San Diego 2 Night Cruise: Halloween on the High Seas

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by Julia M, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. Julia M

    Julia M DIS Veteran<br><font color =red>not clever, not wi

    Joined:
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    This trip started as I idly looked at weekend cruises leaving from CA ports and discovered a 2 night Disney cruise, that was actually over a weekend and not weekdays. The price seemed high, but I’ve always wanted to sail on DCL and week long cruises are really pricey! Living in CA, we generally would have to fly anywhere to take one, plus the price of the cruise itself. We also have three kids, which meant more expense! But, we are essentially empty nesters now (one young adult moved home for a year long internship, but we'e not responsible for her anymore) and our youngest is in his final year of college. So we are cruising a lot more now.

    I suggested we sail for dh’s birthday and his response was that the cruise seemed pricey and why didn't we just go to DL for the weekend and stay at the Grand Californian? I looked at hotel rooms at the Grand Californian as well as passes and it was almost double the cost of the cruise! And that didn’t include food! Epic fail for his suggestion!!!! That meant, yes, we were sailing on Disney!!

    Our fare was $518 per person for a double inside cabin, category GTY for 11C, which means we will be given a stateroom chosen by Disney. Basically 11C is the very cheapest inside cabin. I figured for 2 nights, we could handle anything and I wanted to keep the costs to a minimum. Taxes, fees and port expenses are $198.64 for the two of us. I tried very hard not to anticipate what would be the absolutely worst room on the ship, in terms of location and noise, because you know that’s what we’ll get. (I’m the person that gets into the shortest line at the grocery store and end up standing there forever, because the person in front of me is paying in pennies, or they’re arguing the price of ice cream or other such things)

    After I booked I was telling a girlfriend about the trip and she decided to come along. She’s been on three Disney cruises and even married recently on a Disney cruise! She’s flying to San Diego on Wednesday to have an extra day before the cruise. My dh and I are flying in early TH evening and we have a 1pm boarding time for the ship on Friday. I took the first time available to me, because I want it to seem like a longer trip!

    I considered just staying on the ship on Saturday, but we had an amazing wine tour in Ensenada over Christmas so I wanted to go again. So we can have a leisurely breakfast and then get off the ship. Disney offers a tour for $41 per person, for 4-5 hours. It goes to L.A. Cetto Winery and Casa Doña Lupe and then drops you off for some shopping. This is the same tour that Carnival offers (and I’m sure other cruise lines as well). Shore Excursions Group also offers the tour for $39 per person (a sale, price per their website...normally $49). However, typically when we cruise we plan our own tours and this trip is no exception. We booked with The Wine Route (wineroutebaja.com). Eugenie and Luigi are the guides. They will customize a tour for you. At Christmas we had a crazy eclectic group and they managed to come up with a great itinerary, as well as including wineries I wanted to try.

    For this trip I requested Misiones de California and Entre Santos Bodegas de Santo Tomás and requested a surprise for the third winery. I also requested a simple easy place for lunch, because with less time I didn't want to be spending too much time on a meal. Our time in port is shorter than our 4 night Carnival Cruise, so we will visit three wineries this time.

    We have been assigned cabin 2011, so deck 2 at the far end of the ship. It appears we might be right below O’Gills Pub, so I am hoping it isn’t too noisy. But as I said above, we went as cheap as we could and our expectations are super low in terms of our room.

    We are flying Southwest Airlines for San Diego and staying in Old Town on Thursday night. We plan to Uber over to the cruise pier Friday morning.

    I was told that there will be a Pirate Night on Friday night and a Halloween Party on Saturday night. We ordered matching t-shirts for our group of 4 from Etsy for Friday. I will admit it’s a little cheesy but we are “all in” for this cruise and plan to enjoy ourselves. They are from FunCreationsWorld and the total for the 4 shirts plus shipping was $61.80. There were many choices on Etsy, but many had a week or two lead time before shipping (if not more). This seller can have items ready to ship in 1-3 days. We ordered on a Monday and received our order Friday. I was pleased with their promptness!

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    For Saturday, we are dressing up as well. We tried to find something that could be a group of four, but didn’t find anything we’d be happy with it. So my girlfriend and her husband are Captain Hook and Peter Pan and my husband and I are Bert and Mary Poppins. I ordered a costume from Amazon and my husband’s was a DIY. My costume was quite wrinkled and I’ve been steaming it to get them out. I’m not sure how to get it to San Diego unwrinkled. I don’t feel I can iron it at the hotel and I know I can’t carry on a steamer, even a small travel size. I’m hoping by steaming it well at home, packing it with tissue and then maybe spraying it with wrinkle release will work well enough,

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    Despite costumes, I’m a “travel light” kind of gal, so am not bringing much. I am using my Travelpro carry on, rather than a lightweight tote, but only because I plan to ship wine home in my suitcase and need a sturdier bag. I utilize a packing strategy called "Base 5". Basically you start with 5 pieces: 2 bottoms, 2 tops and a sweater/jacket. Then for every day of travel, add one item, up to 10 days worth. Then I give myself an extra item or two if the trip has special circumstances (like multiple events, or in this case, packing costumes!). No swimsuit, because I don’t think we’ll have enough time to bother. I wear sketchers much of the time as they are comfortable and look a little nicer than sneakers.


    Since we'll be dressing up and have gotten "Photo Pass" on varied trip to WDW or DL, I looked into photo packages. But the package to get all the digital photos on an USB stick was $195!! Keep in mind we're not even on the ship 48 hours!! Ten digital images are $150. Needless to say, we're not doing either.

    And that's my preplanning!
     
  2. Julia M

    Julia M DIS Veteran<br><font color =red>not clever, not wi

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Thursday September 27th

    I’m realizing I wasn’t really specific about the reason for the trip. My dh is turning 60. So it’s a big birthday. I thought about ordering a cake, but since I am also having a dinner party for his birthday I decided to pass. With only two evenings to order dinner, I figured he’d want to choose a special dessert from the menu and not have cake.


    Both dh and I worked today and left a little early. We grabbed our bags and decided to head out to the airport, since we had to park the car. We found a spot and the shuttle waited for us as we walked over…….nice of them. We made our way to the SWA gate and checked our luggage and headed to security. We checked bags because dh’s chimney sweep prop was too big for his carry on. So I decided to ship through my small bag.


    TSA precheck was quite backed up, so I was glad we allowed extra time because I wasn’t stressed. We made our way to our gate, but detoured just before to stop at the wine bar. We enjoyed a drink and walked to the gate and boarding began. The flight wasn’t that full, so we had the middle seat between us open. After an uneventful flight we landed in San Diego. I swear, everyone must have carried on bags, because there were no bags on the carrousel. So we quickly got our bags and made our way out to the location to pick up our Uber, right near the exit. A $12 Uber ride brought us to the Courtyard Marriott in Old Town. Our friends had been to the zoo and walked up from their ride as we checked in. We enjoyed a great dinner at the Coyote Cafe, an Old Town institution.


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    This is the large margarita!
     
  3. Julia M

    Julia M DIS Veteran<br><font color =red>not clever, not wi

    Joined:
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    2,012
    Friday September 28

    Friday morning we gathered downstairs to decide our morning before heading to the pier. Sharon and I decided to get pedicures. I don’t mind some of the overages for a cruise ship, but just can’t pay cruise ship prices for a pedicure. We went to Paradise Nails in a local mall and both were happy with the services. $32 for a standard mani-pedi. Right there was also an Ulta store where BFF (Best Friend Forever) picked up forgotten items and a CVS, where I got toothpaste. Our Uber driver helped us add to our trip, so we drove back to the hotel, picked up the guys and headed to the pier.


    Our driver was able to bring us right to the pier, where we dropped off our luggage and walked right in. It’s way smaller than Miami or Port Canaveral. We breezed through, but our friends (who’ve been on 3 previous Disney cruises) had trouble checking in. You better believe I teased them about that! The people next to me were not happy that they weren’t given lanyards when they checked it. It was explained that these were gifts for returning cruisers, but they were still not happy.


    We then went to actually board the ship and we got to enter and they were again held up. The people in front of them must have had the same issue and we were delayed almost a half hour and were not pleased.


    Finally we made it on the ship. We tried to eat lunch at Tritons but were told they were full and we had to go to deck 9 to the buffet. I wasn’t happy, because with such a short cruise, I didn’t care for the buffet, I wanted the dining room. So rats. However, I discovered I was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. I loved the food on Deck 9. I walked by chicken tenders, mac and cheese and other non favorites and came across a location with peel and eat shrimp, crab and clams (maybe, not sure, because I wasn’t interested). I love peel and eat shrimp and these shrimp were not small, but quite large, size wise what I’d call prawns.


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    While the girls got lunch and the guys saved our table, tmy dh was enticed to purchase a beer glass. He bought one for himself and one for BFF’s Dh.


    Apparently you get more beer (20 oz) for the 16 ounce price. Logic would say it’s probably not the best deal for just a weekend cruise, but dangle beer in front of my dh and the probably doesn’t make the best decisions, LOL. Let’s see, at $6.75 beer, an extra 4 ounces is $1.68. So we would need to order, what, 12 beers to break even??? On the other hand, the guys are happy, so what do I care?


    After our “first” lunch, the girls wandered over to see the other food options. The sandwich bar looked great and I had to have a small bowl. Couscous, onions, carrots and more veggie toppings. So glad I didn’t eat breakfast today!


    We headed down to check our rooms and were distracted by the spa, who offered tours. My BFF wanted to see it so we did. She decided to try acupuncture for seasickness as she always gets seasick. We also bought passes for the Rainforest spa. $54 so not cheap, but I really wanted to try it. We are sailing to Alaska on princess in June and they offer something similar so I wanted to try and see if we should get for Alaska.


    We headed back to the room. My luggage still wasn’t there so we relaxed a bit and then thankfully it arrived!

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    I loved our room. I love the nautical look, and just loved the navy blue color and stripes. The room was much bigger than I was expecting.


    I unpacked and then wandered the ship before going to the Walt Disney theatre for the lifeboat muster. Shops aren't open but I still found items I liked through the windows.





    The muster ended and I headed to the spa. I stupidly did not bring a bathing suit, because I thought I wouldn’t be swimming. I didn’t realize there was an adults only pool area! But I relaxed on the warming bed and read. I planned to check the shops for a suit. It was so relaxing and lovely and I decided in about 5 minutes that I would do the same for Alaska.


    I stayed close to an hour and headed back to the room to change for the show and dinner. We enjoyed the show “Dreams” and BFF said it was different from when she sailed last November. We shopped after the show and I bought a swimsuit. Overpriced???? Well, yes, but not by much. It was $50. I also bought a cute striped T.


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    We headed to a bar near Tianas Place (Promenade Lounge) and had a drink. People lined up for dinner, so decided to hang out until the line went down, since we had an assigned table and the bar wasn’t crowded at all.

    Juan is our waiter and Adam our beverage server. My companions had the fritters for an appetizer, which they enjoyed. I had the shrimp and grits with Andouille sausage. It was good, but honestly, the sausage was chopped so fine and there was so little, I wondered why they bothered. The guys had salad and BFF the tomato soup, but I declined a choice. Main courses varied. BFF and BFF’s Dhl had the sea bass with fennel. The fennel was more decorative, shaved and on top. BFF doesn’t like fennel and gave it to me, because I do! Dh had the steak from the light menu. I had the roast chicken, primarily because it had a side of savory bread pudding. It was pretty good. For dessert we chose varied items…..the cake, bananas foster and for me, the bread pudding. The bananas foster was served cute, in a sundae glass.


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    The chicken with pecan bread pudding over sautéed chicken.


    There was a bayou style band playing throughout dinner and we were seated quite close to them. What was nice was they never overpowered the room with their music and we could still talk.


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    There was a parade and most of the kids participated….. it was really cute.



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    I should have added that some of the staff brought Brian a little dessert and sang happy birthday to him. I guess I must have noted it in our reservation? I didn’t ask for anything so it was nice.


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    BFF and BFF’s Dh went back to their cabin after dinner but we wandered up to deck 9 to see the Pirate Adventure show. Characters were dancing and kids were brought up to dance along and Captain Hook arrived and at the very end, Mickey arrived via a zipline type rope and the fireworks began.




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    We went to our cabin after and found a cute towel animal and chocolate waiting for us.

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  4. Rai's Mommy

    Rai's Mommy Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Messages:
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    Great report! Looks like they pack a lot into just a couple nights. It's really tempting me to book a San Diego cruise!
     

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