Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by OrcaPotter, Jan 24, 2012.
So did you rebook???
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I've just read the opening page and I'm already smiling and laughing. Can't wait to read the rest of your TR. You are HILARIOUS!!
I was excited about dinner that night, since we'd be seeing the normal "show" with dinner in Animator's Palate. Unfortunately, our table was no where near the screens ... so having our own talk with Crush wasn't going to happen.
I'll be honest, I'm not sure where Crush and Nemo fit in thematically with the subject of this dining room. It's basically Turtle Talk with Crush on a cruise ship. When we were seated, the screens showed concept art and storyboard designs for Finding Nemo. By the time we ordered our meals, the show "started" with great fanfare of the screens switching into "live" mode of the characters swimming in and out of view. Then Crush appears and calls for everyone to participate in shouting out answers to questions or pep rally calls, etc. This is great and cute if you're 8 years old. It's amusing if you're an adult, at least at first. Crush then disappears and several minutes later you can see him visiting the tables (which typically were at least 6 top) next to the larger screens. He'd then disappear for several minutes again, which would then be occupied by yelling Nemo characters asking you to guess what shape the minnows are in, and so on.
Therefore? Dinner was loud.
I loved all the details in this dining room!
Dad and Simon, the head waiter (?) He only appeared to ask us how we were and chat a bit during the last 2 nights. He was really nice, though.
Dad with Craig and Darmika
Don't plan on having a conversation in this dining room. This menu, also, was my least favorite. It was hard to eat light, too, since I was still not feeling to great. I ended up choosing the shrimp "cheesecake" ... which Craig had warned me wasn't too good but I didn't listen. Mom liked it, though, so she was the rare person who felt differently. Other than that, I can't remember what else I had--so it was either sufficiently good or otherwise unremarkable. But my mother? The butternut squash soup blew her out of the water (or off the ship?) ... she raved about this soup for WEEKS. I couldn't remember if it was this night or pirate night she had it, but it was the best thing she had for the whole trip. We've since bought every type of butternut squash soup we can find, and only managed to find a fitting comparison at a health food counter in a local mall food court.
So, remember when I had mentioned how awkward Craig was sometimes? One of his other faults was his constant reminders about giving him specifically "excellent" ratings on our comment card. Our general response for everything, no matter how good it is, is to tell our waiters "very good" ... and Craig did not like this. He wanted to know why it wasn't "excellent". Most of the time we'd correct ourselves, and he'd get excited and remind us about making sure to put that down on the survey. One night Mom mentioned that she didn't care for the pasta, for it was dry. He was horrified that she didn't tell him at the time and he would have gotten her something else. He went on at length at how everything in the dining room, from food to service, was reflected on his performance. When we assured him we knew he had no control over the food, he was adamant that he was and OH MY GOSH, LET ME KNOW NEXT TIME, EVERYTHING MUST BE PERFECT FOR YOU MUST RATE ME "EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT" BY THE WAY, HAVE I ASKED YOU WHAT YOU THINK YET? WAS IT EXCELLENT? PLEASE MAKE SURE IT'S EXCELLENT. REMEMBER.
EXCELLENT! YOU MUST RATE ME EXCELLENT! WAS THE FOOD EXCELLENT? IT BETTER BE EXCELLENT!
We had taken care of the tips earlier in the day, and so handed out the receipts to the customary people. We didn't tip any higher than what was recommended. We liked our servers, really. But they weren't "excellent". But we felt bad, and so we elected "excellent" on the survey card ... but also selected "yes" when asked if we were "pressured into electing 'excellent' on the survey". We didn't like that. On our past cruises, yes, the waiters would "butter us up" toward the end of the trip but they wouldn't borderline bully us into giving them a good review.
We gave them their envelopes, thanked them, and said our goodbyes. They reminded us that breakfast was at 6:30 sharp in the same dining room ... but we knew that wasn't going to happen. Take heart, non-morning people like us: You can just grab breakfast in Cabana's with no hassle until 8:30, then leave the ship when you're done.
A last comment about Craig: He'd pretend to walk by us with our food and call everything we ordered "chicken". On formal night, he also did a mind teaser with crayons for us to solve; I noticed he did stuff like this for the kids every night, but this was the only time he took for us. It was cute.
So, as for rebooking? We talked about over dinner, and Mom agreed to go ahead and rebook for a Fantasy eastern sailing next summer, despite the astronomical quote we got the previous day (I totally forgot to mention that I went to see the rebooking desk while still docked at CC while my parents cat napped in the room). We went up to the desk and noticed that they were both occupied. With no visible line, we just hovered around like carrion birds until one opened up.
We weren't the only ones watching. Two guys went to sit down just as I was, and the poor rebooking CM looked startled. We all laughed, and one guy decided to challenge me to a coin toss to see who went next since no one could tell who was first. The CM was really bemused. I ended up winning the coin toss, and the guys laughed and threatened the CM that they were next. The CM didn't know quite what to think.
We asked for the lowest category verandah to help cut down on the cost. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about the concept of a "dummy date" ... picking a lowest cost cruise and then changing it to what we want later when we know more/have actual money/etc. Instead, we went with what we expected to work, with the anticipation I'd have a teaching job next school year, which unfortunately means I can only sail during peak times. In less than 10 minutes, we were $5K poorer.
Mom was in shock. The pixie dust proved too powerful for her. She was conflicted between loving the cruise too much and knowing how crazy it was to spend that much on 3 people for a Caribbean cruise.
We wandered deck 4 while she recovered, then made our way to see "Believe". Meanwhile, I didn't quite process that we were booked for a second Disney cruise. It was just too impossible to believe. With Mom reiterating how we could cancel for a full refund, I knew it was not going to happen. It's incredibly frustrating to be financially dependent on someone else. It was frustrating that I couldn't help out with the cost. I hoped that if we could just pay off the deposit little by little, I'd be back on my feet and be able to at least pay for my fare in full.
Anyway, on to "Believe". We sat in the balcony this time, just for something different. There's no "bad seat" in the theatre, but I preferred stage level. As everyone had said before, this show was amazing and the best on the ship. I tell you what, there wasn't a dry eye in that theatre when it got to the father/daughter dance and EMOTIONAL DISNEY MOMENTS MONTAGE. I kept telling myself I wasn't going to cry, I wasn't going to cry... AW DANGIT, DISNEY! MY EMOTIONS! YOU JUST HAD TO USE "BABY OF MINE" AND OH GOD, AND BAMBI'S MOM'S DEAD AND ALL MY CREYS.
Sorry for all the GIFS, but they're accurate. Mom and I were both using my scarf as a tissue. We were all very impressed. It was easily my favorite show of the trip.
After the show, we took some photos with the Mouse:
It amazed me that if you wait a while? You could have whole areas of the ship to yourself. Honestly, folks, you're going to meet the crowds at leading up to the shows, just out of the shows, whatever event is going on in the atrium, and by the pools. That's it. We never had any issue. Once the show crowd was gone, the area was empty. From there, the realization that this dream cruise was almost over was hitting. We wandered up to the top decks, hung out in our favorite forward haunts, then traveled back through Cabana's for a good-bye with Nigel:
We took Dad into Evolution to catch what was left of the ventriloquist's adult show. We ended up having to take the stools to the far, far right of the stage practically abreast of him. I'm surprised he didn't call us out. He was just as hilarious as he was before. We ended up staying for some sort of adult suggestive variety show with the entertainment crew, which was amusing but I didn't quite understand the point. Then Dad grew tired and we made our way back to our stateroom. I had already rushed back to the room to put out our luggage before 10:30 earlier; at that time, I could see all the people panicking with last-minute packing and getting everything out.
Our secret? We put dirty laundry back in our suitcases as we wore them. We didn't pack a lot, either. We also didn't re-pack neatly, either. It was all going in the wash when we got home, anyway. I don't get the people who do laundry on the ship. WHY? You're on vacation! Of course, don't make the mistake I did by packing your pajamas for the last night.
We had a lobster!
Then Mom asked me if I wanted to finish the detective game. Willpower won out once again, and we both went back out to a mostly empty ship to finish what was left. Pro tip for adult players: Play late at night when most of the kids are in bed. You'll have the portraits to yourself, and since all of them are in common areas, you won't wake anyone.
When we turned in for the night, we did our survey and mostly rated everything "excellent". Very few things were rated any less. Of course, pajama-less, I opted to sleep in my clothes. Not feeling well, and wearing corduroy pants to bed does not make for sweet dreams ... not to mention the vacation of my dreams was coming to a swift end.
In my last post, I shall go over our experience disembarking, the woe of reality, and my closing thoughts.
I am really enjoying your trip report, but then I came back to finish reading and now I can't see any of your photos that go along with the report. Photobucket says they have been viewed too many times
Yes, unfortunately. I temporarily went pro because my DISign thread kept eating up bandwidth, but I can't afford the fee anymore. I've deleted a lot of stuff and will be changing my signature banners to just text links to help with the problem. Hopefully my bandwidth will reset by the 15th! I'm glad you're enjoying my report! Just one more post left ... I'll probably wait until I can use images again.
Waking up the morning of any cruise debarkation is always incredibly depressing. Not only is your vacation over, but you feel somewhat rushed and kicked off. On our previous cruises, we had been given specific debarkation times. I remember waking up early, but not ridiculously so. Because we had main seating, our breakfast time was 6:30 AM sharp--the crew emphasized this as if it were your only chance to be fed before leaving the ship for the last time.
Well, that just wasn't going to fly with us
We decided to skip our scheduled breakfast and just eat at Cabana's--which is open until 8:30 AM to anyone. We were up around 6:30, out of our glorious stateroom by 7:30 , and were at a table in Cabana's with no wait and no crowd within minutes. We took our time, and around 8:00 we heard the PA system announce that we had cleared customs and could disembark at any time. They repeated this announcement every 15 minutes or so.
I called my brother to let him know that we were basically getting ready to get off, and he could get on the road if he wasn't already. He had hit a part of 417 that was backed up due to a rush hour accident, so he was still about 45 minutes away. Once we were done eating, we reluctantly began to make our way down to the atrium. I didn't see any crowds or lines at all. In fact, little groups of people seemed to be hanging out. The doors to leave were wide open, and the captain was just standing there, shaking hands and thanking them for coming. I'm kind of shy and being all touristy is something I try to avoid, but I do wish I had taken my picture with him. He was just so approachable! The captains of the other ships we've been on, if you even see him, have been pretty stand-offish. We thanked him and shook hands, though.
The ease of leaving the ship was just as remarkable as boarding it. So, so depressing, though. It would've been better if I knew for sure we'd be keeping our reservation for the Fantasy.
We walked right into the organized luggage warehouse/customs line room. We had orange Goofy tags, and the character zones are clearly labeled. Some were on giant tables, others lined up on the floor. Goofy was on the floor in a back corner, and some pieces of our luggage were spread out--but otherwise easy to find. I noticed a handful of CMs (or port CMs) helping guests who couldn't find their luggage. I would encourage anyone who cruises to invest in larger pieces of luggage so you don't have so many smaller pieces. You really don't need as much stuff as you think on a cruise, and especially on a shorter one.
The line for customs was massive, but it was moving really steadily. I noticed a few families in a separate line who I believe were doing a B2B, as they didn't have luggage with them and were talking about getting back on. We didn't wait longer than maybe 10 minutes, max. So much more organized, too, than our experiences with customs in the past. Say what you will about Disney and crowds, but most of the time, they're pros at handling people. Before we knew it, we were handing over our papers; the officer barely looked at them, our passports, and at us before waving us on.
Note for newbies: You can't take photos in the customs area, so put your cameras away. If you even lift up your camera to your face, an officer will be on you in moments. I observed this twice. The same goes for the security area on the ground floor of the terminal before you go up the escalators.
And just as soon as it had begun, our first Disney cruise was over. It was another chilly morning, so we ignored the progressive blinding of our retinas to wait for my brother by the benches in front of the terminal in the sun.
Even the terminal is covered in little details you can easily overlook.
My brother arrived after 30 minutes or so, and we had no trouble at all loading the car up and taking off. Aside from my brother nearly getting pulled over for speeding back home, we were back at our house within the hour with our laundry in the washer and a nap on our beds.
Within a few days, my mother insisted we cancel our Fantasy booking. We just couldn't afford it, and we had racked up a surprising amount in the gift shops on board--so there went our deposit money, anyway. I cannot express to you how upset I was to make that call, and the rep on the line was pretty disappointed, too. Yes, we could've rebooked a cheaper cruise to hold our discount and OBC, but we don't know when we'll have the spare cash again. My mother promised we will go again, though. She was just as disappointed in having to make the decision. It may not be next year, but we hope to accumulate the cash again and catch another great VGT for the Fantasy--or better yet, an Alaskan cruise on the Wonder.
DCL was certainly more expensive, but the difference was clear. We had an overall better experience than on the other lines we've been on.
As an adult with no children, I (and my mother) were a little apprehensive about being on a ship "swamped with kids". Even for a mid-January cruise, there were a lot of kids on board. However, I didn't notice them being any more underfoot than other cruises we've been on. And they certainly seemed much more well-behaved than other cruises or at the parks. That of course could just be the crowd on our particular sailing, but still. It was refreshing to see parents doing actual parenting, and kids who relatively behaved.
I wish we had more time to try Palo, although extra-charge restaurants have never really motivated us to book in the past. In the future, I'd definitely skip AP on the Dream for a Palo night, though.
My mother's only disappointment in the ship was the shops. 99% of it all was branded DCL tourist stuff or branded kids' toys. This did not stop us from going crazy with souvenirs, though. Seeing as how it was our first DCL trip, I'm not surprised--because I wanted ALL THE THINGS. But in the future, I expect to spend less.
We were also disappointed in the very limited selection of Dream labeled merchandise that was NOT dated 2011 inaugural. Whoever is designing stuff for Disney attractions these days need to go back to design school. I wanted a Dream shirt, but found none I liked, so I ended up with a generic DCL design with the characters on the back. We DID get a really nice Dream hoodie jacket for my dad that was on clearance because it was for the inaugural. We were glad for it the day we left, because like my pajamas, I had accidentally packed my jacket.
The gift shops are just as expensive as they are in the parks. If you're used to daily deals, t-shirt sales, etc on other lines, you'll be disappointed. Other than the usual "spend $50, get a $15 watch/tote" that you had to know about otherwise it was not offered to you, there were no deals. The cheapest shirt was $21. There is no bargain hunting on DCL.
I'm glad I read as much as I could here on the DIS for DCL tips. Reading all the trip reports and threads really paid off. As for the meet-up thread for this cruise, most of them were young families, so I didn't necessarily hit it off with anyone online in advance. I suppose young single adults are a very small minority on DCL!
I will admit that the MDR food was not necessarily outstanding in most cases. But it was still very good. The bit of disorganization the first 2 nights was surprising, since it had been a year since the maiden voyage and I expected them to know where the tables were by then. It really is luck of the draw with your serving team; I was a little bummed we didn't have as outstanding an experience with them as many others seem to ... but perhaps they excel with families more so than just adults?
There appeared to be plenty of entertainment for adults throughout the day. We love to relax and hang out on the top decks, so we mostly did that during the day if we weren't ashore. The adult clubs, particularly Evolution, always seemed crowded to me. We had to scavenge for seats in Evolution during events. The other bars were populated, but not crowded--which is nice, because you can catch a comfy seat! I wish we had more time to just hang out in there and have a nice drink.
Be careful with drinks, because they're expensive. I got a smoothy on our sea day, and with the souvenir glass (which I had to request, which irked me because they were in souvenir glasses all the time up until then) was close to $8. All of that adds up, so make sure to budget for it if that's your thing.
Unless you want to be front row center in the WD Theatre, wait until the initial crowd falls in before going to get your seat. There are plenty of good ones available until close to show time!
The mid-ship elevators are always busy, but take them at least once. Because they have glass windows, the elevator shaft above the atrium has character murals going up! Otherwise, use the forward elevators or even aft elevators to get around without too much of a wait.
Depending on when and who it was, lines for photos with the characters were pretty long. I didn't witness a lot of the wandering characters that people rave about on the classic ships. As it was, I ran into Snow White (she was adorable) twice in the halls being chased by little girls. I ran into Minnie just wandering the upper atrium floors, which was nice, because the line for her earlier was enormous and there was no way I was waiting in that.
Adults, do a lot of the family things late at night--like the midship detective game and the pools. They were seldom crowded late at night. I'm not sure how late the Aquaduck was open until, though. Again, if I had felt better and had more time, I would've used at least one night to play up there!
OH! On the tip form, you can elect to donate money toward Disney's Marine Wildlife Conservation Program. Donate any amount, and when you drop off the form at guest services, they'll give you a nice "Marine Hero" button for each person in your stateroom. I was surprised that my mother immediately wanted to donate (she doesn't usually do that) and $20, too! That's how impressed Mom was with this cruise, LOL! I proudly display my button with my lanyard in my room.
This cruise was everything I expected and more. I literally cannot wait until I can book again, and we're particularly proud of our Castaway Club membership DCL definitely makes you feel welcomed, connects you to your inner child, and it just feels like a luxurious experience--as it should be, for their prices! As an adult, a love of Disney is definitely a prerequisite if you want to sail DCL without kids. If you're not crazy active, don't gamble, and don't put high priority on swimming, you'll love all DCL has to offer. I wish DCL would do more for young adults, but my demographic is definitely not their target market as far as making an effort to get me on board. Not that that's a bad thing, really. I'm not a party-going, drinking-type person; and many young adults value that as part of their cruise vacation. I wanted Disney fun, and that's exactly what I got. Now to convince my Disney friends to save the cash so we can all go!
Thanks so much for reading and putting up for the long periods between updates! I hope you enjoyed the details of my experience! If you're going on your cruise soon, have fun and savor every moment BECAUSE IT FLIES!
You can see all my photos at this link: http://photobucket.com/disneydreamcruise2012 It shouldn't be password protected anymore!
I really enjoyed your report! You finished it at the perfect time, since I am sailing on the Dream on Sunday. Thanks for all the tips. Hopefully it won't be too long before you are able to sail again!
Yup. That pretty much sums it up for me every time I come to the end of any Disney vacation. I'm 32 years old and I cry every time I leave Magic Kingdom or Disneyland on the last day. My husband thinks I'm crazy.
Great TR!! You have such a great sense of humor; it was so much fun to read. Thanks for all your time you put into it!
Wow thanks for sharing this. We will be taking our first DCL cruise and your TR has provided us with lots of info
LOVED your TR!!! Thank You!
I'm glad y'all enjoyed it!
Great job! So much info and so many great pix, in just 5 DIS pages!
It's a cold wet miserable day herei in Scotland so I've read all of your
Trip report in one go. It's cheered me up no end but it's also made
Me desperate to book the dream for our October trip, will need need to keep working on my dh
I'm glad it cheered you up! Good luck convincing him--I'll be the first to say that it's an incredible experience! I'm going through some serious withdrawal ... I wish I had the cash to book another trip now. I can't wait for the moment I do!
Wow, thank you for sharing all of this information! I thoroughly enjoyed your closing thoughts, as it did put everything in perspective.
I love all of the photos you posted; made me feel as though I was there!
Hopefully I will be able to take my first DCL cruise soon!
I'm glad you enjoyed it! It's definitely a cruise worth waiting for, for sure! I can't wait until I can begin saving toward a 7 night with DCL.
I just read this over the past few days. What a great trip. To obad you were feeling a bit sick.
We sailed the Dream last year on a 3 night and you are right, time just flies by. I was lucky enough to tour her last Aug as well, and got to see a few areas that I had missed while sailing. We are going again on a 4 night in Nov. I can't wait. There is still so much I haven't had a chance to do or see.
I hope you get your teaching job and can start putting away some money to get on the Fantasy. Thats goal for me too!
I am a laundry doer. BUT we went to Disney after the cruise and I wanted to pack less for myslef, so we did a little bit on board to have it ready for the Disney portion of the trip. I don't mind doing a load or 2 and it keeps down the luggage a bit.
Did they have any Dream 2012 sweatshirts/hoodies? I got the inaugeral one last year and LOVE it. I got one for DD too, but we are hoping to get a new one this year.
So glad your TR bubbled to the surface. This time next week, we'll be immersed in the magic. Been to The World before, but this will be our first time on DCL. My family has been looking forward to this trip, where we'll celebrate my folks' 50th. Your pictures have helped to clarify some things and amp up the excitement. Thanks again for sharing your vacay with the rest of us !
I'm glad you enjoyed it! The good news is that yes, I finally got a full-time teaching position ... my goal is to get enough saved to put as much down as I can on a Fantasy cruise for next summer Praying for a VGT rate for the date I want.
Folks traveling in from a long distance to the port, I can imagine would want to cut down on luggage, so I can see doing laundry in that case. My mother and I always seem to overpack, and we just stuff it all back in the suitcase and dump it in the washer as soon as we get home. But all we have is a 50 min. car ride.
It's hard to remember right now, but I want to say they did have 2012 sweatshirts. They didn't impress me at all--and actually, I don't think they had the Dream on it. Just DCL. That was one of the most disappointing parts of the shopping on board!
Glad you enjoyed it and found it helpful! Have fun
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