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Old 10-29-2012, 06:56 PM   #1
MMS1125
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Cruise Planning questions

I have a few questions about planning a cruise.

How far in advance do you usually plan and book a cruise? By deciding now to go on a cruise at the end of May is that enough time? We originally had a 7 night/8 day WDW trip planned but my DH asked us if we'd rather do a 3 or 4 night cruise then a few days at the park to make this year's trip different and we all agreed it sounded great. I just wasn't sure if that was enough time to get a decent stateroom and stuff. We have never been on a cruise so I have no clue where to start.

We'd like a verandah that's all I really know. Are there staterooms that people prefer or do you just pick randomly

Also we'd like to have 2 staterooms. Do I book it as a partial family then add a stateroom with the remaining members? Or do I book all 5 of us in 1 room? Is it a flat fee divided by double occupancy so it doesn't really matter in the end how I do it? I've priced the cruise I just don't know how to go about breaking it up so we get 2 rooms.

Do you know the interline discount for cruises? Or how far in advance special offers come out? I'm very familiar with WDW resort discounts and stuff just clueless with cruises.

Do they still do the land/sea pkg? It probably won't matter for us on this trip since we're using the interline discount right now for our resort stay unless the s/p/d or free dining is offered during our planned dates

Which would be a better time to cruise? the end of May or November. If November it would have to be holiday break since I teach and my kids are in school. Prices were similar so not concerned with that just weather/crowds

If you made it this far thanks. I'd appreciate any help that was offered
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:49 PM   #2
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Our ship leaves Nov 11 out of LA They still have cabins avail and a guarantee balcony is only 899.00. Can't beat that jump on it!!
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:39 PM   #3
MMS1125
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I meant for next November. I wish I could go this November!

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Old 10-29-2012, 10:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMS1125 View Post
I have a few questions about planning a cruise.

How far in advance do you usually plan and book a cruise? By deciding now to go on a cruise at the end of May is that enough time? We originally had a 7 night/8 day WDW trip planned but my DH asked us if we'd rather do a 3 or 4 night cruise then a few days at the park to make this year's trip different and we all agreed it sounded great. I just wasn't sure if that was enough time to get a decent stateroom and stuff. We have never been on a cruise so I have no clue where to start.

We'd like a verandah that's all I really know. Are there staterooms that people prefer or do you just pick randomly

Also we'd like to have 2 staterooms. Do I book it as a partial family then add a stateroom with the remaining members? Or do I book all 5 of us in 1 room? Is it a flat fee divided by double occupancy so it doesn't really matter in the end how I do it? I've priced the cruise I just don't know how to go about breaking it up so we get 2 rooms.

Do you know the interline discount for cruises? Or how far in advance special offers come out? I'm very familiar with WDW resort discounts and stuff just clueless with cruises.

Do they still do the land/sea pkg? It probably won't matter for us on this trip since we're using the interline discount right now for our resort stay unless the s/p/d or free dining is offered during our planned dates

Which would be a better time to cruise? the end of May or November. If November it would have to be holiday break since I teach and my kids are in school. Prices were similar so not concerned with that just weather/crowds

If you made it this far thanks. I'd appreciate any help that was offered
I'll try to offer some insights/suggestions...

1) We plan DCL cruises well in advance to get lower fares. That said, there have been some great deals in the past year that didn't require a lot of advanced planning. In some ways, it may all depend on your budget.

2) You can go crazy reviewing stateroom reports; get a general idea of where you'd like to be on the ship (higher deck, lower deck, midship, aft, foreward) and pick an available room(s) in your category. Some people do have very strong preferences and/or really liked a previous room and will try to book that. GTY or *GT rates will not allow you to book an actual stateroom anyway, so if you get one of those rates DCL will assign the room.

3) If you want 2 rooms, you'll need to book 2 rooms. I think there is a way to indicate this when reserving online though I have not done it. There are connecting rooms if you'd prefer; or some families do a verandah stateroom with an interior stateroom directly across the hall. Cruise fare will be higher for 2 staterooms - because you will be paying 4 full adult fares plus 1 additional passenger (child) fare; if you go with 1 family stateroom that sleeps 5 people, you'd pay 2 full adult fares and 3 child fares. There must be at least 1 adult in a stateroom (over 21 if someone under 18 is also in that room), and the first 2 passengers per room pay full fare regardless of age.

4) I don't know about interline discounts.

5) They no longer offer official land/sea packages. Other discounts/packages/offers could not be added to a land/sea so people found it easier to just book both parts separately.

6) We cruise in the winter, so I can't speak to May vs. November. Generally, anytime schools are on break will be more expensive. Holidays will be more expensive. November is the tail end of hurricane season.

Good luck with your planning and enjoy your cruise!
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:28 PM   #5
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We travel with 5 (DH, DD, my mother, niece and myself). I priced both ways when I booked last winter. It was a few hundred dollars more to get two rooms, but it doubled our space, so more than worth it.

How far in advance? I thought 6 months was plenty, but reading the boards, people book years in advance.

When we booked, GTY was the cheapest option left in the verandah. Not knowing any different, we took what we could get. Ended up Deck 5 aft and loved it!
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:28 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I knew 2 staterooms would be more expensive but it's worth it for the extra room

Is there a thread with the lingo? I know the WDW resort and park lingo but no clue what GTY or any of that is. Off to do some research

Thanks. I'm sure I'll be back
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:14 AM   #7
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At the top of the main page there is a sticky called DIS DCL FAQ, that may be helpful.
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2068966
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:14 PM   #8
MMS1125
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Thanks

1 more question for those that do wdw and a cruise is it preferred one way or the other to do the parks before or after the cruise? I think we have narrowed down our dates to November and the first cruise we could do is about 2k cheaper than the later one. But it would require us to do parks last and I think I'd rather cruise last. I light have I let the budget decide though just wondered what others preferred

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Old 10-30-2012, 01:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMS1125 View Post
Thanks

1 more question for those that do wdw and a cruise is it preferred one way or the other to do the parks before or after the cruise?
We've only done the combination parks/cruise once, so I don't really have a lot of data. We did the cruise first then the parks because that is what best fit our schedule and the cruise schedule. If I had complete control, I would do the parks first then the cruise. The parks are much more active, especially from a parenting standpoint and the cruise is much more relaxing. My personal preference is to have the relaxing time near the end of the trip.

I love the parks and wouldn't have any issue going back, however, I feel very tired after a day, let alone 3/4 days at the parks. I never had the feeling of physical exhaustion after a day on-board. In my mind excursions would alter this advice. If you plan on being very active at every port, then it might be a similar experience to the parks. But I don't have much experience on that one.
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMS1125 View Post
Do you know the interline discount for cruises? Or how far in advance special offers come out? I'm very familiar with WDW resort discounts and stuff just clueless with cruises.
Really good interline discounts usually come out close in to sailing - based on unsold staterooms. I booked mine about a month ago for our sailing Nov 15th. It's a balcony and I don't want to say how cheap it was because people here would probably faint. Let's just say I couldn't pass it up. (For reference, about 10 years ago I booked the Wonder through an interline discount and got it for $199/person for a 3-night sailing for an oceanview room. Figure in inflation and demand and you get the picture.) This time I got it through Dargal.com - it was one of their email newsletters - and I booked it before asking my family because I was afraid it would be gone before I got ahold of DH. There was a $50 booking fee from Dargal, but it was still waaaay worth it.

If you want to book direct with Disney - do you have the Disney interline phone number? One of the options is for the cruise. It's the same rule as booking a room at WDW - limited to 2 rooms, discount varies depending on availability, and you have to fax your airline id within 24 hours or they will change the price to the full rack rate.
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingBelle View Post
Really good interline discounts usually come out close in to sailing - based on unsold staterooms. I booked mine about a month ago for our sailing Nov 15th. It's a balcony and I don't want to say how cheap it was because people here would probably faint. Let's just say I couldn't pass it up. (For reference, about 10 years ago I booked the Wonder through an interline discount and got it for $199/person for a 3-night sailing for an oceanview room. Figure in inflation and demand and you get the picture.) This time I got it through Dargal.com - it was one of their email newsletters - and I booked it before asking my family because I was afraid it would be gone before I got ahold of DH. There was a $50 booking fee from Dargal, but it was still waaaay worth it.

If you want to book direct with Disney - do you have the Disney interline phone number? One of the options is for the cruise. It's the same rule as booking a room at WDW - limited to 2 rooms, discount varies depending on availability, and you have to fax your airline id within 24 hours or they will change the price to the full rack rate.
thanks I have the number. I noticed on Dargal that a balcony for the November cruise date we are considering is about 100 cheaper than DCL's price. Will DCL give me that interline price or do I have to book thru Dargal? I'm used to just using interline with WDW which is so much easier it seems than cruising lol I had been reading that the interline rates for cruises don't come out until close to travel time so I was kind of shocked to see a cheaper rate elsewhere already.

TY so much everybody for your help. I'm beginning to get a grasp on cruise planning.
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMS1125 View Post

TY so much everybody for your help. I'm beginning to get a grasp on cruise planning.
My cruise 2 years ago I booked interline direct with Disney. They were able to give me a couple options (staterooms and prices) - so it can't hurt to call them and see what they offer. Just remember with most interline companies (like Dargal), you'll have a booking fee on top of what they quote you - usually $50. So, something to keep in mind when looking at prices.

Good luck!
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:40 PM   #13
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We tend to book our Disney cruises at least one year in advance.

The first one we took was booked the day the rates were announced.

The one we are currently booked on is for October 2013; a 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy. Our family booked it for us while on the Disney Dream in October 2011. They get 10% off the booking fee, a reduced deposit amount (only $250) and $200 on board credit ("OBC"). Then we transferred our reservation to our travel agent and she gave us another $200 OBC.

If we can't book on board, then we book through our travel agent as early as possible and get the OBC from her. DCL only gives you $25 OBC when booking online.

Never booked with anyone but our travel agent or DCL, so I've never heard of "interline" booking. What is that?

We also prefer to do the Disney parks before the cruise and then relax on the cruise. We also loved the Halloween party at the Magic Kingdom... Mickey's Not So Scary Hallloween Party (MNSSHP)! Not to be missed!!

If you use the DCL transfers from a Disney resort to the ship you'll get to the ship pretty late in the day though. We're going to use Tiffany Town Car to get us from the resort to the ship. We'll get there about the time they start boarding; 11:00 am. When we take the DCL transfers ($35 pp) we always end up arriving at the ship at about 1:30 pm or so and we always seem to miss the sit down lunch in the nice restaurants. The cost for the 2 of us through that company will be about $140.00. Since you have a bigger group and more luggage you can still look into this company, or another one called Happy Limo.

If you are doing a short cruise before or after the parks, I'd recommend the 4 or 5 nighters. We did a 3 night cruise and it seemed like we just got settled in and then we have to leave!

Hope this was helpful... Happy planning!
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:53 PM   #14
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We took the resort bus to the cruise line (from AK) a week and a half ago, and arrived at the ship approx 12.30pm. By that point, the terminal was nice and quiet!
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Old 10-30-2012, 04:01 PM   #15
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Smile

Quote:
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We took the resort bus to the cruise line (from AK) a week and a half ago, and arrived at the ship approx 12.30pm. By that point, the terminal was nice and quiet!
Lucky you!

We have never gotten to eat a nice sit-down lunch on the first day of the 3 cruises that we've taken after visiting WDW when using the DCL transfers. And when you eat late at a buffet you're not as hungry as you want to be if you happen to have early dining. That is why we're trying a different mode of transportation for our 4th cruise. We've used Tiffany Town Car in the past and like them very much.

(Our first cruise left from LA so that one doesn't count... LOL)
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