On this last cruise, which was the DVC Member cruise, we used the DCL Navigator app for the first time and tested it extensively during the cruise. So this our first review of the present version.
It is an iPhone app, and it is only fully operational on the ship. What
you do is put your phone in Airplane mode, and then you turn on Wi-fi.
This connects to the ship's Wi-fi. If you use it with only the Navigator
app, it will incur no cost since you're not really connecting to the
When you open the app for the first time, it will initialize itself and
then download the entire cruise's activities and information, including a layout of the ship, etc. So the app is basically the
same set of info that you get with the daily Navigator newsletter that
they leave in your stateroom at the end of each day, plus more. The app tells you
practically all the activities going on throughout the entire cruise.
Tapping on the activity gives you details of the activity, when and
where, and if there is a fee for it. The app also has other info about
the cruise and the ship.
You can add activities you want to be reminded of by adding it to your
"Favorites". By tapping on the "heart" that is associated with each
activity, you will then be presented by all the available time slots for
that activity for the entire cruise (if there is more than one time
that activity is offered). Tapping again on the "heart" for a particular
time and day will add that activity and that time slot to your
Then, when that activity is 15 minutes away from starting, your phone
will vibrate and will display the activity, time, and location. This was
a very handy feature, especially for us since we were doing a lot of
things while on the cruise. It also listed the activities going on on
Castaway Cay, and the app worked normally there (at least, around the
beaches that we tested it).
You have the ability to look ahead at all the days that you will be
sailing and picked out activities beyond just the day you are in. So
this was very handy for us especially when there were special events
that will only be presented once.
This was definitely a useful app. Having all the info conveniently
available on your phone at all times was quite handy, I found.
Now, a few cons. The biggest one here is that, other than selecting your
favorites, there is no way to personalize this thing. This is not My
Disney Experience app. It doesn't know who you are, only that you've
selected to save such-and-such activities to that device. That's all.
There is no way to know what the others in your party are doing, what
they want to do, etc. It would be a nice feature if passengers could
sign in, register their guests/family members, and be able to see what
activities others in the group are interested in or planning on doing.
The other feature that would be handy is that, after being able to sign
in, some form of messaging between members of your own party on the
cruise is available. As it is now, the only way to contact another
passenger is either via the stateroom phone, or the mobile phones in the
room. Since normal text messaging is not available unless everyone pays
for it, it would be nice if the app allows for simple in-app text
messaging between guests who are within the family/friends circle. This
would make the app a LOT more useful.
Another useful feature that I like to see is some sort of a "calendar"
display of one's activities. Currently, if you put some activity on your
Favorites, the activities for that day are displayed in a list. If you
have only a few, this is not a problem, but if you have quite a few
(which we had), then it is hard to see which ones are back-to-back, and
which ones overlap. Having a display that clearly shows a "timeline" on
when all the activities start and end will solve that, although I'm not
sure how easy it is to be viewed on a phone screen. Currently, the app
has been optimized only for the iPhone, not the iPad, so the display
size might be an issue.
Last, but not least, it would be nice to be able to view the same info
on the app way ahead in advanced of the cruise and on the web. We will
at least know what activities will be available and can start planning
on what we want to do. If we can plan 180 days in advanced for dinning
at a WDW restaurant, the DCL should be able to display these activities
well ahead of a cruise, rather than on the cruise day itself.
All in all, this was a useful app, and I can see a lot of possibilities
for it. I am sure they'll improve it upon subsequent testing and