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Disneyjamie
07-18-2005, 02:18 PM
Go on a 7 night DCL Western Caribbean cruise or something like a 7 night Princess cruise? The DCL cruise is 400 more (both cabins are the same type). DCL only goes to Key West, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Castaway Cay, where Princess goes to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Grenada, Isla Margarita (Caracas, Venezuela) and Aruba, and it debarks from San Juan.

The two of us are late 20's without children. I love Disney, my boyfriend, while supportive, does not share my love for Disney but puts up with it. We don't plan on having kids for 3-4 years, but I don't plan on waiting that long to try out DCL. But, once kids are here, we may not get the chance to do an intense cruise itinerary for a long time.

What also sets Disney apart from other higher-end cruiselines regarding price? I know Disney's service is excellent, but what about food, rooms, etc. that puts it over the others?

I am a very confused vacation planner right now. :confused:
Jamie

mmouse37
07-18-2005, 02:25 PM
I was on the Dawn Princess and did that itinerary back in '98. It was very port intensive but the ship was beautiful and I would do it again.

Disney can charge higher rates because they only have 2 ships and they sail full all the time where other lines like Princess have many ships and can offer lower rates.

I love DCL and have sailed it 13 times on both ships but unless you really are set on a DCL cruise I think the Princess cruise would be great for you at this time in your life.

MJ

Disney with Triplets
07-18-2005, 02:37 PM
We've sailed various Southern Caribbean itenaries before out of San Juan and have loved every one of them - except for one stop in Trinidad; however, that is another debate for another day. While we've sailed various lines, we've been loyal Princess fans since the late 1990's - Dawn class and Golden class ships. We haven't sailed the Caribbean class ship yet - doing DCL with the kids this year. Without kids, I'd say forgo DCL - it is more expensive and a lot of the expense is directed towards children and family entertainment. For "just the adults", I'll exchange Palo, Quiet Cove, and a couple of Disney shows for a less expensive cruise with greater island selections and more more adult oriented environment.

Mmketeer
07-18-2005, 02:41 PM
Hi DisneyJaime,

Well, I do love DCL, but I must admit I would sail a larger ship for a 7 day cruise. I think it might be a good time for you to try somthing new.
I sailed on RCCL's Mariner of the Seas and it made a RCCL fan out of this once DCL only girl. I think I would do Princess's Caribbean ship as well, but not their smaller ones. :) Their is just so much more to do onboard the mega lines like RCCL's.
As far as the itin. goes, I probably won't be much help on that one as I have already done the Western Caribbean and even Cozmel twice, so personally I would choose the Eastern cause' I am ready to do that itin next....so that's what I would vote for. :)
Just my opinon though....
PS
Hubby and I are mid 30's w/ no kids.

Mmketeer.......next cruises: 12/05 RCL's SOS & 2/06 DCL's Wonder

DCL- Wonder & Magic
RCCL- Enchantment & Mariner
CCL- Fanatsy & Miracle

UGAFan0829
07-18-2005, 03:06 PM
I can see why you're so torn between to two. That would be a hard decision. But, if you are really wanting to go to the ports that Princess offers, and you don't think that you'll be able to do it once you have children, then I think you should go for the Princess cruise now. You will have many years to do DCL with your children, but only a few more years to do things without them. Just my opinion...good luck making a decision!

castlegazer
07-18-2005, 03:09 PM
Go on a 7 night DCL Western Caribbean cruise or something like a 7 night Princess cruise? The DCL cruise is 400 more (both cabins are the same type). DCL only goes to Key West, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Castaway Cay, where Princess goes to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Grenada, Isla Margarita (Caracas, Venezuela) and Aruba, and it debarks from San Juan.



We salied this route on celebrity and loved it.

Here are my thoughts:

It was, as said above, very port intensive. Its not very relaxing to hop from port to port.

That being said, St. Kitts was one of the mose amazing island I have ever been too and we have sailed the Caribbean a lot. Plus we love Aruba. Isla Margarita can be your off day - stay on the boat, its totally not worth the trek you have to make - this recommendation comes from our ship mates as I had severely spraigned my ankle when we landed here and we did stay on the boat anyways (caveat, they may have been trying to make me feel better). We went to Barbados instead of Grenada. Barbados was lovely, but I have always wanted to go to Grenada too.

It kindof stunk going out of San Juan. For me, it was a long flight and the terminal is bit a sceevy, not bad, but not DCL either.

We absolutely love Princess, but again, we haven't sailed in about four years with them as we had children and went on Celebrity when I was pregnant with our first. We hear from almost everyone who sails with them now that their service has dramatically gone down hill. We had a mini suite when we sailed with Princess and it was soo wonderful. The verandah is much larger than the DCL verandahs - we also had butler service which I am not sure they have for the mini suites anymore. It was spectacular. we got to have hot breakfasts out on the verandah every morning because its large enough to have a full table and chairs out there. DCL does not have hot breakfast service to the verandah state rooms.

The night time activities on Princess are really fun and people do stay up late to go out after the shows. On DCL, reports are they do not. Its an early to bed early to rise type of ship. Princesses shows are geared to adults too. Some are good, some are so so. DCL has consistently spectacular shows, but geared to children.

The food on Princess is reportedly better than on DCL. It was spectacular for us. We also really loved their adult pool areas which were like a tropical oasis. Their spas are also better with their own spa pools and other amenities that DCL does not have.

You are right, you will not do an itinerary like this with children until they are significantly older. Its a once in a lifetime type of cruising experience to hit those islands and I will never forget it, mostly our time on St. Kitts.

I hope that helps you in your decision. I don't like cruising to Key West nor to Cozumel. Both are places I would rather spend time in at a resort, not touring around in a limited fashion. I guess I can say the same about Grand Cayman.

Service, though is a major factor. Disney has Princess by a factor of 10 on this one.

tvguy
07-18-2005, 08:40 PM
If I had to chose between a Western Disney and Princess, I'd probably go Princess. But frankly I'd prefer an Eastern Disney over either.
Other than Castaway Cay, none of the Western Disney ports are of interest to me.

musicgirl
07-19-2005, 08:17 AM
One of the things you mentioned was that DCL was $400 more. You might also want to take into consideration the difference in price of your flight/travel to Orlando/Port Canaveral.

I have only cruised DCL, so I can not compare. However, remember DCL has great adult's only areas, activities and entertainment. They are awesome at keeping this adult only. This can not be said of all lines.

My brother and his wife (no kids) have sailed Princess and loved it. They are trying another line (Norwegian, I think) because as much as they enjoyed the ship and everything, they said the general cruisers were too old. They are in their 40's.

If I had to choose between DCL and any other line and the difference was only $400, I wouldn't hesitate to go DCL even if we decided to leave ds-14 at home.

BTW, traveling with him on DCL is like traveling without kids so I feel I can give an honest opinion about adult travel on DCL!!!!!

westjones
07-19-2005, 08:44 AM
If I could afford another 7 night cruise, I would love to try the new Freedom of the Seas by RCCL. It isn't sailing yet, it is set to sail next summer. It is suppose to be huge with lots of new things onboard.

We like the Disney cruise because we can do the 4 night. If RCCL would offer a 4 night on one of their ships with ice skating and all the other stuff, we would give them a try.

If you haven't sailed Disney, and it is only $400, AND if you love Disney, I would say go with it. Last year I sailed in a group of 14 people, only 3 of them were children. Everyone had a super time. The couples that came without kids had so much fun at the adult areas at night, and at the adult pool, and then the adult beach at CC. We were one of the two couples that had children, so I hung out with my kids a lot. But of the ones that went with me, two of those childless couples have already gone back on another sailing since then. They all loved it!

So for only $400 difference, I would go with Disney. If it got around $800 difference, then I would think about trying another.

DJ

mickey2000
07-19-2005, 08:54 AM
I did this trip on the Golden Princess and it was the best! Go for it! :cool1:
The difference is only $400 because it is cheaper to fly to Florida, thus Disney is more expensive than it appears. If Disney was sailing from PR the gap in price would be even greater! Disney always wants premium prices$
You can do DCL when they build a new ship! :earboy2:

ARUBA IS THE BEST ISLAND I HAVE EVER BEEN TO! IT ROCKS>>>>>>>>>

captaincrash
07-19-2005, 10:00 AM
We are HUGE DCL fans .....

However.... we have kids that are are 1.75 and 4.... and even without kids DCL has strong merit. They do a superior job then about half their competitiors with service and they come in at the 90th percentile for cabin szie and ships condition for the money. But their port schedule is sort of stale after having sailied only twice with DCL ~ but even with the pluses and minuses we're scheduled to go again on an Eastern 7 nite DCL sailing this September. :banana:

We have sailed to most major ports in Carib and our type of wanderlust has us eagar to see other ports. Especially the southern routes or - frankly - anyplace we have NOT visited before. BUT - IF we were your shoes then we would take the NEWEST ship you can find with the ports of greatest interest - more or less forget the line as most of the non-Disney "majors" blurr together somewhat. The order of the day is whether you want to focus on the PORTS or the SHIP. Ideally you should combine elements of both in a decision.

What they say in stereo-typing some lines is somewhat true - HAL has an older crowd, Disney has lots of kids and Carnival has a younger and active set - but the rumors are NOT 100% true as YOU should set your own pace and lead a private parade. Frankly we enjoied the variety we encountered with various lines - and it did not give us much pause when we were not quite matched up with a similar crowd. IE - on HAL we were among the younger 20% easily - but that did not stop us from doing all sorts of active tours and activities. Heck - I vaguely recall we even tried bingo... an overrated experience if you ask me. Especially so since I didn't win anything! :rolleyes1

Among our FAvORITE destinations are San Juan + most of the SOuthern Carib ports. AND... in turn among the least interesting ports are the Western Carib ports. Yes - they are fun but in the past they seemed to be too HOT and they had the wrong type of commercialization for our tastes.

If we were you - we would fly into San Juan 2 or 3 days early and make a full visit to the island - stay at the Wyndham for the nite life environment ~ OR ~ stay at the RItz around the corner and walk to the Wyndham. The Ritz has a GREAT conceriege level - really superior snacks through-out the day and worthy of a go nowhere else type of stop - which may be counter to going PR. BUT - rent a car and cruise around - the old town has decent shopping and a nice Dooeny and Bourke outlet (if that's your thing).... plus if being slightly off beat is your thing - then try the out of SJ hotels. It is after all just another big caribbean city.

But - back to cruising.... yeah - go for the newer ships - you'll note they ALWAYS charge more for those. And as for large or small (or midsize).... we've sailed all sorts over the past 2 decades (we're just 41) and we like each sort for different reasons. If you have not tried it all - they we encourage you to TRY IT ALL!

Have you ever considered a Windjammer cruise? Those ships really exemplify the small ship expereince - but in a UNIQUE and affordable way. And on the other hand you should get around to sailing one of those huge Adventurer class RCCL ships. We have YET to get on one of those but just looking at the brochures we can sort of tell what it would be like. Windjammer will NOT let you sail unless your kids are at least 6 (I think). So if you have 2 kids about 3 years apart - then it will be a DECADE before they will even let you go!

Order a Windjammer brochure soon BEFORE you become pregnant - so you have a chance to do it TWICE or more if you like it. I for one have never done one before but folks that we identify most with talk about it in glowing terms. Almost as loyally as Disney cruisers IMHO. Once you have kids then you'll be doing DCL almost exclusively (or at least a few times) for nearly a decade - that is - if you read these boards much you'll see the REASONS why folks do it.

BTW - DCL and NCL are the only cruise lines I know of that scale their rates for kids. IE - young infants are welcome AND they charge almost nothing or in fact DCL charges ZERO for infants - just pay port charges. And as the kids age the rate goes up gradually. Now the only other line we know of that has similar treatment is Raddison Seven Seas but their adult rates are fairly stiff. Easily 2 or 3x DCL rates. RSS compares to Crystal and Seabourne in adult cost and quality of vacation... supossedly. :smooth:

Besides that - after you've surveyed the cruise and travel options of all sorts - then you'll settle into the precise trips that were landmark experiences for you. No one BUT YOU can decide that. Who knows what passions and memories will turn up as the sweetest moments of your various escapes?

At any rate - "get around town" before the kids "show up" - and of course - having kids has been THE MOST fuifilling experience for my spouse and I. That is entirely another adventure with indescribable rewards and experiences! :cool1:

Adios! :flower:

jennat
07-19-2005, 10:44 AM
I vote Caribbean Princess. I have been on this ship and it is very nice (my favorite by far, though, is the Voyager class RCL). I would rather do eastern caribbean, if you get a caribe deck balcony witch are not outragoues on this ship, they are about 9x10feet!, they have a casino (if you like to gamble), thier $$$ restraunts are out of this world (as are Disney's), I love the movie screeen over the pool (which, I guess the Magic is getting). We went last year during Jeanne and Princess DID NOT make a favorable impression (with their attitudes and service), however, I am sure that they were just tired (not that that makes it okay, but I am willing to chalk it up to a rarity considering how many people LOVE Princess).