PDA

View Full Version : Barely Live from March 25-April 1 Magic! NEW TRIP REPORT ADDED


dlf246
03-26-2006, 01:08 PM
I was so surprised that noone has started a live thread... so I will barely give you one. 1) because I am not good with computers and am paying by the minute.. and 2) it is great weather and fun!!!!

But there are some things I need to report.

In particular, I am told that this is the inaugural cruise for a big clamp down on health safety:
ALL buffet lines have CM servers at every point. So you are not allowed to pick up plates, get food, drinks, even silverware. Even topsiders. This is our first DCL cruise, but multiple servers tell us this is new, and most have a sad expression (I think they may be a little upset at increased workload, but are trying to come across supportive)... I have asked multiple CM and all have said that nothing has prompted this, such as a recent outbreak (let me be clear: there has NOT been any recent outbreak), but that this just happens to be the voyage picked for initiation.

Now I am a physician and I have to say I am impressed. So far the lines at buffets have been minor, and the food worth waiting for!!!

Second... yes, I know this has been said a million times on the cruise board: make getting Palo reservations one of your highest priorities.... get up at 2 or 3AM on that first available online reservation day for you, and get those ressies... it is worth the lost sleep!

Third: for those who do the pillowcase thing, I can tell you this via a GS person: 1) if you do not bring sharpies, the characters will use their own, no problem, 2) if you don't bring mat, no problem. 3) If you do supply sharpies, characters only use those... (my thought, might be better to not put them in, so you get better variety of colors.????) 4) they WILL deliver to stateroom Friday.

The only thing I will add (after all the boards have unbelievable info... thanks to all for the posts of the past 6 months...) is that I have traveled on many cruises, including one "upper class" (see signature below), and this cruise has been spectacular. The food is great, the workers are great, and it is so so attuned to the kids (one of ours is DD5 and seems in heaven).

Lastly, thank you Gimpeaux for getting the Disbands; sorry we did not attend the Dis meeting. This is our first DCL and we were just getting oriented... and fact we still are!!!

WARNING: this thread says "Barely Live" for a reason... this post in no way obligates the OP to any further posts UNTIL we return.

Oh, and one more thing (as beloved Lt Columbo would say), I dedicate this pitiful little thread to who I thought has done the best thread ever in the history of these boards: Tenorator!! Now Tenorator, you must, must book soon so we all get an encore!!!

mdoodle
03-26-2006, 01:33 PM
We were on the cruise last week. Also had the same thing with servers handing you everything as you get into the buffet lines, plus the wet wipes to wipe your hands before you go into any restaurant. Also thought this was a great idea.

lbgraves
03-26-2006, 05:29 PM
Glad that you are enjoying your cruise. :) If the navigators are new and include the kid's activities PLEASE could someone onboard grab an extra set or scan them so that we can update the boards? TIA!

tinkerbellmagic
03-26-2006, 08:31 PM
Cool, I came here to see if there were any live reports from the March 25 cruise. I was supposed to be on this cruise, but had to cancel. Still, my heart is out there with all of you. I keep saying to my daughter, "It's 1 pm. We'd be boarding by now," or "It's 6 pm. We'd be sailing by now." She just rolls her eyes. Anyhow, I hope you have a most magical cruise!

I will check back for any updates, but will not make you walk the plank for not doing so. :goodvibes

Looking forward to future trip reports. :D

Tink

churchlady
03-27-2006, 10:29 AM
We cruise May 20th. I want to hear about EVERYTHING!!

dlf246
03-27-2006, 12:34 PM
We were on the cruise last week. Also had the same thing with servers handing you everything as you get into the buffet lines, plus the wet wipes to wipe your hands before you go into any restaurant. Also thought this was a great idea.
mdoodle: I think it has gone another step than that. At each station (salad, meat, etc) there are 1-2 CM to whom you say, 1 carrot, some lettuce, 2 of that cheese... etc.
I did find that the condiments, beverage bar, and ice cream are not manned.

dlf246
03-27-2006, 12:36 PM
Glad that you are enjoying your cruise. :) If the navigators are new and include the kid's activities PLEASE could someone onboard grab an extra set or scan them so that we can update the boards? TIA!
lbgraves: we got our pic of DD5 in her Cinderella outfit with Cinderella last night...
I will keep all Navigators and scan in April... I don't know how to post, so will probably later get email address to send. I will not be able to know if they are "new".

dlf246
03-27-2006, 12:38 PM
Too busy to say much... too much fun.

Yesterday was our day of glitches... but you will have to hear about them after we get back.

Yes, BARELY an update..........

ibouncetoo
03-28-2006, 08:32 AM
You guys were switched to Costa Maya (instead of Cozumel), right?

The April 8th Western is still scheduled for Cozumel....as of yesterday anyway...but there are going to be 7 ships docked there!

My good pal, geffric (Susan) is on your cruise.....hope you are all having a blast!

castlegazer
03-28-2006, 08:52 AM
Maybe geffric can do some updates - did we tell her to bring back navigators? we should have.......... NEED NAVIGATORS - NEED NAVIGATORS!!! Thanks for the mini updates - it's all good info to have.

dlf246
03-29-2006, 09:27 AM
Still been great in all categories. Again, I am going to save reporting glitches until we get back.

Just wanted to update the one thing that is NEW: the food serving... just to show how the servers are still dealing with the change, the beverage station at Topsiders buffet is a gray area. Some servers insist on you telling them what drink, and they get the glass and do the machine while you stand next to them. Moments ago at breakfast the server said no problem for me to both pick up glass and get the soda!!

After a cool sailaway (but sunny), and cool and bit cloudy Key West, it has been warm and now today at Costa Maya (yes, Ibouncetoo, Costa Maya but we've known that for almost 2 months) it is hot!

Again, will post full list of great things and glitches when we are returned and rested...

taeja71
03-29-2006, 09:52 AM
Thanks for the semi-live report. I haven't seen one in a while.

dlf246
04-02-2006, 07:16 PM
OK, here are the promised quickie "greats" and "glitches". If it helps: this is our 1st DCL cruise: 1st cruise overall for DD5, 2nd cruise for DD16 & DS14, 4th cruise for DW and 5th for me (no age will be offered)

I am just going to list items that are either real important or new:

Speaking of "new", be sure to read my earlier posts above on food serving changes that started on this Magic. (bottom line: as a physician, I liked them, will be interesting to see if they can continue since labor intensive).

Let's start with glitches:
1) our stateroom attendant Bryan for 7118/7119 was very thorough, great towel animals, did his job, but... we found that whenever we asked for anything that was not routine, he would usually looked pained in the face for a moment, or would start to seem to object... and then went on his way.

Here is best example. We were 5 people sharing 2 rooms. Our DD5 wanted to sleep 1/2 nights in one room and 1/2 in other. We dutifully explained this the 1st night, and promised to tell him early in the day which bed to make up that night. That first time, he got that uncomfortable look, but said nothing.

The 2nd afternoon (early), we told him to do same bed for that night (our room), and he looked uncomfortable, but said nothing. Then the 3rd day, when I told him that was a night to make up bed in the teens room. He surprised me by saying that he will do that, but that he will make up our room's third bed also, and will make our room's third bed all week, as it is too hard to not do it that way. Any night she is sleeping with teens, he will make up their bed, but we will still have our extra bed made up.

2) shore excursion info. (disclaimer: we only did 3 DCL excursions... so this is anecdotal). DCL emphasizes the independence of the local operators... and we think that is RIGHT! but not exactly best... a: the shore excursion desk person was very misinformed in the Key West snorkel catamaran excursion b: we thought 2 of the excursions were modified by the local operator in a way that other cruise lines would not have allowed..., and c: we noticed that we never had surveys specific to the excursion (some other cruise lines do this, and probably allows them to keep the excursions better).

3) Teen program.... I was sad that my teens did not bond much with the DCL (Stack) program... now I think 95% of this is the nature of the challenge of bonding teens, but 5% of me was disappointed that DCL was not able to do better than Royal Caribbean/Princess much in that category.

Before doing greats, I would like to make some random comments:

1) Suggestion for castaway Cay: bring some kind of banner or wind sock to attach to your umbrella or palm tree. This way your family can find your spot easier.

2) PLEASE, Disney lovers... be calm on this... but I think potential cruisers should be aware that in various areas (especially Topsider's buffet) there is constant and an occasionally loud Disney music. I was ok with it and of course DD5 loved it. But I think that if DGM & DGF were with us, they would have gone nuts sometimes... Again, just something of which to be aware.

3) I found the pirate party to be 5% fireworks (outstanding to be sure), 5% drama, and 90% frenzied dancing. The sail away party was 5% drama, and 95% dancing/singing. To me, that meant that if your kids are falling asleep, it is not too bad to miss... just IMHO.

4) We did not do about 80% of the available things to do. Finally, I can understand why some people come back annually to do the same cruise. (1st night, found our our tablemates were on their 7th cruise, and I was amazed... but no longer am amazed now!!)

Greats:
1) I have never been on a cruise with so few, and relatively minor glitches!!!

2) Food: With a narrow exception (described in a moment) I found the food to be superb. (Now if you have low expectations, you will never be disappointed...! so keep in mind that I didn't expect 5 star food at the Topsider buffet and Cookie's BBQ on Castaway). Palo was everything people say... great. DCL is the very best I have ever found in cooking beef at correct amount (i.e medium, medium well, etc.) One very strange exception was chocolate cake (always bland and dry...) I mean the CAKE, not the sumptious and varied chocolate filled items. (Oh, and why do they have to overbake all of the choc chip cookies....?)

3) Pride: I found the CM's uniformly felt proud of their work and of the ship.

4) Moving people: Disney is an expert at moving people with strategically placed helpers, line barriers. As a type "A" person, I really appreciated this.

5) DCL air/transport/night before hotel program. This was great. While I don't think we spent that much extra compared to doing on own, the fewer headaches and the good job by all involved really would be worth extra $ in my opinion.

Feel free to ask specific questions. And for the last time: thank you to the hundreds of posters who helped us these past 9 months of preparation.

camom3
04-02-2006, 08:05 PM
Third: for those who do the pillowcase thing, I can tell you this via a GS person: 1) if you do not bring sharpies, the characters will use their own, no problem, 2) if you don't bring mat, no problem. 3) If you do supply sharpies, characters only use those... (my thought, might be better to not put them in, so you get better variety of colors.????) 4) they WILL deliver to stateroom Friday.


Hi,

We were also on the 3/25 cruise and it was awesome. I had 3 pillowcases and one photo mat signed. I forgot to bring colored sharpies and they used only black sharpies. I wish I had remembered the colored pens. Oh well.

I'll try and write a trip report later - I have alot to say about 90% of the pool chairs having towels, etc. and no bodies on them at 7:00 a.m.

Jen

lbgraves
04-02-2006, 08:22 PM
Thanks for the report!!! So glad to see that you had a fantastic time after all the planning. :) If you look at the navigators here http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/cruise-new/cr-staterooms.htm#navigators then they haven't changed. Did the kids area have their own navigators or were their activities included in the main navigator? If so, we really would appreciate the new format so that future cruisers can familiarize themselves with them...as well as us vets...before the next cruise. :) Thanks!

lflynn
04-02-2006, 09:09 PM
They are totally new and different. Some of the staff were having a hard time figuring them out. They have all the activities on one two sided page. I think i brought some home... I can send along when I finish unpacking.

We had an amazing trip....i thought the service, the food, the staff were all extraordinary. It was one of the best vacations we have ever taken. Palo was great.

I do agree about the kids club, my DD loved it but given that there are so many children coming and going throughout the week it is hard for kids to bond. Once DD made a friend it was hard to ever find them again! Not sure how to get around that.

:cheer2: :cheer2 :banana: :banana: :Pinkbounc :Pinkbounc :Pinkbounc :Pinkbounc :cool1: :rotfl2: :rotfl2: :rotfl2: :rotfl2: :rotfl2: :rotfl2: :hippie: :hippie:

roysbrew
04-02-2006, 09:59 PM
Did you do any excursions in Costa Maya with your DD5? We are going on the double dip in July. I'm looking for a good excursion. Our DD & DS are 4.

lbgraves
04-02-2006, 10:33 PM
They are totally new and different. Some of the staff were having a hard time figuring them out. They have all the activities on one two sided page. I think i brought some home... I can send along when I finish unpacking.

: :hippie:

YIKES! OK, I will try not to panic until I have seen them. ;) Why mess with a good thing? ;)

tinkerbellmagic
04-03-2006, 12:28 AM
Thanks so much for the report! :)

Suggestion for castaway Cay: bring some kind of banner or wind sock to attach to your umbrella or palm tree. This way your family can find your spot easier.

What a great idea!

We did not do about 80% of the available things to do. Finally, I can understand why some people come back annually to do the same cruise. (1st night, found our our tablemates were on their 7th cruise, and I was amazed... but no longer am amazed now!!)
You got that right. I remember being able to relax more on our second cruise knowing we wouldn't get to do most of what is offered and will have other chances to do so on future cruises.

(Oh, and why do they have to overbake all of the choc chip cookies....?)
Well, I know many folks like those cookies, but I don't like them at all. I wasn't sure if the problem was overbaking or what. They just didn't taste good to me (on 4 cruises). But we are used to baking our own, so that could be it too.

It sounds like you had a magical time. Thanks for sharing. :)

Tink

videogal1
04-03-2006, 01:00 AM
Well, I know many folks like those cookies, but I don't like them at all. They just didn't taste good to me (on 4 cruises).

Tink

Yep, like cardboard...
pirate: aargh

BuzzBoyMom
04-03-2006, 08:33 AM
Gosh, and I thought we've just had a bad bunch of cookies. I agree - I'll pass on the cookies and save up for the chocolate souffle.

Thanks for the report. Can't wait to see the new navs.

gimpeaux
04-03-2006, 12:07 PM
dlf246 - Great report! I admire you for taking the time to start the report while onboard. Give me a few days (darn this work!) and I will post our impressions of the week, many of which (like the cookies) mirror yours. Overall, the cruise was incredibly fantastic! :ccat:

Pinky3
04-03-2006, 03:35 PM
Dear dlf246:

Could you elaborate on your air/land/night before? We are still trying to decide on transportation to/from port and staying night before sailing.

dlf246
04-03-2006, 08:24 PM
Dear dlf246:

Could you elaborate on your air/land/night before? We are still trying to decide on transportation to/from port and staying night before sailing.
We booked in fall '05; and at that time the airfares were terrible between arkansas and Florida. Unless we took 3 planes each way, or traveled at midnight, we actually saved money using Disney package. The amazing thing was when we got the actual flights (about 3-4 weeks ahead you can call). We got the only nonstop flight there, which was the most expensive; and the return was an easy stop in Memphis... we were home by 4PM!
Hotel was at airport Hyatt. It literally is part of the airport terminal. Very nice.

But I think the next to best part was showing up at 9am in Hyatt lobby on embarkation day. (Our luggage was picked up at 8:30AM outside our room.), we got on one of the FIRST bus to the port. Saw a video about the cruise during the 50 minute ride, with lots of other excited families.

The BEST part was at disembarkation: we walked out the terminal and went 20 yards to the airline counter. Gave them our luggage. Got on the bus moments later. We did not see our luggage again until home airport. I really like that....

Any other questions?

dlf246
04-03-2006, 08:26 PM
They are totally new and different. Some of the staff were having a hard time figuring them out. They have all the activities on one two sided page. I think i brought some home... I can send along when I finish unpacking.

Whew!! I have never posted scanned items and was dreading doing that. I will leave the Navigators to Iflynn, if ok with you, lbgraves.

dlf246
04-03-2006, 08:45 PM
Did you do any excursions in Costa Maya with your DD5? We are going on the double dip in July. I'm looking for a good excursion. Our DD & DS are 4.
DW, DD16, DS14, and I did the Native Choice (David and Ivan) chacchoben ruin tour. It was great. We had our DD5 a spot to come with us, but we did the right thing by letting her stay in Oceaneer Club. The Costa Maya board has plenty of posts saying their 5 and 6 year old kids enjoyed it.... I find that hard to believe.... too long and verbal.... Just IMHO.
I'm sure you know about Dolphin Encounter. It is booked up fast, so you must reserve as soon as you are allowed. Keep in mind that it has much less interaction with the dolphin compared to the royal swim at dolphin discovery in Cozumel. (must be booked independently if you want to do royal swim).

roysbrew
04-03-2006, 09:33 PM
originally posted by dlf246
I'm sure you know about Dolphin Encounter. It is booked up fast, so you must reserve as soon as you are allowed. Keep in mind that it has much less interaction with the dolphin compared to the royal swim at dolphin discovery in Cozumel. (must be booked independently if you want to do royal swim).
I hadn't paid alot of attention to the dophin encounters. we thought about doing one if we go to Xcaret. We I looked on the DCL website the cozumel dolphin encounter was age 3 and up. The costa maya one said 5 and up. Is this right? What is the royal swim? Thanks so much for your help.

geffric
04-03-2006, 10:19 PM
Whew!! I have never posted scanned items and was dreading doing that. I will leave the Navigators to Iflynn, if ok with you, lbgraves.

Hi.. I am going to email the Navigators to her tomorrow from work unless it is easier for lflynn to do...

we did the DCL chacchoben ruin tour. It was too long for little kids...

dlf246
04-04-2006, 01:00 PM
I hadn't paid alot of attention to the dophin encounters. we thought about doing one if we go to Xcaret. We I looked on the DCL website the cozumel dolphin encounter was age 3 and up. The costa maya one said 5 and up. Is this right? What is the royal swim? Thanks so much for your help.
The royal swim is available in Cozumel & Puerta Aventura. I don't think I can give website link on this post, so it is www dolphindiscovery com (add the periods). That will show you the activities.

Cozumel, I hear reopens 6/30, and will be much safer (timing wise) than the long trip to PA.

Don't forget that the DCL dolphin excursions at Costa Maya are 2 kinds, one with only a patting of the dolphin, one in which you are in water.

roysbrew
04-04-2006, 09:18 PM
Dlf246,

Thanks for your advice and good info. :)

tulsamomof2
04-05-2006, 06:21 PM
Can anyone comment on the 5-7 or 8-9 Kids Clubs??? I just saw some of the new navigators posted online and I'm not happy. It looks like hardly any scheduled activities as they advertise -- just "Free Time" listed. I guess I thought I was paying for some science activities and specific things than just "free time". It looks like ALOT less programs being offered than previously.

lbgraves
04-05-2006, 07:09 PM
I just went thru the navigators that were sent to me by the same person & compared them to the kid's club navigators that are posted on the DIS. There are many activities that are the same. I compared the 5-7 group. What was called "storming the lab" is now listed as free time. It was free time before but just had a different name.

camom3
04-05-2006, 07:17 PM
Hi,

I was just on the 3/25 Magic with my DD12, DD10 & DD6.

My 6yo enjoyed free time the most. When something was scheduled, the slide was closed and she loved the slide the most.

Jen

tulsamomof2
04-05-2006, 08:10 PM
Thanks for calming me. I had my kids all hyped up for doing goo and glow jam and the other things listed in the "old" navigators... I'll pray that they are still listed! Thanks lbgraves!

Lynn

JeannieH
04-06-2006, 07:43 AM
Thanks for the great report. Nice to hear that you had such a great time. Just wondered if the Stateroom host was a little concerned that his rules from the management may be compromised by changing the child's bed some evenings? Due to fire regulations, Disney need to know WHERE each guest is sleeping, just in case of emergencies, and each stateroom guest originally logged on the computer is accounted for. Just a thought. :)