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Old 11-03-2013, 01:54 AM   #1
annagmd
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Cool What?! Not another first time cruiser!!! Maybe a pre trip report?

Good middle of the night! (It's 12:54am)

Yep, you read it right! First time DCL cruiser here, and really excited. First time to post on this forum too! My sis is a veteran and convinced me to sign on and ask questions. Pretty much every burning question I've had is answered somewhere here, but I thought hey what about a pre-trip report?

For most people, writing a pre trip report is second nature (like my sis) but in my case, I barely have time to go to the bathroom due to the nature of my work (I am a medicine resident AND a full time mama to two little ones and one big one -- DH). I thought though that it might be fun to share and kind of keep a record of the highs and lows of preparing two little girls for a Disney Cruise AND the last few months of residency (I graduate in June 2014! YAY!). If I don't follow through after this first post, well then.. I guess that would have meant that I got drowned in my ocean of responsibilities. no pun intended.

We are sailing on Dec. 14, 2013 from Galveston aboard the Disney Wonder for a 7 night Bahamian Cruise.

Never in a million years did I imagine that I would ever come aboard a DCL ship! My name is Anna and like I said, I'm a medicine resident, on my last year of training (again.. YAY!!!). I live in San Antonio, TX with DH who is a physical therapist/computer geek and my 2 DDs. DD1 is 5 going on 30 and DD2 is 10 months old and still has no teeth (bothers me a lot even though I know full well this is ok). DH and I have been on a cruise with Carnival before and that was fun, but bringing our two little ones on a DCL trip is a thousand times more exciting!

So... right before DD1 fell asleep tonight, we were browsing eBay for magnets to decorate our door with. I know, I know, the crafty ones out there are probably screaming, "make your own!!!" and YES, we are in the process of PLANNING to make some, but again, I am a resident with very limited time to do things not related to medicine or feeding my kids, but I will make the effort... somehow. There are so much cute magnets/magnet ideas out there, I might just run out of money decorating our stateroom door!

I was going to share pictures of some stuff I ordered off eBay but because I'm a newbie, DISboards won't let me post images til I hit 10 posts. Wah.

Anyways, I think I've got the lowdown on fish extenders (might skip this as I have no time to make/buy gifts), stateroom door magnets, pirate night, formal night, autographs, dining rotations, what to pack, Galveston... but I would really appreciate input on:

1. excursions at Key West and Nassau with an infant
2. any wisdom that cruise and Disney vets would like to generously share!

Ok. So I'm getting tired and my two sleeping babes look so comfy on my bed that I might just go ahead and join them. Thanks for taking the time to read this... and hope you are having a great weekend! Til next update!
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:04 AM   #2
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Welcome. Great start. My advise; Relax and enjoy. Sounds like you deserve a relaxing sail. Don't try to do it all.
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:38 PM   #3
Four Swampers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annagmd View Post
Good middle of the night! (It's 12:54am)



Never in a million years did I imagine that I would ever come aboard a DCL ship! My name is Anna and like I said, I'm a medicine resident, on my last year of training (again.. YAY!!!). I live in San Antonio, TX with DH who is a physical therapist/computer geek and my 2 DDs. DD1 is 5 going on 30 and DD2 is 10 months old and still has no teeth (bothers me a lot even though I know full well this is ok). DH and I have been on a cruise with Carnival before and that was fun, but bringing our two little ones on a DCL trip is a thousand times more exciting!


Anyways, I think I've got the lowdown on fish extenders (might skip this as I have no time to make/buy gifts), stateroom door magnets, pirate night, formal night, autographs, dining rotations, what to pack, Galveston... but I would really appreciate input on:

1. excursions at Key West and Nassau with an infant
2. any wisdom that cruise and Disney vets would like to generously share!

Ok. So I'm getting tired and my two sleeping babes look so comfy on my bed that I might just go ahead and join them. Thanks for taking the time to read this... and hope you are having a great weekend! Til next update!
Welcome!

I remember residency days; I'm a pediatrician. Wife is an OT, 2 daughters ages 15 and 13.

I did not ever expect to take my kids on any cruise! I had gone on a cruise to Alaska on a different line. It was fine, but it didn't thrill me; I did not feel a need to cruise again. Then a last minute deal came up on a 3 night Bahamas on the Wonder over a weekend my girls had off of school. Booked it for them, figuring I would hate it. Loved it! We go on my 9th, girls' 8th, wife's 12th DCL cruise this coming week!

Nassau: we have only gone to Atlantis. The slides and the not-so-lazy river are a blast. I think your 5 year old would enjoy it. Someone would be sitting at all times with the 10 month old, of course. The area is pretty spread out, but if you are content for one parent to play for a couple hours and one to sit, then swap the tasks, you might enjoy it.

For our Atlantis day: We typically book a room at the Comfort Suites across the road from Atlantis; the Comfort Suites has a full reciprocal agreement with Atlantis, including water slides and food purchases. We take a cab to the Comfort Suites, check in, then go to Atlantis. We enjoy the water slides, eat lunch (charged back to our Comfort Suites room), enjoy the beach, then take a cab back to the ship. We do not return to the Comfort Suites: all the charges show up on our credit card, everything works great. We never even see our room at Comfort Suites. Typically, our total charge for our family of four is about $300, which is a big savings over DCL excursion prices.

Another Nassau option is to spend much of the day on the boat! Crowds are much reduced, making your pool and slide time more effective. You can get off for an hour or two and just look around the area.

Certainly, if you see a tour that fascinates you, go with that.

I have not been to Key West. My wife has. Again, if you see a tour that fascinates you, do that. Otherwise, my wife says it is very easy to walk around town, hit the local watering holes, grab some key lime pie, take the trolley/train tour.

As to your request for general wisdom:

Make sure you have travel documents: either certified birth certificate and driver's license for adults and birth certificate for kids, or passports.

NOTE: there are many threads here on the pros / cons of passports vs birth certificates. Let's not rehash that argument here, ok?

Pack: Pack a lot less that you think you need. A lot less. Sunblock, hat, sunglasses. Put swimsuits in your carry-on luggage, as the luggage you check ship-side will not reach your room until late afternoon or evening. By bringing swimsuits on with you, the kids can head straight to the pools and slide.

Trust in DCL. They have done this several thousand times. They know how to schedule things. For example, if you have main seating for dinner (5:45ish), then you go to the show after dinner. If you have late seating for dinner (8:00ish), then you go to the show before dinner, while the main seating people are eating. There is plenty of time to see the show and go to dinner, with rest or recreation time between the show and dinner. It really works well

Don't try to do it all. DCL has a lot of activities to cover different people's desires. You can't do everything on a 3 or 4 night cruise. You might (but I doubt it) be able to do everything on a 7 night cruise, but you will be exhausted and need a vacation.

If you walk on the ship with a good attitude and open mind, ready to have some fun, then I guarantee you will have the time of your life!! Enjoy!


BTW, the longer it takes for you baby to get teeth, the better. That allows more jaw growth, which gives the teeth more room. I have had lots of babies with no teeth at their first birthday, and absolutely no one who had to gum their food in kindergarten!
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:52 PM   #4
JoTheBookish
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We have done Nassau before & have really enjoyed the Blue Lagoon Beach Day. I have 2 dds now 9 & 6, but were 6 & 3 when we last did that excursion. Very relaxing. The pros: No waves, lots of good sand for playing, very suitable for non/beginner swimmers. The cons: 10 minute walk from ship to little boat for excursion, 7:45am start time.
We will probably do it again our next cruise, though I am starting to feel like 7:45 might be too early for us this time.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:18 PM   #5
lbgraves
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There is a pre-trip report forum here on the Cruise boards.

http://www.disboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=189

You may want to contact a moderator to get your post moved there. If you have questions, then you can post those here but they can get lost in a trip report and some may not read through to see that you actually had a question.

Regarding getting cruise info, there are so many things people could post telling you about their cruises and much of it would be irrelevant to your family. The best advice I can give is to read the first 4 pages of posts here on the cruise board, along with reading the FAQ thread at the top of the forum. You can also read trip reports to get port information on excursions with pictures. That will expose you to the most popular topics that include many you mentioned. You will then have questions specific to your family about those topics, so post here and get advice.
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Old 11-10-2013, 01:56 PM   #6
annagmd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear3412 View Post
Welcome. Great start. My advise; Relax and enjoy. Sounds like you deserve a relaxing sail. Don't try to do it all.

This is awesome advice! Thank you! I always get stressed out about wanting to do everything, getting perfect seats, etc... this time I think I'm just going to kick back and let what happens, happen!
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Old 11-10-2013, 03:12 PM   #7
veggiemama
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I am a first time cruiser too! :good vibes

We have done WDW a couple times but this is a first cruise for us. We go in February with 2 teenagers. And of course, are very excited.

Though I do not have little ones anymore I am a disney fanatic (like most around here! lol) and I have been researching cruiser's for over a year so though a newbie cruiser I may be able to answer a few questions for you. Or you will get some answers from other that will help me in my planning too!
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Old 11-13-2013, 10:35 AM   #8
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I'm a first time DCL Cruiser (come Feb. 2014) and have done Carnival in the past (like you) with my DH.

Sounds like you're in need of a much deserved vacation and your family will love it I'm told!

I hope that you have a chance to do a trip report as I'd love to hear all about your adventures when you return.

Happy Sailing
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