UK Staycation Cruise from Tilbury London UK
We stayed the night before the Disney Cruise at the Premier Inn Thurrock West Hotel as we always opt for an easy life where we can.
The postcode for the hotel is RM19 1NS.
In hindsight this was not the best location as was on the wrong side of the Dartford Crossing road, a road that causes massive congestion on a regular basis, particularly at peak hours. There has also been an issue more recently with protestors on the slip road to the M25.
I looked at changing hotels to the Premier Inn Thurrock East, but the room features we liked weren’t available, air-conditioning, king-sized bed, plus Thurrock West had lifts. So, we decided to put a plan in place and stay where we were.
There will be a full review on the Premier Inn Thurrock West in the future.
Before leaving the hotel, I checked my emails and the Health Questionnaire link was there, ready and waiting for me to complete.
My opinion on how I answered the questions was whether you had any of the things they were asking that wasn’t the norm. So for example if you spend your life with a runny nose, then that is your norm.
The questionnaire needed to be completed before you arrived at the port. However, they are happy to help people who have issues.
I found it all quick and straight forward.
The email with the link was received from DCL.email@example.com
Plan part one – Brewers Fayre for breakfast
Due to the potential congested roads issues, we decided to plan on leaving our hotel at 7.30am and head to the Brewers Fayre which is found at the Premier Inn Thurrock East for an 8am breakfast, which we booked online.
It was a good job we had decided to leave early as there were 2 traffic incidents on the Dartford Crossing. So, a 6-minute drive took 30 minutes. Which was fine as we had left early.
The Premier Inn Thurrock East and the onsite Brewers Fayre are in a much less congested area and the right side of the Dartford Crossing for the Tilbury terminal.
We enjoyed a lovely all you can eat buffet breakfast in a cosy restaurant with really friendly staff. Customers looked pretty exclusively fellow Disney cruisers!
The postcode for the Brewers Fayre is RM16 6YL
Plan part two – Asda and McDonalds
Tilbury Asda and McDonalds are really close to the Tilbury International Cruise Terminal. So was the prefect place to shop, chill and have a toilet available.
We had a good look around and couldn’t see any time restrictions on parking at Asda.
The fact that Asda sells some fab Disney items, was just an added bonus.
The drive to Tilbury Cruise Terminal from Asda Tilbury took just 5 minutes. As we got closer to the Port we saw some fabulous views of the Disney Magic Cruise Ship.
The postcode for Asda is RM18 7HJ
Our Port Arrival Time was all over the place, initially 11.45 after getting up for the 5am check in, then we added our daughter to the booking and I was gutted to see we now had a Port Arrival Time (PAT) of 14.45. Our thoughts with this PAT was a visit to IKEA, that opens at 10am.
We then decided to upgrade to Concierge so had the first Port Arrival Time of 11.30 at Tilbury so chilled in the car at Asda until 11.20 as there was no time to fit in a visit to IKEA.
Before driving to the port, remember to pop you parking notice on your windscreen.
Arriving at Tilbury Cruise Terminal
On arrival at Tilbury Cruise Terminal (Postcode RM18 7NG) we were asked for our Port Arrival Time, we just told them that we were Concierge, so were told to head straight in.
The operation was very slick and organised.
There were some people waiting near the gates, so I guess they were too early for their Port Arrival Time. It is recommended that you don’t arrive before your Port Arrival Time as it has been widely shared that they will send you away.
We were then sent in the car towards the luggage collection area.
For luggage you wish to check in, you initially just wait in your car, the attendant will check if you have labels or if you need them. They will sort if necessary.
We had received labels from our initial booking, before we decided to upgrade. I had used a black Sharpie pen to cross out the previous stateroom number and add the new one. The attendant said that was fine and it was as the luggage arrived in the correct room! As I write this blog our Concierge luggage labels arrived this morning. An extra souvenir 😊
You are then sent off to park.
- We had opted to park in the car park run by CPS at Tilbury Cruise Terminal, as per the link on the Disney Cruise Line website. We were pleased to have chosen this option as the car park was right at the terminal.
- Parking cost us just £25 for the 2 nights.
- Cruise Parking with CPS – Cruise & Passenger Services
In the car park you get a pretty decent view of the Disney Magic, which was awesome.
Next the dreaded Lateral Flow Test
I completely get it and understand it is essential to keep us all safe on the ship and to ensure the cruising continues. But boy it does put a lot of pressure on the day. You almost don’t dare to look forward to the cruise until you get past this stage.
On a positive, the staff were all extremely efficient and the queue moved very quickly.
I was logged into the Prenetics website, but not via the Disney link, so had to start again via the QR code in the room, before I could move on in the queue.
The queue in the testing area was continuously moving and it was very quickly our turn to head into a cubicle.
We administered the test ourselves while standing and it was just up the nose. Our party of 3 was in the cubicle together.
We were then sent to the tent of potential doom, to await the outcome of our Lateral Flow Tests.
If you struggle with standing, let a member of staff know and they will bring you a chair.
I have to say during the waiting period I couldn’t focus on anything else other than continuously refreshing my phones email screen awaiting the message from Prenetics, telling me if I was positive or that nothing had been found.
There is a Tilbury Guest Wi-Fi to help ensure you get the results. But there are staff about if you’ve not heard in 40 minutes.
Rows of people in the seats in front of me kept getting up, heading to the front and then making their way to the ship.
The odd group went the other way. I do hope when they had the second test, a PCR test that everything was ok for them.
- If you are unlucky enough to have one of your group get a positive Lateral Flow Test result, the whole group will be ushered to another area, where you will all undergo a PCR test.
- You will get the results of the PCR test in around an hour.
- If all clear, then you are good to go on the cruise.
- Sadly, if one of your group has a positive PCR test then you all must leave.
- The only positive in this is at least you’ve had the opportunity to have the more reliable PCR test before being sent home.
After about 20 minutes, I received an email for each of us “NOT-DETECTED” woo hoo we are good to go, so head to the front of the tent, get given a green wrist band and head to the terminal.
The terminal is a short walk from the testing area and luckily for us it was a gloriously sunny day.
Check in and Security
For check in we were sent to the Concierge desk on the left, so there was no waiting. But to be honest there were only a few people in the regular line. All we needed was our Port Arrival Form and the form of ID you used for online check in, for us it was our Passports. As we were Concierge we were given a gold sticker at check in.
Security is similar to that at an airport.
We then had to wait in the lounge for boarding to commence. The waiting area was a large room in a pretty building, with a fab roof and stained-glass windows and lots of information about the Terminal’s history. There was plenty of seating.
As we were Concierge, there was an area for us to sit at the top of the room.
Boarding the Disney Magic
A family of the day had been chosen by the Disney Cast Members and they were the first to board the ship.
After them, those of us that were Concierge got to board next (we were boarding group 1), then the following boarding groups followed.
It is quite a walk from the lounge building to the ship, with varying gradients of slope, one area in particular is very steep. I’m very sure that if you need assistance all you need to do is ask and someone will readily arrange something for you. The walk is all undercover though.
As we stepped onto the ship our family name was announced and the Cast Members around us gave us a round of applause.
Once on board we were welcomed by Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse who put on an awesome little show for us. This was a magical start to our cruise.
Then we were escorted to Fathoms, to ensure we were all on the ships Wi-Fi and had the Disney Cruise Line App activated, then once that was sorted, we headed to deck 4 to log our attendance at our Muster station.
The day was then our own.
See what adventures we get up to in our next blog which will cover Embarkation Day part 2.