Mickey and Minnie Mouse with The Wish
  • On Apr 2, 2023
    Kristin Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    This is our first cruise! What is the difference between port arrival time and on boarding time? What can we expect with the boarding process in general?

    Ahoy, Kristin! Welcome to planDisney!

    It won't be long before you are welcomed aboard for your very first Disney Cruise! How exciting! It will be here before you know it. I'd love to help you feel prepared for your embarkation day. Let's dive in! 

    To begin, the Port Arrival Time is the time that you should be pulling up to the cruise terminal. This is when you begin the process to check in at the port before you board the ship. Once you arrive at the terminal, you will leave your luggage that will not be carried onto the ship with luggage porters. Make sure to have your luggage tags affixed to these suitcases! Keep your carry-on luggage with you and be sure to have your travel documentation, identification, valuables, and any medication packed in your carry-on. You might also want to have a swimsuit, coverup, and sunscreen in your day bag as well if you'd like to swim shortly after boarding. 

    Once you have left your checked luggage with the porters, you will present your Port Arrival Form to enter the terminal and proceed through a security checkpoint. From there, you will line up to check in with a Disney Cruise Line agent. You will need to be prepared to show your proof of citizenship documents and your Port Arrival Form again. If you have any children that are registered for Disney's Oceaneer Club in your party, they will receive their Oceaneer Bands at this time. You will then be cleared to board the ship but will need to wait until your boarding group number is called. Announcements will be made through the cruise terminal indicating which boarding groups have been called to board the ship. The amount of time you need to wait is variable. I sailed last week and waited about 20 minutes, but I have had to wait longer than that in the past.

    It's a good idea to have a book to read or an activity to enjoy while you wait, especially if you have younger sailors in your travel party. You may want to have a bottle of water or snacks on hand if your port arrival time is between meals. There will be a variety of delicious food options waiting for you once you step on the ship, but it's a good idea to be prepared in case you think anyone will be hungry. 

    Once your boarding group is called, you will proceed to the ship! Have your camera ready to take pictures for those first few exciting moments on board! After you step onboard, I recommend that you eat some lunch, review the daily activities listed in the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app, check out the youth spaces, and swim! 

    Have a magical cruise!


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Meet the Panelist: Adrianna, California

Welcome, fellow voyagers! Like my favorite bibliophile princess, I want adventure in the great wide somewhere! I’m a wife, a mom of two, and my favorite way to find adventure is on board the Disney Cruise Line. I’d love to help you and your sailing crew plan for your own adventures, filled with magic and memories that last a lifetime. Learn More About Adrianna

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