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Old 01-16-2013, 09:00 AM   #1
nosnits
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Last minute trips

First timer here!

We have been thinking about a Disney Cruise for a number of years now. We held off until DD turned 14 so she could go into the teen areas (She mature for her age and we were afraid she wouldn't enjoy the pre-teen stuff.) We have been to Disneyworld and Disneyland and have really had a great time.

Anyway, DH is currently deployed (not military). We are thinking of taking off and doing something as soon as he gets home. We would LOVE to go on a cruise and Disney is pretty much the only one we want to go with. The problem is, we have no return date for him. When he comes home we usually only know about a 3-5 days in advance. This means we would be attempting to book last minute.

Would we have a decent shot of getting a room on a ship and maybe an excursion? We are thinking about doing something 4 day since it is our first time. Would we regret a last minute trip and wish we would have held off to plan ahead?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:09 AM   #2
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I think you probably have a decent chance of booking a stateroom with such short lead time...it doesn't sound like DCL ships have been filling to capacity lately except maybe during KSF. You aren't likely to get a special rate, though possible a military rate will be available as those are generally offered last minute. Excursions...you'll be taking your chances at getting one you want - but on a 4-day cruise there is plenty to do on the ship if you decide to skip the excursions and you'll get a little more time to explore and enjoy onboard activities; or do a self-directed mini-tour just to say you were there. The great thing about a cruise is so little pre-planning truly needs to be done other than the reservation and securing your transportation.

Good luck and thank you to your DH and family!
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:07 AM   #3
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Thanks I appreciate it! I'm glad to hear it doesn't take a lot of pre-planning! I am excited about the possibility of the trip and am glad to hear that there are plenty of things to do aboard the ship. We have never been on a cruise of any kind so I wasn't sure if an excursion was something we needed or not to keep the kids occupied.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:22 AM   #4
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The closest I ever booked was on a Thursday for a Saturday departure.

Yes, there is a very reasonable chance of getting a cabin for 3 people in the week before a cruise. You should know that cruises are taken off line 3 days before embarkation. You can still book after that time but you must do it by calling DCL (your travel agent can do this for you). The ships are not filling up these days, so other then spring break or holiday time it is unlikely to be an issue.

As to excursions--those do fill, but you can have a super time without them OR do them privately/on your own. 4 night cruises are tough because there are a lot of people on the ship. Longer cruises are actually easier to get on ship appointments for things like spa and adult dining, but again...first time I'd tend to skip these. You can't do everything on one cruise--do those things that are available at the last minute and figure that the others will wait till next time!
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcashner View Post
The closest I ever booked was on a Thursday for a Saturday departure.

Yes, there is a very reasonable chance of getting a cabin for 3 people in the week before a cruise. You should know that cruises are taken off line 3 days before embarkation. You can still book after that time but you must do it by calling DCL (your travel agent can do this for you). The ships are not filling up these days, so other then spring break or holiday time it is unlikely to be an issue.

As to excursions--those do fill, but you can have a super time without them OR do them privately/on your own. 4 night cruises are tough because there are a lot of people on the ship. Longer cruises are actually easier to get on ship appointments for things like spa and adult dining, but again...first time I'd tend to skip these. You can't do everything on one cruise--do those things that are available at the last minute and figure that the others will wait till next time!
Thanks, I didn't know they went offline at that time. That is good to know!

Yeah I was thinking it may be crowded. It is very possible that we are looking at a summer trip which I'm sure may make it tough. We will be looking for a 4 person room as we have a son too. I'm not too worried about the type or location of the room as we really don't plan on hanging out in it. We like to go, go, go! Then we collapse when we get home and wish we had a vacation from our vacation lol. Maybe the cruise will help us to slow down and relax a bit.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:35 PM   #6
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I read somewhere that due to security issues, the passenger manifest has to be in the hands of whoever, by 3 days before sailing. Someone correct me if I wrong. Last minutes sounds like fun...you could start a cruise "box" to put simple items in that you would always take on your cruise. That way you would basically just need your wardrobe and a few items...
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandiegosusie View Post
I read somewhere that due to security issues, the passenger manifest has to be in the hands of whoever, by 3 days before sailing. Someone correct me if I wrong. Last minutes sounds like fun...you could start a cruise "box" to put simple items in that you would always take on your cruise. That way you would basically just need your wardrobe and a few items...
Ooh I like that idea! That may help me keep my excitement under control. If I have some secret projects to work on not only will it help with that and passing the time but I could have some great things to surprise my family with. I could probably start with designing a door with the magnets I am reading so much about.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:46 PM   #8
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And don't worry too much about pre-planning. Other than excursions (which can book up and DCL doesn't hold spots back) everything else DCL holds a few spots back for booking onboard. Just plan to try and get to the port as early as you can (the online check-in time might be later than you wish, but pick the earliest avail) and go straight to Guest Services or the designated common area to book the other extras you'd like, such as Palo/Remy, Tastings, or Spa stuff.

The other thing to think about is making it a surprise for the kids. We did that with our Baltic cruise. We had a little bit more time to plan than you are looking at (50 days), but we didn't tell the girls until the day we left for the airport. We worked with their teachers to do a scavenger hunt at school to give them clues about where they were going. They got off the bus and we had a DCL symbol hanging on the front door. We changed them into flying clothes and headed straight to the airport! (They were a little disappointed when we told them they weren't actually going to FL, but they got over it when we got to England! :-))
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandiegosusie View Post
I read somewhere that due to security issues, the passenger manifest has to be in the hands of whoever, by 3 days before sailing. Someone correct me if I wrong. Last minutes sounds like fun...you could start a cruise "box" to put simple items in that you would always take on your cruise. That way you would basically just need your wardrobe and a few items...
A tentative manifest is prepared 3 days in advance (and the cruise is taken off line). However, the final is submitted only an hour before departure...or so we were told. I do know that I personally had no problem booking Thursday for a Sat. cruise. A fellow Dis-er told me on board the Magic that she had been able to book on Friday for a Sat. cruise; while I have no reason to doubt her, I cannot personally verify that.

They obviously have situations were people are removed from the manifest at the last moment. On one cruise, the Walt suite was available for upgrade. The family booked in it had canceled for medical reasons and no one on the wait list was available on such short notice. Hope someone grabbed a nice deal on that one. I still couldn't justify a 2 bedroom suite for 2 people.
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