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Old 04-06-2013, 01:32 PM   #1
Doingitagain
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Looking for advice traveling with grandparents

We are booking the Disney Fantasy Eastern Caribbean in July 2014. For the first time, we are bringing four grandparents, all in their 80s. I am looking for any recommendations any of you have.

Background:
We will have a party of 9 (4 platinum, one silver, four first timers), five staterooms. They are all mobile (no scooters, wheel chairs or canes now, but you never know 15 months from now).

Questions:
Any suggestions on how to better improve their experience on the ship?

Any suggestions on what to do in port St Maarten/St. Thomas/St. John?

We want to go to Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay, plan to try for a cabana since we have 9 people. Will we need to book two cabanas or will they let us pay a surcharge and have 9 people in one cabana? I am OK paying the cost for two cabanas, especially if we can get 2 close together (I think # 19 and 20?)

I read somewhere they have golf carts to take you to and from the Serenity Bay cabana at the beginning and end of day, and for lunch. Is that the case? It would be great because walking across the sand to the cabanas at the end of the beach would be difficult for the grandparents.

Any recommendations for stateroom location? We are going to try to book Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah (category 4) for at least four of the rooms. We want the extra space and want to make this a special first time and probably only time cruise for the grandparents.

How hard is it to get a table for nine on first seating? Do we link the five reservations and put in a request?

How do we book a table for 9 brunch at Palo or Remy?

We plan to buy DCL insurance. If the grandparents need to cancel, can we use their deposit in the future or does it stay under their name? I am paying the deposit. Same question if it happens after paid in full date.

TIA for all your help!
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:59 PM   #2
Namsupak
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Here are a two of the questions

Questions:
Any suggestions on what to do in port St Maarten/St. Thomas/St. John?
Get a private van and have a private tour, that way things will be on your own time and the schedule can be adjusted if needed.

How hard is it to get a table for nine on first seating? Do we link the five reservations and put in a request?

Shouldn't be a problem, normally serving teams have groups of 18-20 people, so you would be like half of their section. Linking the reservations is the key and then when you get on the ship go to where they are making dining changes just to double check. Put the request on your reservation asap.
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Old 04-06-2013, 02:11 PM   #3
DuckMom
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Find a good TA to help with all that! We did a large family group in January and our TA handled all that for us

Is it all adults or kids too? We were on that same itinerary. I can send you some thoughts (we had a scooter which limited us a bit and lots of kids!)
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:00 PM   #4
Doingitagain
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Thank you, I appreciate any suggestions!
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:18 PM   #5
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We took my 85yo Mom and 87yo Mother in law on their first cruise on a 5 night Canadian in Sept. They LOVED it. A couple of observations though:
1. There is a lot of walking on the ship, so if any have knee/hip/foot problems, be prepared to slow down, and allow them time to just sit a bit if needed.
2. If they are not overly active at home, they may just want to spend some quiet time in their stateroom. My mom liked the shows, but found the seats uncomfortable, so one afternoon, she watched that evenings show on the TV.
3. The dining rooms can be quite noisy. If they have hearing problems, be prepared to repeat yourself. Or make sure that a non-hearing impaired person sits beside them.
4. The print on the dining room menus can be small. I ended up reading the menu most nights so that they knew what was available.

Most of all, enjoy the grandparents being with you. It is a very special thing to be able to have them there and and to be able to show them new things.
Have a great time.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:09 AM   #6
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My 83 yr old mother, who is pretty mobile, needed one of those rolling walkers on our last few cruises. Especially good because it has a seat for the few times we were in long lines. We also always get rooms as close to the elevators as possible, saves walking and makes them easy to find. Although very well traveled, she is from the "pay cash" generation and was very uncomfortable charging everything to the room. I think I did not fully explain it to her beforehand. She got upset when even the gift shop would not take money.
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