Disney Cruise - Help Please


#1

OK, we are looking at taking a Disney Cruise next year. We can only get to the parks when it is packed, and our taste for dining spots at WDW has become expensive…leaving us paying for a WDW trip at premium prices that are very comparable to a cruise. I have questions though…

  1. When the ships are completely booked, how does that effect the cruise? I mean one major key in planning for WDW is when you go and predicting crowds, wait times, etc…Does a fully booked ship equal annoying traffic problems or wait times.?

  2. Is there enough entertainment for my kids - DS 12, DS 9, DD 5 (age at time of cruise)

  3. Can my 12 yr roam safely…? I mean not too far but can he explore a little on the ship.

  4. Dining - is all dining included, how does that work


#2

[QUOTE=dadofthree;1131462]OK, we are looking at taking a Disney Cruise next year. We can only get to the parks when it is packed, and our taste for dining spots at WDW has become expensive…leaving us paying for a WDW trip at premium prices that are very comparable to a cruise. I have questions though…

  1. When the ships are completely booked, how does that effect the cruise? I mean one major key in planning for WDW is when you go and predicting crowds, wait times, etc…Does a fully booked ship equal annoying traffic problems or wait times.?

  2. Is there enough entertainment for my kids - DS 12, DS 9, DD 5 (age at time of cruise)

  3. Can my 12 yr roam safely…? I mean not too far but can he explore a little on the ship.

  4. Dining - is all dining included, how does that work[/QUOTE]

First of all - have you ever cruised? If not, then it’s pretty hard to imagine how big cruise ships are. Many use the phrase “floating city” and that’s not far off, so:

  1. Completely booked ships do not feel as crowded as WDW - we’ve had two Disney cruises and I honestly don’t know whether they were full or not, but you have to understand that dynamic of a cruise is different - people will be all spread out doing different sorts of things, so you don’t get that “crowded” feel - except, for the most part, at pools and buffets. Both times we cruised were in late August. Disney does an excellent job (quelle surprise there) in controlling and managing - for instance there are three pools (maybe more on the newer ships) we were on the Wonder. One pool for toddlers and little ones, one family pool and one adult pool. So people will tend to stick to which pool meets their needs.

  2. Disney cruises are jammed packed with entertainment and it is the best entertainment in the cruise world. Their shows are Broadway callibar. They have a theatre showing current movies (because, as they point out, we own most of them). Castaway Cay is their private island where you can enjoy all sorts of water sports. Naturally, the kids clubs are the best because who better than Disney to entertain kids. There are several clubs, all dedicated to various ages. Parents are equipped with a beeper, so that if there are any emergencies - or the kids simply want to be with their parents, you are beeped right away.

  3. I honestly don’t know what the rules are regarding 12 year olds roaming about - there are “off limits” areas to kids on Disney ships, so he wouldn’t have free range of the ship. Personally, I wouldn’t let a 12 year old roam - especially at night - but there is so much for kids to do he’ll probably be busy from morning to night anyway.


#3

[QUOTE=dadofthree;1131462]OK, we are looking at taking a Disney Cruise next year. We can only get to the parks when it is packed, and our taste for dining spots at WDW has become expensive…leaving us paying for a WDW trip at premium prices that are very comparable to a cruise. I have questions though…

  1. When the ships are completely booked, how does that effect the cruise? I mean one major key in planning for WDW is when you go and predicting crowds, wait times, etc…Does a fully booked ship equal annoying traffic problems or wait times.?

  2. Is there enough entertainment for my kids - DS 12, DS 9, DD 5 (age at time of cruise)

  3. Can my 12 yr roam safely…? I mean not too far but can he explore a little on the ship.

  4. Dining - is all dining included, how does that work[/QUOTE]

First of all - have you ever cruised? If not, then it’s pretty hard to imagine how big cruise ships are. Many use the phrase “floating city” and that’s not far off, so:

  1. Completely booked ships do not feel as crowded as WDW - we’ve had two Disney cruises and I honestly don’t know whether they were full or not, but you have to understand that dynamic of a cruise is different - people will be all spread out doing different sorts of things, so you don’t get that “crowded” feel - except, maybe, at pools and buffets. Both times we cruised were in late August. Disney does an excellent job (quelle surprise there) in controlling and managing - for instance there are three pools (maybe more on the newer ships). We were on the Wonder. One pool for toddlers and little ones, one family pool and one adult pool. So people will tend to stick to which pool meets their needs. On Disney ships the adult areas are strictly off limits to kids at all times.

  2. Disney cruises are jammed packed with entertainment and it is the best entertainment in the cruise world. Their shows are Broadway callibar. They have a theatre showing current movies (because, as they point out, we own most of them). Castaway Cay is their private island where you can enjoy all sorts of water sports. Every cruise includes a day at Castaway Cay. Naturally, the kids clubs are the best because who better than Disney to entertain kids. I’m sure parents who’ve kids have been in them will be able to fill you in better than me. There are several clubs, all dedicated to various ages. Parents are equipped with a beeper, so that if there are any emergencies - or the kids simply want to be with their parents, you are beeped right away. Every evening, in the atrium, the characters will be roaming around, having pics taken with the kids. Of course, they are all in their cruising attire.

  3. I honestly don’t know what the rules are regarding 12 year olds roaming about - there are “off limits” areas to kids on Disney ships, so he wouldn’t have free range of the ship. Personally, I wouldn’t let a 12 year old roam - especially at night - but there is so much for kids to do he’ll probably be busy from morning to night anyway. Of course, heading to the arcade or getting ice cream or going to a movie, wouldn’t be a problem, I think, for most parents.

  4. There are three dining rooms on Disney cruise ships and you rotate amongst them - along with your wait staff - each night. As with all things Disney - be prepared for surprises even while dining. There is also the all day buffet (breakfast and lunch is also served in one of the dining rooms most days), and a “high-end” restaurant - usually nice for a parents night out. (tip: never reserve the restaurant for last night - you’ll be so full of food by then you won’t enjoy it as much). There is a surcharge for the this restaurant - I don’t remember what it is - maybe $35? There will be a bbq on Castaway Cay on your island day.


#4

Well, I needed to clarify…I wouldnt want him free roaming…I guess what I was asking was in your #2. Would he have time to do things away from us? But oh yes, I would want some supervision. In other words, I dont want him stuck on a boat by his parents side and his 5 yr old sister for a week. That doesnt seem fair.

So dining is included for all meals, unless you book the high end…also. I guess I heard that your wait staff stays the same so the begin to know your likes and dislikes.


#5

He can be away from you all day if he wants to be There’s a club for every age kid on the ship and they are kept busy from morning to night. Most of the kids I saw - going from place to place with their counsellors - were having a great time. Think of it as “floating summer camp”.


#6

[QUOTE=dadofthree;1131462]OK, we are looking at taking a Disney Cruise next year. We can only get to the parks when it is packed, and our taste for dining spots at WDW has become expensive…leaving us paying for a WDW trip at premium prices that are very comparable to a cruise. I have questions though…

  1. When the ships are completely booked, how does that effect the cruise? I mean one major key in planning for WDW is when you go and predicting crowds, wait times, etc…Does a fully booked ship equal annoying traffic problems or wait times.?

  2. Is there enough entertainment for my kids - DS 12, DS 9, DD 5 (age at time of cruise)

  3. Can my 12 yr roam safely…? I mean not too far but can he explore a little on the ship.

  4. Dining - is all dining included, how does that work[/QUOTE]

  1. Cruise ships are almost always completely booked. That is the cruiseline’s goal - to fill every room. Which is why if there are any leftover staterooms, the cruise fare decreases significantly in the few days before the cruise. That being said, a full cruise ship won’t feel nearly as crowded as a packed theme park. And in my opinion, one of the best things about cruising is that there is a maximum number of people being on board.

  2. Definitely!!! There is so much entertainment onboard it’s almost impossible for them to be bored. Even if they aren’t down for playing with other kids in the kids’ clubs, they’ll probably have a great time in the swimming pools, watching shows, meeting characters, etc.

  3. Yes, I think a 12 year old can be given some independence on a cruise ship, but the important thing is to not treat it much differently than a land vacation. It’s difficult to believe because everything feels so safe and contained on a cruise ship, but bad things can happen. There are some terrible kidnapping/rape/murder/suicide stories. As long as you set boundaries, regular meet-up times, know where your son is going, I would say it’s absolutely fine to let him spend some time with friends he meets onboard.


#7

What llama said. :laugh:

Disney cruises are a blast for kids of ALL ages. Like one of my table mates said they knew they wouldn’t see the kids much but they tought they’d see them some.

That sounds like a vote of approval from the kids prospective.


#8

My oldest meets people VERY easy. He is a chatterbox and not shy. And he finds someone around his age that likes sports…we might not see him much.

My middle child will either stick to us like glue or if he finds something that peaks his fancy like building something or art…he can get lost in it for hours.

My princess - well she is 4 so it depends on the day


#9

Dang! Now I want to cruise Disney again. Every time I hear that horn play “When You Wish Upon A Star” it chokes me up.:crying: I’m getting a little verklempt.:crying: Go, go…talk amongst yourselves.:crying:


#10

We went on a Disney cruise and loved it, it didn’t feel crowded at all, and the shows were fantastic! Great food, and a chance to meet people when you dine. Oh, and free refills at the beverage stations!


#11

We just returned from the 8 night cruise out of Galveston and I can not say enough good things about it!! My husband I have cruised before but our kids had not!! We booked the kids sail free offer that was good from beginning january thru most of March-excellent deal!!
I know our ship was completely full. You would never know it!! Things are so spaced out!!
The activities for kids were amazing!! There were kids clubs for all ages. Mine were 10 and 12 at the time of sailing. They get a wrist band that they wear all week. You check them in and I chose the option for the 10 year old that she could not leave until I checked her out. I’m sure she would have been fine checking herself out but it made me nervous. My 12 year old had the option of going with his sister or going to the preteen club where he could check himself in and out. The programs were great and endless. The nice thing was that at the end of dinner every day they had a kids club worker come and get the kids from dinner so the parents could have adult time!! Having raved about all this, my kids barely used the kids club… they are a little shy and preferred to stay with us. Grrrr…not what I planned!!
The shows were great with several showings each day!! The movie theater was great and showed movies that were still in theaters at the time, such as Wreck it Ralph.
ALL food is included and you can eat until you explode!! Each night was a different theme with a different menu!! We are a group of picky eaters and never had an issue!!
We stopped at Castaway Cay which made you feel like you were stranded on an island!! It was awesome!! Next stop was Port Canaveral!! Our cruise INCLUDED a one day park hopper and free transportation to WDW, so we were able to get our park fix in!! We made it to 3 parks that day!! Our last stop was Key west, our least fav stop of the trip, but we only had about 4 hours there!
There was a Pirate party one night with fireworks!! I was told that Disney Cruise line is the only cruise line to do fireworks!! It was neat because I think other ships knew it as you could see them gather around(as much as ships can)until the fireworks were over!
Wow, sorry, I really went off on a tangent!! Bottom line… we had a great time and it was a nice change from the parks, but still Disney!!


#12

Awesome mommyof2!!! I was thinking spring break next year but I did some thinking. My middle child bday is may 26 and the wife may 27. There is 7 night cruise in my price range schedules to leave may 24,2014. Quite a bday IMO.

I was going to ask bout fireworks…

Do they do anything special for bday people.

Ill have to have a weekend Disney trip to get a fix in somewhere in between but could be a great bday surprise.


#13

We celebrated my son’s 12th bday!! He did get a birthday pin and a special dessert at dinner. I will have to see if I can post a pic! I’m excited talking about our cruise that I want to book another!!:laugh:


#14

How far are you from the Port of Galveston? The sail free promo was too good to pass up!! We had a balcony room for 8 nights and it was way cheaper than our typical WDW trip!! We had to fly since we are in Ohio, and even with the airfare it was cheaper(we always drive to WDW)!!


#15

we are 8 hours from Galveston…

but all the cruises I have looked at were out of Port Canaveral (sp) which is 13 hrs away but just seemed to have more cruises.

I think its time to stock up on gift cards and then see what pops up


#16

This is the last year for Galveston cruises - heads up.


#17

I thought they just starting sailing out of Galveston?


#18

We LOVED the cruise, we did do a Land and Sea package which gave use some nights at the Poly, but the cruise was the highlite of the vacation.

  1. No they do not feel crowded, except the adult pool was always pretty full, not that I was complaining…

  2. We thought we would have DD2 at our side the whole time, once she found the teen club that was it, we saw her for dinner and at bed time. Her one comment was she wished we had started doing Disney Cruises sooner cause she really wanted to play at the Explores Club (pre teen)

  3. See two

  4. All the food you could want, besides the scheduled meals there was always stuff the munch on around the deck and it was all included.

Finally my one recommendation, be sure your room has a balcony, there is not much in life better then sitting under the stars, sipping a nice single malt, and watching the waves go by, man I wish we were going! !

( this also reminds me that all our cruise pictures are gone along with the pictures from the birthday cake castle, sigh! )


#19

Dana, do you have any other information? 'Cause now I’m thinking about next year…


#20

2013 is the last year for Galveston. Miami and Port Canaveral are options as of now for 2014. Not sure what else will come about, but maybe another port. I’ll post if I see something.