Well, it happened!...the Dream 2/7/13.
Just realized there are separate pre and post TR sections here. I'll start a TR there!
It was a dark and stormy night.
No no. I don't even remember the details of how this all started; I just know that my Floridian cousins started talking about their Dream cruise Feb '12 (they were allowed to talk about it, considering we went to visit them at their home the DAY they disembarked!), and how they are taking one in '13, and I'm fairly certain they asked if we wanted us to join them. We took it as such, at least, and so we are. Cousins, my aunt, altogether, and it won't be around the time of an election (we have some diametrically opposed views that aren't discussed)...it's should be fun.
We were going to bring my MIL, who said she wanted to cruise. Just after getting the go-ahead from her doctors (she has a few pre-existing conditions) and of course getting the expensive pre-existing condition waiver insurance (not available through DCL b/c of the waiver AND because we're in WA), she started having a series of strokes. Oh FABULOUS. So now, along with everything else we're all worried about with her, she can't go. No one, including her doctors, is comfy with that. At least for the next year or so. If everything has stabilized by then and her doctors say OK, then OK. But for February? No, not happening.
So now it's back to the cousins and our little family 'o 3. I'm Molly, the DH is Robert, and we have an 8 year old named Eamon. (said with a long "A", then "mun"...it's Irish)
So that's the partially bare-boned, partially too-much-random-information, rundown of the cruise plan.
Very exciting! We loved the Dream! So tell more about the cruise...how many nights, what category are you thinking of, booking on your own or through a TA?
Will stay tuned! Cruising has become our family's favorite way to vacation. A good blend of family time- kids time on their own- and ADULT time!
We booked through Mouse Unlimited (I got a post deleted recently for just giving the name and not the URL, so I'm figuring the rules are the same everywhere?), and when we first booked, we got a 4B (I think) cabin. We wanted a verandah, we wanted some room. My MIL did NOT want a verandah, so we got her a big porthole room.
When she realized she couldn't go, that freed up some money. At the same time, I found a Concierge room for not THAT much more than we were already paying. I mean, it's more, but it wasn't overly high in our opinion. Plus, Robert loves staying concierge/club whenever we can. It doesn't even have to make financial sense for him; for me, I'm always adding up what we get vs what we pay. Like at Disneyland, I work out the lattes I can get in the concierge lounge, the chocolate covered strawberries, the waters, etc. When I noticed that the concierge level lounge on the Dream includes an espresso machine, I realized that it must be the same kind they have at the Disneyland lounges, and I realized that I could count the lattes towards the extra money. And then I read that there is some "free" (ha! *included*) booze and the value got better.
By the time we decided to go for it, that room wasn't bookable online. AUGH! I had written MU already, though, and she found a CM who would work to get that room, and get it they did. Whew.
We also have a pre-and-post cruise WDW stay, plus Universal. We figure that it's a long flight out there...might as well make the most of it. :)
During the cruise itself, I think most of it will consist of relaxing, hanging out with my relatives (I have a feeling I will barely even see my son or his second cousins, since this is the ONE year they will all be the right ages to be together in the club, which is why we decided to jump on this opportunity instead of waiting until 2014), and looking around the ship. I'm SURE that we'll go find a pretty beach, and maybe hit the pirate museum in Nassau. Other than that, I don't anticipate excursions or big plans.
My one big complication is that I want to bring some Oregon wine out to my aunt, and I haven't yet figured out the best way to do that. The winery won't ship to Florida, so I'll have to check it on the plane, which is scary! Then I'll have to carry it on board the ship. So I can't really have an entire case, LOL. I doubt that even my aunt could drink a whole case in 2 nights. :)
Yay!! Joining in the fun with you! I'm really interested to hear your before and after thoughts on DCL. :)
Talked to my cousin tonight, that was nice.
It'll definitely be interesting to experience DCL, that's for sure. I'm trying to be neutral about it all; I don't want my "but I love RCCL" defenses to be so high that they mess me up, but I do need them, since the cost of DCL is really too much to do often, especially since I do like a longer cruise than this one.
This trip seems further away right now than it did at 70 days. The mind is a funny thing.
Amid all the sadness in the world, we managed to eke out a decent little day, for which I am glad. We don't celebrate anything on the 25th, though we were both brought up opening gifts, etc, on that day. A few years back it started feeling hypocritical, so we started doing gifts, etc for solstice/yule instead, since we can definitely celebrate the days getting longer without having to have any Beliefs!
Therefore, today was lovely, with our sweet boy being so happy and smiley. I got a couple jewelry boxes (bought for myself, LOL, on major clearance at Pier 1) and while I was moving things around, I got reacquainted with my late mom's costume jewelry and Native American jewelry, as well as my 80s stuff and my few nice pieces. Robert got a couple movies he's been yearning for. It was a good, quiet day. And did involve some extra hugs while thinking about others in the world who are having much, much different days than they anticipated 2 weeks ago. :sad1:
Felt I should add more trip-talk.
I don't think we'll be doing any big excursions. Or they call the Port Adventures with DCL, right? I think we'll walk around the safe-feeling parts of Nassau, maybe put our feet in some pretty sand and go back to the ship. And at Castaway, I want to do the 5K (if they'll let my son walk/jog it, too, DH can walk it as well), maybe a bike rental with my cousin and her husband, and just relax. With luck we'll be able to find the time to do the detective thing and explore as much as time allows. We don't know if DS will want to be in the club all day, or with us. That will basically be up to him, to an extent. :)
We do have late seating arranged, because that works for my cousin's family AND we'll still pretty much be on pacific time. We don't have our reservations linked though...it works better for family if they just sit with themselves, so we don't want our tables together. It would, however, be lovely to be in the same dining room. Maybe this would be something for concierge to look into....
You can talk about you. :)
I think you're right, that this is a great way to spend your birthday, and it's a lot of bang for your bucks, though it's also a lot of bucks, LOL. You're doing a 7 day, right? I did Disneyland for my 40th, and that was awesome, but I think a cruise might have been better. Less stress, less planning!
Yep, 7 day Fantasy, Eastern. This is our first cruise ever, so I'm a little nervous about seasickness, claustrophobia, etc. Disneyland is a very very close 2nd in things I'd like to do on my birthday. Our most recent August San Diego/DL trip began on my 39th birthday, and we flew over the Grand Canyon, arrived in SD and had pool/cocktail time and shopped/dined in the area around our hotel in SD. It was so perfect, I couldn't imagine spending another birthday here in our boring house again.
Is your cruise a 3 day? You've cruised before, yes? People seem to feel DCL is the absolute best for many, many reasons. I will be eager to hear your thoughts on how DCL compares to other lines. Are you doing any pre-planning stuff? Are you doing the fish extender thingy?
Oh and I kind of want to hear more about Universal, even though that has little to do with your cruise. DD is loving Harry Potter right now, and would like to see WWoHP, but I'm not sure Universal is the right place for me to spend a fortune on admission. We do not do roller coasters. DS will do some, but since DD won't, we just can't do them because of logistics. We tried Gadget's at DL, and since the CM said DD could wait for us at the exit where he was standing and the ride was only 38 seconds long (I timed it) I let her wait while DS and I rode it. She says she would try the Matterhorn (!!!) but I kind of think she would chicken out. She will try Star Tours again on this coming trip, after being forced on it by her well-intentioned Star Wars loving mother :rolleyes1 and screaming the entire time.
So my point is, isn't Universal/WWoHP going to be a waste for us if we don't ride roller coasters?
Wow, that does sound like a fabulous 39th. :)
Let me proceed to OVER-answer you. :scared:
During our first Universal trip, E wasn't brave enough to ride Forbidden Journey, and wasn't tall enough to ride any of the big coasters. He rode Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster, which is about the same as Gadget, though shorter. (how is that possible?) And he rode Flight of the Hippogriff, which is just a bit longer than Gadget. He rode the heck out of those two, but nothing else that was "big".
Spiderman is like Star Tours on steroids, and if you close your eyes you lose most of the feeling of movement, by the way...same as Simpsons, though I compare it to Soarin' more than Star Tours.
Anyway, I was too chicken for everything "big" but Forbidden Journey, Robert was not able to get on the big rides, and Eamon was too little or too scared.
However, it was an AWESOME trip. Eamon amused himself and tortured Robert by making us see Barney. He played in the kid areas (to a certain extent...it's been either way too cold/rainy or way too hot to really get his play on, LOL, during our trips so far). We ate, we shopped, we rode all the other things. ET, especially if the kids have seen it, is pretty amazing if you check your "I'm a grownup" card at the door, LOL.
Wizarding World might not be exciting for *rides* for your daughter, but it's REALLY neat being in that world. Even though it's boiling hot outside (depending on when you go), seeing the "snow" covered rooftops seem to bring the temperature down a little bit. :)
I'm going to make the assumption that both kids are 48" or above. IF so, there won't be a problem with her waiting at the end, or even with your son just going on the ride alone. They allow 48" and up ride, ALONE, any ride they otherwise qualify to ride. So I'm sure they wouldn't have a problem with your daughter splitting apart from you while you and DS go ride something. And they might even let her wait in the swap rooms, which are INSIDE the line. Universal doesn't make swappers split up outside the rides. Swapping isn't really what you're doing, but they might let her wait in there instead of in a giftshop or a bench.
Anyway, despite our lack of riding big rides on that first trip, we LOVED the place. So much so that we went back inside that year, despite not having upgraded to APs. And on the second trip, we upgraded. And this September, we renewed the APs, without a totally solid plan for Universal in mind. (their renewal price at this time is just THAT good)
We love their resorts. They are beautiful. They ENCOURAGE pool-hopping. So we could swim at any of the resort pools that we wanted to. How fun is that? If you have a purchase sent to your room, it's delivered TO your room. Not to Bell Services. They do charge parking, but if you pay for Valet, I hear that you can send a *text* to get your car brought around. (wow) And there is no free transportation from the airport. Sadness. But still, pretty awesome overall. And having the unlimited Express Pass through the resort is the cherry on top, especially if your party doesn't ride everything all at the same time.
Now on our upcoming trip, Eamon has had quite a growth spurt, and will be big enough for EVERYTHING. And he wants to ride EVERYTHING. Oh, help me. :scared: But I'm game, and I'll ride with him. Everything BUT Pteranodon Flyers. I will let Robert do that, assuming E doesn't grow more before the trip. That ride has some of the trickiest rules; you have to be over a certain amount AND under a certain amount. If you are over 56", you have to ride Pteranodon with a child under that (but above the minimum). I have only ridden it once (scared me more than Dragon Challenge or Rip Ride Rockit) and I wait for them to go through the long, long line, and I have watched the Team Members (TMs) have to explain it over and over and over. They even have a special measuring stick that they hold, that shows the minimum and maximum, and people still argue. It's a weird ride. And I hate it. To paraphrase Meg Ryan in French Kiss, "oh the rocking, the rocking..." I hate that thing.
And yet I'm sure I'll be riding Hulk this time. :crazy2::faint:
Robert, unless he has a burst of weight-loss (he's on a much slower losing track than I am...it's just his nature) of an big amount, probably still won't be able to get on all the big rides, but he is still SO excited for the trip. Just *being* in Universal makes him and us happy, and he can still simply look forward to riding the rides in the future.
alllll that said, you need to look at the website, look at the rides. Check out youtube videos of the rides. Read about them (there's a book whose authors' names escape me right now, and I gave my copy away so I can't check the cover...but it's really the only Universal Orlando guidebook out there). Figure out IF there are rides, attractions, and things-to-see that will occupy you guys enough to make up for the big things you might miss. For us, Men In Black is amazing. For someone else, knowing it's like Toy Story, but with guns and MORE spinning, it might make them really sick. Maybe it will be better to wait until your daredevil is even older, so that you feel better about him going on rides and even lines alone. And so that your daughter is older so she either gets more brave OR you are more OK with her waiting on a bench or in a shop, if they won't let her stay in the Swap room.
But you can also check out all the ticketing options. If you guys like waterparks, there's a ticket that allows unlimited access over 14 days to Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, and Wet and Wild waterpark. You can get Universal tickets for a bit of a discount through Undercover Tourist (just like you can for WDW), so check those out.
There's also a "flex" and flex plus ticket, for much more than the 3 park tickets, that allow:
By the way, for you, dining isn't as easy as it is at WDW. You can get in touch with chefs, but it's not the same level of simple. Check out the threads on the Universal forums for more info on that. I've realized that my ovo-lacto-veggie info just isn't useful for you.
We did RCCL before, and we loved it. I think I said before that I'm walking a fine line between wanting to dislike this cruise and wanting to like it. I cannot afford, quite literally, to fall in love with DCL, but I don't want the money to be a waste. And I want to enjoy the time with my cousins and aunt, especially now that the election is over. Whew!
And yes, it's a 3 night cruise. Almost no time at all! "Hurry up and relax" is what I'll be telling myself.
I feel like I'm cramming for a test. I've got this mind-boggling "how will do we everything, will we like it, will E and I be seasick" cruise, and we have two new-to-us resorts with nowhere near enough time at either one of them to study up on. :crowded: That's how my brain feels.
I'm really NOT a "go with the flow" person when it comes to vacations, because I know that someone, immediately after I get back, will mention THE COOLEST THING that I missed by FIVE minutes, because I didn't know about it. I don't like that feeling. :)
We decided to stay at Port Orleans Riverside before the cruise, in a Royal room because they don't look princessy *to me*, and if I can handle it, then E and R can certainly handle it (I might be female, like wearing pink, and have lots of (cheap) purses, BUT those guys like the princesses FAR more than I did after I turned 5, LOL) (we've watched Brave 3 times since Yule, and I was only involved in ONE viewing, for instance), and we had free days with hotels.com. We decided to change it up so we could switch Villas at Wilderness Lodge to the end, so we have more time to explore that resort.
Of course, now I'm finding that POR is nearly as compelling, interesting, and lovely as I was starting to find VWL!
These are not bad problems to have. But they are keeping me up rather late at night! Guess having that coffee a bit late was a mistake?:scratchin
Then again, until I decided to post (after I had finished my studying for the night, as my eyes are getting a wittle bit droopy), I was really very focused, with ONE goal, and I am well on my way to accomplishing that goal, to study POR and FINISH studying it. :) I'm nearly done! And when I say "nearly" I mean that I've just got the one thread to finish reading. We'll ignore the fact that I'm 30 pages into a 120 page thread. :rolleyes2 But after that's done, I'm done studying POR!
I know that doesn't have a lot to do with the cruise, but it's the pre-cruise stuff. I'm just not sure I'm up to running two pre-trip reports at a time, let alone two Disney-based trip reports and a Universal report after we're back! Yikes! I'll sleep on that one. Might just do TRs and not any other PTRs. Probably the best for my sanity.
Thank you for over-answering my question :goodvibes. I always appreciate that, for real. I am a planner/researcher and I need to know "everything" before I do something. Just as an example, even before I was vegan and gluten-free, I'd look at the menu of every restaurant (local or otherwise) before I would agree to go there.
I'm still not sure about Universal/IOA for us. I'd want to go in August, which is a horrible time to go to Florida. But that's when my birthday is princess:. So my options have been: 1) Fantasy Eastern with no extra before or after trips (except maybe to my mom's house in FL, which is about 2 hours SW of Disney), 2) Dream 4 night (I can't get behind a 3 night, I just can't) and either WDW or Universal/IOA or my mom's house in FL, or 3) RCCL Allure Western or Oasis Eastern (cheaper).
Every time I convince myself to do one option, I change my mind. I keep coming back to the Fantasy, because of the length of the cruise and the belief that because it is Disney, we will enjoy it. I'll be able to eat well, the kids will have fun, etc. But it is sooooooo much money!!!!! So then I think Hmmm, maybe the 4 night is a better choice. It is about $1500 cheaper, so I wouldn't be overspending. Then I think 4 nights is too short, and I'll be wishing for more vacation. Then I think 7 night Allure or Oasis, which would save me about $1000, but then it isn't Disney and I just don't know if it will work with my diet needs, or if I will be wishing I was on a Disney cruise. So then I go back to the Fantasy, and the circle of indecision continues.
Whoops, forgot to reply to your other post!
I've never stayed at POR but I LOVE WL. I really wanted to stay at WL on this trip next week, but since we are only there for 3 days and have no car, I just don't want to waste time on the boat or bus. I would stay there in a heartbeat if we were there for a long trip, though, or if we didn't have to take mass transit to get to the parks. That place is awesome.
I want to hear about POR if you stay there, though. I've never stayed at a moderate.
I SO want to take another DCL cruise!
FWIW, I had no issue being a vegetarian on the Wonder in 2010.
That's wonderful to know, Hedy! I hope you get on another cruise soon!
Noticing your tag...isn't it amazing that so many of us have "known" of each other for so long? And on multiple sites, too, even though I have different names on each site. :) You're helpful here and on SR.
And I met Nancy Drew on another site, too. It's so neat.
Definitely....I can barely believe E is 8!
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