When people talk about going on a cruise, you don’t often hear much about shopping on the boat. And why would you? You’re not on-board to shop. You’re there to relax and have fun … and I feel like I’m more likely to want to pick up a souvenir from a port-of-call than from the ship itself.
But, of course, Disney has figured out how to make their shopping center a must-visit attraction for most guests. How? Well, to get into the Walt Disney Theatre (where the nightly shows take place), you almost have to walk right by the three shops on Deck 3. And, even if you’re not into stage shows, if you want to meet characters on the ship, chances are at least one of the famous faces you want to pose with will be meeting guests in the atrium-like lobby to the three shops.
The point: You’re going to end up there. And, really, that’s not so bad.
During our trip, we had an absolutely Disney-perfect experience with two of the CMs working Disney’s shops. Their names were Sophie and Stefie. We met the adorable pair on our first night aboard (when I wasn’t feeling so well), and we returned to chat with them just about every evening of the trip—and we even ran into them (and ended up chatting for a spell) while they were working on Castaway Cay! They were really sweet, lovely girls, and they gave us some great tips about what to try and the best photo spots both on and off the ship.
Their best tip? One evening, while I was napping and Dan was taking photos of the ship, Sophie asked him, “Did you see the zodiac?” He hadn’t, so she pointed it out to him: In the center of the shopping atrium is a big, beautiful “North Star” chandelier.
All around the star? All of the signs of the zodiac, as depicted by Disney characters.
Another great thing about DCL: When Sophie told Dan about the amazing artwork, he immediately got onto the floor and started shooting the ceiling. At first, several CMs approached him, offering him help. And once he explained that he was trying to photograph the zodiac, the CMs actually kept the floor clear for him, directing other guests around him so he could get the shots.
Okay … onto the specifics. The three stores offer an extremely wide range of merchandise, from $4 trinkets to high-end watches. Mickey’s Mainsail is your basic Disney store with an at-sea focus, so you can expect to find clothes, pins, postcards, plushies and souvenirs. At Sea Treasures, the merchandise is a bit more upscale, featuring sportswear, swimwear and collectibles. At White Caps, you’ll find the really upscale stuff, including handbags, perfume, jewelry, liquor and cigars.
If you want to go and shop, do not attempt to shop during dinner hours—because the shops are stupid crowded. But keep your eyes on your Navigator because the hours are odd and sometimes limited. For example, they’re always closed when the ship is docked. I’m not actually sure we bought anything from the on-board shops during our sailing. In fact, I’m almost positive we didn’t. But it still played a big part of our experience, and one we fully appreciated.
Have you shopped aboard the Disney Cruise Line? Tell us about it in the comments!