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-   -   Planning for the most complicated scenario (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3112723)

PrincessBodeen 05-16-2013 08:26 PM

Planning for the most complicated scenario
 
I'm already super-duper excited about and planning for my very first Disney cruise in Sept. 2015 to Alaska. This will be my 30th birthday gift to myself so I'm planning on splurging big time and booking a Royal Suite. We also have some extended family who will be joining us although the exact numbers are still to be determined so I'm trying to sort out as many details as I can by imagining the most complicated scenario possible and preparing for it so anything less will seem like a piece of cake! While we are all seasoned cruisers with another line, we are still trying to figure out all the details of how things work with Disney. As this is "my project" I'm the one responsible for getting it sorted out and making sure everyone know what to do and how/when/where to do it!

At this point, my "most complicated" scenario will involve DH and I plus a few other family members in the Royal Suite. DH's parents and grandmother in a verandah room, and DH's step-sister and her two boys in an inside room. The ideal would be for the parents and step-sister to be across the hall from one another. DH's grandmother is to the age where standing or walking for too long is difficult and uses a wheelchair (her "chariot") when traveling. I'm going to be booking all of the rooms at the same time so I'm assuming we would have the same booking number (although I recognize that may be an incorrect assumption!). We will be staying at the PanPacific at least one night before the cruise so in theory that should at least help with having to haul all everyone's stuff for check-in.

I know the policy on Carnival is that if, even if you are in separate staterooms and only one of those has VIP status, as long as you are on the same shipboard account you can check in together through VIP. Does the same apply to Disney? Would we be allowed to check in together if we're all on the same booking number but use different charge accounts? And if we do all have to check in separately and they can't go through the concierge line with us, can we at least all board together? I would never ask/expect them to be able to board with us as concierge, but will we be allowed to wait on them? I would assume we could but you never know! If we do end up needing to wait, would we be better off getting in line very early and waiting to board or would it be better to wait until at least 12 and hope we could all get on together fairly quickly? From what I have read (and assuming nothing changes in the next two years) one of the "perks" of staying there pre-cruise is late check-out so we could hang out in the rooms until we're ready to go down to check in so the whole "getting there" thing isn't an issue. I know being in Vancouver and not at Port Canaveral can change things a bit.

Feel free to throw in any helpful info about things I haven't even thought to ask about yet, too!

jdb in AZ 05-16-2013 08:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PrincessBodeen (Post 48419976)
I'm already super-duper excited about and planning for my very first Disney cruise in Sept. 2015 to Alaska. This will be my 30th birthday gift to myself so I'm planning on splurging big time and booking a Royal Suite. We also have some extended family who will be joining us although the exact numbers are still to be determined so I'm trying to sort out as many details as I can by imagining the most complicated scenario possible and preparing for it so anything less will seem like a piece of cake! While we are all seasoned cruisers with another line, we are still trying to figure out all the details of how things work with Disney. As this is "my project" I'm the one responsible for getting it sorted out and making sure everyone know what to do and how/when/where to do it!

At this point, my "most complicated" scenario will involve DH and I plus a few other family members in the Royal Suite. DH's parents and grandmother in a verandah room, and DH's step-sister and her two boys in an inside room. The ideal would be for the parents and step-sister to be across the hall from one another. DH's grandmother is to the age where standing or walking for too long is difficult and uses a wheelchair (her "chariot") when traveling. I'm going to be booking all of the rooms at the same time so I'm assuming we would have the same booking number (although I recognize that may be an incorrect assumption!). We will be staying at the PanPacific at least one night before the cruise so in theory that should at least help with having to haul all everyone's stuff for check-in.

I know the policy on Carnival is that if, even if you are in separate staterooms and only one of those has VIP status, as long as you are on the same shipboard account you can check in together through VIP. Does the same apply to Disney? Would we be allowed to check in together if we're all on the same booking number but use different charge accounts? And if we do all have to check in separately and they can't go through the concierge line with us, can we at least all board together? I would never ask/expect them to be able to board with us as concierge, but will we be allowed to wait on them? I would assume we could but you never know! If we do end up needing to wait, would we be better off getting in line very early and waiting to board or would it be better to wait until at least 12 and hope we could all get on together fairly quickly? From what I have read (and assuming nothing changes in the next two years) one of the "perks" of staying there pre-cruise is late check-out so we could hang out in the rooms until we're ready to go down to check in so the whole "getting there" thing isn't an issue. I know being in Vancouver and not at Port Canaveral can change things a bit.

Feel free to throw in any helpful info about things I haven't even thought to ask about yet, too!

if I remember right (it's been awhile + old timer's disease) each family in our extended-family group had a separate reservation number, especially since each room used a different credit card. Our rooms were "linked" so we had dinner tables next to each other. Depending on the size of your group, you might all fit at one table, or you could have a group of tables near each other in the same area with the same wait staff, and you could rotate each night to visit with other family members. If you want.

DCL no longer allows other staterooms to check-in with the concierge people. Yes, you can delay your check-in to board with the rest of your group.

With that many people going, I would delegate the dooties of booking your reservations to a qualified travel agent to make sure all the reservations get booked correctly. He/she can do that for you the first day the 2015 bookings open, and you won't have to stay on the phone line forever waiting your turn.

Since your grandmother uses a royal carriage, would she prefer a handicapped stateroom?

lbgraves 05-16-2013 10:12 PM

Regarding staying at the Pan Pacific, it doesn't get any easier than that! Just notify bell services that you need your bags picked up that morning and they will come get them from your room and take them down to the ship. You will see them next outside your stateroom door.

Everything else addressed above is correct. You will have to wait for the rest of your traveling party's highest boarding number if you want everyone to board together. The same will apply to your booking window for Palo, excursions and the spa. With a large group you may want to look into booking a group tour with a private vendor. There is a great thread about Vancouver here on this forum with lots of great information and feedback from 2011 & 2012 cruises to Alaska on DCL.

PrincessBodeen 05-16-2013 11:28 PM

I have used a travel agent before with another line for other family cruises that were much larger (our largest was about 40 people!) and while it worked, I haven't been overly impressed. The last group cruise we did DH and I didn't use the travel agent and I just booked us on our own and everything was actually much quicker and easier, and at the end of the day we were generally happier with what we had and had a better time than everyone else! If anyone has a specific travel agent they've just been absolutely thrilled with I'd love to hear the recommendations but I'm VERY hesitant when it's such a relatively small group.

I figure at most we might have 13, and that's being really hopeful that everyone I want to come with us will be able to! Since we'll only have the three staterooms, I'm going to plan to book them all at one time and pay everyone's deposits so that it's actually one reservation, not simply "linked rooms". I figure the "worst case" would be that it'll just be us and my in-laws and we can all share the suite which would solve all the problems, but a more realistic scenario would be that it'll end up being two rooms and my mother-in-law's attitude will be "well, since we already saved the money for the extra room for them and they can't come, we might as well upgrade and be right by y'all!" which would again solve a lot of things for me!

I've already been spending way too much time reading the Vancouver thread and reviews of various alaska excursions. DH, his parents, and his grandmother all went to Alaska about 10 years ago when his mom and step-dad got married. His grandmother was really sick during most of that cruise so she wants a do-over and I've never been so I'm trying to cross everything off my list of things I want to do while still honoring what DH wants to do. I think the only Disney excursion we'll book will be Liarsville with the characters.

I may or may not already have a folder on my iPad with 10 different documents about the various aspects of this cruise. Nobody can accuse me of being unprepared or uninformed!

ThinkTink1 05-17-2013 12:33 AM

Ok so I can straighten a few things out....... Every single stateroom has its own reservation number regardless of who booked it or paid for it so the only way to recognize existing group is going to be to link them together. Keep in mind if using a TA = RESEARCH THEM FIRST. I am sure there are people on here who could recommend some great TA's. If you think you need more control over your reservation I personally would tell you not to use a TA because they wouldn't be available to you 24/7. Know that once a travel agent has your booking any questions or changes dealing with your reservation have to go through them and not DCL because of contracts they are not allowed to discuss most details of your reservation with you. If you are booking the Royal Suite that is the easiest part of you booking because that only leaves one of two rooms so I would figure out where the inside room needs to be first and then see what kind of categories of staterooms with verandas are available. There are a lot less inside rooms then there are verandas. Your room would not be on the same deck as your other 2 rooms because the only staterooms on the deck you are on is Concierge, Cat 4s and Cat 5s, if you want the other rooms to be near one another. Book early!!! Royal Suites for Alaska cruises and Med cruises go fast as well as handicap accessible rooms as well. Hope some of this helps!! Good luck in your planning!!

jilljill 05-17-2013 12:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ThinkTink1 (Post 48421390)
... If you are booking the Royal Suite that is the easiest part of you booking because that only leaves one of two rooms so I would figure out where the inside room needs to be first and then see what kind of categories of staterooms with verandas are available. There are a lot less inside rooms then there are verandas. Your room would not be on the same deck as your other 2 rooms because the only staterooms on the deck you are on is Concierge, Cat 4s and Cat 5s, if you want the other rooms to be near one another. Book early!!! Royal Suites for Alaska cruises and Med cruises go fast as well as handicap accessible rooms as well. Hope some of this helps!! Good luck in your planning!!

To clarify further -
Deck 8 on the Magic/Wonder only have concierge cabins and Category 4 cabins.



OP - what you are looking at doing doesn't qualify for a group booking since that usually involves 8 or more cabins. You would be booking 3 separate cabins that will each have their own confirmation number, that's how DCL does their reservations.

With all this planning you are doing I hope DCL does go back to AK in 2015.

PrincessBodeen 05-17-2013 05:24 AM

I'm way ahead of you on scoping out various rooms/categories and have all my preferences appropriately documented!

If Alaska isn't an option by then, I'll have no problem adjusting our plans for a cruise out of Port Canaveral. My priority is celebrating my birthday with Mickey. That would also solve all my people problems because most of our extra people wouldn't go! Oh well, their loss! I'm sure we'll do Alaska one of these days, but if I can't do it with Disney it drops down the priority list.


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