20th Anniversary Cruise Really?????? Cast: DH (45) Grumpy but willing, however hates having his picture taken so that will be my goal to annoy him with many! DW (45..turning during the cruise) Joyful but really can only stand so much Grumpy...as I get older my tolerating gene shrinks, I guess. DS (17) WOW! How he has grown this year! 6'3 and worked off 65 pounds himself by rowing 5 days a week...love this kid, great heart, goofy, too. DD (14) Sweet as pie, hungry as a horse, Bookworm and loves anything Irish..especially potatoes! DD (13) Exuberant, outgoing (at home) and a complete spaz for the self serve ice cream...she can put on 10 pounds on a trip with just ice cream! Loves Irish dancing so she has the metabolism for it! I guess a part of me feels if I actually start a pre-trip report we'll actually be booked on this cruise. It has not been easy! We booked our 20th anniversary cruise last year while on the Disney Wonder. Have ALWAYS sailed the most amazing deals....always kids sail free and we pack them in, the last cruise my dh and I took our three kids, two nieces and one friend of my son's. Had a blast! The first cruise we took we did the Mediterranean with Kids sail free, took my parents along...Disney offered outstanding deals that we lucked up on...we booked 2 category 12s (cheapest back then) for under $4000 AND Disney gave us $100 per person OBC! AND it was a 10 night!! So, we never thought we'd ever cruise b/c the cost was so prohibitive. With our 20th anniversary coming up we went ahead and booked a category 8 (cheapest way to send 5 of us) and hoped deals would come out. We were spoiled by kids sail free, with 3 children, it's a steal! But, now, Disney introduced the GT rates (IGT, OGT, VGT)...I picked the September 8th sailing becaues I figured it would have low volume with school starting back up and higher chance of discounts. We saved and saved, only to find out that our federal tax bill was going to be pretty much every penny we had saved plus a few more. However, our state income tax refund would make up for it...so we paid our federal and watched daily for our state refund to come. Each day we grew closer to the 75 paid in full date, I just knew we were out of luck. Sure enough, I live in a state that has no law requiring them to pay you back in any amount of time and they only pay you back when they take in funds from some arbitrary account which never seems to have money. Long story short, we were at day 60 before we received our tax refund!! Good news is VGT rates are out now!! Bad news is if we book 2 VGT rates we're paying $300 more than we would have for cat. 8 and we lose our OBC. So, any of you frugal cruisers..this trip report is for you! I am willing to play guinea pig to wait this out and see if we are able to save any money. Here are the options: 1. Book 2 VGTs (cost $5200) 2. Book 1 VGT Book 1 INside gty (use 10% and OBC) ($4900) 3. Wait for IGT to pop up and book 2 of them (guessing it will be right at $3800...I have spent way too much time speculating based on previous week's cruises and when their discounted rates have come out) WHAT TO DO?? We are using our Disney Chase, had to wait 3 business days to upgrade so we get 2% rewards back, that will help cover our tips....then we'll pay the card off with our state refund...we had the great misfortune of having 2 mortgages for 31 months so our debt to livelihood ratio took a nose dive and we vowed never to use cc..but 2% rewards could not be passed up! I have come at this from every angle! I know in 25 years, the $500 or so I'm worried about right now will not mean a hill of beans and my logical side says I should just buy it and be done with this bellyaching! But, when you've had 31 months of earnestly praying and not knowing how you would cover next month's mortgages...it's hard to let go of making the most of what you've been given. So, as RIGHT now, we are not booked on a cruise...but hoping this week, the IGT rates come out so I can confirm any savings or worth...what makes it worse is that I read a cruiser who booked 2 VGT and was able to get adjoining and they combined their balcony space..how cool is that?????? Then there's a side that says, just get on the ship, plenty of deck space! Have never been on a verandah room and this is likely our last cruise for some time, with 3 teens heading to college soon, our lives will be putting them through! Oh, and another bit of info. In the past year I have lost 65 pounds, my goal is to lose 20 more in the next 57 days!!! I will be posting before and after pics and thankful to Dis WISH for helping me stay motivated this summer with my workouts and eating...slip up with a cheeseburger every now and then, but for the most part not stress eating like I used to (31 months of mortgages...short on money, heavy on stress eating!!!) I won't make it into my wedding dress this year, but next year FER SHER!!! And for any going on this cruise, I'll be the midlife crisis nut riding the Aqua Duck as many times as possible!! I will add pictures of our crew and if someone can show me how to add those little links to updates, I'll be glad to add them here! Thanks for letting me share my anxieties and hopeful reasons to celebrate our 20th, not having 2 mortgages and 3 pretty amazing kids!