Posts Tagged ‘disney cruise line’

What I Wish I Knew Before My Day at Castaway Cay

by on July 22, 2015

Greetings from Paradise!

Greetings from Paradise!

So I have a confession to make… I recently took my very first Disney Cruise! It was a 3-night Bahamian Cruise aboard the Disney Dream with stops at both Nassau and Castaway Cay; and yes, for those of you who are wondering, I was completely enchanted with Castaway Cay! It was the icing on the cake of my Disney Cruise experience and I’m already trying to figure out how to get back as soon as possible.

I have already shared What I Wish I Knew Before My Disney Cruise for my fellow cruising rookies; but this article is all about What I Wish I Knew Before My Day at Castaway Cay for those who have yet to experience island paradise Disney style!

Now, for those of you who don’t know about Castaway Cay, let me fill you in. Castaway Cay is Disney’s own private island in the Bahamas. This means it was designed for Disney Cruise Line guests only and a Disney Cruise is the only way you can get there. Cool, right? The island is truly paradise, the closest thing we can have to Neverland in reality, and is packed with things to do or places where you can do nothing at all. I’m also happy to report that Disney’s excellent service, detail, and sense of magic is alive and well here as well, just in case you theme park regulars were doubtful.

Now let’s get to the info, shall we?

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Current Last Minute Disney Cruise Line Deals

by on July 14, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Looking for last-minute specials on Disney Cruise Line? The following cruise is showing availability.

Disney Cruise Line Last Minute Deals

  • 10/23/15 – 14-night Eastbound Panama Canal on Disney Wonder – sails from San Diego – IGT from $3374 for 2 adults, OGT also available (no VGT).

The 5 night Bahamas and 7-night European cruises with restricted availability from last month are no longer showing restricted rates.

Fares are current as of today, July 14, and subject to availability. Florida resident and military specials may available for some cruises as well. Ask your travel agent for details.
Want even more Disney Cruise Line information? You’ll love The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line or our Disney Cruise Line subscription.

 

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What I Wish I Knew Before My Disney Cruise

by on July 3, 2015

Cruise4

The Disney Dream at Castaway Cay… Perfection.

Several weeks ago, I took my very first Disney Cruise! I had debated whether or not to try out the Disney Cruise Line for years, as I am one of those people who likes to go 12 hours straight at Disney World and wasn’t sure if I could handle being confined to a single ship. But after hearing so many glowing reports about the Disney Cruise Line from other Disney fans, I decided to take the plunge with a 3-Night Bahamian Cruise on the Disney Dream with stops in Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. So how was it? Let’s just say that I’m already looking at booking my next cruise! But I have to admit, as a cruising newbie, there were a few things that I had to figure out during my incredible 3 days aboard the Disney Dream; and while I have very few, if any, complaints I still couldn’t help but think on what I wish I knew before my Disney Cruise that would’ve made things a little easier.

So if you’re planning your first Disney Cruise, or it’s been awhile since you cruised with Mickey and the gang, here’s a few things that I wish I knew before my Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream. Bon Voyage!

Animator's Palate onboard the Disney Dream

Animator’s Palate onboard the Disney Dream

1. Your Dining Rotation is on Your Key to the World Card – Your Key to the World Card is the most important item you will have on your cruise. Not only is it the key to your stateroom, it’s needed to get on and off the ship and tells you which muster station to report to. What I didn’t know before my cruise was that the three capital letters printed at the bottom of the card were my restaurant schedule for the cruise. For example, my card had AER printed next to my dining time. Maybe you fellow cruisers are smarter than me, but I had no idea what that meant! As it turned out, the first letter stood for Animator’s Palette, where I was scheduled to eat the first night on board. The second stood for the Enchanted Garden and the third for the Royal Palace.

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FAQ Dining with Kids on Disney Cruise Line

by on June 24, 2015

A common refrain on Disney cruises is, “If you see it, eat it.” It’s no secret that, for many guests, a key attraction of cruising is the food. This holds true for kids as well as adults. Just the thought of the unlimited ice cream available on the pool deck is enough to send some kids begging you to book another voyage. Here’s everything you need to know about dining with kids on Disney Cruise Line.

All the Mickey waffles you can eat on the Disney Fantasy

All the Mickey waffles you can eat on the Disney Fantasy

THE BASICS

What type of restaurants are on board the Disney ships?

Much like the Disney theme parks, there are five main classifications of dining venue on board the Disney ships.

  • Counter Service. This is the equivalent of the quick service venues in the parks. You walk up to a counter, ask for your food, a cast member hands it to you, and you take it yourself to a table. The counter service restaurants are primarily located in a cluster on the main pool deck of each ship. Typical offerings include pizza, small sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, fresh fruit, chicken fingers, etc. You’ll also find fountain soda dispensers and soft serve ice cream dispensers nearby. All these items are included in the cost of your cruise. There are additional counter service windows located near the theaters on each ship. These counters offer packaged snacks like M&Ms, fresh popcorn, and canned sodas. These items are not included in the price of your cruise.
  • Rotational Dining. This is the equivalent of the standard table service restaurants in the parks. You are seated at a table and presented with a menu, a server takes your order, brings your food, and clears it when you’re done. With the exception of a few specialty beverages, the cost of these meals is included in the price of your cruise. There are three rotational dining venues on each ship. These are also known as the main dining rooms (MDRs).You will “rotate” through the three main dining rooms on different nights of your sailing. The longer your voyage, the more times you’ll experience each restaurant. But don’t worry about getting bored, the menus change nightly.
  • Buffet. While the buffet-style restaurants in the Disney theme parks hew closely to the table service model, the buffets on the ships are more like a cross between a food court and a school cafeteria during the breakfast and lunch hours. The buffet location will operate as a table service location for dinner service. With the exception of a few specialty beverages, the cost of these meals is included in the price of your cruise.
  • Cafe and Lounge. This is the equivalent of a Disney World hotel bar, or the in-park Starbucks (though they don’t serve Starbucks coffee). Each ship has several cafes, offering specialty coffees and teas, and lounges offering primarily adult beverages and soft drinks. None of the beverages here are included with your cruise, but there are snack-size food items at these venues which generally are included.
  • Adult Dining. This is the equivalent of the fancy signature dining restaurants at Walt Disney World. On the Disney Cruise Line ships, these restaurants are restricted to guests ages 18 and up. The adult dining venues are Palo on all four ships, plus Remy on the Dream and Fantasy.

Additionally, you’ll find that room service (in-room dining) is available for all staterooms on the Disney ships.

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Family Fun Aboard The Disney Wonder

by on June 6, 2015

Disney Wonder in AlaskaHave you already booked a cruise on the Disney Wonder with your kids or are you just thinking about one? For a parent, one of the biggest concerns about cruising with children is whether there will be enough family fun and entertainment to occupy the kids during the voyage. Rest assured, Disney Cruise Line has got you covered!

In part one of this two part series, I shared details about the youth clubs that are available on the ship and in today’s part two, I’ll cover the family fun you can enjoy together. Let’s face it — your kids may not wish to visit the youth clubs; some kids just prefer to hang out with the family. I’m so glad my boys are still at an age that they willingly spend time with me, and I soak up every minute I can get! In the blink of an eye they’ll be all grown up, so I want to enjoy as much family fun as possible.

During my family’s Alaska cruise on the Disney Wonder, my kids went to the youth clubs the first evening and when my husband and I had brunch at Palo. The rest of the cruise we filled our days and nights with tons of family fun. So let’s take a photo tour of the fantastic options offered aboard the Disney Wonder — and remember you can click on any image to get a better look.

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FAQ: Disney World to Disney Cruise Line Transfers

by on June 4, 2015

You’re going a Disney Cruise AND you’re going to Walt Disney World – lucky you!

Land/sea combination Disney vacations are quite common; They’re a nice way to balance the frenetic excitement of a theme park visit and the mellow relaxation of a cruise. Here are some things to think about as you plan how to get from Part A to Part B of your vacation.

Should I take my cruise first or visit Walt Disney World first?

In the Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line, we recommend that guests experience the land (WDW) portion of their land/sea trip first. A visit to the parks is typically more tiring than a cruise (thus, the common refrain “I need a vacation after that vacation”). Most guest enjoy having the rest and recovery time that a cruise provides.

IMG_1278
OK, I’ll go to Walt Disney World first. How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

If you’re going from Orlando International to a Walt Disney World resort hotel, use Disney’s free Magical Express service.

From Disney’s perspective, there’s no difference in transportation procedure between a Disney World vacation and a land/sea vacation starting at Disney World. At this point, use Magical Express and pretend that the Disney Cruise Line (DCL) portion of your trip does not exist. This is particularly important to heed when you’re getting your luggage ready for transportation. If you’d like to have your bags transported by Disney from the airport to the hotel, then use the yellow Magical Express luggage tags. DO NOT put the DCL tags on your bag now.

Is there a charge to get from the airport to my Disney World hotel?

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Youth Clubs Aboard The Disney Wonder

by on June 3, 2015

Disney Wonder In AlaskaHave you booked a cruise on the Disney Wonder with your kids or are you just thinking about one? For a parent, one of the biggest concerns about cruising with children is whether there will be enough fun and entertaining things for the kiddos to do during the voyage. Rest assured, the Disney Cruise Line has got you covered! In part one of this two part series, I’ll share with you the information you’ll need to have a magical cruise with your kids aboard the Disney Wonder. In this article, we’ll take a look at the youth clubs available on the ship and in a second article posting soon, I’ll give you details on fun activities for the entire family to enjoy together. So let’s get started!

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Tips For Avoiding Traveler’s Tummy on Your Disney Cruise

by on May 27, 2015

How to Avoid an Upset Stomach on your Next CruiseYou’re on a different schedule, eating richer (and more) food than usual — it’s going to hit you sooner or later. I’ll call it “traveler’s tummy.” It can take the form of bloating, upset stomach, or just feeling queasy. You may not be able to avoid it entirely, but there are definitely some things you can do to head it off. Following these tips can make a big difference in your enjoyment during your Disney cruise.

The first thing to know is that there’s a difference between garden variety upset stomach and genuine gastric distress, which could be a sign of a virus. If your symptoms are severe, do yourself, the crew, and your fellow passengers a solid and check in with the ship’s medical staff. Yes, they take these things very seriously. And, yes, there’s a high likelihood you’ll be quarantined, but that’s for another article.

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Disney Cruise Line Returns to New York City in 2016

by on May 18, 2015

Thank you to Tammy Whiting for the heads up on this:

Good news, East Coasters – Disney Cruise Line will have sailings out of New York City to Canada and the Bahamas in 2016 on the Magic.

I was lucky enough to catch the Canada itinerary the last time Disney had it, and loved the change of scenery. If you’re looking for something new on DCL, and Alaska or Europe are too far or too much money (in my case – both!), this is a great option to consider.

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10 Places to Stay the Night before Your Disney Cruise out of Port Canaveral

by on April 10, 2015

So where should you stay the night before your Disney cruise out of Port Canaveral?  My number one answer is – not in your own bed!  Well, unless your bed is within a few hours driving distance of the port that is.  In Port Canaveral, everyone must be onboard the ship by 4 pm, so while for many people there is certainly time to travel in on the day of the cruise, recognize that you are taking a risk!  That ship is sailing with or without you, so any travel delays won’t just make you late for your vacation, they could make you miss your vacation!  On an Alaskan cruise, a one hour flight delay due to wind was enough to make us miss our connection and we couldn’t make it into Vancouver until the next day.  But thankfully the ship wasn’t leaving until the next day!  So we made it.  Another hundred dollars or so for a hotel room within driving distance of the pier is the best insurance you can buy in my opinion.  So here are a few options for you!

Walt Disney World

1. Walt Disney World Resort – The most obviously fun place to stay would be any resort at Walt Disney World! Walt Disney World is a little over an hour away from Port Canaveral and has a lot of options and price points. Who wouldn’t want to visit Disney World for a night (or six) before you sail away? If you would like to take Disney transfers to the port, they cost $70 per person roundtrip and will pick you up from any Disney resort. Be aware, if you are in a hurry to get to the port for the earliest possible boarding, transfers from Disney World won’t usually get you there until noon at the earliest. Your hotel will give you a pick up time the night before. If you are desperate to be there earlier and want to stick with Disney transfers, you can also take Disney Magical Express back to the airport and catch a transfer from there. It’s a little more time consuming, of course, but you could be on one of the earliest transfers if that’s your goal! The transfers from the airport usually start leaving a little after nine and those first busses are the first people in the terminal.

2. Shades of Green – If you are eligible, Shades of Green is a great place to stay on property. Located within walking distance of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Shades of Green is owned and operated by the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s open to all active duty U.S. military personnel, including members of the National Guard and Reserves, retired military, employees of the U.S. Public Health Service and the Department of Defense, foreign military personnel attached to U.S. units, and some civilian contractors. The rooms are some of the largest on property, and rates are determined by rank. Disney Cruise Line transfers will not pick up at Shades of Green, but if you wish to take Disney transfers, you can walk over to the Polynesian and catch them there. Shades is a beautiful, peaceful resort and I’d recommend it to anyone eligible to stay there.

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