Anybody who has ever cruised on any of the Disney ships understands the temporary depression that accompanies the first Monday back at work after a voyage. Sad, sad, sad. On the bright side, the opportunity to “live” Disney for the last week was helpful for my creative brainstorming, and now I have access to internet access again to get all of my fresh new ideas out there.
Disney Cruise wins the title of “Nicole’s favorite vacation,” hands down. (And if you ask me specifically which of the cruises I’ve done has earned this title, the answer is all of them). DCL provides first-class service, accommodations, and entertainment on board any of the four ships. This was my fourth voyage, and Disney surpasses my expectations every single time.
This time, I learned about the convenience of the DCL Navigator App, available for iPhone and Android. The app is free for guests using onboard Wi-Fi and provides everything you might need to know about what’s going on during your cruise. It also allows you to communicate with other guests using a fun chat feature that includes Disney character emojis. Here are a few screenshots from my phone (I was pretty excited about seeing “A New Hope” on a big screen because I have only seen it on my TV before, hence the reason for this specific screen capture).
Now, the app itself is not new; it was originally released in September 2013, one year after my husband and I took our very first Disney Cruise. So we were accustomed to cruise life before the app and continued to operate without it for our following cruises. Here’s how we managed:
- Schedule – DCL provides guests with a paper copy of the following day’s schedule of activities each evening. We’d just take a pen and circle the things we wanted to do!
- Communication – DCL staterooms provide guests with two “Wave Phones,” a cell phone that works only on the ship. So if my husband and I wanted to check out different activities, we’d just each take a phone so that we could find each other later on.
This time, however, we decided to try the app. And I’m not sure how we lived without it all these years! We no longer had to carry around both the schedule AND the wave phone because we had everything we needed right on our personal smartphones. We could “favorite” any of the activities we’d want to do, and then get alerted 15 minutes before the activity started. We could also see the day’s dinner menu and plan ahead! The app definitely makes an easy life on board a cruise ship even easier.
So I have given tons of praise for the app so far, right? It’s true there’s not much else you’d want from your DCL Navigator app, but I do have a few ideas for improvements I’ll share over the next few weeks. My first thought is that you should be able to order room service right from the app.
Chances are you will never feel hunger while on board DCL. Even so, there are times you may find yourself needing to place an on-demand order with the kitchen. For example, one of my favorite things to do when I have a balcony room on board the ship is to place a small breakfast order to be delivered to my room early enough so that I can watch a gorgeous sunrise over the open ocean while drinking my morning coffee. The current method of placing a breakfast room service order is to fill out a form and hang it outside on your door – someone collects it in the evening and ensures your order is fulfilled. (Didn’t I mention the service is first-class?)
While that is easy enough, Disney could save a crew member some time from having to walk around the ship to collect these forms AND save paper if this was a feature of the app.
How easy this might be for Disney to implement is another question. The DCL Navigator app appears to be made on the same platform as the Disney Parks apps are. Today, you can not place any type of order on the Disney Parks app – instead, if you want to “shop” Disney Parks, you need a separate app for that. I don’t think people would download a separate app for DCL just for the ability to order room service on board the ship.
If Disney can find a way to integrate their “Shop Parks” app within the Parks apps themselves, then I think they could easily port that solution to the DCL apps. Note that the Disney cruise ships also have shops on board, so placing orders wouldn’t need to be limited to room service; Disney could very possibly increase shipboard sales if you could also make shop purchases from the app. So there are a few justifiable reasons for looking into upgrading the technology that could improve Disney’s bottom line!