I’m a planner. I love a good to-do list. I have a paper planner that allows me to scribble down any task that comes to mind, and that also allows me to put that oh-so-satisfying line through said task when it’s been completed. I like having a game plan, I like things to be fairly clear cut, and I like setting goals that help flesh out that game plan well in advance. Planning, in my opinion, is a good thing.
When it comes to planning a vacation, I like having time. I know I’m not alone when I say that planning a Disney vacation is half of the fun. When my family and I were planning a Walt Disney World visit or a Disney Cruise Line vacation, the prep would begin months, and sometimes even years, in advance. Vlogs would be watched, podcasts would be re-listened to for the fifth time, message boards would be searched for the answers to all pertinent questions, and a well-executed plan would spring into action.
So, what’s a planner to do when the opportunity for a last minute Disney Cruise Line voyage appears?
Last spring, my husband and I had the chance to book a 7-night Disney Cruise Line vacation just 5 weeks before the sail date. For our previous DCL cruises, we had booked months (and sometimes years) before the cruise was to commence. I had time to plan, coordinate logistics, compare options, and savor the growing anticipation of our big trip. Booking just five weeks out meant that all of those wonderful moments of planning needed to be condensed. And you know what? A shortened timeline turned out to be just as much fun.
Yes, prep time was a bit crazier, and everything had to be completed at an accelerated pace, but, in the end, everything got done, and I didn’t have to wait for years for embarkation day to arrive. It was right around the corner! I started doing laundry, ironing, and packing a little bit at a time so that I wasn’t cramming it all in at the very last minute. Things went into the suitcase as I thought of them, because there was no time to procrastinate and put it off. The time to begin getting ready occurred as soon as the trip was booked, and I was so excited to do so.
We’ve never been huge shore excursion/port adventure people, but if you are, keep in mind that when booking a cruise at the last minute, the shore excursions that you may want could possibly be full. Be sure to have an extra option or two, and be open to new possibilities. Who knows? You might enjoy the second option even more than you would’ve loved the first.
We’d heard for years about how amazing Palo brunch is, but by the time we booked our cruise, brunch on our two sea days was completely full. If you’re not familiar with Palo, it’s an adults-only restaurant located on all four Disney Cruise Line ships that features northern Italian cuisine. Guests can dine at Palo for an additional charge, if reservations are available. When we got onto the ship on embarkation day, we asked to be placed on the Palo brunch wait list for the second sea day (the advice that was given to us), and lo and behold, we got it. We received a call on the second sea day less than an hour before the available reservation time, but we got it. Keep in mind that that’s not always going to happen, but when and if it does, please do a happy dance and have a chunk of aged parmesan for me. It was an amazing meal, and something that we hope to do again in the not-so-distant future.
During the second week of January, Pete had the chance to book four of us on a 4-night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream that set sail on February 24th. Even at that late date, Pete found availability for both Palo and Remy; a feat that is normally unheard of with last minute cruising. It just goes to show you that anything can happen at anytime. Just because you didn’t book your cruise months in advance doesn’t mean that you automatically won’t get to enjoy some of the activities that you might have on your wishlist.
If schedules and vacation time and budgets and stars align, the joy of booking a last minute cruise can be just as great as the joy felt during months of anticipation. And, in the end, you’ll find yourself floating on a ship in the middle of the ocean with Mickey and his friends. Everything else is icing on the cake. In my book, it just doesn’t get better than that.
If you’re interested in booking a last minute cruise, Disney Cruise Line currently has some great rates on Guaranteed Staterooms. Click here to read Pete’s explanation of all of the ins and outs of a Guaranteed Stateroom.
If you’d like help planning your next Disney Cruise Line vacation, the DCL experts at Dreams Unlimited Travel are here for you. Don’t forget that when you book a Disney cruise through Dreams Unlimited, you’ll receive a shipboard credit. Click here to receive a free no-obligation quote today.
Have you booked a cruise at the last minute? What are your thoughts on the process? If you have any tips to help prepare other last minute cruisers, please leave them in the comments section below.
Deni loves all things Disney, and, in 2013, moved to the Magic from Maryland. Walt Disney World is her happy place, and she loves getting to share it with others. Deni and her husband of almost 26 years have 2 grown children. Her favorite WDW snack? A Mickey Bar, of course. Is there any other?!