Packing for each vacation is different. When headed to Disney theme parks, there is a particular emphasis on practical things like two sets of comfortable shoes, the right kind of backpack, etc. Spend your time at a Disney Resort like Aulani, and you’ll be tossing up between your favorite swimming costumes and cover-ups. But when it comes to packing for your Disney Cruise Line vacation, you might want to keep a few other things in mind.
Cruise ships are notorious for being short on space in the standard-size staterooms, so make sure that you take anything out of your bag that is going to take up prime living space in your room. Skip the beach towels, drones, sporting equipment, bulky toys, and unnecessary appliances such as a hairdryer (one is provided for you), straighteners, coolers, or any of those cooking appliances that some of you may have been tempted to take to Walt Disney World. Another thing you want to leave at home are any weapons. I can’t believe I just had to actually write that, but nonetheless, it is essential. Guns, knives, swords, throwing stars, whatever weapons may usually accompany you on a trip, leave them at home.
Come to think of it, the list of things you can’t take on board is longer than the list of things you should take with you. There is a lengthy list of prohibited items that you should consult before closing up your bag. A few examples of these are homemade or precooked perishables, power boards/power strips, pool toys, boards, inflatables, balloons, kites, candles, inflatable mattresses, or any shoes with built-in wheels.
Something you want to consider is the attire reccomendations of the restaurants or bars on board. Some may require men to wear dress pants and a collared shirt, and others may require smart casual attire for women. You will want to be sure that you pack appropriate footwear since flip-flops/thongs (yes, we call them thongs in Australia!) might not be allowed in some of the dining venues on the Disney ships.
Here are some of the classic wardrobe no-nos that you might come across in your ship’s more elegant dining locations: tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, shorts, hats, cut-offs, torn clothing, t-shirts with offensive language and/or graphics, flip-flops or tennis shoes and jeans.
Make sure that you have a few pieces in your DCL collection that will tick all the boxes and can be mixed & matched for a few different looks, along with at least one decent pair of dress shoes.
Your vessel may also plan to host a themed night or two, so make sure that you have everything you need to blow the competition away with your incredible costume contribution. Check in ahead of time to know what to take with you for those special evenings and photo ops.
Disney Cruise Line is actually one of the few cruise lines that will allow you to bring your own alcohol on board, though there are limitations. Guests over 21 years of age can bring aboard up to two bottles (limited to 750mls each) of wine or champagne or up to 6 beers (limited to 12 ounces each). They will need to be stored in your carry-on baggage; if found in your checked luggage, they will be removed and stored until the end of the cruise. Spirits are not allowed. If you would like to enjoy your alcoholic beverage from home at dinner, be prepared to pay a $25 corkage fee per bottle.
There are three additional items that you should always have in your bag when boarding a cruise:
- Antibacterial wipes are essential because you never know when you will need to clean up a mess, wipe down surfaces, or scrub chocolate off the faces of your children just in time for the family photo. Wipes can often save the day, so always bring a large packet for the room and a pocket-size pack to carry with you.
- Clothespins can offer many different uses ranging from effectively drying everyone’s swimwear in the bathroom to holding your towel in place on the deck chair by the pool.
- Always take a deck of cards as they can be handy to have on just about any vacation. Your whole family can play any number of games to pass the time, or one person can use them to make a house of cards if in need of some solo time out. If you have travel delays, a deck of Uno cards can be a gift from above and can be played anywhere quickly and quietly.
Lastly, don’t forget to bring something warm. Even if you have checked the travel conditions and see nothing but sunny blue skies ahead, once the sun dips below the horizon and the breeze starts to cool the deck, you might have everyone reaching for a cardigan or sweater. Pack for the conditions, but also take something a little warmer, just in case.
Be sure to check the restrictions and recommendations from Disney Cruise Line for your specific route. Individual ships and destinations have special requirements that will need to be adhered to.
Enjoy experiencing Disney from the seas!