My first-ever DCL cruise on the Disney Magic is only weeks away, and I recently received the Disney Cruise Info Booklet that indicates your trip is just around the corner. The booklet arrived not long after I made my shore excusion reservations — and adventure in itself I’ll detail below — and seeing our selections in print only increased my anticipation.
If you’ve never been on a Disney Cruise, you may be interested in seeing what their welcome mailer looks like, since it’s the customer service touches like this that separate DCL from its competitors. And if you’ve sailed with the Mouse a million times, you’ll notice a change to the packet, just in time for the spooky season.
Disney Cruise Line Info Booklet: Halloween on the High Seas Edition
If the emails DCL sent out to guests didn’t get the message to you, the cover of the info booklet certainly will: the Disney Magic (along with all its sister ships) is celebrating Halloween in style this year. I worked at Universal back when J. Michael Roddy, who wrote and directed the Halloween on the High Seas entertainment, was helping create Halloween Horror Nights, so I can’t wait to see what he’s cooked up to creep out the cruise.
Disney Cruise Line Luggage Tags
This pouch is the first thing you see upon opening the info booklet. If you want to have clean clothes to wear, you’re going to need to affix these luggage tags to anything you’re not carrying aboard. Since this is a 7-day cruise with multiple dress-up events, I’m going to need more than an overnight bag.
DCL Welcome Letter
I’m pretty certain DCL president Karl L. Holtz wrote and signed this personally for me.
DCL Checklist and Overview
The next few pages have some handy (if obvious) reminders of things to do before your cruise
DCL Itinerary and Port Adventures
It isn’t until page 11 that we arrive at the good stuff: a list of our booked port adventures, and the timeline for our sailing itinerary:
Here are the port excursions that my wife and I will be experiencing on our cruise:
As a first-time DCL cruiser, I learned some hard lessons about making port excursion reservations, which I’ll summarize to save other newbies some grief:
- Do your research ahead of time. Create a list with at least 2 or 3 alternate excursions you are interested in at each port. I didn’t get all our first choices, but always got at least our third.
- You can log into the Disney Cruise Line website at midnight on the day you’re eligible to book excursions (assuming you’ve set up your account ahead of time), but don’t be surprised if you experience issues. I found the website completely unresponsive until the early hours, and ended up going to bed and getting up early to finally get through.
- Double-check that your trip is completely paid up before trying to book excursions, because you can’t book any extras if you still owe money. Due to a snafu, it turned out that final payment was still pending on my cruise, which delayed my booking several more hours. Don’t let this happen to you!
- Finally, brunch at Palo may be the hardest ticket on the Disney Magic, especially with only one “at sea” day on the itinerary. I was out of luck when trying to book a table, but I’ve been told if I make a beeline to the reservtions desk once on board the boat, I stand a better than even chance of being able to tweet out photos of crab legs and champagne on October 12 (please don’t hate me…).
Other DCL Cruise Documets
The remainder of the packet contains miscelaneous information and documents you’ll want to have handy.
I wasn’t certain how much the standard tips were on Disney Crusie Line, so this page was helpful. I’m not sure what the advatage to pre-paying gratuities (vs. letting them be charged to your onboard account at the end) is for the guest, though it lets Disney earn interest on your money sooner.
And finally, the obligatory photo of Mickey. You may note that the booklet’s final page confirms that the Disney Magic will indeed depart Puerto Rico from the Pan American Pier, as the Disney Cruise Blog had reported months ago.