View Full Version : Is a 4 day cruise better than no cruise??

06-15-2004, 03:37 PM
OK here is my question: My DH and my 2 DS's ages 3 and 9 at the time of our trip next year were hoping to do the 7 day Magic Eastern Cruise. California is not an option...the prices are just too expensive:( Anyway we are now considering the 3 day land 4 day sea the last week of August. I have read several posts about people not liking the four day due to it being too short and others who do not like doing the parks and the cruise in the same trip. Is there anyone out there who prefers to cruise the shorter lengths and why?? Also since the last Disney Cruise we took was 7 days will be dissapointed with 3 less days. Anyone out there that has done the 7 day and then also done the 4 day that can compare their experiences?? Thanks in advance for any advice anyone can give:)

06-15-2004, 03:43 PM
DITTO on your remarks about the California cruise... cost more than airfare for us to fly to Florida, adn we live in California!!!

This may not help you, but IMHO, a trip to DCL and/or WDW is better than no trip!!!

06-15-2004, 03:58 PM
We have only taken one cruise and it was the land and sea. It was also our first trip to WDW. I have to say the combination is wonderful. Now I am sure that the 7 day cruise is a dream come true, but we can only afford to do the land and sea or the 7 day cruise with no park visits. Since we live in Oregon we want to make the most of the airfare and enjoy both. Eventually we will do the longer cruise, but for now I think the combo is a great alternative. You can run around the parks until you drop then have a relaxing 4 day cruise. I think it's the best of both worlds. :cloud9:

06-15-2004, 05:02 PM
If cost is the issue....if you can wait till September, the rates come down greatly. Does your 7 year old have any sort of fall break? Even if she is out of school for 2 days for teacher prep or conference days and you add a couple of extra days????? I'd argue that international travel is very educational and just take her out of school, but I'm weird that way.

Any DCL cruise is better than no DCL cruise....and longer is better than shorter.....

06-15-2004, 05:15 PM
I am opting for the 4 day cruise for several reasons - but first know that I have never cruised for less than seven day and I have never cruised on DCL prior to this. I am thinking that due to the fact that my DS is young - he'll be 2 3/4 - and we have no prior experience with him on a cruise ship that a shorter cruise is better for a first cruise - plus its the only way I can get my husband to say yes to a cruise so soon after a trip to WDW - we went in March and are thinking of cruising in Sept. I am opting for the "4 day cruise is better than no cruise at all" mentality here. I know it will be fast and furious but we will stay in Cocoa Beach afterwards at my condo - which is a luxury we have to extend our vacation beyond the cruise. I am not sure a 4 day cruise alone would be enough for me.

06-15-2004, 05:49 PM
A 4 day cruise is better than no cruise at all. We just did the 4 day land/3 day sea in April. It was great!!! But if I had it to do over, I would do the 3 day land/4 day sea. Cruising is out of this world. It was my family's first cruise ever. We chose the 3 days at sea because of this. My next vacation will definately be a 7 day cruise!!1::yes::

06-15-2004, 05:52 PM
1. I think a 4 day DCL cruise is better than no DCL cruise at all

2. If you do land & sea, I believe the "land" part is first which IMHO id the best way to do it (frenzied park stuff before relaxing ship stuff).

3. I also second the idea of waiting until Sept 2005 after the Magic returns to FL (and the 7 day rates are lower) and just do the 7 day DCL cruise.

06-15-2004, 05:53 PM
There's lots of us here that say you MUST go for a 7 night cruise. Just reciently someone posted that they did a 7 nighter because of peoples comments here and that they were disapointed in the cruise and wished that it was shorter. (by far this person is in the minority)

I believe that any cruise is better than no cruise. If you've never been to Nassau, it's a place that CAN be missed and you can spend the day on the ship while most everyone else has gone ashore. However, the Dig at the Atlantis hotel would be a great excursion for your family. It's a huge aquarium (I like it better than any aquarium that Sea WOrld has). Four nights go by fast, but they are a lot of fun - if this is all you can do then go for it.

3 nights at WDW is not enough - I think that you need at least 5 days there (2 for the Magic Kingdom and 1 each for the Studios, EPCOT and Animal Kingdom). We've always done the cruise in conjunction with visiting the parks. Well there was one time we did a cruise only and it just about killed all of us being that close to WDW and not going there:earsgirl: :earsboy: (we live on the west coast)

Our first cruise was a 4 nighter and we've only done 7 nights since then (waaay :jester: back then DCL only had 3 and 4 night cruises). And with the exception of that one cruise w/o WDW we've spent at least 6 nights at WDW.

06-15-2004, 06:00 PM
Thanks everyone for your responses so far.

Unfortunately we can not go in September. My older DS is in second grade and pulling him out of school is not an option at this time.

I am sure since we have already done the 7 night Magic that it will be too short but I am not sure whether or not we want to put off cruising again for another year....Plus the additional rumors that the Magic may in fact go back to the West coast for 2006 would leave us out once again.

Ultimately our choices are to either do 10 days of just WDW in late July or do the land/sea in late August. Hopefully some other cruisers will have some additional thoughts and ideas.

Thanks again!!

06-15-2004, 06:53 PM
Well, I have to say we really have enjoyed our shorter cruises with the parks. Our boys (2 1/2 and 4 1/2) really enjoy the activity of the theme parks, and it is great to have the slower pace of the cruise at the end. That said, I wouldn't do the land/sea package- I'd book them seperately. Not only do you save money, you have more flexibility. I was singularly unimpressed with animal kingdom, personally. Hot and not enough to do for the money. The playhouse disney show at MGM was great- but there is not a whole lot else there kids 3 and 7. Because there is a more limited number of attractions smaller kids can do, by going when the park first opens you can easily do magic kingdom in a day- we had ridden every ride in fantasyland by 11 a.m.! My boys love both blizzard beach and typhoon lagoon- much better than animal kingdom or mgm. Probably their favorite next to magic kingdom is Universal Studios. What we love about Universal Studios is that for an extra $15 a person you can get an express plus pass that gets you into the express line on every ride. We did not wait more than 10 minutes for anything in the park. They even have valet parking for an extra $8 over regular parking rates! To me, convenience is worth the price. If we weren't going to have a six month old, we would definately be doing the parks and shorter cruise this year (we are doing the longer repo. instead). You'll have a great time!!

06-15-2004, 07:22 PM
We just returned from the 7 day Western cruise last month. Although we had a great time we are considering doing the 4 day cruise. I have never been to the Bahamas so that is one reason I would like to try the 4 day cruise. I agree that a 4 day cruise is better than no cruise at all. I would love to do the west coast cruise but the prices are outrageous.

06-15-2004, 08:36 PM
I lived in Orlando for 7 years. The weather in July and August is absolutely brutal. I would never subject my 4 year old to 10 days of theme parks in July. The temp are always in the mid 90's and the humidity is 110%. The three park days are enough to have fun with. I agree with a previous poster that planning the land part on your own is better. My thoughts are a cruise is better for this time of year IMO. hope this helps!

06-15-2004, 10:16 PM
We just came off of a 4-day cruise on the Wonder, and we have absolutely no regrets. We chose a four day primarily because we thought that a seven day would be too long for our group. Granted, it would be nice if there was a five day itinerary, but we came away feeling very good about our cruise. We made the decision to stay on the boat while docked at Nassau. DS loved it because when we came out to swim, he had the Mickey Pool all to himself! DD and I did a spa treatment, and we just generally enjoyed to boat while the crowds were gone. We were first off the boat at Castaway Cay - and stayed out until everyone got tired. I would love to do a longer cruise next time - and personally, I would turn around and go back if I could! On a side note, we drove from Indy to Florida, and used our drive back to stop and do some other things.

Best wishes!!

06-16-2004, 06:07 AM
" Tis better to cruise for 4 days then not to have cruised at all "

I'm not sure who made that quote...but I'm sure someone did

Oh.......It was me !!!!!!!!!

06-16-2004, 08:53 AM
You will have a wonderful time, whichever you choose.I think the cruise will be more relaxing over a 7 day period - if the children like the clubs. DisneyWorld is a fabulous place, but we found our 9 yr old was exausted being at the parks all day. Although he remembers it well, Im not sure children any younger gain as much benefit. The parks are very tiring for little legs, and indeed OLDER legs! Most adults are shattered - especially if they have been coping with tiny folk. That said, the look on their little faces will be priceless - whichever option you take.

Just depends on the childrens ability to cope with the tiring days I guess. Whatever happens, you cant beat a Disney holiday. Nat:Pinkbounc

06-16-2004, 09:14 AM
we just did a 3-Day and it was great. 4-days would have been better. With kids sometimes 7 days can be alittle much. I would do it.

06-16-2004, 09:27 AM
Originally posted by indymom1
Ultimately our choices are to either do 10 days of just WDW in late July or do the land/sea in late August. Hopefully some other cruisers will have some additional thoughts and ideas.

Like you, we won't take our kids out of school (ingoing 1st and 3rd graders), so we're stuck with either summer or spring break. We opted for spring break, 2005. We also opted for a 7-day cruise because I just feel like any less wouldn't be enough for me :) FWIW, we haven't cruised before, so take that into account with my thoughts.

If I had to choose between 10-days in July at WDW or land/sea in late August, I'd choose August. Why? Because 10-days in July would be hot, hot, hot... and while late August is also hot, you'd at least have the sea portion to look forward to for some relief from the heat and crowds. Although 10 days at WDW does sound nice because you wouldn't have to rush, could enjoy the pools and other indoor (air-conditioned) activities during the heat of the day, and such.

So maybe it all comes down to the cost... would 10-days at WDW be more, less, or the same as a land/sea option?

Hope this helps.

06-16-2004, 11:47 AM
DH and I are nuts for everything Disney - related !!!:crazy:

Said that, we took a 4 days cruise last Summer (we had done BEFORE that a 7 days cruise) and we enjoyed it VERY MUCH !!::yes:: ::yes:: ::yes:: ::yes::

In my humble opinion the 2 ships are slightly different, adults get different activities on days at sea..... and my best friend's kids had the time of their life aboard the Wonder !!!!

We also enjoyed the port of Nassau; may I suggest at least a stroll around the historic City ? it's a short walking, you can stop wherever you like ... my friend's kids LOVED to play "pirates" up and down Fort Charlotte / Fort Fincastle.
We "girls" had a lot of fun at the straw - market; just say "I don't want to buy anything" and the vendors will NOT bother you.
BUT if you are prepared for some fun ...watch out for "good" deals ! Start exploring, then ask : Is this your final price? and walk away (a few steps) .... this way we girls had excellent shopping (usually we got half price on most goods !):earseek:

Our friends did early in the morning the Blue lagoon Dolphin encounter : pricey, but they all loved it !!!! and still talk about that adventure !!!:fish:

Hope this helps !!!:wave2:

06-16-2004, 12:45 PM
Haven't done the seven day (we have one booked), but we really enjoyed our four day. I'm a little concerned that seven is going to be too long - four seemed perfect - but I'll try seven.

It does get a little exhausting to us to be with our children in such cramped quarters (I can't imagine a long cruise with them in a tiny Carnival stateroom) - even for four days. And four days does decrease the clothing you need to bring - no formal, no semi formal, and a single pair of dark capri's can get you through dinner ever night if you want to pack light unless you are prone to spilling.

I wouldn't choose to do the land sea in combination - at least not for the briefness of a week. Maybe over a twelve day period. Anything short of six or seven days at WDW is not worth the bother to us - and we never go in high season. We just prefer to take a little more time, and its impossible to see enough at a slow pace in just three or four days. Although we were recently looking at just that - to target just one park for the trip and spend a long weekend as part of an extended family vacation.

06-16-2004, 01:03 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies. Everyone has made some very good points both for doing the 4 day and the 7 day. Since the Wonder is our only option for summer 2005 it makes that choice easy. Now we just have to make up our minds to do DW and then cruise or to hold off for the 7 day in 2006. Either way I know that we will have fun. But I do have to say that the fabulous reviews you all have given of the 4 night might just do the trick. Especially since my younger son will have just turned 3 and we are not sure he will be potty trained yet or not...hope but not sure. I also like the idea of not having to lug formal clothes and less clothes in general. Hmmmm...what to do...what to do?

06-16-2004, 03:47 PM
Well, here's one more opinion for you. DH and I just returned from the 3 land/4 sea a few weeks ago and I absolutely loved it! We have done both the 7 day Eastern and Western and two of the 4 land/3 sea and this was my favorite.

Since it was just DH and me it was very easy for us to park hop. We have been to WDW before so it was very easy to hit our favorite attractions and to try some new ones. We finally learned to take it a little slower and relax. Just accept the fact that you will not be able to do it all.

The four night cruise was perfect. You get to experience all of the restaurants and shows. Having cruised before I really enjoyed skipping some shows and sitting on the deck with a drink enjoying the sunset. It was so peaceful and quiet with most everyone else either at dinner or the shows.

Another plus was that Castaway Cay was not on the last day. It is so hard to go and pack after being in paradise all day. That last day at sea gives you some time to mentally prepare yourself for your return to reality.

We really enjoy Nassau as well and always get off the ship.

I know that I am in the minority and most people enjoy the seven day more. That being said, DH is one of those people. I love both the parks and the cruise and feel that I am getting the best of both worlds. (I must prefer the cruise however, because I can go to Florida for just the cruise but cannot even consider going to WDW without getting on that beautiful ship. The seven day is just a bit too long for me.)

We are doing the seven day Eastern in Sept. and have another 3 land/4sea booked for Sept. 2005.

Whatever you decide I'm sure that you will have a great time!

06-16-2004, 03:51 PM
Oh, one more plus. If you cannot dock at CC for some reason you will get to go the next day if possible. I cannot imagine having to miss CC!

06-16-2004, 04:24 PM
Thanks Ragdoll...I never thought of the two reasons that you listed for liking the 4 day cruise better. 1. Having a second chance to dock at CC if we get bad weather. 2. Getting to really enjoy our day at CC and packing on our sea day. That is why I love these boards you get all kinds of different opinions when you post here.

06-16-2004, 04:47 PM
I just wanted to pipe in again here. My husband just gave me the green light to look into 7 nights, as a refresher we are looking at booking a 4 day cruise in Sept., as we have a renter in our condo for the remainder of the week after we get off the ship and we want to keep the renter. Therefore we thought, well, why not take a 7 day to make sure we vacation the entire week. We are experienced cruisers, just not on DCL, and always take 7 day cruises. This will be our first cruise with our son who will be 2 3/4.

After spending two days looking into going on the 7 day Magic cruises I am right back at a 4 day cruise. Here is why, and its not cost as the 7 day is actually most cost effective.

1) I don't know how my son is going to do on the ship even though he is dying to go now that he has the DVD.

2) I don't know how we will do having to sit in our room every night as he is going to sleep (we have opted not to have a balcony stateroom for the first time since we started cruising because of cost - that can get a little tiring sitting in those small rooms with the lights out every night. I have done it in many hotels as we travel a lot with our son and its just not fun - my husband usually sits in the bathroom reading while I rub my son's back. Then one of us is stuck in the room after he goes to sleep - which will probably be me as I will be about five months pregnant at the time. Now you can take advantage of the clubs if your son is potty trained by that time or of Flounder's Nursery, but we want to put our son to sleep in the bed he will be staying in as he wakes if you try and move him after falling asleep and then its like he has had a nap and he's wide awake for a while afterwards.

3) Taking a wee one around the islands is a hassle due to car seats and the like so I actually am beginning to look forward to just hanging out on the ship during Nassau or doing a little strolling and then returning to the ship within easy walking distance.

4) I think the evening routine is going to get waaaaay tiring after four days and seven would just be dissaster trying to get my son back on his normal routine after we return. For example, if we are lucky enough to get moved to the early seating as its full right now, we would eat at 6, be in there for a good hour and a half at least, then head off to a show at 8:30 that would last for an hour, and then try and get our son to bed after that. Every night will be a marathon - fun, but a marathon none the less.

5) We get to go home and have some decompress time prior to returning to work.

So, with all this said, and I may be making a bigger deal about it than it is going to be, I am probably going to stick with a 4 day cruise even though I have the ability to book a 7 day. If all goes well this one, our next will be a 7 day, but by then we will be repeating this whole littany of stuff for our second child.

I hope this helps. It helped me to write it all out and think it through. We have a lot of experience traveling with our son and ots great and he is great and will do wonderfully at the meals but I know how complicated and tricky night time and basic logistics are with him in tow.

06-16-2004, 06:23 PM
7 Nights DCL Magic Eastern then 7 Nights RCCL Voyager Western Caribbean. While it met and exceeded everything I had hoped for and I felt it was money well spent, I would not do it again. Just too much cruising.

Our next cruise is 4 nights on the Wonder after 9 nights at WDW and I'm every bit as excited for it. I will do a 7 night again, next time Southern Caribbean but not back to back anymore. I think you'll be just fine.

06-16-2004, 10:35 PM
Hey ragdoll! (I was on the same cruise as her and her husband...May 23rd 4-day Wonder) I loved the last day being a sea day also. This did give me time to pack. Going into the cruise, I knew that if we couldn't go to CC, we would still have another day.

This was our first Disney cruise and we loved it so much that we have booked a 7-day for Dec. 2005. After our cruise, we went to WDW for 8 days. It would be hard for us to go on a cruise without going to WDW, especially Magic Kingdom.

If you are up for one more opinion, I would do the 4-day(worth every minute) and book WDW portion separately for August. We can't bring ourselves to take our kids out of school for vacation. They are a bit older, though.

I hope this helps....Carol


06-17-2004, 09:07 AM
DH and I have taken both Easter and Western 7-night Magic cruises, then this past January we took my parents with us on the 4-night Wonder and I certainly do believe that a 4-night cruise is better, much better, than none at all. ::yes::

In fact, I think I actually enjoyed the 4-night a wee bit more than the 7-night ones. By the 5th or 6th night I'm getting tired of having to go to dinner at a specified time and having to change clothes. With the 4-night I didn't experience that feeling. So, I felt the 4-night was just about right.

06-17-2004, 09:33 AM

Your thought process matches what I thought pretty well. My kids were a little older (4 and 5) and we had a lot of the same concerns.

When you start traveling with children, you can do it three ways: You can travel like you always have and drag your kids along, you can start traveling only for the kids, or you can try and compromise. We are believers in the third method, and a four day cruise was a great way to compromise between the kids needs and ours. Seven may have worked out great, but if they (or us) hadn't been enjoying ourselves, it isn't easy to just get off the boat and go home.

06-17-2004, 12:30 PM




06-17-2004, 01:27 PM
Originally posted by BABYJOSIE98

This is my favorite part of the 4 day cruise! I love having the day at sea the last day of the cruise. We always feel 'rushed' packing after getting back from CC, going to the children's program/show, and then getting ready for the main show and dinner (and getting in the disembarkment talk). By having the last day as a day at sea, it is SO peaceful!

We are doing a 7 night this year, but we already have a 4 day booked for next year. We have been on the Western 7 night, and I wanted to try the Eastern 7 night....but bottom line, I think the 4 night is my favorite cruise. That with a couple of days at WDW make for a very nice week!


06-17-2004, 03:00 PM
A 4-day IS better than none at all...

Considering all the amentities cruises have to offer, I know I'd take cruising over home more days than not. 4 days is a nice refreshing cruise, and whether you do WDW before, after, or not at all, it works well. My only complaint (not valid anymore) is that we had no sea days, as we were the last cruise to stop in Freeport (12/14/03).

You CAN save a lot booking separately, if you are brave enough. For the price of the land/sea package in December, we were able to do 4 sea/ 5 land. The only problem is that 5 days STILL might not be enough. We wanted to check out some of the holiday decorations in the hotels, but no time.

All that said, it's tough to leave after 4 nights what seems like such a brief respite. We had so much fun wining, dining, and enjoying the shows, it was almost a torture to go back to "only" WDW. We decided almost immediately after arriving home that 7 nights on a cruise would be perfect for us. Then again, we have no kids and from the west coast, anything less than a week isn't worth the $500 or so plane ticket.

Something to chew on...


06-18-2004, 10:49 PM
Better to experience a short DCL cruise than no cruise at all.

:earsgirl: :earsboy: ::MickeyMo ::MinnieMo