Posts Tagged ‘disney cruise line’

10 Reasons to Take a Holiday Cruise on Disney Cruise Line

by on October 9, 2014

It’s that time of year! Holiday sailings for the Disney Cruise Line! I just returned from a Halloween on the High Seas sailing on the Dream and we enjoyed our Thanksgiving cruise on the Disney Fantasy so much last year that weve booked another on the Disney Magic this year! The Halloween sailings for 2014 started in September and continued through the end of October. The Very Merrytime sailings start November 8th and go through the end of December. All Disney cruises are magical for me, but the holiday cruises have something a little extra. Here are 10 reasons to try one!

1. No Cooking Holiday Dinners – Oh, yes! This is my favorite part. If you are onboard for one of the big holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas – you do not have to cook!!!!!! Equally exciting – you do not have to clean, so you get to enjoy the holiday as well!!!! Win win win. We had a choice of seven entrees for our Thanksgiving dinner. And I can testify firsthand that the turkey was delicious. On our Halloween sailing, our servers even brought us an absolutely adorable cake in the shape of a spider.

2. Gorgeous Decorations – The ships are gorgeous any day of the year, but they are really done up for the holidays. For the Halloween sailings, there are four different Halloween trees decorated with pumpkins. Actually, they usually start off with just leaves and by the end of your sailing it’s covered in pumpkins. And don’t miss the portholes on deck 4, they have adorable Jack-o-lantern faces. During the Very Merrytime sailings, there will be Christmas trees everywhere! In the restaurants, in the atrium, in the terminal, even on Castaway Cay! There is also a giant gingerbread house in the lobby which they start constructing in early November and finish around the last week of November.

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What To Do The Night Before Your Disney Alaska Cruise

by on October 7, 2014

Canada PlaceJust in case you haven’t been following along, let me take a moment to catch you up! Fellow TouringPlans Blogger Erin Foster and I went on an amazing Disney Alaska Cruise this summer with our families. We had an incredible time aboard the Disney Wonder and in Alaska experiencing some fantastic Port Adventures like dog sledding, the White Pass and Yukon Railroad, and viewing the Misty Fjords National Monument by float plane.

Before we set off on our exciting voyage, we each spent the night in Vancouver; Erin and her family at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport and my family at the Fairmont Waterfront. My family arrived early on the day before our Disney Alaska Cruise so we had some time to check out Vancouver. Please read on to find out all about our adventures exploring Canada Place, walking the Sea Wall and touring Gastown!

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TouringPlans #Everywhere: I’m Going on my First Disney Cruise Aboard the Disney Wonder!

by on October 7, 2014

Over the past few weeks and months you’ve probably read several articles on the upcoming big October event - TouringPlans #Everywhere. If not, here’s the skinny: during Columbus Day weekend, TouringPlans is sending its staff across the world to Disney destinations in order to collect content, meet our subscribers, and if we can squeeze it in, have some fun, too. Brian McNichols, my cohost of the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast, is going to Disneyland. Gerelyn Reaves is going to the Aulani resort in Hawaii. Guy Selga is going to Tokyo Disneyland. And I’ll be going to the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. Just kidding, I’ll actually be taking my first ever trip on the Disney Cruise Line aboard the Disney Wonder.

DisneyCruiseLine_Dream

Spoiler Alert: This is NOT the Disney Wonder, this is the Disney Dream.

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Disney Cruise Line For People Who Hate Cruises

by on October 1, 2014

Disney Cruise LineA few years ago, before I went on my first Disney Cruise Line sailing, I could never imagine myself as a cruise person. Maybe “hate” is too strong of a word, but for years I had no desire to vacation on a floating germ filled petri dish of doom…uh…I mean…lovely cruise ship. But then as time passed by, I began to get a little curious. My parents are avid cruisers and they would share their photos and stories of great adventures. My boys even started talking about how fun it would be if we went on a cruise…especially a Disney Cruise Line vacation!

Now I’m a huge fan of all things Disney…characters, movies, clothes, theme parks, you name it…could Mickey Mouse and my love of Disney really change my mind about cruising? Read on to find out!

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Disney Cruise Line Misty Fjords National Monument Flightseeing Excursion

by on September 19, 2014

Misty Fjords National Monument

©www.disneyworldenthusiast.com

Fellow Touring Plans blogger Erin Foster and I were fortunate enough to sail aboard the Disney Wonder on an incredible cruise to Alaska this summer. In case you missed it, we recently compared our Skagway dog sledding excursions as well as our Juneau train excursions. This time I’m back with all of the details from my final excursion in Ketchikan; the Classic Misty Fjords National Monument Flightseeing Port Adventure. Here’s everything you need to know to help you decide if this outing sounds like a good fit for you.

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Disney Cruise Line Vancouver Hotel Compare/Contrast

by on September 9, 2014

t_logo_fbTouring Plans blogger Kristi Fredericks and I have been sharing some of our excursion experiences (dog sledding in Juneau, trains in Skagway) on our Disney Cruise Line voyage to Alaska this summer. Now it’s time to cover our respective pre-cruise stays in Vancouver.

Both Kristi and I chose to book our pre-cruise hotels through Disney. Kristi stayed at the Fairmont Vancouver Waterfront. By the time I booked, the Waterfront was filled, so they placed me at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport location. Here’s the scoop on what we experienced.

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Gambling Disney Style – Disney Cruise Line Bingo

by on August 28, 2014

Disney Cruise Line Bingo 2Who’s ready for some gambling, Disney style? While it’s true that the Disney Cruise Line ships do not have casinos, fear not my fellow gamblers, there is still a way for us to get our fix. Disney Cruise Line bingo is a fun family activity that everyone can enjoy! I must admit, I love gambling. Now I’m not hearing my name being called by an evil slot machine or anything, but I do enjoy everything from craps to keno and bingo is no exception. I am a third generation bingo player; both my grandma and my dad are huge fans. So when I found out that I would be covering Disney Cruise Line bingo, I was beyond excited! I’ve played bingo in several places across the United States so I was very interested to compare Disney Cruise Line bingo aboard the Disney Wonder with my previous experiences. Please join me as I share my Disney Cruise Line bingo adventure with you!

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Disney Cruise Line Skagway, Alaska Train Excursions: Compare/Contrast

by on August 28, 2014

t_logo_fbTouring Plans blogger Kristi Fredericks recently compared our dog sled excursions on a Disney Cruise Line voyage to Alaska. We’re back with another round of Alaska Port Adventure comparisons, this time we’re looking at two train related excursions in the port of Skagway, Alaska. Kristi took the White Pass Railway and Trail Camp trip, while I took the All Aboard Steam Train tour. Here’s the scoop…

WHITE PASS RAILWAY AND TRAIL CAMP

  • Price: $168 for guests 10 years old and above, $85 for children three to nine years old and free for children two years old and younger.
  • Price add ons: There is an opportunity to purchase souvenirs at the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp.
  • Time requirement: The total excursion time is about 4.5 to 5 hours.
  • Physical issues: This excursion is both wheelchair and stroller accessible. Both must be collapsible. Guests must be able to walk on gravel to transfer to the train and motor coach.
  • Age limits: None.
  • Other important details: Passports are required for all guests, because this Port Adventure crosses into Canada.

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10 Things to Consider When Booking Excursions Through Disney Cruise Line

by on August 20, 2014

So you’re going on a Disney Cruise! That’s awesome. As I’ve referenced before, most things on a Disney Cruise are included. Most. One biggie not included is port excursions, however. And let’s be honest, port excursions can play a pretty big role in your cruise. Excursions are a terrific way to see the exciting ports you are visiting, and planning them is not something that should be taken lightly. There are a lot of factors to consider! And here are 10 of them.

1. Do You Need to Book Anything? – Maybe! But maybe not! Excursions shouldn’t make or break your ability to cruise. My family has done cruises where we didn’t book a single excursion, and we’ve done cruises where we’ve spent a small fortune on excursions. Think about your vacation. Is your goal to relax and not be tied to a schedule? Does the idea of a quiet ship with empty pools while others are rushing around in ports sound like heaven to you? Maybe passing on excursions this time is for you. Or, is the ship primarily floating transportation taking you to new countries and experiences? In that case you’ll want to either plan some excursions on your own if you’re comfortable, or book excursions through Disney.

2. Cost – For most of us, when considering whether we want to book an excursion, the first thing we ask is, “How much?” And then, even if the price doesn’t scare us too much, we remember the question we should have asked, “How much times four?” (or however many members are in your cruising party). When you’re budgeting for your cruise, the cost of excursions has to be factored in. Excursions can range from $12 for the Butterfly Garden in St. Thomas to $649 for a 4 hour Alaska Hummer Excursion and everything in between. Some of them are worth every single penny. Some of them are not.

3. Booking On Your Own – You can almost always save money by booking port adventures on your own as opposed to booking through Disney. Sometimes a lot of money! Does that mean you always should? Definitely not. While money is a big factor, consider other things as well. Are you comfortable traveling in a foreign country on your own? We’ve toured Rome on our own twice now, and we’ve become comfortable using public transportation and dealing with the language barriers there. If the thought of walking through Rome with a street and bus map doesn’t appeal to you, however, booking through Disney may be worth the cost. Are you going to be so worried about missing the ship that you won’t be able to relax? That’s a valid concern and it won’t happen on a Disney excursion because the ship will wait for you (it won’t wait for you if you are touring on your own and are running late). It’s also possible you just don’t want to deal with the stress involved in planning and researching port adventures you book on your own (you are going on vacation after all!). If this describes you (and I have dear family members who care very much about these real concerns), then booking your port excursions through Disney is for you. So, get off your wallet and book through Disney.

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Disney Cruise Line Alaska Quick Tips

by on July 23, 2014

Ahoy mateys! I’m back from my first trip to Alaska via Disney Cruise Line. In upcoming posts, new Touring Plans blogger Kristi Fredericks and I will be back with tips on activities, excursions, and pre/post cruise hotel options. But in the meantime, I thought I’d share a few quick tips to whet your whistle, pique your interest, and otherwise get you ready for the frozen fun ahead.

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Vancouver

  • The Disney Wonder port terminal is directly adjacent to Canada Place, a large convention center. Several of the Canada Place coffee shops and snack bars offer free WiFi to their customers. If you’re in need of a last minute Internet fix, grab a cup of coffee with a view of the ship before heading into the terminal where online access can be spotty.
  • A primary attraction at Canada Place is “FlyOver Canada.” This is Soarin’, but with footage of Canadian points of interest rather than shots of California. It ain’t cheap (adults are $19.95, students over age 18 are $17.95, and kids are $14.95, plus tax) for a 10-ish minute ride, but the Disney geek in me felt compelled to compare/contrast the experience to that at Epcot and Disney’s California Adventure. The similarity to Soarin’ was almost shocking; the seating is the same, the lift is the same, even the pre-show safety video is similar. My husband and daughter ended up preferring Soarin’ because the music is better and they like the Smell-O-Vision orange groves in the California version, but I (please don’t take away my WDW annual pass when I say this) think I prefer the Canadian experience. The wind simulation is used to better effect in Canada, the screen is wider/taller in Canada, and most importantly, the film print is totally clean in Canada, so your immersion in the experience is not diluted by specks of dust flying over the countryside.
  • The Granville Island market is a must-do for any Vancouver visitor, but Disney geeks will find special pleasure in knowing that among the displays of fresh salmon, spiced nuts, and exotic fruits, you can find a vendor selling actual real live Dole Whip. Look for a vendor called The Milkman. Enjoy!
Dole Whip in Vancouver

Dole Whip in Vancouver

  • Unlike the somewhat confusing and inefficient town to airport public transportation options in my home town of New York, the Vancouver public subway/rail system is easy to understand, clean, and efficient. If you’re not burdened by copious amounts of luggage, the easiest/fastest/cheapest way to get from the airport to the port is likely public transit. Direct point to point takes about 25 minutes and costs about $7.00, depending on the day of the week.
  • At the Vancouver airport, the international departures area near gates numbered in the 70s and 80s currently features several large display cases with vintage Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Pluto toys dating from the 1930s to present day – think variations on Pez and Happy Meal offerings, but hundreds of them.
  • The Starbucks in the Vancouver airport (and presumably elsewhere in the region) serves an uber-Canadian treat, the Maple Macchiato. It’s like a vanilla macchiato, but with an ample drizzle of maple topping made with “real Canadian Maple Syrup found from the Beauce-Appalanche region of Quebec.” Presumably this is no great shakes for you native Canadians out there, but honestly, this small detail was the thing that made this American most feel like Canada was actually another country.
  • The Vancouver airport will not allow you to check in on site prior to three hours before your trip. Nor, for international flights, will they allow you check in when there are fewer than 60 minutes before your flight. Timing is critical here.

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