Adrift with Disney: Choosing the Perfect Stateroom

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As you may have read last week, my family and I are planning a brand new adventure – a Disney cruise. We have never been on a Disney cruise, nor booked one, so I am finding out new information all the time. I have already had to call and change our cabin choice after doing a little research.

When choosing our cabin, there were three things to keep in mind once we chose the category and price: the room accommodations, the location of the cabin, and which side of the ship.

Room Accommodations
Since the Disney Dream will be our home for 4 days, we want to be as comfortable as possible but  assume we will not be in the room much, if it is anything like being at Walt Disney World.  Because there are 4 of us, and allowing for the ages my children will be at the time of the cruise (DD, 21 and DS, 18), I wanted to make sure we had an adequate number of beds. I chose the Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Veranda as the description said:


  • Sleeps: 4 to 5
  • Size: 299 sq. ft. including verandah
  • Room Configuration: Queen-size bed, single convertible sofa, wall pull-down bed (in most) and upper berth pull-down bed, split bath with round tub and shower
  • View: Private verandah

The way I read the sleeping options in this description were: room sleeps 4-5 (perfect); there is a queen-size bed (for DH and me), a single convertible sofa (for DD or DS), a murphy bed (for DD or DS), and an upper berth pull-down bed (we won’t need this one).

Since I was so excited about the trip, I started researching information last weekend and tried to find a picture of the stateroom I reserved. I found a picture of a cabin in the same category as mine and in close proximity to its location. The picture showed the “upper berth pull-down bed” but did not appear to have a murphy bed. So, I called DCL reservations and low-and-behold, we would have shown up to have a room that did not accommodate our family after all. The moral of the story? ASK QUESTIONS. No question is dumb and even if you have to call 100 times, ask anything you need to know.

When I originally spoke to the reservations agent before booking online, he knew that the ages of my kids would be 21 and 18 during the time of sail. He did not ask and I did not say the sizes of my kids, nor the fact that one cannot sleep up in the air. I have read some comments from cruisers with kids too young for the upper berth bed; in my case, they are too old.

So, last weekend I called reservations again. I told the agent that I had seen a picture online and it appeared that my chosen stateroom might have only the upper berth bed and no murphy bed. She told me that was indeed the case. Then I asked the weight limit on the upper berth bed and I was told it holds up to 220 lbs. This created a problem because my son is 6’3” and weighs more than the limit; my daughter is under the limit but she has not been able to sleep on top bunks in the past so she probably would not have slept at all.

I told the reservations agent that I needed to change the room and it turned out that the room right next door has a murphy bed; so the problem was solved. I changed the reservation but I wondered about any of you that might run into a surprise once you get on board so I wanted to make sure you ask as many questions as you need when booking your Disney cruise vacation. Using a Disney specialist travel agent can really help, as they can work with you to answer all your questions as you plan.

Before booking the room, I had also discussed room location with the DCL agent, as I have a propensity for seasickness.  I told him the pricing was a bit confusing to me. The laws of physics alone would make one assume that the higher up we are, the more we would feel the rocking; so why then is it that the higher up your stateroom, the higher the price?  He said that the deck location is all a matter of opinion. He said that although some feel as I do, many others feel that for veranda rooms, the higher off the water you are, the more enjoyable the experience. He also said that since most of your time on a ship is spent everywhere but the cabin (dining, clubs, shows, pools), a lower cabin location doesn’t necessarily decrease the chances of getting seasick.

He said that some people really like Deck 8 because it is very convenient to run up one deck for drinks, pools, lounging and fun, and that when we are in the cabin it will mainly be for sleeping or relaxing. He said that having one’s cabin mid-ship is a great location choice for not feeling much movement. Our location is nearly right in the middle, so that should be a great place.

He also said that the ship has stabilizers to minimize rolling and that, on a trip to the Bahamas, seas rarely get rough enough to be an issue, and the Dream is a very stable ship. He suggested taking seasick meds before we ever get there if I am worried.

Which Side of the Ship?

I asked which side of the ship was best: port or starboard?  Port is the left side of the ship (when facing forward, towards the front of the ship) and Starboard is the right side. My hubby told me he wanted to be port side for the view while the ship is in port. The reservationist told me that either side would be good. He said that there is no guaranty of the view in port either way because the Captains have the choice of backing in or pulling in and you never know what they are going to do during that particular trip.  I went ahead and booked port because DH wanted it — what can I say, I’m a giver! 🙂

I hope these tips will help you to plan your cruise as well. The best tip I can give you is to book early. I live near a cruise port and the closer it gets to sailing date, the lower the price falls. The Disney Cruise Line is completely opposite. The closer it gets to the sail date the higher the prices, and the staterooms of all types book up very quickly. So, get to planning, ask your questions, and happy sailing!

Brenda is a native Texan born and raised on the Gulf Coast. She visited Disney World twice as a teenager and always dreamed of growing her family Disney. She took her first-timer husband and their three children to Disney World in 2000 and they now spend every Thanksgiving there. Brenda writes with a comedic twist on various Disney topics. She will be sharing tips she has learned during her travels and also hopes to enlighten people on little-known freebies that Disney has to offer. She wishes she could have met Walt Disney and considers herself to be a student of Walt. In parallel to his dream it is her wish that everyone would take at least one trip to Disney World in order to share in its magic with their families.

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