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Old 12-02-2012, 02:14 PM   #1
wdwlovin'family
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Ugh, our cruise is sold out -- suggestions for sanity helpers

I've been keeping tabs on our cruise and my worst fear is becoming realized -- it appears to be sold out. At least, it's not showing up on the DCL website anymore. Our sail date is Jan. 6, 2013. I don't know why I was thinking that the rest of the world wouldn't extend their Christmas vacation like we are, but I was hopeful.

What are your best tips for sailing on a sold-out cruise? Do you think it feels a lot different to have a ship that is full vs. one that is 75% or less? This is our first cruise and I am just trying to figure out what to expect. I am hoping that the weather is nice and that we can utilize that aft verandah for some good quiet time.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:35 PM   #2
kcashner
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A cruise can be temporarily removed from the web site while DCL does cabin assignments for any GTY or *GTs that may have booked...so not on the web does not always mean it is sold out. It could appear again in a day or so. However, I checked another site and it showed only one cabin category remaining...so you might well be sold out.

I've cruised on many "sold out" ships. First, sold out isn't the same as totally max capacity. Some 4 person cabins are likely booked by 2 people. Even at capacity, the ship doesn't feel full in the same way that the parks do. The ships are made to handle their full guest load, and they CAN handle that many people. Now, in fairness, I prefer it when the cruise is not full, but that's not something I can control.

Even at "full" we don't find lots of lines, etc. Max wait for Aquaduck was about 20 minutes for us. We had no trouble getting 2 dinners at Palo. (second one obviously booked on board)
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:47 PM   #3
wdwlovin'family
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This is good to hear. So a sold out cruise is not the equivalent of a level 10 in the theme parks?
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:55 PM   #4
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We've experienced a sold out cruise and it is nothing like a packed day at the parks. The pools will likely be crowded during peak times regardless of how full the ship is but the rest of the ship is still very manageable and likely won't feel overly full. Going to the pirate party for example we showed up just a few minutes before it started and we were still able to get a perfect spot sitting on deck. It's not like the parks where you have to show up 2 hours before a parade. The ship is designed to absorb the crowds and it does a good job of catering to everyone on board. The theatre shows do get busy so I'd recommend showing up early (30 minutes prior to showtime) to guarantee a good seat but other than that you shouldn't have anything to worry about.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:56 PM   #5
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A full cruise is nothing like a 10 in the parks, no. The only area that may feel crowded at times could be the family pool. Now I have only been on the Magic and Wonder, so this may not even be true for the newer ships since there is more to do! Don't worry, you'll be fine. The way things are scheduled and planned the ships absorb the crowds better than say Magic Kingdom
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:09 PM   #6
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A sold out cruise is NOTHING like a packed day in the parks. To start with, everyone has a seat at dinner at their assigned time--no problem there. The family pool is always crowded, whether the ship is full or not. However, Disney is the master of spreading us out among the various activities (did you ever wonder why the best ones overlap and force you to make a decision?) They will schedule lots of activities to keep some of your newest, closest friends occupied on sea days. It honestly isn't bad.

Check out some of the typically "less busy" places--go play Goofy Golf, etc.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:16 PM   #7
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Yep, Been on PACKED cruises and some that had difficulty filling. Mostly they felt the same. Only cruise that I really felt was overwhelming was the LA two night cruise to nowhere. I think that because there was such a short time... everyone was out in the public areas at the same time making for a crowded feeling.
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdwlovin'family View Post
Do you think it feels a lot different to have a ship that is full vs. one that is 75% or less? This is our first cruise and I am just trying to figure out what to expect. I am hoping that the weather is nice and that we can utilize that aft verandah for some good quiet time.
FWIW, Disney Cruises always sail at 100% or more capacity except in the rarest of cases.
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:28 PM   #9
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Was on the first Hawaii cruise and it was sold out, but there was about 700 less children then a normal sold out cruise.

Price and the time/length of the cruise meant many older children could not miss school.

So the kids clubs were not packed and we heard there was only 30 teens and they all had a lot of fun with the staff.
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXinmyheart
FWIW, Disney Cruises always sail at 100% or more capacity except in the rarest of cases.
The ships regularly sail above 100% occupancy, but not 100% capacity. The exception is the Fantasy, which hasn't filled as well (per news reports and first-hand reports from 4 dining staff we spoke to). Our servers, head server, and former servers from the Dream who moved to the Fantasy all commented on how the Fantasy had so many fewer guests and thus the tips were better on the Dream. My husband likes to ask questions about how people like their jobs, so that's how it came up . There were many, many empty tables at first seating in the dining room. More than I ever saw on the Dream. The servers mentioned our cruise was at about 75% occupancy. That might have been a low-ball estimate but it was clearly nowhere near 100% occupancy.

That said, I have also sailed on the Dream (which does sail at well over 100% occupancy) twice and while the pool was much less crowded on the Fantasy with more days to spread pool time out, Castaway Cay felt just about identical. The only difference is Serenity Bay was more crowded on the second Dream cruise than the Fantasy. So I would say don't sweat it. We go to the pool on port days, get to the theatre early, all the suggestions mentioned above. I would NEVER again go to a park on a day above an 8, but I'd have no problem with a sold-out ship.
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:00 PM   #11
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If your cruise is sold out here are a few suggestions:

Pack or wear your bathing suites and if it's warm enough hit the pools and the aquaduck when you first board to avoid the crowds at the pool.

For swimming on other days go early or go late. In the middle of the days is when it's the most crowded. Find something else fun to do during this time. There are movies or the Midship Detective Agency game is loads of fun.

For dinner people line up 20 - 30 minutes before the dining rooms open?? Don't go to your assigned dining rooms until about 5 minutes after your time and you can walk right in. ( Don't wait more the 5-10 minutes late because it messes up your servers)

Try and use the stairs as much as possible and avoids the elevators and
don't ever use the mid ship elevators they are always busy. Go forward or aft. Except after the shows. Walk past the forward elevators and the foward stairs and head to the back of the ship and you will get out of the crowds quicker.

Everyone!! in your party will need their Key To the World card to get off the ship and adults will need a picture ID make sure you have this every time you disembark the ship.

There are a lot of quiet areas even if the ship is crowded if your are feeling overwhelmed find a quiet spot and relax and enjoy your cruise.
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:07 PM   #12
kcashner
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There is NO reason to line up for dinner 20-30 minutes early. If you show up at the appointed time, you'll maybe wait 2 minutes while all those who were in line early enter the dining room. There are lots of character meet and greets before dinner, and often a family show that will let out about 10-15 minutes before second seating. People who wait in line for dinner must just like to wait in lines!

The doors to the dining rooms will open exactly at the appointed time or sometimes 2-3 minutes before. No one will be entering before that!
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:33 PM   #13
Dani85Bri06
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I completely agree with all the above posts. We were on the Dream about a year ago and it was completely full!! The only times I really felt like there were a lot of people were when we ate breakfast at cabanas so we started going to breakfast at the other restaurants. And then lunch at cabanas is super busy on the at sea days. The pools were crowded on our day at sea but it didn't seem to bother the kids we still swam and had fun.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcashner View Post
I've cruised on many "sold out" ships. First, sold out isn't the same as totally max capacity.
This has been our experience as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdwlovin'family View Post
This is good to hear. So a sold out cruise is not the equivalent of a level 10 in the theme parks?
Not at all! That is why we keep rebooking.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:58 AM   #15
wdwlovin'family
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Thanks guys! This is just going to be a completely new experience for me and the ultra-planner in me has no idea what to expect!
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