Disney Cruise Line

New Disney Cruise Line Cancellation and Final Payment Policy

by on February 3, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Disney Cruise Line has notified travel agents of changes to its cancellation and final payment policy. The policy goes into effect for guests who book a new cruise March 3, 2015, or later, or who change a modify and existing reservation after that date. What was once summed up in two bullet points on Disney’s site is now a bit more complicated. TouringPlans has tried to make it a little easier to grasp. All cruises require a deposit of 20% of the vacation cost to book except cruises booked while onboard, which only require a 10% deposit.

What hasn’t changed:
Categories IGT, OGT, and VGT are still non-refundable, non-transferrable, and must be paid in full at the time of booking. These are restricted rates that Disney used to fill the last few cabins on its cruises. For Concierge (OOV, OOT, OOS, and OOR) level staterooms, all deposits are non-refundable.

What has changed:
Nearly everything else.

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Cape Canaveral Dining: Preacher Bar

by on January 30, 2015

Port Canaveral is rapidly becoming one of the state’s most bustling cruise terminals. And that’s been good news for the nearby towns of Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach — at least, where food is concerned.

Preacher Bar Wall - Natalie Reinert

Eclectic decor and rich jewel tones light up an unassuming strip mall location at Preacher’s Bar in Cape Canaveral.

The chain restaurants are always available — if you really want to eat at Denny’s on the night before your Disney Cruise, you can. But if you’re ready to begin the serious eating before you even roll up to the buffet at Cabanas, new local establishments are setting up shop within just a few miles of the port, and they are ready to feed you well. For an eclectic Cape Canaveral dining experience, try Preacher Bar.

Kelsey’s Pizzeria has long been a local mainstay, serving up pizza and Italian dishes to Brevard County residents for more than 30 years. But with at their new Cape Canaveral restaurant, Preacher Bar, they’re diversifying, with a smart Americana menu that hits all the foodie buzzwords. Start with crisp applewood bacon served with a spicy chili-garlic sauce, then cool the tastebuds with a crispy take on the traditional club sandwich, and finish, of course, with Key Lime Pie. (You’re in Florida, after all.)

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How Stateroom Category Affects the Price of Your Disney Cruise

by on January 29, 2015

t_logo_fbYou’ve decided on the ship and itinerary you want – now it’s time to get the best price on your Disney Cruise. There are two factors you can control when booking your cruise to keep costs down. First is your dates – and we looked at that yesterday if you want a refresher. Second is your stateroom category. Some people have strong feelings about their staterooms, right down to wanting to book the exact same one from cruise to cruise. Others take the approach of “it’s where I’m sleeping so who cares – I’ll take what’s cheapest.” But whatever your preference, your choice can have a big (or surprisingly not so big) impact on the price of your cruise.

Click the image to see it full size.

Disney Cruise Line pricing per cabin on a 7-night cruise.

Disney Cruise Line pricing per cabin on a 7-night cruise.

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Least Expensive Dates for your Disney Cruise

by on January 28, 2015

TouringPlans logoIt’s the end of January. The Northeast is covered in snow. You’ve finished paying for Christmas. So who’s ready for a Disney Cruise? I know I am. There’s no question that among the mass market cruise lines (and, yes, as much as I love them, Disney is still mass market), Disney charges a premium for their cruises. For me, it’s worth it, but the price means I have to be careful about when I sail. For the next edition of the Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line, I looked at a year’s worth of fares to see when the most and least expensive times to cruise are. Let’s take a look…

I used the Disney Fantasy for this look at fares. Why? Because it’s the easiest for comparing apples to apples year round. The Fantasy has two itineraries, Eastern and Western Caribbean 7-Night sailings out of Port Canaveral. This means that unlike the Magic and Wonder, I’m not comparing European or Alaska cruises to ones in the Caribbean. And, unlike with the Dream, I’m only looking at 7 night cruises, not 3-, 4-, or 5-night itineraries.

Sunset is my favorite time of day on a Disney Cruise, but time of year is what really impacts your fare. Photo - Laurel Stewart

Sunset is my favorite time of day on a Disney Cruise, but time of year is what really impacts your fare. Photo – Laurel Stewart

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Historic Cocoa Village: Unique Shopping and Dining near Port Canaveral

by on January 23, 2015

Here at TouringPlans, we always recommend that cruisers arrive a day early for their Disney Cruise if possible. Things can happen, and the ship will leave without you if you’re running late. So what do you do for entertainment in the 24 hours before you leave? Sure, you could spend a day at Walt Disney World or even stay there and take a Disney transfer to Port Canaveral, but that’s a lot of money in park admission, plus the additional cost of the bus ride ($70 round trip, per person). Or you could stay closer to the port and explore the area.

Just a short drive from Port Canaveral, a historic downtown district offers riverfront views, eclectic dining, unique and local shopping, and an atmosphere that promises fun for all ages. It’s called Historic Cocoa Village, and it’s the perfect addition to your Cocoa Beach or Port Canaveral stay.

Cocoa Riverfront Park - Natalie Reinert

Riverfront Park, just east of Cocoa Village, offers a boardwalk along the Indian River.

Stretching over a handful of city blocks alongside the Indian River and State Route 520 (King Street), Cocoa Village is a thriving example of downtown revitalization, with a distinctively Floridian feel. Umbrella trees shade cafes tucked away in quiet courtyards, palm trees line the streets, and shops dedicated to flip flops and resort-wear stand alongside restaurants featuring house-made ice cream and Southern cooking.

On the eastern side, a playground shaded by live oaks gives way to an outdoor amphitheater and a boardwalk stretching along the Indian River, offering panoramic views of the boat-dotted river and the faraway shoreline of Merritt Island.

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10 Differences between the Classic and Dream Class Ships on Disney Cruise Line

by on January 20, 2015

I get asked all the time how the four Disney Cruise Line ships differ. And I especially get this question from guests who have sailed on one of the two newer ships (Disney Dream or Disney Fantasy) and are contemplating sailing on one of the classic ships (Disney Magic or Disney Wonder).  “What are the differences?” “Will I like the Magic and Wonder as much as I liked the new ships?”

To be sure, there are many things about the four ships which are the same, like the level of service Disney Cruise Line is known for, those amazing Disney stylistic touches, and the excellent officers and crew. But, make no mistake, there are differences. I’ll break them down for you here!

1. Size and Capacity– The most obvious difference between the ships is the physical size, and thus the number of passengers each can carry. The Magic and Wonder were originally 83,000 gross tonnage when constructed, but the Magic, after its 2013 reimagination when it added a little bit more weight and then length to balance that weight, is now approximately 84,000 GT. The Dream and Fantasy, however, are longer, wider, and heavier, weighing in at just under 130,000 GT. The physical size difference is most apparent to me in the lobby. The lobbies of the Dream and Fantasy feel practically cavernous if you’re used to the Magic or Wonder. The Dream and Fantasy have 14 passenger decks while the Magic and Wonder only have 11. The Magic and Wonder have a passenger capacity of around 2,400, while the Dream and Fantasy hold more than 50% more passengers at 4,100 (with a similar increase in the crew size).

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Planning Tips for Your Disney Cruise

by on January 9, 2015

Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay

Dreaming of a Disney Cruise?
Photo – Laurel Stewart

Greetings from chilly North Carolina! The cold was so bad yesterday that it killed my car battery. My reaction (other than to buy a new battery) was to think of all the places I’d rather be than here. Naturally, one of the first ones that came to me was on a Disney Cruise.

I’m lucky enough that at this point, after 13 cruises, I can pack and prepare for a trip in my sleep. And I’ve learned a few things along the way. Everyone knows about preparing your travel documents, like passports and birth certificates, doing your online check-in, and booking your Port Adventures before cruising. But what about all the little things that come with preparing to be on a ship, somewhat isolated from things like unlimited free Internet and Target? This is my list of things I do before cruising to reduce surprises the day before I pack for a Disney Cruise:

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! December 2014 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on December 31, 2014

MMM positiveIt’s the last day of 2014 and forget about what a year it has been for theme park merchandise. There was The Good: Both Universal and Disney upped their game with the new Film Vault and Memento Mori stores.  The Bad: There is an actual movie using nothing but Disney Vinylmation And The Ugly: Turns out the heavily anticipated Adventureland-themed gift shop in the Magic Kingdom will instead be a Sunglass Hut. Here’s to even better (and weirder) happenings in 2015.

Also, before we go on, be sure to check out our Year End “Best” of the Disney Outlet Store article.

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

Our first item could be a foreshadowing of things to come. It’s rare to see Muppet related items at the Outlets. Especially based on the popular Kermit the Frog. Out in Disney California Adventure, Muppet*Vision 3D has been jettisoned for Frozen Fun, and rumors persist that the attraction could join the Studio Backlot Tour, American Idol Experience, and the Legend of Jack Sparrow in the recycling bin at Disney Hollywood Studios here in WDW. If that happens, expect the Outlets to be flooded with items featuring Beaker, Dr. Honeydew and the rest of the gang.

IMG_2548

“It’s not easy being green…or being sold at half price.” Originally $24.95, now $12.99

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10 Reasons a Cabana on Castaway Cay is Worth Trying to Get

by on December 18, 2014

If you’ve been lucky enough to score a cabana on Castaway Cay when your Disney Cruise Line vacation stops at their little slice of paradise in the Bahamas, you can skip this blog post and go on to the next one. I’m betting you know how amazing they are and already know everything I’m about to say. If, however, you are on the fence about getting one, this post is for you!

First I’ll give you the bad news. The cabanas are expensive! $549 for 6 guests at the family beach and $399 for four guests at the adult beach, Serenity Bay. You can add 4 more guests at the family beach, or two at the adult beach. Each additional guest will cost $50. If that didn’t scare you off, here’s more bad news. They’re almost impossible to get! Concierge guests usually snatch these up before most guests ever get a shot at them. That should tell you something about how awesome they are though! They do show up for everyone else from time to time though! People cancel their cruise, change their minds on cabanas, etc. So if you want one, keep trying! And here are some reasons why you should.

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 17: Balsamic Grande at Disney Cruise Line’s Palo

by on December 17, 2014

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY SEVENTEEN: Balsamic Grand at Palo (Disney Cruise Line)

25xmasdrinks_palo_hirsch

Balsamic Grand at Palo. (photo by William Hirsch)

 

There were many aspects of the Disney Cruise that I sailed on earlier this year which gave me a better understanding of why so many people become “addicted” to cruising. One of the areas that stood out to me the most was the overall level of service that guests receive while on the ship, and the pinnacle of that service was at the ship’s upscale Italian restaurant Palo. To summarize: an amazing dining experience, one of the best I have had anywhere, land or sea. The signature cocktail of Palo is the Balsamic Grande, and it is the perfect drink to begin the journey you are about to take within this gorgeous restaurant.  Ingredients: 5 fresh strawberries, divided, 1 1/2 ounces agave nectar, 1/2 ounce balsamic vinegar (aged 8 years), and 5 ounces Grey Goose Vodka Muddle strawberries with agave and balsamic vinegar in a mixing glass. Add vodka and ice; shake and strain into chilled martini glass.

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