10 Questions From First-Time Cruisers

10 Questions from First-Timer Cruisers BANNER

Tammy Whiting, our Disney Cruise Line expert, answers 10 essential questions for first-time cruisers. Here is her advice about staterooms, food, travel insurance, and more.

1. What length of cruise is best? This is probably your first question if you’ve never cruised before! Maybe even if you have. My general rule for cruises is the longer the cruise, the better, but I do recognize that as a first-time cruiser, you may not be ready to jump fully in, so to speak. I’d recommend a four- or five-night cruise. I’ve done several three-night cruises, and they are great if that’s your only option. But they are short. So short. It’s often hard to feel like you relaxed and enjoyed everything on such a short cruise. If you can do longer, do longer! 

2. What itinerary is best? The good news is, there are a lot to choose from! Most first-timers tend to stick to the standard itineraries, which are Bahamian and Caribbean cruises out of Port Canaveral or, now, Ft. Lauderdale. Those are great itineraries, and they will give you a good taste of cruising. If you don’t think beaches and sunshine are for you, you could also try a cooler-weather cruise to Alaska. You won’t regret that choice.  I love beaches and sunshine, but I still think cruises to Alaska are some of the best there are!

3.  Which ship should I choose? More good news: all Disney ships are beautiful. Even the classic (that’s Disney speak for older) ships are still beautifully maintained. I believe the ship you choose for your first cruise isn’t nearly as important as the itinerary.

4.  What are the staterooms like? There are no two ways about it—staterooms are small. Smaller than hotel-room small. Fortunately, you won’t spend a lot of time in them, and they are well-designed, so you’ll be able to unpack and not feel like you are too jammed in there, unless you put four adults in a room to save money. Which, while a valid way to save, will make you feel like sardines. If you make that bed, you lie in it.

5. Is there food everywhere? Cruises have long had the reputation of being food-focused, and that’s not necessarily wrong. There is food available to you in the morning, noon, and night, and it’s good food! Who doesn’t want bottomless soft serve and pizza every night before bed? You can also choose not to eat like a college student studying for exams and eat on your normal schedule. No one is forcing you to eat! I’m just saying there are options when you want them.

6. Will I get bored? Probably not!  If you are not in a port where there are tons of options off the ship, the Navigator (the daily schedule) is full of onboard activities from sunrise to sunset—past sunset, actually!  You can pick and choose what you want to do and when. If you want to move from one activity to another, you can. On the flip side, do you want to lay on a chair on deck 4 and not do a thing? Well, you can do that too. It’s your vacation! You decide what will make you happy.

7.  Are there children everywhere on a Disney Cruise? Disney Cruise Line is geared towards families, and families include children. There will absolutely be children on the ship. There are, however, adult-only spaces on every Disney ship, so there are places to get away from said children. There are also some amazing children’s clubs to keep many of those kiddos occupied! If you really want to avoid children, I’d recommend a longer cruise during the school year. Those long sailings, like the Transatlantic crossings, particularly have fewer children.

8. Do I need a passport? That depends! A closed-loop cruise is a cruise that begins and ends in the same US city. If you are sailing on a closed-loop cruise, you do not have to have a passport. You can sail with official birth certificate copies for everyone, plus a government-issued photo ID for those over the age of 16. Is it a better idea to have a passport in case something goes wrong and you need to get home quickly? You bet it is!  But it is legal to sail on a closed-loop cruise without one if you have the documents mentioned above.

9. What if I get seasick? Ship captains are very good at avoiding rough sea conditions when they can, so cruises are usually surprisingly smooth. If there are some rough patches, they don’t usually last long. There are several great over-the-counter medicines out there if you’re worried! 

First-timer cruiser

10. Do I need travel insurance? Yes, please. I’m a huge believer in travel insurance. I’ve seen completely unexpected accidents or illnesses cost tens of thousands of dollars while in a foreign country (and, as a reminder, the Bahamas is a foreign country). Most health insurance companies do not cover international travel. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind!

About the author of the blog: Tammy Whiting is the coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. Blogger, Space Force wife, and mother of two, Tammy has been involved in the travel industry for more than 15 years. Though she certainly enjoys vacations of all kinds, her favorite adventures around the globe have been on cruise ships. Tammy spent five years of her childhood in Europe as a military brat and has been a military spouse for over 30 years, living in almost every corner of the US. When she isn’t traveling, you can find her enjoying her family, buying camera equipment, and planning her next trip! 

If you’re planning a Disney Cruise Line vacation, order The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line 2024 now!

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