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Izza
03-21-2004, 11:12 AM
Hi. I've been reading this site for the last couple of days. You guys are so great. I've already learned so much.

DH and I just decided to take a cruise this year. It'll be our first. We're hoping to schedule for Oct 2004. (He's a police officer and can't plan vacation too far in advance) We were thinking that we should do DL this year and save the cruise for later when we could save up. But, we finally decided to just do what we really wanted to. We haven't had a vacation in 6 years, before our kids were born. Both boys, the oldest will be 5 that month and the youngest 3 the month before.

DH and I met in the Coast Guard, so we both love the ocean and being aboard a ship. The nice thing will be the luxury of being a passanger rather than crew.

My questions:

What are the advantages of the Eastern vs Western 7-day cruise? Which would you recommend? We were thinking the Oct2 special itenerary Eastern because that would put my oldest's 5th birthday onboard.

Is the verandah really worth the price? My husband smokes and thinks we need the verandah, but I'm cheap. :D

Is there anything we can do over the next 6 months to make our children more likely to participate in the kids programs (and give us some time off)? :)

What are your absolutely can't miss activities?

How about your "could live without" activities?

Should we bother with the REAS for this first cruise or wait until next time?

What is the best method of transportation from the airport to the port?

How on earth do I contain my excitement for 6 whole months? :)

Hans Solo
03-21-2004, 11:20 AM
You found the right place for all of you questions. May i suggest a couple of sites that you will find helpful.

http://www.dcltribute.com/

http://www.*****************/

As for the verandah question, if you are going on a 7-night cruise, you should go ahead and plan on a verandah since you DH smokes.

I let some other DIS'ers tackle your other questions.




:earsboy: :earsgirl: :Pinkbounc :bounce:

KennyK
03-21-2004, 11:37 AM
Izza,

Well first welcome to the Dis boards. Before I try to answer some of your questions which are many, I suggest you look at these two web sites provided by individuals who are members of the Dis boards. one is www.***************** and the other is www.dcltribute.com. They have allot of information on the Disney cruise ship including navigators, menus, childrens navigators etc.

So what to select. That is a hard question, since they both are pretty good, especially just being on the Disney ships. I have been on the eastern route and will be going on the western in about three weeks. My suggestion would be pick one that fits your schedule and do the other the next time.

The kids clubs are great, my grandson loved them and was there all the time. They issue you a pager which works on the ship and they don't let them out of the club unless you sign them out. Take alook at the childrens navigators for their age group to see the activities.

I can't answer about smoking since we don't smoke but I'm sure someone will answer that question.

As far as trans to port. Disney offers transfers for around $96 around trip from the airport to ship and return. There are many other ways to go, Limo's, rental cars, etc. We used DCL transfers the first two times but will be renting a car this time as we are arriving the day before. You do not have to decide this now as you can change your reservation up to 60 days before travel with no problem.

As far as excitement. You can't and it will get worse as it gets closer. Just be warned that cruise ship pricing increases as you get closer to sailing date and if its a holiday week, watch out. Disney does not discount so book your trip early, you can always move it to another date further out.

Good luck and enjoy and welcome to the DIS Boards.


Kennyk:wave:

MarkRG
03-21-2004, 11:42 AM
Originally posted by Izza
Hi. I've been reading this site for the last couple of days. You guys are so great. I've already learned so much.
My questions:
What are the advantages of the Eastern vs Western 7-day cruise? Which would you recommend? We were thinking the Oct2 special itenerary Eastern because that would put my oldest's 5th birthday onboard.

The eastern is probably the more 'family with young kids' friendly of the two. I'm not familiar of the changes with the special Eastern. The Western however, has more emphasis on later in the day events and bar/club hopping.

Is the verandah really worth the price? My husband smokes and thinks we need the verandah, but I'm cheap. :D

If, you enjoy the sea, you should not pass up the verandah, just being able to spend time out there and look out on the ocean going by with the dividers blocking out the tornadic winds that you would have to face on top deck is more than worth it.

Is there anything we can do over the next 6 months to make our children more likely to participate in the kids programs (and give us some time off)? :)

Don't have kids, but it was very easy from what I saw of parents checking the kids in. It is a very well controlled envornment, and only you can check them out.

What are your absolutely can't miss activities?

Don't know about Antigua, as we'll first be going there in December on the 10 day(you can tell US about it!)
In St.Thomas Coral World would be very fun, we've done that, have also heard about another excursion that some have taken more recently that was better with little kids.
Also plan on attending the pre-port shopping and shore excursion talks, you'll get lots of good info on each port there. They also run them on the TV in the cabins continuously if you can't attend one.

How about your "could live without" activities?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.............uh, bingo? I'd say that is more a thing of personal taste- we're not club people, so the after dinner clubs didn't interest us, but you might like that. Do what you can comfortably, don't let yourself get rushed into things, enjoy every minute, it'll seem all too short on the last day.

Should we bother with the REAS for this first cruise or wait until next time?
They didn't have this when we have gone, it's a new thing. We would have done it, just for the no-hassle Palo reservations and the spa.

What is the best method of transportation from the airport to the port?
For a family of 4? Towncar is the better value. The Disney transfers are more no-hassle, but the break-even point on them cost wise is 3 people, so you're paying more for 4 that way. For myself and the mrs, we almost always do the bus transfer at least 1 way, depending on if we're doing more than just a cruise.

How on earth do I contain my excitement for 6 whole months? :)

Can't help you there, just keep on looking forward to it! :) Just don't overplan too much.

WDWLVR
03-21-2004, 11:48 AM
Welcome to the DIS - as for getting your kids more excited. Go to the cruise meets board and check out the 10/2 thread. I'm sure there will be others there with kids the same ages. On our 12/18 thread e-mails have already been exchanged and in one case two mothers with young children go to meet already.

Here is a link to that thread.
10/02/04 Antigua Cruise (http://disboards.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=447946)

It is a very active thread so I'm sure you'll find someone who you and your kids would like to get to know. Enjoy!

WebmasterKathy
03-21-2004, 12:19 PM
If you haven't already done this, I'd go to www.disneycruise.com and order the video from the Vacation Planning Information section.

I think this would be a great way to let the kids see what the Disney ships and the kids club look like, and get them in on the planning excitement, too!

Also, I wouldn't wait too long to make your reservations... the prices go up as the sailing date draws closer. pirate:

Izza
03-21-2004, 01:23 PM
Originally posted by Hans Solo
You found the right place for all of you questions. May i suggest a couple of sites that you will find helpful.

http://www.dcltribute.com/

http://www.*****************/

As for the verandah question, if you are going on a 7-night cruise, you should go ahead and plan on a verandah since you DH smokes.

I let some other DIS'ers tackle your other questions.



Thank you. I just spent over an hour at dcltribute.com. :) I'll check out ***************** next. I also sent an email to our travel agent to look for verandah prices as well as the outside we had requested.

Izza
03-21-2004, 01:27 PM
Originally posted by KennyK
So what to select. That is a hard question, since they both are pretty good, especially just being on the Disney ships. I have been on the eastern route and will be going on the western in about three weeks. My suggestion would be pick one that fits your schedule and do the other the next time.

You know, that's a really good point. The whole reason for doing the Oct 2 cruise was for my oldest's birthday. We don't really care about the port calls except for CC because we managed to see quite a lot while in the Coast Guard.

As far as excitement. You can't and it will get worse as it gets closer. Just be warned that cruise ship pricing increases as you get closer to sailing date and if its a holiday week, watch out. Disney does not discount so book your trip early, you can always move it to another date further out.

Good luck and enjoy and welcome to the DIS Boards.

Thanks for this too. I hadn't realized that we could change our sailing date if necessary. I'll definitely book right away, as soon as we get confirmation for my DH's vacation days.

Izza
03-21-2004, 01:30 PM
Another question: Do any of the transportation options (to/from airport) offer car seats for the 3 year old?

Izza
03-21-2004, 01:37 PM
Originally posted by MarkRG
[B]The eastern is probably the more 'family with young kids' friendly of the two. I'm not familiar of the changes with the special Eastern. The Western however, has more emphasis on later in the day events and bar/club hopping.

See, you learn something new every day. The one I want is the Eastern, so that should be good.

If, you enjoy the sea, you should not pass up the verandah, just being able to spend time out there and look out on the ocean going by with the dividers blocking out the tornadic winds that you would have to face on top deck is more than worth it.

It's that windy? LOL I guess the Disney ships probably go a lot faster than the puny little 210 ft cutter I was on. Thanks for the advice. If we can at all swing it, we'll get the verandah.

Don't know about Antigua, as we'll first be going there in December on the 10 day(you can tell US about it!)

I'd be happy to. I plan on taking a journal. We'll see how good I am about writing in it.

For a family of 4? Towncar is the better value. The Disney transfers are more no-hassle, but the break-even point on them cost wise is 3 people, so you're paying more for 4 that way. For myself and the mrs, we almost always do the bus transfer at least 1 way, depending on if we're doing more than just a cruise.

Any particular towncar service that you all recommend?

talicskai
03-21-2004, 01:43 PM
Well, I am so excited for you!
We have done both the Eastern (Jan 03) and Western (Jan04)
I preferred the Western myself - because I preferred to get to an island right away. Key West, Grand Cayman & Cozumel were wonderful. If you prefer shopping you would love the Eastern because the jewellry shops are excellent both in St Maarten and St Thomas. The Western is wonderful for snorkelling, beaches and scuba diving. Our kids were 3/5 for the first cruise and 4/6 for the second and both years they loved the club!
Our son paged us way more than our daughter but he is less independent than she is. The most important thing we did was make sure they had an afternoon nap so they could stay up late for the shows or deck parties. That was DH job so I got to enjoy Quiet Cove with a daiquiri and a novel while they slept!

We have only ever had Cat 9 cabins on deck 2. They were excellent and the window is huge! My husband also smokes but he just went up to deck 4 to puff. To me - it is not worth the extra $$ when you can go up on deck in no time with all those elevators!

Our kids loved the Coral World excursion in St Thomas - especially the bus ride! In Key West we walked to the Aquarium and around town - so I would not bother to pay for an excursion there - everything is close by.
St. Maarten we just did the water taxi to the second stop and walked Great Bay Beach and hung out there for the afternoon.
Grand Cayman - Stingray City
Cozumel - take a taxi to the beach and hang out. It is gorgeous!
Hope I have answered most of your questions - Have a great cruise!

MarkRG
03-21-2004, 03:15 PM
Originally posted by Izza

It's that windy? LOL I guess the Disney ships probably go a lot faster than the puny little 210 ft cutter I was on. Thanks for the advice. If we can at all swing it, we'll get the verandah.

The ship on open sea usually runs at about 20kts. But the large displacement of the ship forces a lot of air up and over, so you're getting 20+ kts of straight line winds from bow to stern, not counting any actual wind. Standing as far forward as possible on top deck when we're under sail is a challenge. The wind does get broken up from that point back by a lot of structures, but it is still very windy anywhere along the rail for ocean viewing.


I'd be happy to. I plan on taking a journal. We'll see how good I am about writing in it.

You'll love to spend some time just relaxing on the verandah, good time to take notes. :) Look forward to hear how it is.

Any particular towncar service that you all recommend?

I would have recommended Tiffany Towncar, but I have been reading a number of recent issues with them, so I'll instead suggest either Happy Limo, which ***************** has info on, or the one that is on here, FL Tours. Have read good things about both, the only negative thing I have read about FL Tours is they are strictly cash.

Izza
03-21-2004, 06:22 PM
WDWLVR

Thanks for the link. I'll probably stop by there and introduce myself soon.

Izza
03-21-2004, 06:27 PM
KathyTX,

Thanks, I ordered the video, and I can't wait for it to get here. BTW, we're from the Dallas area too.

Izza
03-21-2004, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by talicskai
Well, I am so excited for you!

Thank you! :)


We have done both the Eastern (Jan 03) and Western (Jan04)
I preferred the Western myself - because I preferred to get to an island right away. Key West, Grand Cayman & Cozumel were wonderful. If you prefer shopping you would love the Eastern because the jewellry shops are excellent both in St Maarten and St Thomas. The Western is wonderful for snorkelling, beaches and scuba diving.

I guess it really doesn't matter. :) I'm most looking forward to celebrating the kids' birthdays onboard and Oct2 falls 2 days after the youngest's bday and the oldest's birthday would be during the cruise.

Our kids were 3/5 for the first cruise and 4/6 for the second and both years they loved the club!
Our son paged us way more than our daughter but he is less independent than she is.

That's great to hear. My biggest challenge right now is to potty train the youngest in 6 months. Should be able to. He's really into doing everything himself right now.

The most important thing we did was make sure they had an afternoon nap so they could stay up late for the shows or deck parties. That was DH job so I got to enjoy Quiet Cove with a daiquiri and a novel while they slept!

Now, that sounds perfect. :)

We have only ever had Cat 9 cabins on deck 2. They were excellent and the window is huge! My husband also smokes but he just went up to deck 4 to puff. To me - it is not worth the extra $$ when you can go up on deck in no time with all those elevators!

Now to just convince my husband that walking to smoke means we could afford for him to buy more beer. :)

jeanniec
03-21-2004, 09:49 PM
Hi Izza! Just saw your post on the Cruise Meets "Antigua" board. If you think you really want this cruise, reserve as soon as possible. You can always cancel at 60 days out and get your money back, or change your sailing date as others have said. We reserved the 10/2/04 cruise in August of 2003 and the price for the two of us (verandah) Deck 6 has already gone up $1000.

Izza
03-21-2004, 10:33 PM
Hi jeanniec,

I hope to have the quotes from the TAs in the next couple of days, and I will definitely go ahead and book as you suggested. I can't imagine needing to change the dates unless something weird comes up. It wouldn't really hurt us to have to change, but I really want to celebrate the boys' birthdays onboard.

JJsmama
03-22-2004, 07:40 AM
With your kids being 3 and just 5, they can probably stay together in the Kids Club. I think that will be a big help with my own kids (3 and 5.)

Look at the dcltribute web page someone posted and print out the activities that the kids CLub does for their age and read them about it. This way they will have an idea of what to expect and can be looking forward to it.

Watch the video with them. Hopefully the new one (which I am waiting for) has a good view of the pirate ship in the kids' room, etc. My kids loved seeing that and are looking forward to playing on it.

Also remind them:
A. what they will do is much more fun for kids than what you and daddy will be doing
B. they will only be in kids club occasionally and will still be with you most of the time.