My name is Debbie, and I’m a Cruise Specialist in my third year with David’s Vacation Club Rentals. I recently had the great pleasure of sailing on the beautiful Disney Dream with my lovely co-workers, Melissa, Lindsay, and Caiti!
It was my fifth cruise with Disney Cruise Line (DCL), twice on the Disney Dream, twice on the Disney Fantasy and once on the Disney Magic. After this last cruise, I’m now a Gold Castaway Club member. I am also a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) owner and a huge Disney fan!
The Castaway Club is DCL’s version of the cruise line loyalty program, and your level is based on the number of cruises that you have taken with them. Silver (1-4 previous sailings), Gold (5-9 previous sailings) and Platinum (10 or more previous sailings). Castaway Club benefits include early booking opportunities, advance online reservations, welcome back gift and more.
On this cruise, I received this great shoulder backpack as my welcome back gift.
With Disney, I am always on the look-out for the less-known facts. With DCL cruises, I continue to search for this type of information; some useful, some cost savings, and some just interesting little tidbits!
My first and favorite is Disney’s use of Nautical Flags on both the cruise ships and on Castaway Cay.
For example, in the hallways outside our staterooms, the carpet has the ship’s name, DISNEY DREAM, imprinted on it using Nautical Flags.
Around the Donald Family Pool and the Mickey Pool, there are also railings with Nautical Flags imprinted on them, which spell DCL and DISNEY.
In the launderette room on deck 5 of the Disney Dream, these floor tiles are another example of Disney’s use of Nautical Flags. This spells DISNEY.
Inside each of the cabanas on Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island), there are Nautical Flags on the walls indicating the original Cabana number. However, over the years, some additional cabanas have been added to the island, and the flags no longer match all of the assigned cabana numbers.
Another interesting fact about those hallway carpets is that the globes printed on them tell you whether you are headed Forward or Aft ship. For example, the north side (top) of the globe points toward the Forward ship and the south side (bottom) of the globe points toward Aft ship.
One more location indicator comes from the decorative hooks that are on the wall outside the staterooms, just above each the stateroom number. On the Disney Dream, if the hook is a fish, then you are on the port side of the ship, and if it is a seahorse, then you are on the starboard side. Starfish means you are in the concierge area.
It is great to go on vacation and go offline, but sometimes it is necessary to keep in touch with those back home. DCL’s Connect@Sea does offer (at an extra cost) a few Wi-Fi options including small, medium, large and pay-as-you-go packages. They also offer a FREE 50 MB data package to passengers. However, to be eligible for this free package, you must register for it on the embarkation day. As you probably know, 50 MB doesn’t typically last long, but it should be enough to check emails, especially on a shorter cruise and if you have the background functions and apps turned off on your device. The Cast Members at the Connect@Sea desk have always been willing to assist with this to help conserve data.
New to me, since the last time that I cruised with DCL, is the Navigator App which needs to be downloaded prior to your cruise. Once on the ship and before sailing, turn on your Airplane Mode and Wi-Fi, then select the DCL-Guest network. This app is very helpful, as it allows you to stay in touch with your shipmates while onboard, as well as it gives you access to daily activities, dining, entertainment schedules, port information, deck plans, menus and more. It will even notify you of your booked and saved activities just before the scheduled times.
If you plan on taking another Disney cruise, a tip for good savings is to try to book it while onboard. If you are not sure of the sail date, you can pay a deposit and book a “placeholder” which gives you 24 months to complete the cruise that you choose. Booking a placeholder can be done at the Disney Vacation Planning Center before your last night at sea. You can even join the Planning Center’s queue through the Navigator App which is handy so you don’t have to wait in line at the Planning Center. This way, you can continue what you are doing on the ship until they notify you that a Cast Member is ready to assist you. Benefits of booking onboard are that you will receive a discount off your future cruise cost (excluding concierge and some blackout dates) and DCL will give you an onboard credit (based on the length of the cruise) for that cruise, as well. Also, please keep in mind that within 30 days from booking the placeholder or future booking onboard, it can be transferred to David’s Vacation Club Rentals, and our Cruise Specialists would then be able to you assist with any/all sailing related questions.
I have always loved the color of the Disney cruise ships because they are painted with the colors of the head cheese, Mickey Mouse.
The hull is black; the top part is white; the two funnels are red, and the trim & lifeboats are yellow. Think about the lifeboat color on other cruise lines; they are orange. DCL was the first to have yellow lifeboats and received special permission so that they could keep with the Mickey colors for their ships.
Did you know that you can mail a letter or postcard from Disney’s Castaway Cay? Yes, that’s right! There is a Post Office on the island; it is a small building on the right, soon after you get off the ship. Anything mailed from this location will have a special Castaway Cay postmark on it.
They also have their own “Air Mail” service…wink, wink.
If you are booked on an upcoming Disney Cruise, and you have a Facebook account, you usually will be able to find a Facebook group for your sailing date and cruise ship. These groups are fun forums to discuss and share information about your cruise with fellow sailors. I was a member of a Facebook group for our sailing date and met a few people from the group while onboard.
My last, but certainly not least fun fact, is that you can get a Dole Whip while onboard a Disney the cruise ships. At Disney World, Dole Whips are one of my favorite snacks and I was happy to see that since my last cruise, they are now available onboard. You can purchase a Dole Whip for $4.95, with Myers Dark Rum for $6.75 and with Shipwreck Spiced or Vanilla Rum for $9.00. On the Disney Dream, you can get them at the ice cream place on deck 11 near the midship elevators.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog. I can’t wait to cruise again with Disney Cruise Line and continue my scavenger hunt for more interesting facts. Happy cruising!