Oh, where to begin. I will start by saying that packing for our cruise was a bit of a nightmare. However, while on board, I learned several tips and tricks that I will be using on our next voyage.
To begin, we boarded the boat at 1:00pm, but staterooms were not available until 3:00pm! So this means that we (my poor husband) had to haul around all of the luggage that wasn’t checked until our room was available. This can be a huge problem if you’ve carried on a lot and boarded early. I quickly discovered that the best plan would have been to wear a swimsuit under my clothes, arrive early, and check everything except a large backpack or tote.
The day bag should include anything you will need for swimming (except towels, which are provided) a change of clothes for dinner (something that won’t need to be pressed), make-up, meds, and anything else that may be needed for the evening. With a manageable and easily portable bag, everyone could have grabbed a bite to eat, started swimming, and toured the ship until the rooms were ready.
Ideally, your luggage should be to the stateroom as soon as they open, but this is not always the case, and your individual pieces of luggage can get separated and may arrive a different times throughout the evening.
After settling into the stateroom, we began to get everything ready for dinner. Pulling out all the dressy clothes loaded with wrinkles. Then panic…no iron!!! What??? After a brief break-down thinking about all the family pictures in clothes with the just-slept-in look, I decided to call the front desk. There are laundry rooms on board. On The Dream, there is one launderette per floor and the Personal Navigator can help you find the exact location. These laundry rooms included coin-operated washers and dryers and two ironing boards with irons. After quickly doing the math of thousands of guests and 14 ironing boards, I decided to press my dinner clothes each evening after the kiddos and husband went to bed. In doing so, we were ready for dinner the next evening with no stressful rushing-around, and I wouldn’t have to waste any day time waiting in line for an ironing board.
Recycle the kiddo clothes! I had packed a dress outfit and a casual outfit for each person per each day. This was totally unnecessary and made for a lot of heavy luggage. Khaki pants could have easily been recycled each evening with a different top. (This is a perk of having boys.) If a tragic spill occurred, the laundry room was just a short walk away.
In the end, the vacation was wonderful and I made some of the prep and packing work much harder than necessary. I would advise anyone traveling on the DCL to read as much as possible about the ship and all the amenities before leaving. Most importantly, talk to people who have traveled on the cruise line before. This is where the best tips and tricks are going to be shared, and it will make for smooth sailing on the Disney Cruise Line.