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Once Upon a Dream, We Took Our First Cruise - Goodbye Dream Vacation

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by kmedina, May 16, 2012.

  1. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    Welcome Aboard

    Settling Into The Ship

    Crush is Always a Hoot

    Xander is a Little Dopey, No Seriously

    Finding Incredible Babysitters and The Lost City

    We Found The Lost City and Would Like to Find it Again Someday

    Crying Despite Liking the Aquaduck

    Pirates in the Caribean and The Great Phone Debate

    Personal Navigator from 12-08-11 and We Just Booked Our Next Cruise

    Castaway Cay At Last

    Fear of Sting Rays?

    Meeting The Big Cheese

    A Treat From and For the Nursery Staff

    We Said Goodbye to Our Dream Vacation

    Welcome to my First Ever Disney Cruise Trip report. This was the first Cruise any of us had ever even taken! We went on the Dream from 12-08-11 through 12-11-11 following eight days, seven nights at the Grand Floridian. Sorry it took me so long to start this, but I was finishing this DisneyWorld trip report: From The World of Adults to the World of Kids- A Fifth Birthday Trip

    My name is Kimberly. I am 32 years old.

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    This trip was for my son. Xander turned 5 while we were at Disneyworld.

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    My baby, Connor, was five months old. It was his first trip anywhere.

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    This is my husband, who insists I call him Crap Bag anytime I refer to him on the DIS. I know it is silly, but he thinks it is funny. If I slip and ever mention his real name, please point it out.

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    We hail from Las Vegas, Nevada. I love our beautiful city. It is for adults though. There is not a lot to do with kids here for more than a mere afternoon. Thus, we travel. My love of Disney was there when I was a kid, because my Dad took us on many trips to Disneyland. It went away for a brief period of time when I got older. Once Xander was born, I knew he would love Disney. He took his first Disney trip at four months old. Xander had a great time, and it was such an easy trip to take with a baby. Disney is all about family. I fell in love with Disney all over again and probably love it more than Xander does now. Crap does not love it as much, but he usually gives me a lot of control over planning our vacations. Any time I get to plan a vacation, I am going to work something Disney into it if I can. He always enjoys our trips, so he never complains.

    We arrived at the front of the Grand Floridian around 11:15am. Crap asked a bellman to bring our bags out. The weather was a little cold (not as cold as the previous evening). Every time the wind blew, Xander and Connor leaned into me a little more. Bells services arrived with the bags around 11:25am. They placed them kind of far from where we were sitting, so Crap stood with them and waited there. Time was moving slowly. Around 11:40am, I asked Crap to call and see if someone was on the way. It took him a while to get through. When he finally did, he was told that our driver had been pulled over but is on his way.

    Our driver arrived two minutes to noon, so he was almost 30 minutes late. We were really cold, since we had barely moved for 45 minutes. It felt nice to climb inside. I was sad as we were driving away, because our WDW trip was over. None of us had ever cruised before, so we were excited about what was to come. Crap loved our stay at the Grand Floridian and suggested we make that our regular WDW hotel. Even though I loved our stay, I want to try the others. In addition to that, we will go far less often if we have to save for a GF stay each trip. Someday, we will go back to the Grand Floridian. It just will not be as soon as Crap thinks it will be.

    The driver was very friendly. He asked us where we were from. A car service from Vegas hires him to drive people when big boxing fights are in town, so he is pretty familiar with our city. It was a pleasant drive, since the driver was so friendly. He told us that he was running late, so he sped to get to us on time. Then, he told us about the ticket he received and that his anniversary with his wife was coming. We scheduled a free 30 minute grocery stop. Since he was 30 minutes late, I told him we would skip that. I later regretted that decision, but I will touch on that later. We arrived at Port Canaveral a little after 1pm. The Dream is so beautiful in person. These pictures do not even do her justice.

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    Port Canaveral was booming. There were so many people inside. This was our first time cruising, so we got into that line. Concierge and Castaway Cay members had much shorter lines. Despite the long lines, they moved quickly. We were through the lines in less than half an hour.

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    We stopped to check out the tree at the Port. An extremely nice family walked by and asked if we wanted them to take the picture. Crap returned the favor for their family who was in line behind us to have their own taken.

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    Since our plans for the evening were not set in stone, we decided to get in the short line to check the boys into the kids’ programs. We registered Connor for the nursery. Xander was registered for the Oceaneer Lab and Oceaneer Club. It was quick and easy, since we pre-registered both of them online. I read that it took a little longer to do it on the ship, so it was nice to do this in the port. Less than 15 minutes after entering the line, we were already leaving with their electronic wristbands. Xander’s would stay attached to his wrist for the duration of the trip, since it is waterproof. Connor’s would be given to the nursery staff the first time we checked him in.

    Just before 2pm, we got in line to enter the ship. We had our picture taken before entering. Then, a cast member announced in a grand manner that The Medina Family was entering the ship. What a great start! I knew we were in store for an amazing time.

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  3. dara00

    dara00 DIS Veteran

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    I think I'm first! I'm excited to read this!
     
  4. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    :welcome:

    Nice to see you over here. It really was a nice, relaxing way to end our overly busy WDW trip.
     
  5. MrsTeddy

    MrsTeddy Mouseketeer

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    I'm here and following along! What a great start!
     
  6. shan23877

    shan23877 I make lists about my lists

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    Yay!! I'm here!

    I'm surprised that since you were cruising DCL, there was no option for Disney transportation. I'm glad that your driver was so nice though!

    An hour seems to be really reasonable to have gotten through all of the check in lines. How did the boys do while you were waiting?

    Maybe this is silly, but this afternoon while I was driving around I was thinking about you wanting to have more kids. I thought to myself "I can't wait until I find out that she's having a little girl" :goodvibes I'm a geek.

    Can't wait to hear more about the cruise. I'm kind of obsessed with DCL now, so I really want to learn as much as i can. I'm really curious to see how you liked doing the Fish Extender. Does each group put a $ limit on what's spent?

    Looking forward to the TR!!!
     
  7. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    :welcome:

    Thank you. I am glad to have you over. In a short period of time, I will be reading your cruise report.

    :welcome:

    I am glad you're here. You'll have a cruise report going before you know it as well.

    DCL does have transfers like the Magical Express. Disney charges $69 a person to ride. That would have been $276 both ways for all four of us. FL Tours rented a driver to us for $240 both ways. Even once we factored in the larger tips for individual rides, it was barely more than we would have paid Disney. For a party of three like yours, I would have gone the Disney route. Once you get to four people, the prices are close. Both drivers were awesome too. The man who picked us up was not as friendly but he did us a huge favor, which I will address when we get there. Crap tipped each driver over 20% of the one way price, so it was a little over $300.

    The boys did a great job while we waited. Xander was excited, and Connor was his usual easy going self. They mostly stayed in the stroller and chilled. It helped that we were only there for about an hour total.

    I really want a little girl. We agreed to start trying when Connor was one, but that may have to wait a little bit longer. My health issues need to get cleared up a little more first. After the PCP did not give me a referral, I put the brakes on getting a resolution. I need to try to get that resolved once we get back from Disneyland. You're not a geek. It is sweet.

    It is an awesome vacation, so you are going to love it when you finally go on a Disney cruise. The fish extenders were cool. Each group that organizes one can set up special parameters to limit price or anything like that. Ours did not have any limitations. My favorites were the home made ones, so I think you would make awesome gifts. Unfortunately, Crap forgot we had a camera even more on the cruise than he did at WDW. He did not get any pictures of the gifts. I will describe them as best I can when I get there.
     
  8. mvf-m11c

    mvf-m11c DIS Veteran

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    I'm here for your TR. I see that you were on the DCL on Thursday while I just got to Florida on the 9th. So I just missed you by one day.

    Can't wait to read more from your DCL which I don't read to often on the threads.
     
  9. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    :welcome:

    I am glad you're here. It really is a small world, because I was in the exact same park on the exact same day as someone who was reading my WDW report. Since the dates are not even listed in the title, she did not discover it until after she started reading it.

    I read one DCL report shortly before leaving that had amazing pictures. It was like the DCL version of what you do for DLR. Hopefully, you like it. Crap is not big on the pictures, but I did not realize how few he actually took until we got home. When we go to Disneyland next month, I will remind him to take more shots or grab the camera and take them myself.
     
  10. pharmjenn

    pharmjenn Mouseketeer

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    Can't wait to follow you on your cruise.
     
  11. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    :welcome:

    Thanks for coming by. It is nice to see you here. Your cruise sounds awesome. Hopefully, you decide to write about it.
     
  12. Imagineer5

    Imagineer5 DIS Veteran

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    woohoo! I'm here and looking forward to it! :cool1:

    I need to look into the nursery options, as honestly I just thought there was a kids program for 3+. Do you know what sort of hours they had? you mentioned being able to go on an excursion and leaving the kids in the clubs - that's pretty sweet.

    What was the cruise itinerary that you went on? 7 day?
     
  13. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    :welcome:

    It is nice to see you here.

    The kids programs (3-17) are included in the price of the cruise, which is why they are advertised more. It costs $6 an hour to use the nursery, which is a very reasonable price. You can only pre-book up to 10 nursery hours before entering the ship. Any time during the cruise, you can add more hours based on availability. We walked in once and the nursery was able to take him on the spot. I do not remember the exact hours, but they were long hours. The only hours not covered were when most people are asleep, like 12am-1am and it reopened around 8am-9am. This applies to the kids clubs too. For kids over three who are potty trained, they can go into the clubs anytime. You do not need a reservation. Just go drop them off.

    This was our very first cruise, so we started with a 3 day cruise. We figured 3 days would not be that hard if we were miserable. When it was over, we were wishing we took a longer one. Next time, I want to do at least 7 days.

     
  14. Toria

    Toria It all started with a mouse

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    Waiting to read more. Love the Dream
     
  15. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    Hey! I started to read your WDW TR but you had gone too far along for me to catch up with everything going on in my life. Hopefully now it has slowed down so I can keep up with this one!
     
  16. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    :welcome:

    We loved the Dream. Disney spoils its cruisers.
     
  17. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    :welcome:

    Toward the end of that one, I really picked up the pace. I really want to get the Disneyland one up and running shortly after we get back. Hopefully, this one will be done by then. A month should be enough time to wrap this. It's nice to see you here. If you get behind, it's okay. With all you have going on, I understand. That band is really important to you and Fran. I am happy for you. The good thing is once it is written, you can read as much or as little as you like at your own pace.
     
  18. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    As beautiful as this ship is from the outside, it is even more beautiful from the inside. It was all done up for Christmas too, so the views everywhere you look are utterly majestic.

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    We made our way to the room, 8166 on Deck 8. This is an aft (back) room located near the elevator on the port side (left). It was a deluxe family ocean view room. At 241 square feet, it was quite a bit smaller than the room we just stayed in the previous week. This is a good size for a cruise ship I am told. The bed was raised, and we were able to store quite a bit of our luggage under it. There were four of us and we were eight days into our trip. Obviously, we had a lot of luggage. I asked Crap to get pictures of the room, but he limited the shots to these. Since he never took pictures of the bathroom, I want to say that it was split. One room had the toilet and a sink. There was a separate room with a shower and a sink. Both rooms were small but quite nice. This came in handy more than once on our short trip. It really was a Beautiful room.

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    Our big double stroller was too big to even fit through the door. Xander did not need a stroller on ship, so we figured it needed to be folded up in our room. Anytime we took it out, Crap would have to carry it out folded. The halls were big enough to navigate with the stroller where the cabins were, but got harder when other people or their luggage were in the hallway. Bags were already being delivered to the rooms at this point. Luckily, our room was near the elevator, so we did not have too many bags to clear with it (this time).

    Some of my readers have never cruised before, so I will be explaining things the more experienced cruisers already know. Every day, your steward delivers a personal navigator to your room. A steward is the person who cleans your room and ensures your needs are met. If you need something, you let your steward know. He acts as your on call front desk person, and he comes around often to check on you. When he is not checking up on you, he is cleaning each room twice a day. In typical Disney fashion, our steward was amazing. I feel badly that neither Crap, nor I can remember his name. The personal navigator is handout that informs you of everything (and I do mean everything) going on in the ship that day. It has a map of the ship on the back of it, so you can determine where you need to go to do what. Our personal navigator informed us that the only place that was still open for lunch was Cabanas. Your dinner assignments and pre-booked excursion information is also in your room when you arrive.

    We actually needed our steward soon after entering our room. There was a large wet patch in the carpet at the base of the closet, and one of the wave phones was not working. Crap wanted to ensure that the cabin next to us did not have a leaky shower or worse yet toilet. DCL charges $250 for wave phones if they are lost or damaged. Since it was not working when we checked in, Crap wanted to point that out right away too. That would help us avoid the charge and get it replaced quickly. Each room has two. Using them is a free way (cell phone minutes are steep) to stay in touch with others. The nursery and club staff also call your wave phone if they need to get in touch with you. This came in handy more than once when we were away from our room. Anyone on the ship can contact anyone else on the ship using a wave phone. Our steward said he would look into both issues and get back with us. A tip for first time cruisers is turn your cell phone off unless you have international roaming. I never used mine on ship and put it away as soon as we sailed off. Since the phone is always searching for updates, it does it automatically when it's on. Luckily, this mistake cost only cost me around $11, because the agent retroed me into a package. It would have been double that had she not changed it just from searching for updates. The phone must have died less than 24 hours into the cruise, so a longer lasting battery on a longer cruise could cost a lot more. Dropping $11 for nothing still stinks. I wish I knew to turn the phone off. Lesson learned.

    Connor had nursed during breakfast that morning, but that was four hours ago. He usually does not go that long in between meals and was ready to eat again. While I nursed him, Crap and Xander relaxed in the room. All of our bags were delivered before we ever left the room. The bags with only souvenirs and dirty clothes from WDW were placed under the bed right away. It was almost 3pm by the time we headed up to Deck 11. We booked this cruise almost 11 months in advance, so we were able to dine in the first seating. The first seating starts at 5:45pm while the second seating starts at 8:15pm. Dinner was less than 3 hours away, so we all decided to eat very lightly. Most food and drink other than alcohol and bottled water (unless purchased at a bar or the movie theater) on the ship is included with the fare price. I will mention anytime something required an extra payment once I reach that point.

    There was barely anything left by the time we got up there. Cabanas is buffet style, and everything in there was self-serve. A lot of people dining, so it took us a while to find a table. We actually lucked into a nice table on the outside part of the restaurant. The weather was lovely, so it was a great catch. We had chicken tenders and mac and cheese. For dessert, we had chocolate chip cookies. Those were the only things left. These tasted somewhere in between quick service and table service. They were good, but not great.

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    Lunch service stopped around 3pm I believe, so I understand why they did not replenish everything else. People who entered the ship earlier had better options of where and what to eat. Enter as early as possible. The drink station is located near Cabanas as well, so Crap and I got our first sodas. Xander only drinks milk and bottled water (by choice). He is that picky with his food too, and he is allergic to so many things. These things were not provided at the drink station. Luckily, he still had a bottle and a half of water from WDW. We did not do the grocery stop, so we were almost out of water. Our plan was to buy water on ship (at an extremely large price the next day). This backfired on me a little (which you will see why on Day 2), and I was also regretting our decision not to take bottles we were offered after the Wishes cruise.

    After the late lunch, we headed back to our room. I wanted to unpack everything, since there was not a lot of space to leave bags loose. While unpacking, we got the announcement that it was time to go do the mandatory evacuation drill. This is not exactly fun, but it is good information. Each guest in the room goes down to the zone listed on the key to the world card. Despite multiple announcements, one of the parties in our group came down late. Crew members cannot dismiss people until everyone is accounted for.

    They show you where to stand, where to get back up vests if you do not have time to get them from your room, and where to check in. Once everyone was accounted for and they made some jokes, the entire group is dismissed. After seeing the Titanic exhibit and reading about the Concordia mess, I am happy to participate in this boring event. Some of the more experienced cruisers were complaining about the drill, but I really appreciated it. The only thing that was slightly hard was that Connor nursed again (he was probably making up for over four hours with no milk). Since we were not allowed to leave formation, I had to do this standing up. It was actually harder than when I did it on TSMM, because Xander kept attaching himself to me as well. Luckily, he nursed for less than 10 minutes. He was nursing when they came to check him in, but they just had to take my word that he was under there. The cast member acknowledged him with a there he is once he was finished.

    We rushed back to our room after the drill. I wanted to finish unpacking before dinner, but we were running out of time. Crap insisted that we head down before I finished, because he did not want to be late for our 5:45pm dinner time. Unless you decide to do a quick service restaurant or book one of the adult only meals, you show up for dinner at your assigned restaurant every night around the same time. You rotate to one of the three main restaurants. Yes, I wrote around. I found out later that we did not need to show up right at 5:45pm. The goal is to have enough time to comfortably dine and get out of there before the 8:15pm diners enter. Our head waiter said we could arrive up until 6:15pm and still be out on time. That means that you have a 30 minute arrival window (with the first seating anyway). I only had less than ten minutes of unpacking left when I returned to the room that night, so I wish I knew that before dinner.

    Anyone who is not bored and comes back for the next update can see our first assigned restaurant in the next update. I know this update was not fun, but this was the most boring part of the cruise. It got much better from there, I promise.
     
  19. pharmjenn

    pharmjenn Mouseketeer

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    Everyone says that. Our first (and only so far) cruise was in 1997 on a 7day Princess Caribbean cruise. I can't imagine a shorter cruise. You barely get settled and figure out where things are and the cruise is over.
     
  20. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

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    So true. The rooms are small, so you have to unpack to get all of the bags out of the walkway. It took a long time to unpack everything. Less than 72 hours later, we repacked it all. Are you planning another cruise soon? I cannot wait to go back.
     
  21. mommy2mb

    mommy2mb Mouseketeer

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    Joining in! Enjoying you report so far. We are cruising for the 1st time next April on the Magic from Texas. Very excited to see how your 1st cruise went.
     

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