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View Full Version : Cat 3 vs 4


jkrohn2703
03-23-2005, 04:54 PM
We are booked in 8548 Magic Feb 2006. This room has the conceirge. I just wanted this room so I was assured of time at Flounders Reef. THis room was $3000 more the Cat 4 Family Suite. Is this price worth it? Or should i down grade to the Cat 4? Children are 9,6,and 2 at time ot travel. Please, seasoned cruisers HELP!!!!!

mommasita
03-23-2005, 08:19 PM
Having no personal experience in this, but reading a lot of it here.. You are almost guaranteed 3 spots at Flounders, they just may not be exactly when you want them.. And after that, you may call for any availability. Last year my cousin called, and they told her they had wide open slots for the entire week, and usually do. I have no idea if this is the norm.

Personally, I would save the $$$, and spend it either on excursions, or something else a lot more pleasant..... :goodvibes

wonderfan
03-23-2005, 08:21 PM
We sailed on the Wonder in Feb -- we had a category 4 and loved it. I don't really know what more you get in a Cat. 3, but, we had a familly of 4 and had plenty of room, great service, etc. -- we were so rarely in the room that it really didn't matter --

We've done concierge level at a few of the WDW resorts and found ourselves not taking full advantage of the extras -- I would think the cruise would be even harder to take advantage of the extras -- so much going on and food aplenty whenever you want it -- etc.

Just my thoughts....

TammiMcMan
03-23-2005, 08:56 PM
The first consideration is size and layout. A category 4 is 304 square feet and the bedroom is separated by a curtain. If the kids go to bed early, you may lose the use of your living room and tv. A category 3 is twice the size at 614 square feet. It comes with 2 full size bathrooms, double length verandah, separate bedroom that gets closed off by a door. There are tv's located in the bedroom and the living room. The living room entertainment system has a cd player and vcr (concierge has a music & video library that you can choose from). There is a dining room table for 4. In the standard layout of a cat 3 (which you have) the kids can all be put in the bedroom because the bed can be separated into 2 twins and there is a murphy pull down in there, or they can utilize the pull out sofa in the living room. If you were able to get a midship cat 3 (8032, 8034. 8532 or 8534), the murphy bed is in the living room, so no kids sleeping with mom & dad.

You mentioned concierge service which does include being able to make your Palo reservations before you even leave home. When you arrive at the terminal, there is a separate check-in area, your room keys are gold and you are escorted to the couches to wait for boarding instead of standing in line. Guests with disabilities are boarded first, followed by concierge and then general boarding begins. There is a concierge meet & greet at one of the lounges on deck 3. Go in, grab a snack and a cool drink and find a place to sit and relax. Representatives from the kids clubs will come to you for your registration needs. You'll also meet your concierge staff and they'll help you with anything else you need (bridge tours, wine tasting seminar, flounders, spa, etc). In your room, you'll find a complimentary supply of soda and water. Each day, the staff will stop by to see if there is anything you need and also to drop off a gift. It could be arcade cards or coloring books for the kids, a fruit bowl, plate of cookies or mini pastries. They usually schedule a cocktail hour for concierge guests to again mingle with the staff, have a drink and appetizers. Other room amenities include being able to order a full breakfast and having access to menus from all the restaurants for room service. On your final night, you'll receive a going away gift from the staff, in addition to your bill. This gives you a chance to look it over and make any corrections before the guest services rush.

Can't comment on whether or not it's worth it for your family. That's certainly alot of extra souvenier money, but the concierge service and the size of the room are great benefits.

Tammi

budwmn
03-23-2005, 09:30 PM
Is it worth it? YES! Our first few cruises were in a regular Verandah stateroom. We thought it was nice, but decided to go for a Cat. 3 for our first 7-day. Now, we'll never go back to a regular stateroom. We have a Cat. 3 and a Cat. 2 booked for our next two cruises. You'll love the space and the perks. I think it's worth the cost, but we spend a fair amount of time in our cabin (eating breakfast, just relaxing after a busy day in port, etc). :sunny:

lookingforward
03-24-2005, 06:52 AM
I have never sailed in a suite on DCL, however I think I would take the suite in your situation. Your baby is young and may be spending extra time in the cabin for naps, etc. The seperate bedroom will allow your spouse and other children to enjoy themselves, watch t.v. etc.

I sailed on the WOnder and had a Cat 3 reserved but later downgraded to two connecting Cat 5 rooms to save $2000 (for a four night cruise with florida resident rates). To me, for four nights, I thought it was a better deal. (you may want to look at two connecting rooms)

TammiMcMan has some great comments about the higher level of service you will get in a suite. I have sailed in suites on other lines and it does make an impact in your overall experience to be pampered. Especially when traveling with a toddler!

If money is not a big issue I would go for it. Almost everyone who has posted about the "suite life" has had positive things to say about it. Enjoy your cruise!

allears
03-24-2005, 09:02 AM
We have sailed 3 times with our three kids, now 17, 14 and 8 in a Cat 4 and really like this room. We found it spacious enough and not crowded. However, last fall we were upgraded to a Cat 3, and man did we get spoiled! If you can swing the money, go for it. Take full advantage of the exras and enjoy the mini-condo on the water!

markšoš
03-24-2005, 09:57 AM
If you can afford the extra $$, it is worth it.

As Tammi, said, the extra space is really great. You can put the kids to bed in the living room and close the door between the master suite and the living room. You still have access to your bedroom, bathroom, shower, jacuzzi bathtub, TV, and the verandah without having to crawl over sleeping kids.

The priority checkin is also nice with young kids. If you get to the port early, you will be one of the first people on board when they start boarding around 12:00. Remember, however, you will not be allowed into your stateroom until about 1:30.

You can order full breakfast and dinner through room service. We always had breakfast in our room. It is really nice to sit on the verandah and have breakfast.

When you go to the concierge meeting, they will be able to book Palo, spa, excursions, register the kids for the clubs, and just about anything else you will need without having to go all over the ship and stand in line. We got to the port early, boarded when the ship was ready and headed straight to the concierge meeting. It took about 45 minutes. They have juices and cookies. After that we went to have lunch at Parrot Cay to avoid the crowded buffet up on deck 9. We only had to wait about 10 minutes after lunch for our stateroom to be ready.

Hieatt
03-24-2005, 02:13 PM
I would consider booking two connecting Category 6 staterooms... would be a more than one Category 4 (about $1000?), but a lot less (about $2000?) less than a Category 3, and you would get about the same amount of space.

This is what we are doing, although we have 4 kids so neither a Category 3 or 4 would have been sufficient, and let me tell you Categories 1 or 2 were just waaayyy too much - more than double the cost of two Category 6s.

Concierge service sounds nice, but I find it hard to believe it is worth that amount of money.

CACruisin'
03-24-2005, 03:52 PM
We have the same dilemma. DD9, DD11, and DD2. We opted for the Cat 3 for two reasons:
1. We will have another room available when DD2 is napping or when she goes to bed.
2. Having concierge service to cordinate flounders reservations with Palo and Spa times and not have to do the "ressie rush" on our first cruise.

Yes, it was quite a bit more, but we felt it would make the trip much more relaxing overall. It will be nice to have full breakfast for room service and be able to order off of the restaurant menu's also.

If we take another cruise it will be when DD will be old enough for the Club and we won't worry about Flounders. I don't know if Cat 3 will be as important then, but we also might be spoiled by then too ... :cool1:

Hieatt
03-24-2005, 04:19 PM
Another thought... if you were to save $2-3K booking a Category 4 or two Category 6s, you could just spend the $339 on the REAS, which allows you to book your Palo and Spa in advance, gives you full room service breakfast one day, and includes the cost of a spa treatment for 2. Then, all you have to worry about is Flounders.

pewing
03-24-2005, 11:13 PM
We are trying to decide about DCL in October with DS9, DS11 and DD...almost one by then. I really wasn't planning on Flounder's, BUT...is it really that hard to get in?

I also would like to see advice on this. We were looking at 1 Category 4 vs. 2 Category 9. I had not thought about Category 3 (or priced it). I liked the idea of perhaps 2 Category 6.

We are a bit spoiled...we have always done WDW at Deluxe Resorts. We have never done concierge...but it is tempting...especially with the 'little princess'.

markšoš
03-25-2005, 10:48 AM
The concierge is not but not really necessary. We took advantage of the early boarding, the concierge meeting and a few other tasks during the cruise. We also ordered full breakfast each morning to our suite.

The reason we book the Cat 3 is the room. While 2 connecting Cat 6 or Cat 9 will give about the same space, the Cat 3 suites are still much nicer.

We book far enough in advance to get on of the four midship Cat 3 suites with the triple wide verandah and larger living room.
The suite also has a nice round dinning table for eating on and we also use it for kids activities, making notes, etc.
There is also a wet bar.
The living room has a TV, stereo, CD player, and VCR (borrow CD and tapes from concierge).
Master bath has a full size jacuzzi tub, separate shower, huge walk in closet, make up desk area, and double vanity.
There is also a separate bath room with a shower off the living room.
Tons of storage space.
Plenty of room in the living room even with the sofa bed out.
The suite is beautifully decorated and has fantastic woodwork.

If money is not really the issue, my preference would be to go for one Cat 3 instead of 2 other connecting rooms.

prymsu
03-25-2005, 08:53 PM
I would love to do a CAT 3 however i could take two cruises for the price of one, and since I am addicted to cruising, that Cat 4 is great for my family.

tecdavidt
03-25-2005, 09:37 PM
Considering the age of your children I would choose the cat. 3. With our teens we always had two cat. 6's, one for the boys and one for us. With our daughter we opt for the cat. 3. We all have our own bathroom and private sleeping space but we are all in the same room. If you can swing the price of the cat. 3 that is the one I would choose. If you choose the cat. 6 then you could strap the connecting doors open. As far as the concierge--they are worth their weight in gold. Also not having to drag the little ones to Top Siders for breakfast would also be nice. Mom and Dad can have a nice hot breakfast and the kiddies can have their ceral or Mickey waffles. Have fun choosing. Kathy

lillygator
12-19-2005, 03:25 PM
I would do the Cat 3 - we just got back and the concierge team was able to get all of our Flounder's reservations even when they were "full". Your kids will get there arm bands at the special reception so no need to wait in any lines prior to boarding.

hjensen
12-19-2005, 04:00 PM
We cruise next month and we had originally booked a cat 4. We decided to be put on a waitlist for a cat.3. By the time our final payment was due a cat. 3 had opened up!! We decided instead of spending it on excursions we would pamper ourselves with the extra room and concierge service plus all the other extra perks!! We can not wait to be spoiled!! I'm sure you will have a great cruise no matter what youur decision!! :sunny:

lbgraves
12-19-2005, 09:46 PM
We just cruised in a cat 4 & after seeing the layout of the 3, thanks to Vanessa :wave:, we were glad that we didn't upgrade at the port. For us the issue would have been sleeping arrangements. The kids would have had the double bed in the living room, which would NOT have gone over well with either of them. DS LOVES the bunk so I would have had to listen to that all week. There is a murphy bed in the bedroom however, if we were upgrading to a 3 I would want to have our own bedroom & not have one of the kids right next to our bed. They are 5 & 7.

Also wanted to point out that some of the perks noted previously are no longer exclusively for guests with concierge service.

All guests are able to book spa, Palo, & flounders resies online prior to boarding. There are simply different time frames when you can do this.

With the new boarding system in place noone stands in line waiting to board. They had tables set up by the windows where the couch is (formerly the concierge area) and had Disney coloring pages out with crayons for the kids. :)

PizzieDuster
12-20-2005, 02:33 AM
The concierge is not but not really necessary. We took advantage of the early boarding, the concierge meeting and a few other tasks during the cruise. We also ordered full breakfast each morning to our suite.

The reason we book the Cat 3 is the room. While 2 connecting Cat 6 or Cat 9 will give about the same space, the Cat 3 suites are still much nicer.

We book far enough in advance to get on of the four midship Cat 3 suites with the triple wide verandah and larger living room.
The suite also has a nice round dinning table for eating on and we also use it for kids activities, making notes, etc.
There is also a wet bar.
The living room has a TV, stereo, CD player, and VCR (borrow CD and tapes from concierge).
Master bath has a full size jacuzzi tub, separate shower, huge walk in closet, make up desk area, and double vanity.
There is also a separate bath room with a shower off the living room.
Tons of storage space.
Plenty of room in the living room even with the sofa bed out.
The suite is beautifully decorated and has fantastic woodwork.

If money is not really the issue, my preference would be to go for one Cat 3 instead of 2 other connecting rooms.


I am just stating this because I wish I would have knew this when I booked my first DCL - CAT 3 cruise.... it's only worth the $$ if you can get a mid ship Cat 3 in my opinion. I have stayed in both and on my second DCL cruise, when I walked into the mid ship Cat 3 I was so pissed off at my travel agent for not explaining to me the difference in the size! I would have planned my trip around an available mid ship Cat 3. I only found out about the difference while booking on board. I was told it was so much bigger and boy were they right!

So I'm here to tell all my DIS friends to try to book midship if you are going to book a Cat3. Also.... on port side, we were under the ping pong table! :earseek: But we sleep with ear plugs but it was annoying sometimes but I could deal with it for sure!

On our last cruise, we booked a Cat 4. It was very nice and quiet and my kids were bigger and out more so we hardly spent any time in the room.

Merry Christmas and enjoy your cruise! :wizard: :wizard:

professorandmom
12-20-2005, 08:32 AM
In my opinion, you are comparing apples to oranges, both tasty in their own right but some people really like one over the other. Now, the orange costs a lot more than the apple - and whether this is worth it depends on how you spend your money. Personally, I can't imagine not going with Cat 3 if you have the funds.
How much is extra privacy with your spouse worth?
Barb

hjensen
12-20-2005, 09:09 AM
We havent vacationed in 4 years!! The extra privacy with my DH is priceless to me!! I really dont care if my child is in the room with me or not! That bedroom door closes and I have the rest of the suite and the verandah!! Plus when he naps during the day I have the rest of the room to enjoy!! I can not wait to use my Cat. 3!!! :cool1:

Connor' Dad
12-20-2005, 12:12 PM
What are the midship Cat. 3 numbers?

hjensen
12-20-2005, 12:15 PM
Midship Cat. 3 rooms are 8032,8034,8532,8534!

CRSNDSNY
12-22-2005, 11:19 AM
Does anyone have experience and info on stateroom 8022?

CACruisin'
12-22-2005, 11:54 AM
We were 8022 last June. The arrangement was great for us. DD9 and DD11 slept on the pullout sofa and DD2 slept in the Pack and Play in our room. The location was very peaceful and quiet. I spent a couple afternoons reading on the verandah with room service and a glass of wine while DD napped :goodvibes

DH enjoyed watching watching the docking process and the captain on the little "deck" when we were in port.

It was very easy to get to either the midship or forward stairs/elevators. I had thought the easy access to the quiet cove pool and hot tub would be a nice too, but I never got to use them. :rotfl2:

There was also tons of storage for our family of 5 even with the added diaper genie and high chair that we had our room steward bring in.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

lillygator
12-22-2005, 01:02 PM
We were in 8022!! What specific questions do you have?

CRSNDSNY
12-22-2005, 01:26 PM
CACruisin' -- That sounds great!

We will have our daughter with us who will be 2YO by then. So we are hoping to take advantage of things like the in room extended dining menus (especially breakfast), the privacy of our own room separated from where she will be napping, etc. Many of the reasons we enjoy the DVC villas -- for privacy and more room.

How about noise -- any noise issue above you?
Thank you Vanessa & CACruisin'!

lillygator
12-22-2005, 01:33 PM
Our two girls were with us...3 and 10 months....we did not use the Murphy bed which was in our room the eldest slept on the fold out couch - she had her own TV! There was noise above but nothing that was unbearable.....room service breakfast on the disembarking day is great!!! Definite plus!
Conceirge also left DD personalized coloring books, arcade cards, candies, autograph book, etc. They were wonderful!

CRSNDSNY
12-22-2005, 02:20 PM
Sounds fantastic! This will be a really special cruise!

sweetsue
12-22-2005, 03:52 PM
I had a Cat 3 in September and it was worth it's weight in gold. We were re-routed from an Eastern cruise to a Western cruise because of Hurricane Rita. That meant we ended up in ports we didn't expect with absolutely no plans. As concierge level guests, we received excursion information on all ports and were able to book those excursions before the regular guests at 5pm. People waited in line from 3pm on just to get the booking they wanted. For us, we lounged in the couches and sat at our dining room table figuring out what we wanted to do. Once we decided, we picked up the phone, talked to Erica and the tickets were hand delivered to our door.

When we went to Cozumel, the water was rough so a few of the excursions were cancelled. A quick call to concierge got us all booked on another "full" excursion.

We had a party in our stateroom and concierge had huge fruit and cheese platters delivered along with chocolate covered strawberries. YUMMMM!

We had unlimited Palo reservations. If you wanted, you could eat at Palo every night.

Change in plans? Concierge booked everything we asked for - and they NEVER said no. We changed our minds constantly (something about the whole Eastern turned Western really had us upside down). Each time it only took a phone call and voila, new tickets or ressies! Just way too easy!

Free DVDs (they have DVD players now, not VHS players). Lots of stuff to choose from. TWO TVs so the kids can watch one thing while the adults watch another. A separate bedroom so napping children can rest without being bothered by the adults or vice versa!

Room service - FIVE MINUTES! One time they told my mother it'd be 20 minutes for her iced tea - then they said "Oops - you're concierge, it'll be 5 minutes".

It was definitely worth it for us (and we didn't even have a midship room!).

I do have one word of warning though - if you ever sail concierge - you'll be spoiled for life!

Sweet Sue

CRSNDSNY
12-22-2005, 04:07 PM
WOW, Sweet Sue! Sounds like you really enjoyed concierge!

It makes me even more excited now!

hjensen
12-22-2005, 04:24 PM
Thank you to everyone about the info that they have posted on the Cat. 3's!! We weren't really sure that we did the right thing when we upgraded but the more I read the more excited I get and I dont doubt the decision anymore!! Only 2 more months of waiting!!! :rolleyes1

CACruisin'
12-22-2005, 05:01 PM
No noise at all for us in 8022. I really liked the forward location for that reason. We used room service several times for breakfast. I also ordered the cheese platter a couple of times and our older DD's ordered dinner the night that DH and I went to Palo. As others have said, concierge was fabulous with a little one. They easily co-ordinated our flounders, Palo, and spa ressies for whenever we wanted. We used Flounders four times, I think. DD really liked it there. Concierge was also great about arranging to cancel our Flounders and Spa ressies with no penalties on our last day when DD started running a fever. (turned out to be an ear infection.)


Have a great trip! You are going to love 8022!

CRSNDSNY
12-23-2005, 12:54 PM
As others have said, concierge was fabulous with a little one. They easily co-ordinated our flounders, Palo, and spa ressies for whenever we wanted. We used Flounders four times, I think. DD really liked it there. Concierge was also great about arranging to cancel our Flounders and Spa ressies with no penalties on our last day when DD started running a fever. (turned out to be an ear infection.)
Those are many of the reasons we're looking forward to cruising in this category. I'm just afraid that we might get totally addicted after this trip, though!!!

Thank you so much everyone for posting your experiences. It really helps to make me feel better about the extra $$$ it is going to take.