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Old 01-13-2013, 03:47 PM   #2056
rbw5t
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Originally Posted by kyra's mommy View Post
Hi Mandy!

We have late dining too. We actually had main dining but the Disney TA convinced me to change to late because of the time change and the kids club. I had no idea, so I was really grateful to her for the advice. Hopefully, they'll put us close to you and maybe we'll still get another family to sit with us.
We are cruising with our 5 yr old DS and 1 yr old DD. At home, we usually eat late, but signed up for early dining for the cruise because when we've cruised in the past DS has loved going to the shows after dinner. This will be our first Disney cruise, so if the scheduling is different, we'd love to know. Is it possible to catch an early show before the late seating? I had been thinking the only way see the shows each night was to do the early dinner and then go to the show. If others with young kids are doing the late dinner, we may have to rethink things. Thanks!
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:03 PM   #2057
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Originally Posted by rbw5t View Post
We are cruising with our 5 yr old DS and 1 yr old DD. At home, we usually eat late, but signed up for early dining for the cruise because when we've cruised in the past DS has loved going to the shows after dinner. This will be our first Disney cruise, so if the scheduling is different, we'd love to know. Is it possible to catch an early show before the late seating? I had been thinking the only way see the shows each night was to do the early dinner and then go to the show. If others with young kids are doing the late dinner, we may have to rethink things. Thanks!
Yes, I believe you can see the show before dinner. I remember the ta telling me that.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:14 PM   #2058
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Originally Posted by sdlong329 View Post
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.

Steven
I am not so sure about this. When our assist. server missed a night due to illness, the crew member that filled in for her told us he was pulled from the working in the galley and had nevered served before. While he was horrible, we knew it would be only for the night and understood. Our serve team was serving in the dining rooms after they left us, we saw them through the window while they were serving early dinner. We also had the server one time for lunch. It was a little uncomfortable.

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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.
I agree, everyone has their own comfort level and knows what that level is. Some only feel comfortable doing disney excursions while others will do private and some fly in in advance while others don't. These are personal chocies that people make and it is only up to them to make these choices.
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Originally Posted by rbw5t View Post
We are cruising with our 5 yr old DS and 1 yr old DD. At home, we usually eat late, but signed up for early dining for the cruise because when we've cruised in the past DS has loved going to the shows after dinner. This will be our first Disney cruise, so if the scheduling is different, we'd love to know. Is it possible to catch an early show before the late seating? I had been thinking the only way see the shows each night was to do the early dinner and then go to the show. If others with young kids are doing the late dinner, we may have to rethink things. Thanks!
We have never done early seating before. DH and I eat late at home, around 8:30 so it always seemed normal for us. We started crusing DCL when my niece was 3 and nephew was 6. They were fine during late seating and normally had a 7pm bedtime at home. They loved dine and play. We loved not having to rush to dinner after just returning to the ship. We also like not being rushed at dinner because no one else was coming in after us, we could take our time and order coffee with dessert and chat. This time around, my Mom said she will only do early seating. I am not overly happy with this but there aren't a lot of ports of call so I guess we will give it a shot. It is just going to mess with the way we eat on the ship! DH and I are early risers so we normally do a room service breakfast before we run, return to room and get ready, have a real breakfast around 8, have lunch at noon and then have a large snack on deck 9 at around 4-5ish and then have dinner at 8:30.

With early seating, the show is after dinner
With late seating, the show is before dinner
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:15 PM   #2059
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You mean - kind of like you scaring people into thinking that if they book a non-DCL excursion, they will miss the boat?

**To add to my comment above - no one said you WILL miss the boat if you fly to port on the day of embarkation. However, IF there is a flight cancellation or delay that day, one COULD miss the boat. I was the one who said Madeira was the first port with an airport, and we don't get there until day 11. If people can get to Castaway Cay by boating from somewhere in Nassau - more power to them. It's not a risk I am willing to take.

One more thing: I certainly HAVE read of people who missed their Disney cruise because of a flight delay or cancellation on the day of departure.
Yes, I understand ... some people likely HAVE missed the ship. ONE MORE TIME ... do you know them? Compare that number against how many were successful. Then, compare those figures to people who fly 1-2 days prior to embarkation. If you are flying during inclement weather, have layovers, or are flying internationally, you have more chances of hiccups, or bumps in the road ... flying multiple legs increases the chance of an issue ... nothing more ... nothing less. If you are flying the night before debarkation ... you can STILL miss the ship if there are delays or cancellations with your flight ... what's your point?

With regard to a non-DCL excursion, I do not recall me EVER suggesting anyone booking a non-DCL cruise will miss the ship. Contrary, if you are familiar with the destination, and are okay on the travel time, cost and location ... it is often better to handle an excursion on your own. On the other hand, if you are not familiar with these ... or ... if the planned excursion fills up the majority of the allotted time at port, it is often better to opt for a DCL excursion (again, for the security provided by DCL, in that they will not leave you behind ... similar to that of booking DCL airfare).

While in Grand Cayman (repeat excursion to Rum Point), I opted for a DCL excursion, because it is a full day excursion. If I opted to travel to Rum Point on my own, I would not have been provided with priority debarkation. I would have to catch a cab to the airport, pick up a rental car, then drive to Rum Point. By the time I did that, the DCL excursion would already have arrived at Rum Point, and would have already been provided with their reserved lounge chairs. If I to traveled to Rum Point on my own, I would have had to leave early ... in order to return the car to the airport, and get a taxi back to the port.

While recently in Cozumel, I opted for a Beach Day. While I have been to Cozumel several times, I opted for a DCL excursion, as I had not been to this particular beach previously. On previous excursions (DCL and otherwise), one can sometimes experience a less-than-stellar experience. With DCL, you have more of a chance in obtaining a refund or credit, if a problem arises with an excursion. Since I am now comfortable with this specific private beach park, and since I now know how long it takes to get there, I now have no problem booking this on my own (if desired). The difference in price was only $25, but the DCL excursion included a $15 lunch ... so the cost was minimal. Since it included a nice motorcoach, I would have no problem using DCL (for this excursion) next time ... but would not be obligated to do so.

While on a first time excursion to Jost Van Dyke Island, our tour operator did not provide the water activities for the day ... which was to have been included in the cost. We approached the operator, who said it was beyond their control, and that no other provisions would be made available. Within 30 minutes of returning to the ship (after completion of the excursion), DCL had made arrangements for a partial credit to our shipboard account. Clearly, those who made private arrangements for the excursion did NOT receive a stateroom credit. You see, while opting for cruise line excursions is almost always more expensive, it is not always a bad idea.

While sailing to Tortola, we opted for a Dolphin encounter via DCL. Having never been to Tortola, it was my safest bet. Having now been to Tortola many times, we no longer book any excursions through any cruise line, since we are very familiar with the lay of the land. This would be the same for other ports, including Nassau, Ketchikan, St. Thomas, Gibraltar and Skagway, to name a few.

While in Madeira on a previous T/A cruise, we were on an all day excursion. The tour operator returned us to the pier more than ONE HOUR late (lots of travel time, and several travel delays) ... but the ship did not leave without us. Clearly, had we booked the excursion on our own, we would have had to make our own arrangements, if we had missed the ship.

As I had been saying previously, if you are NOT familiar with the local port ... if you are not familiar with the port of call in general ... if the excursion is a full day excursion ... if the port calls for a tender, it is often best to consider utilizing a cruise-ship based excursion. Having been to Madeira and Gibraltar previously, we are not opting for cruise line based excursions on this cruise. I have seen people taking about private excursions on Madeira. Some may not realize the distance involved with an excursion to the west or north end of Madeira. Do they realize they may be in for 100+ minutes of travel time (each way)? The same can be said for excursions in the Mediterranean. The interesting excursions are not "placed" at a port of call. Rather, in the Caribbean, the islands are smaller ... hence, more convenient. To the contrary, if we were to call upon Cadiz, we would more than likely opt for a cruise-ship based excursion.

We sailed HAL with a short call to San Juan (4 hours). Many people opted for a private excursion ... we opted to stay close to the port, and walk around town. While HAL did indeed offer tours, we declined ... as we did not have interest. It should be no surprise, there were many people who booked excursions or tours on their own, and missed the ship. In this case, clearly, booking a private excursion would have risks ... why placed yourself in jeopardy?

I do not scare anyone into anything ... I point out the advantages and disadvantages of each. Trying to tell someone they'd "NEVER DO 'x'" because they can miss 11 nights of a 14 night cruise is ludicrous is just wrong ... especially when they can pick up the ship within 48 hours. In this case ... the information provided to the others was flat out wrong!


Off the top of my head, I am not familiar with ANY port which doubles as an airport ... meaning ... no matter which port is involved, if you are flying to meet up with a ship, you will likely have to use some sort of transportation to get from the airport, to the cruise port. Even with Gibraltar, you have to land at the airport, and obtain ground transportation to the cruise port (similar to landing at Bimini / Castaway Cay). Why someone would tell anyone else they have to fly to Madeira is beyond me. I do not mean to be rude ... but there is a difference between trying to scare someone (persuading them to change plans) with incorrect information, versus providing pros and cons to the questions they ask.


Steven

Last edited by sdlong329; 01-13-2013 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:21 PM   #2060
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Originally Posted by rbw5t View Post
Is it possible to catch an early show before the late seating? I had been thinking the only way see the shows each night was to do the early dinner and then go to the show. If others with young kids are doing the late dinner, we may have to rethink things. Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyra's mommy View Post
Yes, I believe you can see the show before dinner. I remember the ta telling me that.
Yep - early show followed by late dinner

Hubby and I like that even when cruising with out kids. Some cruiselines do late dinner followed by super late show... and I was always the one tuckered out to attend the show LOL! Love that Disney offers the show prior to dinner for late dining folks.

BTW - our kiddos will be 6 and a week shy of 3 on this cruise
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:35 PM   #2061
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Originally Posted by MandyGirl View Post
Yep - early show followed by late dinner
Perfect, thanks everyone for the quick feedback. We'll try to get changed to the late seating!
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:36 PM   #2062
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Perfect, thanks everyone for the quick feedback. We'll try to get changed to the late seating!
Great! Should be no problem changing to late. I just peeked doing a dummy booking and it was available.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:53 PM   #2063
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Stand by

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Originally Posted by WVURunner View Post
I am not so sure about this. When our assist. server missed a night due to illness, the crew member that filled in for her told us he was pulled from the working in the galley and had never served before. While he was horrible, we knew it would be only for the night and understood. Our serve team was serving in the dining rooms after they left us, we saw them through the window while they were serving early dinner. We also had the server one time for lunch. It was a little uncomfortable.
I am not sure if the STAND BY SERVER is an industry standard, but know it exists on DCL (many situations are unique to DCL). The particular case I referenced was on the 2010 EBTA. Our long time server explained the situation to us, as did our Head Server. Our server on the 2010 EBTA is now Palo Server on the Fantasy, and our Head Server is now also on the Fantasy, working to become Palo Manager. I speak with various cast members online, send gifts and packages, so I interact with some of them on a regular basis.

STAND BY SERVERS are frequently utilized when there is a bug going around the ship, or after Cast Member Appreciation party at Senior Frog's.

When we were on a DCL Alaska cruise, we bumped into a DCL cast member during an excursion. We said we did not know they were working on the ship during the cruise ... he told us he was sailing STAND BY for a few weeks. While Stand By's do not receive gratuities when they do not work, they are provided with a pseudo-vacation of sorts.

While I have no answer as to what happened in your particular situation, I would agree, it would have been awkward (to say the least), had someone been pulled from a non server position, and charged with being some sort of server.

Steven
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:59 PM   #2064
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Thanks very much for the replies on dining - we have gone for the later dining due to wanting to see the shows first, then eat and then into a bar/evening entertainment
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:01 PM   #2065
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Thanks very much for the replies on dining - we have gone for the later dining due to wanting to see the shows first, then eat and then into a bar/evening entertainment
Where's the LIKE button on DISboards?!?!?
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:05 PM   #2066
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There are 2 shows and 2 dinner seatings each night. People dining late go to the 6:00 show (times do vary by a few minutes, check Navigator). People doing early dining go to 8:30 show. There is plenty of room in the theater for everyone to have a seat. There are sometimes matinees as well if there is no need for a rehearsal.

Rehearsals are held if there was a problem with the previous run of the show, if an understudy is known to be appearing that night, etc. These are closed to guests. No need for rehearsal will sometimes result in a post in the Navigator announcing the matinee. Great for families with kids.

Flying in the morning of a cruise....yes, I do personally know someone who has missed the ship. But as important to me is the fact that getting there the morning of is highly stressful for me. We have no direct flights. I have to be up well before dawn to get to the airport for one of the first flights out that day. Weather delays, lost luggage, etc.....I've flown in the day of when I had no options and when I was naive enough not to know of other choices. If at all possible, we fly in the evening before.

As to watching people miss the ship in port--yes, we've stood on deck 9 and watched people run down the pier. We've seen people ride on a small boat and be picked up by the Magic. Hint--if you hear an announcement at departure time asking a member of the XYZ family on deck 6 to please contact guest services immediately, that's a hint to go to a top deck and watch the possible action. It can mean that they got on board and someone's card didn't swipe in, or.....

A LONG time ago, the captain gave quite a stern lecture on the intercom about the all aboard time for our second port. At the gala, I said something and he remarked that "If 2500 people can get back on time, there is no excuse for 2."

We do excursions on our own, BUT I'm a compulsive nut case. I always arrange to be back at the port more than an hour before "all aboard" time. That way, if I've messed up a time change or something, I'm still covered, and I've allowed plenty of time for traffic, etc. If time were tight, I'd go with DCL.

I just looked at prices/availability for the last cruise out of Galveston before the TA....it's available, but the prices are higher than we are paying for the 14 nights. I didn't think we'd do it, but now I'm essentially sure.

Breakfast attendance--on previous TA cruises, they offered brunch on most sea days till about 1 or 2. Both breakfast and lunch food was available in Lumiere's. Yes, the consecutive time changes do start to get real old. That's one reason I prefer the WBTA.
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:11 PM   #2067
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My DDs are 12 and 10. My 12yr old sounds a lot like your DD. My 10yr old is much more outgoing and it really helps her sister open up. I'm hoping since there will not be a massive amount of children on this cruise that my 10yr old can go to the Edge with her sister or have her sister move down to the lab with her.

Is your 10 yr old a 4th grader?
The Lab age is thru age 12, so there is never a problem with a 12 year old going into the Lab. The Edge is 11-14, Vibe 14-17.

On our last TA, there were about 400 kids, most of them quite young. A normal Magic cruise is over 1000 kids.

There are also lots of family activities that your kids can do together outside of the programming.

OK, I read thru a few more back pages....another vote for an umbrella stroller for 3 year old. If you want something more substantial for excursions, you can borrow a big one from Guest Services. An umbrella stroller is lightweight, folds up small, and you can get them for $18 at Target (also check out used stuff places). If you don't end up using it, you won't feel too bad about getting it. Maybe the parents have one already.

If you have an issue with servers, talk to the head server. That's the only way things get fixed. With the two new ships, there have been cases of people put in regular assignments too early and then pulled for more training when things didn't go well. We should have a well experienced crew on this trip (she says, fingers crossed). I've heard there will be a lot of crew transition between our cruise and the first Med. Makes sense as the airfare will be a lot cheaper for DCL that way for any CMs living in Europe. Many will return from vacation for the first Med and many will go on vacation after our cruise.

Last edited by kcashner; 01-13-2013 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:52 PM   #2068
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I, too, recommend an umbrella stroller. If her parents don't have one, there are some great options that go up to 50 or 70lbs that can be used long after the cruise but can be stored nicely.

About flying in...I am still deciding on that one. Our flight is non-stop so that obviously helps, but I hear those that prefer to fly in early and I get why. For me it means that some people won't be able to see me for six weeks (instead of four), so I have to think about it more. Plus if our flight is cancelled (super rare since we don't have the same weather anomalies), we can still easily get to LAX or SFO or somewhere else and jump over to IAH, as there are plenty of flights after ours out of HNL. I totally hear the concerns. I just have mine to consider as well. I'm glad I still have time to decide!
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:20 PM   #2069
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Yes, I understand ... some people likely HAVE missed the ship. ONE MORE TIME ... do you know them? Compare that number against how many were successful. Then, compare those figures to re chances of hiccups, or bumps in the road ... flying multiple legs increases the chance of an issue ... nothing more ... nothing less. If you are flying the night before debarkation ... you can STILL miss the ship if there are delays or cancellations with your flight ... what's your point?
No, Steven, I don't personally know the people who flew in the day the ship sailed and missed the boat. However, I have read reports of that nature on the DIS and Cruise Critic. While someone could leave home the day before and still have flight delays - the chances of being able to get to the ship are greater when more time is allowed. THAT is my point!
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:40 PM   #2070
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- Any reason why you are nervous about flying Southwest? We've been flying Southwest for years!
You bet - I'm a permanent star gold member on United with my million mile status. My wife is from Texas, and has had bad experiences on Southwest before we were married. I realize it's over 7 years ago, but she's more nervous than I am. I have a lot of status on United, and have been treated right. I have nothing on Southwest. BTW - we are actually flying on Air Canada back from Frankfurt - United's times didn't fit, but hoping the direct Lufthansa flight opens up to use my mileage instead.
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