Disney Cruise Questions From Someone Who's Considering Booking a DCL Vacation

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by PacMan3000, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. ibouncetoo

    ibouncetoo <font color=009999>I get excited by the little thi

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    That's my input!
     
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  3. KSDisneyDad

    KSDisneyDad DIS Veteran

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    Most of your questions have already been answered. I too just want to say that I believe 3 nights is way too short! We think 4 nights is too short.

    We've been on 4 DCL cruises (33 nights total) and still haven't done everything that we want to do.

    Our family loves WDW, but enjoys cruising even more.
     
  4. mmouse37

    mmouse37 DCL Diva!!

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    So you know how addicting it can be!!! We are also on the MV of the Dream and I know what you mean about not having enough time to explore the new ship...that is why I booked the cruise following the MV to make it a B2B...I need at least 8 days to experience it all!!

    MJ
     
  5. PacMan3000

    PacMan3000 Mouseketeer

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    Hi everyone--thanks so much for your input.

    I recognize that 3 nights is short, but it seems that an extra day is roughly an additional $600. And we are also doing WDW after, so we figure for a first trip, 3 nights is OK to get our feet wet and see if we like DCL.

    But one more thing just to be clear--one the site, it says that "dining" is included in the price. Does that mean that, when we eat inside the restaurants, they won't bring us a bill?
     
  6. Grandma4ever

    Grandma4ever One day closer and still counting!!!

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    The cost of your food is included in the cost of the cruise. You will pay for alcohol and specility drinks like smoothies and special coffees. There is a drink station on deck 9 where you can get coke products, coffee, teas, and milk all included in the price of your cruise. If you want to try to visit the adult only resturant Palo it is 15 dollars extra per person. You are also expected to Tip your stateroom host, and three persons in your Dining room team. The total of all tip for these 4 Cast Members is under 13.00 perday per person. The service I have recieved has always made me feel that they deserved twice as much as was recommended. I have not always had the funds to tip as much as I felt I should however. Also any gifts your buy are extra. Bottled water is extra but Tap water is good to drink.

    That extra day would give you time to really enjoy the ship. Use care in this first cruise as DCL is very addicting. I am set for my 8th and 9th this fall. 7 days is no longer enough time for me.
     
  7. ibouncetoo

    ibouncetoo <font color=009999>I get excited by the little thi

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    Correct! There are a few food related things that cost extra: booze (but you can carry on your own), specialty coffee from Cove Cafe, smoothies, some of the snacks sold outside the theater and some of the packaged snacks on the room service menu. All your meals (including lunch on Castaway Cay), anything from the poolside area (hot dogs, sandwiches, ice cream, wraps and panninis, pizza, burgers) all included. Sodas are free in the restaurants and there is a 24 hour self serve beverage station with soft drinks, tea, coffee, milk, juice, hot chocolate. If you order a soft drink at at a bar or from room service, there is a charge. Those items, along with adult beverages also have a 15% tip on the bill (so be careful not to double tip).

    Speaking of tips, they are the one additional expense you should put into your budget!. DCL's 'recommended' amount comes to $12 per day for each person in the stateroom.

    .
     
  8. joalexajeff

    joalexajeff Earning My Ears

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    Our DD (13) wants to go on a cruise for her 8th grade graduation (June2011). It would be our first time cruising, and we definitely want to do a 7 day cruise. We are open to all suggestions for first timers and would appreciate any and all recommendations. DD checked out the Disney website and we are leaning toward Western. Any favorite land excursions? Also, she wants to bring a friend (whoa!), is that really necessary as she makes friends easily and it appears there are plenty of opportunities to meet new friends aboard ship! Thanks for any advice!!!!!
     
  9. ibouncetoo

    ibouncetoo <font color=009999>I get excited by the little thi

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    Unfortunately there aren't any 7 Day Caribbean cruises in the summer of 2011. The Magic will be back in Europe from mid-May through mid-September. The Wonder will be doing Alaska cruises next summer though. You could do the Bahamas one the new Disney Dream, 3/4/5 day (or a combination thereof).

    .
     
  10. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

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    Well, it is more fun with a friend/cousin in your own group. Esp for doing excursions together, dining together, etc. We sailed with friends (ds is friends with their kids too) last Oct for our 3rd DCL cruise 7 nts, and it was great for kids to hang out together, get photos on formal night, and ds then 12 did an excursion with his friend and their family. Since both families brought their parents too we were seated with our families for dinner but 1 night all switched seats so adults at one table, kids at the other. Such a nice time for everyone.

    If your daughter is an only child it's not that much more to add 1 more child. Once you reach a group of 5 it's a lot more unless you're sailing on the Dream. They finally offered staterooms that sleep 5 without having to get a verandah.
     
  11. PacMan3000

    PacMan3000 Mouseketeer

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    Hi everyone,

    Thanks again to all. I have a few more questions--this time courtesy of the family:

    1) Regarding the Disney Dream--anyone know if the porthole windows will be capable of being opened? Any rumors or statements made about this?

    2) What decks would you recommend staying on? What decks should be avoided? Is one deck typically more noisy or quiet than the other?

    3) We are staying for three nights for our first trip, and the difference between a room with a window and one with a veranda is about $150. For such a short trip, is a veranda in the room worth it? Or should we stick to the window and put that extra money towards something else? There will be three people in our party.

    4) How much should we expect to pay out of pocket for specialty drinks--from a Margarita to a pina colada to a strawberry milkshake?

    5) We are going on a Bahamas cruise. Once we hit either Nassau or Castaway Cay, do we have to pay a shuttle bus driver or cab driver to transport us from the ship to the city? Or is everything walkable once you exit the ship?

    Is getting around the island easy without any type of transportation? Are there any trolley services that get you from place to place?

    6) Are there opportunities to jet ski at either Nassu or Castaway Cay?

    7) Do the Disney ships offer Wi-fi? And is it a free or paid service?

    8) I'm a little unclear on whether or not I will need to bring a formal outfit for one of the more upscale dining halls. Can someone please clarify?

    9) I know there are pools, but are there Jacuzzi's on the ship, too?

    10) We are probably going to fly out to Orlando the day before our ship sets sail. Would you recommend us staying at a hotel near the airport, and then making the one-hour drive to the port the next morning? Or, are there hotels at Port Canaveral?

    Also, does Disney offer any shuttle service from Orlando's MCO airport to Port Canaveral?

    11) Are there any specific activities or tours that you would recommend we do at either Nassau or Castaway Cay?

    Thanks again in advance!
     
  12. BethC1952

    BethC1952 DIS Veteran

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    I answered a few of your questions above. We aren't really excursion people. The only one we've done was the Ardastra Gardens and City Tour in Nassau, and we really enjoyed it. We're thinking of doing it again with our granddaughter in February.

    Verandahs, portholes or inside rooms are a personal choice. We usually have an inside room, but because we got a good price we will have a verandah in February on Dream. For three nights, I wouldn't spend the extra money! You don't spend much time in your room anyway. There are lots of other ways to spend money on your vacation!

    I doubt the portholes will open. None of the ones on the other ships do. As for noisy decks and good rooms--no one has stayed on Dream yet to answer this yet. We'll have to wait and see what the early cruisers think!

    Beth
     
  13. ibouncetoo

    ibouncetoo <font color=009999>I get excited by the little thi

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    .I also recommend you read some trip reports...especiall for 3 day cruises.

    .
     
  14. smartkim

    smartkim Kim

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    Someone mentioned that food/drinks is sold just outside of the theater. Can you bring your own food/drinks in without having to buy it at the theater concessions? I wouldn't want to have to buy food from the theater each time we went in to see a movie.
     
  15. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

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    Have a great cruise! :goodvibes
     
  16. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

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    We've bought drinks from deck 9 drink station. I think the only snacks that can be brought aboard the ship (as in from home or FL) would be sealed, prepackaged things such as chips, pretzels, etc.
     
  17. ibouncetoo

    ibouncetoo <font color=009999>I get excited by the little thi

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    Yes, you can bring your own. In the past you could take any food in, but recently I've seen posts where people were asked to not bring in a 'meal' :lmao:Some DISers bring packaged candy from home, but honestly for the nightly shows you have either just come from or are about to go to dinner. Even for an afternoon movie, I've never had 'room' for candy type snacks. FYI the popcorn they sell outside the theater is packaged popcorn like you would by in the grocery, it's not made on the ship.

    .
     
  18. PacMan3000

    PacMan3000 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks again to everyone.

    Just a couple quick follow-ups, as I'm not able to figure this out after doing some research.

    1) Many have recommended the Hyatt, and that's what we're thinking of using, as well. Now, I understand I can book my cruise through Disney, or a travel agent, or what have you, but if I want to book the hotel separately through Hotwire, how do I "sign up" for the DCL bus/shuttle that will transfer me from the Hyatt to Port Canaveral? Or can that only be done if I book it through Disney's Cruise Line website? I can't tell if these are independent of each other.

    2) People are saying that your luggage will arrive at your stateroom if you use the DCL transportation. Sounds great, though I'd obviously have questions of my luggage being lost or taken to the wrong room/ship, etc. Can you choose to keep your luggage and maybe place it inside the cargo hold of the DCL bus?

    3) Lastly, regarding trip insurance--do you personally buy it? And if so, do you purchase it through Disney or elsewhere? Since we won't be sailing till Feb, I'm mostly concerned with insurance that would help reimburse me should me or anyone in my party receive news that forces us to be unable to go on the trip, thus resulting in a need to cancel everything and hopefully get some or all of our money back.

    Thanks!
     
  19. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

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    Trip insurance is good to have any time of year. Compared to land vacation, cruises have to be paid in full much further in advance with hundreds to thousands of $$$ at stake if suddenly must cancel.
    DCL insurance is expensive and doesn't cover pre existing conditions if that's a concern for you. They don't even purchase it on your behalf until your paid in full date. Typically, for PECs to be covered, you must buy the ins. within 14 or so days from date of booking. The good part about DCL ins. is that if you have to cancel due to non-covered reason, the amount you would lose (varies depending on how close to cruise you cancel) would be applied as a credit toward a future cruise.
    Lots of TAs offer insurance too. Mine offers same insurance as DCL for half price and covers PECs. Also I've used www.insuremytrip.com. I used them last time when I forgot to buy ins. when I made my final payment. (the ins my TA gets must be bought before PIF date.) My TA even recommended them. They offer many different policies and ins. companies. What's nice is that you can add the cost of airfare too whereas my TA simply enters the cost of the cruise; just found that out. Insuremytrip.com even has policies that cover "cancel for any reason" job loss, work schedule changed, etc.
     
  20. PacMan3000

    PacMan3000 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks ruadisneyfan2!

    I'm also wondering where people opt to stay the night before the cruise? I know there are a lot of votes for the Hyatt, but what about the Marriott which I read is about one mile from the airport and offers a free shuttle to and from.

    The only thing left I am trying to figure out is how best to finagle both a hotel stay and the DCL transfers.

    We are thinking of flying in on 2/2, with our cruise sailing out on 2/3. I called Disney and was told that, since I'm flying in the day before and not the day of, they obviously couldn't take our bags (utilizing the transfer service) because we would need our clothes and stuff inside them for the night, and they have no place to store them overnight.

    So it seems our best bet is to stay in a hotel, wake up the next morning, and bring our bags to the motor coach and have them load it into the cargo section of the bus. Has anyone done this without any problem? And did you stay at the Hyatt or elsewhere?

    The Hyatt sounds great for convenience, but the Marriott also seems nice due to the free shuttle service and the ability to have a complimentary breakfast.

    Thoughts? Thanks in advance.
     
  21. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

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    Yes, well Hyatt def isn't only choice. I'm just lazy when it comes to vacay and once I tried it, I'm too spoiled now. There are many hotels all around MCO. Some book direct, some Hotwire or Priceline. What I like about Hotwire is that it will show the shuttle icon so you know it has an airport shuttle. With PL, you take your chances that it might or might not, no guarantees. Also PL doesn't guarantee bedding for more than 2 so if you have kids, you may want to go with HW or direct.

    We've stayed at Wingate Inn and Fairfield Inn in MCO area and both were good, clean places with free breakfast. Fairfield would win for better breakfast. :thumbsup2

    I have followed advice on www.betterbidding.com for MCO area and also many times for my parents sailing out of Ft. Laud. They have been correct around 10x so far. They keep a list of HW and PL 'wins'. This is how I learned when it's the Hyatt before buying.

    Here is list of 'known' FL hotels:
    http://www.betterbidding.com/index.php?showtopic=67&

    They also have a forum similiar to here, where you can ask them to ID a hotel not on their list and they'll give their best estimate. Of course no guarantees and HW/PL are non refundable but let's face it, a 4* or 3.5* in MCO area will most likely be very nice and be more than good enough for 1 nt stay pre cruise. It's kind of fun, like a detective game, to figure out which is which and know you're getting a great price, usually around $40-60/nt + tax. Wingate is 3* on HW, Fairfield Inn is 2.5*.

    To take DCL transportation from an off site hotel, you have to take hotel's shuttle back to MCO (or taxi) and keep your luggage with you back and forth. This is why we opted for Happy Limo 1st few times so they just pick us up when we choose at our hotel.
    Next cruise is the 1st time we're taking DCL bus to PC.

    You could always book Marriott direct and if Hyatt shows on HW, cancel the direct ressie. Usually Hyatt shows 1-4 weeks prior. Only time I couldn't get it on HW was TG week.

    hth :goodvibes
     

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