Did you know that there is a Facebook group for just about every Disney cruise sailing? Well there is, and you may want to find yours! Scott Sanders has a pretty good list of them on his website, or you can usually find yours by typing the ship name and sail date in the search button on Facebook (e.g. Disney Dream September 23 2019). Many groups have clever names for their cruise, but they almost all include the ship name and date. They’re intended only for guests that will actually be on a particular sailing, and no matter how social (or anti-social) you may be, they have a lot of useful information. Here are 10 of the reasons you may be interested!
1. Share Excitement – Unlike your coworkers who may be physically ill if you say the word cruise one more time, your Facebook group is full of people that are just as excited about your cruise as you are! This is the place to post those trip countdowns, talk about how many matching Mickey shirts you should bring, and TYPE IN ALL CAPS when the big day finally arrives and you are boarding the ship! There is no judgement here. These are your new friends.
2. Meet New People – If you want to move past the socializing online stage and actually meet some of these people, you can do that too! There will probably be various meetups scheduled for your cruise so you can put real faces to Facebook profiles. Some lifelong friendships are made this way! It’s also a great way for your children to “meet” some other children before boarding too. Some groups set up pen pal type arrangements, or separate groups for the kids and parents to talk before sailing (all monitored by their parents as well). It may help with the anxiety some children will have walking into a kid’s club full of strangers. The good news is, if you don’t want to meet a soul, you don’t have to. No one is required to meet up at any point.
3. Join a Fish Extender – If you are looking for a Fish Extender group, this is your place to find it. Fish Extender groups are organized by an individual in each group and all may be run a little differently. The basics are as follows. If you want to join in the fun, you will sign up somewhere within that group. The organizer will usually break the list of signups down into smaller lists of 10-12 staterooms, and place each person who signed up on one of those lists. You will then be expected to bring a small gift for each stateroom on your list. What kind of gift is up to you. Most guests live by “it’s the thought that counts” rule, although certainly not all do and a small number may judge your “thought” harshly. (Sad but true.) You can make something to pass out or you can buy something–what you do is ultimately up to you. You can also usually choose if you want to do one gift per stateroom, or one gift per guest in each stateroom on your list. Once on board you will hang a “Fish Extender”, which is a bag of some kind, outside your door on the mail holder which is sometimes a fish, sometimes a starfish, thus the name. You’ll leave your gifts in the bags hanging outside the other rooms on your list, and they will do the same for you. It’s absolutely fun to come back to your room and see what fun things you have, but if this sounds like a ton of work that will stress you out, don’t do it. The point of this one is fun.
4. Keep Up to Date – Your fellow cruisers are on top of all of the information for your cruise. If there’s a storm approaching, they’ll share the latest they’ve heard. Maybe pirate night has to be changed, or a port rescheduled? You’ll usually find out in your group first. Your fellow cruisers will also usually find out and post the schedule of themed nights onboard, post the movie schedule, show schedule, entertainers onboard, you name it! Others like to be in the know just as much as you do.
5. Share Cabanas – If you have read some of my other posts, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of cabanas on Castaway Cay. Huge! I believe in booking concierge when you can to ensure you get one, and stalking the onboard bookings for openings and cancellations. There are times when your fellow cruisers were able to grab one, but don’t really want to pay for it. When that happens, they may ask if anyone wants to split the cost and share with them! YES!! DO IT! Oh shoot, I’m screaming now. I do love the cabanas.
6. Share Private Tastings – Facebook groups used to organize private tastings, mixology classes and receptions for members, but it got out of hand and Disney has made that harder to do. Now private receptions have to be paid for in advance by one single person, making it less desirable for the organizer. There is a chance that you may still be able to organize one, however. If you are interested in one, see if anyone in your group is organizing, and join in!
7. Share Private Dining Rooms – Another thing you may want to share with your fellow cruisers is one of the private rooms in the adult dining rooms. There is both a minimum and a maximum number of guests allowed in the private rooms in both Palo and Remy, so sometimes Facebook groups will set up a small group to eat together. Especially if you are having a hard time getting individual reservations, this may be a great option for you!
8. Ride or Excursion Shares – I have seen Facebook group members share rides to the port to save on costs from time to time, but the most popular thing to share seems to be excursions. In some ports, there are great excursions to book on your own, but they’re expensive for just one family. Many times, you’re paying for the whole car (or boat) no matter how many of the seats are actually being used. In Grand Cayman, I’ve split the cost of a private boat to Stingray City with fellow cruisers before and had a great experience. I’ve had friends and family split the cost of private transfers to Rome, or private drivers for a day in the British Isles. It’s a great way to save some money, and have a customized experience in some expensive ports!
9. Stateroom Crawl – Stateroom crawls tend to be more popular on other cruise lines than they are on Disney, but I’ve done them on Disney! The first time I was able to see one of the Royal Suites was on a stateroom crawl set up in a Facebook group. A Stateroom crawl is organized so you can visit some other staterooms and see what the different categories look like. Usually the organizer will ask for members who don’t mind sharing their stateroom to volunteer, and they’ll put together a good list with a specific time and day where all those staterooms are open to visit. I thoroughly enjoy it!
10. Reconnect After Sailing – Believe it or not, these Facebook groups don’t die after you sail. I am a member of one group from a sailing six years ago which is still active! While that’s unusual, many will be very active in the first few days after a sailing. Some posts are practical, i.e. “I have someone’s pictures on my photo disk, does anyone know these people so I can get these to them?”, some are sweet – i.e. “I want to thank everyone for the Fish Extender gifts, they are literally the greatest gifts I have ever received!” and some posts are made just to sympathize with fellow cruisers suffering from Post Disney Depression. All perfectly valid reasons to stay in the group and keep talking.
How about you? Are you a fan of the Facebook groups for specific cruises? Why do you join?
Tammy Whiting is the owner of Storybook Destinations. Did you know Storybook Destinations offers a complimentary subscription to TouringPlans with qualified Disney and Universal bookings? Click here for a no-obligation quote on your next vacation!