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Old 01-13-2013, 03:13 PM   #2041
sdlong329
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Originally Posted by margaretstahl View Post
I would love to eat with someone from our group but we can not request a server and also request to sit with other people.
Actually, anyone can request a server, assistant server or head server by name. In addition, guests can have linked reservations ... either in general, or for dining purposes only. The latter is best (unless you are traveling as a group), as nobody else is able to accidentally book an excursion on your behalf ... it also does not throw you off the website when another linked party is online.

Guests are also able to request to be seated at a specific table size (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc), regardless of whether they are linked with anyone. Guests are also able to request to be seated at a specific table number ... with a male or female server ... or a server (etc) from a specific country.

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Old 01-13-2013, 03:32 PM   #2042
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STANDY CAST MEMBERS, gratuities

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Originally Posted by WVURunner View Post
When we boarded the Fantasy in April, DH made a comment about how his water glass will be filled. Well we arrive at dinner and our servers were HORRIBLE. Couldn't understand them, orders were wrong, never got our drinks, etc. We weren't sure if we should complain and try to switch tables or what but we knew we couldn't deal with it for another 6 nights, we had heard others tables complain to the servers etc. Well we didn't do anything about it and arrived for dinner on night two and we had two new AMAZING servers! They were with us for the rest of the week! I am not sure how/why our first servers were removed or if another table got them (I would feel bad for those people) but we were just so thankful!
DCL utilizes a system with STANDY CAST MEMBERS. In essence, there are crew members sailing on every cruise, who are NOT scheduled to work. In the event someone gets sick (quarantined), or, if there is another staffing issue, another crew member cay be activated into service. This is done in order to provide proper service to DCL guests. If your experience a change in cast members (to whom you would normally provide a gratuity), the gratuity you leave on a stateroom charge will normally be divided between the separate cast members, based upon the amount of time they provided service to you. So, if you had assistant server "x" for two nights ... and assistant server "y" for 5 nights ... 2/7th's of your stateroom charged gratuity would normally be provided to server "x", while server "y" would receive 5/7th's of the gratuity. Of course, should you wish to make a change ... feel free to contact Guest Services. As always, you are able to provide additional cash gratuities via cash (often nice to receive cash, to use for spending at ports). As a side note, since we are sailing to Europe, consider providing cash tips in EUROS, since many of those on the EBTA will be sailing in, or spending time in Europe.

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Old 01-13-2013, 03:37 PM   #2043
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Is there any pro's or con's to having late or early dining?
We always do early, because the boys just can't handle staying up really late and keeping it together at a dinner table. Their bedtime is 6:30 (I know, awesome, yeah?!), but obviously we let them stay up later on vacations.

Can someone chime in regarding this sailing in particular as to why late might be better?
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:43 PM   #2044
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DH and I are not parents (yet!) but we will be traveling with my 3 yo niece while her parents stay behind. Should we bring a stroller for her? Or is a backpack type carrier better? I am assuming we won't use the stroller on the cruise and that we would only use it for the airport (where we would want our hands free) and on excursions where a stroller could be a pain. My niece is VERY active.

Any thoughts/advice for this non-momma?
We have seen people bring huge strollers on board and they just get in the way. I would recommend an umbrella stroller folds up easy and is light weight.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:46 PM   #2045
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Originally Posted by twopeasonepod View Post
We always do early, because the boys just can't handle staying up really late and keeping it together at a dinner table. Their bedtime is 6:30 (I know, awesome, yeah?!), but obviously we let them stay up later on vacations.

Can someone chime in regarding this sailing in particular as to why late might be better?
We did late on WBTA with a 5 year old and 15 month old - no issues staying up. Even with gaining an hour each day for 6 timezone changes. Dinner became later and later. They will be 6 and almost 3 this time.

EBTA - we go through seven (?) timezone changes from Galveston... so 8:30 dinner will eventually be like 1:30 in the afternoon by losing an hour so often.

Late also provides for Dine-and-Play so the kids can get picked up by counselors after 45-60 minutes of dinner and the adults finish their dinner. That's something DCL provides with late dining only ; otherwise can get up from dinner to run your kiddos to Kids Club if doing main dining.

We did do main dining last time and were rushed from ports, but not so much of an issue with that this time LOL.

Our bedtime is normally 7:00 if that helps (CST)
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:52 PM   #2046
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Maybe you should ask for some coffee to keep you up while you wait!
We ended up just bringing a cup from deck 9 drink station with us so we knew we would have something to drink! Or sometimes a pre-dinner wine glass.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:57 PM   #2047
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Originally Posted by MandyGirl View Post
We did late on WBTA with a 5 year old and 15 month old - no issues staying up. Even with gaining an hour each day for 6 timezone changes. Dinner became later and later. They will be 6 and almost 3 this time.

EBTA - we go through seven (?) timezone changes from Galveston... so 8:30 dinner will eventually be like 1:30 in the afternoon by losing an hour so often.

Late also provides for Dine-and-Play so the kids can get picked up by counselors after 45-60 minutes of dinner and the adults finish their dinner. That's something DCL provides with late dining only ; otherwise can get up from dinner to run your kiddos to Kids Club if doing main dining.

We did do main dining last time and were rushed from ports, but not so much of an issue with that this time LOL.

Our bedtime is normally 7:00 if that helps (CST)
Ahhh, I get it! Obviously I need more sleep, cuz I was like "yeah so what if it's an hour earlier?" -- but an hour earlier TIMES SEVEN is a whole different story hahaha.

Dine-and-play? I knew it was available but never even considered it. Are we so lame??? What about shows? Do you dress the kids and take them to the shows before dinner?

And yeah, no rushing from ports haha.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:00 PM   #2048
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Originally Posted by MandyGirl View Post
We did late on WBTA with a 5 year old and 15 month old - no issues staying up. Even with gaining an hour each day for 6 timezone changes. Dinner became later and later. They will be 6 and almost 3 this time.

EBTA - we go through seven (?) timezone changes from Galveston... so 8:30 dinner will eventually be like 1:30 in the afternoon by losing an hour so often.

Late also provides for Dine-and-Play so the kids can get picked up by counselors after 45-60 minutes of dinner and the adults finish their dinner. That's something DCL provides with late dining only ; otherwise can get up from dinner to run your kiddos to Kids Club if doing main dining.

We did do main dining last time and were rushed from ports, but not so much of an issue with that this time LOL.

Our bedtime is normally 7:00 if that helps (CST)
Time zone changes and the fun of linking with Disers is what made me decide to change. I know we will be sleeping later with the changes and that will throw off our whole day.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:03 PM   #2049
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Kids and second dining

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Originally Posted by kaseyC View Post
We have Main dining. I was thinking about the Late seating but when I ran it past the girls they were like "No mom, all the fun stuff happens in the club during that time!"
For those kids who are enrolled in the kids clubs ... DCL kids club staff will enter the Main Dining Rooms about 45 minutes into the second seating. They will pick up your kids, and take them back to the kids clubs, if you so desire. If you want your kids to return to the clubs, merely mention this to your servers (2nd seating only) ... they will make sure your kids are fed in proper time.

Those with younger children who have not sailed DCL before ... you will be thrilled to learn DCL servers will cut up your kids food, and will attend to their needs directly (regardless of seating time, or kids clubs). If the kids want ketchup ... the server will bring out a small plate of ketchup (shape of a Mickey head), as Disney does not place a ketchup bottle on the table. If your kid is tired, and does not want to go back to the kids club or stateroom, it is non uncommon for a server to make up a small bed out of 2-3 chairs (one reversed, so they do not fall off the chairs) ... all while Mom and Dad are finishing their meal.

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Old 01-13-2013, 04:07 PM   #2050
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Originally Posted by sdlong329 View Post
For those kids who are enrolled in the kids clubs ... DCL kids club staff will enter the Main Dining Rooms about 45 minutes into the second seating. They will pick up your kids, and take them back to the kids clubs, if you so desire. If you want your kids to return to the clubs, merely mention this to your servers (2nd seating only) ... they will make sure your kids are fed in proper time.

Those with younger children who have not sailed DCL before ... you will be thrilled to learn DCL servers will cut up your kids food, and will attend to their needs directly (regardless of seating time, or kids clubs). If the kids want ketchup ... the server will bring out a small plate of ketchup (shape of a Mickey head), as Disney does not place a ketchup bottle on the table. If your kid is tired, and does not want to go back to the kids club or stateroom, it is non uncommon for a server to make up a small bed out of 2-3 chairs (one reversed, so they do not fall off the chairs) ... all while Mom and Dad are finishing their meal.

Steven
Yep, already know all about that. We've already have made the decision to change to late seating and linking with others. Thanks, though I'm sure your post may help others.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:12 PM   #2051
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Again, yes, I know people miss the ship. It happens if they catch a flight the night before embarkation ... it happens if they book their own flight for the morning OF embarkation. People miss the ship at Port Canaveral when they have landed at MCO at 10AM ... people miss their ship while sitting on a bar stool at Senior Frog's. So, I will say again, does ANYONE know of a single person who missed a DCL ship, because there was a flight delay or cancellation on embarkation day? I do not know anyone, nor have I ever heard (1st or 2nd hand) of anyone. Granted, I imagine some have missed the ship (DCL or otherwise). Regardless, my point is / was ... HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE MADE THEIR CRUISE after DCL scheduled their flight on embarkation day. Referencing Cruise Critic (in general) is a non-issue, as we all know they do not have a DCL presence. Referencing Cruise Critic is a non-issue, as it would be improper to suggest posts on Cruise Critic are ONLY of those who booked DCL cruises with DCL air.

ANYTHING can happen on ANY day ... but, unknowingly scaring someone into thinking they WILL miss the ship if they fly on embarkation day isn't appropriate ... NOR is it appropriate to scare people into thinking they will not be able to board the ship until the 11th day.


Steven
Very true. Wasn't meaning to "scare" anyone. Just share what I have personally been a part of so they can do their own risk analysis. If it is an option, I think it helps to come in the day before if possible and helps decrease (not alleviate) the risk. Some have a 100% success rate of flying in the day of the cruise with no issues and things work like clockwork every time. With hubby rerouting flights and all that for an airline, like with yesterday's fog around the country, I just know flying the day of the cruise has unplanned risk that he sees every day in his industry. All of his flights should have been on the ground by 9:00 last night, and when he left at 10:00 for shift change, some where still not there.

I just mentioned CruiseCritic because I have been on that board for 12+ years... seen lots of stories on that over the years not just DCL-related but cruising in general. I wasn't suggesting "posts on Cruise Critic are ONLY of those who booked DCL cruises with DCL air" but rather cruises and people flying in the day of embarkation on any cruiseline with various sorts of air arrangements (cruiseline, individual, TA, etc). Have read other experiences over there in general. Only been on DIS two years, so not as familiar with past stories shared here.

To each their own; I am just not one who feels comfortable flying in the morning of the cruise based on past experiences. Definitely wishing pixie dust to all as they travel in for any cruise no matter which day it may be.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:15 PM   #2052
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Time zone changes and the fun of linking with Disers is what made me decide to change. I know we will be sleeping later with the changes and that will throw off our whole day.
Awesome! I have read that on previous EBTA crossings, attendance at breakfast gets lighter and lighter... LOL!
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:20 PM   #2053
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I believe smaller groups are better. For those that are doing more than one gift to give over the 2 weeks, going to 15 cabins 3 times over 2 weeks is time consuming. I would limit it to 30 people (adults and kids included) per group, and not so much how many cabins
This is contradictory ... limiting the number of staterooms, but going back to make multiple deliveries to the same staterooms? It is not uncommon for groups to have 60 staterooms, and/or 100+ guests (on a 7-night cruise). Each FE group is different ... some have different suggestions (I do not call them rules). Some individuals prefer to give individual gifts to each person in the group, while others give one gift per stateroom. On a 7-night cruise, we typically hand out FE's, breaking the ship into different groups (different decks, depending on who is participating). On the larger ships, it does not take more than 30 minutes per day, over 2-3 days.

Giving multiple gifts to specific individuals over multiple days closely resembles a Secret Mickey ... though that is usually for a single person or stateroom, versus multiple staterooms. Of course, anyone and everyone is able to do as they wish.


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Old 01-13-2013, 04:29 PM   #2054
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Is there any pro's or con's to having late or early dining?
On a cruise with more ports of call, 2nd dining is often best, as you do not have to RUSH back from your excursion, to get cleaned up, to go to dinner. As a side note, itinerary aside, there are almost always fewer kids at 2nd dining.

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Old 01-13-2013, 04:38 PM   #2055
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I just booked Iceland Air, AMS (Amsterdam) to JFK, ECONOMY COMFORT (which I consider Business Class). Price was about $150 more per person, as compared to Economy / Coach.
We booked our Iceland Air tickets back in July, but when Mother-in-law decided to join we did not book her tickets until November, so prices had changed. Ended up booking her Economy Comfort as well on Iceland Air so she could be on our same exact flights, at least back to JFK. We'll split up from there since flying home to different states. Her price was not bad -- maybe about $200 more than what we paid in summer. Excited for her for extra room!
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