Would You Do It?

wmjeffer

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 9, 2015
Hi everyone! I'm working through a decision and I'd love to have your opinions & input.

Background: Hubby works crazy hours 1-2 times a year (12 hour days, 6 days a week for about a month). I stay at home with our 4.5 year old daughter. We have frequently taken Disney vacations during his busy time because it's a little more relaxing for him when we're not around and we have something super fun to look forward to. On these previous trips, my mom has accompanied us.

He's working this crazy schedule this fall and we're considering some kind of vacation. We're going to Disney in December, a gift from my father in law, so doing to WDW is out. There's a Halloween cruise out of NY that would work with our schedule.

I've been really interested in a Disney cruise for some time. The Halloween cruise especially interests me because I'd love to visit WDW during Halloween time, but don't appreciate the heat early in the Halloween season or the crowds later in the Halloween season! This feels like a nice compromise.

But...

I think I'd have to go alone. My mom has the vacation time, but she's a smoker and I know she would hate the limited smoking areas on the ship (as a non-smoker myself, I myself appreciate the limited areas!).

This would mean a 6-ish hour drive to NY, without traffic, plus dealing with getting to the port (we would stay somewhere nearby the night before.) We wouldn't fly because of the cost, but I'd consider a train (though that might be tough with our luggage since most trains to NY from DC don't have checked baggage). If we took a train, how do we get transportation since my kid still needs a car seat? And maybe it's horrible to get a taxi/transportation at the port at disembarkation? I kind of get stressed out even thinking about it. My kid is great in the car though!

That being said, I know my daughter would love it. It's on the Magic, which I know is smaller and doesn't have as many amenities of the bigger ships, but she would love the Rapunzel dinner and show!

What would you guys do? Is there anything else I'm not considering/forgetting here?
 

Deb T.

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 17, 1999
I say go for it! I'll also go waaaaay out on a limb and suggest maybe this would be a great time for your mother to quit smoking! She could make an appointment with her doctor prior to the cruise to get the patch or whatever the latest and greatest aids are for quitting smoking now. [Full disclosure - I'm passionate about this matter after watching both sets of my grandparents and my dear mother-in-law all die slow and miserable deaths from the side effects of smoking.] Quitting would be the ultimate gift to you and your young daughter. And, a Disney cruise just might be the perfect place to get over the first week of quitting.
 

FigmentSpark

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Well, first, you could ask your mom if she'd mind the limited smoking sections. It's not like there's nowhere to go, and the ship is big, but not unmanagebly big. She might not mind, then you don't have to worry about doing it all yourself.
 
  • DCLPrincess

    Gone to the Dark Side
    Joined
    Jul 5, 2018
    We did that same cruise 2 years ago. The Halloween cruises are great. Going to park was fun and yes it's decorated for Halloween. We're not as far away as you so we have a service drive us so that we don't have to worry about traffic and parking.
     

    wmjeffer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2015
    I say go for it! I'll also go waaaaay out on a limb and suggest maybe this would be a great time for your mother to quit smoking! She could make an appointment with her doctor prior to the cruise to get the patch or whatever the latest and greatest aids are for quitting smoking now. [Full disclosure - I'm passionate about this matter after watching both sets of my grandparents and my dear mother-in-law all die slow and miserable deaths from the side effects of smoking.] Quitting would be the ultimate gift to you and your young daughter. And, a Disney cruise just might be the perfect place to get over the first week of quitting.
    I really wish this was a possibility :sad1: I've attempted the conversation several times over the years and she immediately gets very defensive. She's been a heavy smoker since she was 16 and until she decides to make the decision for herself, I don't know if there is much I could say or do to make a difference.


    Well, first, you could ask your mom if she'd mind the limited smoking sections. It's not like there's nowhere to go, and the ship is big, but not unmanagebly big. She might not mind, then you don't have to worry about doing it all yourself.
    We stayed on-site one time and she hated it because she had to go to the smoking area right outside (plus, because of how much she smokes, it seemed like she was gone half the time at the hotel and at the parks). And because of some things that happened on our last trip, I'm more hesitant to travel with her again (I probably should have mentioned that). But it might be worth it to ask and avoid the trouble of traveling alone.
     

    wmjeffer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2015
    We did that same cruise 2 years ago. The Halloween cruises are great. Going to park was fun and yes it's decorated for Halloween. We're not as far away as you so we have a service drive us so that we don't have to worry about traffic and parking.
    A car service would be great! Wish we lived closer to a Disney cruise port!
     

    dclpluto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 11, 2012
    So your thinking about going on a cruise while your husband is working them crazy hours like you said. I don’t think they are crazy hours buts that’s what you said. It will be nice to have supper on the table when he gets home and have the laundry done lunch packed etc. I’m not saying that’s a wife’s job but while he’s working 12 hours a day 6 days a week it will be nice to have them things done imo.but you said it’s relaxing for your husband while your gone so maybe he likes doing them things on his already long days.
     
  • Pens Fan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 27, 2014
    If you aren't interested in spending time touring NYC prior to the cruise, I'd recommend doing what we did in 2016. There is a Hilton Garden Inn in Ridgefield Park, NJ that offers a stay, park and cruise package. I don't know which direction you will be driving from, and if that would be convenient for you or not. If it is, it's a great deal. The price includes your room, parking for the duration of the cruise, breakfast and a private car service to and from the port. It's a very nice hotel in what seemed to be a safe area. Here are the details:

    http://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/new-jersey/hilton-garden-inn-ridgefield-park-LGARPGI/offers/100110245.htm

    I would recommend contacting the hotel directly and asking about the car seat issue, but I can't imagine it would be a problem. Car services are used to providing car seats all the time, but I'd still check just for piece of mind. Going to the port is a breeze - driver will pick you up right in front of the hotel and will drop you off just steps from where you hand off the luggage to the porters. After the cruise it's a bit more chaotic, but certainly doable. You do have to cross the street and contact your driver by phone, but it's not that big of a deal and you will be accompanied by tons of your fellow shipmates as most of the car services and cabs pick up in the same basic area.

    I think your daughter would love the ship at Halloween. The decorations are just wonderful and they have a lot of fun Halloween activities.
     

    WishUponAStarryNight

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 4, 2014
    Do it! I’m a solo parent, so traveling alone with DS7 is frequently how we do it. We did the NYC to Bahamas itinerary last Fall and loved it. You can stay at a hotel in NJ where you can park for the duration of the cruise and the hotel will shuttle you to the port. I think one option is the Hilton Garden Inn, but do a search on the boards and a few options should come up. We live a couple hours from port so were able to hire a service to drive us, so I don’t have firsthand knowledge of the hotels.
     

    gotomu212

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2010
    I think a cruise is a great vacation for a parent traveling alone! Once onboard you unpack once, all your meals are “taken care of” and you know they have kid friendly food so you don’t have to worry about figuring out and finding food 3x a day, there’s a kids club so if your kid likes it you have some backup, and the entire environment is used to kids so there’s an extra set of hands around when trying to carry a tray at lunch or cut up food at dinner. Once at port there are porters that take your bag from the car service drop off and you just have to worry about small carry on. After cruise you can grab a porter to help get your bags through customers and over to the car again.

    I echo the NJ park and cruise hotels. That saves you from dealing with a car in the city and you should be able to do a car seat with the car service (you could also bring along a small booster or the inflatable booster seats).

    (I work schedules a little like this once or twice a year too and I TOTALLY get your husband’s feelings that it’s a little easier if you guys are gone. Getting to grab take out, come home, veg out with zero responsibility for a couple of hours, and then straight to bed is SO much easier than coming home and having others there- no matter how much you love them and how normally you want to spend all your time with them)
     

    wmjeffer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2015
    (I work schedules a little like this once or twice a year too and I TOTALLY get your husband’s feelings that it’s a little easier if you guys are gone. Getting to grab take out, come home, veg out with zero responsibility for a couple of hours, and then straight to bed is SO much easier than coming home and having others there- no matter how much you love them and how normally you want to spend all your time with them)
    That's exactly what he does! And of course, any time he's home my daughter just won't leave him alone - she misses Daddy and doesn't understand that he's exhausted and needs a break. And the house is much more peaceful without a crazy four-year old running around lol
     
  • DietCokeMommy

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 19, 2017
    I think if you want to do a vacation solo with your kid, a cruise on the Magic is perfect. I have a 4 year old too and he just loved it. Plus as another person pointed out, the cruise ship is really convenient. All the entertainment and dining is all right there, just steps away. And 4 is a great age, she’ll love the pools and the funnel vision and the shows and the characters.
     

    Ladybugx87

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2014
    Definitely do it!
    If your daughter is big enough there are small self inflating booster seats that are easy to travel with. Like others said the car services likely can provide them though.
     

    DisneyWishes14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2011
    Hi everyone! I'm working through a decision and I'd love to have your opinions & input.

    Background: Hubby works crazy hours 1-2 times a year (12 hour days, 6 days a week for about a month). I stay at home with our 4.5 year old daughter. We have frequently taken Disney vacations during his busy time because it's a little more relaxing for him when we're not around and we have something super fun to look forward to. On these previous trips, my mom has accompanied us.

    He's working this crazy schedule this fall and we're considering some kind of vacation. We're going to Disney in December, a gift from my father in law, so doing to WDW is out. There's a Halloween cruise out of NY that would work with our schedule.

    I've been really interested in a Disney cruise for some time. The Halloween cruise especially interests me because I'd love to visit WDW during Halloween time, but don't appreciate the heat early in the Halloween season or the crowds later in the Halloween season! This feels like a nice compromise.

    But...

    I think I'd have to go alone. My mom has the vacation time, but she's a smoker and I know she would hate the limited smoking areas on the ship (as a non-smoker myself, I myself appreciate the limited areas!).

    This would mean a 6-ish hour drive to NY, without traffic, plus dealing with getting to the port (we would stay somewhere nearby the night before.) We wouldn't fly because of the cost, but I'd consider a train (though that might be tough with our luggage since most trains to NY from DC don't have checked baggage). If we took a train, how do we get transportation since my kid still needs a car seat? And maybe it's horrible to get a taxi/transportation at the port at disembarkation? I kind of get stressed out even thinking about it. My kid is great in the car though!

    That being said, I know my daughter would love it. It's on the Magic, which I know is smaller and doesn't have as many amenities of the bigger ships, but she would love the Rapunzel dinner and show!

    What would you guys do? Is there anything else I'm not considering/forgetting here?
    If you took at train from DC to NYC Penn Station and stayed somewhere in NYC overnight, you wouldn't need a car seat as they are not required for children traveling in cabs in the city. You could even stay in a hotel near Penn Station so you would only need a cab to and from the port which is easy to do.
     

    cadien

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 19, 2017
    4 was the age at which my son became very easy for just one of us to travel with him, rather than needing to go as a team. I'd do it.
     

    lanejudy

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2011
    Are you hesitant about the long drive? I've had experience with long trips as a solo adult with a 3-yr-old -- both 6-8 hour car drives and 12 hours by train.

    When driving I planned rest stops about every 2 hours so she could get out to stretch her legs and run around. Potty break and snack as well. If that sounds like too long a day behind the wheel for you as a driver, consider splitting it across 2 days, assuming you can manage an extra hotel night - and be sure to choose one with a pool. I'd definitely plan a park-and-cruise package in NJ if you drive.

    I'd say the train was easier than driving, even though (for us) it made for a longer trip. I would pack a few DVDs and headphones (today you could upload videos to a tablet), some books, crayons and paper, and usually something new to pull out when the rest of that didn't entertain any longer. You can stretch legs periodically by walking to the club car for a snack. It did mean packing smartly because I would pack 1 large suitcase for both of us (if worse comes to worst, there is laundry on the ship), plus daypacks for each of us. There wasn't luggage service on our route, but I found I could put the large suitcase next to the window seat in front of DD because she didn't need the leg room; carry-ons fit overhead. The train seats are larger than airline seats, with plenty of room for her blanket and a small travel pillow plus the favorite stuffed animal.

    People in NYC ride public transit with little ones all the time. If she's big enough, you could use a bubblebum for taxi rides.

    Enjoy your cruise!
     

    bumbershoot

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2007
    So your thinking about going on a cruise while your husband is working them crazy hours like you said.
    Ahem. The OP is an at home mom. She doesn’t get a paycheck, but she’s working 24/7. And she’ll be taking her job with her on this trip. Which makes it more relaxing for the husband when he gets home.



    If she's big enough, you could use a bubblebum for taxi rides.
    Yep.
     

    Anchors Away 2016

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 30, 2016
    I agree with @lanejudy train rides may take a little longer, but they are much easier than driving. You won't have checked bags, but the luggage racks in the train are in the same car as you sit, so even your larger bags will be in sight the whole time. I traveled from NJ to Florida on the train when my kids were 4-6 (granted, I wasn't the only adult) and they LOVED riding the train (overnight in our case).

    On the other hand, those hotels in NJ with the train into NYC are great too. Sure beats driving INTO the city. I lived in NJ for a long time and almost always took a train in, instead of driving in, and to this day when visiting NYC stay in NJ and train in.

    So either of these plans will work very well, IMO.

    And, as others have said, a cruise (with meals made and kids clubs available) are one of the best ways to vacation alone with a child.

    You asked us about the logistics, and I would say that you should be all set! Have fun!
     

    darnheather

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 28, 2013
    Absolutely go! I cruise alone with my two daughters and it is by far the best vacations for us. Your daughter is old enough to go to the club and I encourage you to make some of the day mandatory club time for her. That way you can go to the adult pool or cove cafe and relax even if it's just for an hour.
     

    wmjeffer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2015
    Thanks so much everyone! You've really eased my fears about the logistics of it (I have a tendency to get a little anxious about things like this, lol).
     

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