Disney Cruise Line

Julia’s Best Week Ever, February 23, 2017: A Wonder-ful Week

by on February 23, 2017

Living as close as we do to the parks has huge advantages. Relaxed lifestyle. Ability to go to Disney for a quick visit whenever we want. Being surrounded by people who really “get” the magic. It does have the disadvantage that going to Walt Disney World, even when staying on property, doesn’t have that same “vacation” vibe that we used to get when visiting from elsewhere. It’s still magical, but a different kind of magic. Every once in a while, it is important for us to recharge that vibe, and our preferred method for doing so is a Disney cruise. It also has the added benefit of keeping us (mostly) out of contact with work. This year, our goal is to do an Ultimate Grand Slam of all four Disney ships in one year. In the past, we’ve only done the “big ships” — the Fantasy and the Dream. Because of this, I was very excited to see how a “small ship” like the Wonder would stack up. After picking our daughter up from school, off we went to Port Canaveral. We arrived around noon and the terminal was fairly empty.

Within moments, we were on board and chowing down at Cabanas while waiting for our room to be ready.

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#PlusMyVacation – 10 Ways to Enhance Your Disney Cruise

by on February 21, 2017

#PlusMyVacation - Disney Cruise Line

Welcome back to another #PlusMyVacation – where we look at ways to add a little something extra special to your travels. Today’s edition looks how to make your Disney Cruise even cruisier and extra relaxy.

A Disney cruise is an amazing experience, and you don’t need to add a thing to have an amazing time! But let’s say you wanted to! Maybe you’ve done several cruises and want to add a little extra. Maybe you want to make this a once in a lifetime kind of vacation. Or maybe you just have money to burn! And if you do, you should definitely invite some of us to go with you. Cruising with the Touring Plans bloggers? What could be more fun?

Whatever reason you may have to plus your vacation, here are 10 ways you could do it!

1. Concierge – If you are going to spend more money on your cruise, this is my number one recommendation for what to spend it on. I cannot say enough about how much I love concierge. I wrote a previous blog post that lays out the amazingness of it. If you thought you were pampered on a cruise in a regular stateroom, you may as well have been on a tugboat compared to the experience you’ll have in concierge. Disney’s concierge hosts are the best of the best. The rooms are luxurious and if you’re lucky enough to be in a suite, you won’t believe how much room you have. There are lounges on all four ships now, which I think is a huge plus. I love relaxing in the lounges. My one caution? It’s very very hard to go back from concierge. Once you’ve done it, you won’t want to ever not do it.

2. Upcharge Meals – It may seem silly to pay for food when there is sooooo much free food onboard. Trust me, these upcharge meals are worth it. Palo is Disney’s adult-only Italian restaurant onboard all four ships. It’s $30 (plus gratuity) a person for dinner or brunch which is served on sea days. $30 for an adult only meal may sell you right there! But if it doesn’t, let me assure you that it’s a delicious meal. I’d be hard pressed to tell you which is my favorite, dinner or brunch. Dinner has filet mignon and one of my top two desserts on the entire planet – the chocolate soufflé. Brunch has my favorite entrée – chicken parmesan. And sticky buns. And croissants. And flatbreads. And I could go on all day. Remy is only on the Dream and Fantasy, and is the adult only French restaurant. Remy has four different dining experiences! There’s an amazing multi course dinner which is $85. There’s also a champagne brunch, a dessert experience, and a small plate tasting. I’m a pretty picky eater, and while there are many things in Remy that aren’t in my normal wheelhouse of foods, I can tell you every meal I’ve had there was delicious. Experience is the right word for Remy. You aren’t just eating delicious food, it’s an experience. From start to finish. Try it! If you’re looking to plus your vacation even more, there are even more upcharge options like wine pairings in your upcharge restaurants.

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10 Romantic Things to Do on a Disney Cruise

by on January 20, 2017

10 Romantic Things to do on a Disney Cruise

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, people!  Are you ready?  Well you better get ready, because it’s coming!  According to your local Target’s seasonal aisles, it’s been coming since December 26th.  So you’re behind!  You better make some plans.  Preferably some romantic plans with the one you love.  I’m here to help.  I have 10 cruise ideas for you.  Use them on Valentine’s Day or to make up for Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t matter!  Here are 10 ideas for romance on a Disney cruise.

1. Pop the Question – At first it may appear that number one is just a shameless excuse to use my now favorite-photo-of-all-time in my blog post! In that vein, I present said photo of my son proposing to his girlfriend on the Disney Fantasy a few weeks ago! Perfect, right?  But that’s not why this suggestion is number one!  That’s just a very (very) happy bonus.  Insert all the smiley emoticons in the world.  But seriously.  If you are ready to take the next step with the one you love, there aren’t many prettier places to do it!  Find a quiet deck at sunset, pick a beautiful island, or drop down on one knee in the atrium craziness before dinner if you want what will probably be a wildly enthusiastic audience!  There are a lot of great opportunities to propose onboard.  It may be the perfect place for you!

2. Leave the Children at Home – Disney cruises are not just for families with children! I’ve done several adult-only cruises, two with just my husband and a few with groups of friends–and I’ve loved every one. If you want the ultimate romantic Disney cruise, leave your children at home, and get away by yourselves.  You won’t regret it!  Think about quiet mornings on the verandah sipping coffee together.  Blissfully alone!  Don’t forget to request a table for two in the main dining rooms!

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Daisy’s Best Week Ever January 19, 2017: Sailing Away!

by on January 19, 2017

Hello, lovebugs! It’s never too early to get working on your new year’s resolutions. With that in mind, I started 2017 off with a cruise! We had planned to sail later in the year, but decided to move it up to the first Star Wars Day at Sea cruise for 2017! More on that later, but below you can see the ship model inside the cruise port. We arrived at roughly 11:15am on our day of departure and were boarding by 12:30pm, so we didn’t have much time to admire the decor.

It was a gloomy, rainy day outside. However, inside the Disney Fantasy it was beautiful and inviting. Even Goofy lined up to welcome us onboard! Maybe I’ve always been too early before, but I’ve never seen characters greeting guests. I also saw Belle later in the day clapping as guests started their vacations!

There’s so much more cruise fun to share! Please click to read more.

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Disney Cruise Line Ships at a Glance

by on January 3, 2017

©Disney

Is taking a Disney Cruise on your list of 2017 resolutions? Well, if you’re never done it before, you may have some questions about the four ships in the DCL fleet.

Do you ever find yourself trying to remember what the differences are between the four Disney Cruise Line ships? I know I do. When we write the Unofficial Guide To Disney Cruise Line each year, I constantly have to go back to confirm who has Star Wars and who has Avengers? Which bar is O’Gill’s and which is Crown & Fin? Which dining room features Ariel and which has Tiana? With that in mind, we’re sharing our cheat sheet to the DCL ships.

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Reduced Deposit Special for Disney Cruise Line

by on December 28, 2016

Disney Cruise Line Discount

Want to book a Disney Cruise, but feeling a little tapped after the holiday? Disney Cruise Line announced a discount (or “discount”) today that may help ease your pain.

©Disney

If you book a 7-night or longer cruise between now and February 15, 2017, your deposit will be half the normal amount. Disney Cruise Line deposits are normally 20% of the cruise fare (not including taxes. fee, and port expenses). Naturally, the additional 10% you don’t pay upon booking will be due when final payment is due (90 days before sailing for most cruises, but check out our breakdown here for the labyrinth of dates for your particular cruise). No booking code is needed for this offer.

By the way, yes, you do already pay a reduced deposit if you book while onboard.

The fine print:

  • Cruise must be 7-nights or longer (sorry, if you wanted to cruise the Dream).
  • Restricted (IGT ,OGT, VGT) fares are not included.
  • Concierge level cabins are not included.
  • Offer can’t be combined with other discounts or offers.

Thanks for Sue Pisaturo of Small World Vacations for letting us know about this offer.

Do you enjoy straight talk about the Disney Cruise Line? Check out the Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line.

 

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10 Things to Look Forward to in 2017 on a Disney Cruise

by on December 14, 2016

2017 is coming quick!  Have you booked a cruise yet?  Well get on that!  Of course, I’m always ready for new Disney Cruise Line itineraries/features/enhancements, and here are the top 10 in 2017 you will want to get ready for as well!

1. Fantasy Refurb – Refurb may be too big of a word. The Disney Fantasy has a short dry dock in May of 2017. While I certainly don’t expect a reimagining on the scale of what the Wonder and Magic have recently gone through, there should be some updates.  I’d put money down that the Oceaneer Club will be re-themed.  Among other additions, the Dream has the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars, the Magic has Marvel’s Avengers Academy, and the Wonder now has a Marvel Super Hero Academy.  Trust me, the Fantasy is going to get something!  Harry Potter?  Ha!  Just kidding.  I’d also suspect a sweet shop along the lines of Vanellope’s on the Dream.  Something is coming!  Can’t wait to see what!

2. Double Dips on the Fantasy – The Fantasy has a couple of double dips in store in 2017! In case you have no idea what that means and thought I just referenced ice cream, which would not be out of the question, a double dip is an itinerary with two stops at Castaway Cay! That’s almost better than ice cream!  Double Dips are thrown in from time to time on the Disney Dream, but this is new for the Fantasy.  The Christmas sailing on December 23, 2017 is a double dip.  How great of a Christmas present is that?  Recently Disney also quietly announced a 3-night double dip on the Fantasy in May right at the end of the scheduled dry dock.  That never happens.  The double dip or the fact that the Fantasy is doing a 3-night.  Disney must be very confident that they have plenty of time for whatever they have planned for the dry dock, and decided they were leaving some money on the table.  Disney. Does. Not. Leave money on the table.  If you’d like to be the first onboard to see a spruced up Disney Fantasy, or just want the fun of a shorter cruise on the Disney Fantasy that’s going to Castaway Cay twice, this is the sailing for you!

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Tips for Meeting Characters on a Disney Cruise

by on November 21, 2016

Disney Cruise Line - Mickey

I recently got back from my first Disney Cruise, and as a character fan, meeting characters was a top priority. I ended up meeting 22 different characters, with 57 different outfits, and a total of 70 actual meets on our 7 day Disney Fantasy cruise. Each cruise (even on the same ship and same time of year) will be different, but here are some tips on having as much character fun as I did.

Make the Navigator your new best friend. Each night, you’ll receive a Navigator for the next day, which has the daily schedule for many activities on your cruise. You’ll find the characters listed in a yellow box on one page, as well as on a tv guide looking chart on a separate page. I recommend using the yellow box to plan your character hunting, since sometimes, there are too many characters in a given time to list them on the chart. I also found the yellow box easier to read and glance at quickly. I folded the navigator page each day so that I would only see the character yellow box (tip: pick up extra Navigators at the Guest Services to keep as mementos from your trip.)

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10 Things I love About the New Disney Wonder!

by on November 16, 2016

What a Wonder-ful trip I just had on the new Disney Wonder!  Are you Wonder-ing how many Wonder jokes I can make?  Well I’m done.  That got annoying after two!  Am I right?

But seriously, I love it when Disney updates their ships.  It’s so fun to board a ship that you feel like you know every inch of, only to discover it’s even better than before.  The Disney Magic re-imagining blew me away, and while the Wonder had very similar upgrades, it was both well done and about time.  Here are 10 of the best changes!

1ablog41. Tiana’s Place – Tiana’s had big hype going in and it did not disappoint! Parrot Cay is a distant memory of the classic ships and Tiana’s has taken over. Tiana’s is a southern-style restaurant inspired by the heroine of “Princess and the Frog” and her Louisiana bayou home.  The menu was spectacular and very different from the other restaurants.  Beignets.  Need I say more?  Yes, I probably should.  At least one of my travelling companions said the beignets are one of the finest dishes Disney has ever served on a ship.  Additionally, the entrees include Cajun spiced sea bass, shrimp jambalaya, and pork tenderloin on an andouille sausage stew.  While you’re enjoying stuffing your face, there’s live (!) music, Mardi Gras beads, and a celebration/parade with Tiana, her friends, your servers, and even you!  It’s a fun, festive, loud atmosphere—and one of my favorite restaurants on any of the ships!

2. Frozen, A Musical Spectacular – Love or hate Frozen, this new show is worth your time. The special effects are excellent, and the performers just nailed it—even the incredibly difficult “Let It Go” vocals. And oh my goodness, the puppets!  The puppetry work is so well done, and some of the puppets are so cute you just want to hug them and then take them home.  The costumes, the scenery, the choreography, loved it.  All of it.

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10 Options for Getting to the Port for Your Disney Cruise

by on October 28, 2016

So you’re booked on a Disney cruise and ready to go!  Almost ready?  You need to figure out a way to get to the port!  Well I have some things for you to consider. 10 of them of course!

disney-magic-1091. Disney Transfers From the Airport – Disney offers transfers from at least one airport in every port city to the terminal. If you are planning on using Disney transfers, check which airport you are flying into!  For Port Canaveral, for instance, Disney transfers run to and from the Orlando International Airport.  The do not run from Sanford.  Sometimes the money you save by flying into the smaller airport isn’t worth it when you look at the new transportation costs you’ve incurred!  Several other cities have similar situations.  The transfers vary in price depending on how far the airport is to the port.  In Orlando they are $35 one way.  In Miami they are only $20 one way.  The port in Dover, England, is a very long way from Heathrow Airport, so the transfers are $75 one way there.

2. Disney Transfers From a Hotel – You can also get transfers from certain hotels to the port. In Orlando, you can get transfer from any Disney resort to the port for the same price as airport transfers, $35 one way. You can also stay at the Hyatt in the Orlando International Airport and take the airport transfers.  That’s one of my favorite places to stay because Disney will pick up your luggage from your room and deliver it right to your ship’s stateroom.  In other ports, transfers from a hotel are always available if you book a pre- or post-night stay through Disney Cruise Line.  You could also book a hotel near the airport, and just get back to the airport and take a transfer from there.

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