"In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room...in the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room...."


Friday, April 16, 2010

Disney Cruise Line Tips and Information!

 Advice, Tips, Info...your first time cruiser's S.O.S.
Since I've made it known that I am going on a DCL cruise for the first time, I have been really inundated with terrific info and tips from long time cruisers.  THANK YOU! 
I figured I would share some of that fantastic advice and info. 


Pre Cruise - 
Several people have mentioned the Passporter is the best guide out there for DCL.  I have several WDW Passporters and enjoy them...but I coulndn't find the DCL version - I bought a little Birnbaum book and found that handy, too.  Plus I love the Birnbaum's photos & small, easy to pack size. 

Buy '"pirate supplies" at Party City or other party supply store before you leave - LOL this is one I'll skip

Visit CastawayCayClub.com for useful info and links

Be sure to book your spa appointments asap or as soon as you're on board (we tried to book them online but they were very tight with availability - we're going to try and book asap once aboard the ship - we'll see if we have any luck with that!!  Also..another bit of a tip is to go for the "Rainforest Room session as they say it's economical and well worth it....not sure for me.  I don't care for steam rooms......but it's a combo of a few different things & many people love it.

Embarkation

Do your Palo and Spa reservations, then swim, then eat.  This will be the least crowded the pool will be the whole cruise - except when the ship is in port

Don't miss the sail away celebration!


Once in your Stateroom -

Order a daily wake up call (no thanks!)

The port holes are 4 feet in diameter - you can hang Xmas lights around the inside of the window 
(again - not happening!)

You can ask the cabin steward for matterss liners for the little ones (NA)

Entertainment

Check the board by guest services for the character schedule or call the hotline.  Be early for the princesses
(not sure if three adults care about this one - but if I had kids cruising with me I would be on top of it!)

Call 888-325-2500 to see what movies are showing during your cruise

For "Who Wants to be a Mouseketeer" sit near empty rows or seats to have more chance of being picked

See all the shows and don't leave early!

Kids

Allow kids to participate in the kids program at the end of the cuise - they usually get free t-shirts

Book Flounders Reef on your own rather than relying on concierge or some one else

Do-si-do with Snow White is at 645 pm in the kids club - ask your server to bring dinner first so you get there in time

Take a tee shirt or pillow case with sharpies in a ziploc bag to guest services with the kids' names, ages, and stateroom.  You'll get it returned all signed!

Laundry

Do laundry on port days or very early on sea days

Dryers will require 2 cycles.  Plan quarters accordingly

The laundry on Deck 7 provides more time than on Deck 6

 Meals

Be early at Palo for better seating location

Bring your own water on board - as long as you can contain it in a closed cooler or luggage

DCL is a Coke provider - bring your own if you are a Pepsi product drinker

Eat at least one lunch in Triton's or Lumiere's

Fruit and Cookies are available at Scoops throughout the day

Order the "All Hands on Deck" cheese platter at last once

Order the lemon meringue pie *yum* at the Palo brunch (several people have told me Palo brunch is better than Palo for dinner  - they don't offer the brunch on 3 night cruises, so we'll just have to settle for dinner)  At dinner - the chocolate souffle is suppsed to be fantastic - but must be ordered ahead of time!

Order the room service cake of the day (ok - sounds good to me!!!)

Room Service has Mickey ice cream bars even though that is not listed on the menu

You can get nachos at Pluto's even though they're not on the menu

Enjoy a glass of Fairy Tale Cuvee Champagne... or some Rosa Regale...
*advice from a friend*
Palo... Have the chocolate souffle... Also.. at ANY of the meals. and I suggest this at Palo.. they will bring you 2nd's... 3rds... etc. of ANYTHING... or... if you see more than one thing on the menu that you like as for it. I asked at Palo and got 1/2 servings of say the Rack of Lamb along with my Filet - we also shared several other things from the menu at our table.


Castaway Cay

Bahama Mamas are 2 for 1 (now there's some great info!)

Find the furthest seating away from Cookie's BBQ - it's usually the least crowded

Go to the far side of the Family Beach

Go to the food line at the far right at Cookie's BBQ - it's usually the shortest

Send yourself a postcard from Castaway Cay

Snorekel early before it gets crowded and cloudy

Wait until mid day and you may be able to get a free float by unclaimed owners (OK I don't care for this one....just what I want to get yelled at for taking somebody's float that was lying around lol)

Take the tram all the way out to the adult beach at Serenity Bay. You don't want to walk
Miscellaneous

Disney Dollars can be used at Guest Services toward your account but nowhere else on the ship

Red anchors point toward the back/aft and blue points toward the front 

Deck 4 chairs are comfortable and quiet

The Cove has the best coffee & also free pastries - different from elsewhere on board

Take a large rubber band (like you might get on your mail). If your shower head (hand held slips on a post) slides, you can twist the band and hold it up.

Something weighted (magnets, or even clothesline clips) are useful to keep the shower curtain
from floating in and sticking to you.
If your bathroom smells a little "septic", get really hot tap water and flush the vents in the floor (under the sink area - maybe hidden under a trash can)
Make sure you pack singles for Room Service tips
Get your Drink of the Day the 1st day because it will come in a DCL (plastic) hurricane glass - different colors - that's the only time I saw them serve them
If you see something at the shops that you want... BUY IT!!! 
They only carry just so much on the ships and that goes for the shop on CC, too!

On the Ariel screen up by the family pool.. .they show movies at night. They are fun to watch... sort of like a drive in movie... you can order drinks or get snacks up there.
If you are late dining... make sure you leave in time for the fireworks and the Pirate Party. It will be crowded. Watch them from the Port Side on Deck 10. (they go off on the starboard side and everyone wants to be there... but they ARE up in the air...)
Pack early on the last day because they will take your luggage at 10 pm
 Check your navigators and the screen in the main lobby - it will tell you when the characters are out. Some will be out before dinner and some after.
If you are a DVC owner - go to the reception

Future Booking

 (Now this is going to be important - especially if you have had the time of your life on this cruise!)

Check sailings and dates before you leave home so you have an idea of the cost & can compare


Be sure to book onboard for a future cruise.  You can always transfer that reservation to your favorite travel agent and you'll get onboard credits.  DCL will usually offer discounts for future cruises booked while aboard

Be sure they charge your CC for the deposit before you leave the ship - or it may create
some problems later on

If you do decide to bok onboard for a fruture cruise, do so early - it backs up toward the end of the cruise



And just think... after this first DCL cruise, you will be 
a CASTAWAY CLUB MEMBER!!!

 Thanks to everybody that sent me advice and tips! 
Happy travels!

If you are interested in a Disney Destination, please contact me at Channing@TravelWithTheMagic.com
 or 800-670-4312 ext 124 for a free no obligation quote


Travel With The Magic is a full service travel agency.  We specialize in Disney and in personalized service, itinerary planning,  dining & tour reservatoin assistance, and more.  We are Disney College of Knowledge graduates and have CLIA and IATAN cards. Book with us and receive onboard credits or a Disney gift card & a welcome packet!


TravelWithTheMagic.com


 DCL info on Magic Chat Live







Less than two weeks til our cruise!!!  I am getting very excited! 


Magical travels,
Channing
Channing@TravelWithTheMagic.com


































Monday, April 12, 2010

Disney Cruise Line - Information and Anticipation!

 I am taking my first DCL cruise at the end of this month.  I never thought I would enjoy cruising, but I am starting to get excited about it. It's DISNEY after all....and I love Disney destinations.  I guess the reason behind the growing anticipation and excitement - for the most part - is that anybody that hears I am going on this cruise is so excited for me and envious.  There must be something to it!   And then also, people that have done a Disney cruise are even more excited as they have been there done that and know how fantastic it will be.



We are only taking a little "trial" cruise for our first ever experiment with cruising.  Our cruise is the shortest Disney cruise, which includes three nights on the ship, a stop in Nassau for a day and then another day stop in Castaway Cay, Disney's private island paradise, and then back to Florida.   We don't plan to leave the ship in Nassau, but instead enjoy some spa time and a lovely lunch at Triton's.


The ship looks fantastic  - I love the classy vintage style of the Disney ships. (We will be on the Disney Wonder) The stateroom is a decent, comfortable size of about 300 sq feet.  We booked a deluxe stateroom with a veranda for a beautiful ocean view - and I imagine sitting out there in the morning, in the warmth of the sun, relaxing and enjoying coffee (delivered to me by room service) while watching the sunshine sparkle on the waves & daydreaming about the fun to come during the day.  Peaceful & heavenly!

Here's my view...... *I hope!*


And then maybe another day.....as we near Castaway Cay......


And when we aren't sitting on our private veranda...love that word lol....we could be lounging near one of the three pools, playing fun games, luxuriating in the spa, going to the movies, enjoying Disney shows, there is so much going on it's going to be difficult to choose which activity involve ourselves in....but somehow I think spa and lounging with a cocktail will win over ping pong or Family Feud.

There are shore excursions in Nassau and in Castaway Cay.  We just plan to stay on the ship in Nassau and enjoy having it "to ourselves" while everybody else is out playing at Atlantis or touring the island.  We booked  Palo for dinner that evening.  Palo is rumored to be terrific and a must do on the ship, so we are really looking forward to that dining experience.  In Castaway Cay we may opt to snorkel, bike around the island, take a glass bottom boat tour, rent water craft, enjoy a bbq, lounge on an adult only beach.....not sure how we're going to decide what to do for 8 hours. There is just too much!  This island looks just like a postcard tropical paradise.  Much better than Gilligan's Island.  I wouldn't mind being stranded here.   I picture myself having to be dragged back to the ship kicking and screaming and not wanting to leave this magical paradise of an island.

Castaway Cay photos.......



 And on Castaway Cay they have a stingray "adventure"....just looking at this was making my skin crawl...I'll be taking a pass on this one....but I hear they are smart and surprisingly gentle and trainable.


Extra fun on one of the nights at sea includes a pirate deck party.  There is a huge buffet (I hear a CHOCOLATE buffet!) and then fireworks!  I think DCL is the only cruise line that shoots fireworks off.  It sounds like people have fun dressing for the pirate theme....  I think I'll have too much junk crammed in my luggage for any pirate gear, though.  I am NOT a practical packer.  I will be on overload...a pirate costume is not on my priority list haha....but then again, maybe I'll feel under dressed for the occasion?  Hmmm....something to consider. 



The thing that bums me out is having to be off the ship sooooo darn early on embarkation day.  WOW I think we have to be out of there by 730 am.  But you know what?  It won't be the end for us.....we are headed back to WDW for a stay at our happy place, the Grand Floridian.

 
 I'll be back here posting in about a month with new photos of my own and more info and comments on how we either LOVED or didn't *I hope we do* the Disney cruise.  There is nothing like first hand experience.  I have books and people giving me advice, but it will be most interesting to see how it goes.  I'm sure I'll think of something else to blog about between now and then, though.....like my crazy, ever changing, always evolving, but maybe finally finished plans for our summer vacation.....or a "tour" of a Disney hotel or restaurant.  But I am looking forward to coming back with some fun photos to share & experiences to write about of our time on the Disney Wonder.

DCL has some terrific deals out now for select cruises.  Also, Florida residents get a terrific discount on DCL cruises.  Maybe time to think about a little 4 night Bahama/Castaway Cay getaway?




 Itineraries, Rates & Dates
 Disney Cruise Line® offers unbelievable experiences you won't find anywhere else. Through the wonder that is Disney, guests are transported on a journey of never-ending enchantment where excitement coexists with rejuvenation, serenity lives with adventure and escape is the destination.



3-Night Bahamian Cruise
Indulge in a magnificent weekend cruise great for both first-timers and those who love to sail to Nassau and Castaway Cay.


4-Night Bahamian Cruise
Enjoy fun-filled visits to Nassau and Castaway Cay with a relaxing day at sea.


In 2010, the Disney Wonder® is going to cruise for even more Caribbean fun, on special 5-night itineraries. One featuring two stops at Castaway Cay and another featuring a visit to Key West.


7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise
Experience St. Maarten - an island that is half-French, half-Dutch and full of fun. Then head to St. Thomas, famous for duty-free shopping or choose to take a Port Adventure to the island of St. John. After this stop, there's an incredible day at sea and then a day at Disney's Castaway Cay.


Set sail for the exotic ports of Key West, Grand Cayman and Cozumel with a day at Castaway Cay.


15-Night Panama Canal Cruise
The 2011 Western-bound sails to Castaway Cay and Aruba in the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and to the Mexican ports of Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas.


7-Night Mexican Riviera Cruise
The Disney Wonder® is again sailing for more unforgettable adventures in 2011, along the California coast, along the Mexican Riviera and through the Panama Canal.


6-Night Los Angeles to Vancouver Cruise
Guests depart from Los Angeles, California and travel north to Vancouver, Canada, with stops in San Francisco, California and Victoria, Canada plus 2 enchanting days at sea.


7-Night Alaska Cruise
Every year, for Disney Cruise Line® there's always new magic on the horizon. And in 2011, for the first time ever, that includes a voyage to the breathtaking shores of Alaska.


5-Night Vancouver to Los Angeles Cruise
Guests depart from Vancouver, Canada and travel south to Los Angeles, California with stops in Victoria, Canada and Ensenada, Mexico plus 2 enchanting days at sea.


14-Night Transatlantic Cruise
In 2010 and 2011, set sail on a transatlantic cruise from Florida to Spain with visits to Castaway Cay, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.


7-Night Mediterranean Cruise


10-Night Mediterranean Cruise
Set sail from Barcelona, Spain and experience legendary visits to Malta, Tunisia, Italy, Corsica and France.


11-Night Mediterranean Cruise
Sail from Barcelona, Spain and experience legendary visits to Malta, Tunisia, Italy, Corsica and France.


12-Night Northern European Capitals Cruise
Sail from Dover, England to visit incredible seaside capital cities in Norway, Denmark, Finland or Estonia, Sweden, Germany and on to Russia.


2010 and 2011 Holiday Cruises
Experience the holidays as Disney Cruise Line® celebrates the splendor of the season with special 10- and 11-night itineraries.

Of course each of the different itineraries is loaded with a variety of shore excursions and something fun for everybody aboard 

For more info on Disney Cruises and Itineraries contact us at TravelWithTheMagic.com



Deck Activities...
Be a good sport with deck activities where you can work up a sweat or just have fun. Get your competive juices flowing on the Wide World of Sports Deck, run laps on the terrific track around Deck 4, score big with shuffleboard, play ping pong at tables conveniently situated around the family pool areas, and outscore opponents in awesome arcade games at Quarter Masters.

Pools.....
Delight in three sparkling pools with the Disney touch. Bring the entire clan to Goofy's Pool, with its giant picture of Goofy on the bottom and two extra-large hot tubs. Play with the little ones in Mickey's Pool, with its two wading pools and a super slide. Or take some personal time at the adults-only Quiet Cove Pool with its two whirlpool spas and poolside bar and cafe.

Spa.....
Step into a world-class spa to relax your mind and cleanse your body with marvelous treatments. Experience the perfect workout, followed by pure relaxation. Visit a fitness facility with over a dozen cardiovascular and weight machines and invigorating training sessions in aerobics, yoga and total body shaping. And don't forget our top-notch salon for hair styling, make-up, manicures and more!
Studio Sea....
Get ready for action in this family club that looks like a television soundstage — with lots of TV monitors, director's chairs, film cans and all the bustling activity you'd expect. Get set to take the stage or just sit back and enjoy the activities that always add up to pure fun, Disney style!

The Stack....
Meet on your own terms in this personal space on the Disney Magic®. Teens (ages 14-17) cruise in style in this place packed with music, movies, video games, big-screen plasma TVs, a lounge area, dance floor, Internet cafĂ© and teen-only activities into the wee hours. And the counselors are always cool. Are you a teen? Then you can make this vacation what you want it to be — at the Stack.
  
Aloft....
Discover the ultimate hangout on the Disney Wonder®: a teen-only (ages 13-17) world where you can relax by yourself or with friends, escape with music or a movie, sing and dance, or talk and play. With big-screen plasma TVs, video games, a lounge area, Internet cafe and more, here's a place where the counselors are cool and you can just be yourself.
Ocean Quest....on the Disney Magic
Show 'em you're a nautical natural and "steer" the cruise ship in and out of ports around the world! In this scaled replica of the ship's bridge, sit in a captain's chair surrounded by LCD screen "windows" that let you look out over the actual bridge via live video feed. This is also the perfect place for kids ages 11-13 to "chill" as they play video games, create arts and crafts, or watch a movie on one of many plasma screen televisions.

Oceaneer Lab....
Explore a world beyond the imagination for kids ages 8-12 on the Disney Wonder® and for kids ages 8-10 on the Disney Magic®. Discover a giant video wall with wireless controllers, private listening rooms with state-of-the-art equipment, flat-screen computers loaded with "family-rated" software, animation programs and activities you won't find anywhere else. Be guided by Disney counselors who know how to facilitate fun. And Moms and Dads can always stay in touch with the provided pagers..

Oceaneer Club....
Welcome to a place like no other, where kids ages 3-7 find new friends and fun. Delight in programs run by trained counselors who know how to inspire the imagination. See why no one brings adventures on the high seas to life like Disney with activities tied to kids' favorite Disney Characters and stories. And Moms and Dads can always stay in touch with the provided pagers.

And there IS a nursery for infants so parents can have some alone time.

More Disney Cruise Line information

The Disney Dream Coming in 2011


If you are interested in any Disney Destination 
 email me for a free quote at  

Travel With the Magic 
 is a full service travel agency. We are Disney College of Knowledge graduates & have earned our CLIA and IATAN cards.  Our services are free and we work hard to ensure our clients 
get the best deals and have the most magical experiences possible.  


Yes....there I will be.......sitting on my little pier...not wanting to leave Castaway Cay........
it just looks like paradise.............a little slice of heaven