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WDW vet, first time cruiser - advise appreciated

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line' started by Alyssacuse, May 17, 2017.

  1. Alyssacuse

    Alyssacuse New Member

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    Hi all!

    I'm a WDW veteran, and my husband and I are looking to do something a little different for our next vacation for our wedding anniversary, and I'm leaning towards a Disney Cruise - neither of us have done any kind of cruise before, so we're total newbies!

    I've been doing some research and browsing these forums, and I'm leaning towards a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise in November 2017 leaving from Port Canaveral (Disney Fantasy).

    I would love to hear about your cruise experiences and any tips/suggestions you have to make the most of our trip! I'm curious about the room-booking process -what are the recommended locations on the ship? Is a Verandah room worth it? Also, we are two adults traveling without kids, so looking for adult-oriented activities that still incorporate that Disney magic that we love! What are some things we shouldn't miss? Thanks :)
     
  2. belledream

    belledream Well-Known Member

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    Yay, Disney Cruising is so much fun!

    We got a verandah room on the Dream and definitely thought it was worth it. Our second cruise was on the Magic and we opted for an oceanview room since the verandahs weren't the same plexiglass ones on the Dream. Still found many quiet moments and solitary places to sit/stand/oceangaze in the public areas of the ship. So I would definitely say go for it if budget allows, but you won't be feeling but you won't be feeling totally incomplete without it.

    Plenty of adult activities on board, with the obvious bars/nightlife areas, but we also enjoyed the family-oriented activities like trivia and crafting. :p

    Castaway Cay is absolute heaven! Take some time to rent bikes/enjoy Serenity Bay. EAT ALL THE FOODS!
     
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  3. Master Yoda

    Master Yoda Pro Star Wars geek. Premium Member

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    I can help with a few of those things.

    If I am not mistaken, room selections are done at the time of booking. The earlier you book, the more choices you have. As to location, I have been pretty much all over the ship and could honestly care less where they put me. I do kind of like being close to the elevators, but that is about it. I have no issue with walking and can typically make it from one end of the ship to the other is just a few minutes no matter where I get put. I would however recommend reading a few articles on the subject and see what lines up for your wants and needs. Some locations are better for those that get seasick, are light sleepers, etc.

    I have gone both with and without the Veranda. It is nice to have, but not something I would personally consider a deal breaker. I do however know people would would consider the veranda as essential as air. If you are on a tight budget and don't mind being without a real window, then I would not sweat getting an inside state room. That being said, due to the popularity of the "Virtual portholes" in the inside state rooms, the cost difference between inside and veranda is often not much.

    Both the ship and Castaway Cay have pretty strictly enforced adult only areas, and, depending on the ship, as many as 2 adult only restaurants (Remy and Palo) as well as several adult only clubs. There are also things to do like spa treatments, wine tastings, etc, that will keep you segregated from the kiddos.

    The things not to miss on the ship are pretty obvious. The Disney entertainment in the main theater are as must do as Wishes or Illuminations in the park. I would also recommend doing either Palo or Remy or both if you can swing it.

    One of the big differences you will find between the DCL and the parks is the ships are no where near as rushed. While it is generally a good idea to get to the shows a little early if you want a particular seat, you will not need to get there 2 hours early like at the parks. Dinner is on a set schedule that you will find easier to plan around.
     
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  4. ChuckElias

    ChuckElias Well-Known Member

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    Hi Alyssa, a Disney Cruise is a great vacation, but your question is so open-ended and there's just SO much that people could say, I think I'd recommend that you look through some older threads in the forum, and then come back with some specific questions. For cruise experiences, you can also look through trip reports in this forum or in the unimaginitively-named Trip Reports forum. You can read about several of my own cruises, which are linked in my signature below, as well.

    As others have already said, location on the ship isn't a big deal to me. Some people who are particularly susceptible to motion-sickness should be closer to midship and on a lower deck. Some people also feel that aft staterooms tend to feel the vibration of the ship's propellers more than the rest of the ship. But for me, personally, it's not a huge issue. If I'm aft, then I'm right under the soda station. If I'm forward, it's a shorter walk to the Walt Disney Theater.

    Let me put it this way. If I were to tell my wife that I booked us an inside or Ocean View room, she would reply, "I think you mean that you've booked YOUR room. Now, go back and book my verandah".

    My last cruise was my first without kids. Just my wife and me. It was AWESOME. We had a great time. Be sure to spend your time in Quiet Cove and Satellite Falls. Absolutely book a meal at Palo or Remy, depending on your budget. Go to the Pub Night show on the last night of the cruise. On Castaway Cay, make sure to spend your beach time at Serenity Bay. (You can get steak for lunch there, which is not available at Cookie's on the family beach.)

    When you have other questions, check back with us know-it-alls. :)
     
  5. pilka214

    pilka214 Active Member

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    Do it! Book a Verandah room, Midship, around deck 9 is perfect! There's more events on-board than you'll be able to do in multiple cruises. For adults, the mixology, tequila and margarita and other liquor tastings and classes are surprisingly entertaining and tasteful, really cool experiences. Also each night on board will feature adult only shows in the aft (rear) of the ship in the "adult only" zones, they have a crew member who's nightly job is to oversee these adult themed events.

    Since it is your first cruise ever, I do recommend doing a little research on the ports you'll be visiting and then booking an excursion through the cruiseline. It might cost a bit more but the quality of the experience is guaranteed and if it's cancelled for any reason you will be refunded.

    The spa's onboard are decent, but very expensive, however it is part of the experience, so look out for sales on certain days and you can get a good deal on treatments.

    Watch your spending onboard. If you think you open your wallet at the parks, you won't believe what you'll do on a ship. The shops and merchandise are amazing, also shopping in your ports of call will also be a necessity as you'll go some really neat places.
     
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  6. Alyssacuse

    Alyssacuse New Member Original Poster

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    Thank you all so much! I know my questions are on the more general side, I'm still studying up on all that Disney Cruises have to offer - I genuinely appreciate the help and advice. All the trip reports are wonderful and I'm quickly becoming forum obsessed :) I'm leaning towards the Verandah room, with Remy and Palo restaurants and Serenity Bay going on the "to do" list!
     
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  7. KeithVH

    KeithVH Well-Known Member

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    The Merrytime on the 18th is pretty full so that leaves the one on the 4th. Don't wait too long to pull the trigger. Things will probably only get more expensive (unless you can score a GT room). I would suggest looking at midships also rather than fore or aft. Those can sometimes be an acquired taste and "farther" away from things at times. We're partial to deck 7 or 8 ourselves. YMMV.

    Research the categories - go with the lowest level you feel comfortable with. Some people say the extra 50 square feet you get in some of the larger cabins is worth it but that can be a several hundred dollar difference and, for two people, probably isn't really worth it. A 5C is only $2,300pp right now so that isn't too bad (but was $2,100 a few months ago).

    Don't overpack. It's amazing how few clothes you really need. Especially if you are the type who vacations to relax and not run around trying to cram everything in during a single cruise.

    But also be ready for the potential for wet weather, even if just short bursts. You're still in hurricane season in November. Get one of the inexpensive waterproof, shockproof digital cameras (~$200 on Amazon). Better to drop that in the pool or at the beach than your phone.
     
  8. Master Yoda

    Master Yoda Pro Star Wars geek. Premium Member

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    This^^^

    We have been on several cruises and can never seem to get this down. I end nearly every cruise with a good 1/3rd of what I packed being untouched.
     
  9. CJR

    CJR Well-Known Member

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    The Fantasy is a beautiful ship, I'd say maybe my favorite, although it's a mostly identical twin to the Dream. You'll have a great time no matter what as there's plenty to do on board, so much that you won't do probably half of what's available in seven days.

    We almost always get inside rooms because while it's nice to have an ocean view or verandah, we spend almost all of our time on the upper decks and very little time in our rooms, except sleeping and changing. The inside rooms have a virtual porthole (Fantasy and Dream only), so you even get a real time view of the outside. Taking that into account there are no real bad rooms, in my opinion. I'd say a verandah would be worth it if you actually use it. Sometimes the price difference can be so small it's like "why not?". If the price difference is large and you think you'd be spending lots of time out of your room, it probably wouldn't be as worth it.

    A good "secret" is the Rainforest room. They don't really hide it, but it's not too obvious either. It's a special access to the spa area where you can take specialty showers, sit in amazing saunas, relax on heated chairs while looking out the window at the ocean (or reading a book), or relaxing in one of two hot tubs. You can buy one day passes in advance of your cruise or purchase a package when you get on the ship (go early they can sell out). They have individual passes and couples passes. I don't remember the exact price, but I'm pretty confident our couples pass was below $200 for seven days, which is a pretty nice deal (that's for you and another person, they don't have to a spouse either). We got free scrubs each day too, which was a nice bonus. To get the pass, just go there on your first day before the ship even leaves the port, you should have no problem, but if you get the couples pass, both people on the pass will need to be present, I believe.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
  10. hoffman1

    hoffman1 Member

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    For us, the balcony is absolutely worth it. We spend a lot of time out there.
    My biggest tip--don't feel like you have to go to every meal in the MDR. We have done 4 cruises with Disney and for the first three we felt like we had to go to the MDR every night. The servers really pressure you to be there (in our experience). On our last cruise, we went a few nights to the MDR but we also went to Palo, ate on deck, and ordered room service. We just did what we felt like each night. It was so much more relaxing.
     
  11. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member

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    To buy it? Don't remember.. but certainly not to use it. We always do the spa open house on departure day to get any freebies.. then sign up for the couple's pass as we leave. It's the best thing on the boat if you want an escape. We convinced our neighbors as first time cruisers.. and on return they said that was the best part of the cruise.
     
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  12. Phonedave

    Phonedave Well-Known Member

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    Just some general advice, some DCL specific, some just cruising in general.

    I think a verandah room is very much worth it. Especially if you order room service (even if just coffee and a danish). Room service is included and it is great to sit on the verandah for 15 minutes in the morning and drink coffee.

    Be wary of spa treatments. They are OK, but cost an arm and a leg (on all cruises). All cruises (and most resorts as well) tend to try and push you to buy products, but DCL takes the cake. It's like going to a free timeshare sales pitch. If you are going to do any spa treatments on DCL be prepared for a very hard sell of products (just tell them no). Also, the mens facial and shave - horrible. They advertise it as the closest shave you will every have. I guess taking off a few layers of skin is close, so technically it was not a lie.

    Unless they have upgraded the soundproofing, try to avoid cabins directly over the nightclub if possible/

    Pack light. I am also an advocate of dressing up for the semi-formal and formal nights. DCL (and other lines0 have pressing and dry cleaning services that are suprisingly reasonable. No need to go crazy with garment bags, you can have your good clothes pressed when you get on bood (as your room steward)

    Along the same lines, you are not going to be wearing slacks or a dress all day long. You will wear them for dinner. Two pairs of slacks and 3 shirts, or a few mix and match skirts / dresses / tops is plenty for 7 dinners (unless you are a sloppy eater :) )

    Watch out for excursions that take you somewhere where you can "enjoy" the excursion operators beach, bar, sport courts, etc. Check into when they take you back to port. I did one once in Nassau where we swam with stingray's. Excellent time with the rays, but it was on an isalnd. We finished with the rays, and the next boat back was 3 hours later. We were "captive" at their overpriced bar and lunch hut, and could rent floats for insane prices. You paid for time on the ship, make sure that if you do an excursion, that they take you back to the ship when it is over in a timely manner.

    You will pay less for excursions you book yourself. Excursions through DCL have the benefit of being vetted by DCL and if something goes wrong with the excursion, and they do not make it back to the ship for all aboard, they will either hold the ship or work something out. IF you booked on your own, your on your own.

    Shows in the theater are excellent, see them.

    If you are into running, they do a 5K on Castaway Cay the morning you get there.

    - dave
     
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