DCL vs. Sandals or Beaches resorts

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by whazzapp, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. whazzapp

    whazzapp Earning My Ears

    Mar 19, 2006
    My wife and I are new to cruising but have been to Sandals several times. We are afraid we might be disappointed with the cruise due to long lines, no chairs at the pool, tipping, buying drinks, etc.

    Anyone who has been to Sandals or Beaches want to compare and contrast the two experiences?
  2. dairyou

    dairyou DIS Veteran

    Jul 25, 2003
    I can only give you my opinion. We went to Beaches with our family in Jamaica Negril. We like cruising better. We felt like it was more structured and many indoor and outdoor activities. My husband burns easily so being at Beaches left him with little to do. There was always something in the Navigator to do if you so choose to. We feel like the cruise ship food tasted better to. We never felt like we were waiting in line. There are many chairs to sun bath in, maybe not right next to the pool.

    My kids favorite activity was going up to the swim up bar at Beaches and ordering pina coladas :) My husband liked the catamaran.

    We like to do both, but cruising is easier on our budget! Tipping and buying drinks still didn't add up to the difference in cruising. Though we are not big drinkers.

    Good luck!

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  4. alikat99

    alikat99 <font color=red>NO! Don't make me go to Super WalM

    Nov 25, 2000
    DH and I have been to Sandals Negril a few times and we loved our time at Sandals. It was nice to not have to worry about money once you got there.

    With that being said, I love cruising too!!! I haven't noticed many long lines, unless it comes to waiting for pictures with characters. The tipping is pretty easy, because you know the basic cost up front, so you can budget accordingly. We didn't have too many problems finding chairs by the pool, but we're not big pool people. We would go there a couple of times, but not that often. And, we're not big drinkers, but we did enjoy a few drinks and budgeted for it as well.

    If you're not sure, try a 4-night cruise and see if you like cruising. We love DCL, but I'm sure that someday we'll take the kids to Beaches too. They are definitely different experiences.
  5. clovely

    clovely Mouseketeer

    Jan 1, 2006
    Dh and I have been to Sandals a few times, going back in August, and we love it!! We were thinking of doing Beaches until my dad got this cruise for us for Christmas. We leave on Thursday and it's our first - so I can't actually compare either yet! I'm sure both are/will be wonderful. Once I started looking into it, I was so glad, we got this cruise now because our kids are 5 & 6. I believe at Beaches, they'd have been in separate groups (like it goes 3-5 and 6-8) and I really did not want to split them up. And the ages my kids are I think DCL will be so much fun!!! My only worry about Beaches later is that I've heard, in Jamaica, the bartenders WILL serve your teenagers. Yea, I'm not liking that idea. I'm wondering if that's the case on DCL and on cruises in general. I'm years away from such concerns but that bothers me. I can't help but think DCL would be much stricter with the reputation of Disney not doing so well if some kid got drunk and something stupid happened on DCL.

    I guess it depends on your family - ages and likes/dislikes. I think we would/will enjoy either. And we plan to do both. This is our first cruise and I'm expecting to love it, but I'm not expecting to turn into a serial "cruiser" - I love Sandals too much. This'll be nice and hopefully, after such wonderful AI experiences, I wont feel nickeled and dimed to death this weekend...but it also will help that we didn't actually pay for this cruise!
  6. Lindy Loo

    Lindy Loo DIS Veteran

    Aug 19, 2005
    We have stayed in the Sandals in Cuba, St Lucia, and we got married in the sandlas at Dunns River Falls. I havent been o a cruise yet,so cant compair. however I would weigh up whats important to you. With the exception of Cuba, the food and resturants have always been outstanding in Sandals. You can eat in what ever resturant you choose and the food sounds alot more top end than the cruise, perhaps more like the Palos? The food in Cuba was good, however as the resort was new, they hadnt got the real "touches" right in the resturants. We loved the adult only enviroment, whenre everyone is considerate. We never had aproblem with getting sun beds, or the lilo type floats, to laze in the pool with. There are no swim up bars on the ship, which we use to love. I would guess the Sandals is more romantic?.Though I know alot of cruisers are honeymooners. Is getting your own table important to you?

    Having said all this the cruise, gets you to see different places, and sounds like paradise for children. Its my DD 4 dream to just "bump into " Snow white or Cinderella. I think thats why the cruise is so expensive compaired to other linners, you are paying for the Disney Touch.

    My advice would be look on www. tripadvisor.com for hotel info and read these boards for cruise info.Either way, you will have a fab time. :banana:
  7. DISJen

    DISJen Mouseketeer

    Jun 15, 2002
    After reading this link, I checked into the Beaches resorts and I was very impressed. I would love to hear more about them from those of you who have gone! I like the fact that you can select how many nights you want to stay (you're not locked into the cruise dates) and that they include tips, drinks, scuba diving...etc. Is it really all true?
  8. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2003
    DCL is a little more expensive than other cruise lines...for a couple of reasons. First, there are no casinos on DCL ships. Other lines plan on each cabin dropping a certain amount of $ at the casino, and can sell the cabin at a lower rate. Other lines locate the casino so that you can't get anywhere without going thru it--not a place for children, smoke filled, people drinking heavily, etc. I'm glad DCL doesn't have them! Secondly is the "Disney touch" as noted above. You never know when a bit of pixie dust might fall on you. We've sailed on 2 other lines before DCL existed. We've been on the Magic 14 times--that rather says it all.

    Long lines? ok, for photos on formal nights and photos/autographs with characters. Not otherwise. Swim up bars--no. Tipping--yes, but you know that up front and figure it as part of the trip cost. It is one evening of handing tip envelopes to 4 people, not someone with a hand out every time you turn around. Paying for alcohol--yes...but that is a personal choice item. If you want your own table at dinner, just make that request known to DCL in advance or to the head server at "dining changes" after you board. There are plenty of lounge chairs by the pool in the "adults only" area. They are sometimes available in the family area. You usually can't get them in the Mickey pool (little kids) area.

    I find cruising to be the best "mom" vacation ever. We love it....we've cruised with kids from 4 to 14, and have another booked.
  9. imlazar

    imlazar DIS Veteran

    Feb 14, 2005

    Hmmm, we went on the Magic last September, the lines were never long except the first afternoon when everyone and their brother goes to topsiders before sailing. We also never had a problem getting a pool chair. The Goofy pool was very crowded though.
  10. Lindy Loo

    Lindy Loo DIS Veteran

    Aug 19, 2005
    Dis Jen, yep its all included. In fact on our 3 week holiday wedding and honeymoon. I INSISTED that I tipped the amazing servers, for our wedding meal. They were not allowed to tip, I asked to speak to the maanger, who explained the policy.I agreed, but pointed out the customer was always right ( with a grin on my face) he agreed I could tip just $10 per server. In the end we tipped them the wedding co ordinator etc. THEY WERE THRILLED!!!! There is no pressure to tip anywhere in the hotel, howeve I would have tipped more, but they risked loosing their jobs. ( This is considered a really good job for the )
    If you intend to dive, this saves alot of $s.,and they do a resort dive pracise in the pools every day. Then if you pass the basic test, you can go out with Sandals intructors.My FIL was a diver in the Navy for over 30 yrs. He didnt let on, ,however was very impressed with their safety consciousness, and training. We dived 4 times in 3 weeks, FAB!

    I also like the fact they have BRANDED drinks, like Baileys, at no extra cost.
    Look at trip advisor.com for feedback on each hotel.
  11. mbb

    mbb <font color=green>Wishin' & Clappin' & always Beli

    Apr 16, 2003
    We've done Sandals..and cruises too..although not DCL.

    And we're debating too...do we do the Beaches thing (which I know is going to be fabulous, relaxing and restful, ie, no theme park days on one of the crowded weeks of the year - MArch break)..or do we do the Cruise thing..and never see our kids the whole week (because I know they're going to love the clubs..which makes the cruise that much more relaxing!! LOL:teeth: )

    I guess we're feeling like the cruise is going to feel that little bit more busy..and of course, we'd have to tack on a few days at the World...;);)

    Isn't it wonderful to agonize over such fabulous choices??!!

  12. Minnie*Mouse

    Minnie*Mouse Mouseketeer

    Sep 6, 2000
    OMGosh...we were at the Sandals in Ocho Rios, Jamaica in November and absolutely hated it! The staff was very unprofessional, the food wasn't good, there were no poolside activities, twice at 4PM there were no towels available at the pool when we asked a staff member about it he told us to go to the front desk, a couple traveling with us had their safety deposit box broken into, we were lied to.... I could go on and on.

    We travelled with 4 other couples some of whom had stayed at previous Sandals resorts and they couldn't believe the unprofessional and poor service at this resort. And although their staff all wear buttons saying, 'We strive on service not tips', that's not TRUE!!! We waited 2 1/2 hours to be seated at a restaurant one evening and witnessed a lot of handshakes with money hidden in their hands to get a table right away. We quickly caught on and began tipping it was the only way to get a smile and decent service. On one occassion a male staff person at poolside asked us for a tip! He said, don't forget about us, we like $. I felt as if 'I' had to go out of my way to be EXTRA-EXTRA nice in order to get them to be nice in return. It was a horrifying experience and for the first time in my life I am disputing the charge on my credit card.

    I have been on 2 Disney cruises a 7 and 4 day. The staff was exceptional, the food fantastic, the service phenonmenal!!! Sandals or Beaches will never get a dime from me. We are booked on a 7-day Disney cruise in August. Can't wait!!!


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