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Old 11-12-2012, 12:07 PM   #1
Meesh201
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Overwhelmed cruise planner...HELP ME PLEASE!

My family is booked on a 4-night bahamas cruise on the Dream in May. I did a lot of planning and research for this trip, felt confident in booking a category 11A room, and was ready to go.

The bad We may have to move our cruise to a different time because it looks like my husband is going to lose his job this month due to cut backs. We will most likely be moving and my daughter will have a different school calendar that prevents us from taking the currently booked cruise.

The good She will have a two week fall break in October and we could book the same 4 night cruise at a cheaper rate. Looking at the prices, I think we could even upgrade to a category 9A or 7A - 4C for less than what we are currently paying for the 11A.

My questions:
1) When is the latest that we could switch our booking and will we have to pay a penalty?
2) Do we have to book something that costs the same as what we currently have or could we stay with an 11A and just not spend as much (yay for saving $)
3) Which category would you recommend in this situation? I think it would be great to have a verandah, but I'm not sure how much time we will spend in the room.

If you read this far, then bless you and I appreciate any feedback. Our TA is (ironically) on the Dream right now and I am freaking out over all of the changes we have going on. This will be our first cruise btw.
TIA,
Michele
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:20 PM   #2
STLEdge
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I don't know the answers to your first two questions about the logistics of switching a reservation, but I will give my opinion on the benefits and drawbacks of a verandah room.

We took a 3-night cruise on the Dream last October (2011) with my two sons, who were 4 and 6 at the time - so close in age to your children. All families are different, of course, but we spent more time in the room than I expected, simply because the kids got tuckered out more easily than I expected. It was nice to be able to come back to the room, turn on the TV and let them watch some of the on demand programming (Disney movies and/or Disney-themed shows). When that happened, my wife and I found it essential to have the verandah - we would sit outside and read or talk. In a sense, it's like having a second room in your stateroom. Another factor to consider is bedtime - if you are going to be putting the kids down to bed at 8:00 or 9:00, are you going to go to bed at the same time? The verandah has a light, so you can sit out there and read or talk while the kids are settling down to sleep as well.

It's probably hard to estimate how much time you're going to spend in the stateroom without having been on a cruise before - you may spend less if you think your kids will spend a lot of time in the kids' clubs (this was the case when we went on a 7-day on the Fantasy last month). And on a 4-night cruise, maybe you don't mind being early to bed and early to rise on the same schedule as the kids. Personally, I can't stand that and that's one of the main reasons we've booked verandah rooms.

The main drawback is the cost - you've identified the difference in price - while I don't know the exact logistics, I feel fairly confident that you could turn any savings into onboard credit (if not get an outright refund) - you could also consider using that money to book an excursion or to take advantage of some of the other opportunities on board. If you and your husband like fine dining, a reservation at Palo or Remy (and the associated cost of wine) could be another way to utilize the difference in price, as would extending your trip to include a day or two in Orlando, depending on your travel schedule.

Hope these tips are helpful!
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:09 PM   #3
kcashner
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Your reservation will have a "penalty date" listed on the form. Normally this is 75 days before the cruise was to start. You can make any changes you wish up to that date without a penalty. If you move the cruise, you'll have a new penalty date--again 75 days before the new cruise.

You do not have to "match the price" you paid for the original cruise. If your new cruise costs less, DCL will refund the difference or adjust the balance remaining.

For a short cruise, I'd stick to the inside cabin. Besides, we LIKED the virtual porthole on the Fantasy. I find that the shorter the cruise, the less time I spend in my cabin. Yes, a balcony is nice when the weather/temperature is decent so that you can enjoy it, but there are plenty public areas where you can enjoy the ocean breezes. I'd save the money and use it for excursions or whatever else. Whatever factors made you think you'd be happy with an 11C originally have not changed, right? I've been inside, oceanview, and verandah. While my DD likes to have "at least a window," I find that I'm totally content wherever I've chosen to be.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:00 AM   #4
Meesh201
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Thank you both for the feedback! My husband and I talked about it last night and I think we will stick with the category that we had already booked and spend a few extra days in Orlando since the cruise won't cost as much. I think the verandah would be nice, but I would probably be the only one using it, since DH usually sticks with the kids' schedule on vacation and I am the night owl. We are also concerned that if we start our cruise experience with a verandah, we won't ever want to cruise without one!

Thanks again!
Michele
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:18 AM   #5
theeighthdwarf
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I would look at a 7 night on the fantasy instead. Use the money saved for the longer cruise! 4 nights goes by too quickly.

Lauri
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:36 AM   #6
zstyles
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We spent alot of time in our room, we enjoyed the verandah, remember this isn't a "trip" its a "vacation"...you'll get to lay around, walk upstairs get a drink, lay around some more, read, relax, enjoy the ocean, drink some more...lay around some more, go see a movie, lay around on the verandah, go grab a drink, enjoy the sunset, lay around some more, go to dinner, drink more, than lay around all night...I thin you'll be surprised at how non-normal vacation a cruise is...PS: Think of it this way, if its your first cruise spoil yourself, we upgraded to a one bedroom concierge and really loved it, will always remember how AWESOME it was...
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