First timer's learnings - Galveston, Magic, sailing

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by polynor, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. polynor

    polynor Mouseketeer

    May 21, 2007
    This was our first cruise -- ever. Living in Houston, we had to take advantage of the Magic and Galveston. Having a school age child, we had to also not get in trouble with the school and booked on the 6night New years eve sailing.

    So you can determine the POV of my posts, it's myself, hubby and two boys (6 and 3)

    Here's my compilation of what we learned as a first time cruiser:

    From Galveston:
    1. We used EZ Cruise parking -- they were simple to find and we actually parked in the Railroad museum lot. On return there were a lot of people waiting for them vs the other private lots.
    2. We did not use porters and trying to get the terminal to take our luggage took awhile. There was no organized line for the baggage.
    3. There is someone giving out the navigators in the terminal -- so you can look at that before checking in.
    4. You can do Youth Activities registration in the terminal -- but I don't know if that includes the kids bands -- if it does I would have done that there. (we pre-registered on line)
    5. The terminal crew wave from the dock with the Mickey hands!

    Packing and Organization:
    1. Pack some warm clothes. The MDR were not a problem, but we found the theatres could be cold. Also Galveston was in the 50's when we set off and returned.
    2. I should have pack way less clothing for myself, and even less for the kids. I packed nicer pants, shirts and shoes for the kids for dinner-- they were fine in crocs and shorts for all the nights except formal.
    3. Having heard the Magic beds were lower, we used softsided rolling luggage -- it all fit under the bed.
    4. The overdoor shoe organizer worked wonders for room in terms of keeping track the little things
    5. We had a separate toiletry hangar for toilet room for additional items
    6. I used a pouchsafe on board to carry the wave phone, camera, and room key -- super light weight and not too big, strap is adjustable so it can go crossbody. It then stuffed into our bag when we went on shore.

    Activities on board:
    1. Kids loved the juggler alot.
    2. They loved Animators Palate.
    3. The loved the Oceaneers Club until they found out the slide is closed during structure activities. This is a problem as they would go back in willingly. I had to find the "Sliding time" activities to work around.
    4. "Who wants to be a Mouseketeer" during open house gives them time with Mickey and parents photo opportunities
    5. Once the kids were in the club, they were fine -- trying to get them in the club was harder
    6. The dine and play worked pretty well -- especially if we rested the kids before dinner
    7. The kids loved the Villains show, ok with the Twice charmed, fell asleep during Dreams (older one). If the Magician is still on board, need to sit up close to see it, otherwise, the kids were a little board and antsy.
    8. We didn't find the foosball table in Diversions until the last day. 6yo loves it. (and we braved windy days on Deck 10 to play it)

    Grand Cayman:
    1. Take the local bus -- they're friendly, cheap and will get you where you probably want to do
    2. The wave action is stronger than we anticipated. Had a scary moment with 3yo almost getting swept out. We should have brought his swim jacket.
    3. We went to Sea Grape beach (Public Beach) -- changing rooms are available and there's fresh water to do some light rinsing. But the line is long at the end of the day and the water pressure is not strong I would not rely on rinsing most of the sand off there. No beach toys readily available (we brought our own)

    1. We did the Beach Break excursion (Playa Mia). The gathering time was 9:45, we didn't actually get on the buses until 10:45am. Wave action much calmer there. Not much stretch of a beach for the kids to play on. The pool area is nice and there are stronger (but very cold) showers available. NO time to shop after getting to port.

    1. Two spa appointments - manicure and hot stone massage. The massage was great and getting the manicure on the first sea day I think helped with my seasickness.
    2. Rainforest room with hubby on the last day. Slight wait for a stone chair, but not as busy as I thought it would be on the last sea day.
    3. Showers in the changing room are excellent

    1. It took us a while, but we didn't realize hot dogs were at Pluto's Doghouse (it's not pictured on the board).
    2. Getting the kids a little snack around 3 staved their hunger before late seating -- when we missed it they were CRANKY.
    3. Parrot Cay is the bumpiest dining experience.
    4. We liked Lumiere's food the best and location
    5. Don't order lobster stuff -- it's too dry
    6. We found if we went with our server recommendation -- she was typically on the money.

    1. I get motion sickness very easily unless I'm driving. As they aren't going to let me steer the ship, I bought seabands and the ear drop things. I used both.
    2. The first day was very motion-y and I could not stay at Parrot Cay for our Character Breakfast. After laying down and getting my hands massaged and manicured -- I felt like a completely new person and not sick at all. Even on the last day with choppy waters, I could feel the motion but did not get seasick.
    3. As I'm typing this however, the house is still swaying.

    1. Characters are everywhere.
    2. Kids like playing in the porthole windows by Rockin'Bar D
    3. The kids also like walking the laps on Deck 4.
    4. Ship is very easy to navigate -- the kids knew what was on which deck.
    5. Magnets on the door made it easy for them to find our stateroom.
    6. There is nothing to keep the stateroom door from being opened by the 3yo. (no upper latch) so we had to watch him constantly.
    7. We pre-registered the kids online -- we didn't know what that password was for and wish it had been explained. For those who might also wonder, the password is what you need to tell them to get them out of the club.
    8. To get the wristbands, there will be a table outside the club/lab on the first day -- from some reason they take much longer than just going to the lab/club. Go there instead.

    overall great time despite the weather -- I think we might be more theme park people (we discussed that the theme parks are more relaxing for us now...) but we'll probably do it again in a couple of years!
  2. JackieO

    JackieO Mouseketeer

    Oct 25, 2012
    Wow, thanks for taking the time to give us all this information! We're leaving on our first cruise on the 26th. This is all helpful and exciting!
  3. Avatar

    DIS Sponsor Let Dreams Unlimited Travel plan your perfect Disney vacation!

    to hide this advert.
  4. DADore

    DADore Earning My Ears

    Jan 6, 2013
    We are from Louisiana and going on our first cruise since our honeymoon 24 years ago. We have one 11 year old daughter.
    How warm did it get? Will she want to be in shorts the whole time?
    What's the size of the wave phone? I want to get/make something for her to have to carry it.
  5. jlynch924

    jlynch924 Mousin' Around

    Oct 19, 2012
    We just got off the same cruise with our 10 year old daughter... She wanted to be in shorts or swimsuit the whole time (even on the cooler days!), except she wanted to dress up more for dinner (apparently some alien invaded her sensibilities while on board, as I can barely get her to dress up for church these days, lol). Our first sea day was pretty chilly... In the 50's, I think, and pretty windy. The next day was nicer and DD spent several hours in the pool, which is set deeper than deck level, so she couldn't feel the wind. Cayman and Cozumel were both pretty warm (80's to 90). The last sea day was chilly and drizzly, which was out of the norm according to some crew I was talking to.

    DD really enjoyed Villians, Twice Charmed and the comedian. Dreams, not so much, but we had seen it last year on the Dream. She didn't go to Oceaneer's Club at all, but did spend time in the Lab. She particularly liked Flubber, Gaga Ball and The Pasta Pigs. She also liked the arcade (air hockey) and the Princess Package (mani/pedi) at the spa. She also loved getting her hair braided on board. You can get your Mickey bands at the port... We had pre registered online, but they told us to go ahead and check in at port and they put her band on then.

    The wave phone is about the size of a king size candy bar.

    Have fun!
  6. DADore

    DADore Earning My Ears

    Jan 6, 2013
    Thank you!!!
  7. alliesmommy

    alliesmommy Just the two of us

    Jan 8, 2008
    Thank you for all of the detailed advice. Awesome report! :thumbsup2 We are going on our first cruise in 33 days!!!
  8. Paigeanne

    Paigeanne Earning My Ears

    Oct 15, 2012
    Awesome!! Thanks SO much!! Any chance you would post or email me a copy of your Navigators? We are taking our 2 boys on the same cruise Jan 26th.
  9. dbarker

    dbarker DIS Veteran

    Dec 2, 2004
    Thanks for all of the info.
  10. lfran

    lfran Earning My Ears

    Jan 10, 2013
    Great info! Thank you! We cruise out of Galveston on April 20th, I hope the sea days are warmer. :)
  11. MerryweatherMom

    MerryweatherMom Earning My Ears

    Jan 11, 2013
    Great info thanks! We have similar aged kids and leave on 1/26! Very helpful...
  12. cstaci27

    cstaci27 Earning My Ears

    Dec 29, 2012
    Just the info I needed!!! We are taking our first cruise in feb on the magic.
  13. I❤MICKEY

    I❤MICKEY DIS Veteran

    Mar 27, 2011
    Thank you so much for all the information. We are taking our first cruise out of Galveston in February. Very excited.

    I have a few questions...

    What are the temps like in Galveston in February? We couldn't get flights out for the day we return so we decided to stay the night.

    Dressing up for dinner has been a struggle for us. My DH view is that we are on vacation and he wants to be comfortable. I got him to agree to eating in the dining room only one night as a result. I've read on other posts that if you don't want to dress up you will be asked to leave MDR - and that shorts were a definite no-no. Would you say adults could also wear shorts? Perhaps a nice polo shirt and nice shorts?

    I have all roller suitcases except one. Are there other places where I would be able to store a hard sided suitcase?

    Based on your kids ages you may not know the answer to this but if anyone else does please jump in - can you do the dine and play for the nursery? If not, would you easily be able to do it on your own? One parent leave between courses and take the little one in.

    Do you have to sign up in advance for the dine and play?

    This one surprised me. Anyone have tips or ideas for how to make a "do it yourself" type latch.

    Thank you so much. :cutie:
  14. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS veteran

    Feb 12, 2009
    My answers in red.

  15. threewilmingtonwalls

    threewilmingtonwalls DIS Veteran

    Nov 14, 2010
    You do not have to sign up in advance for Dine & Play. Just let your server know when you are seated that your child is participating that night, and they will expedite their food and let you know when the Club staff arrives to collect the kids. Dine & Play is only done during late dinner, if nothing has changed in the past year.
  16. jjje

    jjje One time I saw a guy wear cut-off jean shorts to d

    Nov 13, 2012
    So many great tips! Thank you!
  17. lfran

    lfran Earning My Ears

    Jan 10, 2013
    Thanks for all the information. It's very helpful. Do you happen to have Navigators for this cruise? Can you please send to me?
  18. polynor

    polynor Mouseketeer

    May 21, 2007
    You got most of your answer already (I've been sick and haven't been able to respond):

    Temperatures in Galveston/Houston are highly variable in February -- you could be in the 40's, you could be in the 70's. You won't really have a good sense until about a week out when they're making predictions.

    We saw adults (and not unlike your case -- mostly the husbands of the party) wearing shorts -- with the exception of the the formal night. On formal night, while some people didn't get in the formalwear -- they were wearing pants. We ddin't see anyone asked to leave. Knee length shorts and a polo wouldn't make you stand out.

    You saw another respondents about the dine and play for the nursery. Otherwise, for those that can go in the club, we just let the server know we want to do this - their food came out really quick. The trickier thing was making sure we caught the kids club counselors -- they are wearing bright yellow shirts -- but sometime they would wear a black sweater on top that we almost missed them one day when they did their room sweep. They get them around 9:15 -- so we just kept our eyes open for them.

    Unfortunately we didn't comeup with a good solution. This was only a problem when it was DH in the room with the kids and the little one (attached more to me) wanted to go find me. We just had to re-emphasize to the kids that they couldn't leave the room without one of us.

    Enjoy your trip!
  19. polynor

    polynor Mouseketeer

    May 21, 2007
    I have the navigators, and was hoping to scan some (before I got sick). I would think our 6 day is going to be a little different than most because of new years but will try and post them soon.
  20. jal417

    jal417 Earning My Ears

    Oct 21, 2012
    Thanks for all the helpful information!!!
  21. txblondie99

    txblondie99 Earning My Ears

    Mar 25, 2011
    Thanks for all this information... as a first time cruiser, I can use any help I can get!!! ;)

Share This Page