Ahoy mates! I recently had the ultimate opportunity to sail on the Disney Wish media cruise as a guest. As a first time cruiser (Ever! On any cruise ship, let alone a Disney cruise), I scoured the internet high and low for the BEST Disney cruise packing list. I wanted to feel like a PRO. I didn’t want to get onto the ship and realize I forgot something critical. Granted, you can find almost anything you may have forgotten to pack on the ship, but you will pay a premium. Even though I think I packed pretty well for my first cruise, there were lessons learned, and things I will pack and NOT pack for next time.
If you are headed on your first (or even your tenth) Disney cruise, I hope the following information helps as you pack for your next adventure!
Here’s the ultimate list and tips I wish I had!
Let’s start with a few basic cruising/packing tips.
Cruise Packing Tips
There are very specific requirements when cruising aboard any of the Disney Cruise ships. Being a first time cruiser, I was very worried about missing a step and not having all of the necessary documentation ready for boarding. Can you imagine, you get to Port and realize you forgot to complete something? My biggest fear! But, the whole process was relatively simple and Disney does a great job of guiding you along the way.
The current guidelines do require all Guests ages 5 and up to show proof of vaccination (uploaded into the Safe Passage portal) and proof of a negative Covid test (proctored by an MD, either at-home or at port). A photo ID (can be a selfie), passport or birth certificate information and online check-in is also required. Disney provides a required timeline for all of these things to be completed. Once all done, you will receive a “clear to sail” message. From that point forward, all that’s left is to countdown until cruise day!
Disney Cruise Line requires a minor authorization form for any children under age 18 who will be sailing without a parent or legal guardian. The completed form must be presented during check-in at the port terminal prior to embarkation.
For all the specific details, visit the Disney Cruise Line Know Before You Go and Pre-Cruise Checklist page. As I mentioned above, Disney does a great job of breaking it all down and being very clear on what is needed and the necessary timelines.
I will suggest one thing: A printout or copy of all of these things is helpful for you to have with you on embarkation day. I am still a paper girl, even in this digital world. While having all (or some) of the information readily available on your phone, I don’t always trust that my phone will have good enough service to access the information when needed. Having paper printouts of things has saved me so many times in various situations.
Pack a Day Bag for Embarkation Day
When you arrive at Port, you will hand over your luggage to the porter to ensure it gets loaded onto the ship. Think of this like curbside baggage check-in at the airport. This means however that you may not see your luggage for several hours. It may take some time to have your luggage delivered to your stateroom. You will definitely want a few things with you in case you want to freshen up or change once on the ship. Be sure to pack all of your necessary documents in your day bag as well. Once you hand over your luggage, you won’t see it again until later in the day after the ship sets sail. If you think you may want to hit the pool once on the ship, pack your bathing suit and a cover up. Whatever you might need until you get your bags, you will want to have with you.
Face coverings are not required for guests outdoors while on board the ship and at designated locations on Castaway Cay. Masks will be optional in most indoor locations throughout the ship. Guests under 5 years of age who are not fully-vaccinated will be required to wear face coverings in Youth Activity spaces and in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique; and, while not required, we continue to strongly recommend these guests wear a face covering in all other indoor locations. Face coverings are optional on motor coach transportation and in the cruise terminal and may be required in ports of call based on local government requirements. Face coverings are required in all testing areas.
Shoes, Shoes, and More Shoes
The biggest lesson I learned was to pack several types of shoes and multiple pairs. For ladies, I recommend a pair of flip flops, at least 2 pairs of sandals, a pair of dress shoes (for formal night), and a pair of sneakers (there is a LOT of walking on the ship and at destinations on the cruise itinerary). For men, I recommend a pair of dress shoes, a pair of flip flops and a good walking pair of sneakers. Personally, the next time around, I’m going for comfort over fashion. I suggest you do the same. You’ll thank me for it!
Pack Wrinkle Free Clothes
I iron everything! I learned however that staterooms on cruise ships do not have irons (for safety reasons, of course!). But it can be somewhat inconvenient. There are irons available – and plenty of them – in the laundromat(s) aboard the ship. It just takes a bit more effort to get your stuff ironed. On the Wish, there is now one centralized laundry area, whereas on other Disney cruises, there are multiple laundry spaces scattered on various decks of the ship.
I recommend packing as many wrinkle free clothing items as you can, or pre-iron some of your clothes. I wear a lot of cotton/linen during the summer and we all know how wrinkled linen gets. My suggestion is to pre-iron before packing and used packing cubes in your suitcase. I did this and many of my clothing items stayed in good shape, enough to wear without re-ironing. It took a little more effort before packing, but it turned out to be worth it.
Mix & Match Outfits
It’s critical that you maximize your packing space. Each Guest is allowed to bring 2 pieces of luggage and a carry-on, however I recommend packing as light as you can. Staterooms are small, and even though you can store luggage pieces under the bed, the less you have the better. I recommend planning on wearing shorts or pants more than once and changing it up with different tops. You will change throughout the day more often than you think, so you will likely only be wearing outfits for a few hours. You can easily re-wear things. There is also a laundromat on the ship, so you can launder clothes if needed.
Dining Dress Codes
Most of the time, dinner in the main dining rooms are cruise casual. That means you can wear dressy shorts, jeans, a nice top, or sundresses. Tank tops or bathing suits are not generally acceptable. I did see some wearing tube tops during dinner, on my recent cruise on the Wish, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There are also a few fancier restaurants aboard that do have a stricter dress code. On the Wish, Palo and Enchante (Remy on other ships) require a jacket (suit or sport) with dress pants for men (ties are optional) and a cocktail/evening dress or skirt/top for women. Shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, sandals, etc are not allowed. I only dined in the 3 main “cruise casual” restaurants, so I wore sundresses and one night a pair of wide-leg linen pants and a sleeveless blouse. I did not dine in the fancier restaurants, but pack accordingly if you have reservations.
Note that if your cruise itinerary includes a themed night (such as Pirate night) or a formal dinner night, you are not required to participate (dress-wise). The vast majority of cruisers do, but it is not a requirement.
Pack for Various Weather Conditions
The biggest revelation for me was how many outfits I had to pack for various situations. Not only will you be packing day, night and beach wear, but you will also be packing for various weather conditions. Most likely it will be hot, so pack accordingly. But it may also rain or be chilly indoors with the A/C on, so you may want to bring a rain jacket or poncho and a few sweaters for nighttime. For the ladies, I also highly recommend packing slip shorts to wear under your dresses. It does get quite windy sometimes if you venture out on deck and you want to be prepared for a possible Marilyn Monroe scenario!
A Few Things You DON’T Need to Pack
There were a few things that I thought for sure I was going to need to have with me, and it turns out, not so much.
- Hairdryer – I packed one because I usually don’t like the hairdryers that are provided in hotel rooms. My hair needs power and force! However, as it turned out, the hairdryers provided on the ship were better than the travel one I had with me.
- Do take note of wattage/voltage requirements for hairdryers and other small electrical appliances. If you bring one that does not meet the requirements, it will not work (especially when out at sea).
- Iron – This is for safety reasons. There are plenty of irons in the laundromat aboard the ship to use.
- Perishable Food – Perishable food is not permitted aboard the ship. Full stop.
- Power Strips – Power strips will be confiscated out of your luggage prior to it being delivered to your stateroom. There will be a note in your luggage alerting you that it was removed, and you can pick it up when you debark from the ship. Don’t even attempt to pack one, it won’t make it to your room. There are plenty of outlets and usb ports in the staterooms.
- Beach Towels – These are provided for you. It’s not necessary to waste space in your luggage with towels.
- Candles – This should go without saying – an open flame on a cruise ship is just not a good idea. Left unattended could lead to trouble.
The Ultimate Cruise Packing List
Here is a comprehensive packing list (especially for first timers) to ensure you don’t forget anything on your next adventure:
Disney Cruise Packing Checklist (printable version)