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Old 06-20-2014, 07:14 PM   #61
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I love the food! If nothing else, those pictures are truly enticing me to think about getting myself on a cruise.

Looks like it was a fun dance floor.

And I want a Mickey Bar now.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:42 PM   #62
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Hi, I am working on wrapping up this TR in the next few weeks, but first, here's a LINK to our NEXT trip, or at least the PTR, the adults only getaway coming October 2014


"Let us plan our escape!" - Adults only for F&W/ 1st DVC - October 2014 PTR
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July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

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Old 06-23-2014, 02:09 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_pete View Post
Hi, I am working on wrapping up this TR in the next few weeks, but first, here's a LINK to our NEXT trip, or at least the PTR, the adults only getaway coming October 2014


"Let us plan our escape!" - Adults only for F&W/ 1st DVC - October 2014 PTR
I think you should wrap it up the same way I wrapped up my Nov trip that I forgot what happened. Just abandon it!
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Old 06-23-2014, 02:17 PM   #64
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I think you should wrap it up the same way I wrapped up my Nov trip that I forgot what happened. Just abandon it!
No way! I'm almost there, and I remember the day on Castaway Cay a lot better than our "At sea" day. I promise it'll be wrapped up and have lots of details!
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October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK NEW TR
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:42 PM   #65
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I start noticing a trend as I read more and more DCL TR's, and that is the abundance of food pics!! It seems like that is one of the real highlights of taking a Disney cruise. Ha!

Pirate night seems like a ton of fun. LOVE DW's costume!! So creative! Too bad DD pooped out early but at least you and DW were able to have a little fun.
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Old 06-26-2014, 02:37 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by khertz View Post
I start noticing a trend as I read more and more DCL TR's, and that is the abundance of food pics!! It seems like that is one of the real highlights of taking a Disney cruise. Ha!

Pirate night seems like a ton of fun. LOVE DW's costume!! So creative! Too bad DD pooped out early but at least you and DW were able to have a little fun.
Yeah, I have to say the food (and Castaway Cay) pretty much made the trip for us.
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK NEW TR
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:27 PM   #67
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Day 6 - Castaway Cay

I forgot about Bingo. There’s no gambling on the ships, except they will let you bet $100s of dollars on Bingo. DW bought a set of cards and a machine that kept track of the numbers for you and told you if you one. This was the stupidest most boring thing I’ve ever done in my life. (OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration.) I guess that’s why I forgot it.

The final full day of our trip arrives. Today we woke to find ourselves parked at Castaway Key. We were up early to want to enjoy the full range of stuff that is offered here on the Island. We had planned that we would just meet up with the O’Malleys on the beach at some point, so we started by heading up top for breakfast. The view of CC is quite breathtaking.



After we ate breakfast we headed off the ship. After such a long pier at Cozumel, it’s funny to see the ship docked so close to the island. I guess that’s the advantage of owning the Island.



We wanted to send a postcard from the post office, but for now we just took a picture.



Someone left their treasure behind!




We decided to head over to the far end of the Island for starters. The idea was to check out the Pelican plunge water play area first before the crowds took over.





After a single trip down the slide, DD had enough of that. (You do get dropped into deep water, and it was a bit chilly early on.) So we headed back to the beach. She played in the sand for a little while, but was then ready to go snorkeling. DW isn’t much into this concept, so I agreed to take DD out to look for some fish. You had to pay extra to rent the snorkel gear, and it wasn’t very cheap – like $25 per person – but that was just fine.





There was a great area for snorkeling, but it was quite a ways out to get to the sunken ships where the fish hung out. It was probably a good ¼ -1/2 mile swim. And just as we were out there at the farthest point, I got a really bad leg cramp. I tried my best not to panic, but I came awful close to calling for the lifeguard to bring me in. Eventually the cramp subsided, and eventually I was able to make my way back to shore. I was afraid to use my legs too much, so the trip back was completely exhausting.

DD didn’t really care, she would’ve stayed out there a lot longer if she could have. While she almost 100% prefers being on the computer/electronics to anything, the one exception is swimming and snorkeling. Too bad for her we don’t live in warmer climates. (Of course, then she would probably get sick of it and stop.) Anyways, I had to practically beg her to go back to shore. We were probably out for a good 45 minutes.









When we came back in, we finally hooked back up with our friends, and this allowed DD to play with “Marie” for much of the rest of our time there. We moved back to the central part of the beach at this point. They played in the water and built sandcastles, while the adults mostly sat on the shore in the shade. The weather was nearly as perfect as can be – maybe around 80 degrees – and in addition it was very uncrowded there on the island. After the fact, I wondered if it was because the island has now been sized for the larger Fantasy and Dream, and so coming on the Wonder meant there were less people on CC.


Here’s the kids playing in the water. I was trying to get a nice shot with the ship in the background.









Eventually it was time to get some lunch. There were two locations in which to eat, and we chose the central one, but I think the both had the same food.



I didn’t take pictures of the food as it was typical “picnic” product, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, salads, cookies, ice cream. It was perfectly serviceable but nothing to write home about. We had also filled our flasks with alcohol from the ship, so continued to enjoy “free” drinks throughout the day.

I made one trip after lunch back to the post office to mail a postcard. With no change of my own, I ended up with a bunch of Bahamian coins, though I didn’t even realize this until I got home. We stayed a while longer by the water, but wanted to have enough time to get back and shower before getting down for our 5:45 PM dinner time, so come 3:30 or so we started wrapping things up and headed back to the ship.

Honestly, I found our time on Castaway Cay to be my favorite of the whole trip. In fact, it made me really wish that Disney would go and get its own private resort where you could just go on vacation and hang out on the beach. Of course, they sort of do, it’s called Aulani! This was the first time that I really wanted to go and check that out. Maybe now that we are DVC owners, we’ll eventually have to do that.

So, one last thing, I came across this plaque of the “history” of Castaway Cay. Love the way Disney makes up these fake histories:




To be continued...
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK NEW TR
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:31 PM   #68
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Day 6 - Dinner and a show

After returning to the ship, we had to get ready for our farewell dinner (what, so soon?), also known as the “Til we meet again” dinner. We were back in Triton’s for this meal, the place we started. You can see we had gotten a bit of sun today!



The dinner was really fantastic, though DW and I both ordered the same thing. DW and I both ordered the same thing. I believe this soup is the Crab and Lobster Bisque.



The main entrée was the Beef Wellington, which a favorite of mine. (Yum – Beef AND pastry!)



For dessert, several of the group had to try the baked Alaska.



I tried this three desert sampler, which had a strawberry cheesecake, chocolate decadence, and I forget what the third one was.



We also got a picture of our waiters/assistant. Now I know their names – Quentin and Sylvia.



We actually talked to them about their jobs. Holy crow is that some work. They work essentially for FIVE straight months, every single day, with the occasional day where they get a MEAL off. (Yes, generally they work three meals a day.) After FIVE months, they head back to their families for eight weeks and repeat it all over again. I had given them the recommended tip at that point, but pulled and extra $20 out of my wallet for each of them after listening to their job. What a job to work these cruise lines, I give these employees a ton of credit, and the service is always, always top notch on this ship.

After dinner, we had one more show to attend. This one was called Disney Dreams, and it was FINALLY a show worthy of Disney. It was similar to the golden Mickeys in that it brought in scenes from different Disney movies that were tied together with a through-story of a girl who needed to use her dreams to realize her potential. However, the production values and quality of showmanship seemed much higher than any of the other shows. Of all the shows, this is the only one that I would actually care to see again.

After the show, DD was ready to go to sleep. I finally convinced DW to go out for a while afterwards, as they had an eighties trivia night / dance party going on down in the main lounge. This turned out to be a lot of fun. They split the room into three groups, and we’d take turns as a group guessing a song. If we missed, then it went to the other groups. Once the song was guessed correctly, there was then a “dance-off” between the groups, where a bunch of adults started acting extremely silly. The highlight dance was during the song “Don’t You Forget About Me” from Breakfast Club, one group got up on stage and did the dance moves from the actual movie! I later guessed that these people were Cast Members on their night off. However, it was a lot of fun. After the trivia party, the night switched to an actual dance, which most people deserted. We stayed for a little bit, but everyone had to be off the ship early the next morning.

The Good
Castaway Cay was fantastic! Loved it! It made the whole cruise for me, and DW felt the same way!
Dinner, again wonderful.
Disney Dreams – finally a show worthy of Disney World.
The Bad
We lost the Eighties music trivia contest! How could we lose! Is it my dance moves?

The Ugly
Oh yeah, it was my dance moves.
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October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK NEW TR
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:36 AM   #69
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Hahahahahaha on 'the ugly'- my dance moves. That gave me a good .

It would be for the same for me. That's why I make it a hard and fast rule that I won't dance unless I've had about 5 drinks in me. But...it seems that you might have been there so...............

Bingo- my mom went to play this. She came back ticked. Her first gripe was you had to pay 'extra' and they had machines do all the work for you.. so what fun was that? And she felt it was fixed because in her session ONLY the people who paid extra and had those machines won. (She didn't and had the cards).

Castaway was def. expanded out with amenities for the bigger ships. Our day there off the Dream & Fantasy were very crowded feeling. I can see this being a huge advantage to being on the older, smaller ships.

I LOVE Castaway. I wish the same as you- that Disney would do an island resort somewhere... NOT in Hawaii so I can afford plane tickets to get there!

My Sarah absolutely LOVES snorkeling too. Could spend hours out there... Yes, her & A get along well!
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:31 AM   #70
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Hahahahahaha on 'the ugly'- my dance moves. That gave me a good .

It would be for the same for me. That's why I make it a hard and fast rule that I won't dance unless I've had about 5 drinks in me. But...it seems that you might have been there so...............

Bingo- my mom went to play this. She came back ticked. Her first gripe was you had to pay 'extra' and they had machines do all the work for you.. so what fun was that? And she felt it was fixed because in her session ONLY the people who paid extra and had those machines won. (She didn't and had the cards).

Castaway was def. expanded out with amenities for the bigger ships. Our day there off the Dream & Fantasy were very crowded feeling. I can see this being a huge advantage to being on the older, smaller ships.

I LOVE Castaway. I wish the same as you- that Disney would do an island resort somewhere... NOT in Hawaii so I can afford plane tickets to get there!

My Sarah absolutely LOVES snorkeling too. Could spend hours out there... Yes, her & A get along well!
Actually, I was pretty much sober at that point in the night. I typically stopped drinking for the day with dinner. I don't like going to bed with a buzz, it often leaves me sleeping poorly and an upset stomach the next day. That was what was perfect on the cruise, drink all day and with dinner, then by nighttime I've had enough. The dancing was mostly just goofing anyways, so you had to be willing to be silly. I was surprised so many adults were game.

I think the reason the machines all one at Bingo is that the machines gave you like 50 cards, and then the hard tickets you'd only get 3 or 6 or something, so at that ratio, the machines are going to win. I agree with your mom, if you just spend your time looking at the machine what's the whole point of it. You might as well go to a bar and play the Lotto game.

Boy, do Sarah and DD have a lot in common. DD was going to go out again with the O'Malleys, but then she changed her mind. She told me just the other day that she had a cramp as she was going, so decided not to.

If lack of crowds + half the price is what you get on the older/smaller ships, I think I might like them better!
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK NEW TR
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:23 AM   #71
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Castaway Key looks amazing! I've never actually seen pics of the water play area, that looks like a lot of fun for us and for my DD! So nice to hear you didn't find it crowded at all. So glad you had such a wonderful day.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:13 AM   #72
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Day 7 and wrap-up

So, today is a travel day, and I will blow through this one quickly, as there aren’t really any pictures. We got up and had an early breakfast in Triton’s, which had a regular menu and some really good food. We eventually got off the ship, and we found our shuttle with no problem. We returned to our hotel from the first night, as they allowed you to rent a room for a few hours before a flight. The O’Malley’s had decided that they didn’t want to do this and instead were going to go on an airboat ride. So we said goodbye to them for now, and we hung at the hotel and the pool.

We swam for about an hour, and then just kind of hung in the hotel room. I was able to watch the hockey game from the Olympics – USA vs Canada. Unfortunately, Canada won. We eventually left for the airport and met up with our friends again. We got seats together on the plane and had an uneventful flight home.

And finally, a quick summary.

Starting out, I was a little nervous of the idea of a cruise. While we are huge Disney fans I have never had any desire to go on a cruise as the overall experience held almost no appeal to my wife or I. DD was excited at the idea of a Disney cruise, and we were willing to give it a try.

The experience itself, while mostly positive, did not leave behind a burning love of cruising. The time on the ship itself was OK. There were certainly tons of activities available, but none of them made it on to my “favorites” list. The shows were for the most part OK, but only one was really great. The pools were too small and crowded for my taste. There were quiet areas of the ship

The biggest highlight of our time on the ship was the meals, particularly the dinners, which were universally excellent. The rest of meals were good buffet style food, but nothing special. However, I have reached an age where quality beats quantity every day, so these were OK but got tiresome.

The cabin was small but bigger than we were expecting and was more than adequate. Overall, I found that the longer we were on the ship, the more we were enjoying it as we got used to the workings of the ship.

The other great thing about the ship was the availability for the kids to do things. Especially for older kids to have their own stuff, but even at DDs age, she loved the kids’ club, even if she mostly sat and played videogames. (Though I have to point out we could do that at home for free.)

The excursion in Cozumel was a lot of fun, but I found I wished I could have had more time to look around in Cozumel.

The highlight of the trip was definitely Castaway Cay. I made me want to go to a Disney beach resort destination. (Aulani?) I can see why they put it towards the end of the trip!

Overall, if I had to rate the experience on a scale of one to ten, I would probably place it around a seven, and I think DW would agree. DD would probably give it around a 9. She would love to go back soon.

Even for all that, the biggest negative of the trip to me is the price. I always look at “what am I getting out of my money, and what could I get elsewhere?”

Well, in this case, we had just spent 9 nights (10 days) at Disney World in November, and it cost us $3,900 for everything (airfare, hotel, tickets, food, souvenirs, everything). This trip we spent 6 nights (realistically 6 days), with only 5 days and 5 nights on the cruise, and it cost us $4,350. That’s 10 % more money, for 50 % less of an experience. I would never call a WDW trip cheap, but overall I think for what you get, the price can still be very reasonable.

In addition, we find that on the day we are leaving WDW – we are already trying desparately to figure out the soonest possible time to come back. Sitting here five months after our cruise, I am still in no hurry to do another one. In fact, we were so indifferent that we came home and bought into DVC to insure future WDW trips.

I guess I’m probably not giving encouragement to those that have never been on a Disney cruise before. There are plenty of people that go and love it as much as the parks. However, that’s not us. We are clearly land-lubbers and park-addicts. And that’s where we’ll be staying for the next few years.

So, if you would like to join along on our next Trip – if you haven’t already, head on over to our Pre-Trip Report for this October. DD got HER trip for the cruise, so this time we are getting OUR trip.

"Let us plan our escape!" an October 2014 PTR
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK NEW TR
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:12 PM   #73
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Great wrap-up, Pete.

I've always wondered about a cruise and whether it was worth the money. In my case, it's a moot point as I get so sea sick that I'm probably never going to willingly go on a cruise. So I was really interested to see your evaluation of it and to read your comments about what else you could be doing with your time/money.

I guess, like everything, it's all personal and up to individual tastes.


Thanks for sharing this one. Looking forward to your next vacay!
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:02 PM   #74
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Good wrap up.

We will have to agree to disagree on the food. Based on comparing it to prior years on cruises, quality has gone way down for me. I heard this is the case on all lines (not just Disney). I just would have expected more from Disney- because the price I pay.

I also have to agree with you on the value of the cruise. We have done 3 trips. The first was in 2007 and was 'cheap' compared to nowadays. I was completely put off on that trip and said I'd be OK sticking to Carnival vs. Disney. It took 5 years and the pressure of family to book for the 2012 Dream. Which blew me away. It was night and day from our previous trip and prompted us to book onboard & save for the GIGANTIC increase in price. Seriously, HUGE. I don't even want to say what we paid for 5.

And this cruise,while it had it's great points, was NOT worth the price for me either. And I am left feeling the same as I did in 2007- ready to not book again... and go with another line (we do love to cruise).

I guess time will truly tell if we ever end up again on Disney..........
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:10 PM   #75
khertz
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Great wrap up! The things you disliked about the cruising experience are some of the doubts I have as well. And right now, with Disney cruises being so expensive, we would have to do one instead of a World trip, not in addition to. I'm just not willing to do that right now! Especially, like you said, when you get so much more in WDW for less money than the cruise. But, I'm glad you had a good time, even if you don't have a burning passion for cruising after the trip!
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