Cruising To New Ports For Us

We are all set with our reservations for 2014 to go on another Disney cruise.  This cruise is different for us because it is going to Jamaica, along with a few other ports of call.  We have never been to Jamaica.  My wife is doing some various searches to see what kind of shopping there is in Jamaica.  When we go to the Bahamas we get our Key Lime items.  When we did the Keys we bought cigars, and humidors for cigars.  Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, is just another extension of the Bahamas so nothing special is ever bought there.

Has anyone ever cruised to Jamaica?  What is it like?  Is the port anything like the Bahamas port that you get ambushed at by many peddlers?  Let me know what you think.

Posted in Disney Cruise | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Disney Cruise 2014 Itineraries Revealed

CELEBRATION, Fla. (Dec. 4, 2012) – The white sand beaches and azure waters of Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, take center stage in the early half of 2014 voyages for Disney Cruise Line.  With all four Disney ships sailing from Florida ports, not only will guests have more options to visit Castaway Cay, but they may combine their cruise with a visit to Walt Disney World Resort and experience the expanded Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.

In the early part of 2014, the Disney Magic will return to Port Canaveral, Fla., joining the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, while the Disney Wonder will homeport in Miami. During this time, guests will have more opportunities than ever to enjoy a Disney cruise that visits Disney’s private island in the Bahamas reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, Castaway Cay.

Caribbean and Bahamas from Port Canaveral

In 2014, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral to the Caribbean and Bahamas on a variety of itineraries.  Every cruise departing from Port Canaveral includes a stop at Castaway Cay.

The itineraries also offer families magical days at sea to explore all of the fun aboard their Disney cruise ship and days in port to lounge on warm, golden beaches, swim and snorkel in azure waters or to shop to their heart’s content in local marketplaces.

Three-night Bahamian sailings are perfect for a quick getaway. Rates start at $420 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Ports: Port Canaveral, Nassau, Castaway Cay
Dates: Disney Dream departures Jan.-Aug., 2014; Disney Magic departures Jan.-May, 2014

Four-night Bahamian sailings include a day at sea to sample the one-of-a-kind Disney Cruise Line shipboard experience. Rates start at $480 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Ports: Port Canaveral, Nassau, Castaway Cay
Dates: Disney Dream departures Jan.-Aug., 2014; Disney Magic departures Jan.-May, 2014

Seven-night Eastern Caribbean. The Disney Fantasy will sail out of Port Canaveral on seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruises, including St. Maarten and St. Thomas with three days at sea.  Rates start at $1,155 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Ports: Port Canaveral, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Castaway Cay
Dates: Disney Fantasy departures Jan.-Aug., 2014

Seven-night Western Caribbean. The Disney Fantasy will sail out of Port Canaveral on seven-night Western Caribbean cruises, including Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel with two days at sea.  Rates start at $1,120 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Ports: Port Canaveral, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Castaway Cay
Dates: Disney Fantasy departures Jan.-April, 2014

Seven-night Western Caribbean, including Jamaica. At Falmouth, Jamaica, guests can sample the city’s history and culture, taste Jamaica’s signature jerk recipes, enjoy lush tropical scenery on a bamboo raft river ride and visit the spectacular Dunn’s River Falls located nearby. Rates start at $1,120 per person for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Ports: Port Canaveral, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth, Castaway Cay
Departure dates: Disney Fantasy departures May-Aug., 2014

Bahamas and Western Caribbean from Miami (Jan.-May, 2014)

In 2014, the Disney Wonder will sail from Miami on four-night Bahamian and five-night Western Caribbean cruises. Rates start at $352 per person for four-night cruises and $440 for five-night cruises departing from Miami for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Four-night Bahamas

Ports: Miami, Castaway Cay, Nassau, Key West
Departure dates: Jan. 15, 29, Feb. 12, 26, March 12, 26, April 9, 23

Five-night Caribbean

Ports: Miami, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Departure dates: Jan. 10, 24, Feb. 7, 21, March 7, 21, April 4, 18

Five-night Caribbean, including Castaway Cay

Ports: Miami, Cozumel, Castaway Cay
Departure dates: Jan. 19, Feb. 2, 16, March 2, 16, 30, April 13, 27

All pricing reflects a category 11C standard inside stateroom. Government taxes and fees and Port Adventures are not included.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit http://www.disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.

Posted in Disney Cruise | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New York Disney Magic 8 Night Cruise Day 1

For the days prior to our cruise we were bombarded with things to do.  I was working until the Thursday before the cruise so I didn’t get to help my wife get everything done.  One of my friends assisted us in watching our birds, cats, dogs, and rabbit.  Early the next week he would be relieved of one of the dogs because my parents took one for us because someone else had failed to keep a promise.

We ended up driving to the city because another series of “Unfortunate” events made it so that we had no choice.  We found a parking lot that was a few blocks away, but was drastically cheaper than parking at the actual cruise pier.  After hailing a cab we were whisked away to start our trip.

On August 25 we boarded the Disney Magic in New York City for a 8 night cruise.  Our ports of call were Nassau, Castaway Cay (Disney’s Private Island), and Port Canaveral (Day at the Disney World Resort).  At check-in we asked about any available upgrades.  We were told that there was only 1 upgrade available for the entire cruise.  What we found out was that the upgrade was only good for 3 people, and that we happened to ask before anyone else.  The stateroom we booked originally was a inside stateroom.  The attendant offered us a verandah stateroom.  Being my birthday was only 2 days away my wife decided that we would get the upgrade.  This also served her well because now she could smoke on the verandah in addition to Deck 9.  When we got on the ship we were advised that we could go to one of two locations for lunch.  We chose to go to Topsiders for the buffet.  This was so that we could see as much of New York from the ship as possible.  We were docked 2 piers from the Intrepid Museum, but got a real nice view.  By 11:30am we were able to go to our staterooms.  For us our luggage would be delayed because of the room switch.  The safety drill took place, and then we were free to do as we wished.

Within a few hours it was time for the “Adventures Away” deck party.  The cruise staff came out, and were joined by some of the Disney characters.  Once we were under way everyone seemed to converge on the front of the boat.  This was to see the Statue of Liberty, the Freedom Tower, and also to see the ship go under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  It was a set of sights not to be missed.  For us our little one disappeared with her newly found friends, and she didn’t want to see the sights.  We have always chosen the later seating for dinner, and that is mainly because we know you can eat up on Deck 9 until late, and we didn’t want to be rushed either.

Later that night we went to Parrots Cay for dinner.  We had arranged to sit with a few other families that we had met through the Facebook page I had created for people sailing with us.  It was a fun night.

After dinner we went down to our stateroom and decided to finish unpacking, and relax for a bit.  We ended up laying down and watching a movie on the tv.  Little did we know that we fell asleep before our little one returned.  She came in and woke us, then proceeded to complain that we went to sleep without her being back in the room.  We apologized.  She was fine… She just wanted to let us know that she was back.

Part 2 will be up shortly so keep checking back for more.

Posted in Trip Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disney Magic Here We Come

In just about 3 weeks we leave for our 8 night cruise on the Disney Magic.  We are destined for the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, and Disney World.  We have both finished printing and finishing the shirts, and magnets for our group.  It took some time, but we got it finished.

My wife has finally started to organize what is going, and what needs to be packed.  We don’t want to bring a lot of luggage onboard with us, but there are necessities that are needed for a 8 night trip.  I have told my wife that we will more than likely pack enough for 4 nights and use the washer and dryer on the ship.  It is a shame we don’t have a timeshare for the day because we could then just wash and dry at the resort.

The family has been discussing if we are going to bring anything super formal for formal night, but we aren’t really formal people.  The rest of the packing will be normal stuff that is used all the time.  I have to go do some shopping with my daughter to find some cheap perfume for my wife.  My daughter is useful for some things when it comes to her mother / my wife.  There is only one thing that she must not pinch pennies on, and that is the sunscreen.  Last cruise I got sun poisoning, and don’t intend to get it again.

Posted in Disney Cruise | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Totally Honest Review Of The Disney Dream Part 2

We previously posted about our experience on the first leg of our Back to Back cruise on the Disney Dream.  Now we will talk about the second part.

We would like to thank all of the people of the group that we met from the Disboards.  The Fish Extender was fun, and the Yankee Swap was great.  Meeting, and talking to other cruisers put a lot of my questions, and thoughts at ease.

On Thursday we woke at 7am to go to breakfast, and meet the group of cruisers that we met on the Disboards.  We went up to Cabanas.  After breakfast we got a group photo, and said goodbye.  We disembarked the ship, and were instructed where to go to get back on.  After going through paperwork we were given our boarding number, and told to wait.  After about an hour we reboarded at @10:30am.  When reboarding the photo group on the gangway wasn’t ready for photos so we couldn’t get our photos.  We had another person take our photo so we did get a photo.

After that we went back onto the ship, and went up to deck 11 for coffee.  During this time it is advised to you that you will be onboard while maintenance is being performed.  We pretty much just hung out on deck 11 until we noticed people coming onboard.  For the most part rooms aren’t available until 1:30pm, but being a Back to Back cruiser with the same room we were able to go back to our room earlier.  We then went to the Sail Away party.

What we noticed is that during a 3 day cruise majority of the people onboard have a tighter timeframe to accomplish everything they want to do so lines are a bit longer for some things.  This stands true for the pools no matter what any person in the media has published in the past.  For those that don’t understand why I say this… Read this excerpt that was posted by a well known site…

POOLS

No matter who I spoke with, the Cast Member emphasised how the Disney Dream is 40% larger than the Magic and Wonder and so everything was enlarged by about 40%. The same is true for the pools.

Disney Magic Pool

Disney Dream Pool

Notice the pool is square, and the actual swimming section is round.  Can you all admit that this was definitely an unwise choice?

We went to play some miniature golf, and the lines do have their bad times at certain times.  Next we enquired into the simulators.  We were advised of the prices by the person in charge of them, and we decided against them.  This was something I felt Disney should have included.  The decking material on deck 12 gets extremely hot in comparison to the other boats so walking around in the hot sun waiting for Aquaduck, or just walking around will make your feet quite uncomfortable.

During our first leg of the cruise we got off in the Bahamas and personally went to Ardastra Gardens.  We paid @45 for the 3 of us including the Jitney bus.  Disney wanted @$125+ for the Ardastra Gardens excursion.  Yes theirs includes a driving tour around the island that lasts @1/2 hour.  This was not necessary for us.  When we docked at Nassau, Bahamas the second time we got off briefly, but returned because we don’t stay there for long.  We just don’t enjoy Nassau that much.  Upon coming back onboard we noticed that the pools were already well filled, and the Aquaduck was also pretty full.  With the Aquaduck we noticed that it is closed on, and off throughout the day due to technical problems.

While at Castaway Cay my daughter, and I took part in the Stingray excursion.  This was a very memorable experience for us.  What I didn’t know was that I got severly burned during this.  This was due to the level of sun at the time of the excursion.  We were on the last excursion of the day.  For the price this excursion was valued well.  It was worth the sun poisoning for me to have that experience with my daughter.  Back onboard that night I got very sick due to the sun poisoning.  Valuable lesson… When your significant other purchases sunscreen make sure she buys good stuff, and not $1 store stuff.  Also make sure it isn’t from like 2-3 years ago because she put it away and forgot about it.

On the last night we scrambled to get dinner, Believe, and packing done before the 10:30pm time.  What we should have done was we should have done the Believe show on the 4 night so that we weren’t jammed up so bad.

In conclusion… I think Disney should have taken a bit more time to evaluate some of the things that they did with this ship.  Some people have messaged me telling me that “It’s a new ship.  It needs time to work out bugs.”  For the price that is charged I expect perfection.  Disney should account for issues and price should be taken into consideration for possible problems.  If you don’t believe this is the case, then please mail me a check for my cruise, and I will shut up.  After all… I can’t justify throwing money away.  Many of the people we cruised with, and even other seasoned Disney Cruising people that we didn’t cruise with that we spoke to felt that there was a major difference between the Dream, and the others.  The staff we personally had was spectacular.  A few of the employees that we met had nothing but complaints about their jobs.  One of the people in our group had this to say…

We had a Russian (sp)? room hostess and all she did was complain about, “too much work to do”

I have spoken with DCL guest communications, and they communicated that they appreciated the feedback, and it was necessary because it helps them improve things.

BTW… Cudos to Sigit (Stateroom), Nathanapon (Dining Server), and Raluca (Asst. Dining Server)

People like this helped make some essence of the cruise perfect.

Posted in Disney Cruise | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment