Skip to main content

Cruising with Disney Cruise Line

It's a no brainer, if you want to cruise with Disney Cruise Line then part of the fun is booking on-line at www.disneycruise.com . Believe me it's so much fun to use the website. It's an easy site to navigate, you can drop a re-fundable deposit (certain restrictions apply closer to cruise date), make payments in any increments you like, plan your activities, special dining and any excursions, as well as selecting your own stateroom, all in the privacy and comfort of your own home. This way you have full control over everything.

One year I had a fabulous agent who was very helpful and knowledgeable, but, that meant that I had lost complete direct control over my reservation with DCL. The agent had to be contacted for everything and I had to then wait for the response. I had a lot of special needs requests and felt that I was a nuisance to the agent. Now, it's best if I do my own planning and I find it a lot of fun!

Let me start by saying we have an autistic, pre-teen son, so my planning involves a little more fanagling and organizing, but that's okay because all the extra efforts pay off in the long run and ensure a stress-free and memorable vacation.



We began with a Land/Sea package aboard the beautiful Disney Wonder back in 2005 where I was able to upgrade my land stay to the gorgeous Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. What a complete treat! We had a corner room, with a Magic Kingdom view in Sugar Loaf and I felt like a queen for five glorious nights (yes, I added more nights....who could resist!). Now I am proud to say that we are hooked Gold Castaway Club members and will not cruise with any other cruiseline. The fact that we keep re-booking with DCL speaks volumes.We have been anchored.

Disney Cruise Line has staterooms aboard all of their ships to accommodate every budget, and I highly, highly, highly recommend that you book as far out as you can, because the savings are substantial, and the best part is you get to select your own stateroom.

Speaking of staterooms, you need to decide what fits your needs and pocketbook. If you do not spend a lot of time in your cabin, then you might benefit from an inside stateroom or an oceanview stateroom. The oceanview staterooms are equipped with very large porthole windows, I think that they are at least four feet in diameter, seriously. On the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, the inside staterooms have a porthole screen which plays an actual view of what's in view in the forward section of the ship, making you feel as if you can see the live feed outside. These are called the Magical Portholes.

That porthole window is actually a screen which plays live-feed from the bow (forward) of the ship, making you feel like you're outside.

The Oceanview Stateroom with that large, porthole type window.....see what I mean about the size!


Most of the staterooms have the split washrooms, meaning that one has a sink and toilet, and the second has a tub and sink, allowing two people to get ready at the same time. I think that's a fantastic idea! Disney Cruise Line is the first in the industry to incorporate the split bath scenario.
 
If you like to enjoy a coffee and a good book in the morning or whenever, then a verandah stateroom is for you. I love booking these staterooms because everyone in my family rises at different times and this way I can get up and enjoy my previously ordered breakfast and bask in my solitude while waiting for stragglers to get up. Then of course, once they decide to surface, we all go upstairs to eat breakfast and for me that's a second serving LOL.



The pampering you will receive from your stateroom host is amazing and you'll take a while to become used to being anywhere else once off the ship. The stateroom host comes in twice a day, firstly to make the beds and clean the stateroom and in the evening for turning down the beds, freshening up the washrooms and making those splendid towel animals, which they call 'towelgamies'. You'll look forward to arriving in your stateroom everynight and seeing your towel animal along with your Personal Navigator (the bible of information for the next day) and the yummiest chocolates. Ahhh.... I wish I were back.



Dining on any Disney ship is a real treat! It's rotational and your servers follow you throughout your entire cruise, simply tell them about your quirks and preferences and you'll never have to mention anything again. The service is superior, with attention paid to every detail. You can order what you like off the menu, it's all included, save the specialty drinks and alcohol, for which there are packages to be considered and they're reasonable. You are welcomed to bring your own wine, but you'll be charged a re-corking fee and your wine will re-appear at every meal until the bottle is empty.

Go ahead and order what you like, I've seen people order two of everything, including the main entre. Aboard the Disney Magic, Wonder, Dream and Fantasy is Palo, an all adult, reservation with a small surcharge restaurant and it's so worth it! On the Disney Dream and Fantasy they also have Remy's for which you need a reservation and there is a surcharge.....not to be missed!









Palo's




Flanking the pools are various eateries that serve everything from hot dogs, sausages, to wraps, sandwiches, ice-cream and pizza and they're open for the most part of the day...eat all you want, while watching movies on the jumbo screen overlooking the pools, or while you enjoy the sights, and breezes along the open air decks.

On the pool deck there is a buffet restaurant open for breakfast and lunch called Cabanas on the Dream and Fantasy and Beach Blanket  and Topsiders on the Wonder and Magic respectively. They also serve dinner here if you like.

On the pool deck, you'll also find a twenty-four hour beverage station which has coffee/tea/ soda pop/ milk/ fixings for tea and hot cocoa and ice-cold water...help yourself!

You can order food in your stateroom but there is a charge for sodas and alcohol. Just run over to the beverage station and help yourself where it's free and available all day long.

Photo courtesy of WDWInfo.com
The 24 hour beverage station on the pool deck.


Speaking of the swimming pools, they are amazing! Disney listened to their patrons when placing the family pool beside the Mickey Mouse pool (childrens pool). This way, everyone can be together in the same area allowing swimming and sunbathing in ease and comfort.

I was a little ruffled with the chair saving. Not by folks who want to run over for an ice-cream or lunch, but by those who have disappeared for the entire part of the day, yet save a bunch of loungers by piling personal belongings on them. That's not considerate to other guests, and if you read your Personal Navigator, it's not allowed. You risk the chance of having your belongings removed by a Cast Member (I've never seen them do that, they're too nice). I still feel that the pools should be larger, maybe with a lazy river and that there are too many loungers in between the childrens pool and the family pool. Maybe on a fifth ship? That would be nice.

We noticed that swimming became even more relaxed when the ship was docked, as folks want to explore the ports, so less people swim. Same applies for movie watching and Spa Treatments. You can get great deals for Spa Treatments when the ship is docked and near the end of the cruise, they'll often put on some specials too, just check you Personal Navigator.

On the Disney Dream, the Aquaduck waterslide around the perimeter of the ship was introduced and is a big hit. The lines were never really very long and the wait not bad. Two people can ride the raft, one behind the other and it's a gentle fun experience, try it out. My son loved it! They replicated this Aquaduck on the Disney Fantasy, I can't wait to get on that ship in June 2013 for my 49th birthday!




There they go!

At Castaway Cay, if you want a lounger near the shore, then be prepared to get off the ship when it docks because those chairs go first. Towels are provided as soon as you get off the ship and they also sell Evian water bottles in a neat Disney Cruiseline soft cooler which is filled with ice and sells for around $15. That's a good deal because you get to keep the cooler and it can fold easily in your suitcase.
 
All you need on the island is your Key to the World Card, a sunhat, sunscreen, reading material and of course flip flops and camera. You should pre-book excursions from home as they are very popular on Castaway Cay. We loved the parasailing and the private Cabanas, and plan on those again. I know the Cabanas are expensive, but well worth it, more on that later and you'll be convinced!A lot of people like to snorkel and ride the glass bottom boat. There is a lot of activity to be tried on Castaway Cay!
 
There is a family section, a teen section and an adult section allowing people to enjoy the island as they see fit. The barbecue at Cookies is delicious, don't miss out on this experience. It's a buffet catering to all palettes and they even have fresh fruit and ice-cream stations serving the soft variety. They now have a second location near Serenity Bay called Cookies Too. Amazing!!



The eating area near Cookies BBQ.
 

Cookies BBQ


Your dinner rotation will determine when you are slated to see the live stage shows at the Walt Disney Theater every night. If you have first seating at dinner then expect to see the live show after dinner at around 8 p.m. If you have second seating at dinner then expect to see the live show before your dinner at around 6 p.m. This system ensures ample seating for all to avoid disappointment and control crowds and it works like a charm. Leave crowd management to Disney, they are masters at this.

Just beyond the Walt Disney Theater, expect there to be ample shopping. Charge it to your Key to the World Card, they do not accept cash or credit, that is all settled at the end of the cruise. Makes things safer and easier for all.




Some important suggestions/tips:

1. Try to book as early as you can either through an Agent or Disney Cruiseline because of the savings.
2. Once onboard book another cruise, you'll get 10% off the next cruise (categories 4-11), select your own stateroom and receive an onboard credit. 
3. Book the transfers from Orlando International to the Port and back, it's so worth it because Disney takes care of your luggage for you and you don't see it again until it's in your stateroom, how convenient is that!
4. Book excursions as soon as you pay off your cruise, for which you can make payments on-line if you booked through Disney Cruise Line.
5. You have the option of pre-paying gratuities before you board the ship.
6. You do not need to bring towels for the pools or the beach, they are provided.
7. Try to book a meal at Palo's or Remy's, easier times to book are when the ship is docked, as most folks opt to head out and explore or shop at the ports.
8. Go to the Cruise Directors shopping meeting where she gives great and sound advice on where to shop and with some incentives too.
9. Bring a light sweater for the dining rooms and theaters, especially the Buena Vista Theater where they show the movies, it's chilly in there because they have vents right under each seat.
10. It's a good idea to do laundry either very early in the morning or when the ship is docked.
11. Always plan on bringing/spending extra money. The souvenirs are amazing and difficult to resist. Check for sales where items are marked down with red stickers. When they do put on sales they're very good. Castaway Club members in the Gold and Platinum level receive special onboard discounts.


Ahoy!!

Comments

  1. What a terrific review Jackie! Our last Disney Cruise was in 2000- we are SO overdue. Our autistic son was 5 at the time, and I remember being shocked that he was able to participate in some of the children's activities;the Cast Members were so talented and caring!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      I know exactly what you mean. The club couselors are so accommodating, they even let us stay with my son because that was the best for us at the time.

      Thank you for reading.

      Delete
  2. What great details! I haven't done a Disney cruise cruise yet. After reading this I am even more excited to book one!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Beverage Stations Aboard the Disney Cruise Line Ships

One of the many aspects of sailing with Disney Cruise Line that you do not have to worry about, is your beverages. You don't need to buy a soda or water package or wear a wrist band. Most beverages aboard Disney Cruise Line are complimentary.

Disney Cruise Line has twenty-four hour Beverage Stations near the pools and you can have as much as you wish. The Beverage Stations come equipped with soda/water cups and hot beverage, insulated cups, lids and straws. At these stations you'll find an abundance of soda, coffee, fountain water, ice, hot water. For the hot water, they provide a variety of tea and cocoa mixes.


photo: Magical Kingdoms
photo: WishUponAStarwithUs
j.psarianos
 photo: DisneyCruiseLineBlog
You are allowed to use your own mugs, but they prefer that you use the cups they provide for hygienic reasons, which is number one on Disney Cruise Line's list. 

Soda, coffee, milk, juice, fountain water and tea are also free in all the main dining rooms. If you use Room Service, m…

The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and The Pirate's League on the Disney Fantasy

Disney Cruise Line will not leave anything out of your vacation. You'll never miss out on the magic and pixie dusting when sailing on the Disney Fantasy because your little girl can be transformed into a princess at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and your little boy can become a pirate at The Pirate's League, for which I will outline in the latter half of this post. In fact, everyone can become a pirate over at The Pirate's League. Photo: The Walt Disney Company Photo: Disney Cruise Line  Your own Fairy Godmother in training will greet your child and will create a transformation of magical proportions. You can select one of many treatment options, such as: Disney Diva, Pop Princess or Fairy Tale Princess. All of the Princess costumes are available and come complete with the wand, shoes and crown. There are also a variety of costumes available which are exclusive to Disney Cruise Line such as: Captain Mickey Mouse, Princess MinnieMouse, and FirstMate Minnie Mouse. The boutique…

Booking Disney Cruise Line with an Autistic Child In Mind

Planning, organizing, strategizing on a daily basis for an autistic child puts me in a state of constant thinking. You see, I absolutely hate inconveniencing other people be it the driver behind me  to the person standing in line in front of me at the grocery store. Always on the lookout for a a melt-down, a spontaneous, loud, sometimes inappropriate vocalization where folks don't understand and give you 'the look'. I have developed thick skin, but somedays words cut to the quick and it hurts.

Planning a Disney cruise with an autistic child in tow, means a lot of critical planning, for even the most taken for granted moments. You see, my child is a boy, and if I take him out in public, I have to make sure I can accommodate all of his needs, right down to toileting and how long the line in a store might be. So let me begin.

Booking the cruise can be a daunting process and while some folks like the luxury of a travel agent, I prefer doing everything myself. Firstly, no one can…