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Old 07-16-2012, 12:40 PM   #1
lmhall2000
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Talking 20th Anniversary Cruise, or not?

20th Anniversary Cruise
Really??????

Cast:

DH (45) Grumpy but willing, however hates having his picture taken so that will be my goal to annoy him with many!

DW (45..turning during the cruise) Joyful but really can only stand so much Grumpy...as I get older my tolerating gene shrinks, I guess.

DS (17) WOW! How he has grown this year! 6'3 and worked off 65 pounds himself by rowing 5 days a week...love this kid, great heart, goofy, too.

DD (14) Sweet as pie, hungry as a horse, Bookworm and loves anything Irish..especially potatoes!

DD (13) Exuberant, outgoing (at home) and a complete spaz for the self serve ice cream...she can put on 10 pounds on a trip with just ice cream! Loves Irish dancing so she has the metabolism for it!

I guess a part of me feels if I actually start a pre-trip report we'll actually be booked on this cruise. It has not been easy! We booked our 20th anniversary cruise last year while on the Disney Wonder. Have ALWAYS sailed the most amazing deals....always kids sail free and we pack them in, the last cruise my dh and I took our three kids, two nieces and one friend of my son's. Had a blast! The first cruise we took we did the Mediterranean with Kids sail free, took my parents along...Disney offered outstanding deals that we lucked up on...we booked 2 category 12s (cheapest back then) for under $4000 AND Disney gave us $100 per person OBC! AND it was a 10 night!! So, we never thought we'd ever cruise b/c the cost was so prohibitive. With our 20th anniversary coming up we went ahead and booked a category 8 (cheapest way to send 5 of us) and hoped deals would come out.

We were spoiled by kids sail free, with 3 children, it's a steal! But, now, Disney introduced the GT rates (IGT, OGT, VGT)...I picked the September 8th sailing becaues I figured it would have low volume with school starting back up and higher chance of discounts. We saved and saved, only to find out that our federal tax bill was going to be pretty much every penny we had saved plus a few more.
However, our state income tax refund would make up for it...so we paid our federal and watched daily for our state refund to come. Each day we grew closer to the 75 paid in full date, I just knew we were out of luck. Sure enough, I live in a state that has no law requiring them to pay you back in any amount of time and they only pay you back when they take in funds from some arbitrary account which never seems to have money. Long story short, we were at day 60 before we received our tax refund!!
Good news is VGT rates are out now!! Bad news is if we book 2 VGT rates we're paying $300 more than we would have for cat. 8 and we lose our OBC.

So, any of you frugal cruisers..this trip report is for you! I am willing to play guinea pig to wait this out and see if we are able to save any money. Here are the options:

1. Book 2 VGTs (cost $5200)
2. Book 1 VGT Book 1 INside gty (use 10% and OBC) ($4900)
3. Wait for IGT to pop up and book 2 of them (guessing it will be right at $3800...I have spent way too much time speculating based on previous week's cruises and when their discounted rates have come out)

WHAT TO DO?? We are using our Disney Chase, had to wait 3 business days to upgrade so we get 2% rewards back, that will help cover our tips....then we'll pay the card off with our state refund...we had the great misfortune of having 2 mortgages for 31 months so our debt to livelihood ratio took a nose dive and we vowed never to use cc..but 2% rewards could not be passed up!

I have come at this from every angle! I know in 25 years, the $500 or so I'm worried about right now will not mean a hill of beans and my logical side says I should just buy it and be done with this bellyaching! But, when you've had 31 months of earnestly praying and not knowing how you would cover next month's mortgages...it's hard to let go of making the most of what you've been given.

So, as RIGHT now, we are not booked on a cruise...but hoping this week, the IGT rates come out so I can confirm any savings or worth...what makes it worse is that I read a cruiser who booked 2 VGT and was able to get adjoining and they combined their balcony space..how cool is that??????

Then there's a side that says, just get on the ship, plenty of deck space! Have never been on a verandah room and this is likely our last cruise for some time, with 3 teens heading to college soon, our lives will be putting them through!

Oh, and another bit of info. In the past year I have lost 65 pounds, my goal is to lose 20 more in the next 57 days!!! I will be posting before and after pics and thankful to Dis WISH for helping me stay motivated this summer with my workouts and eating...slip up with a cheeseburger every now and then, but for the most part not stress eating like I used to (31 months of mortgages...short on money, heavy on stress eating!!!) I won't make it into my wedding dress this year, but next year FER SHER!!!

And for any going on this cruise, I'll be the midlife crisis nut riding the Aqua Duck as many times as possible!! I will add pictures of our crew and if someone can show me how to add those little links to updates, I'll be glad to add them here! Thanks for letting me share my anxieties and hopeful reasons to celebrate our 20th, not having 2 mortgages and 3 pretty amazing kids!
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:58 PM   #2
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I have been following the story about your hoped-for September Fantasy 20th anniversary cruise. I haven't been watching for IGT/OGT/VGT rates - but I would think that IF they are available for inside cabins, they would all come out at the same time. Since there are no IGT or OGT rates for your cruise, and there are no oceanview cabins (at this time) to even be booked - you may be waiting for 2 IGTs in vain.

If it were me, and knowing that an IGT (or regular inside gty) and a VGT could be assigned to two different decks - I would bite the bullet and book 2 VGT cabins. Look at it as an extra-special splurge that probably won't be repeated any time soon.

As one more option - I don't suppose any of the September 5-night Magic Canada cruises out of NY are on your radar - are they? Both the September 7 and 12 cruises have IGT/OGT/VGT rates at $499/$599/$699 pp. The Sept. 2 cruise has only OGT @ $599 pp.

By the way - I truly understand your frugality, as I also love to get a bargain! Fortunately, my frugality is now by nature only and not by necessity - but old habits die hard!
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:14 PM   #3
lmhall2000
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Nancy!! You are such an AWESOME encouragment and WEALTH of information! I love hearing from you on these cruise forums!! You ROCK!

IT is the weirdest thing, really, if you saw how 'closely' I have researched and stalked the cruises in August..you'd shake your head! They came out with VGT on the August cruises 90 days before sailing. They only showed VGT for about 30 days..just in the past two weeks they are not showing VGT on all cruises, but OGT and IGT...my analysis leads me to think that once they have set the rooms for those already booked, they are giving more upgrades to verandah, opening up the rooms on OGT/IGT...they have shown those two rates for 9 days straight now...my guess is that not enough people are biting on the VGT..so once they fill in some of those, they now have OGT/IGT they can try and lure some cruisers with. I just wish they'd come out with all three at the same time and then drop them..I've been checking 2-3 times daily! Seems to 'change' on a Tuesday...guess they spend Monday sorting/loading and Tuesday it opens up....And with my calculations, saving $1200 on this cruise would more than cover all our excursion fees and tips....I have our food budget down to $450 a month and when I see a figure like that, I just feel so much guilt just spending it...it's a curse I must bear...FRUGALITY!!

I remember thinking how carefully my grandmother would measure out sugar for KoolAid! My mom would just dump it in..but my grandmother rarely put more than 1/4 cup into hers...did not taste so great..but as I've grown older, I realized how tough things were for them in the Depression and sugar was a commodity...even though she's provided for now with their retirement, she's still just as ever frugal...maybe with 3 kids heading for college in 2-4 years, all this frugality will help them survive their time away from home! But, I really do drive myself a bit wonky figuring out the what ifs!!

And, I really would like to take advantage of the OBC, but if I book a cat 11 and a VGT...what if our rooms are on different decks? Sigh, sigh, sigh. Then my Pollyanna vein pops and I'm just soo happy we are even able to take this trip!! Who cares if I have to sleep in a cabin with my girls..oh yeah, it's our 20th anniversary...

Blah blah blah...What's the 21st century substitute for Calgon??
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by lmhall2000 View Post
Nancy!! You are such an AWESOME encouragment and WEALTH of information! I love hearing from you on these cruise forums!! You ROCK!

IT is the weirdest thing, really, if you saw how 'closely' I have researched and stalked the cruises in August..you'd shake your head! They came out with VGT on the August cruises 90 days before sailing. They only showed VGT for about 30 days..just in the past two weeks they are not showing VGT on all cruises, but OGT and IGT...my analysis leads me to think that once they have set the rooms for those already booked, they are giving more upgrades to verandah, opening up the rooms on OGT/IGT...they have shown those two rates for 9 days straight now...my guess is that not enough people are biting on the VGT..so once they fill in some of those, they now have OGT/IGT they can try and lure some cruisers with. I just wish they'd come out with all three at the same time and then drop them..I've been checking 2-3 times daily! Seems to 'change' on a Tuesday...guess they spend Monday sorting/loading and Tuesday it opens up....And with my calculations, saving $1200 on this cruise would more than cover all our excursion fees and tips....I have our food budget down to $450 a month and when I see a figure like that, I just feel so much guilt just spending it...it's a curse I must bear...FRUGALITY!!

I remember thinking how carefully my grandmother would measure out sugar for KoolAid! My mom would just dump it in..but my grandmother rarely put more than 1/4 cup into hers...did not taste so great..but as I've grown older, I realized how tough things were for them in the Depression and sugar was a commodity...even though she's provided for now with their retirement, she's still just as ever frugal...maybe with 3 kids heading for college in 2-4 years, all this frugality will help them survive their time away from home! But, I really do drive myself a bit wonky figuring out the what ifs!!

And, I really would like to take advantage of the OBC, but if I book a cat 11 and a VGT...what if our rooms are on different decks? Sigh, sigh, sigh. Then my Pollyanna vein pops and I'm just soo happy we are even able to take this trip!! Who cares if I have to sleep in a cabin with my girls..oh yeah, it's our 20th anniversary...

Blah blah blah...What's the 21st century substitute for Calgon??
Thank you for your kind words.

That's interesting about the IGT and OGT rates coming out after the VGT for the August Fantasy cruises. How long have the VGT rates been available for the September Fantasy cruises? I know that when the restricted fares came out for the September Canada cruises, they were available for all categories at the same time.

This is only mid-July, and assuming you plan to drive to Florida - you can afford to wait awhile longer. If I should happen to see any IGT or OGT rates for your Sept. 8 Fantasy cruise - Ill be sure to send you a PM.
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:06 PM   #5
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Thank you for your kind words.

That's interesting about the IGT and OGT rates coming out after the VGT for the August Fantasy cruises. How long have the VGT rates been available for the September Fantasy cruises? I know that when the restricted fares came out for the September Canada cruises, they were available for all categories at the same time.

This is only mid-July, and assuming you plan to drive to Florida - you can afford to wait awhile longer. If I should happen to see any IGT or OGT rates for your Sept. 8 Fantasy cruise - Ill be sure to send you a PM.
The VGT rates came out last Tuesday for the last three September cruises on the Fantasy and about 4 days later they opened it for the September 1st cruise. None of the four September cruises are showing any OGTY availability but still showing IGTY rooms...I'm very curious to see how it changes! I think the marketing/management team at Disney figure out how much they need for operating costs and if they're running low or in a pinch will open up a wider net. This little fishy is just hanging out with Nemo waiting for that net to fall!

Yes! We get the joy of driving 15 hours plan on getting in late Friday night (pricelining that room as soon as we have the cruise booked) and parking at the public parking lot (hopefully with a coupon from the internet for $5 a day ) We really need to stick to September 8th..guess why? I'm the one who started the cruise meet thread! Was so excited when we booked for our 20th, never doubted that we'd meet all these speed bumps! I have been challenged to an Aqua Duck duel or groupel to see who can get on it the fastest!!

Would love for you to PM me if you see an IGT/OGT!! Last Tuesday they were not up at 7am eastern, but popped up by 2pm...so I now check in the early afternoon! I know, it really shouldn't be this hard
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:04 AM   #6
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Decided! I am going to hold out until the 40 day mark for IGT rates, the predicted savings would allow me to enjoy our trip that much more, who knows? Maybe after all the kids are out of college we can have a celebratory verandah booking! The wait is on!
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:09 AM   #7
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Decided! I am going to hold out until the 40 day mark for IGT rates, the predicted savings would allow me to enjoy our trip that much more, who knows? Maybe after all the kids are out of college we can have a celebratory verandah booking! The wait is on!
The 40-day mark is right around August 1st, so that gives you ~ 2 more weeks. Here's hoping you get your wished-for IGT rates!
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:24 AM   #8
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I think I can only hold out until Monday, getting antsy not having a room on our 20th Anniversary cruise!! Here's how it usually goes....two days ago, we have the typical SEVERE Thunderstorm we're famous for in the South...Dh even called on his way home and was afraid to try to make it to the house, hail the size of golf balls and winds bent over...the power of it is awesome, but the downside is roof/property damage....water started pouring in through one of our lights in the living room..ugh! Two roofers say we need the whole roof replaced (don't they always??) and adjustor comes out Monday. That means we need to fork out a deductible to get it repaired...As soon as I think we've saved enough to jump at the 2 VGTs...something happens that requires us to spend cash! I try not to get discouraged and look at it as a sign that maybe we need to hold out that someone higher knows something we don't...So, atleast have to wait for adjustor, even if she lowballs us on repairs, it's easily going to be close to $1000 either way..so we're still out the deductible (think $500) hey, isn't that what I said we'd lose if we booked 2 VGTs over our previously booked cat 8? Funny how life is like that!!

I'm going to hit the treadmill..tomorrow is weigh in day on my Wish Summer challenge...I have had a GREAT week with working out/eating, hope that scale would move down as easily as my savings!
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:50 AM   #9
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Still no update on IGT/OGT...BUT!!!

ONEDERLAND!!!

I am finally cruising in Onederland...meaning I have officially lost 65.4 pounds and am way more than halfway to my goal of the 150s...sooo very excited!! I might be able to get another 10-20 pounds off before the cruise in 7 weeks...closer to 10-15...but I'm motivated now!!

I will be excited to show before/after pictures. That treadmill is such a great helper! Walking 6 miles every other and 3 miles in between, so I hit 30 miles a week...feels GREAT!

Come on IGT rates!!! Momma needs some new clothes! Actually, three years ago I bought some clearance clothes that are the size I will be in on the ship, tried them on for the first time yesterday and they button and ZIP!! Sure, I look like I'm squeezed in there, but with 15 more pounds, they should fit perfectly!! So excited!!!! This will be a cruise to remember!
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:04 AM   #10
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I'm so sorry to hear about the roof damage, but a big congratulations on your significant weight loss!
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:15 AM   #11
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I'm so sorry to hear about the roof damage, but a big congratulations on your significant weight loss!
Thanks Nancy! I bought a pair of board shorts in a size L and while I can get them on, they will look so much better with 15 more pounds off....so motivated!!

Good news, folks on my cruise are getting room assignments and nice upgrades so hopeful IGT will come out by Tuesday! So ready to book!!
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Old 07-22-2012, 06:45 PM   #12
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Oh my goodness! Will the temptations never end?? I had resolved to hold out for two IGT rates ...or at worst OGT, then knowing we're forced to buy 2 rooms anyhow for the better rates...I keep seeing the existing VGT rates and try to validate it..my ongoing dialogue in my head.

"Hey, it's your 20th anniversary, when else are you going to be able to excuse spending extra money on a verandah?"

"But, that would limit what we could do, kids have never been on jet skis, with five of us..it's pretty expensive....give up an exciting adventure just to have a door to the outside?"

"Oh, look! Someone on the Disboards just said that they always book verandahs because they love to sleep with the door open!"

HUH?? How come I never thought of that?? I do this ALL the time when we are fortunate enough to be at the beach and have a beach front room..never even thought about doing it on the ship, to hear those awesome sounds of the ocean waves and then even the morning sounds of birds and port sounds when you arrive in a port city...what an experience that would be to wake up to!

Oh! The ripping and shredding of all my sensibilities! So, now I"m trying to see if there is really much savings if I decide to put 2 in a VGT...and guess what 3 in an OGT or IGT would be, but then I run the risk of our rooms not being next to each other...ripping and shredding of momma bird nest!! UGH!

If anyone reading this has a strong gumption one way or the other..please share your wisdom/ideas! I am almost certain an OGT/IGT will open up by Tuesday..need to decide soon! Now, if they don't ever show up, it's solved, I'll buy 2 VGT...done with the story.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:51 AM   #13
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Tuesday came and went, no IGT or OGT open yet, but I will stick it out through this week...many on our cruise are receiving awesome upgrades! Bumped up to 4A from as far back as category 7 and 9! That can only mean one thing, more lower rooms opening up!!


Come on Disney! To coin a phrase from Ty Pennington, "Move those rooms!". Momma needs to book!

Kids are slightly worried something will happen and we won't get a room, so I took them shopping for cruise clothes! Got 2 swimming trunks for ds, each only $2! Then got pjs for the girls, less than $4 each! And the best deal, a new suit for son for under $60! We have the national Dillard's outlet here, they send all clothes from their stores to this massive store...the clothes are packed in there but separated by size...amazing deals! Makes it more real to them knowing I am buying clothes for it!
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:31 AM   #14
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All right, I am going to 'put this out there' because it has been on my mind! A recent traveler expressed dismay over how some 'Disers' were acting on his cruise, he had no clue what "Disers" were so he came here to check it out...almost immediately he was pegged as a troll and pretty much scoffed at...made me so mad!!
Other posters (believing his story) joined in and said they, too, had heard that CM's on the ship were not 'pleased' with Disers or had a generally bad impression of them. Some CMs rolling their eyes...at the mention.
We, too, had a somewhat similar response on our cruises but were naive about it and not sure how hanging a little pocket outside my door and decorating our door (makes it sooo much easier to find the room!) could cause an eye rolling reaction.

Now, I have been in the tourist market...working at a highly visited locale during my college summers...we had our own little 'rude' system of dealing with the tourists that annoyed the heck out of us. We would call them tourons, one coworker could pick out travelers from specific states by their dress/habits/statements. And, yes, there were tourists that were predictably more 'trouble' than others...I have seen some very rude posters here that I would cringe having to serve daily on a ship! But, honestly, the 80% of Dis are incredibly generous, caring, and sincere folk! I find it so refreshing in this day and age to acknowledge and share the joie de vivre with fellow travelers...pass the buck of making spring filled memories that continue to sustain us during the mundane and testing days.

I have two personal stories that show the dichotomy of those at Dis.

The Bad:
We were blessed to receive a special $100 pp OBC (on board credit) for our Mediterranean cruise. Disney sent me a letter and said to bring it on board with me but that it would already be on our account when we boarded. Some Diser contacted me privately and asked me to send him a copy of MY Letter so he could 'force' Disney to give him the same deal. Really?? Really?? It is those kind of travelers who feel 'entitled' and are a pain to be around.

The Good:
My daughter on our last cruise only had $20 to spend (did you remember we're pretty tight on budgeting?) and went the whole week trying to find that ONE thing that would always remind her of this special time with family. In Cabo, she found a wooden bracelet and fell in love. She wore it every waking hour those last days of the cruise, but took it off during the talent show so she would not lose it if it flung off during their dance. Well, we all went up after the end to take pictures of the group and someone stole her bracelet! She was sooo heartbroken! We are a very sentimental family....when we got back I asked the next few cruise travelers headed there if they could look for another one and I would pay them back....there were actually over five families happy to look and two actually found it and sent it to my daughter! My daughter had NO clue I had done this, and it was her Easter surprise in her Easter Egg...she wrote them both thank you letters and that one lesson in humanity went so far in helping a young girl see the 'right' side of life.

So, I hope if any CMs/travelers read this, they will be mindful and know not to cut lines, save seats at the theaters, hog beach chairs (all while saying they're "disers") because it gives the great majority of Disers a bad reputation...there, soapbox is finished...now, on to the FUN!!!!!
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:53 AM   #15
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All right, I am going to 'put this out there' because it has been on my mind! A recent traveler expressed dismay over how some 'Disers' were acting on his cruise, he had no clue what "Disers" were so he came here to check it out...almost immediately he was pegged as a troll and pretty much scoffed at...made me so mad!!
Other posters (believing his story) joined in and said they, too, had heard that CM's on the ship were not 'pleased' with Disers or had a generally bad impression of them. Some CMs rolling their eyes...at the mention.
We, too, had a somewhat similar response on our cruises but were naive about it and not sure how hanging a little pocket outside my door and decorating our door (makes it sooo much easier to find the room!) could cause an eye rolling reaction.

Now, I have been in the tourist market...working at a highly visited locale during my college summers...we had our own little 'rude' system of dealing with the tourists that annoyed the heck out of us. We would call them tourons, one coworker could pick out travelers from specific states by their dress/habits/statements. And, yes, there were tourists that were predictably more 'trouble' than others...I have seen some very rude posters here that I would cringe having to serve daily on a ship! But, honestly, the 80% of Dis are incredibly generous, caring, and sincere folk! I find it so refreshing in this day and age to acknowledge and share the joie de vivre with fellow travelers...pass the buck of making spring filled memories that continue to sustain us during the mundane and testing days.

I have two personal stories that show the dichotomy of those at Dis.

The Bad:
We were blessed to receive a special $100 pp OBC (on board credit) for our Mediterranean cruise. Disney sent me a letter and said to bring it on board with me but that it would already be on our account when we boarded. Some Diser contacted me privately and asked me to send him a copy of MY Letter so he could 'force' Disney to give him the same deal. Really?? Really?? It is those kind of travelers who feel 'entitled' and are a pain to be around.

The Good:
My daughter on our last cruise only had $20 to spend (did you remember we're pretty tight on budgeting?) and went the whole week trying to find that ONE thing that would always remind her of this special time with family. In Cabo, she found a wooden bracelet and fell in love. She wore it every waking hour those last days of the cruise, but took it off during the talent show so she would not lose it if it flung off during their dance. Well, we all went up after the end to take pictures of the group and someone stole her bracelet! She was sooo heartbroken! We are a very sentimental family....when we got back I asked the next few cruise travelers headed there if they could look for another one and I would pay them back....there were actually over five families happy to look and two actually found it and sent it to my daughter! My daughter had NO clue I had done this, and it was her Easter surprise in her Easter Egg...she wrote them both thank you letters and that one lesson in humanity went so far in helping a young girl see the 'right' side of life.

So, I hope if any CMs/travelers read this, they will be mindful and know not to cut lines, save seats at the theaters, hog beach chairs (all while saying they're "disers") because it gives the great majority of Disers a bad reputation...there, soapbox is finished...now, on to the FUN!!!!!
I'm just joining in to cheer you on and to say I'm a big fan!! Not to sound stalkerish, LOL, but some posters posts stand out more than others. I've been enjoying your posts since your KSF Med cruise. It just seems that you have an amazing love of life. Truly refreshing.

Congrats on the fabulous weight loss.


I also was very disappointed to see how the OP of that thread was treated. I'm positive if it would have been a first time poster with a glowing review of their DCL experience, it wouldn't have happened that way.

Just so you know, I'm eyeballing the GT rates for your sailing and the one the following week. I'm thinking of taking my two youngest DDs. So I'll be following your adventures in GT rates!! Sending pixie dust your way!!
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