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Old 10-23-2012, 05:55 PM   #1
happyleesh
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Help! Where do I even begin?

Hi! So we're looking at/pre-planning on taking our first DCL cruise in August/Sept of 2013 for our 5 year anniversary. I can plan a WDW trip in my sleep but know NOTHING about the cruise line/planning/dining/best times etc. So, let's jump right in, right? I have a few kick off questions that would get me started, thank you so much in advance

First, some info...it will either be JUST DH+me, or DH+me, our then 3-year old daughter and then 8 month old daughter. We'd ideally like to leave from PC but are in PA currently so maybe NY? I have no idea as far as what ships leave when from where. I think we'd like to sail on one of the newer ships, but again, nothing is set in stone yet. Here are my questions:

1. Would you attempt a cruise with kiddos that age (specifically the 8 month old)? We took DD1 to WDW before she was a year old so we're not afraid of that but just wanted to know if cruising is totally different.

2. Is there a better or worse time to sail in August/September? Budget is a top priority so cheaper is better

3. Is there a guidebook I can buy to get me started planning?

4. If it is just DH+I, is one ship better for adults vs families?

Thanks!
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:36 PM   #2
kcashner
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Best time Aug/Sept is after most schools start--you'll see rates drop dramatically at that point. We LOVE September cruises; don't let the talk of hurricane season scare you off.

If you want a book, the Passporter is the best. however, realize that any book is out of date before it hits the public and that you'll get more accurate, up to date info here.

Cruising is far easier on mom than the parks--regardless of age. OK, if I had a choice (and a great sitter), I'd leave an infant at home. I can hear the flames for that.....but if you opt to bring the infant, DCL makes it very easy for you.

My tip--you need a great travel agent, well experienced in DCL. My minimum qualifications are that they have attended the training that Disney provides to agents AND that they have been on at least one of the ships in the class I'm going on ...preferably in the last few years. Training doesn't replace personal experience! The other point is excellence in communication--I prefer an agent who will work thru an 800 number or e-mail (my choice), but some people don't care. AND....in addition to excellent service, many agencies also offer an onboard credit (real money you can spend on board) or a shopping card as a "thanks for booking with us" gift. IMHO, service means more than the credit, but it is a nice perk! Also, if you don't already have a Disney Visa card, decide whether the $50 OBC from using the card for ALL payments on the cruise is worth getting one.

All of the ships are geared to families of all descriptions. Each ship has an "adults only" area that is relatively unenforced. Each has one or more adult only restaurants where the policy IS enforced, and it is basically enforced in the night club area after 9.

Currently the Dream and Fantasy are using Port Canaveral, the Magic and Wonder are using other ports. September 2013, the Magic will be in dry dock. I'd have to look up where the Wonder will be.

I just did a quick check. It looks like your September options don't include New York.

Last edited by kcashner; 10-23-2012 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:55 PM   #3
eva
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happyleesh View Post
Hi! So we're looking at/pre-planning on taking our first DCL cruise in August/Sept of 2013 for our 5 year anniversary. I can plan a WDW trip in my sleep but know NOTHING about the cruise line/planning/dining/best times etc. So, let's jump right in, right? I have a few kick off questions that would get me started, thank you so much in advance

First, some info...it will either be JUST DH+me, or DH+me, our then 3-year old daughter and then 8 month old daughter. We'd ideally like to leave from PC but are in PA currently so maybe NY? I have no idea as far as what ships leave when from where. I think we'd like to sail on one of the newer ships, but again, nothing is set in stone yet. Here are my questions:

1. Would you attempt a cruise with kiddos that age (specifically the 8 month old)? We took DD1 to WDW before she was a year old so we're not afraid of that but just wanted to know if cruising is totally different.

well, we are empty nesters. So we may not be the best people to ask this question to. But just realize that any child that is not potty trained will to be able to use the pools or kid's clubs. They will be able to use the splash areas, but no pools. There is a babysitting service, but is costs. If your3 year old is potty trained completely, she can use the pools and child programs.

2. Is there a better or worse time to sail in August/September? Budget is a top priority so cheaper is better

September it great price wise. Be sure to take out insurance. It is hurricane season. But don't worry too much about that. Cruise ships are pretty good at avoiding bad weather. Check on prices to see what works for you

3. Is there a guidebook I can buy to get me started planning?

Definitely buy a Passport guide to the DCL. It will give you a lot of the cruise basics you need to know. Then use this site to fill in the extras.

4. If it is just DH+I, is one ship better for adults vs families?

we have been on three of the four and they are all great for both families and adults.

Thanks!
Hope that helps some.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:34 PM   #4
racingfandj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happyleesh View Post
Hi! So we're looking at/pre-planning on taking our first DCL cruise in August/Sept of 2013 for our 5 year anniversary. I can plan a WDW trip in my sleep but know NOTHING about the cruise line/planning/dining/best times etc. So, let's jump right in, right? I have a few kick off questions that would get me started, thank you so much in advance

First, some info...it will either be JUST DH+me, or DH+me, our then 3-year old daughter and then 8 month old daughter. We'd ideally like to leave from PC but are in PA currently so maybe NY? I have no idea as far as what ships leave when from where. I think we'd like to sail on one of the newer ships, but again, nothing is set in stone yet. Here are my questions:

1. Would you attempt a cruise with kiddos that age (specifically the 8 month old)? We took DD1 to WDW before she was a year old so we're not afraid of that but just wanted to know if cruising is totally different. I think a crusie would be easier than WDW because activities are less crowded and room is closer for nap. It really depends on what you and DH like to do - if you like family time activities all the time, it will be great. Personally, I like to vacation with my kids.

2. Is there a better or worse time to sail in August/September? Budget is a top priority so cheaper is better Use DCL site and price shop. It's like planning WDW where you can price and save it for later. From what I've seen, they only get more expensive, so I would get it booked sooner rather than alter. If you like research and planning, you can definitely do without a TA. I've never used one and have done both WDW and DCL.

3. Is there a guidebook I can buy to get me started planning? Use the boards and Disney's mom's panel. They're both unbelievable resources!

4. If it is just DH+I, is one ship better for adults vs families? We loved the Fantasy, but of course, have nothing to compare too. Guess it will depend on what destinations you want to explore.

Thanks!

See above. Have a great trip!
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:43 PM   #5
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If you use a TA, like DU, you will receive some type of OBC. It can be as little as $50 or as much as $1,000, depending on what you pay for the cruise. If you do, be sure to let your TA know that you are new to DCL.

Just in case:
TA = Travel Agent
DU = Dream's Unlimited
OBC = Onboard Credit

Here is a link to the credit table:

http://www.dreamsunlimitedtravel.com...ecials.htm#sbc
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:05 PM   #6
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PP Quote:well, we are empty nesters. So we may not be the best people to ask this question to. But just realize that any child that is not potty trained will to be able to use the pools or kid's clubs. They will be able to use the splash areas, but no pools. There is a babysitting service, but is costs. If your3 year old is potty trained completely, she can use the pools and child programs.

My kids are now older, so I'm not sure about the kids club, but can't use the pools?!?!? This would seem ridiculous, and not very family friendly. I'm sure Little Swimmers are just fine to use. They are allowed in Disney pools at the resorts

EDIT: WOW! Sure enough have to be potty trained to be in pool. I find this odd. Anyone know the reasoning behind it?
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:54 PM   #7
chris31997
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butsy113 View Post
PP Quote:well, we are empty nesters. So we may not be the best people to ask this question to. But just realize that any child that is not potty trained will to be able to use the pools or kid's clubs. They will be able to use the splash areas, but no pools. There is a babysitting service, but is costs. If your3 year old is potty trained completely, she can use the pools and child programs.

My kids are now older, so I'm not sure about the kids club, but can't use the pools?!?!? This would seem ridiculous, and not very family friendly. I'm sure Little Swimmers are just fine to use. They are allowed in Disney pools at the resorts

EDIT: WOW! Sure enough have to be potty trained to be in pool. I find this odd. Anyone know the reasoning behind it?
They are NOT suppose to use the pools even in the lil swimmers because of contamination issues. The pool water is not circulated and cleaned like it is at the Resorts. Don't have the capabilities that the Resorts do. Several times the pool can be closed because someone's kid had an accident. Same reasoning behind the Kid's Clubs also.


OP you can totally do a cruise with a 8mo and 3yr. I would see about getting the 3yr old potty trained. But you can have a great time. Not sure about going through a travel agent but to each their own.

I would go to the website and look at the ports of call out of NY and PC and see which would appeal to you and which you could do with your kiddos.

Aug/Sept is a good time to go, hurricanes might speed up your departure time but not a big deal
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Old 10-24-2012, 12:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butsy113
PP Quote:well, we are empty nesters. So we may not be the best people to ask this question to. But just realize that any child that is not potty trained will to be able to use the pools or kid's clubs. They will be able to use the splash areas, but no pools. There is a babysitting service, but is costs. If your3 year old is potty trained completely, she can use the pools and child programs.

My kids are now older, so I'm not sure about the kids club, but can't use the pools?!?!? This would seem ridiculous, and not very family friendly. I'm sure Little Swimmers are just fine to use. They are allowed in Disney pools at the resorts

EDIT: WOW! Sure enough have to be potty trained to be in pool. I find this odd. Anyone know the reasoning behind it?
It isn't just Disney where children that aren't potty trained cant use the pools, it is all cruise lines. Health regulations restrict it. However the splash areas are great for the little ones. I sailed with my almost 3 year old and he preferred the splash area to the pool, even though he could go into the pool bc he was potty trained.

There is "babysitting" and the nursery each have a different cost associated with them. However, I don't remember the prices being unreasonable.

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Old 10-24-2012, 12:55 AM   #9
BDACE
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We got on the Wonder on 10/14 and I did't use Flounders Nursery but I was told the price for child care was $6 per hour.
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Old 10-24-2012, 12:56 AM   #10
BDACE
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**OFF the Wonder... sorry!
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