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.