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Old 01-20-2013, 11:02 AM   #1
Mousemom
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First Trip and a Few More Questions

I know some of these questions will seem silly to those seasoned cruisers but to a first time cruiser we want to be as prepared as we can.

1. Are we given a boarding time for the cruise ship, and since we are staying at WDW for 4 days prior to cruise are we given a a bus boarding time too?

2. Once we get to the cruise ship how long is the boarding process? Any tips to make it go quicker? What will they ask for; passport, drivers license....?

3. We signed up for an excursion on-line at the Disney Cruise web site and I expected them to ask for a credit card to hold this excursion but did not have to give any information, is that normal?

4. I know that tips are paid or added on to the charges when we check out but if we order room service do we tip when the food is brought to us or is that also added at the end (unless we choose to give extra tip when delivered?)

5. Looking for flights home after de-boarding. What is a safe amount of time to give for getting to the airport. I was thinking after 12 noon - what do you think?

Thank you all for your cruise knowledge. I'm sure I will have more questions so really appreciate all your help!
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:15 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mousemom View Post
I know some of these questions will seem silly to those seasoned cruisers but to a first time cruiser we want to be as prepared as we can.

1. Are we given a boarding time for the cruise ship, and since we are staying at WDW for 4 days prior to cruise are we given a a bus boarding time too? During your online checkin process, you will select a Port Arrival Time. This PAT is tied to the actual boarding number you will receive at checkin at the port. If you are taking DCL transfers, you will get a letter telling you what time to have your bags ready for pickup the morning of embarkation (they go by truck), and what time to go to the DCL transportation desk. Busses from the WDW resorts depart between 11:30-12:30, depending on how many stops each particular bus is making.

2. Once we get to the cruise ship how long is the boarding process? Any tips to make it go quicker? What will they ask for; passport, drivers license....? You will fill out a health questionaire when you enter the terminal. And then get in line to check in. They want to see the health questionaire, IDs for everyone, and they will take everyone's picture (for the KTTW card). You then wait for your boarding number to be called, unless it's Open Boarding at that time.

3. We signed up for an excursion on-line at the Disney Cruise web site and I expected them to ask for a credit card to hold this excursion but did not have to give any information, is that normal? Yes, charges for excursions are done once the cruise gets underway (generally they will show up on the day the excursion is).

4. I know that tips are paid or added on to the charges when we check out but if we order room service do we tip when the food is brought to us or is that also added at the end (unless we choose to give extra tip when delivered?) You can tip in cash at the time of delivery (be quick, sometimes they drop and run). Or you can add tips to the room service bill (if you sign one), that way it will be on your onboard account.

5. Looking for flights home after de-boarding. What is a safe amount of time to give for getting to the airport. I was thinking after 12 noon - what do you think? After 12:00 is perfect.

Thank you all for your cruise knowledge. I'm sure I will have more questions so really appreciate all your help!
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:17 AM   #3
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Your port arrival time is meaningless if you're using DCL transportation. At the resort, you'll receive a letter the day before indicating your pickup time, which can be anywhere between 10:30-1:00 depending on the resort. They'll tell you precisely when and where to meet and ask that you arrive 15 minutes early. Luggage is picked up from your room that morning usually beginning around 8 am.

It probably took us 20 minutes once we got to the port. The two big bottle necks are getting through X-ray and then waiting in line to register. Having your boarding documents ready will help. If you have kids, bypass the kids club sign in and do it onboard as it will be faster there.

Excursion tickets will be waiting in your cabin and charged to your room account using the credit card information you provided.

It is customary to tip room service. I usually tip $2-3 or more depending on what I order. We actually only used it once this last trip.

After 12 is good for return flights especially if you're using onboard checkin and transfers with DCL. You can't use the service for flights before 11:30 and they recommend flights after 12:30.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:22 AM   #4
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Thanks for the quick responses. Appreciate your answers.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:24 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jkrislc View Post
Your port arrival time is meaningless if you're using DCL transportation. At the resort, you'll receive a letter the day before indicating your pickup time, which can be anywhere between 10:30-1:00 depending on the resort. They'll tell you precisely when and where to meet and ask that you arrive 15 minutes early. Luggage is picked up from your room that morning usually beginning around 8 am.

It probably took us 20 minutes once we got to the port. The two big bottle necks are getting through X-ray and then waiting in line to register. Having your boarding documents ready will help. If you have kids, bypass the kids club sign in and do it onboard as it will be faster there.

Excursion tickets will be waiting in your cabin and charged to your room account using the credit card information you provided.

It is customary to tip room service. I usually tip $2-3 or more depending on what I order. We actually only used it once this last trip.

After 12 is good for return flights especially if you're using onboard checkin and transfers with DCL. You can't use the service for flights before 11:30 and they recommend flights after 12:30.
Not exactly, your PAT is tied to your actual boarding number, regardless of when you arrive. Arriving by DCL transfers only mean you will be allowed to enter the terminal, even if it's earlier than your PAT.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:45 AM   #6
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Not exactly, your PAT is tied to your actual boarding number, regardless of when you arrive. Arriving by DCL transfers only mean you will be allowed to enter the terminal, even if it's earlier than your PAT.
We are staying at a Disney-arranged hotel before our Magic cruise out of Galveston. We were not given a PAT since we are using Disney ground transfers. In fact, our online check-in says:

"Since your travel party is staying at a Walt Disney World hotel, you are not required to select an arrival time. You may arrive any time during embarkation hours and board the ship at your leisure after check-in."

I understood that to mean when we arrive, we will be able to check in and then board. Is that not correct? Also, it says check out time for our hotel reservation is 10:00 a.m. (which is earlier than their normal check out time). I assumed we'd be heading to the port at that time.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:22 AM   #7
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We are staying at a Disney-arranged hotel before our Magic cruise out of Galveston. We were not given a PAT since we are using Disney ground transfers. In fact, our online check-in says:

"Since your travel party is staying at a Walt Disney World hotel, you are not required to select an arrival time. You may arrive any time during embarkation hours and board the ship at your leisure after check-in."

I understood that to mean when we arrive, we will be able to check in and then board. Is that not correct? Also, it says check out time for our hotel reservation is 10:00 a.m. (which is earlier than their normal check out time). I assumed we'd be heading to the port at that time.
The earlier posts have been specific to WDW resorts and cruises out of Port Canaveral. Hopefully someone with specific experience in Galveston can answer your questions. I would definitely go by what the paperwork says, and not try to expect it will work the same as WDW resorts, though there may still be a bit of a wait after you check-in at port until boarding, depending on what time you arrive and how quickly boarding begins.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:54 AM   #8
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The earlier posts have been specific to WDW resorts and cruises out of Port Canaveral. Hopefully someone with specific experience in Galveston can answer your questions. I would definitely go by what the paperwork says, and not try to expect it will work the same as WDW resorts, though there may still be a bit of a wait after you check-in at port until boarding, depending on what time you arrive and how quickly boarding begins.

Enjoy your cruise!
All good points that I didn't think about! Thanks
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrislc
Your port arrival time is meaningless if you're using DCL transportation. At the resort, you'll receive a letter the day before indicating your pickup time, which can be anywhere between 10:30-1:00 depending on the resort. They'll tell you precisely when and where to meet and ask that you arrive 15 minutes early. Luggage is picked up from your room that morning usually beginning around 8 am.
I knew they picked up luggage at the Hyatt but did know it was done at Disney resorts too! What happens to the luggage next? I was expecting that it would be under the bus and we would hand it off to porters.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:58 AM   #10
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If staying at a WDW resort using DCL transportation, your luggage will be taken from your room between 8 and 8:30. It will get to the port on a luggage truck (not under the bus) and will be delivered to your cabin on the ship by 5 pm (usually earlier).

Room service procedures have varied many times during the years, even on cruises within a few months of each other. Sometimes they have everyone sign a receipt "to show that you got the food." In this case, there is a line where you can add a charged tip. Other times, you sign only if you ordered a paid item; in that case there is no way to add a charged tip if you did not order paid items. Frankly, it is easiest to take along some singles and just hand the person a couple dollars.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:18 PM   #11
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If staying at a WDW resort using DCL transportation, your luggage will be taken from your room between 8 and 8:30. It will get to the port on a luggage truck (not under the bus) and will be delivered to your cabin on the ship by 5 pm (usually earlier).
Wow, I had no idea! Thank you! We officially have a 2 night stay before, but the reality is that we have a very limited time at the resort before the cruise (we actually get in after midnight on the 6th, and we leave on the 7th for the cruise) so to know how to be prepared luggage-wise, ahead of time, is GOOD.

And thanks to the OP for asking the questions.
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