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Old 03-09-2013, 09:07 PM   #1
Blessedwithboys
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A total newbie- Not even sure if cruising is right for us! Help us decide

We took our first Disney trip last year and loved it. We were planning on going back to Disney and doing the parks again this September but then a friend mentioned cruising to us and it really does look like fun. But I am not sure if it is right for us... I have read through quite a few threads but I need all the newbie info compiled in one place

Here is a bit about my family and a few questions.... going on the cruise would be myself, DH and our two sons 5 and 2. We are all about family time we were not planning on going on the trip to get alone adult time so dropping the kids off at a club is just not for us. Our boys love meeting characters, and shows!! We love the go, go, go of the parks and exploring all new things. We love character dining in the parks.
Do you think there is enough for us to do as a family on board? How about in port? Are characters plentiful on the cruise? We were thinking of doing one day at MK staying at pop the day before cruising does Disney have shuttle service from Pop to port? What about from port to airport on return day? What time of day do you actually get off the ship if it lists 7:35am?
Is dining kid friendly? What is the deposit info/pay off schedule?

Sorry for all the airheaded questions but these are things I did not find answers to after a few pages... LOL
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:24 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blessedwithboys View Post
We took our first Disney trip last year and loved it. We were planning on going back to Disney and doing the parks again this September but then a friend mentioned cruising to us and it really does look like fun. But I am not sure if it is right for us... I have read through quite a few threads but I need all the newbie info compiled in one place

Here is a bit about my family and a few questions.... going on the cruise would be myself, DH and our two sons 5 and 2. We are all about family time we were not planning on going on the trip to get alone adult time so dropping the kids off at a club is just not for us. Our boys love meeting characters, and shows!! We love the go, go, go of the parks and exploring all new things. We love character dining in the parks.
Do you think there is enough for us to do as a family on board? How about in port? Are characters plentiful on the cruise? We were thinking of doing one day at MK staying at pop the day before cruising does Disney have shuttle service from Pop to port? What about from port to airport on return day? What time of day do you actually get off the ship if it lists 7:35am?
Is dining kid friendly? What is the deposit info/pay off schedule?

Sorry for all the airheaded questions but these are things I did not find answers to after a few pages... LOL
Well, let's see --

There are lots of things to do onboard. We've been on 6 DCL cruises and still haven't done everything that's offered.

In port, you can either book excursions or do your own thing. Doing your own thing will involve some research as to what is available in each port.

Lots of characters onboard. Lots of meet and greets, and just walking around.

DCL transfers from WDW resorts to port and port to MCO cost $35 per person each way.

Generally, the "big doors" open for disembarkation around 7:30. Depending on how far back in line you are, you'll get off fairly quickly or not so much.

Dining is definately kid friendly - it's Disney!

For the most part you don't have to pay anything after your deposit until your paid in full date (usually around 75 days out from cruise). You can pay off within that time frame as you wish.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blessedwithboys View Post
Here is a bit about my family and a few questions.... going on the cruise would be myself, DH and our two sons 5 and 2. We are all about family time we were not planning on going on the trip to get alone adult time so dropping the kids off at a club is just not for us. Our boys love meeting characters, and shows!! We love the go, go, go of the parks and exploring all new things. We love character dining in the parks.
Do you think there is enough for us to do as a family on board? How about in port? Are characters plentiful on the cruise? We were thinking of doing one day at MK staying at pop the day before cruising does Disney have shuttle service from Pop to port? What about from port to airport on return day? What time of day do you actually get off the ship if it lists 7:35am?
Is dining kid friendly? What is the deposit info/pay off schedule?
Just my thoughts, YES there is plenty to keep you busy as a FAMILY, lots of character meet n greets and the shows are great. I believe you have kids at a great age to cruise DCL (again just my opinion)

Yes you can catch a DCL Shuttle from Disney resorts to port. Yes you can use the DCL shuttle from port to airport. Schedule with your TA or Disney in advance you will be fine.

Ship arrives in port at 7:30ish on disembarkation morning, and you begin getting off ship between 7:30 and have to have ship cleared and everyone off by 9:30am.

Dining is very very kid friendly - it IS Disney

Deposit amount varies depending on many things, cruise, insurance included, total cost... average deposit I would say is between $800 - $2000 (unless you add on airfare, then that has to be paid in full at deposit of cruise time).

Final balance is due about 45-60 days prior to your sail date.

Hope this helps answer some of your questions/concerns.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:28 PM   #4
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Hope this answers a few of your questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blessedwithboys View Post
We took our first Disney trip last year and loved it. We were planning on going back to Disney and doing the parks again this September but then a friend mentioned cruising to us and it really does look like fun. But I am not sure if it is right for us... I have read through quite a few threads but I need all the newbie info compiled in one place

Here is a bit about my family and a few questions.... going on the cruise would be myself, DH and our two sons 5 and 2. We are all about family time we were not planning on going on the trip to get alone adult time so dropping the kids off at a club is just not for us. Our boys love meeting characters, and shows!! We love the go, go, go of the parks and exploring all new things. We love character dining in the parks.
Do you think there is enough for us to do as a family on board? How about in port? Are characters plentiful on the cruise? We were thinking of doing one day at MK staying at pop the day before cruising does Disney have shuttle service from Pop to port? What about from port to airport on return day? What time of day do you actually get off the ship if it lists 7:35am?
Is dining kid friendly? What is the deposit info/pay off schedule?

Sorry for all the airheaded questions but these are things I did not find answers to after a few pages... LOL
I booked my first cruise for this November, so I will answer the questions that I can and leave the rest to the veterans.

Yes they do have shuttle service from Pop to Port and from Port to MCO (Airport). The cost is $35/per person one way, so it sounds like it would be $70/ round trip for each of you times 4= $280. Instead, I booked a one way car rental from MCO to Port and from Port to MCO. We plan on my husband taking a taxi to MCO from Boardwalk Villas to pick up the car and return to pick us up and then head to the Port, stopping off to get bottled water and any other little thing we might need last minute to take on the cruise. I rented a full-size car round trip for $100. This was much more cost effective and we could make a stop at a store on the way, plus we didn't have to wait for the shuttle, which I think delivers you much later than we want to get to Port.

On the last day when the ship returns to the Port, if you are using the shuttle and have a flight time of before 1pm, you must get off the ship by 8am to meet the shuttle that takes you to the airport. If you have a flight after 1pm, then you must get off the ship no later than 9am. (THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE LATEST YOU CAN BE ON THE SHIP ANYWAY, AS THEY MUST GET THE SHIP PREPARED FOR THE ARRIVING GUESTS.)

From all the research I have done over the past 3 1/2 months, the dining is VERY kid friendly. They have tons of EVERYTHING to eat. Just like the Disney Parks, you stated you enjoy Character Dining, they have the same sorts of offerings for children on the cruise and probably more. You can check out the menus for the particular ship you would be cruising to see all the offerings.

If I remember correctly the deposit is 10% of your total. We booked in November for the following November and our final payment is due August 31st. If we failed to make the final payment by then, our reservation would be cancelled. Cancellation fees would be assessed and then a partial refund would be made.

As for things to do on the cruise, I think you would stay plenty entertained. We are only doing a 3 night cruise as we are first time cruisers and I worried, that if we were seasick or didn't like it, that we can handle 3 days. I would suggest looking at some Navigators (The daily plans for the cruise you plan to book.) For instance, I would look for the 3 night Navigator's for the Dream to Nassau, to see what types of activiites are offered.

I hope that some of this information answers your questions. Good luck planning
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:38 PM   #5
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Yes, I think there's plenty to do on a cruise and your kids would love it! It is possible to be on the go, go, go on a Disney cruise, we've been on two and I'm trying to slow down a bit on board.

The kids' clubs have open house time, usually a few hours each day, when you can go in with your kids and do an activity together. I went with my 2-year-old into the Oceaneer Club during open house and watched her do the Mousketeer in Training organized activity, which had an appearance by Mickey Mouse. I went with my 5-year-old to the Oceaneer Lab for the Ratatoille Cooking School class.

They do have a lot of family game shows and activities, but we haven't made it to any yet.

While the dining is kid-friendly, dinner is usually 90 minutes long. My kids (ages 8, 5 and 2) have a hard time sitting through a meal for that long. On our 2 cruises, we've all dined together at Animator's Palette, but a few other nights they ate in the kids' clubs and we were all much happier.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blessedwithboys View Post
We took our first Disney trip last year and loved it. We were planning on going back to Disney and doing the parks again this September but then a friend mentioned cruising to us and it really does look like fun. But I am not sure if it is right for us... I have read through quite a few threads but I need all the newbie info compiled in one place

Here is a bit about my family and a few questions.... going on the cruise would be myself, DH and our two sons 5 and 2. We are all about family time we were not planning on going on the trip to get alone adult time so dropping the kids off at a club is just not for us. Our boys love meeting characters, and shows!! We love the go, go, go of the parks and exploring all new things. We love character dining in the parks.
Do you think there is enough for us to do as a family on board? How about in port? Are characters plentiful on the cruise? We were thinking of doing one day at MK staying at pop the day before cruising does Disney have shuttle service from Pop to port? What about from port to airport on return day? What time of day do you actually get off the ship if it lists 7:35am?
Is dining kid friendly? What is the deposit info/pay off schedule?

Sorry for all the airheaded questions but these are things I did not find answers to after a few pages... LOL
I am just off my first cruise on the Dream. I am also a go, go, go person and thought the cruise might be a little boring.......NOT. There is plenty to do and plenty to do as a family. There were 11 of us, my whole family. 4 kids, ages 16, 13, 10 and 4. Not one of them spent more than an hour or two in the kid's clubs the whole cruise. We hung out together and had a great time. Characters are everywhere! I was decorating out stateroom doors and Ariel just happened to walk by and asked if she could help! Then my mom and dad got lost going back to their room and ran into Peter Pan and he helped them find their room. I got into an elevator with Goofy. So fun!

No, you don't have to get off the ship at 7:35am. We had breakfast at 8am and then took our time and got off around 9:15am. We were some of the last to get off....we had a late flight, so we were stalling a little.

Castaway Cay is AMAZING and wonderful for a family. We met Jack Sparrow there and other characters too. Loved, loved, Castaway.

Yes, you can get a Disney Cruise bus from Pop, but we used a town car service. The $70 per person round trip for the Disney bus was a bit much for the 11 of us. The town car was $120 plus tip on the way there and then because our flight was late, we rented a van for the way back and stopped for lunch and shopping before going to the airport.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blessedwithboys View Post
We took our first Disney trip last year and loved it. We were planning on going back to Disney and doing the parks again this September but then a friend mentioned cruising to us and it really does look like fun. But I am not sure if it is right for us... I have read through quite a few threads but I need all the newbie info compiled in one place

Here is a bit about my family and a few questions.... going on the cruise would be myself, DH and our two sons 5 and 2. We are all about family time we were not planning on going on the trip to get alone adult time so dropping the kids off at a club is just not for us. Our boys love meeting characters, and shows!! We love the go, go, go of the parks and exploring all new things. We love character dining in the parks.
Do you think there is enough for us to do as a family on board? How about in port? Are characters plentiful on the cruise? We were thinking of doing one day at MK staying at pop the day before cruising does Disney have shuttle service from Pop to port? What about from port to airport on return day? What time of day do you actually get off the ship if it lists 7:35am?
Is dining kid friendly? What is the deposit info/pay off schedule?

Sorry for all the airheaded questions but these are things I did not find answers to after a few pages... LOL
Deposit is 20% of trip price. There are many family activities, character meets and a family pool. Food is friendly even to picky eaters since I am one. I found that the cruise is more inclusive than a Disney World trip even with a dining plan at Disney World. The only things a really had to pay for was specialty drinks and a few items from the gift shop and tips. There is no character meals on the new ships. Our server did small tricks though at dinner that entertained us. Depending on which ship you are on, on new ships there is basically a similar show to "Turtle Talk with Crush". It is much more relaxing than the parks but still plenty of activities to do.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kammom18
If I remember correctly the deposit is 10% of your total.
Deposits are 20% of cruise fare, which is not the total amount (taxes & port fees). They are fully refundable until the Paid In Full date (usually 75 days before sailing but not always) except for concierge rooms.

The 10% deposit is currently only offered when rebooking while onboard.
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Old 03-09-2013, 11:16 PM   #9
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We sailed for the 1st time back in September, dd 7 at the time & she loved being in the kids club. Would ask to go back (because she made friends too) my ds 2 at the time hung out w us or for our adult date night stayed in the nursery. We did not have enough time to enjoy everything the ship had to offer. We are book again, but this time my ds will be able to play in the kids club because he will be 3! So excited. I got good deals looking into the wholesale membership clubs regarding deposit, so shop around for best option for you.
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Old 03-09-2013, 11:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Meghatron View Post
Deposits are 20% of cruise fare, which is not the total amount (taxes & port fees). They are fully refundable until the Paid In Full date (usually 75 days before sailing but not always) except for concierge rooms.

The 10% deposit is currently only offered when rebooking while onboard.
That's strange, because I booked my cruise on Black Friday, November 23rd, 2012 from my home, for our cruise November 14th, 2013 3 night in a 4E. The total was $2190 and the deposit amount was $195.60 which is 10% of the "cruise fare?"
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Old 03-09-2013, 11:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kammom18 View Post
That's strange, because I booked my cruise on Black Friday, November 23rd, 2012 from my home, for our cruise November 14th, 2013 3 night in a 4E. The total was $2190 and the deposit amount was $195.60 which is 10% of the "cruise fare?"
I believe they were running a special at the time, but it is normally (which is how it is right now) 20%.

As for the OP, I would suggest you do a shorter cruise so that you can see if cruising is for you. You can tack on a couple days at the World if you want to make it a week vacation.
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Old 03-09-2013, 11:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kammom18 View Post
That's strange, because I booked my cruise on Black Friday, November 23rd, 2012 from my home, for our cruise November 14th, 2013 3 night in a 4E. The total was $2190 and the deposit amount was $195.60 which is 10% of the "cruise fare?"
They had a temporary deal going late last year that was a 10% deposit if booked by a certain date, which sounds like what you got. That promotion is now over, so the OP can't take advantage of it.

ETA: I just checked and the 10% shoreside deposit promotion ran from November 5 to December 16, 2012. If you didn't know about it when you booked, then you got lucky. Congrats!
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:09 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by MissDaisyofTexas
Yes, I think there's plenty to do on a cruise and your kids would love it! It is possible to be on the go, go, go on a Disney cruise, we've been on two and I'm trying to slow down a bit on board.

The kids' clubs have open house time, usually a few hours each day, when you can go in with your kids and do an activity together. I went with my 2-year-old into the Oceaneer Club during open house and watched her do the Mousketeer in Training organized activity, which had an appearance by Mickey Mouse. I went with my 5-year-old to the Oceaneer Lab for the Ratatoille Cooking School class.

They do have a lot of family game shows and activities, but we haven't made it to any yet.

While the dining is kid-friendly, dinner is usually 90 minutes long. My kids (ages 8, 5 and 2) have a hard time sitting through a meal for that long. On our 2 cruises, we've all dined together at Animator's Palette, but a few other nights they ate in the kids' clubs and we were all much happier.


Question.... Are all dinners typically 90 minutes long? Our 3 year old wont make it that long :/

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Old 03-10-2013, 01:16 AM   #14
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Question.... Are all dinners typically 90 minutes long? Our 3 year old wont make it that long :/

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If the 3-year-old is FULLY potty trained (bathroom independent-no help needed) then he/she can go to the clubs while you finish dinner. The servers will ask if you want his/her meal brought first. If you have second seating, the club CMs will come to the dining room for pickup about 45 min after dinner starts; if you have main seating, it's a quick walk to take a kid up there and come back down. We do it almost every night.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:00 AM   #15
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Question.... Are all dinners typically 90 minutes long? Our 3 year old wont make it that long :/

Sent from my iPad using DISBoards
When DH, DD and I had a table to ourselves, we were in and out in an hour or less (early seating). It was the second leg of a B2B cruise, though, with the same server and head server (different assistant) so I think that helped.
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