What’s most important to you when picking a Disney cruise?
There are many factors to take into consideration when planning a Disney cruise. You can’t just show up at the port on any day of your choosing, pay for a ticket, and head on in, for instance. Where the cruise is leaving out, where it is going, when it is, how much it is…there are a wide variety of variables to take into consideration. With more than 900 votes cast, here’s the results.
The internet is a wonderful source of information power at your fingertips. Unfortunately, with great power comes great ability to spread misinformation. (I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who once said that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.) Here are some tidbits of misinformation about Disney Cruise Line that often come up from online sources, along with information to clarify some of these statements.
1. Everything is included on Disney Cruise Line.
Compared with some other cruise lines, there is more included with the base price of a Disney Cruise. Non-alcoholic beverages from the drink station, many activities, most dining, many items from room service, and some snack options (like soft-serve ice cream or nibbles from the coffee bar) are included, and you can have a wonderful time without spending a fortune on extras. On the other hand, there are some extra charges for gratuities, bingo, port adventures, spa treatments, alcoholic beverages, food from theater snack bars, drinks from the coffee bar or juice bar, meals at Palo (on all ships) or Remy (on the Dream and Fantasy). A small package of internet service is free if you sign up before midnight on your first night, but additional internet is available for purchase. (Note: Some of the additional costs are waived for certain circumstances, like internet provided for certain levels of concierge staterooms and a free dinner at Palo available for Platinum Castaway Club members.)
You can tell just how different the ships are the minute you walk into the atrium.
2. All ships are the same.
There are many similarities between the four Disney Cruise Line ships, but there are also significant differences. In some cases, it is simply a case of different names for the same thing. The young child splash area that is called Nemo’s Reef on the Dream and Fantasy is basically the same as Dory’s Reef on the Wonder, for instance. In other cases, there are significant differences. The Magic and Wonder don’t have Remy for a high-end dining experience. Rooms within the kids’ clubs have different themes on different ships. Minigolf and Midship Detective Agency are not available on all ships. Even something as simple as the advice of looking for the Seahorse outside of stateroom doors to know you are on the Starboard side of the ship doesn’t work on all of the ships. If there is something specific that you know you want to do, check the Disney Cruise Line site to make certain it is offered on the ship that you will be sailing on.
3. The late-night Pirates buffet has been discontinued.
Every time this comes up, there is also a follow-up from many repeat cruisers of “What pirate buffet?” Part of the confusion exists because the pirate buffet isn’t largely publicized. It occurs immediately after the Pirates in the Caribbean party and fireworks in Cabanas, but is only open for an hour or less. It isn’t largely noted on the Personal Navigator, but its time is listed under the “Late Night Snacks” section of the Dining & Lounges section. The buffet includes some unique options including make-your-own tacos, a crepes station, and turkey legs. Although I’m not a huge fan of the food, I do love going to look at the pirate-themed carved melons.
If my social media lists are any indication, a lot of people are preparing to head out on summertime cruises. This week, we’re asking you about your priorities when planning a cruise. Here’s this week’s question:
What’s most important to you when picking a Disney Cruise?
Price/Price per Night (46%, 176 Votes)
Ports visited (35%, 133 Votes)
Which ship it's on (15%, 59 Votes)
Other (4%, 16 Votes)
Total Voters: 384
Feel free to vote here or on Twitter, or leave your specific thoughts in the comments. And if you are lucky enough to have a cruise coming up soon, Bon Voyage!
How about a blog post on saving money? Everyone likes to save money right? I mean, you’ve spent a lot of money on your Disney cruise, do you need to spend a lot more onboard? You don’t! I always say once you are onboard, assuming you’ve prepaid your gratuities, you don’t have to spend another penny to have a great time. You could spend another penny! You could spend a lot of pennies in fact, see my post on plussing your Disney cruise for examples of how. But you don’t have to! So here are 10 things you can skip.
1. Soda/Coke/Pop – Don’t pay for soda! Don’t you know that Disney is just about the only line out there with free soda, day and night? Well it is! There is always free soda in the drink machines on the pool deck, and in all of the dining rooms. I just spent $70 for a week’s worth of unlimited soda on Royal Caribbean and it pained me greatly! So don’t buy it anywhere! That’s just silly. Not from a bar, not outside the movie theater, not from room service. Don’t do it. Wouldn’t be prudent.
2. Room Service – Let’s be clear, the vast majority of room service is 100% free. There are some packaged snacks like M&M’s, nuts and popcorn that will cost a few dollars. There are also some soda (see number 1) and alcohol options that cost money. But why? Why would you spend money on food from room service when there are great free options right there! Good free options! Cheese platter, buffalo wings, French fries, steak sandwich, cake of the day! Mickey bars! You really don’t ever need to leave your room if you think about it. Don’t forget to tip the person that brings it to you though!
Most theme park fans have a bucket list. Whether it’s hitting every international Disney park or finally experiencing that very expensive meal you’ve always wanted, there’s usually something that brings a wistful look to our eyes. With that in mind, we asked our fabulous blog team: “What’s on your Disney bucket list?”
1. Star Wars Day at Sea. I have yet to do a Disney Cruise, and if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right: Lucasfilm panelists, movies shown on a loop, characters galore, amazing cosplay, and delicious food. Coincidentally, all of it happens to be on a majestic cruise ship which in and of itself has amazing perks!
2. Tokyo Disneyland/Disney SEA
3. A week in the Grand Californian Resort
4. Adventures by Disney to Africa
5. Eat at Sanaa and finally have that bread about which I’ve heard so much.
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.
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.
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!