Fun without Port Adventures or additional costs?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by baleeve, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. baleeve

    baleeve "I want adventure in the great wide somewhere -- I

    Nov 8, 2004
    I am a solo parent traveling on the Dream with my 2 boys ages 8 & 10.

    I'm budgeting for airfare, transportation to the cruise, tips and a $250 in fun money.

    I'm curious if it is possible to have a great DCL cruise on a budget (i.e. no port adventures, limited additional expenses).

    Is Castaway Cay doable without additional expenses? Can we have just "fun in the sun"?

    I don't want (or like) to skrimp but its that or no cruise.
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  3. tweis

    tweis DIS Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    Absolutely! We are a family of four and on a 5 night cruise we spent less than $100 and had a blast. We had 2 stops at CC and did not schedule Port Adventures either time and had a wonderful time. :thumbsup2
  4. timweston

    timweston Earning My Ears

    Apr 13, 2013
    I've only been on one Disney cruise, but I think a cruise without port adventures would still be lots of fun.

    We had a shortened day at Castaway Cay due to docking late, so our excursion was cancelled. We still had a wonderful time there swimming, relaxing on the beach and exploring the island a bit.

    You might want to check navigators for a cruise similar to the one you'll be one to see what activities take place while the ship is in port. There are always movies on funnelvision, the pools, AquaDuck, etc.
  5. jlbeard

    jlbeard Earning My Ears

    Oct 20, 2011
    I am a single parent as well, my ds is plan is to do just what you are asking. However, I do plan on bike riding on CC. Other than that, we will relax on the beach and enjoying other free recreation on the ship. I look forward to having a WONDERFUL time.
  6. canadiandisneyfamof4

    canadiandisneyfamof4 Mouseketeer

    Aug 5, 2012
    What ports are you stopping at? I'm guessing on the Dream - Nassau. I haven't been there, but heard that lots of people stay on the ship, that would be one way to limit expenses in port and a great way to explore the ship since being the dream its likely a 3 or 4 night cruise.

    The only things we paid for on Castaway Cay were floating tubes (not needed) alcohol (1 drink, probably also not needed)

    On the ship our main expenditures were
    - palo
    - remy
    - Photos at Shutters
    - souvenirs

    All of the above were a choice and I don't feel like I would have missed out if we skipped any of them.
  7. MikeAndNick

    MikeAndNick If you can dream it, you can do it.

    Jan 4, 2010
    That is very possible, not counting the tips our room bill is often under $25 . We never spend any money on Castaway Cay. We get off look around, eat, take part in activities, swim and play on the slides in the bay. You will have a great time on CC without spending money. Often in the ports we just get off the ship and walk around the ports. Often we only spend a couple of dollars on souvenirs for my son. On the ship almost everything is included. The only expense we have is a tip for room service and you can take care of that by taking some one dollar bills so you can keep track of that without it being on your room bill.

    Notes: On a tight budget check your room balance every couple of days to make sure there is nothing unexpected. Do not let your kids have charging privileges on their room card. Mine ran up an arcade bill before I knew it. Now if he needs to spend something he comes to me.
  8. Time4disney

    Time4disney Mouseketeer

    Jun 22, 2004
    You and your boys will have a great time without going on port adventures. The ship offers "free" activities while in port and there is also the pool, movie theater, aqua duck, mini-golf, mid-ship detective agency, and activities in the kids' clubs etc. All of this is FREE!

    Castaway Cay has Pelican Plunge which is a free water slide area. Snorkeling along the family beach is free too. All swimming, food, ice cream, and non alcoholic drinks are free on the island.

    Don't forget about room service. It is free unless you order canned soda, bottled water, prepackaged chips and candy(also sold right outside the theaters before the shows). You only have to pay the tip for room service.

    Some of the things that do cost extra is the Arr-cade and smoothies. I do believe the kids clubs offer an activity at a particular time where smoothies might be free but I'm not positive about this. Maybe someone can tell you more about the kids club activities.

    Have a GREAT trip!
  9. Woodmnky

    Woodmnky DIS Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    IMO DCL is the best line for not needing to pay extra for fun. There is so much to do on the ship that you won't run out of things to do even if you never leave the ship. Go see a (free) 3D movie, swim, ride the Aqua Duck, play Muppet Detective Agency, and the list goes on.
  10. owensamo

    owensamo DIS Veteran

    Mar 19, 2002
    The only thing I would recommend spending money on on Castaway Cay is floats. I think they're $6 each per day - with two kids, I'd probably get two.

    Now that said - we actually cruised like 5 or 6 times before first rented floats at CC :lmao: and still had a great time every time! But we've found our DD really enjoys having the floats so she can go out further in the water. We get the lounger-style floats rather than the inner tubes.

    We've also done the bikes - rental is $6/hour (though I think they're pretty lenient on time - I've never seen someone actually checking them back in!). Other than that I think the only thing we ever spent money on the island for is drinks (Konk Cooler!) and souvenirs.

    I think the biggest on-board spending areas are: drinks (alcohol/coffee, smoothies), photos, bingo, arcade. If you can avoid those, and budget sensibly for souvenirs from the shop, you can certainly have a great cruise for little additional cost. Most of the best activities are free, the kids make crafts in the clubs that are great souvenirs (pillow cases from the PJ party, etc), and there's no extra cost for the great MDR meals, quick service meals, buffet - or room service (though you'll want to tip the delivery person).

    For port days, every DCL Bahamian/Carribbean port has plenty to see near the port for little to no cost - and most of the islands have inexpensive taxis that can take you to free/inexpensive beaches for the day. There is plenty of port-specific information both on here and other cruise message boards - just search for your ports and you can find a lot of ideas for low-cost things to see.

    I'll say it's easy to spend a lot of money on Disney cruises - but it's also just as easy not to spend any. I don't think you miss out on the best parts of the cruise either way.
  11. shburks

    shburks DIS Veteran

    Jan 5, 2009
    Absolutely! I'm single parenting while husband is deployed and took my ds 8 on the Dream in January. No Palo, do alcoholic drinks...bought two pictures I HAD to have and tshirt in the gift shop. Oh...and one trading pin for ds. That was it.

    We stayed on ship at Nassau and had a great day and had a ton of fun at CC just playing. We did get a float...
  12. Luv2Diz

    Luv2Diz We love the Wonder and Magic of Disney cruising!

    Sep 10, 2005
    Two 7 night cruises so far and we haven't taken a single Port Adventure yet. We have a great time getting off in port and seeing/doing whatever we want. We've had great cruises just doing our own thing!
  13. luvslikepi

    luvslikepi DIS Veteran

    Nov 3, 2010
    We just got back from a 4 day Dream. Never left the ship in Nassau and never got bored. Castaway was a blast too with little extra expense.
  14. shmoogrrrl

    shmoogrrrl <font color=FF6600>Tigger Goddess<br><font color=g

    May 18, 2000
    I agree with everyone else that you all will have an AMAZING time without breaking the bank.

    My only additional suggestion would be that if your boys are like my kids and have a case of the 'gimmies,' you might consider letting them earn a little money helping around the house (either as extra to your budgeted $250, or part of that) for any souvenirs that they might want. That way, if they want something on the ship or in port, they have their own money to spend you don't have to worry about saying no, you can just say, "If that is what you want to spend your money on!" I've done that with my daughter on our last few DCL trips, and it has worked well. She's more helpful around the house, and she doesn't want everything she sees, when she knows she is spending her own money. :)
  15. traylork

    traylork Earning My Ears

    Mar 24, 2013
    I haven't been to CC yet (next month!), so I can't say for sure they are permitted there (they are not permitted onboard), but you can buy inflatable inner tubes at target for under $3. No need to pay DCL $6. I p,an to leave them there when we are done.
  16. bats

    bats Enjoying Bahama Mama's

    Nov 25, 2007
    Just in case you weren't going to, please make sure you collapse them and bin them as opposed to leaving them on the beach.
    If you don't do it, the CMs have to. More work :-(
    Have a great time!!!
  17. Weedy

    Weedy DIS Veteran

    Jun 2, 2008
    For a good souvenir: Our son loved the pin trading. You can go on E-bay and buy bulk Disney pins for just a few dollars. Then they can trade the pins with Disney employees. They make a great souvenir. You may want to go to the dollar tree and get a lanyard for them to keep the pins on.
  18. SapphireMind

    SapphireMind Mouseketeer

    Mar 24, 2013
    There's tons of stuff without port adventures, it's one of the great things with a cruise. We aren't doing anything except our included Disney day, but won't be getting any other port excursions. I'll go to Palo at least once, and maybe my DD will sucker me into some souvenirs ;)
  19. baleeve

    baleeve "I want adventure in the great wide somewhere -- I

    Nov 8, 2004
    Thank you. I was afraid I would feel like I was "missing out" if I didn't do port adventures. My boys are used to my frugal ways (coupons, sales etc) but when on vacation you want to live it up.

    I like the idea of having the boys earn extra money before the cruise. This way they have THEIR money. :thumbsup2
  20. missyp

    missyp Mouseketeer

    Mar 31, 2013
    We were on a 4 day Dream in Feb/March. We only planned on parasailing in castaway cay and walking around Nassau. Parasailing was cancelled ( too windy, but still a beautiful day). So we didn't do any excursions. Really enjoyed the second beach in castaway cay with the big slide, and just relaxing. Don't go to the first beach ( gets crowded). Left castaway cay early so the boat would be pretty empty and spent time on the aqua duck while there weren't any lines. No excursions- great trip. Just booked another and we are t interested in any of the excursions so we aren't even bothering this time. No need to spend a lot of money. $250 is plenty!
  21. BeeTeacher

    BeeTeacher Mouseketeer

    Nov 15, 2011
    Don't forget your gratuities and tips...

    I'd rent bikes on CC--that is a lot of fun. Float rentals-- so many people just abandon them--i was amazed at how many were floating away all day. A CM on a jet ski was constantly retrieving them. If you do decide to rent one--just rent one of the long lounger types and two can hang on it easily.

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