Returned from our first-ever cruise. We did the 4-day cruise on the Dream to the Bahamas. I appreciate the many tips I read here. I'm posting the ones I found most useful and adding a few more of my own. Hope it helps some of you first timers --
* Do not take as many clothes as you think you'll need. Remember you will be in a swimsuit a lot of the time. Pack light.
* Pack your swimsuits in your carry on and ride the Aqua Duck the first thing. Everyone else will be checking out the ship while you are having fun without any lines. Eat lunch AFTERWARD.
* Bring a powerstrip -- there are only 2 outlets. This was a lifesaver, especially for all our electronics.
* Buy the Rain Forest package at the spa. If nothing else, it's a great place to shower every morning, even though t is a bit costly. We thought the other spa services we tried (pedicure and blow dry) were overpriced for the quality of services offered.
* No need to bring hand santizers. They give out wipes all over the ship on a regular basis.
* Use room service. It's free and is convenient, has great service, and fun to eat light snacks out on the balcony. The cheese platter was our favorite. m
* Use room service the me morning of Castaway Cay so you can be off the ship early. Claim your spot on the island early. We loved our Stingray Adventure.
* The Midship Detective Agency is a must! Our kids loved it so much (ages 6 and 8) that we did it twice.
* We stayed at the Hyatt Regency at the Orlando Airport the night before. It was very convenient. Upon our return, we got a "day room" there and showered, swam, etc.,while we waited for our 5 p.m. flight.
* Was disappointed overall with the food. A lot rave about the food. I didn't find the service or the dining experience anything special.
* We did the late seating so our kids could be taken to the Oceaneer Lab by the counselors. The problem is that the counselors are only in the dining rooms until 9:15 to take the kids and we never once finished dinner until just before 10 p.m.
* Dining at PALO is a must. It was the best meal and service we had. We will do REMY. PALO also has a brunch we should've done!
* If you are not happy with your table for dinner, ask for a different one.
* Don't miss Animator's Palette -- it was our favorite.
* Didn't really take advantage much of the Oceaneer Lab. Our boys preferred to be with us. We were not overly impressed with the customer service there.
* LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the entertainment. The shows were Broadway quality.
* Our boys loved Goofy's Golf!
* If you are a big water drinker, take your own cup. The free beverage stations have water and you can fill your own cup. The cups they provide are quite small and you have to return often to refill them.
* We would not cruise again in January to the Bahamas. The day we were in Nassau we opted to stay on the ship because the weather was too cool to swim at the beaches there. And it was cool weather the day we were at sea.
* Carry your Navigator with you everywhere.
* Be sure to bring a watch of some kind. There are hardly any clocks onboard and you miss a lot if you aren't aware of what time it is.
* The shops on the ship are open all day on the day at sea. That's a good time to buy your souvenirs.
Overall, it was a magical time filled with memories that only Disney can create!