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Old 02-03-2013, 07:22 PM   #1
Matty Ice
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Things I learned from our First Disney Cruise

My family just returned from an amazing 5 night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder. Myself, DW, DD7 and DD5. We visited Grand Cayman and Cozumel and we're already trying to decide when we can go on our next cruise. I spent months researching and planning and want to thank all the Dis Boarders for the great ideas that I got. I wanted to share a few "musts" that I learned from the trip that I'd like to share.

1. Use the Dis Board and do your research (Duh!)
2. You MUST have Brunch at Palo (our favorite meal of the trip!)
3. The over the door shoe organizer is a must. It saved us a ton of space.
4. Book a verandah room if you can. The view, the air and the ability to have an evening, or morning drink was definitely worth it.
5. Get to know and interact with your servers. Christian and Sheldon really made our dinners magical. We passed on dinner at Palo just so we wouldn't miss the time with our servers.
6. BUY THE BEER MUG. It's a great souvenir and a good deal as well.
7. Order the All Hands On Deck cheese platter from Room Service. If you have kids, order extra crackers.
8. Book another cruise while on board. 10% discount, 10% deposit and onboard credit (Duh!).
9. Instead of carrying the Daily Navigator around, I took a picture of it on my iPhone. I had my phone with me for picture taking anyway, so it worked out great!
10. Didn't think I'd like it, but I wore a lanyard the entire time and loved it. I never had to ask my wife if she knew where my key was.
11. DO NOT WAIT till the last morning to get pictures from Shutters. We made that critical mistake. We would have had to reopen our onboard account to buy pictures and I wasn't going to wait in line at guest services. Thankfully we did take lots of pictures on our own.
12. Utilize the Oceaneer Club and Lab. It was a family vacation, but it was nice to have some adult time.
13. Get in line early for the character signings.
14. If you need transportation from Ft. Lauderdale use SAS Transportation. Great service!
15. Sign up for a Tasting. We did the Tequila tasting and really enjoyed it.
16. Drop off something to be signed at guest services the first day so you don't miss any signatures. We dropped off thank you candy with our photo mattes and they turned out beautiful.


Our next cruise will definitely include a stop at Castaway Cay. I'd be happy to answer any questions any first timers or seasoned cruisers have about the Port of Miami, the itinerary or anything else.

Thanks!

Matt
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:29 PM   #2
bluesky1997
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Thanks so much for the tips! As a soon to be first-timer, I really appreciate it!
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:38 PM   #3
TheWalsh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matty Ice
My family just returned from an amazing 5 night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder. Myself, DW, DD7 and DD5. We visited Grand Cayman and Cozumel and we're already trying to decide when we can go on our next cruise. I spent months researching and planning and want to thank all the Dis Boarders for the great ideas that I got. I wanted to share a few "musts" that I learned from the trip that I'd like to share.

1. Use the Dis Board and do your research (Duh!)
2. You MUST have Brunch at Palo (our favorite meal of the trip!)
3. The over the door shoe organizer is a must. It saved us a ton of space.
4. Book a verandah room if you can. The view, the air and the ability to have an evening, or morning drink was definitely worth it.
5. Get to know and interact with your servers. Christian and Sheldon really made our dinners magical. We passed on dinner at Palo just so we wouldn't miss the time with our servers.
6. BUY THE BEER MUG. It's a great souvenir and a good deal as well.
7. Order the All Hands On Deck cheese platter from Room Service. If you have kids, order extra crackers.
8. Book another cruise while on board. 10% discount, 10% deposit and onboard credit (Duh!).
9. Instead of carrying the Daily Navigator around, I took a picture of it on my iPhone. I had my phone with me for picture taking anyway, so it worked out great!
10. Didn't think I'd like it, but I wore a lanyard the entire time and loved it. I never had to ask my wife if she knew where my key was.
11. DO NOT WAIT till the last morning to get pictures from Shutters. We made that critical mistake. We would have had to reopen our onboard account to buy pictures and I wasn't going to wait in line at guest services. Thankfully we did take lots of pictures on our own.
12. Utilize the Oceaneer Club and Lab. It was a family vacation, but it was nice to have some adult time.
13. Get in line early for the character signings.
14. If you need transportation from Ft. Lauderdale use SAS Transportation. Great service!
15. Sign up for a Tasting. We did the Tequila tasting and really enjoyed it.
16. Drop off something to be signed at guest services the first day so you don't miss any signatures. We dropped off thank you candy with our photo mattes and they turned out beautiful.

Our next cruise will definitely include a stop at Castaway Cay. I'd be happy to answer any questions any first timers or seasoned cruisers have about the Port of Miami, the itinerary or anything else.

Thanks!

Matt
Two comments, a clear shoe holder is best, and don't try and do it all.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:40 PM   #4
mom2jcg
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I would add to that:
1. Don't bring so many clothes! We spent most of the time in our swimsuits.
2. Don't allow your kids to eat movie candy at the shows if you have the late dinner seating. It adds up to candy for dinner, no appetite for real food
3. Bring jackets or sweaters for dinner. It gets quite cold in the dining room. Kids and I froze.
4. I would not go to WDW right after again. It was too exhausting and I came home with walking pneumonia. Also, WDW felt a little less magical after all of the pampering on the cruise. That's just personal preference, though.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:45 PM   #5
JSClemsonFan
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I love the #9 tip with the iPhone photo. I can't wait to go! We've been before and it's an amazing trip!
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:59 PM   #6
moore523
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matty Ice View Post
My family just returned from an amazing 5 night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder. Myself, DW, DD7 and DD5. We visited Grand Cayman and Cozumel and we're already trying to decide when we can go on our next cruise. I spent months researching and planning and want to thank all the Dis Boarders for the great ideas that I got. I wanted to share a few "musts" that I learned from the trip that I'd like to share.

1. Use the Dis Board and do your research (Duh!)
2. You MUST have Brunch at Palo (our favorite meal of the trip!)
3. The over the door shoe organizer is a must. It saved us a ton of space.
4. Book a verandah room if you can. The view, the air and the ability to have an evening, or morning drink was definitely worth it.
5. Get to know and interact with your servers. Christian and Sheldon really made our dinners magical. We passed on dinner at Palo just so we wouldn't miss the time with our servers.
6. BUY THE BEER MUG. It's a great souvenir and a good deal as well.
7. Order the All Hands On Deck cheese platter from Room Service. If you have kids, order extra crackers.
8. Book another cruise while on board. 10% discount, 10% deposit and onboard credit (Duh!).
9. Instead of carrying the Daily Navigator around, I took a picture of it on my iPhone. I had my phone with me for picture taking anyway, so it worked out great!
10. Didn't think I'd like it, but I wore a lanyard the entire time and loved it. I never had to ask my wife if she knew where my key was.
11. DO NOT WAIT till the last morning to get pictures from Shutters. We made that critical mistake. We would have had to reopen our onboard account to buy pictures and I wasn't going to wait in line at guest services. Thankfully we did take lots of pictures on our own.
12. Utilize the Oceaneer Club and Lab. It was a family vacation, but it was nice to have some adult time.
13. Get in line early for the character signings.
14. If you need transportation from Ft. Lauderdale use SAS Transportation. Great service!
15. Sign up for a Tasting. We did the Tequila tasting and really enjoyed it.
16. Drop off something to be signed at guest services the first day so you don't miss any signatures. We dropped off thank you candy with our photo mattes and they turned out beautiful.


Our next cruise will definitely include a stop at Castaway Cay. I'd be happy to answer any questions any first timers or seasoned cruisers have about the Port of Miami, the itinerary or anything else.

Thanks!

Matt

Awesome tips!! Thanks for sharing!!
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:50 PM   #7
rentayenta

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Thank you Matt. We're looking at the same cruise but it goes to Castaway Cay instead of Grand Caymen.

How was Cozumel? How did you spend the day?

Any issues getting good spots near the pool? Tell me more about room service please.

And did you fly in the night before? If so, where did you stay?
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:38 AM   #8
Matty Ice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rentayenta View Post
Thank you Matt. We're looking at the same cruise but it goes to Castaway Cay instead of Grand Caymen.

How was Cozumel? How did you spend the day?

Any issues getting good spots near the pool? Tell me more about room service please.

And did you fly in the night before? If so, where did you stay?

Hi Rentayenta,

Cozumel was nice, but it rained the entire time. We took a cab from the port to Paradise Beach ($30) and paid the $2 pp to get in. We drank and ate in the tiki hut and the girls swam in the pool. They still had a great time. I would love to go back and really enjoy all the amenities. It's a beautiful place.

The pool area is VERY crowded. We were boarding group #3 so we were some of the very first people on board the first day which gave us a chance to enjoy the Goofy pool and have seats close to the pool. Other than that, we never had a chance to get a seat next to the pool. Lots of saved seats. . Also, the Goofy pool was SO crowded the other days it looked like a can of sardines. DW and I did have a chance to enjoy the adults only pool and hot tub while the kids were in the Oceaneer Club. My advice, get to the pool early if you want a seat.

Room service was great, but we only used it once, well technically twice. We ordered the All Hands on Deck cheese platter. It was fantastic! The kids devoured the crackers, so we immediately ordered another platter with extra crackers. It took about 15 minutes and I tipped the server 2 bucks each time.

We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the night before and stayed at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood (we got a great rate thru Hotwire). We took a cab from the airport to the hotel ($30) and then SAS Transportation picked us up Monday morning and took us to the Port of Miami ($13 pp. We had 8 in our group).

We rented a car in Miami when we got back, spent the day at Ft. Lauderdale Beach, which was great, returned the car at Ft. Lauderdale airport and flew home at 6:30.

I'd be happy to answer any more questions you might have. I would definitely include a Castaway Cay stop on our next cruise.

Have a Great time!!

Matt
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:33 AM   #9
MichelleVW
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Lol....I agree with some of your "musts" but they aren't all "musts" for me.

I wasn't a fan of Palo.
Don't drink beer on the cruise so no need for a mug.
No need for a verandah in my opinion. We've dont it both ways and I prefer saving the money on an inside room.
Never needed a shoe organizer for more space

My only Must is relax and have a good time!!
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:38 AM   #10
wiigirl
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Awesome tips!
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:36 PM   #11
rentayenta

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matty Ice View Post
Hi Rentayenta,

Cozumel was nice, but it rained the entire time. We took a cab from the port to Paradise Beach ($30) and paid the $2 pp to get in. We drank and ate in the tiki hut and the girls swam in the pool. They still had a great time. I would love to go back and really enjoy all the amenities. It's a beautiful place.

Bummer about the rain but glad the kids still had fun! Did you have to make a reservation for this beach? Thank you!

Quote:
The pool area is VERY crowded. We were boarding group #3 so we were some of the very first people on board the first day which gave us a chance to enjoy the Goofy pool and have seats close to the pool. Other than that, we never had a chance to get a seat next to the pool. Lots of saved seats. . Also, the Goofy pool was SO crowded the other days it looked like a can of sardines. DW and I did have a chance to enjoy the adults only pool and hot tub while the kids were in the Oceaneer Club. My advice, get to the pool early if you want a seat.

Thank you for this info, it's what I was afraid of. We're early risers but I hate that having to stake out a spot thing. And chair savers? Don't even get me started. I'f were the first seating at dinner is it the same for breakfast and lunch? I'm a little confused with how all of that works....

Quote:
Room service was great, but we only used it once, well technically twice. We ordered the All Hands on Deck cheese platter. It was fantastic! The kids devoured the crackers, so we immediately ordered another platter with extra crackers. It took about 15 minutes and I tipped the server 2 bucks each time.
Is it 24* room service? This sounds so great! I'll make sure to order the cheese platter. We're grazers by nature so this is a good late night option. How does the rest of the dining work as far as is something open all day? What happens on port days with dining? Obviously if we're off the ship we fend for ourselves but if we leave later or arrive earlier are their places to eat? What's extra aside from alcohol at meals? Sorry, I'm crazy full of questions.

Quote:
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the night before and stayed at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood (we got a great rate thru Hotwire). We took a cab from the airport to the hotel ($30) and then SAS Transportation picked us up Monday morning and took us to the Port of Miami ($13 pp. We had 8 in our group).
Fort Lauderdale would be a cheaper option for us to fly into for sure. Do you have a link for SAS? When we go to Disneyland we drive and when we go to WDW were dependent solely on Disney transportation so I'm not sure how comfortable I am booking outside of Disney.

Quote:
We rented a car in Miami when we got back, spent the day at Ft. Lauderdale Beach, which was great, returned the car at Ft. Lauderdale airport and flew home at 6:30.
Great day!

Quote:
I'd be happy to answer any more questions you might have. I would definitely include a Castaway Cay stop on our next cruise.

Have a Great time!!

Matt

Thanks Matt! I'll take any info you think a first time Disney cruiser would need to know. It'll just be DS and myself. He'll be 12 at the time of the trip.
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:35 PM   #12
Matty Ice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rentayenta View Post
Bummer about the rain but glad the kids still had fun! Did you have to make a reservation for this beach? Thank you.

Thank you for this info, it's what I was afraid of. We're early risers but I hate that having to stake out a spot thing. And chair savers? Don't even get me started. I'f were the first seating at dinner is it the same for breakfast and lunch? I'm a little confused with how all of that works....

Is it 24* room service? This sounds so great! I'll make sure to order the cheese platter. We're grazers by nature so this is a good late night option. How does the rest of the dining work as far as is something open all day? What happens on port days with dining? Obviously if we're off the ship we fend for ourselves but if we leave later or arrive earlier are their places to eat? What's extra aside from alcohol at meals? Sorry, I'm crazy full of questions.

Fort Lauderdale would be a cheaper option for us to fly into for sure. Do you have a link for SAS? When we go to Disneyland we drive and when we go to WDW were dependent solely on Disney transportation so I'm not sure how comfortable I am booking outside of Disney.



Great day!


Thanks Matt! I'll take any info you think a first time Disney cruiser would need to know. It'll just be DS and myself. He'll be 12 at the time of the trip.
No need to make a reservation at Paradise Beach. Just ask a taxi driver to take you to Paradise Beach. It was about a 15 minute cab ride.

Breakfast and lunch is on your time wherever you choose, except the last morning you'll have breakfast at the same spot you had dinner the night before. Parrot Cay and Beach Blanket have buffets for breakfast/lunch. Tritons was a la carte.

Room service is 24 hours! Order whenever you'd like. There are 3 quick service spots on the pool deck. Goofy's Galley, Pluto's Dog House and Pinocchio's Pizzeria that serve wraps, salads, burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers and pizza. I think some of them were open late. Alcohol is extra at dinner, but order as much food as you'd like. Most nights we ordered extra appetizers and we did order extra main courses a couple times. The servers encourage it.

www.ridesas.com is the link for SAS Transportation. Lots of recommendations on the Dis Board and Cruise Critic.

If I think of more I'll post and please ask any more questions. I'm happy to answer.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:25 PM   #13
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Hi Matt!

We were at the Tequila Tasting too! I loved it.

It is a bummer that it rained so much in Cozumel. I'm glad your family still had fun on the beach. We did too, but it was at Mr Sanchos. We paid for the All Inclusive and would totally do it again. The food was amazingly good, and the drinks kept flowing. No need for any drinks when we got back on board that night! We booked it online for $45 pp. Taxi for 5 was $25 each way.

My tip for you is next time bring your own beer on board! We enjoyed our favorite beers in our stateroom with lunch on the last sea day, when it was super windy. We went to the pool deck and brought food back to our room. Perfect lunch! The coolers did a good job at keeping the beers chilled to a nice temp.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSClemsonFan View Post
I love the #9 tip with the iPhone photo. I can't wait to go! We've been before and it's an amazing trip!
They've been testing an iPhone app - hopefully it will come out soon. This was back in Nov '13. Unless they decided to scrap it?
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:31 PM   #15
rentayenta

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matty Ice View Post
No need to make a reservation at Paradise Beach. Just ask a taxi driver to take you to Paradise Beach. It was about a 15 minute cab ride.

Breakfast and lunch is on your time wherever you choose, except the last morning you'll have breakfast at the same spot you had dinner the night before. Parrot Cay and Beach Blanket have buffets for breakfast/lunch. Tritons was a la carte.

Room service is 24 hours! Order whenever you'd like. There are 3 quick service spots on the pool deck. Goofy's Galley, Pluto's Dog House and Pinocchio's Pizzeria that serve wraps, salads, burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers and pizza. I think some of them were open late. Alcohol is extra at dinner, but order as much food as you'd like. Most nights we ordered extra appetizers and we did order extra main courses a couple times. The servers encourage it.

www.ridesas.com is the link for SAS Transportation. Lots of recommendations on the Dis Board and Cruise Critic.

If I think of more I'll post and please ask any more questions. I'm happy to answer.



Thanks!

Glad I don't have to make a reservation. I've looked a little at the reservation beach options but what happens if it rains or we change our mind, we'd be out that money. That's my thinking for now anyway.

That sounds great for breakfast and lunch, to not be tied down to a time. Are their servers by the pool or just the QS options? Do the cabins have mini fridges? We're the drinks (alcohol) expensive? i know we can bring our own But with just DS and myself, that wont be necessary. I'm not a huge drinker but like one or two with dinner. Now beachside is another story.


What about sodas and water during the day?
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You light 'em, they fight 'em. A DVC/Disneyland Resort PTR
http://disboards.com/showthread.php?...1#post51407145
You bet your aft we had a good time: a Disney Wonder trip report
http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3260751




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