We are going on a Disney Cruise on 4/10-4/15 headed to Castaway Cay and the Bahamas. We are first time cruisers so we can’t book our excursions or reservations til 75 days out which is at midnight. We don’t know what the must do’s and must reservations?
Truly it depends on your interests. As a family with kids/grandparents on our first Disney cruise we chose to get a cabana on Castaway Cay which I recommend if there are any left during your booking window and if there’s a waitlist I’d do that. We did it again with teens on our last cruise. At Nassau both times we went to Atlantis and some of us did Dolphin swim there both times. Both times we also got a cabana there in the waterpark. We enjoyed our experiences and I’d do em again. But it’s such a personal thing. I still highly recommend you just relax and enjoy your day on Castaway Cay. Even if you cannot get a cabana, rent some snorkel equipment and floaties and relax.
Unless the privacy of a cabana is important to you, I wouldn’t bother worrying about that. There are unlikely to be any available at Castaway Cay on your booking date. And there are so many shaded lounge chairs available on the beach that you won’t have trouble finding one.
I would recommend having a prioritized list of the port excursions you want to book along with alternatives if your first choice is not available. I would try to book those first. Next I would try for any adult dining reservations (Palo, etc). Then any extra experiences like spa treatments and drink tastings.
I agree that it’s about your own personal preferences, and you didn’t share details about your party (ages, interests, etc). I normally book very little ahead of time, and IMHO even if you book nothing extra, you can still have a fabulous time. Some people don’t even get off the ship at port! Because it’s your first cruise, you may just want to try many different things with little advance commitment. You’ll likely want to go back and cruise again, and then you’ll know more for yourself.
For me personally, I would prioritize a good time for a massage at the spa on a day at sea. I would next consider an adult dining reservation, but I enjoy meeting up with family during dinner, so I might not. . . I’ve enjoyed my time in port more when I just wander (with my own pre-planned agenda) than when I’ve booked a planned excursion.
All in all, you really can’t go wrong, so don’t stress about the reservations you can or can’t make!
We are some of those people. We only had a three day cruise (1st one also), and none of us were super interested in the port offerings in Nassau. We spent the day taking advantage of (slightly) shorter lines for the Aquaduck, playing the Midship Detective, and otherwise enjoying the ship (the Dream). I still averaged 20,000 steps a day on that cruise, so we were plenty active and had lots to do!
And even then understand that while the cabana and immediate yard is “private” they are close together and the beach is shared. On the adult beach, they are not directly on the beach but the chairs are all in front of the cabana area.
And let’s just say they are not soundproof and sound carries. I had the misfortune of selecting a chair and umbrella down on the beach with a cabana behind that area and let’s just say the couple there didn’t realize how not truly private the cabanas are. I quickly found a new chair and umbrella because no one wants to hear THAT.
As someone who got reallllllyyy interested in cruising in mid 2019 but has yet to cruise b/c of covid and family stuff, I can’t answer your Q specifically. However, if you haven’t been watching a lot of You Tube videos about DCL those are a treasure trove of information. Really good for figuring out what is out there, exactly what it is, and what you want of it.
We would look up Disney Fantasy or Disney Dream on YouTube and watch ship tours and reviews.
You are us three months ago. Let me try calm of the inevitable FOMO you will encounter.
The single one thing you don’t want to miss is the princess meet and greet which opens 30 days before on checkin day but it is a separate reservation. Don’t even sweat it about Goofy’s sports simulator, royal tea time, Remy at a decent time, and many tastings, you probably could not get them or just got scraps.
But that’s fine! The TP advice that I did not follow on my first cruise was to just go “plain vanilla”. You will have PLENTY to do without the extras.
I strongly suggest not to book any of the “basic” activities on CC like bikes, floaties, snorkels. They never run out of those and you can decide when you get there.
Forget everything people say about cabanas, those are impossible to get and you can enjoy Castaway Cay perfectly without it! Chairs are plentiful and on your first cruise you want to do a lot of exploring. Trust me, you don’t need the cabanas.
For Nassau, we did a self guided walking tour to the Queen’s staircase, fort, pirate’s museum, rum distillery, and the market. Nassau is a poor town but it is perfectly ok to walk it. Some complain about vendors but we just keep walking past them and never had a problem.
One last thing about tastings, in my opinion they are a waste of time and money. Not that they are bad, it is just that you would be better off to going to the Meridian and spending $90 worth of alcohol there. During our wine tasting, all except one wine was from the bargain bin and the explanation was nothing you couldn’t find on YT. We cancelled all our tastings after that one and from talking to other guests it was the right call.
Totally agree with this. Head to the beach and find a group of loungers for your family. Look around a bit and decide what you want to do. We got snorkeling equipment and floaties with no problems. And for some reason we were only charged about half price. $19 per person instead of $34 and no charge for the floaties. Don’t know if that was a mistake or just a bit of pixie dust!
We enjoyed the tastings as something to do as a couple but I think if you hit one of the bars and chat with the bartender you can get some pretty good recommendations and have fun.
We were just on the Dream last week and ended up doing mixology after being talked into it by the bartender at Skyline who was teaching the class. He was amazing and squeezed us in. Funny enough I originally had it booked and cancelled because we aren’t big drinkers and we had Remy dessert scheduled right after and I was afraid that I’d have too much to drink and wouldn’t remember Remy One tip he gave us is if you really want to get in a “sold out” class, make friends with the bartenders and they will likely be able to squeeze you in!
THIS! Just accept going in that no matter how long the cruise is, you WILL NOT be able to do everything.