Shoreside, We’ve Had a Problem, A Personal Navigator Problem

Over the last month or so, I’ve heard a lot of chatter about guests not getting personal navigators delivered to their stateroom at turndown. You know what the news is, now you’re going to hear the rest of the story. While the reports we were hearing were consistent, the details were scarce. The more and more I read, the more and more it sounded like a code red, SOS, mayday, the sky was falling.

Knowing that we’d soon be sailing, I did my best Elsa impersonation and let it go in order to experience whatever onboard Personal Navigator situation there was to experience myself. At least, how things were going on the Disney Fantasy. I cannot speak firsthand about the other ships, however I suspect there was shoreside directive to the fleet. If you followed along with our trip reports, some of what you are about to read will be a repeat, but hang in there, I promise there will be some more.

Before we get too far along, let me take a bit of your time to lay out the basic guest expectation based the way things have always gone. Guest checks in for cruise at the terminal, Cast Member gives guest a Personal Navigator for day 1. Each night at turndown, the stateroom host leaves the Personal Navigator for the next day on the bed next to a towel animal.

Stateroom Turndown Towel Dude

Over the years, the Personal Navigators have evolved, changed, and shrunk. For example, here is the first ever Disney Cruise Line Personal Navigator from the Disney Magic’s Maiden Voyage in 1998. In 2013, Disney released the Personal Navigator app which offered guests an alternative to the paper copies and included additional details for each event. Then, a few years back, Disney Cruise Line decided to reduce the size of the Personal Navigators from the full booklet and insert each day to only publishing the booklet on embarkation day and only providing an the insert with the grid schedule and times each night. Frankly, this was an expected change and it reduced Cast Member workload, as well as paper and printing costs. This change didn’t really bother many as the important information for each day was still provided each night with the single page insert.

Ok, we arrived at Port Canaveral to embark on the Disney Fantasy for a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise, being Platinum Castaway Club members, we skipped the line and checked-in at the concierge and platinum desk in the terminal. After reviewing our passports and taking an updated security photo, we were presented with our KTTW cards, lanyards, and the Personal Navigator for day 1. Before leaving land, it appeared everything was normal…….or so we thought.

After the show on the first night of the cruise, we retired to our stateroom for the night. To find all the regular handouts on the bed except the Personal Navigator for tomorrow.

Stateroom Paper Flying The Missing Navigator Formation

The next morning, our daughter went down to Guest Services in the morning. However, upon her return she declared she had some bad news to share. The Personal Navigators are not out for guests to pick up as they please and are only available if you stand in the Guest Services line, which for some reason on this cruise seemed to have a line 90% of the time we walked past. I then made my way over to guest services to get a schedule for Emily and I to share. I mentioned it was not left in our stateroom last night with the rest of the handouts and was immediately told to use the Personal Navigator App. Exsqueeze me? Baking powder? I explained that we would prefer not use the app and would prefer a paper copy. The Cast Member helping me at Guest Services was kind enough to ask if we would prefer a paper copy in our room to which I couldn’t say yes fast enough. This was all that it took to get a copy of the next day’s Personal Navigator schedule left in our stateroom at turndown each night.

Personal Navigator Poolside Planning

Ok, everything is great, everything is grand, I’ve got a paper copy of the Personal Navigator in the palm of my hand. Everything is perfect, its falling into place. I can’t seem to wipe this smile off my face. Life’s a happy song, when there’s someone by my side to sing along.  Sorry, I slipped back into my lounger watching The Muppets on our last sea day.

One night after dinner I ran into Siren, a fellow passenger who recognized me. We started to talk about the Personal Navigators. Remember when I said we received a copy in the terminal. Well, guess what, he didn’t. The Cast Member checking him in at the bank of check-in windows in the terminal did not have any available. That tells me the vast majority of guests, new cruisers, as well as Silver and Gold level Castaway Club members not sailing concierge did NOT received the embarkation day Personal Navigator. It turns out, Siren noticed a few people in the terminal with the paper Personal Navigator. At first he was unable to find a copy until he spoke with another guest who had one that said they received one at the Concierge and Platinum Check-in desk. Sure enough, minutes later Siren had a copy of the Personal Navigator in his hand so that he and his family could start planning their embarkation day.

Cruise Terminal 8 Boarding Time

The embarkation Personal Navigator includes a lot of really helpful information in a concise format that is extremely informative to new cruises as well as an excellent resource for seasoned cruises who simply need to find the current location to make a change for to their dinner rotation.

Personal Navigators Fantasy 7N Western Day 1 Port Canaveral 20190316

Think about how things go on embarkation day…… You arrive at the terminal and for the sake of argument let’s say you are embarking from a port of call where you have cellular data service. You are not going to log into DCL-Guest WiFi network to use the Personal Navigator App, as this will prevent you from sharing your experience with family and friends as you cling to the last few bars of cellular service as you sail away from land.

Ironically, we sat next to a family that burned through their free embarkation day 50MB Disney Cruise Line Internet Data plan and purchased another package before 1PM as we were still docked at Port Canaveral. Why? Because they joined DCL-GUEST and their phones would no longer get data from their respective cellular data networks. I wish I was making this story up for the sake of this post, but I’m sad to report that this is true. Ultimately, this makes me wonder if Disney Cruise Line is working guests into paying for data plans.

Think about this for a minute, the more Disney Cruise Line pushes the Navigator App, the more guests will be connected to the DCL-GUEST network. The more time guests are connected to the wifi, the probability increases that they will forget to logout of the data plan thus wasting megabytes. In turn, this could lead to guests queueing up at the Connect@Sea desk with “where did my MBs go?”, simply buying more data, or in some cases they will simply stop using their device.

I got a bit off course there, sorry. Even though I am blogging and posting to social media, I try to limit my screen time during the cruise. I cannot be the only one that is glued to a desk and a mobile screen while on land that prefers a break from a device while cruising. Honestly, I felt like Disney Cruse Line was bullying me into using the app. After sitting on land for a week now, I look back and now realize there is truth to this statement given the length one must now go to get a printed daily schedule. Primarily, if you are a new cruiser, you may not be aware of the paper version of the Personal Navigator. We noticed plenty of guests walking around the Fantasy with paper Personal Navigators in hand. Clearly, we are not the only guests who prefer the paper grid. This was also confirmed by comments left on our trip reports and social media replies. Out of all the comments, there has not been one that states, I only want to use the Peronsal Navigator app.

I’m all for the reduction in paper waste and printing costs, but at least keep the schedules out in various places around the ship for those of us who prefer the old school option. I also appreciate that the paper copies are still available in your stateroom each night upon request, but I do not understand the additional hurdle of standing in line at Guest Services to get a copy.

I do not want to speak for everyone who feels the same as I do, but I will tell you what I’d like to see Disney Cruise Line do going forward with respect to Personal Navigators. I believe the paper and app versions of the Personal Navigators compliment each other. The paper copy has all the important information for each day in a concise format that if left in your pocket when you go in the Mickey Pool, or left on a deck 4 lounger will not cause panic within your sailing party. (I left my iPhone on a deck 4 lounger in Alaska, 30 minutes later as I was heading to dinner, I realized it was missing and thankfully, it was still on the chair.)

There are repeat cruisers that have been cruising with Disney for over 20 years and to abruptly discontinue presenting those guests as well as first time guests who choose to pay the ever increasing premium to cruise Disney with a Personal Navigator upon checkin without any mention is insulting if you ask me.

Seriously, this has absolutely nothing to do with reducing paper. Just look at the pile of useless paper that was delivered to our stateroom during our 7-night cruise.

Disney Cruise Line Paper Handouts

I left out the 3 shopping guides, as I was not sure if those were sent to everyone’s stateroom still or were simply included because we requested a paper Personal Navigator.

If I had to wager, I bet those Adventures by Disney and Disney Vacation Club advertisements, and the shopping handouts are all being paid for by the respective entities and that is the reason why they are still being delivered. Also, to be fair, the Port Adventure tickets are still needed for excursions with third party tour operators who collect the tickets upon boarding their transportation.

In closing, your honor, I feel we can all meet in the middle with the following:

  1. Offer guests an embarkation day navigator at check-in and introduce them to the Navigator App.
  2. Ask the guest if they would like to receive a paper Personal Navigator each night at turndown
  3. Provide self-service paper copies of each day’s Personal Navigator at Guest Services or even outside the Walt Disney Theater each night.
  4. Continue to offer guest the port shopping guides at the events, the port shopping desk, and at the gangways.

This will help reduce the paper consumption and printing costs by printing probably less than a ream of paper Personal Navigators for each day based on guest demand. The important part of all of this is that Disney Cruise Line needs to be transparent with their guests and give them the choice.

We have a box of all our old Personal Navigators which are always fun to look back on. I heard from readers that they like to use them as part of their post cruise scrapbooking projects. Digital is not taking over, people still like to disconnect on their cruises, and people are not going to want to print screenshots of an app to place into a scrapbook.

Disney Cruise LIne Guest Communicaitons Business Card

I encourage you all to comment on this post with anything I missed, but Disney was once really in tune to guest feedback. Although, they are asking guests in a recent post cruise survey (see embedded twitter poll below). My best suggestion for those of you that feel passionate about the current state of Personal Navigators on the ships to take few minutes to contact Disney Cruise Line directly.

UPDATE: Email response from Disney Cruise Line from a reader who sent Disney a note.

117 Replies to “Shoreside, We’ve Had a Problem, A Personal Navigator Problem”

  1. Allyson Maiolo

    We were on the same cruise. DIdn’t get one at checkin (platinum). Asked an officer and they made a note and they started showing up in our stateroom every night.

    I feel like there were a lot more “other” papers though. So this isn’t about “going green.” 😉

    1. Jonathan Contessa

      Yep, We were on the same cruise as well. Got one at check in, but wife went ballistic when we were not getting them in our stateroom. Did what Scott did and we received one every night.
      We hate using our phones on the cruise as we like to really disconnect from the world, and love the Personal Navigators. The company line that we are “trying to save paper” is a load of bull.
      Same thing with having to purchase shopping bags. They won’t give them to us in order to save paper, but are happy to sell us one.

  2. Laura Garcia

    Thank you, Scott. This really helps. I like to disconnect when I cruise so I will be requesting a Navigator.

  3. Brett O

    Good stuff Scott. We totally agree with you. I also wanted to let you know that your blog and site are often apart of these group Facebook pages that are specific to cruises. I’ll be sure to include this post for our group for the next cruise.

  4. Luciana Misura

    We received daily Navigators during the Panama Canal cruise from Feb 24-March 10 and once we got home and received the post cruise survey, there was a question about if we would prefer to continue receiving the Paper Navigator upon request. If Disney wants to ask each person about receiving it or not, then they could leave a piece of paper in each stateroom on embarkation day and people could check yes or no so the stateroom hosts would know where to deliver. Having to go to Guest Services to request is quite annoying. I do use the app, but I always go through the paper navigator every night because it’s a great format for an overview. And I agree when you say that for the cost we pay on those cruises, they should not be trying to saving money in printing an already reduced version of the Navigator. I don’t see other cruise lines that are much cheaper reducing their printed versions, so surely DCL can keep it up.

    1. storyquilter

      I have 4 staterooms of retirement aged non smartphone using cruisers in August on an Alaskan Cruise. 2 of those staterooms are first time cruisers. I plan on asking for daily printed navigators for each of my cruisers. It’s going to be challenging enough herding these guys. Sadly I never received the post cruise survey after the Westbound Panama Canal cruise. I did find the on line navigator to be much more helpful than it was on previous cruises, but it’s important for non internet savvy cruisers to have a physical copy in their hands.

  5. Mike Lever

    We also like the idea of locking our phones in the safe on day one and leaving them there until we are disembarking! I don’t want to walk around the ship with my phone the entire cruise just to know what’s available for us to do.

  6. Jen Swart

    Totally agree—-hated not having paper navigator on recent busy marvel day at sea! Was such a pain to go down to guest relations every day 😕

  7. Marie

    I have a disabled son that finds it easier to read a paper navigator. Plus he staples them all together, saves them, and looks at them all year during difficult times. We love to come back into the room each night and the first thing we look for is the paper navigator. We read it all, highlight it, and plan for the next day. I would hate to not see our paper navigators in our room and on the first day st check in. The biggest thing my son brags about the cruises are there is no internet, no phones, and no texting. He loves to get away from all techno stuff.

  8. Kelly

    Thank you Scott for the whole story. I was so disappointed to hear about the hurdles guests are having to go through to receive a paper personal navigator each day. Your suggestions and solutions make perfect sense and I hope Disney will see that too. I am going to contact Disney as you suggested and share my similar opinions.


    Had the same experience on the Wonder a couple of weeks ago. I don’t mind the app, but I agree with you: the app is a good compliment to the Navigator, not a replacement. You have mentioned wanting to unplug, and another person commented about older cruisers who don’t use smartphones. I was traveling with a couple of college–age girls whose noses are in a device almost every waking moment of the day. They definitely need to unplug, and putting everything in the app sure didn’t help them look up from their phones.

    It really irritated me to get all the DCV and port shopping junk with turndown and not find a Navigator.

  10. Penny

    Funny you mention this. Last summer on the Dream this happened to us . I had to stand in line and request a navigator and none were available as self-serve. It took awhile for them to get it from the “back”. No explanation. I thought it strange at the time but we did get one after that in our room. I don’t have an iPhone either. Thanks for posting this.

  11. Beth

    Thank you, Scott, for focusing on this topic. We have heard about this and are incredibly disappointed with DCL. We will write an email to them today. We are also not happy about the new bag and shampoo situation.

    1. Denise S

      Derek I could not agree more. Shore side shorted my OBC by over $200.00 & it took precious time at guest services to correct. “They input wrong” I was told. We just sailed on the Magic and were not given Navigators on embarkation but a few were sitting in thin piles for you to take around the seating area. Our stateroom host told us we could pick them up from guest services, but why could they not be given with all of the other papers left every evening? On the Magic Navigators were in bins hanging on the side wall next to guest services as well as in wall bins in the concierge lounge, the theme being if we wanted one we had to go retrieve it. DCL we are falling out of love, costs keep going up & services diminishing. BTW I brought real straws with me because my Pina Colada tastes nasty through those paper straws, I probably could have sold them for $5.00 a piece!

      BTW-Scott, what stateroom did you stay in??

  12. Catherine

    I would prefer a daily navigator to all of the shopping paraphernalia that I promptly put in the bin. All other cruise lines do it and Disney are supposed to be the best in service etc. etc. cruise costs are high and services are now diminishing. It’s getting harder to justify the cost of a Disney cruise over another cruiseline

  13. Bonnie Jackson

    We always wanted to get an extra copy or 2 of the navigators to send to other Disney friends of ours. They used to have them available right near Guest Services. My parents are on The Dream right now. I can’t wait to hear about the navigator situation when they get back on Monday. I also am not a fan of the shampoo etc. bottles being discontinued. I love bringing them home after my cruise! Part of what we pay for right?

  14. Laura

    I will be leaving on the EBTA this coming May and I am upset to learn we will have to fight for our right to receive the Navigator. Ugh! I would give up every single silly advertisement they put on my bed that I just throw away anyhow, if it means I get my Navigator back. Do you hear me, Disney? You’re eliminating the wrong papers! I would be OK even if I had to personally request it daily from my Stateroom host, but to have to stand in the GS line every night is ridiculous. Especially considering how long that line is on the first night to begin with. We pay such a premium for this cruise, the Navigator is NOT the thing to cut out on my trip.

    1. Yvonne

      I totally agree. We where on the Fantasy last week. My question the first night was “where is my Navigator for tomorrow?” I do not like the app! And the messaging on it is not time sensitive. Got a message to pick up my granddaughter in Oceaneers Club. It was timed right then so off I went to get her. Was told her dad picked her up an hour ago. I was not happy!! And we were not affected by the shampoo/ option change as of that cruise. Changes may be good for Disney’s bottom line but does not make happy cruisers. Which is more important?? Lots of cruise lines out there!

  15. Tammi

    I would be very disappointed to not get the paper navigators. My daughter and I always look over them the night before to plan our next day. Also, if there are activities that overlap and we can’t make it to both, we then look at the app to see if either of the activities will be offered on another day so we can plan accordingly. It is nice to have both the paper navigator and the app.

    There are also some things on the paper navigator that are not easy to find on the app and if you hadn’t already been on a DCL cruise probably wouldn’t even know about to try to find it on the app.

  16. Ken Aebersold

    Thank you Scott, after reading your post on the extra effort you had to put into getting a personal navigator I sent a message over the internet at We took the Magic 5 night on March 22. I requested that the personal navigator be delivered every night to our room for the next day. I was promptly told that it would not be. If guests wanted one they would have to go to Guest Services to get the personal navigator, which I did each night before retiring. I was not as fortunate on the Magic as you were on the Fantasy.

  17. Siren Chudgar

    I sailed on the ship with Scott (I am that Siren). I did email DCL and was told the following in an email:

    “At Disney Cruise Line, we are dedicated to providing our Guests with a world-class experience, as well as minimizing our impact on the environment. Our Guests have overwhelmingly shared that they prefer the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app to view all of the available cruise activities. As a result, we have launched a test in which we will temporarily suspend delivery of printed Personal Navigators in Guest staterooms. Printed Personal Navigators will be available at Guest Services.”

    I encourage everyone to write to DCL and tell them you want the paper navigator. Clearly, they believe they have guests who only want an app but like Scott, I too saw many people with paper Navigator’s during the cruise so clearly they were in demand and being used.

    The app allowed me to see when the same thing was being offered again- even on another day – which was a plus of the app but overall the view seen by the Navigator is much better (IMO) and I prefer the easy way to scan a Navigator and see all the days’ activities in one simple place. I got port shopping guides and other useless paper that each night went right into the trash. I would rather they not give me those guides but provide me with a Personal Navigator each day of my cruise without me having to ask or go to guest services. Hopefully, as a community we can all make that happen.

    1. Thomas Monson

      Apparently the “TEST” has gone to “POLICY” I encourage all concerned Disney cruisers to write to DCL and let them know you are not happy with this decision. Also I would make note to add it to your survey at the end of the cruise.

  18. Kelly

    You know, if DCL is worried with how much to print/waste maybe make it a checkable box to opt-in or opt-out of paper Navigator’s during online checkin. Problem solved.

    I, too, believe DCLs antiquated internet options are used as a money grab. Speed and cost per mb paints a very clear picture. What you said about how cell phones will not connect even when in port without shutting off the onboard network is also highly shady. When DCL makes unwelcomed changes they like to cite “industry standards”. Well, the industry is making strides and doing amazing things while Disney *chooses to remain in the stone ages. There’s no excuse for that. Shame. Shame. Shame.

    1. laura

      I agree. NCL Has a nice internet package that counts minutes and whether or not you’re posting pics to social media vs streaming. I am more than happy to buy an NCL internet package and advertise the good time I am having on their ship vs DCL and their MB packages.

      1. Scott

        The royal Caribbean WiFi is much better than Disney. Pay a fixed price for actual high speed internet and it’s unlimited for the week.

        Agree with another poster who said there should be an opt in or out option.

  19. charelkenl

    Scott, you did not mention that your tickets for meet & greets and characters breakfast, etc., are no longer left in your stateroom. I missed all of mine on my WBPC cruise. I went to Guest Services and was told I was supposed to check the DCL App. This was just so wrong. They could not even get me into another one because there were not going to hold them again (all done the first week, I think). After not getting the printed Navigator this was so insulting. I was told I should have come to Guest Service desk and asked for a printout of my events. This was another new thing. BTW, I have been on around 40 DCL cruises. I told them if they want guests to know all this they should let us know ahead. I was told the CD announced the first day. I was appalled at that response. I ended up talking to the GS Mgr, HD, and CD while on the cruise and wrote an entire page about my feelings about the changes and about unstable the App is, which went along with my survey.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Great points about the tickets. We did not book any onboard meet & greets or character breakfasts. As you mentioned, guests need to be informed, especially guests who an expectation based on up to 20 years of cruising with Disney. A simple conversation at check-in would help because an announcement
      from the Cruise Director is only good if you hear the statement. 1 on 1 at check-in is the ideal place to share important information.

  20. Lucy

    Well said, Scott!
    This girl needs her daily Navigator in her hand!
    I was on the WBPC cruise and also received the survey about the Navigator and was also asked if we thought their were too many paper advertisements left in the room, the answer was a big, fat yes!

  21. Jonathan

    I started sailing on DCL when I was 5 years old. I still remember getting back to the room after dinner and going over the personal navigator to see what events were going on. I have sailed over 35 times across several cruise lines (20 with Disney), and I feel like this is a movement that is going on throughout the cruise industry. It really is a shame that they are trying to push technology while people are on vacation. I really hope they change course but I wouldn’t expect them too. Be prepared to lose the paper navigators sometime in the future.

  22. Donna Pleiman

    Thanks for the info! I will definitely be speaking with the concierge hosts in July on the Fantasy and requesting a paper copy daily. I will request the extraneous papers be eliminated unless requested. The shopping guides are NOT helpful and are wasteful- I agree that I could pick one up on the way out of the ship if by chance I were to need one. I will also be sure to leave a note about this on the comment card at the end and would encourage others to as well.

    1. Denise S

      Donna, Are you on the Southern in July? I agree with your entire post, we just disembarked the March 22 on the Magic and the Navigators were hung inside the lounge in the bins on the wall. When we asked our stateroom host for the Navigator every day he said no and would not budge, yet so much other junk papers on his cart. We place our phones in the safe and enjoy our cruise, I will be right with you speaking with the hosts duplicating your efforts. The comment card leaves zero room for any type of note, so I will take the stationary in the stateroom, write my note and slip it in the box. For now I am sending an email to DCL our family sits together with a highlighter the evening before and plan our following day. Someone is sweeping up the Disney Pixie Dust, I vote Scott to CEO DCL!

      1. Melissa D Brown

        I am on the Southern in July. I will lose my mind if they completely do away with paper Navigators by then! I love keeping them as souvenirs, and our dinner activity is to go over it with highlighters and discuss our plans for the next day. I love it, and I DESPISE the app.

  23. A Wysocki

    I would love an option at check-in for nightly paper navigators. I do NOT want to be forced onto a screen….which I stare at all day long 11 months of the year for work (and was unhappy when they dropped sunrise and sunset times.) I also do NOT want all the trash that accumulates from all the other Disney-ish promotions (honestly it’s getting to be like a hard-sell time share promotion). I called DCL to complain in advance at this change and was told that they were not accepting comments related to the Navigators…. On the Magic in May for the Transatlantic, and I will find a way to get a paper copy …but geez…..the last thing I need on vacation is a preventable annoyance.

  24. S Suwabe

    When we went on our honeymoon in December (Disney World then a Caribbean Cruise), the Personal Navigator App was available on the ship without paying for a data plan (so it was free, just to use on the ship), did that change? It seemed from the OP that you needed to constantly buy a data plan to use the Personal Navigator, which was not our experience at all.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      The Navigator App has been and is still free to use. However, guests must connect to the DCL-GUEST wireless network to access the app features. This is also the network you connect to if you wish to go on the internet with a data plan.

  25. Joni

    We just took the Dream 2/25/-3/1/19. We didn’t get a navigator when we checked in. We did get them nightly at turn down. Also I got one by the middle elevators close to guest services. ( the big chair). I don’t want to have to constantly checking my phone

  26. Janet

    Thanks for posting this, Scott. I love the picture of all the random junk they still feel the need to deliver, and yet the one thing I actually care about is the one they eliminated. I also find it really annoying that (in some cases at least) you have to actually stand in line at guest services to get a paper navigator vs having them sitting out at convenient locations. I have better things to do on vacation besides waiting in line to receive something I would get delivered to my cabin on most any other cruise line.

    I usually don’t get too bent out of shape about this kind of stuff, but this one really does bug me. I hope if enough of us complain, DCL will rethink this.

  27. Tenaya

    I agree. I keep the navigators and even make notes on them for family scrapbooks on what we did that day. Lots of changes and I’m not sure I like 100% of them.

  28. Jessica S

    We were on the first Fantasy sailing with no paper navigators and feel just the same as you. I don’t want to be on my phone during vacation. Plus some things are just hard to find on the app.

    It took 3 days of me standing in line and explaining that I did not want to be tapping on a screen all day (or worrying about my phone at the pool, etc) before we started getting the paper navigators delivered. I don’t understand why they can’t just put a pile out somewhere to avoid waiting in line.

  29. Janet Harry

    I totally agree! I was so upset when I heard the rumor about the navigators. Thank you for stating it so well. I’m writing DCL.

  30. John Zucchero

    I was on the same cruise you were (March 16th) and I had to check in with the bank tellers. I asked the woman for a Personal Navigator and she said to use the app. Hmmm. Can I still get one? She told me to ask Guest Services on the ship. Luckily, it was the point where no one was at Guest Services and I just walked up and asked for one… to which she asked me that same great question… “Would you like one delivered to your cabin each night?” Of coarse yes and I was set all for the cruise.

    Then, later on at sea, we went shopping at the big store in the middle (Mickey’s Mainsail?… I always forget the name). Anyway, I purchased a Nike DCL polo shirt at a ridiculous price (less 10% Gold Castaway discount) and the woman asked me if I wanted to buy a reusable bag. I told her no, I will just use a normal bag, to which she told me, “We no longer have bags…the only bags we have are the reusable shopping bags for $1 each (any size).” “It’s good for the environment.” We all know this bit. Yes, it is good for the environment, but the truth is, this is Disney being cheap. This is not some discounted Carnival cruise where they nickel and dime you the entire time… this is the DCL where prices are doubled. At that level of pricing, a certain level of quality and exceptionalism is expected. I am afraid the bean counters shoreside are cutting too close to the bone now. (Side note: The removal of bags has also happened at The Disney Store (at least the one by us in New Jersey) and it looks like the same is happening at WDW, because you know $159 per day is making them go broke. They started selling reusable bags which I think is precursor to the removal of bags).

    Well, this incident of no Personal Navigators and no bags did get me irked. So much so that the shirt I bought was the only purchase I made on the ship (besides coffee from Cove Cafe, a couple of drinks and Internet). This is a real switch for me who usually comes home with a $1000 worth of stuff. Penny wise and pound foolish if you ask me.

      1. John Zucchero

        Yes, but still optional at this point (they still have the plastic “Disney Parks” bag…. for now).

    1. Lavina

      I completely agree with you John! We are platinum cruisers and spend a ton on Disney cruises that is all we do 2 times a year. We are very upset that regular cruisers continue to pay the increasing prices and they nickel and dime us and take away all the small touches that we find important. To our family we like to disconnect while cruising and feel that Disney knows they will save money on paper and increase money by people paying for data plans. The little soaps and stuff they are taking away are also a huge blow and something we remember our children getting so excited over. As much as we love cruising with Disney once you start changing things people love even the small stuff it ruins it for many and may be time to move on to somewhere else and try to save money ourselves since Disney feels they need to save money maybe the families should be doing the same and cruising with someone else.

      1. Laura

        Completely agree. If they are going to nickel and dime us when we pay a premium to sail with them, I’ll find a cheaper cruise line that gives us the same amenities. We made platinum in 4 years, so our disgust is saying a lot.

  31. Michael McGeehan

    We sailed on the Fantasy last week and really missed the paper copies (including our three Smartphone generation children.) We requested paper copies be delivered to our two staterooms from Guest Services and still did not receive them. One of our children suggested a pdf copy of the full Navigator be included on the app which I believe is a good idea.

    1. Karissa

      A pdf in the app is what I was hoping for when I first heard the rumors, but am sad that this is not the case (yet). While it would still make me reliant on my phone, at least the information would be laid out in a one page format.

      One thing I haven’t heard to many people mention is how the lack of paper navigators will affect future cruisers since so many people use old navigators to prepare new cruisers or to prepare for a new route. Another plus for the pdf is that it would make electronic copies easy to share after the cruise.

  32. Tammy Guerra

    I agree with you on this Scott. Although I use the App, I like to have the paper version of the Navigator also. My daughter and I keep them as mementos (along with a lot of other things) as reminders of each of our cruises. I sent an email expressing my desire to at least have the option to choose to have the paper copy each evening if desired. Thank you for posting about this subject. We will be cruising in October on the Fantasy.

  33. Anna

    We are sailing on the Dream in May. Last year we used the paper navigator as well as the app. The paper navigator is great while sitting in the port terminal waiting to get on board. Also not only older folks may not haves access but kids too. My 12 year old does not have a cell phone but we do allow her to go out on her own to the clubs. So tell me how she is supposed to use the app to decide between activities in oceaneer, pool, edge with no phone. If they want to upgrade the wave phones to smart phones then I couldn’t argue but not everyone has access to the app. With the cost of a Disney cruise, I am starting to get disappointed.

  34. Paul

    Agree with Scott, the app and the paper Navigator are complementary to each other. In order to be useful, the app would require a lot of work – it would need to function as a family planner, not an individual scheduler, and that’s where Navigator comes in. My wife prefers the app, and will look up activities there; I use the app as well, but to correlate all daily family events, a single paper page of Navigator is the best option today.
    I have not sailed on other cruise lines in ages, but back then, daily schedules were always readily available in bins nearby guest services for anyone to pick up. Some folks need them, some don’t – and creating a policy which makes one of those choices difficult is a bad customer experience decision.

  35. Christopher Layton

    1. Reduced paper = Increase load lines at Guest Service Desk.

    2. Mobile device’s battery dead = No access Apps. Even you can’t leave plug to recharge and leave stateroom. Cast member will unplugged due DCL’s policy with hazard safety reason.

    3. I don’t allow my children to use device during vacation. Family Time, Away from addict game and video that eat data cost and missing exciting cruise events.

    Stop use Personal Navigator paper is not going solve problem at all. It will make worst Guest Experience. I am above 100% agree with Scott’s closing message..

    In closing, your honor, I feel we can all meet in the middle with the following:

    Offer guests an embarkation day navigator at check-in and introduce them to the Navigator App.
    Ask the guest if they would like to receive a paper Personal Navigator each night at turndown
    Provide self-service paper copies of each day’s Personal Navigator at Guest Services or even outside the Walt Disney Theater each night.
    Continue to offer guest the port shopping guides at the events, the port shopping desk, and at the gangways.

    Hope DCL will listen and change with what Scott’s prospal and all people’s feedback

  36. Greg

    Our next cruise is coming up in 18 Days. I really hope we see some changes by then. It is really a pain to go stand in line at guest services. I don’t remember paying these prices for the cruise and not get premium service. Come on DCL. This is what you call paper consumption!

  37. Cruiser

    Scott, thank you for your post. I agree with you completely. We sailed back-to-back on the Magic, March 17-27. Our stateroom hosts said it was not possible to receive the Navigator in our room. Each morning, I picked them up from a wall-mounted holder near Guest Services. I did not have to wait in line. We carry them with us, and refer to them throughout the day, even though we have the app. I have all of the Navigators since our first Disney cruise in 2001. They are a wonderful record of what we did. You can’t save the listings in the app like you can with a paper Navigator. I also prefer the ease of seeing everything at once in the paper Navigator, as opposed to scrolling through 150+ events on the app. I did like the app for messaging, although service was spotty. When the paper Navigators were delivered, I used to relish the time I spent in the evening, poring over it, and planning our next day. This is a big deal, Disney!

    I am also disappointed with the shampoo, etc. bottle situation. I find the pump dispensers unsanitary. It was nice to bring home any leftover shampoo to remind us of our trip. The shopping bag situation is a disappointment as well. The complimentary bags were not a waste of plastic; we would reuse them.

    We always stay in the same stateroom class, and I am paying nearly three times as much as I paid back in 2001, while DCL nickels and dimes us on paper, toiletries and shopping bags.

  38. Edward Cairns

    My wife and I like Disney Cruises because we can disconnect from the wired world. We have enjoyed reading the paper Navigator in the early evening upon returning to our stateroom. Even the Disney shampoo bottles we enjoyed. We’d take one home and it reminded us of the cruise each time we used it and helped us to look forward to the next DCL cruise.

    Small things perhaps, but we’d really miss them. Someone at DCL management has missed the boat with their focus on the bottom line. “Hey Disney, remember us – we are your customers!” – without us you don’t have a bottom line……

  39. Lavina McConnell

    We are platinum cruisers as well and are very disappointed that Disney would suggest that people use their phones and apps while cruising when the idea should be about family time and putting away the phone. We are ones that use our navigators in scrapbooks of all our cruises. And go back tot he room each night and read it. If they keep taking away all the little touches that makes us enjoy our Disney cruises we may be forced to try other cruise lines instead of spending the extra money we spend to cruise with Disney.

  40. Thomas Monson

    Thanks Scott for the heads up regarding this Navigator SNAFU. I wonder what guests are supposed to do if they don’t own a smart phone? I wrote Disney Cruise Line expressing my concerns about the loss of paper Navigators and received a very generic reply:

    My letter:

    I have read on several social media sources that DCL has started to not issue paper Navigators on embarkation day at check-in and that guests must stand in line at the guest services desk and request one to be delivered to their stateroom each evening at turn-down with their towel animal and chocolates? We are going on our 22nd Disney Cruise in July and would be very disappointed if this were the case! Yes, we are aware of the Disney Cruise Line App available for smart phone users but, we still prefer a paper copy to see at a glance the total offerings for each day of our cruise. We also like to use these paper navigators when scrap-booking post cruise. Considering all the advertising flyers that get thrown away that are left in the staterooms, paper conservation is not the issue. Also, DCL cruises are premium priced so cost saving should not be done at your guests expense. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope to see paper navigators issued on our next cruise.

    DCL’s response:


    Thank you for choosing a Disney Cruise Line vacation!

    I would be happy to assist you.

    To reduce waste and be more environmentally friendly, we have stopped delivering printed Personal Navigators to the staterooms.

    On the day of embarkation, a printed copy of the Voyage Navigator will be provided upon check-in at the terminal. Guests will be encouraged to download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App which will provide information on all cruise activities for the rest of their onboard time.

    The “Disney Cruise Line Navigator App” is a mobile guide where Guests can find information on a variety of onboard activities in one place. It is like having an interactive Personal Navigator. It uses the ship’s wireless intranet to share details on everything from character appearances and ports of call to activities for each age group. Guests can even bookmark their favorite activities for easy reference.

    ‘Onboard Chat’ is now being featured on the application. This will allow Guests to chat among family members or other Guests aboard the ship.

    To avoid carrier charges, before setting sail, Guests can download the free app for their iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. Once onboard, Guests should switch their device to “Airplane Mode”, turn on Wi-Fi, and connect to the “DCL-GUEST” network, where the use of the application is complimentary.

    It is important to set devices to “Airplane Mode” to access the complimentary app. For an additional charge, Guests are able to access the internet; however, data and international roaming charges may apply.

    Please be aware, “Disney Cruise Line Navigator App” works separately from MyMagic+ and My Disney Experience elements currently available at Walt Disney World Resorts.

    Printed copies of the Navigator can still be found at Guest Services on deck 3.

    I hope this information has been helpful. If you require further assistance with any other inquiries, please feel free to contact us.

    We look forward to sailing with you!

    Have a Magical Day!

    Email Communications Agent
    Disney Cruise Line

  41. Deann from TX

    Ok, so where do we go on he App, if now forced to, to get our Disney arranged events? Such as meet and greet, character breakfast etc. Does this also include port adventure tickets? Not too savy with App. Just exchanged my flip phone for asmart one

  42. Margie in AZ

    A very interesting read through all the comments to Scott’s Blogpost ! And so disappointing to think that Disney is slowly removing the Magic ! My husband and I are seniors – our first Disney cruise was back 15 years ago with our young grandchildren – their Mom and Dad and other grandparents. Wonderful fun experience ! And then after our retirement we started cruising again and our cruises have been just the two of us ! – loving every minute of the Disney experience and magic. Our last cruise was on the Fantasy in December and so we still were enjoying the Navigator and bottled toiletries. BUT, as ‘old folks’ still resisting much of the technology advances (I don’t want them controlling my life !), do not even own a smart phone. And suspect we might not be the only seniors that cruise without them ? But so agree with so many others that have posted comments – a cruise should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience with family and friends – and a wonderful break from need to be attached at the hip to a phone ! And a few minutes each evening, with the family gathered ’round’ reading through a printed navigator, is the perfect way to plan the next day events together.
    If it’s cost savings Disney is after – print the Navigator in black and white on less expensive text weight paper – make it available in each stateroom every night – then it becomes our responsibility to keep track of it and shouldn’t be a need to have copies available elsewhere. And for those that can access it online, it’s their backup ! Or – they surely know the weekly schedule ahead of time – maybe print it all on a one time Navigator for the entire cruise ?
    I know we pay more for a Disney cruise – and sure that most will agree it’s been totally worth it ! Our only other experience was a trip recently to Hawaii because we’d been waiting and waiting to go back with Disney on a round trip and the trip we’d had before wasn’t coming up on their schedule – so we tried another cruiseline. What a disappointment – there was no Magic ! But agree, if Disney continues to chip away at what we’ve come to expect, they are going to ‘price’ themselves out of the business of maintaining regular guests ! Cost is also important to all of us !
    If the comments here are any real indication, I can’t help but think that Disney will have to re-think their decision about the Navigator ?? I hope !

  43. dawn stearns

    On our family vacations we have a “no cell phone policy” We all log out. So will the app now alert us to when we have an event we want to go to? or do I have to remember towel folding is at 3:00 in the d-lounge? And I hate scrolling through the app. Things are easily missed. And if this is really about going green then I better not get a singe shopping guide or DVC paper in my room.

  44. Tyler

    What is the best way to contact Disney to give them feedback? I just went on the website and their disclaimer says that e-mailing is for questions only, while suggestions, creative ideas, etc. will not be accepted. I think we need to be communicating this to them in addition to talking about it here.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      You can use the email address on the business card pictured. I didn’t want to put an clickable link to the address because I was worried that it would get picked up and spammed by bots.

  45. storyquilter

    I was on the WestBound Panama Canal cruise, luckily we were able to have our stateroom host deliver us 2 copies of the printed Navigator every night as we each had different plans for the day. I’ve been using computers for 40+ years, but it took me days to figure out where to find things on the App and it was quite frustrating and I too missed the sunrise and sunset information. Having cruised DCL 30 times, I too missed things I’d paid for as there weren’t tickets on my desk although my roommate got tickets for her excursions. As there were no tickets for my prepaid mixology I didn’t think I got it. But I did pay for it.
    I don’t mind the change from the shampoo, because I didn’t like it in the first place and never took it home. But I do want a bar of soap, so I’ll bring my own. But I definitely want my printed Navigator

  46. HilaryKS

    Thanks for the info. My younger children didn’t have phones last time we cruised and they love to have some input by reading through the Paper Navigator. I don’t expect DCL to provide a fresh Navigator when you can’t dock in Grand CAyman — that’s fine to go to the App. But at least the first day one so we can plan out the week, going to see movies, shows, other entertainers with and without kids… I still want the paper one for my family too.

  47. Mark Whiting

    Thank you Scott for posting this issue on your blog. The App is useful for somethings, and for that reason DCL should keep it around and continue to try to improve it. The menus, for example, are a nice feature. But it is still pretty clunky as of my last experience this past December, and it won’t ever be a substitute for the paper Navigator. The paper Navigators are reasonably designed to overview the daily volume and flow of activities and events, in a way that can’t be replicated on small hand-held devices. And when you have so much going on during each cruise day, a comprehensive view is really helpful.

    The on-board wifi is a mess and they really need to take a hard look at their offering. But that’s fodder for a long, separate discussion.

  48. Laura

    this is terrible. clearly a way to get people to buy the data packages. we’ve not gotten the app to work for us correctly once and it’s been several cruises. i never check electronic all for anything, bills, statements, etc. i want paper. it’s much faster to get a paper out of my pocket and see what i’ve highlighted. this is a great way to allow people to miss events on the ship.

  49. A Wysocki

    Second post on this topic…..totally annoyed. Disney has received all of my vacation dollars for the past 11 years. I am DVC so made a 45 year commitment. These cruises are not “budget priced” trips….. If DCL is committed to removing the “magic” which for me was the little extra touches (navigator and shampoo bottles are some of the “extra touches” like pixie dust…..) why should I continue to devote my vacation funds exclusively to the mouse?

  50. Kalvin Sargeant

    One hundred percent agree with your sentiment Scott. I do not use Disney internet but do use data on my plan when in port. This renders the app unuseable on port days without having Disney’s internet or constantly switching between data and Wi-fi. I Love the paper navigators. All the other rubbish, shopping and DVC get left so would happily drop those but we have our navigators as a memento from every cruise we have done. I do like being able to see the menus on the app but much prefer the paper navigators to plan a day as a family. I try and use the phone as little as possible when on board. I agree the break from the real world is so nice. I do commend the plastic reduction but these are paper so can easily be recycled. On Wonder on 4/7 so will see what happens.

  51. James Arthur

    I have a different opinion then most of the people commenting. I prefer the app to the paper Navigator. BUT DCL needs to make some changes. The Connect@Sea CM needs to be a full blown help desk person. Also, the Connect@Sea system needs to maintain internet access even when you run out of data. Many cell phones will auto disconnect from a wifi network when it does not get the ping back checking for internet access. This why you hear reports of the delayed messages or not staying connected to the Disney wifi. I had this issue with a Samsung phone on the Alaska cruise, unfortunately, I didn’t have my laptop with me so I couldn’t push the ABD command to stay connected.

    Also, DCL could enable app access based on GPS location to allow you access thru your normal cell sevice while in the terminals or around the ports. It would take some additional programing and allowing the servers to connect to the internet.

    Also the app could serve as a great advertisement by allowing the messaging app to work outside of the ship. The app launch page would also have articles, pictures of the new ship construction, links to you-tube videos, ect.

  52. Sue Ellen Knebel

    Scott, your blog and comments about this are spot on. As someone who has been on 40+ Disney cruises I feel the same way. The app is a good compliment to the paper, but the printed Navigator is still needed, and wanted. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with this. I hope that DCL listens and goes back to printing these and providing them in staterooms. This is not about saving paper or all of those other papers would be gone.
    I also encourage everyone who would like to see the print Navigators back to contact DCL and let them know. They need to hear how their guests feel about this.

  53. Kevin J

    To the original poster, you mentioned families getting charged for using the guest wifi to open up the app. I’ve only been on one cruise, but it was my understanding that the app use is free when on DCL guest wifi. How do you ensure you stay on that wifi so that it is free? I’m concerned for my next cruise in October. I did use the navigator in my phone frequently when on the dream last June, but loved getting the paper one the night before and highlighting things I wanted to do. I didn’t want to carry around the paper one though so I would heart the items in the app that I wanted to do to send me notifications when they were happening like meet and greet with stitch or trivia. I can understand why everyone is upset because it’s weird to use your phone when all your wearing are trunks and hanging out by water and you have no service.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      I never implied your data plan is used by the Navigator App. What I was saying is that if someone forgets to logout of the data plan but remains on the DCL-GUEST wifi their device could still use the data in the background for other apps/tasks. I always had a 2-step process for managing my data plan. 1) Disconnect from the WiFi, and 2) turning off the WiFi on my device. With the the pressure from DCL to use the app, guests remain connected to DCL-GUEST and in some cases forget to logout of the data plan.

  54. Margot

    When I first saw this I was pretty annoyed. As I read more and more comments, I started to get angry. I finally had to stop when people said Disney REFUSED to put the Navigators in their staterooms… This is crazy! What are they doing REFUSING simple guest requests? I love Disney so much that I literally tear up when I see people in the parks arguing or having a bad time. I defend Disney everywhere I go. I spent a lot of time on the Lighthouse point article trying to convince people that Disney was a caring company and would certainly be sensitive to the environment and desires of the Bahamian people… I just can’t believe this. I just recently booked a 2020 Disney Greek cruise. I have been waiting YEARS for them to bring it back. We have never taken a non Disney cruise. But I happened to notice the Celebrity Edge would be in the Med next year. I checked out a Sky SUITE and an inside compared to the family veranda and an inside that I have booked on Magic. Less than $800 more to get the larger suite and all the perks including “free” drinks, free gratuities, priority tendering and embarkation, exclusive restaurant…. I’ve been fighting the urge to switch (the dates work better too)…. I think I might just have been pushed off that ledge. Ok, I’m crying now… Also agree I am sick of the other handouts, I try to take things back and leave them on the appropriate desks. And I have a lanyard for my KTTWK, why do I want to carry a phone? Mumble, grumble, %^&*$#$%^*&.

    1. A Wysocki

      Margot….I feel your distress….. me too. We are on Magic in May for EBTT and have reservations on Wonder for the EBPC (will be our 5th PC)…. The pettiness/cheapness of this move kinda makes me feel like a chump for my loyalty (we literally spend a month of each year on one of their ships).

      1. Edward Cairns

        A Wysocki

        My wife and I are passionate about all things Disney and we have sailed many times with Disney. We love the Panama Cruise on the Wonder. And as Canadians with a 0.75 dollar, we have to work extra hard to save for a Disney Cruise. But it was your phrase,
        “The pettiness/cheapness of this move kinda makes me feel like a chump for my loyalty”
        Exactly! I found myself looking at other cruise lines offerings today…….

  55. Victor F

    Hi Scott, this was a great response, you mentioned the use of the app and getting charged if you need more time so that you could use the app? I myself along with my wife are also platinum members, and we haven’t paid anything for using the app, they do give this service to you for free (which i’m sure you know 🙂 ) . We completely disconnect from the real world while on our cruise so we don’t utilize connect at sea,so not sure on why you would be getting charged for use of the free app if you over on the time? Now if they’re changing policy and are gonna start charging for use the app, we’ll just do what you did and ask to receive 1 at turn down. Thanks for your great trip reviews and all the Cruise info that you supply for us.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      I never implied a data plan was necessary or even used by the Navigator App. What I was saying is that if someone forgets to logout of their data plan but remains on the DCL-GUEST wifi their device to use the app, other apps/tasks could still use the data in the background. I always had a 2-step process for managing my data plan. 1) Disconnect from the WiFi, and 2) turning off the WiFi on my device. With the the pressure from DCL to use the app, guests remain connected to DCL-GUEST and in some cases forget to logout of the data plan.

  56. Bob T.

    Hey Scott, We leave next Saturday for the Eastern Caribbean. cruise. Good info and completely agree with your commit that the paper and app complement each other. This will be our 9th cruise with Disney and have always used the navigator. Very easy to plan when you can see the whole days activities layout on one grid. We will hit the guest services desk first thing on the ship and make the request for a daily copy.

  57. Bill B.

    If Disney is worried about the extra trash this leaves on the ship then i think they are wrong. Most of us take the navigators with us when we leave the ship for souvenirs.

  58. Rich G

    This is a great thread!
    I mentioned this change to my wife and she was really disappointed by this decision. She said the reason we cruise is to disconnect, we don’t want to have our smartphone with us all the time.

    I like the idea of making it optional or just having them out for pick up if people don’t want it.

  59. Kristine S

    I think I am going to gather up all the useless ads they leave every night, get myself to the guest services desk and offer a trade. They can take back ALL these for the one Navigator. Yea, I know that sounds petty. But that’s how I feel DCL is being about this decision.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      For a bit I thought the would work, but then I realized all those ads are paid for by other entities such as DVC, AbD, and potentially PPI Group for the shopping guides. Additionally, from what I’ve recently learned, all those items are printed on land and loaded onboard whereas the paper Navigators are printed on onboard.

    2. Kris B

      I was about to make the exact same comment! They can have their junk mail back and I’ll take a paper Navigator, thank you. Everyone here knows it’s the “little things” that make Disney special. The Navigators, H2O toiletries, and yes, even store bags were always fun souvenir memories to bring home, not to mention much needed while onboard. If they keep going down this path, DCL will start to feel some big pains as their Castaway members head to other cruiselines for better values.

      And, Scott, I see your point about the ads being printed prior. But repeatedly handing over stacks of junk mail to Guest Services would at least make a point! Anyway, keep fighting the good fight! 🙂

  60. Lisa

    Thank you for your update and thank you for making a poll of it on Twitter.

    I think that paper Navigator adds to the Magic. The app is great but sitting around a paper trying to plan our day on DCL makes great memories plus you can bring it home.

    If there is anything we can do to make sure they do not do away with the paper Navigator, let us know.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Ultimately, there is nothing we can do if Disney decides to do away with paper all together. The only thing we can do is give them our feedback on this topic as well as any other topic that comes up.

      1. A Wysocki

        Scott, first, thank you for providing space allowing us to vent.

        The methods used /results hoped for with people’s vacation time/budget are as varied as there are people. I can only speak for us…but I suspect there are many who fall into our category. My husband and I have exceptionally stressful work lives. He is a clinical psychologist whose patient load deals almost exclusively with war trauma. His work-life involves helping people find meaning in life after being intimately involved in the most horrific experiences humans inflict on each other. If you can imagine it, believe me….it’s actually worse. We purposely use the long Disney cruises to suspend the reality in our lives in order to re-charge. We alternate every other break with a week at Aulani for the same purpose. Part of the suspension includes unplugging from electronics (which include all forms of screens except for the kindle oasis so that we can read IN the pool). On the cruises, we take meals at a table for two and literally don’t speak to anyone socially for the first three days.

        This bit with the paper Navigator is (for us) about so much more than 14 sheets 8-1/2×11 with high quality ink. It’s about our implied contract with Disney…we give them an exorbitant amount of money…and they will suspend our reality. When we cross the threshold, it is with the understanding that for the next two weeks…someone else is taking care of US. Until now, there have been no worries, no annoyances…. we …need …..this.

        We have, until now, been willing to pay the ever increasing cost in exchange for the certainty of knowledge that we would receive a stress-free break in exchange.

        The Navigator situation (and to an extent the soap/shampoo thing) scrapes away the stress-free portion of the deal (also known in our house as “pixie dust”). We leave May 12 on the EBTA. I now know that I will spend a portion of each evening attempting to secure a Navigator so that we can snuggle in at the end of the night and talk about what to do tomorrow. I now know that I will experience other people’s upset (not everyone is happy at guest services) while simultaneously losing my precious stress-free time…which we purchased.

        I tried to discuss this with DCL, but they were not interested

        So…you were slightly incorrect when you said “there is nothing we can do”….we can talk with our checkbooks.

        I have cancelled our EBPC for November and we have decided to do a test cruise with Norwegian. They have been nipping at the heels of Disney for years…..if Disney is willing to annoy their loyal loyal loyal guests…why would I not be willing to suffer annoyance with another line at a signifigant savings?

        Let me re-state my appreciation for your providing this space. It would have been so much more frustrating to learn this after getting on the ship.

        With gratitude…..

  61. Bob Lane

    I think just about everything that needs to be said has been said, and Disney needs to start listening. The only thing I would add is why don’t they have one of their TV channels dedicated to posting the daily Navigator. One more source that’s available to everyone.

  62. dragynally

    I’m probably one of the few who prefer the app. However I still think it’s unfair for those who prefer the paper navigator. I wish there was a better way to opt in for those who like to have their navigator on hand. I personally love the app because it’s easier for me to read and organized the way my brain works. I’m also very aware that not everyone likes how the app is set up. I know they’re claiming environmental reasons but obviously this is a money saving venture. It’ll be interesting to see if more people just start using the app or if the guest services line will always be packed.

  63. dragynally

    Also not everyone keeps their navigators. On one cruise we noticed the couch stuffed with navigators from previous months. It made me really question housekeeping.

  64. Laura

    I had an idea today as I was driving home. What if Disney sent the Navigators as an attachment for us to print out at home. That way if people wanted the use the paper option they can print it themselves and bring it with the port form.

  65. Vicki

    Hey Scott appreciate the information especially with having an upcoming cruise late summer on the fantasy. I’m very disappointed by what I’m reading about Disney cutting corners. What a shame to have loyal customers cancel cruises because you aren’t taking care of them the way you have for over 20 years. Perhaps some customer refreshment reminders are necessary. If they really want to encourage the app have someone waiting after check in to show passengers all the ways it can be used and help them download it. If you make it intriguing perhaps some will like it better. However they should ask each cabin if they would like the navigator delivered. This shouldn’t be difficult after all the guests have spoken it’s time to listen! As far as the toiletries are concerned I don’t care if it cost the cruise line $30 (I don’t know how much it costs) to stock the specialty item throughout the cruise shame on them after paying thousands of dollars to take a Disney cruise give your customers this simple kind gesture. But if you aren’t going to supply these items the entire cruise at least give them as a gift at the beginning with a notice that one gift assortment is provided per state room. But again I say this is pathetic and the reusable dispenser may prove to be unsanitary so watch out for issues with them. And the bag situation is rediculous. Ok if. you need state purchases over $25 receive complimentary reusable bags then do that this will only encourage more spending. I’m very much hoping Disney straightens this out.
    I’ve always said to my husband can you imagine what Walt would of said had he seen these ships? I’m pretty sure I know what he would of said about cheating your onboard guest of the experience you programmed them to love. Don’t forget your customer Walt wouldn’t have.

  66. Chris Whitfield

    I just completed my first Disney Cruise on Saturday, 7 nights on the Fantasy. I was made aware of the navigator issue from this very blog. I tried the app for the first day, but felt I was spending too much time on the phone. So, just after our dinner (second seating) I went to guest services, first time there wasn’t a line all day, and requested a navigator in my room. The lady i spoke with gave me the navigator for day 2 and told me to tell my stateroom host to leave one in my room for the duration of the cruise. The morning of day 2, I did just that. Asked our host for a navigator, but he said I needed to tell guest services. I told him, Romain, that I had done that and that I was told to ask him. Romain told me I was misinformed but he would take care of it for me. On the morning of day 3 Romain knocked on the door to come clean the room, but we hadn’t made it out yet and he told me that I did indeed need to make the request for the navigator at guest services. I waited til after our dinner again…no lines at that time of night, made the request for the navigator. Sounds worse than it was, as I didn’t go a day with out the paper navigator, but they really should have their procedures straight. I find the paper navigator easier to…um…navigate than the app, but the wife kinda liked the app. I think DCL should make it an option during online check-in. “Would you like a paper navigator left in your stateroom? Yes or No”.

  67. Paul Douglas

    This is a small thing, but I got Captain Danieli to sign my Voyage Navigator as a commemorative souvenir for my first cruise. I couldn’t very well have him sign the App, now could I? Here’s another scenario that Makes them vital: I was travelling from overseas so I had no cellular data connection as the roaming costs weren’t worth it. While waiting to board, browsing the Navigator was the best way for me to pass most of the time (when not meeting Captain Mickey or photographing the Wonder). And I couldn’t actually even use the DCL-Guest Wi-Fi in the Terminal that day (for whatever reason), so paper was my only choice. I think your suggested compromise is right on the money, Scott. Asking at check-in seems like a much better way to reduce the paper use since it ensures who aren’t going to use them can give it a miss, but doesn’t prevent anyone who did want them from getting them through not realising they were an option.

  68. Helen

    Not a personal navigator issue but a cruise booklet question. Received our booklet for an upcoming cruise and it was very thin. The luggage tags were included but no info on our excursions, Palo dining, etc.. This was new to me as all previous cruise booklets have included that info. I called DCL, and it’s another new policy to save paper. I suspect the next step will be to completely eliminate the cruise booklet.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      At one point, they asked during online check in if you wanted the full or trimmed down booklet. I just spoke with someone who recently did online checkin and this is no longer an option.

      1. Helen

        I remember that being an option for previous cruises and didn’t see it while checking in for this one. I’ll be sending an email to DCL about this issue. Thanks!

  69. Margie in AZ

    Left a comment about a month ago – was hoping that maybe by now we’d be hearing a change in DCL policy about the Navigator. Still have trouble wrapping my head around their thinking – and from the sounds of it, there are some other little problems than I’d never been aware of. But bottom line, it remains inconceivable to me that DCL would presume that all cruisers have access to technology that allows them to view a Navigator on a phone or tablet device — not to mention those that a cruise is meant to be a relaxing ‘getaway from a hectic life run and dominated by technology and they purposely leave the phones at home !!! Does Disney really think anyone would be happy not knowing what on earth is going on hour to hour – day to day ??? What do they think those of us traveling without smart phones are supposed to do – or is a smart phone now a new requirement to cruise ??
    I’ve also checked into other cruise lines recently – in reality, more choices for destinations ! And in reality if Disney is tossing aside the Pixie Dust and Magic, there is going to be less and less that sets them apart from other cruise lines and makes them special. But perhaps, as they chip away at all the things we’ve come to expect, and some of us abandon the ship, it is going to save us all a ton of money if we decide to try some other options !!
    I’ve already wondered if Disney is beginning to have a little more trouble filling the staterooms on some of the cruises – I’ve known about Canadians. Florida residents and Military discounts offered regularly, but first time that I’ve been aware of a discount for just anyone being offered – I usually skip over the emails since I don’t fall into any of the 3 regular categories – so was surprised recently to see a discount on two Alaskan cruise dates this summer (maybe other cruises as well). Unfortunately, having a place holder already in Disney’s pocket, it doesn’t make it any better a deal for us – and honestly, suspect right now I’m just a tad reluctant to toss more money DCL’s way – and get less for it !
    Maybe for those of you already booked and looking forward to a cruise this summer, you will all be making your thoughts – and displeasures – known to Guest Services. Can’t imagine that the word wouldn’t eventually get to those that need to take it seriously ?

  70. Jason

    On our recent 5/25 WC cruise on the Fantasy, they made a big deal about saying the navigators were available each day at guest services (just walk up and grab one off the stack). Not sure when they put them out, but I stopped by once around 11pm and it was there for the next day. They gave me the weekly one at check-in without me asking.

  71. Katie

    I hope Disney reads these comments. I just called them yesterday and she said I should be able to get one in my room if I tell my stateroom attendant. We shall see if that’s true. I go on a cruise to unplug! I don’t want to be forced to use my phone on vacation.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Last week on the Dream, they were always out at Guest Services to grab without waiting in line. I am not sure if they would have delivered to our stateroom, as we did not ask our stateroom host or guest services for delivery.

  72. Jerry H

    I found these post very interesting. It is 8/21/23 and we are traveling DCL next month. As of now, the Navigator is not available in paper form at all. My wife and I have contacted DLC several times, but they have dug their heels in. It’s gone! We found this out after booking, and while we do not want to cancel, this WILL be our last Disney cruise.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      The traditional paper navigators are gone. However, you can request a printed 2-sided sheet with venue hours and a schedule of events at guest services each day. Some folks have reported that their stateroom host has been able supply the printout each day.


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