New, Overwhelmed, Nervous

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by clara77, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. clara77

    clara77 Earning My Ears

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    Hi All!
    We have a big family group including 3 infants, a 4 year old, a 5 year old a 7 year old a bunch of mid30s to 40 parents and...my parents (65). Long story short when we booked the cruise we knew my mom was not in the best health, but since that time she has gotten worse and we just want to make it the best trip possible for her. She has a degenerative terminal illness and this will likely be our last family trip all together. She is in a wheelchair (though she can walk short distances) now and has had a tracheotomy and therefore cannot really go in a pool or really the ocean. She has been planning this family cruise and it is sort of "her goal, or what she is looking forward to" which is important.

    Anyhow, long story short I am totally overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do/what to plan ahead of time/where to go off the ship with infants.

    My mom has a handicapped concierge room and I can book things ahead of time for her, but I'm not sure what to book.

    We will be on the Fantasy in January and will not necessarily all stay together (my mom may not leave the ship on the islands unless we can find easy shorter excursions).

    St. Thomas - thinking Sapphire Beach? Might be easier since I am reading there is shade? Cost? Should I just take a cab right from the pier or pay the inflated price from the ship?

    St. Martin - ? no clue

    Kids club - how much do kids generally go there? A ton, or just an hour or so a day - I know this can vary.

    Nursery - Same, how do I know how much to book ahead of time?!

    Handicap tips for my mom's room? Any tips or suggestions to make this trip great for her are so greatly appreciated!!! I have no idea what to ask for ahead of time as far as shower seats/ whether to rent the wheelchair down there or bring hers?

    Castawawy Cay - ? is this a tender thing, I doubt my mom will be able to handle that and the lines etc.
     
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  3. Carrie in AZ

    Carrie in AZ DIS Veteran

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    We haven't gone on our first cruise yet, so I don't have any advice on what you have asked, but I want to wish you all the best. Traveling with a Mom in such fragile health sounds completely overwhelming to me. Hopefully some others can weigh in with awesome tips for you!:thumbsup2
     
  4. trickiwoo

    trickiwoo Talk Disney To Me!

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    Unfortunately I can't help you out too much since I've never traveled with kids or infants or been on an Eastern Caribbean cruise. But what I can tell you is that you do NOT tender at Castaway Cay! The ship docks right there on the island, and you just walk right off the ship and you're there!
     
  5. BAIC03

    BAIC03 Earning My Ears

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    See my answers in red. So wonderful you can all go at the same time!!

    Feel Free to ask more questions. Hope this helps!
     
  6. clara77

    clara77 Earning My Ears

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    Thanks guys! So, if I were to book her dinner at Palo (since she is concierge and we are not) would we be able to make the reservation for all of us 120 days out or just the people in her room?

    Also - why don't I see the cabanas on the "port adventures" listed for castaway cay?

    I will call the special services dept. and let them know of the trach. didn't think of that, thanks!

    So can she book hours in the nursery 120 days out or do we wait for our window for that? will she have a different PAT since she is concierge?
     
  7. BAIC03

    BAIC03 Earning My Ears

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    She can book activities for anyone listed in her stateroom. She can book Palo/Remy for as many people as she wants to.

    There is a chance that all the cabanas are "gone" from the sailing you are on. Call DCL and ask if they have any of the Handicapped Accessible cabanas open. They sometimes set those aside those until after the cruise begins for people such as yourselves.

    If the kiddos are in her room, she can book nursery, otherwise, the adults in the infants' staterooms will have to wait until thier window opens.

    She will probably have a different PAT than the rest of you, but again, if you bring this up with DCL on the phone, they may let you all embark at the same time since it sounds like she cannot get around on her own. Your rooms may not be ready though!! :)
     
  8. ColoradoDisneyFreaks

    ColoradoDisneyFreaks DIS Veteran

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    If she is the only concierge cabin, she would only be able to book for those in her cabin, everyone else has to wait until their window and make sure they're paid in full.

    You can contact the shoreside concierge about getting a cabana on CC, they would be able to make the reservation, they also have a HA cabana on the family beach that you may be able to reserve.

    Some things you may want to do to make this a great trip for your mom, see if she wants to do a spa appointment with the girls from the group, pedicures would be fun and social, and if she's having mobility issues, a great pampering that she probably can't do herself.

    There will be all sorts of activities you can do on board, you can check out the navigators linked at the top of the boards (under staterooms) for a sample, make sure there are highlighters around that you all can use to mark the navigators with your favorite activities.

    She will be able to hang out on the Concierge sun deck, but only those in her cabin, so that probably isn't something that you'll want to do too much, but it would be a great escape for her if she's just looking to relax, no crowds and being waited on hand and foot!

    As for excursions, your best resource may be the web. You can search for all sorts of HA activities on the islands, you don't have to book through Disney, and may be able to find something perfect for your group with some extra accomodations. You just want to make sure that you have plenty of buffer to be back on board.

    I hope you guys have an awesome cruise, something she'll really treasure!

    Forgot to add: since she's concierge, I would do formal night to the hilt, and ask the concierge do arrange a family picture with Micky and Minnie that night. Getting the whole group, in formal wear with copies for everyone would be one of my favorite souveniers.
     
  9. lbgraves

    lbgraves Little Cinderella's Mommy

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    You can contact shoreside concierge at 150 days to reserve a cabana and make other requests for reservations to be finalized at 120 days. However, I haven't seen it noted that the cabanas are limited to 10 people each [including infants] and your group seems to be larger than that. I think the $499 price is for up to 6 people and it is $50 pp more for each additional person up to 10 total. If she has the cabana with some of the family members, they won't be able to join her at the cabana that day. That may be something else for you to consider since they are strict about not allowing extra people into the area.
     
  10. clten

    clten DIS Veteran

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    A couple of tips for traveling with a wheelchair. First I would recommend bringing hers if it is not too inconvenient. The ones they have are first come first served and you would not want to be without. (Or you can rent from a medical equipment supplier to make sure you have one when you board.) When we travel with my parents, we bring them because they are helpful even before boarding (through airports, the terminal, wherever we are staying the night before, etc.)

    Second, pack your patience when it comes to moving around the ship. Elevators can be very difficult. There are people that are very helpful and there are those that have blinders on to only their needs. We have had many people jump in front of us to get on an elevator. We have had an equal number hold doors open for us or give us their spot. We try to head to wherever we are going a little in advance. (Right before dinner or the show elevators are very busy so we'll leave 1/2 hour in advance.) Walkways, especially near the cabins, are narrow. When the housekeeping crew are out with their carts, it can be slow going down hallways. Also don't have any extras hanging on the side of the chair if you can avoid it.

    Do read the descriptions of the shore excursions carefully. Most will describe the mobility requirements. You can narrow it down quite quickly to those that would allow at least a collapsible chair and see if your mom has interest in those. That may make picking excursions for her or deciding to stay on the ship easier.
     
  11. Jgasink

    Jgasink Mouseketeer

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    Hi, my mom had a stroke 2.5 years ago,she can walk with her quad cane,but we cover long distances with her wheelchair. Our last two trips to WDW we have rented a scooter... If she is in good enough health it opens up a world of possibilities... she can ride it to dinner, or to the theater,or to any of the family game shows and it allows her to conserve energy. She can also take it off the ship ride to the beach/cabana etc.or to the shopping areas in port... I would have her travel with her chair and have the scooter delivered to the ship... You may want to consider buying or doing a long term rental for one now... the ones at the grocery store or Costco are very similar in operation if she wants to try it out... without buying one ahead of time
     
  12. lbgraves

    lbgraves Little Cinderella's Mommy

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    An elevator tip that worked with us using strollers is that we stuck to the aft & forward elevators since those aren't as crowded. Also, go in the direction opposite where you want to end up. After dinner on deck 3 there are crowds waiting to go up. We get on an elevator heading down. It only has 1-2 decks to go before it is going to turn around, and head back up. Usually it fills up on those decks and is full when the doors open on deck 3. Just smile until the doors close and be on your way. ;) This works well on the pool deck as well. Go up 1-2 decks and then head down to where you want with lots of people still waiting to go down.
     
  13. bakerworld

    bakerworld DIS Veteran

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    You are an amazing daughter for helping your mother to accomplish her goal. pixiedust: best wishes. I am sure anything that you help her accomplish will be appreciated. Keep smiling - thru it all - keep ::yes::
     
  14. SillyInventor

    SillyInventor DIS Veteran

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    What a wonderful way to be all together. I have not done any cruise yet, but would like to post some advice:

    First practical: Get a medical file of you Mom. Hopefully you won't need it, but if something goes wrong during the cruise it is handy to have a proper description of her condition for the medical team on board. Also bring enough medication in the original containers.

    Second:You opening post looks a little stressed. Remember that the keyword to a successful cruise is: RELAX!
    The goal of your cruise is to have an enjoyable week with your loved ones. This is not the same as doing as much activities as possible. You will not have time and energy to do everything. Speak well with your mother what she would really like to do and add some nice things for everyone in your party. Do not over plan, this will lead to disappointment. Enjoy the things that will happen, but weren't planned, accept that something you plan might not happen. Have your party surprised with a character meet in the hallway and have some memorable pictures taken. This might me more valuable for a good memory than a potentially stressed port adventure.
    So I'll repeat the most important word again: Relax!
    And enjoy your cruise.
     
  15. clara77

    clara77 Earning My Ears

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    Wow, thank you everyone for such kind words and all the suggestions. I AM stressed, but that has more to do with the fact that I have a newborn while planning all of this! Hahaha. I am still a little confused about a few things but we are getting there!

    A few more if anyone feels like answering:

    How can I tell which dinner rotation we would want? It is a 7 night cruise - is there a restaurant we would ideally want 3 times in particular? Or one that is best on pirate night (or is that just a deck party)? The animator restaurant seems great, is that the one we would want 3 times?

    In the concierge lounge is there a "happy hour" where liquor drinks are complimentary? I know this is totally random but my dad was concierge on royal Caribbean a few years back and this was his favorite concierge perk believe it or not.
     
  16. elbarto007

    elbarto007 Earning My Ears

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    Try not to worry about it too much. That's the nice thing about a cruise is you don't have to plan and there are still plenty of things to do, include relax! I am an avid pre-planner when it comes to WDW, but when on a cruise, I just let the chips fall where they lie. Enjoy your trip!;)
     
  17. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Just a note if planning an ECV onboard for a cruise...make sure you get an HA stateroom. Most ECVs are too wide to fit through the door of the standard staterooms, and it can be hard to find a spot to park it to recharge (can't get past the bed so it blocks access to the door, closet and bathrooms ). ECVs cannot be left in the hallway because it's too narrow for the hosts' carts and others to get past.
     
  18. Princess Sleepy

    Princess Sleepy DIS Veteran

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    They only do the show in AP once (twice with 2 different shows on the Fantasy) so it doesn't really matter. Typically you get each restaurant's own menu once, then you will get a pirate menu, a farewell menu, and a captain's menu that is the same in all three restaurants for that night. It's more about ambiance than the food. I haven't found it to matter which you do on which nights, unless you are planning a Palo or Remy dinner and want to plan around which main dining room to skip.

    You can find out the dining rotation by contacting DCL. You won't find out which restaurant you have on which night until you check in at the port. You can always make a request, but it is not guaranteed that you will get what you ask for.
     
  19. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS Veteran

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    We've never requested a specific dining rotation. IMO, it's just not necessary. That said, there are those who prefer a certain MDR for formal night or Pirate night. We've had formal & pirate nights in all the MDRs (on the classic ships). It really doesn't matter. Everyone onboard will dine in all the MDRs and have the same menus during the cruise.

    Pirate night does have a deck party. On the Fantasy there is a Pirate show between the dinner seatings (Disney characters - more kid friendly). After the late dinner there is a different Pirate party (more Jack Sparrow type characters) followed by the fireworks.

    Sorry, can't answer any questions about Concierge.
     
  20. shandrananette

    shandrananette Mouseketeer

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    Yes - If I recall it's an hour before dinner, but there may have been more. Not a heavy drinker, but my dad was a huge fan of this perk. You can also get smoothies, I now know, and I can't wait to try that perk out! :goodvibes
     
  21. ColoradoDisneyFreaks

    ColoradoDisneyFreaks DIS Veteran

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    Just like PrincessShmoo, we've never worried about our dinner rotation. There are lots of folks on the DIS who do, but to me it's just not that big of a deal. We schedule Palo when we want, and don't worry about it.

    There is a happy hour, you can speak to the concierge to find out when.
     

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