View Full Version : First Timers: Where do we start?
02-25-2010, 10:00 AM
We have never been on a cruise before, much less a Disney cruise. We're thinking about a cruise in 2011 and really don't know where to start.
My mom/dad are thinking about a cruise for their retirement with us and our 5yo daughter. They also have some friends who go to WDW every year.
We live SF Bay, my parents live in LA and our friends live in TN. I'd consider flying to Florida, seeing WDW then a cruise. The other option is that I heard that Disney cruises are coming to the pacific coast in 2011.
So, where do I start? What's the best way to research options, figure out all the "ins and outs" and get all the "great deals"
02-25-2010, 10:09 AM
First place to start is looking at DCL's website to find out where and when the ship's are sailing and decide where you want to cruise.
The FAQ sticky at the top of the forum has a vast amount of information. Also, reading thru the pages and pages of threads on here can help answer any questions you may or may not realize you have.
You've arrived at the right place for info.
Send me a Private Message and I'll give you the names of the resources I used.
You will LOVE everything about DCL.
02-26-2010, 09:47 AM
Honestly, I don't understand the FAQsticky. It seems way complicated and I'm hesitant to pick locations/dates before getting the low down in case there considerations on best time to go, or when to get good deals, etc. I'm completely new to all of this and frankly overwhelmed :-)
02-26-2010, 10:00 AM
FINDING THE CRUISE. . . I love the VTG (vacationstogo.com) website. You can do a search for Disney cruises and see every single cruise with the basic pricing to get you started. Take some time and look over all the options including by cabin type (inside, outside,balcony). This will give you a good general sense of options and costs. Since VTG only shows the base price for the first two people in a cabin...I pick a cruise I might like and THEN visit the DCL (Disney Cruise Line) site for more pricing details.
DECK PLANS AND CABIN DETAILS. I think the pages here are the best for ship information including deck plans, cabins etc.
WEST COAST. Yep Disney is going to be doing some Alaska and Mexico sailings next year. They are all mostly 7 days or longer. On average they are lower priced than the East Coast cruises and since you live in CA you save a bundle on the airfare.
EAST COAST. You have the option of 3,4,5 or 7day cruises. I think most people would say that sailing in the Caribbean beats the heck out of sailing in the Pacific especially for the first trip and there is the famous CC (Castaway Cay, Disney's private island).
GREAT DEALS. If you call a great "deal"...the lowest price... you will want to look for cruises that offer a cabin (category 11C) on a GTY status. This is how the ships fill up staterooms without lowering the general price. GTY means they can assign you any cabin that is available and often you are upgraded a level or two. If you want a Verandah or Ocean View you get the best prices by booking way ahead and picking a good sailing date.
SAILING DATES. If you can avoid it... stay away from school holidays. Cruises, airfare and hotels all tend to be more expensive...sometimes a LOT more expensive
$$$. Since DCL controls the fares a TA (Travel Agent) charges you will not find lower prices ...BUT....some TA's offer and OBC (On board credit) as a "thank you for booking with us". Since this can be used for most all on board expenses it is essentially a discount.
NON-DISNEY CRUISE. This is a board populated mostly by folks who love a Disney Cruise and they are an enthusiastic bunch...BUT... other cruise lines offer the same itinerary and the pricing can be MUCH lower for a similar ship or the same price for a ship with a greater variety of activities.
DETAILS AND ??? I love this boards for tips and details. You can count on a very quick reply to most any question that pops into your head.
02-26-2010, 10:15 AM
I would suggest that you start with a good, full service travel agent/agency who specializes in Disney. Choose someone who works the way YOU do, whether that is by phone, e-mail, or whatever. I'd call their 800 number and have a nice talk about your plans. They'll have some good suggestions and probably send you some literature. Read the literature and call with your additional questions. Repeat until you are ready to book.
I wouldn't deal with an agent who hasn't personally done the cruise. I used to be strongly supportive of a local agent, but when she retired, I found better service on line/phone with Disney experts. In addition to great service, many offer a "thanks for booking" gift such as an onboard credit or gift card.
02-26-2010, 02:50 PM
If you know that you're going on a Disney cruise, I'd recommend the Passporter's book on Disney Cruises--it was an invaluable resource! I even brought it with me for reference and used it during the cruise. If you order it online, they will let you download a copy right away.
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