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Old 07-21-2009, 10:48 AM   #1
Tina81980
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Want to try DCL..money saving tips?

Hello Everyone! I have been a lurker for a few weeks but decided to post for the first time. My husband and I went on our first cruise in June. We were on the Carnival Sensation out of Port Canaveral. While we loved "cruising" we did not love the ship. While in port we saw the Disney boat and it was beautiful and we vowed to take our babies on that ship while they would still be wowed by the characters. Our 4 year old LOVES Mickey & friends, and our 8 & 6 year old's love Disney on ice etc. However when pricing it we were shocked.

Due to my husband's job we can only vacation during the months of April-October but due to school June thru early August is the best. Our school system is VERY strict on attendance. My son was absent 4 days this past school year due to his appendix and we were told if he was absent again child services would be called.

We went ahead and booked a 5 day eastern caribbean on Carnival's Destiny out of Miami, but we would love to go on DCL. I keep trying to price it in hopes that we could swing it but a 4 day DCL cruise with 2 inside rooms would cost $5,000 $2,000 more than our 5 day with a balcony. What is the likelyhood that Disney will offer the kids sail 50% off or free again? Is there any way to cut these costs? Any help would be great!

Tina
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:37 AM   #2
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If you can wait for a while for your cruise you can save a ton by booking far in advance. We are also a family of 5.

In Jan. 2008 we booked 2 cat. 10 connecting rooms for a 7 night cruise in Aug. 2009 (4 weeks from now). We paid $4999 total. We also have a $100 ship board credit per cabin.

While waiting for our cruise we went to WDW in Aug. 2008 and April 2009.

Hope it helps.
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:48 AM   #3
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We booked a 3 day cruise in September and paid $299 a person for a cat 12. Can't beat that. We've always cruised in September/October/November because the rates are lower due to hurricane season.
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:49 AM   #4
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BTW, we booked our September 2009 cruise in March 2009.
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dr.Girlfriend View Post
We booked a 3 day cruise in September and paid $299 a person for a cat 12. Can't beat that. We've always cruised in September/October/November because the rates are lower due to hurricane season.
We've gotten this rate in january and november. Altho I realize those dates are during school (which works for us!)
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:14 PM   #6
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The significance in cost is always going to be when you cruise (time of year) and what category you cruise. So, some times of year will always be more expensive, i.e. Thanksgiving will be more expensive because it is a holiday.

You may want to look at staying in a cheaper category and yet still travel at a peak time...
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:20 PM   #7
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Did you say DCL and money saving in the same sentence? Sorry.

I would say you would want to look at shorter cruises and connecting inside staterooms for your family of 5 as you have done. Book as far in advance as possible. As the ship fills up, the prices go up. As soon as new dates are released this fall look into those. It is hard with your dates as that is a busy season. Sorry.
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Old 07-21-2009, 06:03 PM   #8
Tina81980
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Thanks for all of your replies. I knew that DCL would be more expensive but I did not realize that there would be such a difference. I did a fake booking for October for a 3 day and the price was great I just wish that the school system was a little better to deal with. Is there ever any last minute deals? Perhaps if my kiddos do not miss to much school we could do a last minute cruise towards the end of the school year? When would summer 2011 dates come out? Thanks again and I hope to be changing my booking to DCL!

Tina
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Old 07-21-2009, 06:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tina81980 View Post
Thanks for all of your replies. I knew that DCL would be more expensive but I did not realize that there would be such a difference. I did a fake booking for October for a 3 day and the price was great I just wish that the school system was a little better to deal with. Is there ever any last minute deals? Perhaps if my kiddos do not miss to much school we could do a last minute cruise towards the end of the school year? When would summer 2011 dates come out? Thanks again and I hope to be changing my booking to DCL!

Tina
Our school is very strict about following Texas attendance laws. I have a friend that 'home schools' her kids until the end of August or Middle of September each year. Her kids are not counted absent just as 'no-shows' until they show up on their first day. They always take amazing trips. If I wasn't a teacher I'd do the same thing too, or take them out and home school them begining in May after all of our state tests. Prices go WAY down at the end of Aug and Sept!
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:40 PM   #10
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Hi Tina! I too, was a little apprehensive about the cost of DCL vs. other cruiseline prices. I found a great deal by booking almost a year in advance. Got an inside stateroom (Cat. 12) the week before Christmas for $1200 for our family of 3. It is a 4 day cruise and we are very excited. I really don't care that we are inside since we really don't do anything in room other than sleep. At prices that low, we were also able to tack on a few days at Disney prior to sailing and a few other days at SeaWorld after we return. We will be taking our DS out of school just a couple of days ahead of Christmas break but the school isn't as concerned about that time frame vs. other times during the year.
Hopefully with the help of the Disboards, you'll find a way to make the DCL work for your family as well.
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Old 07-23-2009, 08:49 AM   #11
Tina81980
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Again thanks for all of the replies. I believe that we have made the decision to just go for it. I called the superintendent for our school district to see about their policy on vacation time and I am still waiting on the return call. If they will allow the 3 or 4 day absence we will cruise either early Sept around labor day or sometime in Oct. If they won't allow it then I think we will just stop all "extra" spending and save all we can to cruise DCL in June as I think my kids, DH, and I would simply love it. As soon as I saw that boat in port when we went on our Carnival cruise I had a strong desire to get on it.

Tina
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Old 07-23-2009, 10:11 AM   #12
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Suggestion: check multiple travel agents. They usually buy blocks of rooms in bulk and their prices can look cheaper relative to the Disney Cruise website. I don't know anything about our host Dreams Unlimited but I do know AAA and Costco have some pretty good rates for cruising. Good luck! (As an aside the price is TOTALLY worth it!)
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Old 07-23-2009, 05:35 PM   #13
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We have cruised DCL twice now. The first was in March 2007 during Spring Break (booked 6 weeks prior to sailing) and we paid $799/pp for two Cat 12 guaranty staterooms and were upgraded to two 11s. We sailed again May 30, 2009 (booked 6 months prior to sailing)for $599/pp for two Cat 12 guaranty cabins and were upgraded to cat 9s. My personal opinion is that while you can spend a small fortune, you certainly don't have to. For the very best savings, guaranty 12 is the way to go. I kept on eye on the May 30th Western that we went on that was shown being sold out of inside cabins about 2 months before sailing and then at the two week mark, guaranty 12 opened back up for $599. Both cruises we have booked through Expedia. I think the pricing is luck of the draw for the most part with the exception of holidays, which are outrageous. I don't think I would ever book directly through Disney, but that's just me.
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Old 07-23-2009, 06:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tina81980 View Post
Again thanks for all of the replies. I believe that we have made the decision to just go for it. I called the superintendent for our school district to see about their policy on vacation time and I am still waiting on the return call. If they will allow the 3 or 4 day absence we will cruise either early Sept around labor day or sometime in Oct. If they won't allow it...

Tina
I think you may have to make your decision on your own. I suspect strongly that your superintendent may offer you one of two "party lines" - and neither will help you.

First, federal aid for schools is based on the number of days pupils actually attend. The super will probably trot this fact out and give you some variation of "If your kids don't show up for school, they're costing our district money..."

And/or:

"Ever day of school is important. If I let *your* kids do this, I'll have to let everyone do this..."

We are firm believers in quality family time - within reason, of course. IMHO, if parents make the difficult decision to infrequently pull kids from school for a few days for a memorable vacation - educators should be as supportive as they can be. There may be parents who abuse this type of flexibility, but not everyone can vacation during "official" vacation times all the time. Just my two cents... Yanking kids from school is a very hotly (and frequently!) debated topic here on the DIS!

Good luck with your decision and trip planning!
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:33 PM   #15
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I had a cat 10 in May. I had room 2601. I loved the location and the room. I was on a group cruise and I had quite a few people come check it out. A couple people rebooked on the cruise and requested my room. Here are a few pictures. These rooms have a ton of storage. I have been on Carnival 6 times and I really liked the Disney staterooms better. The only thing I didn't like was the TV. The Wonder has NOT had the TV's changed. THey have to be the smallest TV's I've seen in a long time. I did not like the selection of channels either. I don't watch very much TV on vacation but I do turn it on when I'm getting ready in the morning and in the evening.









I loved the double steamer trunk for storage. I was the only one who had it.



This room sleeps 4. The couch becomes a bed and I had a pull down bed too.




Here are a few pictures of the split bath. This is the bath closer to beds.




This is the bath closer to the door. I loved the shelves in the corner.










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