Our family recently experienced the two-night adventure aboard Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Disney World. Walt would be over-the-moon excited about what his creators and imagineers have come up with as it is truly out of this world (yes, puns intended). 

I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between the Starcruiser and a Disney ocean cruise. Once we stepped onboard, everything was included: meals, accommodations, entertainment, character greetings and endless activities. We even had a ship orientation, Captain’s reception, and everyone’s favorite – the muster drill.

While there are many similarities between a cruise and the Starcruiser, this was like nothing we have ever experienced. It was part live immersive theater, part themed environment, part culinary extravaganza, part real-life role playing and so much more!

Every guest creates their own story based on the decisions they make, and our personalized itinerary was kept updated in our Play Disney Parks app via communication from the crew and characters. 

You may wonder what kind of decisions have to be made. There are many. For instance, will you hide a stowaway to help the Resistance? Prove your mettle to join an elite smuggling ring? Bring the stolen ship aboard and watch out for the First Order? Each decision takes you down a different path. You can make decisions as a family or let each person create their own story.

Some of the activities offered include Lightsaber Training, Bridge Training, Sabacc Tournament, Droid Racing, and Model Ship Building. 

The 2-night experience includes an excursion to Batuu. Your missions throughout Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge—including your adventures on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run—will influence events back on the ship. You’ll be able to enjoy one-time entry to these attractions during your excursion to Batuu. It’s all connected—and all part of your personal Star Wars story.

Guests onboard are encouraged to dress the part. Dress in your Jedi best, or dress to impress in your Coruscant best. No need to worry if your costume closet is a bit bare at home. There is a shop onboard the Starcruiser. 

Even the dining is immersive. On the first night, you’ll enjoy an expertly curated menu of delicious dishes from around the galaxy while engaging in unique experiences that continue your Star Wars story. And there is a special musical appearance by a galactic superstar. On the second night, you’ll enjoy The Taste Around The Galaxy where you’ll learn the name, inspiration and ingredients with the serving of each course.

To book your trip to a galaxy far, far away, contact me today!

Probably the most frequently asked question I receive is, “What do I should I pack?” Here is my list. I know it is a lot, and maybe you won’t need everything on this list, but it includes everything that I’ve found useful on our cruises!


Everyday attire is extremely casual. Most people wear shorts and T-shirts (and definitely don’t forget your swimsuit!). Breakfast and lunch generally don’t have dress guidelines other than common courtesy and decency. Dinner in the main dining room sometimes has regulations; check your cruise line’s specific policy as some do not allow shorts, sleeveless shirts, etc. in the main dining room.

New cruisers are sometimes concerned about “formal night”. For most cruise lines, this is really not the big event it used to be. Once or twice during a cruise the main dining room will require formal wear. If you dislike dressing up, you still have dining options such as the buffet or room service. Check the daily newsletter in your cabin to see what the dress is for each evening. Most cruises have at least one formal night. 

If you love to dress up, have fun with it! If you DO participate, check your cruise line’s exact policy for formal attire. Some people still dress “formal” (such as a tux, suit and tie, floor length or cocktail dress), but most passengers now dress down considerably. Slacks and a polo shirt are very much the norm, and even some wear jeans. Again, this varies drastically between cruise lines. There will be professional photographers available, so take this opportunity to have a nice photo taken.

Do not forget hats, sunglasses and sunscreen – especially for Caribbean cruises. And use the sunscreen. You are much further south, and you will burn before you know it.

Pack a light jacket. Even during the summer, a breeze off the open ocean can have a slight chill. You may also want to take a sweater for the dining room and the theater in the evenings.

It is also a good idea to bring a pair of tennis shoes. Many ships have activities like rock climbing or laser tag that require them.

If you want to pack light (and do laundry), make sure to check — not all ships offer free (or for-fee) laundromats. Otherwise, laundry is a service provided by cruise lines but it can get expensive. There’s always Febreze!

Packing Tips

Power outlets have traditionally been scarce in staterooms, though cruise lines are slowly modifying them to have more. A 3-way plug or extension cord may help if you have many devices to charge – it must be cruise ship approved and not be a surge protector.

Bathroom counter space is also lacking so you may want to bring a hanging toiletry bag. The counter should be fine for 2 people, but a family of 4 will be crowded for space. We also travel with these magnetic hooks to hang bags, hats, etc. The staterooms walls are magnetic and these come in a few different sizes to hold different weights. 

You may want to bring a low-wattage nightlight particularly if you are in an interior stateroom.

You do not need to pack beach towels – they are provided for free, and you will be allowed to take those off the ship to the island beaches. Free towels are also available at the pools.

You will likely have wet clothes/swimsuits so bring a bag for wet items.

Consider a waterproof case for your ID, cruise card, credit card, etc. while swimming or snorkeling in port. We also bring our own snorkel equipment. We have these snorkel masks and love them or you can go the traditional snorkel and goggle route with these or these made for kids. 

Take a wristwatch. Clocks are few and far between onboard. You also need a watch when you are off the ship. The local island may not be on the same time as “ship time”. Set your watch to “ship time” and leave it there. When they say the ship will leave the island at 3PM, that does not always mean 3PM island time, and you may very well (literally) “miss the boat”. And do not use a cell phone as your watch (it may sync to island time).

In your checked luggage, place photocopies of your passport, medicine prescriptions, return airline tickets, and emergency contacts. You may also want to keep the international toll-free number of your credit card company in case you lose your credit cards.

Most cruise lines will allow you to bring a small amount of wine onboard per person (typically one bottle). Some will allow you to bring water or canned sodas, it varies by cruise line. It must be carried on and not in your checked luggage. You may also be able to order bottled water and soda to be delivered ahead of time to your stateroom. If you bring your own wine, don’t forget a small corkscrew. Your cabin steward can provide ice, an ice bucket and wine glasses.

If you are going ashore, you will need a bag to carry your items if you are going on an excursion, shopping or even the beach. You will need to bring your stateroom key card, photo ID, phone, credit card and some cash. You may also need to bring a change of clothes and a beach towel from the ship. I even take my day bag up to the pool on sea days with everything I may need including my kindle and a deck of cards.

Many guests will bring a nice big Tervis or travel coffee mug with a lid. You can fill it up and enjoy a morning walk around the ship with your coffee or with ice water and tea. Great for sitting out by the pool or on the balcony.

If you have a CPAP machine, take it as carry-on. Cruise staff see these every day, and they know what it is. In your CPAP travel case, pack a long extension cord (with the machine). In most cases, your cabin will NOT have an AC outlet next to the bed. The extension cord must be cruise approved and not be a surge protector.

Are you ready to book your next cruise vacation? Contact us today!

While your resort is all-inclusive and tipping is included in your resort package, I recommend tipping at your discretion. In my experience, generosity and kindness will be rewarded with excellent service. 

US Dollars are fine for all-inclusive resorts. You’ll need singles and fives. You will quickly realize that while everyone is paying in US dollars, change will not be available from those you are tipping. It is always better to have more cash than you need. It is expensive to get cash once you are there. There is a safe in your room and you can keep it there. The front desk can always make change for you. I suggest at least $300 for 5-day trips for 2 people.

You should absolutely tip the bellman and anyone who touches your bags. The customary tip is $2 for the first bag and $1 for each additional bag. Drivers often do not work for the resort and should also be tipped. $3 to $5 per person is ideal but we often tip more if they point things out along the way. Be sure to tip the guides on excursions, generally $2 to $5 per person. The drivers on the excursions should also be tipped – $2 to $3 per person. If you have any spa services, you should leave a tip of 15-20% of the cost of the service. 

Again, tipping at the resort is optional, but common. (The exception to this is Sandals Resort and Couples Resort, they do not accept tips) Tipping your bartenders well during your stay will ensure you are consistently treated to exceptional service. However, you don’t have to tip with every round of drinks if you are returning to the same bartender or sitting at the bar. 

Suggested Tipping Amounts:

  • Simple Beverage – $1
  • Cocktails – $2
  • Waitstaff at buffet meals – $2 per guest
  • Waitstaff at served breakfast/lunch – $3 per guest
  • Waitstaff at served dinner – $5 per guest
  • Daily Housekeeping – $2 to $5 per night – leave on a pillow
  • Room Service – $3 per guest ordering
  • Butler Service – $20 per day that you see that butler is typical, but you can adjust that based on how often you see that butler and the level of service provided.

Restaurants outside of hotels often add a service charge to your check. Most people usually add 5% to 10% more, especially if the service has been good.

There are a few shops at the resorts, and you can use your credit card there. A lot of resorts will have preferred vendors set up in the lobby or by the pool where you can purchase items. Most will only accept cash (but you can negotiate). If you leave the resort and go shopping, most vendors only accept cash. 

If you leave the resort, you will need cash for the cab. If you want to venture away from the resort, I suggest checking with the concierge or front desk for transportation recommendations. They generally have cabs they use and trust they will call for you. The cab driver will then give you their card and most shops and restaurants will call them to pick you up. Personally, I hesitate to get into a random cab and feel a little safer using the one from the resort. Grab the business card for the hotel before you leave in case you forget which resort you are staying at (there are often many resorts of the same brand in every city) it’s also helpful if there is a language barrier.

Are you ready to book your All-Inclusive Resort stay? We specialize in all-inclusive resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. Contact us today!

I’m sure most of you have seen the luggage nightmare that has been plaguing travelers this summer, especially in Europe. No one wants to lose their bags. The immediate reaction is to carry on instead of checking your bags. That’s all well and good, but that doesn’t guarantee you won’t have to gate-check your bag. Every other traveler has the same idea, and overhead space could be full before you board the plane! 

I’m not a carry-on kind of gal. I can sometimes cram it all in going but coming home I have way too many souvenirs. And let’s be real, I need options and have way too many toiletries. Anything more than a few days and my bag is getting checked! 

So, what can you do? 

Bluetooth tracking devices are an easy and affordable option to keep track of your bags. I like Apple Air Tags because you can use the “Find My” app to see where your bags are even if you are not close to them. Tile is another option. I prefer the Air Tags because they are easy to set up and have a more extensive network than Tile, making them easier to locate. 

Blue Ribbon Bags is a service that tracks and expedites the return of your delayed baggage for 96 hours from the time your flight lands. If four days go by and your bags still aren’t delivered, Blue Ribbon Bags pays $1,000 per bag – no questions asked, no receipts necessary. All you need to do is file a claim with the airline and Blue Ribbon Bags will handle the rest! 

You could opt not to bring your bags and ship them instead! Luggage Free offers door-to-door delivery of your luggage and golf and ski gear too. When you sign up, they email you instructions and labels to attach to your luggage, then they collect your bags from home and ship them to your final destination. Your shipment is fully insured, tracked in real-time, and comes with an on-time guarantee. 

It is important to remember that lost or delayed baggage is generally covered with travel insurance which is another reason why I always recommend purchasing it. 

Happy Packing!

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