Hi, Atlantis excursion is very nice but if you want to stay and use the casino or enjoy one of the many tropical drinks I would suggest doing it on your own.
It is really easy, just catch a taxi at the port building to take you there and then there are taxis by the hotel to bring you back again with no problem. Just agree on the price before you get in the taxi.
You can then buy tickets to the aquarium if you want or gamble. and enjoy the decor of the hotel, it is awesome and plenty to walk around and see inside and outside the bulding.
Must do, dont miss the late night entertainment in the clubs, show like Match your Mate and such are hilarious.
Pirate party is also a must do.
All the shows are very good
here are are few tips doe DCL that I can think of and usually give to new cruisers. I hope you will find them helpful.
1.early arrival gets an early boarding pass number.
2.terminal opens 10 a.m.
3.boarding starts around 11:30 to noon.
4.keep camera with you at ALL times, even in the terminal. characters will appear there for photos. ourdoor viewing area of the ship for photos.
5 check in at kids club table while waiting to board ship. saves you time on the ship.
6. take a few ones. some for room service tips some to tip porters who take your bags at the termnal. $1 per bag is customary.
7. take small bills for the islands. many small shops dont have change.
8. if your going to use your credit card on the islands, call your CC company first and tell them or you will have to wait on a phone call to ok all your purchases. This is a big hassle and can take 30 minutes or more.
9. most shops who take credit cards, require a $20 minimum purchase.
10 take camera to dinner each night, surprizes happen all the time. You wont be alone. you will even see cam corders at dinner.
11. arrive at all shows 20 minutes early for good seats.
12. arrive at character meets 10 minutes early
13 Princess meets arrive 15 minutes early
14. on Castaway cay if you want your photo taken with Captain Jack Sparrow, do NOT ride the tram to the beach area. It does NOT stop near him. You must walk in to the beach signs say 20 minute walk in it takes us 10 minutes. he will be along the way in the sand and photo has the flying Dutchman behind you, great photo! Check navigator for times he will be there.
15 There are characters along the way to the beach, ok to ride the tram for this. Lines are short and move quickly so it is a great opportunity to see characters without lines. check navigator for times and places.
16 also characters appear at the gazebo near cookies BBQ on the island during the day.
17 adult only beach has it's own area for lunch they often have steaks or lobster there as a special treat for the grown ups. But Cookies BBQ by family beach has more variety of other foods.
18 dont ,miss the good bye late the last night in the atrium. ALL the characters will line up on the stairs and will pose for photos for you. This farwell party is really nice and fun.
19 check for photos everyday at shutters. buy a package deal and save $$ if you dont buy enough photos for the package deal they will refund you the difference at the end of your cruise .
or if you buy a photo and then decide the next day you see one you want more, just bring back the one you bought and the receipt and tell them you want to exchange it and they will be happy to do this for you.
20. you can order warm chocolate chip cookies or Mickey ice cream bars from room service even though it is not on the menu. The warm cookies are available in the evenings only
21. bring 2 white pillowcases or a matte style picture frame in a zip lock baggie with water proof markers and leave at guest services desk ask to be autographed and it will be returned to you the last night all signed by the characters. I also add a card with my name and room number on it just in case their card gets lost. I like to use dark colored markers, the light colors dont show up as well.
22. If you need to change dining times or make a Palos reservation go to Wave Bands club directly upon boarding to take care of this. The sooner you do it the better your chances of getting what you want.
23. I fyou have kids leave a wake up call and then let them answer the phone. It will surprize the because Mickey will be on the phone telling them it is time to get up.
24 Afternoon matinees of the shows are great to see. They are the exact same show, they leave out nothing but it is less crowded and kids arnt as tired, plus it makes for a more leisurely evening. No need to rush to or from the shows due to your dinner time.
25. Pop is free in all restaurants and at the drink station on deck 9. But if you order it from waiter or buy at a lounge or bar you will be charge for it plus a gratuity.
26. stop by the drink station and grab a drink to take with you to the shows or movies instead of buying a can a pop there. If you want a snack stop and grab pizza or hot dogs or fruit on deck 9 to take with you. again save money over buying a bunch of snacks for the kids.
27.At dinner kids can order from both the kids or adult menu.
28. The BBQ at the adult beach often has a fewer choices than Cookies BBQ on the family side but they often will have steak or lobster for the adults only BBQ. That is a nice perk.
29. No need to book floats and bikes ahead of time for Castaway Cay. They have tons of them. wait until you get there to make sure your really going to need the floats or have time to ride the bikes before renting them. we always just walk up and do it at the beach.
30. If you want to do the banana boat ride or the ski do(eco tour) I would book ahead of time. They do often have last minute openings so dont be afraid to ask when you arrive if you didnt book it and decided you'd like to do it.
31. if you rent bikes there are 2 nice trails just off the runway. The first one will have an observation tour. It has a great view of the island and ship. Bring your camera for this!! while up in the tower be sure and look around the base area of the tower. There are some whimsical things to see there too.
32. all the trails have ice cold water in big yellow barrels in wooden framed stands, so no need to carry your own unless you want to.
hope this gives you some new information to help with your cruise