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– By Darlin’ Diva

Magic-on-Deck3Many of Disney Cruise Line’s itineraries include an “at sea day”.  This may seem a bit intimidating for some people contemplating their first cruise experience.  What the heck’s an “at sea day” and what do you do with it?  Sure, it sounds like there are a lot of things to enjoy on a cruise – especially a Disney cruise – but won’t an entire day adrift without a port of call to explore be boring?  What if some people don’t want to spend all day in a pool or basking in the sun on deck?  What if the cruise is in a colder climate and swimming will be out of the question?  Will this “at sea day” be like a hostage crisis?  There are some cruises with more than one of these!!!  You’re paying money to see stuff, not hang out on the ship, right?Magic's-Cove-Cafe-Foam-Mickey

Dear readers (especially those of you considering a future Disney cruise), let me put your mind at ease.  Spending a day at sea is common and can be very enjoyable.  For our active family, these days to rest and relax are often more than welcome.  There are plenty of entertaining things to do on a Disney ship and, on an at-sea day, the daily schedule includes extra special activities and events to enjoy.  Or not – you do have an opportunity to do nothing at all, in an amazing setting while enjoying delicious food!Magic-on-Deck

My family and I just returned from a Disney cruise aboard the Disney Magic as she made her inaugural cruise through the fjords of Norway.  This 7-night itinerary included not one, but TWO days at sea and let me assure you that they enhanced rather than detracted from our cruise vacation happiness.  The first at-sea day was the day after we sailed from Copenhagen.  This day gave us a little extra time to recover from jet lag and, since it was the day of the cruise’s formal night, we weren’t rushed getting ready for a special evening.  We’d also made the most of a day in Copenhagen before sailing by taking a Segway tour and visiting Tivoli Gardens (amusement park).  We’d just started our vacation and were already pretty tired.

Over the next four days, we visited four different ports.  Our on-shore activities included an amazing, but difficult hike to Pulpit Rock (Stavanger), sea kayaking (Alesund), mountain biking in Geiranger (in the sleet and rain), and a historic walking tour in Bergen.  By the time our second day at sea came around, we were exhausted and more than ready to stay on the ship and take it easy.

This was our sixth Disney cruise and we’ve gotten better at enjoying our days at sea through the years.  Here are some tips for making the most of the activities and entertainment Disney cruise ships have to offer when not in a port of call:

Tips for Grown-ups:Mixology-Mojito

  • If you’re interested in an adult beverage seminar during your cruise, check for the location for making reservations and book a time as soon as you board the ship.  On our cruise, reservations were accepted in Lumiere’s restaurant from 12:30 – 3:00 pm on embarkation day.  Seminars offered included Mojito & Caipirinha Tasting, Italian Liquor Tasting, Tequila & Margarita Tasting, Mixology, Cognac Tasting, Whisky Tasting, and Chocolate & Wine Pairing.  Days at sea are a perfect time to enjoy one of these interesting seminars!
  • Pub Crawl – Visit the adults’ only area of the ship and enjoy some rest and relaxation with a cold beverage and a game of trivia.Palo-Server
  • Book early for days at sea – Spa treatments and adults-only dining experiences are fabulous activities to savor while the ship is not in port.Magic's-Spa2

Tips for Families:

  • Look over the Personal Navigator left in your stateroom every evening for the next day’s scheduled events.  There are so many activities, there’s no way to do them all!  First run movies are shown on board and are a great activity for the whole family to enjoy – we saw Avengers: Age of Ultron in 3D on our second at-sea day.  Movie-on-the-Disney-MagicOpportunities to make crafts, learn to draw characters, enjoy “Toddler Time” with other parents and their little ones, play Disney trivia and other games and dance parties are plentiful.
  • Meet your favorite Disney characters!  Character appearance schedules are available in paper form (on the Personal Navigator) and by Disney Cruise phone app.  We think the characters at sea are more easily accessible than in the parks.  On our most recent cruise, we were able to meet Spiderman, Thor, and Captain America!Captain-America-Disney
  • Pick up some souvenirs – The gift shops are open!  Some of our favorite items to buy include Disney pins, cruise line and cruise destination tee shirts, Christmas ornaments, and Disney Cruise Line scrapbooking supplies.  There’s so much to choose from including watches, purses, home goods, clothing, and much more.Magic-in-Norway-Pin
  • Do some Disney Pin Trading – If you’re a fan of Disney pin trading, there is no shortage of places to trade and opportunities to add to your collection or find a new treasure.  Ask in the shops to see pin books or boards.  Watch your Personal Navigator for special pin trading events.

If you’ve taken a Disney cruise, what were your favorite day-at-sea activities?  If you’re planning your first Disney cruise, what are you looking forward to the most?  Check here for some excellent first time cruise tips.

Until next time…Darlin’ Diva