I Wonder B2B - 10/19/2013 to 11/2/2013
Greetings all! Time for another trip report. My DW and I are going to go on the Disney Wonder 7-Night Caribbean Cruise 19-26 October out of Galveston followed by the 7-Night Bahamian Cruise from 26 October - 2 November. This will be our 3rd and 4th DCL cruises out of the Galveston Port. It will also be our first true B2B! We have taken a non-traditional B2B where we got off on ship, had a day break (WDW for NOJ) and then got on another DCL ship.
My DM and DD will be joining us on the first leg of the B2B. This is the first vacation that they have ever taken with my DW and myself. My parents, both age 70 have never taken a cruise before. After I invited them on the cruise, they asked if they could bring their BFF's with them. I thought that would be fine. The BFF' s have been on one 3-day cruise on another line before.
I was able to get MTO rates for both cruises while the others purchased VGT rooms. We are still waiting for their room numbers.
Set Up: Upon confirming they were coming with us, I obtained their Names, DOB, Address and method of payment and contacted DCL. DCL allowed me to make the reservations and linked them for us for Main Dining. The BFF's had to be placed on a wait list for MAIN dining because they did not have anymore openings. But how that works is they were linked with my DW, DM, DD and myself, so they were placed at the top of the wait list. Shortly after the reservations were made, the BFF's got moved to MAIN dining.
I requested that their rooms be located close to mine, which we got a room for both legs of the B2B. Will be nice not having to move from one room to another in-between cruises. We will see what room they assign the other members of our cruise party.
Let me backup a second. The reason we were initially going to cruise is because it will be my 50th BD on the 27th. But when i contacted my DM and DD they could not go on the 26 October - 2 November cruise, SO..... we booked the first date starting the 19th. Well that went all over the DW because we were not doing anything on my BD...... then the MTO came out. Happy Birthday to ME! B2B!
Everyone is going to be traveling by automobile from Oklahoma down to the Port in Galveston. DM and DD are going to travel with the BFF's because the are from the same city. They will depart sometime on the evening of the 18th and head towards Texas. My plan right now is depart Oklahoma around 1:00am and drive down. We might head down early but generally I just head out in the middle of the night and get to the port around 11am. But, this time we will mostly meet up with my parents and their friends at their hotel somewhere in Teas and they can follow us on to Galveston and the port.
The port is really easy to locate and the access to the enstrance is really simple. We will be able to pull up and hand our bags off to the porters (tip of course) and then go park the car at the terminal parking. Cost is $60 for the 7-Night cruise. There are other parking lots their that might be cheaper, but we just use the terminal parking for easy access. As soon as we park the car there is a shuttle standing by to bring us to the ship, entire process is less than 15 minutes. You must pay for the parking when you enter the parking lot.
Once back at the terminal, the terminal has opened right at 11am for our past two cruises. The terminal itself is nothing like it's counterpart at Port Canaveral. The difference is that DCL does not own their building in Galveston. Once we enter the building we hit the verfication station where you need your cruise documenation and Passport. Then you will go through the Customs and scanners. After that there are three lines formed in the large, wide opened room. They have a line for the new cruisers, Castaway Club members and then the Platinum/Concierge Line. I have tried the Platiunum line 2 times now and both times they had no one to assist. So, I may just get in the Castaway Club anyway. As long as I get the Platinum KTTW Card and the lanyard, I am good. I will ensure that the parents and BFF's get in the new cruiser line and get checked in.
After getting checked in, we nomally sit till around 11:50-12:00 to be called on board. Because we are Platinum we getting boarding number 2, which is one of our big perks as Platinum. In past cruises, our guests who were traveling with us got to board with us. Especilly at Port Galveston, things are pretty laid back. After that we will be moving towards boarding.....
I was about to post that I look forward to your trip report so I can hear some details about the Wonder, but we'll be boarding the day you get off, November 2nd :wave2:
Will definitely look forward to reading when we get back :thumbsup2:
So, I will say that there are certain things I did not tell the rest of the party, like the calling of the family name upon boarding. I left that for that moment.
Here is our upcoming itinerary:
Day___Port_________________________Guest Ashore_____Guest Onboard
1_____Galveston, Texas______________--_______________3:30 p.m.
2_____At Sea______________________ --_______________--
3_____At Sea______________________ --_______________--
4_____Falmouth, Jamaica_____________7:45 a.m._________5:45 p.m.
5_____Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands*_7:30 a.m._________3:30 p.m.
6_____Cozumel, Mexico______________10:15 a.m._________3:45 p.m.
8_____Galveston, Texas_____________9:30 a.m.__________3:30 p.m.
10____Key West, Florida_____________11:30 a.m._________4:45 p.m.
11____Castaway Cay________________9:15 a.m.__________5:45 p.m.
12____Nassau______________________7:15 a.m.__________5:45 p.m.
15____Galveston, Texas_____________9:30 a.m.
so if I am counting right, we are going to get 8 as sea days (I am including both days in Galveston as sea days). That is alot of relaxation time. I guess the main concern of the DW is "are we going to get board?". My response has been that for the first week, we will be doing things we wouln't normally do. The parents and other couple love to play cards and board games. We might be sitting around playing or watch them play. And I know for sure I want to do our first ever tour of the ship when we get on board with the parents on the frist day.
Well, time for an update. We are down to 18 days before we sail. I contacted the port and found out that when I park at the Galveston Port, when I pay we will be directed to a spot located next to their main building so that they can watch our vehicle while we are gone for the two weeks. I also was informed that we can go to our vehicle between cruises. My thought was to change out suitcases and switch them out when we are required to get off the ship for customs purposes. I was informed we could be allowed back into the terminal and board when the other B2B'ers board prior to main boarding.
I went ahead and booked Palo for Brunch on Day 3 of the first cruise with the parents and their BFF's. I also booked the four of them for a Palo Dinner on Night 4 (Pirate Night). I am not real fond of the Pirate Menu and they will be done with dinner by 8:30 so they can catch the party and fireworks (the DW wanted the fireworks to be a surprise once on board).
The best part of cruising a second or (15th and 16th) time is watching those around you go for the first time. My parents and really getting excited to go. Haven't seem them like this in a long time. Should be fun. More to come.
Sounds like a great trip-I am jealous! Have a great time!
Just wanted to explain why I scheduled the parents and BFF's Palo on Night 4. Nights 1,3,5 will be the MDR theme nights. Night 2 is formal night (I tried to book that night, but the on-line reservations were full, and yes I know I could book on-board but wanted to get it done). Night 6 is the semi-formal night and traditionally the lobster night which dad is looking forward. And finally night 7 is the last night and we generally like to say goodbye to our service team. We will be having the same team on the 2nd portion of the B2B, but the folks and their BFF's won't. So...... it is night 4, Pirate Nite, with an early dinner so that they can hit the deck party beginning at 9:45. Just though I would throw that in. Ugggg, still 18 more days!
16 days and counting.......
It will be nice going out of the port in Galveston again. It cuts my drive time in half. Can't believe they are leaving in Jauary. Well, actually can! I didn't go on the Magic out of Galveston with a full ship. Actually on cruise the only time we really saw folks was dinners, shows and parties. Was crazy!
For anyone taking a cruise out of Galveston before they pull out, and is a disabled veteran, you can park for free at the Galveston Port Parking. You need a VA Identifiacation Card that says DISABLED on the front of the card. Or you can use a copy of your award letter from the VA. Anyway, saves $60 in parking fees, per 7-day cruise. For me $120 saving for the B2B!
Emailed mom today and they are getting really excited. I think this is the most excited I have seen them in a while. They don't get out that much. She informed me that they and the BFF's purchased eye patches and earrings for Pirate Night. That's too funny, I will have to get a picture of that! I bought a Pirate Night t-shirt a couple of cruises ago and that and the bandana is about all I do. The DW doesn't do much either in the area of Pirate Night.
Still debating on where to eat lunch on departure day. We have never eaten in the MDR on sailaway day. We always go up top to in this case Beach Blanket Buffet. We will be boarding number 2 so nothing will be full. But normally the Beach Blanket Buffet doesn't open till noon. So sometimes we sit up on deck till it opens. I guess I can wait till we get on board and see. I can see my parents and their BFF's wanting to be served in the MDR over the self-serve upstairs (talking about drinks here).
I see that the weather might be getting a little rocky. Hope things calm down enough for us all to have a great time. As stated earlier 16 days till our cruise(s).
7 days and a wake-up as they say in the Army. I can really tell DM and DD are getting excited. My DM asked me again for a list of stuff to take. And about a weekly medicine holder. DM decided she is going shopping alone tomorrow. I guess when DD goes along, he doesn't let her buy anything. He can be a little grumpy at times.
Anyway, I varified my hotel for the 10/18 and we will leave out at around 5:30pm I hope. That would get us to a hotel around 1:15am or so. Only 1.75 hours away from the port.
Haven't started the packing yet. Packing 14-days of stuff will be a challenge. My DW stated she doesn't want to do laundry on board. She stated that she has seen cruisers use the dryer to get wrinkles out of dirty clothes or to dry swimming suits. She is not a fan or wearing other peoples funk.
Hopefully I can get all the honey-do's done this weekend (3-day weekend) and then get to work Tues-Fri leaving that evening. Should go quick after this weekend.
Looking for any last minute suggests on what excursions my DM and DD and their BFF's should take. They are in the mid 60-70 year old range and not in the best health.
Also, any last bit of help for a head server for the Wonder would be nice. I really don't think you can lose with any of them, but just asking.
Thanks for any input. I will be checking back on 10/15.
We are also on the Oct 26th cruise! Can't wait!
Happy Birthday to another Scorpio! (Mine is the 25th!)
Sounds like a fantastic trip...I would love 14 days of cruising! I'll just settle for my nighter this time next week. :)
Can't wait to hear all about it!
(And nice note about the Disable Vet parking...wish PC had that..could save me some serious cash!)
Jill in CO
Today is "D" day! Departure day that is. DM, DD, and their BFF's left this morning, driving to Houston. I am leaving this afternoon, will pack up the DW and head out to Houston. We should get to the hotel around 12:30pm tonight.
Because I look to be staing on 90 miles from the port, I don't want to leave until about 9:30am. But I am pretty sure the other 4 will want to leave at 8:00am. Do you all remember your first....... So, we will see.
I got my packing done last night the 14 days. The DW is at home right now finishing up packing. Will be on the road in 3:30 hours!
My goal is provide you the best report possible without all the fluff. I am just not about fluff, sorry.
I think the real test will be to see if two couples over 65 who really aren't that into Disney enjoy themselves. None of the 4 drink, but they do enjoy spending some cash gambling. And the BFF told us he really doesn't like being around kids....... Does he not connect DISNEY to kids.
I think it will be a real test to see if they really catch the DCL fever.
A little side note, not to gain any sympothy but to just put it out there. Lost a brother almost two years ago. He was 45 years old. Died suddenly. Left a wife and two teenagers. None of it gone well since. M and D have pretty much resigned the fact that all meaningful life is over. He truly was the one who looked after my parents. I morn for his death also, but nothing like the parents.
That's why when the 50th birthday thing came around, I asked them to come. And that's why they agreed to come. I am extremely happy that they invited their BFF's. I thought without them, it might be a total rememberance time, but with their friends along it could be more social for them. Heck they might even do things without myself and the DW.
My DM even told me this week, this is what they have needed. They are actually enjoying shopping, making plans and today driving to Houston. Well, getting ready to head out before long. Still have some time left before I sign off the sight. Will do my best to post as soon as I get back. After today, won't be on the sight until 11/4. Will continue the report on that day.
Thanks to all of you that read while I ramble on.
Have a great time!
Enjoy the B2B, especially with DM & DD. It's good for them to have their BFF's along. We took my MIL and a friend of hers on a cruise out of Charleston, SC (different cruise line) almost 3 years ago in November as they live/lived in Georgia. My MIL's friend was in his 80's and enjoyed it so much. We took so many pictures of them on that trip and gave my MIL copies. He passed away within 6 weeks of going. His family thanked us all for making it possible, as that was all he talked about prior to his passing. So yes, enjoy the time they're on the ship with you, as they need to make some pleasant memories with you. This may help ease the grief of the loss of your brother. Smooth sailings to all of you!
Well, Just back on this past Saturday. a lot to cover so I will get started.
October 18 - Day before cruise
Most for most of the day before heading out around 5:30pm. Drove to Conroe, TX where we stayed the night at the Hampton Inn & Suites. Pretty nice room. Not in the position to recommend hotel or not. Just slept and prepared for the cruise.
October 19 - Day 1
Met up with parents and their BFFs at 9am to head out. They followed my DW and I in their car (they road together). We arrived at the terminal at 10:40am and off loaded all of the luggage. They followed us the the parking lot and then all took the shuttle over to the terminal. There was no wait at the check-in counter and we all recieved our boarding numbers. At Galveston, they aren't real sticklers about parties boarding with earlier boarding numbers. My parents and their BFF's had boarding numbers around 10. But because we are Platinum, we had boarding number 1.
So, we sat for about 45 minutes till they announced the family of the day. I got up and we made our way to the gate. We stook there a couple of minutes, and then I could hear my DM talking to someone. Pretty much the gist of the conversation was...... (Mom) Ummm, excuse me sir, but are you boarding number 1? (Sir) yes, I am boarding number 1 (mom) Well......, we are too. I was kinda embaraced and thought it kinda comical at the same time. My mom wasn't a 1, my wife and I were. Anyway...
So, as we are getting past the boarding gate in the terminal. My mom looks at me and says, "is this when they announce our names?" Oh yeah, this was when I was informed they had watched a show on DCL before the cruise. Really nice that they were excited enough to watch a video (surprised really). Anyway, that's when they announced our family name for us. We started boarding right at 12:00 noon. We took our carry-on bags up to BBB (Beach Blanket Buffet) and were the first few to arrive. I really prefer the concept that the Dream, Fantasy and now Magic have gone too. There are just more food options on the buffet, on other ships.
Got done with lunch and were able to go to our rooms at 1pm to check them out. I arranged for my DM/DD and their BFFs to have connecting rooms on deck 7 mid. The DW and I were on deck 6 AFT, right off the stairs (how nice that was). We were told rooms would be available at 1:45, but they were ready at 1:30. My DW and I typically pick up a schedule form Port Adventures, I go and put some cash on our account at Customer Service, unpack our luggage (if delivered). It was interesting, my luggage was delivered at 1:45 and the DM and DD and the BFF's did not get thier luggage until right at 5pm. More interesting, we arrived at the terminal at the exact same time.
Anyway, everyone got dressed and met for dinner at 5:45. Our rotation was PAATPAT for the first cruise. Our Server was Andrei', Asst Server was Antonio, and Head Server was Roy. I would not recommend any of them for your cruise. I think Roy was freindly, but none of them performed up to my wife and I's standard from previous sailing on DCL. They didn't FAIL to do anything, except do the Mickey Mouse face with the ketsup. There were so many other misses with the wait staff that as DCL experienced cruisers we just come to expect. They probably weren't terrible to my guests sailing with us, but deffinately were not great to anyones standard
Anyway we had the MDR Menu from PC, probobly my least favorite menu out of the MDR menu. Do like the grilled ribeye, corn and green beans though! Had a mickey bar for desert.
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