The Disney Fantasy arrives in Port Canaveral, Florida. (Photo: Handout/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images )
Perhaps no cruise line is more dedicated to making cruising fun for the entire family than is Disney. Each of its four ships has areas dedicated to specific age groups, from toddlers to teens to adults. Disney's cruise destinations include Alaska, the Bahamas, Canada, the Caribbean, the California coast, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, the Panama Canal, and its transatlantic cruises travel from the Bahamas to the Mediterranean. Decide when and where you want to go, then pack for your adventure.
Packing for Women
You'll need casual clothes for most of the cruise, so pack pants, shorts and tops you can mix and match. Casual sundresses and sandals work well, too. Nights at sea can be breezy and chilly, so bring a lightweight sweater or fleece top you can layer over your outfit. The sweater or a shawl also can be used in air-conditioned dining rooms or theaters. You'll need a bathing suit or two and a cover-up, as well as beach sandals or water shoes and a sun hat. If you are cruising in Alaska, you'll want a coat, scarf, hat and gloves, several warmer tops for layering and warm socks. Pack hiking boots or walking shoes for shore excursions.
Seven-night Disney cruises have one formal and one semi-formal night, while three- or four-night cruises have one dress-up night. On dress-up or semi-formal nights, wear a dress or pantsuit. Formal nights require a dressy dress or gown. Note, however, that you can opt out of the fancy dining if you don't want to bother dressing up. There are plenty of casual options for food service, such as pizza, sandwiches and burgers, or you can order room service 24 hours a day.
Packing for Men
As for women, men will need casual shorts and slacks with casual tops that can be mixed and matched. You'll also need a swimsuit or two, beach sandals or water shoes, a cover-up and a hat. Alaska cruises require a coat, scarf, hat and gloves. Take walking shoes or hiking boots. For shorter cruises, a dress-up night will require nice slacks and a jacket; semi-formal nights require a suit or jacket, and formal nights mean a suit or tuxedo. In addition to nice casual wear for regular dinners - no shorts - Disney ships have specialty restaurants where slightly dressier clothing is appropriate. You can always opt out of the dressier dinners with casual fare or room service.
Packing for Kids
Kids need plenty of active casual wear and swimwear, as well as a cover-up, hat and beach sandals or water shoes. For little ones, swim diapers will be needed. Just like the adults, kids on the Alaska cruise will need a coat, hat, gloves or mittens and warm socks. Kids can participate in dress-up nights, too. In addition, Disney cruises often have theme nights, such as a pirate or tropical theme, for which the whole family may want to dress in costume. Although there's plenty to do on the ship and on shore excursions, pack a few toys and games for quiet times in the cabin.
Keep a folder of important documents, such as tickets, passports, visas, your itinerary, medical information, prescriptions and emergency contact numbers, as well as copies of these documents in a separate piece of luggage. Pack your documents, medications and a change of clothing for each person in carry-on luggage in case it takes a while for your bags to reach your cabin. Additional items you may want to bring: electronics, such as cell phones, music players, cameras, laptops and e-book readers, as well as batteries and chargers; an alarm clock; toiletries; a first-aid kit, sunscreen and sunglasses; and a hair dryer - one is provided in your cabin, but you may prefer your own. Bring credit cards and cash, especially small bills for tips. For parents traveling with infants, bring a collapsible stroller - the ships have a limited supply. You won't need to bring a highchair, booster seat or playpen, however.
If you have room in your luggage, these items can make your stay more comfortable: a power strip, as there may be few outlets in the cabin; an empty bag for shopping; a clear over-the-door hanging shoe holder for keeping track of small items and maximizing space; hooks with suction cups for drying items over the tub; laundry detergent and dryer sheets; and a soft-sided, collapsible cooler. Although food is plentiful on cruises, you may want some snacks and drinks to have in the cabin or to take to the theater. A refillable water bottle will come in handy as well.