When we say that the fun starts the moment you book your Disney Cruise Line vacation, we aren’t kidding.
After you book and once you’ve received your official reservation number from DCL, you’ll want to head over to the Disney Cruise Line app (you can download it for free at DisneyCruise.com/App or from the app store on your mobile device if you don’t have it already) then click on +Add Reservation to input your cruise information.
30 days prior to your embarkation date, you’ll be asked to complete your online check-in. Online check-in is required for everyone in your party and must be completed prior to your arrival at the port on embarkation day.
When you’re logged into the DCL app, you will see your cruise(s) listed provided you’ve input the information. You can click on your cruise to see how many days you have left to wait along with the itinerary and the date you need to pay in full (plus the balance remaining) if you haven’t already. The Online Check-In button will appear once you’re within 30-days of your cruise. When you tap that button, you’ll need to give permission for the link to open in a new browser where you’ll be taken through the following steps of getting checked in.
- Guest Information
- Onboard Account
- Travel Plans
- Port Arrival Time
- Cruise Contract
The Guest Information section is where you will provide details for each passenger in your party, including children. All of the contact details including name, address, phone number, and email address will go in this section. In addition to all of those details, this is where you will upload travel documentation, i.e. passports, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, etc., and photos for each person. You’ll also be required to provide a recent forward-facing color photo of each guest from the shoulders up. The photo cannot be the same one used in any of your identification documents. It is VERY important that you take clear images with no blurriness or shadows whatsoever as any distortion can cause your photos to be rejected along with delays at the port.
You must bring all of the travel documents that you submitted during online check-in with you to the port, so do not pack them in your checked luggage.
Next is the Onboard Account section where you’ll input credit card information that will be used to settle up any charges that you’ve made while onboard the ship or at Disney’s Castaway Cay. You also have the option of using cash or other applicable forms of payment. It’s here that you’ll be able to select which guests are allowed to make charges to your onboard account.
Disney Cruise Line wants to know your arrival and departure plans for before and after your cruise and the Travel Plans section is where you’ll provide that information. Things like how you’ll be arriving at the port whether it’s a shuttle or via your own vehicle are a couple of examples. They’ll also need to know where you’ll be heading once you debark the ship and whether or not your vehicle is parked in the port’s parking lot. You can always go back in and make any changes should your plans happen to change.
Perhaps one of the most exciting sections of all is the Port Arrival Time! This is where you’ll…ahem…select your arrival time at the cruise terminal. If you’re completing your online check-in at the earliest opportunity possible, you’ll be able to get earlier port arrival times – the earliest typically being 10:30 a.m. It is important to note that the port is staffed with folks who will come up to your vehicle and confirm your port arrival time and you will not be permitted to arrive early.
The last step before completing your online check-in is to read and confirm your understanding of the Cruise Contract. It’s a long one, but it is jam-packed with important terms and conditions that you’ll need to know.
Once you’ve hit the button to complete your check-in, you’ll be able to view your Port Arrival Form which will display your port arrival time and date, the ship you’re sailing on, your boarding group number, your assembly station (for the Muster drill once onboard the ship), along with other important details about your cruise such as your stateroom number and Castaway Club level. You’ll also be asked if you’d like to add the Port Arrival Form to your Mobile Wallet if you’re using an Apple iPhone which will be really handy once you’ve arrived at the port.
Now that you’re all checked in, you can book fun extras like port adventures, adult dining, spa & fitness appointments, and even shop for onboard gifts. It’s almost time to sail and the magic is about to begin!