Next week (Ah! I can’t believe it’s next week already!), my family is going on a 3-night Disney Cruise. I won’t even consider a 3-night cruise on any other cruise line besides Disney due to the party atmosphere on most 3-night weekend cruises. But, DCL is different.
Our last four cruises have been 7 nights long. Most cruise experts don’t recommend 3-night cruises even on DCL, and I understand why. People report that everything feels rushed and crowded. We’ve been on a few 4-night cruises, and time just flies by. I’m sure a 3-night cruise will be over before we know it.
That’s why I’m approaching this cruise differently. We will be prioritizing certain things and skipping some of our usual cruise activities.
What We’re Prioritizing
Beauty and the Beast Stage Show: This is one of only two Disney Cruise Line stage shows my family hasn’t seen. I love the story, and I’m excited to see it on board. I don’t care if we make it to the shows the other two nights, but we will prioritize this show for sure.
Holiday-themed Photo Ops: Our cruise is a Christmas-themed Very MerryTime cruise. On the first night, the characters are dressed in special winter holiday outfits. Santa Claus visits the atrium a few times. On Castaway Cay, the island is decorated for Christmas with a tree, snowmen and other festive photo ops. Since we’ve never been on the ship or Castaway Cay during this time frame, we’re looking forward to these holiday photos.
Special Christmas Shows: In addition to the Broadway stage shows each night, DCL packs in a lot more entertainment on these Very MerryTime cruises. There is a tree lighting ceremony on the first night as well as Santa’s Winter Wonderland Ball. There is also an afternoon Deck the Deck holiday show outside.
Christmas Activities: In addition to the shows, this cruise has a few more holiday-themed activities like story time with Mrs. Claus, gingerbread cookie decorating and holiday crafts.
What We’re Skipping
I don’t want to be running from activity to activity on this cruise with absolutely no down time. With that in mind, there are a few things we’ve done on past cruises that we will be skipping on this one.
Fish Extender Exchange: Also known as the FE, the Fish Extender Exchange is a gift exchange among families organized on social medial. My family has had a blast participating in this on past cruises, and we’ve met a lot of families that we still keep in touch with. However, making the gifts and distributing them is time consuming. We are skipping it this time. Instead, I plan to bring a few treats for just my kids, and I’ll fill our FE pockets with stuff I’ve brought just for them. This will be much less time consuming than delivering presents all over the ship!
Nassau: My family has been to Nassau before, and we enjoyed it. However, since our time on the ship is so short, we will skip a shore excursion in Nassau and just stay on board the Disney Dream. Some of the Christmas activities happen during the day, and we also might want to ride the Aqua Duck or watch Frozen 2 in the on-board movie theatre.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: My daughter has had a princess makeover at the BBB on every cruise after she turned 3. Even though it only takes an hour or so, we’re skipping it this time. I’ll do her hair myself in a fraction of the time.
Adults-Only Restaurant: My husband and I always eat at Palo or Remy, the adults-only restuarants. Even though he won’t be on this cruise, I could still eat at Palo by myself. But, with only 3 nights of dinner, I’m skipping it.
Spa: On past cruises, I’ve had a chair massage and spent time in the Rainforest room with its heated tile loungers, showers and steam rooms. With all the shows and activities we want to see and do, I seriously doubt I’ll have time to relax at the spa. I’m ok with skipping it.
I really don’t want to feel like we have to see and do everything in 3 nights, and I plan to reiterate that to my kids. I hope we can see some unique Christmas things on this cruise while also being flexible with our agenda.
Have you been on a 3-night cruise? How did you prioritize? Or, do you just go for it and sleep when you get back home?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.