This Town Is Covered in Thousands of Daffodils Every Spring — and It’s Only a 90-minute Drive Outside of NYC

Each year, thousands of daffodils bloom in front of homes and along roads this small community that is big on cheerful spring color.

As the weather warms and the snow finally melts away, one of the most welcome sights of spring is seeing all the green sprouts poking out of the ground and growing into colorful flowers. For the town of Lewisboro, about a 90-minute drive north of New York City, that means daffodils, and tons of them. A dedicated group of garden club members, volunteers, and local residents have worked together over the last 14 years to plant nearly 100,000 of the bulbs, and each year they add several thousand more. When all these cheerful yellow and white daffodils bloom, they create a spectacle so stunning that people come from miles around to admire it.

Dubbed the Golden Roads Daffodils project, it all started when the Lewisboro Garden Club planted a few hundred daffodils in a small garden at one of the town’s road intersections. It was meant to be a one-time event, but that first planting inspired more and more daffodils each year. Club members, along with other community volunteers, have continued to plant a total 47,000 daffodil bulbs around the town public spaces, funded by donations and the club’s annual bulb sale. Local homeowners have planted another 38,000 on their properties.

Every fall, volunteers plant 4,000 new bulbs along roadsides. To plant so many at once, the volunteers use a shovel to hinge back sod-covered soil, then drop in two or three bulbs before replacing the sod and tamping it back down. Both local authorities and private property owners cooperate to delay mowing the areas until the daffodils have faded away for the season. By giving the plants’ leaves enough time to recharge the bulbs, they will continue to bloom year after year.

To create rows upon rows of lasting blooms, they plant a custom mix of daffodil varieties, including ‘Barrett Browning’‘Dutch Master’, and ‘Ice Follies’. The mix features varieties with different ranges of bloom times, creating a flower show that lasts for about six weeks each spring. Daffodils are a smart choice for the project (and for gardeners) because they’re equal parts beautiful and tough. The bulbs don’t need much maintenance once they’ve been planted, and typically, you don’t have to worry about deer or squirrels munching on them.

Much as the daffodils are treasured by the townspeople, they’re equally popular with out-of-town visitors and commuters who drive through Lewisboro on their way to New York City. To see them for yourself, head to Lewisboro anytime between May when they start blooming and mid-June, when the last of the flowers start to fade. You can spot them on many streets throughout town, and you especially won’t miss the thousands of blooms along a stretch of road near Onatru Farm Park.

You can also create a show of daffodils in your yard to enjoy (they grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8). Though it’s a little too late to get them in the ground now, if you plant daffodil bulbs in the fall, they’ll bloom next spring and for the years after that. It’s also possible to force daffodil bulbs to bloom indoors and then transplant them to your garden after the flowers fade (though it might take a year or two for them to rebloom). Their bright, sunny colors add cheer wherever they’re planted, whether it’s along the road, inside, or in your garden.

Amtrak’s Valentine’s Day Sale Includes Two-for-one Fares As Low As $29

Amtrak may be giving one of the best Valentine’s Day gifts out there with a two-for-one deal for you and a loved one. 

Thanks to their Amtrak Loves You Sale the rail line is offering two rail tickets for half the price. Both tickets are issued together, so both passengers must be traveling at the same time.

Between Feb. 13 and Feb. 17, you can take advantage of this buy-one-get-one deal on the Amtrak website. Seating may not be available on all trains, at all times, but it’s the best way to sneak in a cozy weekend together. Other restrictions and blackout dates may also apply.

Travel fares could be as low as $183 from New York to Washington D.C., $66.50 from San Francisco to Los Angeles, $31 from Chicago to St. Louis, $54 from Richmond, Vir. to Charlotte, $29 from Portland, Maine, to Boston, and even $164 from New York to Atlanta.

Actual travel days must take place between Mar. 9 and Aug. 30, so even if you can’t get out of town right away, you can still make plans for an amazing spring and summer vacation. Discounted tickets are only available for coach passengers.

The deal applies to many routes (including long distance) across the company’s national network, including the Acela, Adirondack, Carolinian/Piedmont, Cascades, Downeaster, Downstate Illinois Services, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Heartland Flyer, Maple Leaf, Michigan Services, Missouri River Runner, Northeast Regional, San Joaquins, Valley Flyer, and Vermonter lines.

In order to cash in on this deal, visit Amtrak’s Valentine’s Day sale here, or use the discount code (V214) when making your booking. AutoTrain service is not available for this deal and changes on itineraries once travel begins are not permitted.

What to Know About the Cruise Ships That Have Been Affected by Coronavirus

Amid the spread of coronavirus, which has infected over 60,000 people globally, passengers on cruise ships following the outbreak quickly had their itineraries changed. 

Holland America’s Westerdam cruise ship — that was denied entry in five countries even though there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus on board — has finally been allowed to dock in Cambodia. Early Thursday local time, the ship docked at the Sihanoukville port where it will remain for a few days. Guests will disembark as they are cleared to travel, and will fly home on flights arranged by the cruise line. They also received refunds and were offered a future cruise credit, the company said in a statement.

The ship, that departed Hong Kong on February 1, was scheduled to disembark in Shanghai last week before coronavirus — now known as covid-19 — spread in mainland China. Over the past few days, the ship was also denied disembarkment in the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Guam and Thailand, amid fears of spreading the virus despite its assertion that all 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members onboard were healthy.

“All guests on board are healthy and despite erroneous reports there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus on board, nor have there ever been,” the cruiseline said at the time. 

Another cruise ship that has been significantly affected at sea by the deadly outbreak is the Diamond Princess that is currently under quarantine. Docked in Yokohoma, Japan since Feb. 4 with 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew members aboard, 218 passengers are infected with 44 of those cases having been confirmed in the past day, according to an update from the cruise line. 

Those infected with the virus will be hospitalized, however the ship will remained quarantined until Feb. 19. Passengers are encouraged to spend as much time outside as possible for fresh air while on the ship. 

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship underwent 48 hours of testing by the CDC last week after docking in New Jersey. A total of 27 passengers were tested for coronavirus and all results came back negative.

Related: Everything You Need to Know If You’re Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak (Video)

In January, Carnival’s Costa Smeralda ship was also quarantined in a port north of Rome after a passenger who had arrived from Hong Kong was suspected to have coronavirus. They were instead diagnosed with the common cold and the ship’s passengers were allowed to disembark, according to The BBC. 

Meanwhile, on land, the U.S. confirmed its 15th case of the virus on Thursday, according to the CDC.

“The patient is among a group of people under a federal quarantine order at JBSA-Lackland in Texas because of their recent return to the U.S. on a State Department-chartered flight that arrived on February 7, 2020,” the CDC said. 

More than 1,300 have died of the virus, according to CNN. At least 3,400 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.

Nevada’s 365-mile Death Drive Is One of the Best Road Trips in the State

The most amazing views of Nevada can’t be found on the Las Vegas Strip.

According to Only In Your State, Nevada’s 365-mile Death Drive is one of the state’s best road trips, which takes you to some of the most beautiful views that Southern Nevada has to offer.

beautiful rock formations artists drive in the Death Valley

Even though it will show you some of the best natural parts of the state, it’s also fairly convenient to get to. The loop takes drivers from Las Vegas to Death Valley (hence, the name Death Drive) and back again. Keep in mind, there are many routes you can take for the Death Drive.

According to Travel Nevada, people usually begin the drive by heading from Las Vegas to Pahrump, which is about two hours. On this leg of the journey, you’ll be able to visit the springs at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park and take in the scenery at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Once you get to Pahrump, there are a couple of great places for rest and refreshment, including one of Nevada’s “best biker bars,” Mountain Springs Saloon. Or, if you are looking for something a little more upscale, try some wines at Pahrump Valley Winery, Sanders Family Winery, Mountain Falls Golf Club, and Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club, according to Travel Nevada.

From there, it’s time to explore Death Valley National Park, some three million acres of beautiful desert full of interesting rock formations, canyons, and mountains, according to Only In Your State. Some of the best stopping points include the Artist’s Palette Overlook, Zabriskie Point, and Scotty’s Castle. According to Travel Nevada, there’s also a coffin-themed roadside shop if you’re looking for some spooky souvenirs on Death Drive.

Eventually, drivers can head towards Beatty, where they can stop at Rhyolite, one of the most famous “ghost towns” in the state, according to Only In Your State. Along this route, drivers can also view some unique artworks at the Goldwell Open Air Museum.

Halfway through their journey, drivers will start to head south again towards Las Vegas. On this path, you’ll drive through the region surrounding Mount Charleston, where you might actually get a glimpse of snow depending on the time of year. According to Only In Your State, this area is nearly 12,000-feet above sea level, one of Nevada’s tallest peaks.

This long, scenic drive might be the best way to see the glorious (and diverse) landscape of Nevada.

The Best Cruises to Take This Summer

When you just can’t decide where to spend your summer vacation — whether it’s a family trip, couples getaway, group of friends, or solo — a cruise might be the answer.

NCL Cruise Line, Pride of America, Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii

Can’t settle on a destination? You can visit several on a cruise without changing hotels, packing and unpacking, planning airport transfers, and paying for local transportation. Don’t have time to research and create an itinerary? All the planning is done for you. You can select your desired itinerary and even decide which optional excursions you want to take.

Worried about managing your budget or dealing with unexpected expenses? With a cruise, you have a good idea of the costs up front, including extras like shore excursions, gratuities, entertainment, and beverages. You can compare the cost of the cruise with the expense for hotels, meals, tours, transfers, and entertainment on a land-based vacation.

Related: 10 Around-the-world Cruises for the Trip of a Lifetime

For families — or for any group — the onboard entertainment options make it easy for everyone to do what they want to do, even if it means heading in different directions for an evening. On many cruises, games and entertainment are arranged for age-appropriate groups, keeping everyone busy and happy, especially mom and dad who get to have their own time knowing the kids are supervised and entertained.

Dining problems can also be solved when there’s a buffet or menu with various choices. Most cruises offer afternoon and midnight snacks plus 24-hour room service — no one goes hungry on a cruise.

We have researched some of the popular cruises, both river and oceangoing, to provide an idea of what is available this summer. Amenities, passenger capacity, stateroom size, length of cruise, tours, and prices are among the many variables to consider when planning a cruise. An experienced travel agent can be a helpful resource for this decision.

We hope these examples will get you started thinking about a cruise this summer, whether you’re a first timer or an experienced cruiser looking for a new place to explore.

Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands

AmaWaterways is offering their “Enchanting Rhine” river cruise with dates throughout the summer, the perfect time to explore historic cities and villages, glide past elegant castles, and indulge in the ship’s onboard amenities. Over seven nights, guests visit Breisach, Germany; Strasbourg, the capital city of Alsace; Heidelberg and Cologne, Germany before reaching Amsterdam. Along the way, guided walking and bicycle tours, an aerial gondola trip above the Rhine, wine and beer tastings, canal tour in Amsterdam, and other optional excursions add to the experience.

The uniquely designed ships, accommodating about 160 passengers, offer spacious staterooms, balconies, heated pools, panoramic views, comfortable lounge areas, and several dining venues including a Chef’s Table specialty restaurant. Prices start at $3599 per person, and optional nights in Zurich or Amsterdam can be arranged.


Summer is the time to explore Alaska. Many lines offer cruises in small to large ships passing glaciers and the rugged coastline. Lindblad-National Geographic Expeditions takes their passengers in relatively small ships ranging from 62- to 100-person capacity, allowing them to sail where larger ships cannot — along the shoreline and through narrow waterways, closer to wildlife and scenery.

Seven different itineraries ranging from six to 15 days on various summer dates are available. All include knowledgeable guides, a photo instructor, trained naturalist, wellness specialist, enrichment activities, and adventures such as kayaking and hiking. As an example, the 8-day “Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness” sails from May to September with views of glaciers, floating icebergs, brown bears, humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, and more. The cost ranges from $5,990 to $11,770.


This summer, cruisers can visit the Galapagos aboard the Celebrity Flora, a new Celebrity Cruises ship designed specifically for the destination, with luxurious suites, a stargazing platform for guided or individual night sky enjoyment, new tenders with ramps that make landings more convenient, and a library for learning more about the Galapagos during the cruise.

Sailings throughout the summer on the Celebrity Flora include the 10-night “Galapagos Outer Loop Itinerary” beginning in Quito, Ecuador with stops at volcanic islands to see blue-footed boobies, sea lions, pelicans, sea turtles, flamingoes, tropical birds, and more. Snorkeling, swimming, Zodiac rides, and hiking activities allow travelers various ways to explore the islands. Prices vary depending on sailing date, but average is listed at $9,999 per person for an Aug. 16 departure.

Oregon to Washington

With departures from Portland throughout July and August, the American Cruise Lines “Columbia and Snake Rivers Cruise” features eight days aboard one of their modern riverboats. Three ships ply the Columbia River: American PrideQueen of the West, and the newest, American Song, all offering complimentary Wi-Fi, private balconies, spacious staterooms, and more.

The trip takes cruisers to the historic town of Astoria at the western end of Lewis and Clark Trail, to view and learn about Mount St. Helens, the powerful volcano that erupted in 1980, along the Columbia River Gorge, with waterfalls, cliffs, lakes, streams, and wildflowers. Complimentary and optional excursions at each port enhance the experience and education along the way. Prices vary depending on the ship and sailing date, but start at around $4,000 per person for July departures on Queen of the West.

Hawaiian Islands

On the Norwegian Cruise Line “7-Day Hawaii,” passengers board the newly renovated Pride of America in Honolulu for a week of visits to waterfalls, beaches, volcanoes, and a total of four Hawaiian Islands. Overnight stops in Maui and Kauai provide extra time to explore the islands, and all-day visits to Kona and Hilo offer opportunities to take advantage of a variety of optional excursions, at additional cost.

Weekly departures throughout summer make it possible to visit each of the islands, with time in Honolulu at either end of the cruise. Excursions include helicopter tours, snorkeling, catamaran sailing, Zodiac rides, volcanoes, farms, and cooking classes. Prices begin at $1,599 for an inside stateroom and $1,799 for an ocean view.

Copenhagen, Denmark to Stockholm, Sweden

This 10-night luxury cruise, “Baltic Treasures,” aboard Crystal Serenity begins in Copenhagen before sailing to Berlin, Germany; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; and Stockholm, Sweden, with a variety of tours to choose from in each port. Three days in St. Petersburg with 40 optional excursions provide opportunities to visit the opulent Winter Palace, the Hermitage Museum, Saint Isaac’s Cathedral with its gold-plated dome, the Faberge Museum, and more.

Onboard entertainment includes musicians, dancers, magicians, lounge pianists, and traditional Broadway revues. Also offered are wellness programs, educational opportunities, art classes, and lectures by experts on current topics. Fares for the Crystal Cruises July 7 sailing start at $6,250.

This Cruise Ship Will Have a Shower Suspended Over the Sea

A shower at sea should be an experience, and on this cruise ship, it will be.

Onboard Royal Caribbean’s new Spectrum of the Seas, select guests will be able to indulge in a shower with “unparalleled water views” — because their bathroom is actually floating off the side of the ship with nothing underneath it.

Guests who book the 2,809-square-foot Ultimate Family Suite will get a bevy of unique features, but the most eye-popping is the bathroom that juts out over the side of the ship.

The suite’s bathroom is cantilevered off the side of the boat, allowing guests to shower and bathe while suspended over the high seas. (The mock-up does not show any toilets in the floating bathroom.)

The two-level, three-bedroom suite can accommodate up to 11 guests, and features a slide for kids (or kids at heart) to get from the upper level down to the bottom. In addition to the floating bathroom, there’s also an en-suite recreation room for nights of karaoke, video games, or movie marathons.

As always, this ultimate experience doesn’t come cheap: Booking the suite for a seven-day sailing starts at $50,000.

The Spectrum of the Seas will debut in Spring 2019 with cruises from Shanghai. Royal Caribbean says the new ship — capable of carrying up to 4,246 passengers — will be the largest sailing in Asia.

The ship is the first in Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Ultra class of ships. Other notable features on the ship include the Sky Pad, a VR bungee jumping experience, on the ship’s aft.

Is This Cruise Ship Slide the Coolest Ever Built?

It’s got a 10-deck drop and a dramatic platform 150 feet above sea level

When Royal Caribbean’s 5,397-passenger Harmony of the Seas launches in May of 2016, it will be the largest cruise ship in the world. But families and adrenaline junkies may be more interested in another bragging right—descending 100 feet via the tallest dry slide at sea.  

Called the Ultimate Abyss, it’s located at the aft of the Oasis-class ship and is actually two dry slides, both stainless-steel tubes that spiral down from a platform hovering 150 feet above sea level. Adding to the drama, that platform is constructed from see-through glass, giving guests a sneak peek at the 10-deck drop as they enter the ride. Next comes 216 feet of curves, turns, and sound effects as passengers zip down on a custom mat, reaching speeds of about nine miles per hour before popping out at the other end.

Harmony of the Seas has tons of other family-centric features onboard, including a zipline, two FlowRider surf simulators, and Perfect Storm, a trio of water slides at the center of the ship overlooking the tree-covered grounds of Central Park. Perfect Storm’s two water racing slides, Typhoon and Cyclone, also appear on the revamped Liberty of the Seas, which relaunched in February, in Galveston, Texas, but Harmony of the Seas is the first Royal Caribbean ship with a Supercell slide that swirls riders around in a “champagne bowl” before they land. And for toddlers and little ones not quite ready for multi-story descents, there’s Splashaway Bay, a children’s water park filled with slides, water cannons, and waterfalls.

Passengers can try the family-friendly amenities on May 29, 2016, when the ship makes its first full seven-night Mediterranean sailing from Southampton to Barcelona. The ship will spend the summer in the Western Mediterranean, before moving to its home port of Port Everglades in Ft Laurderdale, where it will begin seven-night voyages in the eastern and western Caribbean on November 12, 2016. 

Royal Caribbean Just Reopened Their Private Island — and It Has the Largest Waterslide in North America

Cruising in the Caribbean is known for its crystal-blue water and sunshine, and now guests traveling with Royal Caribbean can add new experiences — including a brand new waterpark — on the line’s private island to their itinerary.

Royal Caribbean just completed a $250-million renovation of the island, and Travel + Leisure joined the first set of guests this weekend.

Perfect Day at CocoCay,” located in the Bahamas, offers guests both adventure and relaxation, and is the first in the brand’s “Perfect Day Island Collection.” On CocoCay, adrenaline-loving travelers will be most excited to hit up Thrill Waterpark, which offers 13 waterslides and the largest wave pool in the Caribbean. The crown jewel of the park is Daredevil’s Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America, which reaches a whopping 135 feet.

Though Daredevil’s Peak is the tallest, my personal favorite was the Dueling Demon drop slide, where riders stand vertically in an enclosed glass shoot facing another slide in the same position. After a dramatic 3-2-1 countdown, the bottom drops from underneath you, sending you on a wild ride down the tower. If the ride itself wasn’t memorable enough for everyone I went with, I’m sure they won’t forget my boyfriend’s scream echoing across the island on the way down.

One thing that sets the water park apart from most others you may have visited is that there are fewer guests than any other public water park you might find. Considering only people on Royal Caribbean ships are allowed to enter, combined with the fact that not all of those on board will visit the water park, and you’re setting yourself up for a fun day with pretty short lines.

Besides the insane waterslides, CocoCay also has Oasis Lagoon, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean. (Fun fact, it’s big enough to hold 106,902 beach balls.) And to get another view of the Bahamas, guests can board a helium balloon to soar 450 feet into the air. And for more heights, strap into the 1,600-foot-long zip line to soar over sunbathers and splashing kids across CocoCay.

Of course, it’s not all about adrenaline. After hitting up the slides, we spent the afternoon sipping on margaritas at Captain Jack’s, a bar area where a friendly singer mellowed us out with acoustic versions of classic Jimmy Buffett tunes. A handful of dining establishments are scattered on the island and I enjoyed a seriously delicious portobello mushroom burger for lunch at Chill Grill.

Perfect Day at CocoCay also seems like a great place to bring the family. For kids, there are plenty of smaller waterslides, child-friendly beaches, and an entire interactive play structure with water cannons, ropes, and splash pads. For the older bunch, maybe join a jet ski excursion, snorkle, or just call it day and nap in a cabana.

Coming in December, Coco Beach Club — a luxury expansion to the island — will bring the very first overwater cabanas to the Bahamas. Each cabana will offer its own waterslide, overwater hammock, and dedicated attendant. The club will also have a 2,600-plus beachfront infinity pool.

Cruisegoers can visit CocoCay by cruising on one of 11 of Royal Caribbean’s ships on select itineraires leaving from Florida and the northeastern United States. Dates on the 3 Night Bahamas & Perfect Day Cruise on the Navigator of the Seas — the itinerary I went on — start at $317.

It’s important to note, however, that many of the activities offered on the island are not included in the standard cost of the cruise. Full-day Thrill Waterpark passes cost $44 to $99 per person, depending on the season, while the zip line ranges from $79 to $139, and the balloon ride ranges from $39 to $99 per ride. Child rates are available, as well as half-day passes and combination passes for multiple experiences.

9 Ways to Make Your Disney Cruise Line Vacation Even Better

Travelers who frequently book a trip on Disney Cruise Line may know that the Senses Spa Rainforest Room is worth the splurge, or that Castaway Cay day is the best time to ride the AquaDuck without lines — but there’s so much more to know about these cruises than most cruisegoers would expect.

In summer 2015, Disney Cruise Line guests can immerse themselves in the animated hit “Frozen” with brand-new experiences inspired by the film, including new character meet and greets with Anna, Elsa and Olaf. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Planning is key on Disney Cruise Line sailings, and the hacks that I’ve learned first-hand can help you seamlessly navigate both the seas and your dreamy Disney vacation. From the unexpectedly perfect Castaway Cay photo op to how best to board and disembark, here’s how to change your trip for the better, all without spending an extra dime. And, with four ships — Disney Dream, Magic, Fantasy and Wonder — and three on the way in the coming years, now’s the perfect time load up on expertise.

1. Board later in the day.

I’ve long been a believer in earliest being best — you maximize vacation and can enjoy the pools with fewer passengers — but in the long run, having 90 extra minutes on the ship doesn’t really add up to much. Consider selecting a later arrival time, like 2 p.m., and in conjunction with online check-in, you’ll breeze through security and embark in a matter of minutes, not hours.

2. Take the stairs whenever possible.

Taking the stairs, if you’re able, will alleviate any need to visit Disney Cruise Line’s onboard gym, and free up space in your luggage where those sneakers would have lived. It saves time, is a healthy choice, and you’ll actually feel better ordering two desserts at Animator’s Palate. While the ship is in motion, switch staircases at each floor — it’ll prevent you from getting dizzy.

3. Meridian is the best bar nobody talks about.

You’ll want to hike to the 12th floor of the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy for this cocktail bar beside Palo and Remy restaurants instead, providing ideal sunset views and an amazing gin and tonic cart on both ships.

4. Know when to arrive early or late.

Arrive 15 minutes prior to a character meet and you’ll be guaranteed a photo with popular passengers like Mickey Mouse and Chip ‘n’ Dale — and possibly wait less by being first in line. Doors open 30 minutes before Broadway-style shows, so for banner performances, like Tangled: The Musical on the Disney Magic or Disney Dream’s phenomenal Beauty and the Beast musical, you’ll want to arrive then to get prime seats.

When it comes to dinner, your rotational time (between 5:45 and 6:15 for first seatings and 8 and 8:30 for second seatings, depending on itinerary) is when the restaurant actually opens; stroll in a few minutes late and you’ll reach your table and avoid the crowd. And on Pirate Night, a celebration on all four ships, Buccaneer Blast fireworks actually start 10 minutes after the announced time. Grab a spot on the ship’s upper deck, starboard side, for an uninhibited view.

5. Disney Parks’ most iconic treat is available on board for free.

You won’t find it listed, but those frozen, chocolate-dunked Mickey Ice Cream bars are available throughout the ship. Request one for dessert at any table-service restaurant (with sprinkles and whipped cream for an over-the-top treat), or order one directly to your stateroom through Disney Cruise Line’s complimentary room service.

6. Carry luggage yourself, if possible.

Walking off the ship at 7 a.m. makes for an easy self-disembarkation with no waiting, smaller crowds, and less overwhelming lines. It’s a reward for those who pack lightly, and weirdly perfect for procrastinators or cruise enthusiasts who want to take in a final dinner and show instead of packing suitcases to be picked up in advance of disembarkation.

7. Become a coffee shop regular.

Cove Cafe has a punch card for its specialty coffees, and with every five gourmet drinks purchased, you’ll get one free. Whether you order a daily Mickey cappuccino (the ships now offer latte art) or the slow-drip cold brew, it’s a small upcharge that’s absolutely worth it, and it comes with a beneficial bonus.

8. Make dinner even more special.

There’s a way to make Palo dinner even more special. If you ask in advance, you can dine outside on the restaurant’s deck, offering spectacular sunset views on earlier seatings.

9. Snap iconic Castaway Cay photos with little-to-no effort.

The private island Disney fans are obsessed with provides an afternoon of sun, shade and relaxation on Bahamas and Caribbean Disney Cruise Line sailings. For picture-perfect memories with one of Disney’s behemoth ships in the background, head to shore immediately after disembarking at Scuttle’s Cove — you’ll want to do so before the island gets busier — or walk to the outer platform of Heads Up Bar near Pelican Point. No matter how many people are frolicking in the crystalline water, you’ll still get a postcard-worthy image. (And, for a pile of photos with characters, don’t miss the ship’s most photogenic event on board.)

Disney Cruise Line Debuts Captain Minnie Mouse — and She’s in Pants for the First Time Ever

Captain Minnie Mouse is meant to empower young girls and “inspire the next generation of female leaders in the maritime industry.”

All aboard!

Disney Cruise Line just introduced their newest crew member: Captain Minnie Mouse, who will travel around on the company’s ships this year to empower young girls and encourage them to explore maritime careers.

Captain Minnie Mouse — who will often wear pants — is meant to “inspire the next generation of female leaders in the maritime industry,” according to a press release published on Thursday.

Captain Minnie Mouse is delighting children aboard all Disney Cruise Line ships, spreading the message of exploring new horizons as part of a collection of new initiatives aiming to inspire the next generation of female leaders in the maritime industry. The debut of Captain Minnie Mouse, plus new youth programs and the funding of scholarships, are designed to empower girls and young women to pursue careers in the cruise industry and chart a course for success. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

The beloved children’s character dons a new uniform of white trousers or a white skirt paired with a red jacket. The uniform represents a significant change from Minnie Mouse’s traditional dresses and bows, marking her first time ever wearing pants.

Captain Minnie Mouse will begin making the rounds on all Disney Cruise Line ships in April.

Along with the debut of Captain Minnie Mouse, Disney Cruise Line announced new youth programs and scholarship funding for girls and young women who want to pursue a career in the cruise industry.

The company will sponsor four scholarships at the LJM Maritime Academy in the Bahamas, which will include tuition and one year of service aboard a Disney ship.

“Our Disney characters have a unique ability to inspire and connect with children, and we know Captain Minnie will encourage young girls around the world to consider a career in the maritime industry,” Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Cruise Line, said on Thursday.

“We are excited to work with LJM Maritime Academy to offer scholarships for young women who are pursuing their passions and following their dreams in our industry,” Vahle added.

A new youth program featuring Captain Minnie Mouse will also be introduced on board the ships, where “children will hone their STEM and problem-solving abilities” in hands-on activities.

Can’t make it to a ship? Don’t worry — Captain Minnie Mouse will also be visiting children at some of Disney Cruise Line’s ports of call.

As part of the community visits, she’ll be joined by a female Disney Cruise Line officer or crew member who will discuss their own maritime career.