If you are preparing for your first, second, or even third cruise, I highly advise NOT following the suggestions listed here. (Instead, check out my Seven Must-Dos on Your First Disney Cruise here.) Everything that I list in this article is worth doing, especially if you are new to Disney Cruise Line. I recently sailed on my fifth Disney Cruise (three on the Dream, two on the Fantasy), and decided I wanted to mix things up a bit. Although there are several activities, foods, and so on during a Disney Cruise that are “must do” items on my list, I skipped some of those items to change things up a bit. In the end, I found that there are benefits to skipping even very popular activities on board. On upcoming cruises, I won’t likely skip everything that I skipped on this cruise, but there may be some activities that I won’t do every cruise. Here are some suggestions for repeat cruisers on what to skip on a Disney Cruise.
1. Skip the Sailaway Party
I’ve watched many other ships leave port, but the level of excitement on a Disney Cruise is much more tangible than on other cruise lines. I think the reason behind that is the infectious energy of the Sailaway Party. But to mix things up a bit, or if you want to avoid the blistering heat that can happen on some cruise itineraries, grab a drink, and sail away from a more comfortable and quiet location. On our most recent cruise, we sat for a while in the air conditioned comfort of Vista Café on the Dream, and then headed outside to play some shuffleboard so that we could hear the ship horn. On the walking track, there are several places with loungers, if that’s more your speed. And, of course, if you have a verandah room, you can enjoy sailing away from the comfort of your stateroom.
2. Skip Heavy Entrees
To mix things up on my most recent cruise, I decided to go vegetarian for my first night on ship. Due to food allergies, I tend to avoid vegetarian options, which usually have ingredients that I can’t have, but the vegetarian options on the Dream were varied enough that it wasn’t just fifty shades of tofu. I found that not only were lighter entrees (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian) delicious in their own way, it made it easier to justify that third trip to Vanellope’s for more house-made gelato.
3. Skip Main Dining for Dinner
Once you’ve gone on your first cruise, you tend to have favorite main dining room meals, but also have some that aren’t your favorite. For me, I’ve found that around the fourth or fifth day of a cruise, I’ve had my fill of “fancy dining”. There are several options aside from main dining to mix things up. If you want to go for a higher-end dining experience that is more quiet than main dining rooms, try a meal at Palo or Remy. You can also order a light meal in from room service. My favorite ways for a quiet meal are either to eat at Cabanas for dinner (a table service meal available on select nights on cruises) or to grab pizza, sandwiches, or burgers and carry it back to the room.
4. Skip a Port
The first time visiting an area, it is worthwhile to go on an excursion or just get off the ship to go shopping or explore on your own. If you are repeating a port, sometimes it is a better idea to stay on the ship. On port days there tend to be fewer activities, but (depending on the port) you may find that certain facilities, such as mini golf, the Rainforest Room at the spa, or some of the swimming pool areas, are less crowded. The major exception to this is Nassau, where many people opt to stay on the ship, possibly due to the number of repeat visits for cruisers, concerns about safety, or lack of desire to see what Nassau has to offer.
5. Skip the Nighttime Theater Shows
The shows on board are top-notch, high-quality presentations that are fun for the whole family. That said, if you sail the same ship often, the same shows will be playing on your cruise. Because Disney sets it up so that at a given evening time slot half the ship is at dinner and the other half is at the show, if you opt to skip the show, you have large amounts of the ship to yourself. This is a great time to visit the Rainforest Room, the adult pool, or otherwise relax with few people around.
6. Skip Dessert
It is very easy to over-indulge on a cruise. And although I am the first to say that calories don’t count on a cruise, sometimes you can find better dessert options outside of those offered at dinner. On my most recent cruise, I skipped dinner on several occasions and tried other ways to get my sugar fix, from an afternoon sampling of small pastries from Vista or Cove Café to a stop by Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats (a recent addition to the Dream). There’s always self-serve ice cream, too.
7. Skip Sleeping In
Yes, you’re on vacation, and sleeping in may be one of those luxurious treats that you don’t get on a typical work day. But if you are so inclined and able, try to get up with the sun at least one morning on your cruise and wander the ship. There’s something very tranquil about walking on the open decks with few people around. If you’re a photographer, a nearly empty ship at dawn offers great opportunities for photos without people crowding in every shot. (But word of advice–don’t write about skipping sleeping in if you have skipped that extra sleep or you might make interesting typos when writing about it! Thanks to reader Ashley for pointing that out!)
Got any other ideas of things to skip on repeat cruises? Feel free to add your ideas in the comments!