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1st Disney Cruise! Heck, my 1st cruise EVER!

lostpro9het

Well-Known Member
Mayday, mayday... just chatted with a co-worker who asked me if I had my Fish Extender stuff, yet. I said, "My, what?" Looked online... Oh, boy...

Emergency Question #3: what the heck is this and will people hate me if I don't spend 100's of dollars on a door decoration and gifts for all my neighbors?
Completely voluntary. More guests will not do FE than those that will. 7 cruises in and never took part in FE. I have organized a few Beer Exchanges, though.
 

LAKid53

Official Member of the Mean Girls Cult
Premium Member
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Mayday, mayday... just chatted with a co-worker who asked me if I had my Fish Extender stuff, yet. I said, "My, what?" Looked online... Oh, boy...

Emergency Question #3: what the heck is this and will people hate me if I don't spend 100's of dollars on a door decoration and gifts for all my neighbors?
I had to look it up. It's a series of hanging pockets people clip to the little fish clip next to their door for people to leave notes in for each family member. We use a DCL magnetic white board I found to leave notes to each other - and other passengers just love to add their comments to what you've written. All in fun. I've got several series of DCL door magnets - they make princess, captain and pirate, all which I believe you can purchase on board. Some have theirs specially made via Etsy or other places. Some get really elaborate. I've never heard of leaving gifts for the guests in the neighboring staterooms. And I wouldn't, unless they are family or friends who are cruising with us.

Do what you want. But you will be one of the few naked doors on the ship.
 

KeithVH

Well-Known Member
I should re-emphasize room service. You'd be amazed how good a caeser salad, chicken nuggets, baked mac& cheese and a mickey bar taste right after a spending a couple hours in the sun at the pool. Oh, and don't forget warm cookies and milk at night. While free, please be sure to tip the staff who brings you the yummies. We usually do several dollars each delivery (we hoard our dollar bill change all year).

As for FE's, your first step is to make sure you have an extender. Lots of options to buy inexpensive ones on Etsy and such if you're not crafty. Then do a search on Facebook for your cruise's group. Review as there may be more than one and you'll need to really see which one you want to join. Usually the page owner will coordinate setting up groups of people. We've been in some with several hundred people so they break out the FE people into small groups of 6-12 cabins or so.

You're getting a gift usually per cabin and there may be themes involved (xmas ornaments, fridge magnets, etc). Dollar stores are great places for gift ideas too. We also usually pick up a coupe extra gifts and will just arbitrarily drop off gifts as we're walking around. Yes, some people do get carried away - some people dedicate a separate piece of luggage just for their FE gifts but don't feel you have to. Many times, dollar limits will be set and agreed upon.
 

Agardini51

New Member
Congrats!

Finally, BOOK A PLACEHOLDER WHILE ON BOARD! Its a fully refundable $250 that is applied to a future cruise that you have 18 months to book. The PH will also get you 10% off non restricted cruises. PH's are only available while you are cruising. Not getting a PH was my only regret from our first DCL cruise.
Just a quick clarification here. Its actually 24 months from the day you placed the placeholder. I just did this last week. They say dont wait til the last night to do this, but I got in the queue literally the moment they opened their hours the last night of the cruise and was the 3rd person in line. You can do this with the mobile app, so you can do it wherever you are on the boat. This may be a better strategy if the day you book it is important. This is a quick and simple process. Just tell the agent that you want to book a placeholder and they will take literally 10 minutes to do this and just charge it to the card you have on file and send the email to what is on file. And biggest thing is that this $250 is fully refundable.
The other benefit of the placeholder is up to $200 of on board credit. This can pay for a chunk of your gratuities or gifts on tour next cruise.
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
While free, please be sure to tip the staff who brings you the yummies. We usually do several dollars each delivery (we hoard our dollar bill change all year).
FYI - the tip can be charged to your room account also; and canned soft drinks are a charge via room service - but don't forget the free soft drinks on the pool deck.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
Mayday, mayday... just chatted with a co-worker who asked me if I had my Fish Extender stuff, yet. I said, "My, what?" Looked online... Oh, boy...

Emergency Question #3: what the heck is this and will people hate me if I don't spend 100's of dollars on a door decoration and gifts for all my neighbors?
It is to be avoided at all costs...but that is just my opinion.:cautious:
 

LAKid53

Official Member of the Mean Girls Cult
Premium Member
Me, I'd just decorate the door as you see fit and be done with it. But some type of message board (I thought those hanging pockets were for that, silly me) is helpful to let others know where you are. "gone to the gym" "at the pool/bar/shopping/movie" "sleeping, please be quiet" (my daughter's favorite activity 😄)
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
Me, I'd just decorate the door as you see fit and be done with it. But some type of message board (I thought those hanging pockets were for that, silly me) is helpful to let others know where you are. "gone to the gym" "at the pool/bar/shopping/movie" "sleeping, please be quiet" (my daughter's favorite activity 😄)
We decorated the door on our last cruise, but we have never done the fish extenders.

My middle daughter however did on that same cruise. While it was kind of nice, in the end she decided that she would not be doing it again. She put a ton of work and time into it and it was quite obvious that most of the other people participating it did not.
 

MaryJaneP

Well-Known Member
Relax, nobody has ever starved on a DCL cruise, to our knowledge. Also, someone else is driving, so you can focus on everything else. Hard to believe the daily printed newsletter, called the "Navigator" has not been more hyped here as it is crucial (to us) to plan our day since it lists so many things happening. Like what events are happening, when and where on ship. Also, things like which movies are being shown in the movie theater and when the showings start (great late night activity for our crew). We would strongly suggest looking at some prior Navigator issues to get an idea of what to hopefully expect. Also, way more doors w/o FE than with. We never did it after researching costs and levels of participation. The FE we saw were impressive, more so than we could hope to do. Seems like it is a decoration for a select audience that, while awesome, we were not part of. Have a great cruise.
 
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LAKid53

Official Member of the Mean Girls Cult
Premium Member
Relax, nobody has ever starved on a DCL cruise, to our knowledge. Also, someone else is driving, so you can focus on everything else. Hard to believe the daily printed newsletter, called the "Navigator" has not been more hyped here as it is crucial (to us) to plan our day since it lists so many things happening. Like what events are happening, when and where on ship. Also, things like which movies are being shown in the movie theater and when the showings start (great late night activity for our crew). We would strongly suggest looking at some prior Navigator issues to get an idea of what to hopefully expect. Also, way more doors w/o FE than with. We never did it after researching costs and levels of participation. The FE we saw were impressive, more so than we could hope to do. Seems like it is a decoration for a select audience that, while awesome, we were not part of. Have a great cruise.
The Navigator is key to enjoying a Disney cruise. The app also lists actvities, but you have to scroll through menus. I always save my Navigators from each cruise. I might try to scan one and post it for the OP to see what we are talking about.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
The Navigator is key to enjoying a Disney cruise. The app also lists actvities, but you have to scroll through menus. I always save my Navigators from each cruise. I might try to scan one and post it for the OP to see what we are talking about.
The DCL blog has them online.
https://disneycruiselineblog.com/category/cruise-planning/personal-navigators/

@AVeryDifferentDisneyDad

You can often look up your itinerary from a past cruise and get a good idea of what your schedule will be.
 

AVeryDifferentDisneyDad

Member
Original Poster
Again, thank you SO much for all your responses.

Next question: when we are at our Ports (Nassau and Castaway), are there any activities (snorkeling, jet ski, diving, etc) that are INCLUDED in the cost of the cruise? Or is everything (other than laying on the beach) an extra charge?
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
Again, thank you SO much for all your responses.

Next question: when we are at our Ports (Nassau and Castaway), are there any activities (snorkeling, jet ski, diving, etc) that are INCLUDED in the cost of the cruise? Or is everything (other than laying on the beach) an extra charge?
Not to my knowledge. Everything like that is an excursion that will cost extra.

You can still get off the ship and bump around the straw market, take a launch to Atlantis or do whatever you like, but I would strongly advise against going off the beaten path if it is your first time.

While Nassau is not some ulta-dangerous war torn region, it is a third world country. The tourist areas are fairly safe, but the non-tourist areas can be hit or miss. Wander into the wrong area and things can go bad quick. The boat will also not wait for you should you arrive late.

If you do go on an excursion, I would recommend going on the Disney ones. They do cost a little more, but the ship will wait for them to return should something happen.

If you go on something like a snorkeling excursion you booked on your own and you get back late, odds are you are going to have to fly home on your own dime.
 

lostpro9het

Well-Known Member
Again, thank you SO much for all your responses.

Next question: when we are at our Ports (Nassau and Castaway), are there any activities (snorkeling, jet ski, diving, etc) that are INCLUDED in the cost of the cruise? Or is everything (other than laying on the beach) an extra charge?
Castaway 5k is free and you get a bib and medal for participating in it. It will be the flattest run you ever participate in.
 

Seeshark

Member
I did a four-nighter back in late 2017 on the Dream - featured the premiere of the Beauty & the Beast show. It was really good, but so were the other shows we saw (Disney Believe I think it was called). But I wouldn't miss the B&B show. Four nights flew by...

Some other random observations:

- We did the late seating for dinner, which worked well for us. First night was tough because it was the first day after daylight savings, so it actually felt more like 9pm. Kids all over the restaurant were sleeping on their tables. But everyone adjusted for the rest of the trip. I never felt rushed to leave any activities or the pool before dinner - we just grabbed a late afternoon snack to tide us over.

- We boarded the ship in bathing suits. That time before you could get into your room was about the only time there was no line for the Aqua-Duck water slide.

- I’d avoid rooms around elevators and laundry areas. They are busy, noisy areas. We were in 8620, which was a great room. Barely heard anything at night. It came with a veranda, which I was happy to have, but we didn’t use it a whole lot. Higher rooms also put you closer to deck 11 where the pool and drinks are (though I heard deck 10 is noisy due to all the activity on the pool deck). And we were on the starboard side - that typically faces Castaway Cay when parked and pirate-night fireworks are off that side.

- More people did door magnets than I expected. We didn't go crazy but I'm glad I brought some or else my kid would have felt left out.

- I don’t normally like wearing lanyards, but I think one to carry my card key around would have made life a lot easier on this trip.

- I loved getting room service for breakfast.

- My daughter also loved doing the Muppet Detective Agency game around the ship.

- I wasn’t overly impressed with Nassau. It’s cool to say we hugged dolphins on our excursion to Blue Lagoon but not sure I’d do that trip again either. It was a bit too orchestrated. They blared music the entire boat ride there and back. That didn’t bother me but bring ear plugs if you are doing this trip and don’t like loud music. On a three-day trip, maybe it'd be better to enjoy the ship?

- Castaway Cay was very nice. Good lunch too. I’d recommend getting out there pretty early, getting off the tram at the second stop and getting a spot in Pelican Bay Area. Didn’t seem quite as crowded down at that far end. A cabana would have been cool, but they are pretty steep $$-wise. And unless you’re right there online booking activities at midnight the day they become available, you probably won’t get one, and even then it’s a crapshoot. I also say be online to book activities that first night they are available if you're interested in a princess meet-and-greet. The spots go quickly. (If a cabana is of interest, but they fill up, you can still ask on the boat and the beach to see if anyone canceled.) We rented snorkeling gear at Castaway Cay, but that ended up being kind of a bust.

- Skipped our assigned restaurant the morning we got off the boat and went up to the deck 11 buffet, thinking if we left around 8am we’d be out in the calm between the storms. But it didn’t matter, it was still busy.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
- I wasn’t overly impressed with Nassau. It’s cool to say we hugged dolphins on our excursion to Blue Lagoon but not sure I’d do that trip again either. It was a bit too orchestrated. They blared music the entire boat ride there and back. That didn’t bother me but bring ear plugs if you are doing this trip and don’t like loud music. On a three-day trip, maybe it'd be better to enjoy the ship?
We don't really care that much for Nassau either.

We did the obligatory tour of the Atlantis resort excursion on our first trip. It was nice, but I really don't care if I ever do it again.

My wife went on a work cruise that stopped there and she did the Straw Market with her friends and hated every moment of it.

We have just stayed on the ship at out last 2 stops there and were pleased as punch with that decision.
 

ChuckElias

Well-Known Member
I did a four-nighter back in late 2017 on the Dream - featured the premiere of the Beauty & the Beast show. It was really good, but so were the other shows we saw (Disney Believe I think it was called). But I wouldn't miss the B&B show.
I also loved Beauty and the Beast. The LED backdrops alone cost about $9million. They're very cool. And I loved how they moved certain elements of the staging to make a "new" set.

- We boarded the ship in bathing suits. That time before you could get into your room was about the only time there was no line for the Aqua-Duck water slide.
We usually pack bathing suits in a carry-on bag and change in one of the Deck 11 bathrooms (or Deck 9 on the classic ships).

- It came with a veranda, which I was happy to have, but we didn’t use it a whole lot.
- I loved getting room service for breakfast.
In my family, these two things go together. My wife insists on a verandah because her favorite thing on the entire cruise is to have coffee and chocolate croissants on the verandah in the morning.

- I don’t normally like wearing lanyard
I don't understand. Then, how do you wear pins????

20180419_114701.jpg

- Castaway Cay was very nice. Good lunch too.
If you don't have kids, go have lunch at the Serenity Bay BBQ. (That's at the adults-only beach.) They have everything that Cookies has on the family beach, but in addition, they have steak! Mmmmmm.

A cabana would have been cool, but they are pretty steep $$-wise.
My family is Platinum and on our last cruise we splurged and got a cabana for the first time. Everybody absolutely loved it. It's a great way to get out of the sun, while still being right on the beach. There are some fun "free" treats in the cabana, like snacks and drinks and cool towels. The cabana includes a free bike rental for each guest. There's an outdoor shower, so you can rinse off after coming off the beach. It really was nice. My own opinion is that it was fun, but not really worth the money. But everybody else in my party absolutely LOVED it. I think my sister will probably get one every time she cruises now.

I also say be online to book activities that first night they are available if you're interested in a princess meet-and-greet. The spots go quickly.
Don't panic if you can't get your meet-and-greet tickets online. They always hold back a few tickets for people to get once they board. Just go to Guest Services on Embarkation Day, and they will very likely be able to get you the tickets you're looking for.

The same is true of dining. If you can't get that Palo brunch reservation online, just go up to the restaurant on Embarkation Day. They will have several time slots held aside for people who couldn't make their reservations through the website.[/quote][/quote]
 

rob0519

Well-Known Member
Congratulations on your upcoming cruise. Our first cruise was on the Wonder and it was 4 nights. Enjoy the ship. My advice is explore every chance you get. Stay up late, get up early. You can sleep when you get back home. Those days will seem to go by incredibly fast. We didn't even get off the ship in Nassau, preferring to have some less crowded time onboard.
 

jaklgreen

Well-Known Member
Just to be clear, there is NO buffet meals at dinner time. At Cabanas(where they have the buffet) they turn it into a more casual, come anytime, sit down meal, NO buffet. They pretty much have non stop food options the whole day, either the buffet, sit down, or the casual burger/pizza by the pool. All of the food is included, even the snacks at the coffee bars. Soft drinks, coffee, tea, and water from the soda fountain are free and self serve 24 hours a day. You will find them by the pool. Specialty drinks like all alcohol, smoothies, fresh juices, etc are all an upcharge. The cruise is cashless(except for your room service tip) and you will just charge everything to your account. Go to the main dining rooms for dinner, the food is really good. As other said, there will be 2 seating times. When you book your cruise you can usually pick which one you want but sometimes the early seating fills up. Some have had luck when they get on the ship to change it if they do not like late seating. Go to the shows, play the midship detective agency game, and watch Jack Jack's diaper dash. If you want good info, go to the Disney Cruise Line Blog website. They have the menus and copies of the Navigators for you to look at.
 
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