Disney Cruise Line

Travel Warnings Issued for Nassau

by on November 7, 2014

The U.S. Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas has issued a Security Awareness memo for the holiday season 2014, advising U.S. citizens traveling to the Bahamas to “be aware of their surroundings and remain on heightened alert to avoid being the victims of crime.” This is the fourth memo on this topic issued during calendar 2014. The Canadian government posted similar warnings earlier this fall.

Nassau Harbor

Nassau Harbor

Other than Castaway Cay, Nassau is the most visited port for Disney Cruise Line.

The Embassy memo goes on to state, “Three armed robberies of U.S. citizens have occurred in daylight hours in heavily frequented tourist areas.” Other reports include notes about sexual assaults perpetrated by unregulated jet ski operators on Paradise Island. The advisory mentions monitoring local news stations for updates and maintaining a high level of vigilance when out and about.

The Nassau Guardian newspaper denies the credibility of the Embassy reports, claiming that the local police were unaware of some of the alleged crimes.

The Atlantis resort, site of many of the DCL Nassau port adventures, has increased their security in recent weeks.

We’ve never had any problems in Nassau, but as with any travel, caution is recommended. If you’re on a three or four night cruise and relaxation is a key vacation component for you, you may want to consider remaining on board your ship during the Nassau port stop. (We’ve recommended this prior to any warnings.) The ship’s amenities cannot all be experienced during a brief sailing. Staying on the ship may allow you to more time to visit the spa, participate in the children’s programming, or stuff yourself at the buffet. Remember that many activities on board are included in the cost of your sailing, so staying on board can be an easy way to economize.

If you plan to explore Nassau, be cognizant of your surroundings and interact with only reputable excursion operators. You may also want to consider letting family remaining on board or guest relations cast members know of your on shore plans.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Disney Cruise Line Photos

by on November 5, 2014

Whenever you visit a Disney theme park, you can expect to find photographers available to take your picture at key spots during your vacation. The same is true when you travel on Disney Cruise Line. Here’s what you need to know about Disney Cruise Line photo packages and options.

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Does photography on the Disney Cruise Line ships work the same as PhotoPass or Memory Maker at Walt Disney World?

While there are some similarities, there are many differences as well. The first thing to note is that the shipboard photography and the parks photography are run by different vendors. The pricing structure is completely different. There’s no such thing as an all-in-one photo package for guests doing Land & Sea vacations. If you’re traveling to WDW and on DCL, you’ll have to purchase photos from each half of your vacation separately.

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Menu Monday: Desserts Aboard the Disney Wonder

by on November 3, 2014

Disney Wonder Desserts

A Work Of Art – It tasted as good as it looks!

If you’ve been following along you probably already know by now that I was lucky enough to enjoy a spectacular Disney Alaska Cruise this summer aboard the Disney Wonder. Between rounds of bingo and incredible Port Adventures like dog sledding, riding the rails and soaring in a floatplane, I managed to fit in some time to eat. Talking to several cruisers during my planning, I discovered that dining onboard the cruise ship was a large part of the vacation for most people. Being an extremely picky eater myself, I planned on focusing my meals mainly on dessert.

Please continue on to see my dessert lover’s photo diary as I ate my way around the Disney Wonder!

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#Everywhere – 5 Lessons Learned On The Disney Fantasy

by on November 1, 2014

Castaway Cay is the favorite port of call for many cruisers

Castaway Cay is the favorite port of call for many cruisers

 

Assigned with the enviable task of sailing aboard the Disney Ship Fantasy, the Hazelton/Brazeau family set sail on Touringplans.com #Everywhere Day. But, we sailed short one member of our party.

Lesson # 1 – Study the terms of your insurance coverage

My middle son, Alec, was unable to join us on the trip due to health insurance. His health is stable but because he recently sought medical attention from his doctors for an issue with his vocal cords, that essentially negated his travel health medical coverage. Should he travel and require medical attention for his vocal cords, an insurance claim would be denied.

What we learned: If you feel the cost is justified, trip cancellation insurance (purchased within 20 days of booking) is your only protection if you require medical attention near your departure date.

Lesson # 2 – Retrieving forgotten items after disembarkation is easy

We realized as we approached customs that we left an empty suitcase under our stateroom bed. “Research” I shouted, and we asked the nearest cast member what to do. Turns out, each disembarkation team includes a few ‘runners’ and once we completely exited into the terminal, a runner was authorized to retrieve the bag for us (it took about 20 minutes, in total).

What we learned: Do your best to check the stateroom before you leave the ship, but if you forget something, cast members are there to help.

Lesson # 3 – Book a rental car at port by phone, not online

We arrived at the port of Cozumel ready to hop into our rental car only to discover that the rental location we booked was at another pier, and currently closed. Getting there may have been costly, and fruitless. So we abandoned the idea and enjoyed the ship for the day.

What we learned: A quick conversation with a local agent may have provided enough information to work out the logistics of renting a car at port. Don’t assume the renting process will be as simple as at major U.S. airports.

Lesson # 4 – You never know what the kids will like

At Disney parks I am often surprised by what entertains my kids. I’ve spent many unplanned hours at diversions like Mission Space: Mission Control and the Pangani Forest Trail. Same goes for the Disney Cruise Line apparently. I assumed I’d be dragging the kids to rotational dining – they loved it! I assumed they would explore the ship once or twice and get bored – they wandered every day and found something new each time.

What we learned: Try everything! Some of the kids best experiences may be from something you didn’t expect.

Lesson # 5 – Inside staterooms are small but functional

We were surprised at how the small staterooms were actually quite functional. Disney obviously designed each stateroom with plenty of thought to how the room would function. They manage to squeeze an enormous amount of storage space in a 169 square foot room by providing space under the bed, in an ottoman, and in the well-organized desk and closet.

What we learned: With a little bit of thought, you can completely unpack when you arrive and still have plenty of room to move about the room.

Beautiful view of the shores of Falmouth, Jamaica

Beautiful view of the shores of Falmouth, Jamaica

The best view on Castaway Cay is back at the ship

The best view on Castaway Cay is back at the ship

Sun soaked after the day ashore

Sun soaked after the day ashore

 

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

by on October 31, 2014

MMM positiveToday marks the end of October, and what a month it was. Our long national nightmare finally came to an end as Disney announced that the Sorcerer’s Hat would finally be leaving Hollywood Studios. Also leaving DHS will be the Legend of Jack Sparrow, bringing the total amount of attractions at the park down to something like two (give or take). A new lumberjack show made its debut at Epcot, nets around the Tree of Life came down at Animal Kingdom, and Marvel announced it would be making Disney approximately 100 billion dollars over the next five years. All of this and I somehow managed to sail on my first ever Disney Cruise. This may go down in the history books as the greatest month of all time, at least until next month.

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.)

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I Know What You Did Last Summer Mickey plush.

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Disney Cruise Line: Merchandise Photo Report of Castaway Cay (iPhone Cases, Shirts, Letters In a Bottle)

by on October 31, 2014

Earlier this week we covered the exclusive merchandise on the Disney Cruise Line, and today we will take a gander at the products on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Much like the gift shops on the Disney Wonder, it was amazing to see the wide variety of merchandise available on the island, and how much of it was actually good. I knew that I was in for a treat when the first thing I came across was the refillable mugs, and not only did they have a style similar to ones we see at the Disney resorts, but they also had plastic coconut shaped cups. Now, these coconut cups are completely impractical, as you have to separate them almost in half to put in your soda, but I absolutely loved them. There are several soda machines on the island where you can refill your mugs for free, and then you can use them on the ship as well.

 

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Refillable mugs and coconuts at Castaway Cay.

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Disney Cruise Line Updates Onboard Rebooking Terms

by on October 28, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

One of the best ways to get a discount on a Disney Cruise is to book your next one while you’re already on a Disney Cruise. If you book during your cruise with at the Future Cruises desk, you’ll receive a 10% discount off the published fare, a reduced deposit for 7-night or longer cruises, and a $100 to $200 onboard credit depending on the length of your cruise. Guests who name a travel agent to “own” the reservation at the time of rebooking are also eligible for any onboard credits the agency may offer.

Today Disney updated the terms for rebooking offers. It’s a fairly well known tactic for guests who know they’ll be cruising again, but aren’t sure exactly when, to book a cruise while onboard and rebook it at the date they know they can cruise later to keep the booking incentives. At one time, there was no limit on how many times and how far out you could rebook, which lead some guests to “walk” their reservations as far out as five years from the date originally booked.

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Disney Cruise Line Announces Early 2016 Itineraries

by on October 28, 2014

Disney Magic in port at San Juan. Photo - Seth Kubersky

Disney Magic in port at San Juan. Photo – Seth Kubersky

Beginning January 2016, Disney Cruise Line will add Tortola, B.V.I., and Martinique to its Eastern and Southern Caribbean itineraries respectively. The Southern Caribbean cruises were new this year – you can read more from Seth Kubersky on his cruise from San Juan on the Magic this month.

Eastern Caribbean routes are nothing new to Disney with the Fantasy cruising it every other week for seven-night trips nearly year around, but the new itinerary will replace St. Martin or San Juan with Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Ports for this cruise are Tortola, St. Thomas in the U.S.V.I., and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. With three days at sea, the seven night Eastern Caribbean on the Fantasy is a favorite itinerary here at TouringPlans.

Sailing dates on the Fantasy for this cruise in 2016 are:

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons To Go On a Disney Cruise

by on October 25, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons To Go On a Disney Cruise. Earlier this month I was fortunate to be able to take my first ever Disney Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder as part of TouringPlans #Everywhere promotion. The experience was pretty amazing overall, and while before the trip I had a hard time understanding why people would pay so much for a Disney Cruise when there are some great alternatives (such as Royal Caribbean) for a fraction of the price, I now see exactly what draws people back again and again to DCL. In fact, I think for many Disney fans a sailing on the DCL is a must-do, as it provides an overall immersion in the Disney brand that even many on-site WDW vacations can’t compete with. Today we are going to look at six of the reasons you should consider popping a Dramamine and sailing the high seas with Mickey and the gang. Remember that clicking on any picture will bring it up in full size, so grab that life jacket and let’s start counting down…

# 6 – The Characters

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Donald Duck on the DCL Wonder.

 

We knew that there were going to be characters on board the Disney ships that you could meet, but we were not prepared for how many. There were the Fab 5 of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto. The ubiquitous Chip and Dale. Daisy Duck. Frozen‘s Anna and Elsa. Disney Jr. characters such as Sofia the First and Jake. Disney princesses including Ariel, Tiana, Rapunzel, Snow White, Aurora, Belle, and Cinderella. Lastly, there were miscellaneous characters such as Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Stitch. These were just the ones that I personally saw throughout the cruise, as we never looked to see where the characters would be, or at what time, which leads me to believe that there are even more that I didn’t see.

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How Much Do Toiletries and Sundries Cost at Disney?

by on October 24, 2014

Despite copious planning with packing lists, it’s all but inevitable that mishaps will occur when traveling. Little Billy gets a fever during your trip and you neglected to bring the Children’s Tylenol. You thought you husband was packing toothpaste and he thought you were, so now you have none. You accidentally left your sunscreen at the pool yesterday and are now about to be burned to a crisp by the thousand degree sun.

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All of these problems are easy to solve at Walt Disney World and on Disney Cruise Line. (Disneyland’s close proximity to the external world makes access to replacement items less of an issue there.) The ship and hotel gift shops are well stocked, with most categories of personal care items represented. So while you won’t be totally left in the lurch in any of the above situations, you will likely pay a premium purchasing these personal care basics at a Disney location rather than at home. But how much of a premium will you be pay? Let’s investigate…

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