How about a little Christmas in the Summer?
By Character Diva
It’s getting to be that time of year again… the countdown for Christmas begins! I don’t know how many of you are already stashing presents in your closet, but I’m sure a lot of you have started figuring out (or at least thinking about) where you’re spending Christmas. Disneyland and Disney World are always popular destinations… but they’re packed. Like, bursting at the seams, moving shoulder-to-shoulder, insanely packed! Why not try a Disney Cruise instead? That’s what Character Diva’s Friend (CDF) did with her husband (CDFH), her mother (CDFM) and her two kids (E & J). Worried about your kids being too young to cruise? Have no fear… E was three and a half and J was one when they traveled.
Now there are many options when choosing a Disney cruise, with many ports to depart from and places to cruise to, not to mention the different ships. If you are planning a Disney Cruise, Tips from the Disney Diva always recommends using Patricia. She is wonderful and will be happy to help you and your family plan your dream vacation. CDF’s family chose to travel from Galveston, TX on the Disney Wonder on a five day cruise around the Grand Cayman Island and Cozumel, Mexico. (In case you’re wondering what their sailing itinerary looked like, it was as follows: They sailed December 21st-27th. Day 1 was spent at sea, Day 2 was spent in Cozumel, Mexico; Day 3 was spent on the Grand Cayman Island, and Days 4 (Christmas) and 5 were spent at sea.) CDF felt that this amount of time was just right for her family, though she said one less day at sea would have been good.
So, as their first time on board a Disney cruise ship (and their first Disney vacation with their kids), here is what CDF had to say about cruising at Christmas:
First… what do you do about the gifts? Do you lug them around with you (and pray that they don’t get lost at an airport), or do you buy them on the ship? For CDF, she said that they bought all of their gifts at the gift shop and the gift shop staff wrapped them all up for free! (Which is also nice, because really, who wants to wrap presents on vacation, or risk the paper getting beaten up in transit?) Disney Diva Tip: This is also a good way to buy souvenirs that we would have wanted anyway, and they doubled as gifts. Yay for saving money!! And as an added bonus, CDF also mentioned that they received gifts on their beds on Christmas Eve. (A box of small chocolates with a big Mickey Mouse Chocolate, Little Mermaid holiday themed lithographs, and a card. She also thought there was something else, but that’s all she could remember). Who wouldn’t love receiving free gifts from Disney?!
And how do you make your stateroom feel more like home? Some families hung decorations (magnetic) on their stateroom doors – like stockings with their kids’ names. Added bonus, this can help the older kids (or people who get lost easily like me) find their rooms quickly, and they were cute! And for those of us who know you need to get creative when it comes to reminding your children that yes, Santa *will* find you on board, you can always suggest that he will come down the ship’s smokestack. E was fine with Santa coming down the ship’s smokestack versus a chimney. And CDF was pretty sure that E thought of that explanation herself… Disney Diva Tip: If your child needs extra assurance, there is a character meet and greet with Santa to help assure your child that he does in fact know where you are.
But, besides meeting Santa, what are some other festive holiday activities you can participate in with your family? CDF’s kids made some ornaments one morning. They also wanted to make gingerbread houses, but they were all filled up. Disney Diva Tip: Some of the ship’s activities are unannounced, which is another good reason to talk to someone like Patricia from All for Dreams Travel. It’s free, and she can take care of all of your travel arrangements, as well as let you know what things your family may enjoy on your vacation as well as other details about certain events. To ask for a free quote, you can click here. What if you’ve already booked your vacation or on board? Just find a cast member. The Disney staff is very friendly and helpful, so if you have any questions, just ask.
And for those of you who are worried about “keeping the Christ in Christmas” and are wondering about religious services while on your cruise, the Disney Cruise Line offered Mass daily, as well as on Christmas Eve and Day, and there was also a Non-Denominational Service both Christmas morning and on Sunday morning.
As far as the ship itself, the whole ship was decked out in Christmas decorations. The employees said “Happy Holidays” all of the time, except on Christmas Day, where all of a sudden it was “Merry Christmas”. CDF thought it was kind of eerie how it changed overnight, but I suppose that’s politically correctness for you.
There is always one formal night on a Disney Cruise, and this time, it was on Christmas Eve. Disney Diva Tip: Always remember to have at least one formal outfit, and with small children who are likely to spill something on themselves or on you, you may want to bring at least two.
For CDF’s family, Christmas Day began with Christmas Mass followed by visiting Santa Claus Christmas morning. Unfortunately, there was a very long Santa line so the kids were too tired to care by the time we got to see him. Poor J was screaming. Not fun. CDF said that they did have a nice spread of goodies and hot chocolate in the lobby while everyone waited. Amidst all of the goodies, there was also a Frozen themed cake and pretty ice sculptures to help set the wintery theme. Disney Diva Tip: CDF recommends that you either get in line first thing or wave to Santa from afar next time… And this is always something you can do at home too (hopefully the lines at the mall aren’t as long… though I’m also assuming they won’t have a Frozen themed cake or Disney munchies to snack on.)
Thank you so much CDF for telling us all about your trip (and giving me a beautifully Christmas themed Little Mermaid lithograph, which she also got on board). So who’s ready for a Disney Christmas cruise? And have any of you ever cruised during the holidays? What are some of your tips? For more articles on cruising throughout the year, you can read these fun articles such as cruising with teens and cruising on your honeymoon, as well as some great tips on when to arrive, and our best 10 and a half tips for your Disney Cruise. And as always, when planning your next Disney Vacation, Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos highly recommends Patricia Payne from All For Dreams Travel.