Over Mardi Gras weekend 2022, my mom, sister & I traveled on the Disney Wonder from New Orleans to Cozumel & back over a four night cruise. We’ve all cruised before, but never with Disney Cruise Line. My past cruises include an Alaskan cruise on Princess Cruise Line in 2004, a Mexican cruise on Carnival Cruise Line in 2008, & a Caribbean cruise on Celebrity Cruise Line in 2016.
Packing for any cruise can be overwhelming, but packing for a Disney Cruise takes it to a whole new level since there are things you’ll need while on Disney Cruise Line that you won’t need anywhere else! But no worries because I’ve got these items & plenty more covered below!
1) Important Travel Documents
This one seems like a no-brainer but it’s also the most important item on the list. It’s the only items that if you don’t bring them you won’t be getting on the ship! Disney will provided you a boarding pass during mobile check-in which you can print out or add to your phone’s wallet. Personally I think it’s easier to have it printed, but the electronic version is a great backup. You’ll also need the applicable identification which can differ depending on your cruise. If you have a passport you’ll want to use that, but you may also be able to use your original birth certificate along with a government issued photo ID such as a driver’s license. I actually used this combo for our sailing because I’ve sent my passport in for renewal & haven’t received the new one yet.
2) USB Charging Hub
Most cruise lines have banned the use of surge protectors or extension cords due to safety but most passengers will have more electronics to charge than the number of outlets in each stateroom. Carrying a USB charging hub solves this problem. It’s also handy to charge all of your items in one place rather than having them throughout your stateroom. During our first day our steward actually organized our cords with little velcro loops to keep them tidy. So thoughtful!
3) Swim Suit Cover-Up
You’ll probably spend most of your cruising days in swim gear but in order to walk around the ship you’ll want to have a swim suit cover-up on hand. You’ll actually be required to wear one in the dining areas, even the buffet! Forgetting this item at home could put a serious damper on your trip. If you don’t have one, any sundress or tshirt & shorts will work. There are also plenty of affordable options on Amazon which is where I picked mine up.
4) Alcohol Allotment
Did you know that guests 21+ can bring on board 2 bottles of wine or a 6-pack of beer at each port? You just have to put it in your carry-on luggage so it can be inspected during embarkation. This can save you a good amount on your bar tab throughout your cruise if consumed in your stateroom. It was perfect to drink while getting ready for dinner. Just know that if you bring it to dinner a fee will apply.
5) Pirate Costumes
Disney Cruise Line hosts several theme nights to be sure to check your itinerary, but every Disney Cruise contains Pirate Night! We didn’t pack costumes as we weren’t sure Pirate Night was still on due to current health regulations on board. Our steward left Disney pirate themed bandanas in our stateroom which we wore to dinner instead of costumes. There were several pirate themed activities on board that night along with pirate themed photo backdrops before dinner. The pianist even played sea-shanties & pirate songs like Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me).
6) Medications for Motion Sickness
Whether or not you think you’ll get sea sick on your cruise, you definitely don’t want to be without motion sickness meds if you or someone else in your group ends up needing them. There are several different non-drowsy options to choose from. I normally get behind-the-ear patches from my doctor. Speak to your doctor about what option may work best for you.
7) Day Bag
Along with your checked & carry-on luggage you’ll want to bring a smaller bag that you can use to carry items while on board or even on excursions. I used my everyday handbag but depending on how many items your carrying & whether or not you’re also carrying items for children in your group you may need a larger tote like a beach bag. In your day bag you’ll want to carry items like your cellphone for accessing the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app on board, sunscreen, coverups, external batteries & cords for charging devices, water bottles, & any other items you don’t want to have to go back to your stateroom for.
8) Disney Cruise Line Navigator App
Speaking of the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app, you should ideally download this before arriving at your embarkation port. Once on board you’ll put your phone in airplane mode, connect to the ship’s DCL GUEST wifi, & open the app to connect your stateroom information. You can then access vital information like your assigned dining time (which will remain the same each night), your assigned dinner restaurant (which will change daily), port of call debarkation & embarkation information, entertainment schedules, & even a map of the ship.
Wifi at sea has greatly improved over the past few years but it’s still a bit unreliable & can be costly. Before you board download entertainment options for downtime. In apps like Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Prime Video, & Apple TV+ you can download tv shows & movies for offline viewing. I loved having these on hand for laying out by the pool, getting ready in our stateroom, & just before bed. There are a number of on demand movies & live tv channels to choose from on your stateroom tv but downloading your own content has the benefits of being portable & not relying on any internet connection.
10) Reading Material
Books more your style? I brought a small paperback as well as my Kindle Paperwhite on our cruise. Both of these are great options for poolside entertainment if the glare from the sun is too harsh to see your iPad or other device clearly. They’re also much smaller than my iPad Pro so I was able to bring my Kindle with me everywhere I went on the ship since it fit in my handbag. I got plenty of reading done while waiting on trivia, bingo, or liver performances to start.
11) Reusable Straw
Disney Cruise Line only provides paper straws, if any. Need I say more? Pick up an inexpensive reusable straw to use on board instead. You can find plenty of options on Amazon, all of which are better than paper.
12) Face Coverings
This may change in the near future, but for now Disney Cruise Line is still requiring masks to be worn indoors except with actively eating or drinking. I think we’re all used to this by now but just in case you haven’t found a comfy mask by now, I highly suggest Reuse Masks which are made in LA. Not sponsored! I just truly love them. I ordered some early on during the pandemic & they’re the only masks I’ve worn since!
13) Cash for Tips
You’ll have the option to prepay your tips & will be provided with a breakdown of them during the last full day of your cruise. Most people choose to supplement these tips though since they may not be as much as what you’d have normally tipped yourself. This was especially important to us at this time since the cruising industry has suffered greatly from the pandemic & is still not fully staffed since they’re not booking to capacity. This can make getting a contract for work even more difficult for the staff. For reference, we were told that the Disney Wonder’s typical capacity is around 2800 people, but it’s current capped capacity is around 1500, & during our sailing only about 1100 people were on board. This can mean that the tips they’re receiving are cut by more than half each sailing.
14) Prescription Medications
This probably goes without saying but the last thing you want to forget to pack for your cruise are prescription medications you’ll need while you’re sailing. Make sure you’ve packed extra as well, not just the amount you think you’ll need. You never know what unforeseen circumstances could lengthen your time away from home.
Outerwear may be the last thing on your mind when packing for a cruise, especially if your destination is the Caribbean, but with the constant wind on the upper decks due to the speed of the ship you’ll want to pack a jacket or two. Even with warm temps it can be cool in the shade during the day due to the wind. For any Disney destination, whether it be Disney Parks or Disney Cruise Line, I love retro inspired options like this one!
16) Camera Gear
Whether it’s just your iPhone or you’ve got professional camera gear, you’re going to want to pack something to capture those priceless memories with! Trust me, Disney knows they’re priceless & that’s why their photo packages are $$$. We only left the ship with photos of the watermarked versions. The photos we captured ourselves came at a much lower cost. Throw in a good tripod & remote so you can take group photos yourself or just ask a fellow passenger to take some photos of your group. They’ll be so happy to look back on in the future.
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