned; Those tokens are the same for every ship and have not changed. You can use it on the next cruise. Also if you tell the pool boy he failed to give your wife the token, he will give you another. I got 2 extra this way.