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How to do embarkation and disembarkation on DCL – PREP 406

How to do embarkation and disembarkation on DCL – PREP 406

Daydreaming of a Disney Cruise Line voyage or have one planned? Listen as we help you navigate all the ins and outs of embarkation and disembarkation. 

The Basics

If you are new to cruising or are looking for a way to make embarkation and disembarkation easier, we have check lists for that! We have put together things that have worked for us.


Be sure to arrive the day before. There are so many travel things that can happen on your travel day and we definitely recommend arriving at least the day before embarkation.

Depending on where you are cruising out of, you will be able to find a hotel that is nearby and has a shuttle. If you are traveling out of Port Canaveral the Orlando Airport Hyatt or a Disney World hotel are popular options.

One of the first things you will want to do on your departure day is to fill out the health questionnaire. You will get an email and a push notification on the app. One application is needed for each stateroom.

You will also need to tag your bags prior to embarkation. These should have been mailed to you and you will need to make sure your bags are tagged prior to arriving to the terminal.

Be sure that you aren’t taking the whole backing off of your tag because it is very sticky!

You will also need to make sure your carry-on bag includes all of your drinks. This includes a six pack of beer or two bottles of wine, plus any non-alcoholic drinks. The best way we’ve found to do that is to use a beach bag.

Arrive to the cruise terminal just before your port arrival time indicated on your port arrival email. If you choose to take Disney transportation you will pay per person and be on their schedule. However, if you use rideshare or another option, you will pay a flat fee.

At the Port

Be sure to have cash for any porter who takes your luggage when you arrive to the port. When it gets close to your port arrival time, you can begin to check in. You can save the .pdf form emailed to you on your phone. You will need that QR code several times.

You will go through security and then present your passport. Often you are able to board the ship immediately. When you board the ship, they will ask your name to be announced when get on the ship.

Getting on the ship

We recommend connecting to the onboard Wifi as soon as you board. This will make sure that your app connects to the Wifi. You will also noticed that the app is now in onboard mode!

Because your room will not be ready yet, we recommend checking out things you want to take care of. This could include checking out the kid’s club, the spa, or taking care of any excursions.

We also recommend getting lunch at some point as well! One restaurant will be serving lunch. You can also go to the casual buffet. You can also go to the outside areas by the pool for lunch.

Once your stateroom is ready, head there! If you have ordered any onboard gifts, those will be in side your room.

Once your bags are ready, they will be delivered outside your stateroom. It can take a few hours, but might be sooner. Be sure to utilize the under bed storage or magnets to organize your room.

You may want to purchase an internet package. You can use the free onboard wifi for the app, iMessage, and whatsapp. However, if you want to do anything else on the internet, you will need to purchase access.

If your phone has an international plan, you will likely be able to use that at port, but it will not work while you are at sea. You may want to consider internet, while it is very expensive.

You will also need to attend your Muster Drill at your assigned location and time. The app will tell you the location and time. This is mandatory for everyone on the ship.

Immediately following the Muster Drill is the sail away show. The tricky element is that people will go there as soon as the muster drill is over. The best way to get a good view of the sail away party, is to plan a route to the stairs and find a spot on the deck above the sail away party.

The ship typically sails away during the party or shortly after.

Out at Sea

Once you begin to leave the port, you can start finding your favorite things in the app. You can put together a rough plan of your schedule by clicking the heart next to activities you would like to do.

The things you click the heart will show up on your My Plans section. This will help you get a sense for how your days will look.

This evening you will want to do dinner, show, and shopping. During 6-8 p.m. you will have your first stage show, first dinner experience, and shops will open when you are out at sea.

Depending on when you have your dinner scheduled, you can plan to do shopping and see the show before or after. Shopping can be competitive so you may want to go early to be sure to get what you want.

Utilize your app to find out what your dining schedule is. Your app will show you what time and what dining room you will be in each evening.

If you enjoy wine at dinner, you can purchase a wine package at your first dinner. We recommend this if you want to have a glass or two at dinner. There are different packages depending on your party size, type of wine you enjoy, and how many nights you’d like wine.


Disembarkation also begins the day before you get off the cruise just like embarkation begins the day before. The first thing to do is to go to Shutters to purchase any photos you’d like to get. You can download them when you get off the ship, but you do need to choose and purchase them before you get off the ship.

You will also need to tip your servers and stateroom attendant. You can prepay your gratuity before your cruise but you can also leave cash for your servers and attendant.

You can include the prepaid print out and put them in the envelopes left in your stateroom to let your servers and host know that the gratuity was prepaid. You can also include cash in those envelopes on your final day.

You will want to fill out the survey prior to getting off the ship. You may be asked by your servers to fill this out as it is important for their performance and pay.

If you want some things from the shops, be sure to purchase those before you get to the port. You can also stop by guest services to settle any issues.

The best way to save on a future cruise is to book a cruise while you are still onboard. You will get a reduced deposit on cruises of 7+ nights and a 10% discount. You can choose your cruise later and if you choose to cancel, you will get your deposit back.

If you want your luggage handled off the ship, you will need to leave them outside your stateroom door by 10 p.m. The character on your tags is when you will disembark.

Unless you need help with your luggage, we do not recommend doing this. If you take your own luggage, you do not need to leave your luggage outside and you can disembark when you are ready.

Be sure to attend the farewell show in the atrium on the last night of your cruise. There will be characters there and they will spread out after the show.

If you want breakfast on your final morning, you can order room service by midnight the night before and have it delivered. The coffee will be delivered in an insulated carafe and will stay warm by the morning.

Before you disembark, be sure to stop by and pick up any alcohol being held on the ship. You can pick it up on your disembarkation day. Be sure to allow time as there could be a wait.

You can stop by the casual buffet in the morning for breakfast. You will also have the option of eating in one of the dining rooms for breakfast. Be mindful that you should be out of your stateroom by 8 a.m.

You will walk off the ship with any luggage you have. If you are doing express walk-off you can do that anytime. If you are having your luggage taken off the ship, you will need to wait for your character to be called.

Once off the ship, you will need your passport to go through customs. That is the final step before getting your transportation home.

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