Disney Cruise Line

Live From the Dream – Disney Cruise Line Back to Back Procedures

by on May 4, 2014

You'll never see the terminal this empty except at 9:30 AM!

You’ll never see the terminal this empty except at 9:30 AM!

Welcome back to Day 4 (or Day 1 depending on how you’re counting). Today was the last day of our first cruise and the first day of our second. We are doing the Disney Cruise Line back to back with consecutive 3- and 4- night cruises on the Dream. The procedures for disembarkation and embarkation of our back to back cruises were clear and easy to follow. On the first day of our first cruise, our stateroom host already knew that we were on the following cruise in the same cabin as well – we were “on his list” as he said. Last night, each of us received a letter with instructions for today and extra customs forms and a payment form in case we hadn’t already set that up during online check in (which we had).

Last night we tidied the room to make sure we knew where the stuff we’d be taking off the ship today was so it would be easy to find in the morning, but other than that everything was still unpacked and in the drawers or hanging in the closet. This morning we went to Cabanas for breakfast instead of our rotational dining room (we recommend this whether you’re doing a back to back or not). Though we were asked to be off the ship by 9:15, we got out of our cabin before 8AM for breakfast. After a leisurely breakfast, we headed to the Vista Cafe to fill out our comment cards and customs forms. We left the ship with the other passengers around 9:00 with just the bags we planned to carry off with us. They contained:

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Live from the Disney Dream – Menus

by on May 2, 2014

Welcome back to Day 2 of the 3 night cruise. On a three night cruise, you are scheduled for one dinner each of the main dining rooms. Each location has a set menu – because it’s a 3-night cruise, there are no special menus such as the Pirate menu, even though tonight is Pirates IN the Caribbean.

Here are photos of the menus (click for full size):

Enchanted Garden

Enchanted Garden

Animator's Palate

Animator’s Palate

Royal Palace Menu

Royal Palace Menu

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Live from the Disney Dream – Day 2

by on May 2, 2014

DCLWelcome back to our live blogging from the Disney Dream. Today is the first full day on board, the 2nd night of a 3-night cruise. The ship docks in Nassau today. It’s hot, but we’re already gotten a run in on deck 4!

Yesterday was a typical first day. We arrived at Port Canaveral around 11 AM and after we checked in with the other Castaway Club members, we were able to board as we had signed up for an earlier boarding group during online check in. We grabbed a quiet breakfast/lunch at Enchanted Garden, which is our preference to going up to Cabana’s buffet. After that, we headed to the Spa to purchase our Rainforest Passes. At 1:30 we were able to drop our day bags off in the room. My Remy reservation confirmation was on the cabin door, which is good because I’d forgotten I’d made that for the 3rd night. We hung out in the cabin (deck 8 forward, with nice easy access to the spa) until the life boat drill, which is from 3:45 to about 4:10. You start gathering at 3:45, and it starts at 4PM. After that we headed back to the room to change for the spa.

The spa was a little hectic at first because people were still showing up for the tour. And then there were the people who didn’t know how to use their inside voices in a spa, but eventually things cleared out and it was nice. Because of the time of year, it was still daylight when we left at 6:30 to change for dinner and a drink. I really like the rainforest when it’s dark out, may skip dinner tonight for it.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Live From the Disney Dream

by on May 1, 2014

One of our favorite things on the Dream - the Aquaduck

One of our favorite things on the Dream – the Aquaduck

Do you have questions about Disney Cruise Line? Starting today, May 1, we will be blogging live from the Disney Dream. Ask your questions in the comments – anything from can you post today’s Personal Navigator to what’s on the menu at Animator’s Palate tonight – and we will be happy to get you answers. We’re going to be on the Dream for seven nights, a back to back 3-night, followed by a 4-night. The cruise stops at Nassau and Castaway Cay on each sailing.

We’ll start a new article each day, so keep checking back!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Disney Gift Cards 101

by on April 30, 2014

Disney gift card

The classic Disney gift card design

As a frequent traveler to Disney parks and the Disney Cruise Line, I’m a huge fan of Disney gift cards. They reduce my need for cash on hand, allow me to sock away money for trips, and make great gifts for people who will be in the parks. As this type of card becomes more and more ubiquitous, you may think you know all there is to know about Disney gift cards. But maybe not. Read on.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Disney Cruise Line Itinerary Change

by on April 24, 2014

A few weeks ago, Disney Cruise Line announced its itinerary offerings for most of 2015 and they’ve already started to tinker with their schedule.

166

Thanks to heads up from Scott Sanders of the Disney Cruise Line Blog and a note from a travel agent friend, we’re confirming that the 11-night Norway/Iceland Magic sailing departing from Copenhagen will now include a day-10 stop at Kirkwall, Scotland rather than at the previously announced Torshavn, Faroe Islands. The exact language provided to travel agents states:

In order to provide [your clients] with a premier family experience, we have modified our 11-night Copenhagen to England repositioning cruise to include a call on Kirkwall, Scotland, instead of the call on Torshavn, Faroe Islands. We’re excited to provide our Guests with this revised sailing itinerary that offers the opportunity to visit both of the countries that inspired the recent blockbuster hit, Frozen from Disney Animation Studios and Brave from Pixar Animation Studios. Your assistance in passing this information along to your client is appreciated. Kirkwall, located off the Northern coast of Scotland in the Orkney Islands, offers many fascinating historic attractions, adventure tours, and bountiful wildlife.

As a guest who is booked on this voyage, I have to say that I’m happy about the change. I don’t have anything particularly negative to say about the Faroe Islands, but in doing some preliminary research it did seem to have quite a bit of activity/atmosphere redundancy with many of the other ports on this trip. Scotland should provide more variety and, as the note mentioned, it has the added cachet for kids of being the site of another recent Disney film. (I mean, I seriously LOVE Frozen, but at this point haggis would be a welcome palate cleanser for all that icy reindeer.)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Planning for My First Disney Cruise

by on April 24, 2014

Disney Dream Lobby

Disney Dream Lobby
Photo courtesy of Scott Sanders

I have never been on a cruise. I’m not into casinos, bingo, cheesy musicals, hypnotists, art auctions, or shopping in third-world tourist traps. Thus most cruise ships and itineraries don’t catch my fancy. Disney Cruise Line seemed different, and doing the programming to enliven our Disney Cruise Line product heightened my interest in sailing with Mickey.

My wife and I discussed taking a DCL cruise once our child was old enough to enjoy the kids’ activities, and that time has come. Conveniently enough, we’ll be sailing for TouringPlans.com on a 4-Night Bahamanian Cruise on the Disney Dream in October 2014, when my son will be about 3½ years old. Our family of three will fit fine in the smallest on-board room (Category 11C, baby!), and I’m confident we’ll find plenty to do to fill four days.

My main challenge – and most of what I’ll blog about – is getting to and from Port Canaveral in a way that works well with our schedules while minimizing costs and hassles. One recurring wrinkle in my planning is that I need to have my son in a car seat in any non-bus vehicle in which he might ride; that makes renting a car, hiring a town car, riding in a cab, etc. more burdensome. Ironically, so far I’ve found the logistics of our family trip to Tokyo in 2012 to be simpler than those for this DCL trip!

I hope you’ll join with me as I analyze my transportation options and make rational decisions based on my group’s preferences and the cost impacts of our decisions. I start with a brief overview of some travel decisions I need to make. In subsequent blog posts I’ll look at TouringPlans.com tools and consult you, Dear Readers, for assistance.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Disney Cruise Line Tips from our Research

by on April 24, 2014

DCL pool deck photo

Hit the pools when people are ashore to avoid crowds

This month Len Testa and I are heading on our next cruises, back to back 3 and 4-night Bahamas itineraries on the Dream. Two years ago after the Fantasy debuted, we began to toss around the idea of expanding our DCL coverage, and the result has been our DCL subscription on TouringPlans, which we brought online last fall, and the Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line, which we co-wrote with Erin Foster.

Between our theme park research, not living in Florida, the cost of fares, and needing to work around school schedules, we’re not able to cruise as much as we’d like (unlike the lady in front of us on the last cruise who checked into her 70th cruise), so each time is still special. (I can’t say that about every trip to Walt Disney World anymore.) However, even though I haven’t cruised 70 times, I feel like I’m really getting the hang of cruising Disney. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

10 Amazing Itinerary Choices for 2015 Disney Cruise Line Sailings

by on April 21, 2014

Well they did it! Disney Cruise Line finally put us out of our misery and ended the wait! The rest of the 2015 itineraries are out! Oh, wait! No, they’re not. After all of the hoopla Disney only announced through the summer of 2015. Come on, Disney! The good news is, aside from the standard 7-night Caribbean and 3- or 4-night Bahamian cruises (which are excellent if you haven’t tried one) there are some really exciting options out there. I had a hard time choosing which one (or ones truth be told) I wanted to do most! Here are some of the highlights for me.

1. Norway – No one ever accused Disney of missing marketing opportunities. Anyone heard of a little movie called Frozen? It did alright. After announcing Norway itineraries with Adventures by Disney, Disney Cruise Line has followed that up with the first ever sailings through the Norway Fjords on the Disney Magic! Can you even imagine how awesome and gorgeous? There are both 7- and 9-night options. With stops at Stavanger, Alesund, Bergen, and Geiranger (all in Norway), this new itinerary is going to be amazing! I can’t wait to see what wonderful excursions Disney has in store!

2. Iceland – That’s right, Disney is visiting Iceland too! On a great 11-night itinerary that sails to Norway, as well! After departing Copenhagen, Denmark, and visiting the Norwegian ports of Oslo, Kristiansand, and Stavanger, the Magic makes two stops in Iceland in Akureyri and Reykjavik. The Reykjavik stop even includes a somewhat rare thing for Disney Cruise Line – an overnight in a port! That’s an amazing opportunity. And if that weren’t enough, there’s a stop in the Faroe Islands  (Ed., this stop was just replaced with Kirkwell, Scotlandbefore ending in Dover, United Kingdom. Not too shabby, right?

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

How to Pick the Best Disney Cruise Line Port Adventures

by on April 10, 2014

t_logo_fbWith so many options offered, many cruisers are frustrated trying to find the best Disney Cruise Line port adventures. Because no one person would ever have the time or money to try them all, we’d like to offer up some tips to help you sort through your options.

What are you actually getting for your money?

Take a hard look at the description of your excursion. It is just transportation to a destination and back? Is there a meal included? Many Caribbean beach excursions are simply putting you on a bus and driving you to the sand. You’ll return to the ship with everyone else, regardless of when you’re ready to go. For parties of more than 2 people, you may be better off taking a taxi to your destination (don’t forget to budget for the round trip and gratuity). As an example, the St. Martin Beach Bash Tour consists of transportation to the beach and fruit punch, and will run a family of four nearly $150 for two hours on the beach. We suggest taking a taxi to Maho Beach to see something truly extraordinary and saving your real beach time for Castaway Cay.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest