Pushed the Button/ Booked the Cruise

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by Mom of 3 Princesses, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Mom of 3 Princesses

    Mom of 3 Princesses Mouseketeer

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    Just wanted to pop in and say "Hi". After many many many years of Disney, and MANY ALLLMMMOOOSSSTTT taking the plunge and booking a cruise, I finally did so yesterday. This is a completely different world for us, and I have seen way too many bad movies, and we are out of our element.

    When we go, we will be traveling with a 5 year old boy and a 11 year old girl and Hubby and I. I booked an Oceanview GTY stateroom on the Fantasy for an Eastern Caribbean Cruise in Jan. 2019. ((can't do the verandah, would never ever push the button on this one))

    I gave myself some time to be completely prepared for this trip. Mentally, and strategically.

    So give it to me, tips tricks and well.. good and bad, to watch out for, be ready for , and enjoy.

    We will be driving in to PC, so we are not sure .. do we need to stay somewhere the night before? How do you know what time you board? Will I need anything special ... We all have Passports etc. How much are tips? Who do we give those tips to? What about the kids? Should I panic / not stress/ be cautious of kids club..

    Looking at you my friends, I need to get to the point of time that I CANNOT cancel, cause, I need a vacation....
     
  2. disneymomto5

    disneymomto5 DIS Veteran

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    Ok, well I could answer most of your questions, but here is the first.....you will LOVE it! At least, I love it and my family loves it and we've been Disney people for many years.

    Disney will let you know what time to board closer to your cruise, so whether you need to drive in the day before depends on where you're driving from. Tips are $12 per person per day, you pay either at the end or you can prepay the tips. They give you envelopes and you designate the amount. The $12 is pretty much the minimum, but you can up it if you feel you got great service (and you usually get great service). When my kids were little they loved the clubs, it depends on your kids. Hang in there no stress, happy planning....
     
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  4. TFC_UNTIL_I_DIE

    TFC_UNTIL_I_DIE Parrot Head Air Miles Hunter Red Patch Boy

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    You have plenty of time to figure all these things out. With the age of your kids, the one thing I would probably get figured out good and early is which dinner sitting. The early one does tend to fill up when there are lots of little ones aboard. If you go to the early dinner, then you go to the show afterwards, otherwise reverse. The late dinner can be very late for some kids.

    You will have a fantastic time. My family has few vices in life....we don't smoke, we aren't drinkers, we don't gamble. But we have a very bad addiction to Disney cruises! (aka 'the Mouse Boat' as we refer to it in our home)
     
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  5. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS veteran

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    The best tip - don't overthink the trip. Relax.

    If you're driving, how far are you driving? If it's just a couple of towns over from Port Canaveral, you probably don't need to come in the day before. If it's a longer trip, it's not a bad idea to come in early (allowing for any traffic conditions that might pop up).

    When you do your online check in at 75 days out from the cruise, you'll select a Port Arrival Time. Your PAT is tied to the boarding number you get when you check in at the port.

    Gratuities are automatically added to your onboard account. In the amount of $12.00 per guest (each person on the reservation) per night. That $12.00 breaks out to $4.00 per guest per night to your room host; $4.00 per guest per night to your dining room server; $3.00 per guest per night to your assistant server; and $1.00 per guest per night to your head server. Any purchased beverages will have a 15% auto gratuity added. Spa services have an 18% auto gratuity. Tips for porters, excursion guides are extra.

    Kid's pretty much take to the kid's clubs fine. Some don't. Oceaneer's Club/Lab is ages 3-12; Edge, ages 11-14; and Vibe ages 14-17.

    You have quite a while before you've reached the penalty date (90 days out from the cruise, I believe), so just relax and enjoy learning things here. Just scan through the various threads, read what interests you. There's also a FAQ sticky (some items a little dated, but mostly good info). When you have specific questions, ask, we're here to help.
     
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  6. Mom of 3 Princesses

    Mom of 3 Princesses Mouseketeer

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    Thank you!! Just switched the times to early dinner. My little ones are early bedtime kids!




    Thank you!!! We will be driving in from NC, but will probably be staying somewhere midway on Friday night. Great info! Thanks

    Do you know how much parking is at the Ports??
     
  7. Mom of 3 Princesses

    Mom of 3 Princesses Mouseketeer

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    Thanks!!
     
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  8. lklgoodman

    lklgoodman DIS Veteran

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    Hi, my family will be going on our 5th Disney cruise Jan. 12, 2019, perhaps we'll be on the same cruise. Planning for a cruise is so much easier than WDW. I usually look over the choices of port excursions that Disney offers and then check different sites like TripAdvisor to see what kind of reviews the excursions have. I was worried when we went on our first cruise about leaving our dd in the kid's club. She was 6 yrs old at the time and I had never left her with strangers. Luckily she loved it, she still does at 9 yrs old. We usually have to drag her out of it. You will receive a personal navigator in your stateroom each night that lists all of the different activities for the following day. You can also get the navigator on a Disney app. We leave our phones turned off and in the cabin safe, so not sure how it works. My dh and I use the 2 wave phones that our in the cabin to contact one another whenever we aren't together on the ship. We always fly in the day before because we didn't for our first cruise and nearly missed the ship because our flight was delayed. If you can drive to PC easily and don't have to worry about bad weather, then there's no need to come the day before. It is always nice to escape the freezing cold weather and begin our vacation a day early though. Don't be surprised if your kids stay up a lot later on the cruise than at home. My dd goes to bed at 8 at home, when we cruise she's up until midnight, and still wakes up ready to go by 7am, unfortunately!!!
     
  9. GPaLarry

    GPaLarry Have earned one ear!

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    Agree with PrincessShmoo, let the magic come to you. Our first DCL cruise was an EBPC with son and his family in 2008. We had no idea what to expect and didn't know about this web site. I got a Passporters book and that was our Bible. Now, the internet and Facebook (Disney Cruising, Disney Cruise Line, etc.) cover lots, maybe too much, of information that might help you. Some people get into door decorations (like me) and fish extenders (not me). For your first cruise perhaps you can pass on these, but see what they are like on board and get involved with one or both on your next cruise with the mouse. The DCL web site is helpful in answering a number of questions, too...look for all the small tabs and pulldowns and at the bottom of the pages. When you board, look at your daily Navigator to give you more choices for events, shows, activities, etc. than you can do in one cruise. However, it is your vacation and you are allowed to relax and do almost nothing but eat, bask in the sun, eat, sleep, repeat. ...and take your camera, for sure...lots of memories to be made.
     
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  10. lklgoodman

    lklgoodman DIS Veteran

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    One more thing, use the ships wake up service. It's a recording of Mickey, my dd really liked it, we had to do it every morning.
     
  11. Geomom

    Geomom DIS Veteran

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    Check out Scott's blog on all things Disney Cruise Line--including previous personal navigators and menus. It is a great research tool!
    http://disneycruiselineblog.com/

    People have mentioned most of the gratuities, and most can just be added to your account and paid with your credit card. Plan to have some small bills in your room to tip for the FREE room service. (Note that while MOST items from room service are free...alcohol, soda cans, prepackaged snacks are NOT.) Also note that a 'secret' free menu item is Mickey Ice Cream bars!

    Most food/drink is included in your cruise cost. There is a free self serve beverage station available 24hrs a day on the pool deck--fountain drinks, coffee, tea, cocoa, etc. Non-alcoholic drinks are free at the buffets, and Main dining rooms(MDR's). ANY drink you get from a bar will have a charge attached to it. Alcoholic drinks and smoothies have charges. Specialty coffee/tea from the coffee shops is an upcharge...but the SNACKS there are FREE. The Fantasy has an upcharge ice cream/sweet shop...but there IS still free soft serve ice cream also on the pool deck. All the 'counter service' type food on the pool deck is included, ditto the buffet, all the main dining rooms. There is an upcharge for the snack foods by the theaters Some upcharge foods at the bar (also some free ones that are just out for the taking during certain hours.) There are 2 adult only upcharge restaurants on the Fantasy--Palo ($30/person) and Remy ($95/person). We have only cruised once, on the Wonder...we felt no need to do an upcharge restaurant, we wanted to experience all the MDR's as there is a new menu every night. (Disney has rotational dining...you get to dine in each restaurant 2x and one 3x...you get each restaurant's menu once and the other 4 nights will have a theme menu--pirate's, prince and princess, etc.)

    Tip: If you think you might cruise again within 2 years--book a 'placeholder cruise' while on board. It is a $250 refundable deposit that will give you 10% off a future 'non blackout date' cruise AND a $100-$200 on board credit (depends on length of cruise, higher amount is for cruises of 7 nts or longer.)

    You will have a great time on your cruise! We were not 'cruise people', but we did the Disney Alaskan cruise on the Wonder in August 2016 as our first ever cruise and LOVED it...but we do love all things Disney, so that helped!
     
  12. Mom of 3 Princesses

    Mom of 3 Princesses Mouseketeer

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    Thanks everyone! If you think of anything else, let me know.. I really have a lot to learn. WE have never been on a cruise, and like I said, this is way out of our element!
     
  13. lklgoodman

    lklgoodman DIS Veteran

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    Another thing, hopefully you won't have any problems with seasickness, but I always go to one of the adult club restrooms and get some sea sickness bags to put in our cabin. I also carry one with me, have never needed it, but feel better knowing I have it. The bags are by the sinks, the restrooms are the only place I have seen them, don't know why they don't have them in the cabins, but they don't. I always take seasickness pills. They also have green apples on the ship that are suppose to help. There are small refrigerators in the cabins. I get yogurt from Cabana's(the buffet) to put in it so my dd can have a snack if she wants, also glasses of juice/milk. You can take food/drinks from Cabanas to your cabin if you wish. Also, order the cookies from room service, they are HUGE and so good. We take them to the movies/live shows since they are free, candy/popcorn by the movie theater is an additional charge.
     

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