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Old 02-03-2013, 02:49 PM   #1
bizer
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Some Help for 1st Family Cruise

I am looking for some advice and guidance on planning our 1st cruise. Last fall we took our first trip to WDW and had a great time. For our trip this fall we have decided to take a Disney cruise instead of going back to WDW or going to Disneyland.

We are a family of four with two daughters (9 & 3 at travel time). I keep going back and forth between a 4 day trip and a 7 day trip. I like the 4 day in case someone gets sick or we we just don't like to cruise. I like the 7 day for the potential relaxation and seeing different countries. On the 4 day trip we would do Universal for a few days since we haven't been there before. The 7 day trip would be the whole vacation. How many days do you recommend?

If we go with the 4 day it would be on Dream to Nassau and Castway Cay. If we take a 7 day these are the two that appeal to me. Any recommendations on which of these are more family friendly?

- 7 day Western Caribbean on Fantasy: Port Canaveral, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel & Castaway Cay.
- 7 day Eastern Caribbean on Fantasy: Port Canaveral, St. Marteen, St. Thomas & Castaway Cay.

I would book direct with DCL. Is there much of an issue with DCL if we change the cruise/itinerary before the cruise (beyond 45 days)? If booked will they honor new discounts that are released or do you have to cancel and rebook?

Thanks.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:56 PM   #2
Weedy
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I don't think your younger daughter would like Universal that much. It really is for older kids. Most of the rides are faster and "twirl" a lot!! So I vote for the longer cruise. As for picking what one. Look at the port adventures offered at each port. Find the ones you think you would like best a choose that way. My husband prefers more sea days, I like more port days.

Last edited by Weedy; 02-03-2013 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:05 PM   #3
nene0182
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I don't really have any recommendations. But, your situation sounds a lot like ours. We took our first ever trip to WDW last fall and have decided on a cruise for this fall. What we did was pick what month we wanted to go on vacation and then look at the itineraries. Also, we knew we wanted to sail out of Port Canaveral because my MIL lives near there and we could pop in for a day visit. We chose a 7 night because of the relaxation aspect and because of flying in from North Dakota, we felt as though 4 nights was too short for us. So, I'm just crossing my fingers that none of us get sea sick.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:10 PM   #4
mickeynut1
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Only you can decide whether or not to take the longer cruise, but my suggestion is to try the 4 night cruise to see if everyone likes it. My DH and I have cruised before and love it, but our two DSs have never cruised. For this reason, I went with a 3 night cruise to see if they like it. I have considered a 4 night to have that extra day at sea, but if one or both DSs don't like it (or worse yet, hate it), that extra day will be a long one to get through. With that said, I wouldn't want to book a 7 day and have an extra 3 days to worry about should someone not be comfortable cruising. Keep in mind that payment for cruises are different than packages at WDW. Cruises must be paid in full 75 days prior to sailing (120 days for concierge cabins/suites), unlike WDW where it's 45 days prior to arrival for packages. I think discounts usually come out after the 75 day PIF date, at which time you would have to cancel what you have and rebook to take advantage of the discount. If you did this, you would have to consider the cancellation penalties that would apply and whether or not it would be worth it to do that. Good luck.
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:07 PM   #5
bluesky1997
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We are going on our first cruise in December and although I really wanted a 7 night cruise, we decided to try the 4 night for our first trip. If we all like it, we are planning on booking a 7 night for our next vacation while on board. My DD tends to get carsick quite easy so I'm pretty paranoid about that so I figured for us, the 4 night will be a good test to see how everyone (specifically DD) does.

Good luck on your decision!
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:24 PM   #6
NurseDave
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I would get a prescription for the patch for sea sickness anyway. 3 days is just as miserable if you're sick. Might as well book the longer one and be preventative about the sickness.
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:41 PM   #7
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Sea sickness

My wife gets sea sick within in a few hours but loves cruising. She tried the patch and it blurred her vision. It made our first cruise a little miserable. On our second cruise, she tried something else. Again, side effects were miserable. We learned from first aid on cast away cay that guest services has a product called "sea calm." It works wonderfully well. She swears by it. We have looked into purchasing it but have been unsuccessful. It's the first thing we grab when we get on board. Did I mention its free??
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:28 PM   #8
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I wouldn't worry about the sea sickness. There are medications for that and the only rough part is crossing the gulf stream the first night.

I honestly don't know any kids that didn't love the cruise. I'm sure they are out there but I haven't run into any of them.

I would choose a Western itinerary because you will be at more ports. Just in case the kids don't like the cruise part, they have less sea days.

My top tip no matter when you go....fly in a day or more early. Flying in the day of the cruise is very stressful and any glitch means you don't make it on the ship. Planes have all kinds of issues and run late, run really late or are cancelled all together. With planes flying close to capacity on each flight these days, a cancelled flight may mean days before you can get out of town.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyriddle View Post
My wife gets sea sick within in a few hours but loves cruising. She tried the patch and it blurred her vision. It made our first cruise a little miserable. On our second cruise, she tried something else. Again, side effects were miserable. We learned from first aid on cast away cay that guest services has a product called "sea calm." It works wonderfully well. She swears by it. We have looked into purchasing it but have been unsuccessful. It's the first thing we grab when we get on board. Did I mention its free??
"Sea-Calm" is Meclizine (the generic version of Bonine) that has been economically packaged for the cruise industry.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:53 PM   #10
Heyriddle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessShmoo

"Sea-Calm" is Meclizine (the generic version of Bonine) that has been economically packaged for the cruise industry.
I had found that out from my research, but the weird thing is that it works way better for my wife than Bonine. So by all means try Bonine, but just remember you can also pick up Sea Calm while on board.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:54 PM   #11
Lisavince3
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FWIW, my dd10 gets carsick very easily and she did absolutely fine on the 4 night Dream last week. No complaints at all.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:58 PM   #12
bizer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weedy View Post
I don't think your younger daughter would like Universal that much. It really is for older kids. Most of the rides are faster and "twirl" a lot!! So I vote for the longer cruise. As for picking what one. Look at the port adventures offered at each port. Find the ones you think you would like best a choose that way. My husband prefers more sea days, I like more port days.
Thanks for the Universal info. I was having seconds thoughts about going there after looking at their attractions. Might be best to wait a few years before we go there or do a day during a future WDW trip.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nene0182 View Post
I don't really have any recommendations. But, your situation sounds a lot like ours. We took our first ever trip to WDW last fall and have decided on a cruise for this fall. What we did was pick what month we wanted to go on vacation and then look at the itineraries. Also, we knew we wanted to sail out of Port Canaveral because my MIL lives near there and we could pop in for a day visit. We chose a 7 night because of the relaxation aspect and because of flying in from North Dakota, we felt as though 4 nights was too short for us. So, I'm just crossing my fingers that none of us get sea sick.
We will sail out of Port Canaveral also. We are in MN and can get flights to Orlando at pretty good prices compared to the other ports.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowWhite2 View Post
I wouldn't worry about the sea sickness. There are medications for that and the only rough part is crossing the gulf stream the first night.

I honestly don't know any kids that didn't love the cruise. I'm sure they are out there but I haven't run into any of them.

I would choose a Western itinerary because you will be at more ports. Just in case the kids don't like the cruise part, they have less sea days.

My top tip no matter when you go....fly in a day or more early. Flying in the day of the cruise is very stressful and any glitch means you don't make it on the ship. Planes have all kinds of issues and run late, run really late or are cancelled all together. With planes flying close to capacity on each flight these days, a cancelled flight may mean days before you can get out of town.
Thanks. We planned to fly down the night before just to make sure we get on board.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:03 PM   #13
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We are a family with 2 DDs as well. Our first cruise was a 7 night Eastern. My girls were 7 & 10 at the time, and they did great! I personally think a 4 night isn't long enough, just when you are totally "used" to being on the ship, it's time to get off!

Like some PPs have said, Guest Services has "Sea Calm" and the gift shops sell the sea bands (for wrists). We have now done 7 DCL cruises, and only 1 day of sickness between the 4 of us (it was REALLY rough near Cozumel in Jan. 2011...our 11 year old went down for the count for 1 night).

I think the movement is less in the middle of the ship, but you will get various opinions regarding that. We had the worst movement when we were all the way at the back, vibrations from the motors.

Whatever you decide, you will have a BLAST!
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