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Old 12-04-2012, 02:51 PM   #31
dallastxcpa
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Originally Posted by sissy_ib View Post
Everyone keeps saying during the school year is not a good time. How did DCL fill ships out of other ports during the school year? The causes for the low sales out of Galveston are not rooted in the school calender.
I think you are very wrong on that. Texas has extremely strict attendance requirements. Each school district sets its own way of applying the attendance requirements but most of the major districts do not consider a family vacation an excused abscense. When a student receives an unexcused abscense they may not make up any work. They get zeros for each and every assignment and test during the time they missed. I am taking my daughter, who is a junior out for a 4 night crusie in april. She will miss two days of school, unexcused. There is no way I would have taken her out for a 7 or 8 night cruise even though I would have loved to go.

And the four night cruises were done at the last minute. very poor execution on Disney's part. They should have offered the shorter cruises from the beginning.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:26 PM   #32
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When people sail from Florida ports, they are traveling from outside of the state as well. People don't want to travel to Texas to sail! It's really not surprising the Galveston sailings did not sell well.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:30 PM   #33
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I am one of the people who has been very glad to see DCL sailing out of Texas, and very disappointed that they won't be here in the spring. I'll keep hoping they'll be back for at least part of the fall. We just came off one of the Galveston sailings recently, and we have another booked for next fall. If they sail out of Galveston in 2014, we'll book one for 2014.

That said, DCL did make some mistakes with Galveston, and I'm not surprised they haven't initially been as successful as they hoped.

People around here do take cruises and do fill ships, and many of us are used to cruising out of Galveston... at substantially cheaper rates than DCL originally offered. I have several friends who were really excited about the prospect of DCL out of Galveston, but then saw the rates and basically decided to sail with another line even though DCL would have been their first choice. Once DCL lowered their rates a bit, offering price cuts and KSF, these families had made other plans.

When I say more DCL cost money, let me make it clear that we took two cruises this year, both out of Galveston, both concierge level in a cabin that could hold our party of 5 (both could hold more, but we happened to be a party of 5.) Our cruise on DCL was, quite honestly, more than twice the cost of our cruise on RCCL. Same duration, both concierge level, same party of guests traveling, and RCCL had a better and more interesting route. Admittedly, I happened to book the RCCL cruise on a day they were running a sale, but the price difference between the two cruises was huge. If you were a veteran cruiser who was considering trying DCL for the first time, as we were, you had to really want to try them to justify that price difference. As it happens, we did, and we loved it so much that we turned around and booked another one.

Their originally offered routes were not well thought out at all. They offered routes that cruisers around here have been doing for years, at substantially more money than we were used to paying. You had to really want DISNEY to book with them. You had to be willing to overlook that the ports were ones you would almost certainly have been to before, possibly many times before, if you were someone who often cruised out of Galveston. Their newer routes are better, particularly the ones that include CC. I think they were really smart to start alternating routes in fall 2013, so that people who wanted a traditional western Caribbean experience could have it, and people who wanted to try the Bahamas - and perhaps most importantly CC - would have a choice.

The school issue in Texas really is a factor. It is for any ship that does longer cruises out of Texas that target families during the school year, because the truancy laws here are so strict. Many cruisers around here, particularly ones who don't travel with kids, think of DCL as a line for families. Many of the frequent cruisers we know without young children assumed DCL wouldn't be for them, since DCL didn't do much advertising in the region and so didn't emphasize that there are many adults only areas and people who cruise without kids.

I hope they find a way to make DCL profitable in Galveston, and I really hope they continue to come for part of the year.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:43 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by dallastxcpa View Post
I think you are very wrong on that. Texas has extremely strict attendance requirements. Each school district sets its own way of applying the attendance requirements but most of the major districts do not consider a family vacation an excused abscense. When a student receives an unexcused abscense they may not make up any work. They get zeros for each and every assignment and test during the time they missed. I am taking my daughter, who is a junior out for a 4 night crusie in april. She will miss two days of school, unexcused. There is no way I would have taken her out for a 7 or 8 night cruise even though I would have loved to go.

And the four night cruises were done at the last minute. very poor execution on Disney's part. They should have offered the shorter cruises from the beginning.
True, but Texans are not the only ones on these cruses any more than Floridians are the only ones on cruses out of Florida. I think, in part it is like others have said, Galveston/Houston is not a great vacation destination. Why would someone from Washington or Virginia fly to Texas when they could fly to Orlando go to WDW and a cruise on the brand new ships for a similar price? The week we sailed we could have been on the Fantasy for the same price. But we live in San Antonio so we chose to drive to Galveston. If we still lived in Nebraska we probably would have chosen the Fantasy. And I absolutely agree they should have had more varied itineraries from the start. 6,7, and 8 nights cruises that go to more or less the exact same ports for 8 months in a row is just stupid. I think it has more to do with price and itinerary than the school policies. For locals who have been cruising on RC and CCL out of Galveston, why would they pay more to do DCL when they go to the same ports for a lot more? JMHO.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:45 PM   #35
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Also they should have advertised much more. I know this was talked about a while ago. Half a dozen billboards in the greater Houston area doesn't cut it. I heard one radio add months ago. If people don't know you're here how can they buy your product?
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:06 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by sissy_ib
Also they should have advertised much more. I know this was talked about a while ago. Half a dozen billboards in the greater Houston area doesn't cut it. I heard one radio add months ago. If people don't know you're here how can they buy your product?
You should see the advertisements in the Frisco//Plano area. Wow. It's all over. Not so much where I live.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:26 PM   #37
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My family is cruising out of Galveston in March and we're very excited about the cruise but our airfare to get to Houston was insane. We ended up paying nearly $600 per person. For use to fly to Orlando a that exact same time would have cost $300-$350. Since we live in Minnesota we obviously have to fly to cruise so it would be nice to have had to purchase the most expensive tickets around. (Although we had a credit to use and only had to pay about $1000 total but that still stings.)
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:53 PM   #38
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I've only cruised out of Galveston once on a different line. I would only consider doing it again on a DCL, but not school year. I wish they would have sailed during the summer. I'm still in love with DCL
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:11 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Golden Rose View Post
I am one of the people who has been very glad to see DCL sailing out of Texas, and very disappointed that they won't be here in the spring. I'll keep hoping they'll be back for at least part of the fall. We just came off one of the Galveston sailings recently, and we have another booked for next fall. If they sail out of Galveston in 2014, we'll book one for 2014.

That said, DCL did make some mistakes with Galveston, and I'm not surprised they haven't initially been as successful as they hoped.

People around here do take cruises and do fill ships, and many of us are used to cruising out of Galveston... at substantially cheaper rates than DCL originally offered. I have several friends who were really excited about the prospect of DCL out of Galveston, but then saw the rates and basically decided to sail with another line even though DCL would have been their first choice. Once DCL lowered their rates a bit, offering price cuts and KSF, these families had made other plans.

When I say more DCL cost money, let me make it clear that we took two cruises this year, both out of Galveston, both concierge level in a cabin that could hold our party of 5 (both could hold more, but we happened to be a party of 5.) Our cruise on DCL was, quite honestly, more than twice the cost of our cruise on RCCL. Same duration, both concierge level, same party of guests traveling, and RCCL had a better and more interesting route. Admittedly, I happened to book the RCCL cruise on a day they were running a sale, but the price difference between the two cruises was huge. If you were a veteran cruiser who was considering trying DCL for the first time, as we were, you had to really want to try them to justify that price difference. As it happens, we did, and we loved it so much that we turned around and booked another one.

Their originally offered routes were not well thought out at all. They offered routes that cruisers around here have been doing for years, at substantially more money than we were used to paying. You had to really want DISNEY to book with them. You had to be willing to overlook that the ports were ones you would almost certainly have been to before, possibly many times before, if you were someone who often cruised out of Galveston. Their newer routes are better, particularly the ones that include CC. I think they were really smart to start alternating routes in fall 2013, so that people who wanted a traditional western Caribbean experience could have it, and people who wanted to try the Bahamas - and perhaps most importantly CC - would have a choice.

The school issue in Texas really is a factor. It is for any ship that does longer cruises out of Texas that target families during the school year, because the truancy laws here are so strict. Many cruisers around here, particularly ones who don't travel with kids, think of DCL as a line for families. Many of the frequent cruisers we know without young children assumed DCL wouldn't be for them, since DCL didn't do much advertising in the region and so didn't emphasize that there are many adults only areas and people who cruise without kids.

I hope they find a way to make DCL profitable in Galveston, and I really hope they continue to come for part of the year.
This pretty much hits the nail on the head. We will sail DCL out of Galveston this next school year (it looks like that's going to be in the fall now). I would really like to take advantage of the KSF offers, but we just pulled the kids out of school for three and a half days for WDW. There's no way the school district would just look the other way if we pulled them again this school year .

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Originally Posted by sissy_ib View Post
True, but Texans are not the only ones on these cruses any more than Floridians are the only ones on cruses out of Florida. I think, in part it is like others have said, Galveston/Houston is not a great vacation destination. Why would someone from Washington or Virginia fly to Texas when they could fly to Orlando go to WDW and a cruise on the brand new ships for a similar price? The week we sailed we could have been on the Fantasy for the same price. But we live in San Antonio so we chose to drive to Galveston. If we still lived in Nebraska we probably would have chosen the Fantasy. And I absolutely agree they should have had more varied itineraries from the start. 6,7, and 8 nights cruises that go to more or less the exact same ports for 8 months in a row is just stupid. I think it has more to do with price and itinerary than the school policies. For locals who have been cruising on RC and CCL out of Galveston, why would they pay more to do DCL when they go to the same ports for a lot more? JMHO.
We've cruised out of Galveston many times, and the ships are almost always filled with at least 80% Texans. Ships out of Galveston ARE ships full of Texans, partially for the reasons you list in your post (Who would choose Texas over Florida for a port?? Texans, that's who!!). --Katie
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:18 PM   #40
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Maybe the fact that they aren't going to be back in the spring of 2014 will get people to book the spring of 2013 from Galveston. I am a little concerned that our March 19 4 day is going to be almost empty. (I am contemplating whether to move my sail date to a later date before the PIF date & hope for further discounts on March 19).
How do you find out how full the ship is for your dates? Thanks.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:25 PM   #41
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I am also sad to see Galveston go! We did our first cruise ever on the magic 11/3. The flight from Denver to Houston is about 1/3 to 1/2 the price it would have been to Orlando! It is also half the flight time, which makes a big difference when traveling with 4 kids. We also have to option of flying in the same day which we couldn't do to mco. We loved being on a smaller ship! We are planing to book another DCL cruise for next November and keeping my fingers crossed they offer some good deals!
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:26 PM   #42
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My family is cruising out of Galveston in March and we're very excited about the cruise but our airfare to get to Houston was insane. We ended up paying nearly $600 per person. For use to fly to Orlando a that exact same time would have cost $300-$350. Since we live in Minnesota we obviously have to fly to cruise so it would be nice to have had to purchase the most expensive tickets around. (Although we had a credit to use and only had to pay about $1000 total but that still stings.)
The flights to Houston from Chicago are 2x what we would pay to Orlando, with fewer choices. We will be on the Magic 12/21 only because it is a Christmas cruise that DCL offered an interline rate on. The ports? Eh, not so great. At least for us it is all about the DCL magic for a holiday sailing with family. Traveling to Texas for a cruise versus Florida & Cali? We will give it a try....
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:31 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by sissy_ib
Also they should have advertised much more. I know this was talked about a while ago. Half a dozen billboards in the greater Houston area doesn't cut it. I heard one radio add months ago. If people don't know you're here how can they buy your product?
I agree! We live in NE TX, and when we've told people we are going on DCL in January, they had no idea that Disney is in Galveston now! We only knew because we were looking into a cruise anyway. We will be very sad if they stop using Galveston, because the ability to drive to port was what sealed the deal with DCL for us!
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:39 PM   #44
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Yeah, it is amazing how many people in Houston didn't hear, or didn't hear until recently that Disney was here.

My husband's boss actually said to him about two months ago, "Hey, I know you guys like Disney, do you know Disney Cruises just started going out of Galveston?" To which DH replied, "Um, yeah, you know that vacation I put in for November? That's the Disney Cruise out of Galveston my wife booked a year and a half ago on the first day it was available."

I was at a luncheon today with a group of women who could easily afford to take their families on a Disney Cruise at the full prices, and every single one of them that I mentioned the wonderful cruise we'd just done last month was shocked to hear that Disney was sailing out of Galveston. Every single one I happened to chat about it with. Several of them were VERY interested, particularly when my mother started talking about what good care they took of us in concierge, and how impressed she was with their attention to detail.

I continue to be sorry that DCL seems to have mismanaged their attempt to break into the market here. We've loved having them here and will be sorry when they leave. If they were hoping to get bookings mostly based on word of mouth to save on advertising dollars, they won't start seeing returns from that until more people have cruised out of Galveston and tell their friends about it. I was really delighted by our cruise, and I've told a lot of people about it in the 3 weeks we've been back, and I suspect that some of them will end up booking cruises. But word of mouth takes time, and they seem like they may not be willing to give it time.
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:42 PM   #45
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We are from Ohio and sailing out of Galveston next month. I have to say the lack of easy transportation between Houston and Galveston is somewhat daunting. Yes, DCL offers transfers---but we are used the MCO/Port Canaveral approach where one can easily do a one-way car rental. The transfer for an outsider seems so much more expensive and that much more of a hassle!
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