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Old 04-23-2013, 02:22 PM   #1
andrews_dad
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Smile Booked Last Minute on Dream - You can too

Last second cruise. Friends of ours invited us along when they booked 10 days in advance. Took me several days to apply for get approved for time off of work. We were on the April 7th 4 day cruise on the Dream. We booked via phone at 9:45 PM on April 4th. Thought we’d share our experience for others doing a last minute booking.

I had a 5% off Pharmacy reward coupon at Target, plus the Red Card 5% discount. So, I went to Target about 8:45 PM on April 4th and purchased $2300 in Disney gift cards. I threw in some other cruise supplies like sunscreen and swimming attire. With the two 5% discounts, very nice savings and as of that day both 5%’s applied to the gift cards. Attempted to book online with the gift cards, but the website said a max of 3 types of payment. So, I called and read off gift card numbers to a very patient cast member. My target carries on $50 increments, so I read off $2100 worth (price was that for 2 adults, 1 child, 1 infant). We booked a verandah guarantee, as it was cheaper than an inside or outside guarantee at that late hour. No idea how that all works, but the inside guarantee was the most expensive room on the ship still left at that time? Odd.

Looked at other booking suite before we pulled the trigger by calling Disney. Expedia, Travelocity, and a few others saying they offered discounts on last minute sailings. They all came in the same or more as Disney.com. Some travel agencies would not even allow us to get a quote as we were too last minute for them to get things processed.

Target ‘s Disney gift cards were live and active just an hour after I bought them all. Booked via phone. We got a confirmation email the next AM, but did not get the luggage tags and book of info until we were back from the cruise! More on that later. The confirmation email had no room number upon it. Again, more on that later.

Booked flights on Southwest out of Baltimore. Not the cheapest we ever flew, but not terrible. Cost us 90,000 Southwest points for the 4 of us (infant needs a seat as she is over 2). Used Wendie’s code for Budget for a Ford Escape for $225 after fees and taxes (with the coupon) for all 10 days. I later found out that you can rent your car at the dock and not pay for days on the cruise ship.. live and learn. We ended up with a 10 day vacation, 4 on the ship and other days at SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Magic King/Epcot.
Drove to the dock, and pulled up to a cast member to check us in while we still in car. She assigned us a room number. Pulled to curb and porters helped us pile up our bags. They had generic tags and wrote our room number upon them. Inside the terminal to check in. There we find out the room number we were given was already booked. Ugh. Down to the supervisor’s area at the end of the desk area. Literally took us 45 min to an hour to get to the front and get done. We ended up in a 4A stateroom, room 9134. Very nice room. Our bags ended up in the hallway of the first room we were assigned on level 7, though. And the people that got the room on level 7 rec’d our castaway club gift for being returning members! Oops. Then, on the 2nd night of the cruise a man with his luggage showed up at our door saying he’d been re-assigned to our room. LOL. I called and did get the castaway bookbag and trinkets for returning cruisers, and that man found a new home. Plus, my 4 year old son never was correctly assigned to my room. Caused a tad of confusion with the automatic tips and at the kid’s club, but got it all figured out.

Booking that late I was assigned 2nd seating for dinner. With a 4 year old and 2 year old, eating that late is not an option. Called twice while aboard to beg for a switch and got message machine both times. Instead, I walked to the Enchanted restaurant 2 house before first seating and asked to see the manager in charge. Tipped him $40 and he found us first seating for my party, plus the friends we were traveling with all at one table. Try that trick if you are in desperate need! He was busy and was very kind, so I was happy to offer up the $40.

Cruise was amazing. Dream is much better for kids than the Wonder with the Nemo reef, Kid’s club, Aqua Duck, mini-golf, the missing puppies adventure, etc. We will certainly aim for Fantasy or Dream again next time.
I used my last gift cards on board to pay off the tips and on-board charges. Works like a charm. I know BJ’s club also sells Disney gift cards for less than face, so use that trick to save some cash, folks!

In the end, the last second booking was a success. Ended up in a great room. Had a great cruise. Of course, early booking would have allowed me to get a better rate on flights, rental car, and been able to research to know about dropping the car at the port and picking a new one up on the other end of the cruise! Some issues with reservations and getting my room number assigned, but understandable with a last second deal. Did not damper my cruise. So, if a cruise leaves in 4 days that you are eyeing up, go ahead and do it! lol
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:13 PM   #2
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Glad you had a good time.

FYI...no travel agent is allowed to sell DCL cruises at a discount. They may add onboad credits or other incentives to make it a sweeter deal but they can't sell the cruise fare any cheaper.

MJ
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmouse37 View Post
Glad you had a good time.

FYI...no travel agent is allowed to sell DCL cruises at a discount. They may add onboad credits or other incentives to make it a sweeter deal but they can't sell the cruise fare any cheaper.

MJ
I have notice that last minute cruise like this are very discounted, on the off seasons. Are you saying the TA can't book these cheaper rates?
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:25 PM   #4
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Good info! I did not know about the Target thing, but I have that card. You also mentioned a 5% pharmacy card. Do those stack? So in theory, you can get 10% off? Why have I not thought of this! I did not realize the 5% @ Target counted towards gift cards *face palm*
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:25 PM   #5
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I am also curious about the gift card.... So basically you can purchase a $50 gift card for 47.50? Or, if you are stacking with the pharmacy deal, $45?
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I have notice that last minute cruise like this are very discounted, on the off seasons. Are you saying the TA can't book these cheaper rates?
No, I am saying a TA can't charge LESS than what DCL is charging for the same cruise.

A TA can certainly book one of the IGT, OGT, VGT last minute discounted rates for you. Our cruise in Feb was a VGT rate and we booked it through a TA. Same price it would have been if booked directly with DCL.

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Old 04-23-2013, 04:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiminy'sGirl View Post
I am also curious about the gift card.... So basically you can purchase a $50 gift card for 47.50? Or, if you are stacking with the pharmacy deal, $45?
You may fine these threads helpful...

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2961452

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3083031

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3097030

They are all on Disney Gift Cards at Target and how to purchase them/use them with the Red Card.

MJ
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Disney Wonder - 5 times
Disney Dream - 5 times - Official Maiden Voyage January 26, 2011
Disney Fantasy - 2 times

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Old 04-23-2013, 05:54 PM   #8
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I have notice that last minute cruise like this are very discounted, on the off seasons. Are you saying the TA can't book these cheaper rates?
The TA that OP contacted probably didn't want to get bothered with. They can certainly do it - same phone call that OP did, they would have to do, as more than likely they would not be able to do it online.

Interesting as to all the confusion that still happened however...
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmouse37 View Post
You may fine these threads helpful...

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2961452

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3083031

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3097030

They are all on Disney Gift Cards at Target and how to purchase them/use them with the Red Card.

MJ
Very helpful... thanks!!

I have about $4000 to pay off on my cruise. Can I do so with like 80 $50 gc's or will that not be kosher?

Thanks again - what would I do without my expert staff of advisors??

Heather
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:08 PM   #10
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Very helpful... thanks!!

I have about $4000 to pay off on my cruise. Can I do so with like 80 $50 gc's or will that not be kosher?

Thanks again - what would I do without my expert staff of advisors??

Heather
Oh - some have done it! Pay off a bit at a time... Also, it takes time to purchase them...

BTW, the best has been the last two years before Xmas. Target had a promo where you would get a $10 Target GC for every $50 purchase. This included the Disney GC.

So buy one $50 Disney GC, get a $10 Target GC. Then by another $50 Disney GC, but use the $10 Target GC and pay only $40. Rinse and repeat.

Bottom line, you get all GC at 20% off except for the first one.

Also, if you use your Disney Visa Rewards Premier, you get 2% cash back as well...

BTW, in NJ you cannot use the 5% Pharmacy rewards due to stupid state law.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:43 PM   #11
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5% [harmacy reward coupon good for 1 day only. Yes, it is like getting 10% off. Use this trick for all Walt Disney purchases. We use Target $50 for use in parks, for tickets, for merchandise, for cruises, for cruise automatic tips, for everything. We've even swung by Target in orlando to buy more when we've run out during vacations. We usually wait until we have a Pharmacy 5% to stack, but in Orlando we only got the straight 5%
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:00 PM   #12
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Rackimg up 5 Rx's between now and my PIF date will be tough... If I do it, it will only be once. I cannot imagine buying 80 GCs at one go... But I am going to work this deal as best I can.

OP, thanks so much for sharing this - you inspired me. I am also so amazed that you managed to throw together an awesome vacation with two littles in 4 days. You are my hero!!!
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:23 PM   #13
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Rackimg up 5 Rx's between now and my PIF date will be tough... If I do it, it will only be once. I cannot imagine buying 80 GCs at one go... But I am going to work this deal as best I can.

OP, thanks so much for sharing this - you inspired me. I am also so amazed that you managed to throw together an awesome vacation with two littles in 4 days. You are my hero!!!
This month (April) is double rewards so get moving!! I got my first 5% rewards in the mail, I should get another soon. I'm trying to decide between paying for most of my with those cards or my Disney Visa. With Disney visa I think I only get 2%, but if I pay for the whole think I get an OBC of some kind - maybe $100? Also, get 6 months to pay...
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:39 PM   #14
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I love last minute spontaneous trips. I'm not one of those people that can plan vacations months in advance. We just booked the May 5 cruise 19 days in advance. Wow three days that's impressive. What is the current return cruiser gift?
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:44 PM   #15
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Oh - some have done it! Pay off a bit at a time... Also, it takes time to purchase them...

BTW, the best has been the last two years before Xmas. Target had a promo where you would get a $10 Target GC for every $50 purchase. This included the Disney GC.

So buy one $50 Disney GC, get a $10 Target GC. Then by another $50 Disney GC, but use the $10 Target GC and pay only $40. Rinse and repeat.

Bottom line, you get all GC at 20% off except for the first one.
This is exactly what I did. Thankfully, I found a very patient cashier because they had to be rung up one at a time. I purchased nearly $3000 worth to pay off our June Fantasy cruise and saved enough to cover our airfare!
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