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Old 03-07-2013, 09:31 AM   #1
kehonuamemano's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 203

DCL or Princess: Help Us Decide

True confession: No judgment please. I am looking for your help to make a tough decision.

First of all I want to say that I am incredibly grateful and know that we are lucky that this is our most difficult decision right now. There are some families and people whose lives are so difficult right now and I am eternally grateful that we are in a position to worry about vacations and not food, shelter, job security, home, health, etc issues.

Also I know there are no bad choices but we are struggling to decide what to do. Help!

Details: We (Me, DH, DD 6) are currently booked on two cruises for the same time period, one on DCL and one on Princess (GASP!). Since we can’t be in two places at one time, we need to make a decision.

Background: We have been on 4 DCL cruises: MED 2010, S. Caribbean XMAS 2010, FANTASY 2012, and CANADA 2012. We have never cruised on another line. I should also note my DH and I have very different ideas on what constitutes a vacation. He requires a beach, sand, and warm weather. I am more high maintenance and require history, excursions, exciting ports of call etc. Instead of trying to find a trip to compromise we tend to switch off as you can probably see just from looking at our DCL cruise history.

Details Cruise 1: The DCL cruise is for 7/13-7/25 leaving Barcelona and traveling to: Villefranche, France; La Spezia, Italy (Florence, Pisa); Civitavecchia, Italy (Rome); Piraeus, Greece (Athens); Kusadasi, Turkey (Ephesus); Mykonos, Greece; Valletta, Malta.

PROS: Kids Club. Our DD 6 loves the kid club on the “old mickey boat” as she calls it. To the point where we literally have to force her to come to dinner, go on excursions with us, go to bed at night etc. (a big PRO but a slight CON sometimes).

Sea Days: Four sea days means lots of much needed rest and relaxation especially between the intensive port schedules.

DISNEY MAGIC-this needs no explanation on this cruise forum. The little touches to the grand gestures, the characters, the shows, and the staff, it's just MAGIC, pun intended.

CONS: Itinerary. The May 2010 MED cruise had a similar itinerary and we really overworked ourselves trying to do as much as possible. Consequently, for the 2013 MED itinerary we are excited to go to Greece, it’s a bucket list item for me, but not for much else. I know I want to shop in Villfranche, maybe go to Gozo in Malta, possibly go to Florence (we went to Cinque Terre last time) and probably stay on the ship for Rome. But the itinerary doesn’t wow us to be honest.

Price: Ouch! My husband will never get over the sticker shock of this cruise. We are booked in one of the cheapest categories, 11B and the total cost for the cruise with airfare is over 11K! Even with finding airfare on our own, the cost will still be over 10, 500. And this doesn’t even count excursions, expenses, onboard charges, etc.

Details Cruise 2: The Princess cruise is for 7/11-7/23 leaving from Venice and traveling to: Overnight in Venice; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu, Greece; Katakolon, Greece; Piraeus, Greece (Athens); Mykonos, Greece; Kusadasi, Turkey (Ephesus); Santorini, Greece; Naples, Italy; and disembarking at Civitavecchia, Italy (Rome).

PROS: Itinerary. I want to see Greece and with the Princess itinerary I can see the varied parts of Greece from the city to the country mainland and a couple of the islands. Also, we have never been to Venice or Croatia so those would be new places to explore.

Price: We are booked in a similar sized cabin, minus of course the split bathrooms and the extra space Disney cabins have. However, Princess will pay for a large portion of our flights. So the total cost for the trip with airfare will be around 7500. That amounts to an almost 4K savings over DCL and 3K if we selected our own airfare. (Side note: We are traveling from Boston; airfare is around 1300 per person for both itineraries and 1100 is we were to fly from NYC).

Ship: The Ruby Princess is 10 years newer then DCL Magic. I’ve heard it’s a beautiful, well maintained ship. While people have been reporting the DCL Magic has been showing its age an assessment I didn’t see on our September 2012 CANDNA cruise. But I can agree it’s very creaky.

CONS: Kids Club. I don’t know much about Princess but I can see from their website the hours of the kids club, the activities for our daughter’s age group, etc are of course will be a considerable downgrade from DCL. Also, I trust DCL with my child. We have left her on the ship all day for excursions and not only was she safe we had to beg her to leave the kids club so we could have dinner together. I don’t trust Princess, yet.

THE UNKNOWN. When we decided to first cruise on DCL we had strong recommendations with pictures, videos, souvenirs, etc from friends who had cruised before. The DIS Boards and all of you convinced us that DCL was the right choice. For Princess I don’t have the same. I know people who have been on the cruise but not people with children. I am not sure what to expect. Is there a Passporter for Princess cruise line j/k All this leaves me with is a sense of angst.

Decision timeframe: To take advantage of the Princess deal we have to pay in full by March 15, 2013, when the flight promotion ends (are they trying to lure people away from DCL)? However we can cancel by April 27, 2013 for a full refund. (Does anyone here have any feedback on canceling a Princess cruise)?

DCL final payment date is March 15, 2013 and we have a substantial amount in deposit, plus DCL reward points applied to this cruise. Assuming that the price of this cruise doesn’t go up, and it could (which I cannot imagine who is making up these prices at DCL), we can move our current ressie to our planned Alaska 2014 (we were going to book this onboard) or something else. Then move it back or book a new ressie for DCL MED 2013 and find flights on our own if we decide against Princess.

Okay, now that I have given you my entire life story. What do you think we should do?

BOTTOM LINE: Is DCL worth the additional 4K? Am I being realistic or do I need to break the emotional attachment to DCL.

P.S. We are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary on this trip

Last edited by kehonuamemano; 03-07-2013 at 02:08 PM.
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