Booking first cruise and need some advice

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by purplepeg, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. purplepeg

    purplepeg DIS Veteran

    May 21, 2007
    We are thinking of booking a cruise in January and I'm a little overwhelmed with all the info here. There is so much to read and decide on I thought I'd start this thread. We will be travelling with our two daughters 7 and 3. We were thinking of a deluxe family suite with veranda category 4 and wondered how that was for room and suitcases. Would it be just as good to book a lower category to save some cash? We were thinking that maybe we would not do any shore excursions because the kids would probably just want to swim anyway. That would give us some sleep in days and not as busy. We've cruised before when we didn't have children and they can be exhausting vacations. Also wondering about whether anyone set "ground rules" for the kids regarding eating dinner together most nights instead of kids spending most of their time in the kids club. My thought is it's a family vacation and I want to spend time with my kids too. Am I crazy:confused3
  2. yndygo

    yndygo Knee Deep in Pixie Dust

    Feb 10, 2007
    Well, it's kind of personal preference - but I'll give some of these a shot:

    1) Cat4 vs. Lower Cats... really the only reason to book a CAT4 is if you have 5 people rather than 3... otherwise, if you really want the balcony, then go for a cat5 or 6 and save yourself the money... If you aren't booking a 3 or above, you have to ask yourself the following questions:
    a) how many people per room
    b) do I need/must have a balcony?
    c) if no balcony, do I need/must have a window?
    d) will we spend a lot of time in room or not?
    That should help you narrow it down a bit.

    2) All of the DCL rooms are bigger than normal 'rooms' on most cruise ships - but they aren't like hotel rooms - luggage storage can be an issue. If you're doing a 4 day, you should be fine, just take the advice of the boards and pack everything you think you'll need, then take 1/2 of it back out again. :)

    3) Excursions are a personal choice. On the 3 day, we didn't book any w/ our 4 y.o. DD unless you count the float rental at Castaway Cay - and we had a fabulous time... But some people are ALL about the ports and excursions. Depends on your style. The ship is always majorly uncrowded while in a port - but sometimes they are cleaning the pools during that time too!

    4) With our DD as young as she is, we didn't need to set ground rules - but just tell your kids that dinner is family time and you should be okay :)

    Have fun!!! and welcome to the DIS! :goodvibes
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  4. m4travel

    m4travel <a href="" targ DIS Lifetime Sponsor

    Sep 9, 2005
    These are just my own thoughts about cruising:

    With two younger children, a Cat 5/6 should work for you. The deluxe family suite sleeps 5 with a Murphy bed; when it's up, there is extra floor space. A cabin that sleeps 4 has the twins/queen bed(s) and the back of the sofa flips over for sleeping, as well as a bunk that is lowered from the ceiling. With younger children, that should suit. Personally, I insist on a verandah. The additional light and ability to open the door for fresh air helps with a tendancy towards motion sickness.

    Although there's not a lot of space for luggage, many folks empty their suitcases and then slip them under the bed until they repack. You need to lift the bed slightly to get them underneath, but there's plenty of room for several.

    We view cruises as relaxing vacations, and have yet to take a shore excursion on any cruise (okay; except a couple in Alaska); just too 'busy' for us. The ship, while in port, is blissfully underpopulated and there are some activities scheduled at this time, too.

    I think it's always great to have family dinners even though meals are available in the children's programs. If you're trying to reinforce good manners, it's an excellent time to practice them - and the wait staff will make sure the kids are enjoying themselves, too.
  5. daisy112878

    daisy112878 DIS Veteran

    May 20, 2004
    I'll comment on the excursions. For us personally we like to relax and not have things planned on our cruise. Our first time we just walked around the ports but mostly enjoyed the empty ship. Our second cruise we did the same except on CC where we did the stringray excursions which we had a blast doing. We're not the go go go type on vacation so having an empty ship was so nice. I'm not sure what we'll do in april for our 3rd cruise. We might plan one excursion on St. Thomas but we haven't decided fully.
  6. LisaFB

    LisaFB DIS Veteran

    Jan 29, 2002
    It sounds like you got some good advice here. I agree that a lot of it is up to preference. We're big on family meals and will make sure our kids eat with us for every meal. DS will be 2 and DD almost 4 so my kids are a bit younger. DD will be going to the Oceaneer's Club and DS to Flounder's Reef while we brunch at Palo and we'll let DD go back if she asks, but we do want a family vacation together like yo do. We booked a Cat 6 with verandah since DS will be sleeping in the PNP and DD on the couch bed. For us, the verandah is a must 9we can't go to bed at 8/8:30 when the kids do but we can't leave them alone in the room either! LOL).

    Good luck and have fun!
  7. crisi

    crisi DIS Veteran

    Feb 25, 2002
    We've cruised twice with two children in a category six. Unless you need the extra floor space, I'd save the cash - the difference between the six and the four is pretty minimal in terms of function.

    Lift the bed to throw your suitcases under - there will be plenty of room.

    We've done excursions - but your options are pretty limited with a three year old anyway. And the ship is blissfully quiet when in port - empty pools. We've often picked short excursions.

    The first cruise the kids ate in the kids club two out of four nights - dinners were long and boring and the club was FUN! The second trip was with grandma and grandpa - and my daughter ate in the club once and my son not at all. We let them choose to some extent - they need to have SOME dinners with us - but the club is a nice option if you want to dine at Palo.
  8. purplepeg

    purplepeg DIS Veteran

    May 21, 2007
    Thanks to all of you for your amazing input and information. It's been a great help:cool1: :thumbsup2

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