Please help me choose DCL vacation!

parkbr

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Hi,

I am hoping the experienced DCL veterans and travellers to help me decide the cruise and extras…
I know it sounds silly, but I am quite desperate to know what others think. (and yes, I cannot make up my mind quickly and that's my problem!)

Things to consider:
* We fly from Toronto (flights are about $350-400 per person)
* We plan to arrive at least 1 day before the cruise
* We have SeaWorld tickets (2 days) that expires on December 9 and 14, respectively. (~$300 USD in value) We hope to use this if we can and want to see the new Sesame area and Christmas Rudolph meet & greet. We went to SeaWorld last December.
* I am very prone to sea sick (neither my DH nor DD are sea sick)
* Never been to DCL. We've been to RCCL twice – Allures and Oasis – and we enjoyed it, but got sea sick on the first 2 days at Allures (maybe because we're going further?)
* Our DD's turning 6 at the end of January. She is about 43 inches tall. She does not like to be left alone sometimes (so we may not get that much of adult-only time).
* We asked DD couple days ago, she said she somewhat likes Princesses (Rapunzel, Mulan, Cinderella, and Moana), but she also knows about Star Wars (haven't watched any movies though.) And she kept on asking if they were REAL princesses and REAL Darth Vader, etc. I think that magical age will be over soon.
* We most like will go to other DCL in the future - for DD birthday or anniversary, etc.

We're looking at 4 options with estimated price (in USD).

1. Disney Dream – VGT rate (December 2 – 6) & SeaWorld: $4700
Pro: Save on flights. Extra days can be used towards visiting SeaWorld. We've been to Nausau (1 of 2 port of calls). Christmas themed cruise. Affordable.
Con: Not a birthday cruise. Cruise is short (4 days)

2. Disney Fantasy – OGT rate (Nov 30 – Dec 7) & SeaWorld: $6100
Pro: Save on flights. Christmas themed cruise. Extra days can be used towards visiting SeaWorld. 7-day cruise.
Con: Not a birthday cruise. We've been to St. Thomas (1 of 3 port of calls). Oceanview room. I heard this route is more prone to motion because of its itinerary (it has to go far)

3. Disney Fantasy (Jan 17 – Jan 25) – 5C CAN rate: $6100
Pro: Know the room. Birthday cruise. 7-day cruise. Star Wars maybe hit or miss for DD, (we think she will like it. Her friends talk about it and we have time to educate her.)
Con: Loose SeaWorld passes. Visited Cozumel and Falmouth (2 of 3 port of calls) before.

4. Disney Fantasy (Jan 17 – Jan 25) – 5C CAN rate AND make a short trip to SeaWorld & MVMCP (end of Nov / early December): $8000 (for two trips - $6100 + $1900)
Pro: Know the room. Birthday cruise. 7-day cruise. Can use SeaWorld tickets. Star Wars maybe hit or miss for DD, (we think she will like it. Her friends talk about it and we have time to educate her.)
Con: Expensive (fly twice to MCO and hotels). Visited Cozumel and Falmouth (2 of 3 port of calls) before.

I am more leaning towards option 1 or 4, but not sure which one's better.

To other parents:
Is it truly magical to be on a cruise for DD's birthday? We were at WDW for her 4th birthday and it was really fun!
If we choose #1, we're thinking of taking her to like Great Wolf Lodge or take her to the magic show at Niagara Falls (we've been twice and she liked them very much) or throw a birthday party instead. It will cost about $500. We already told her that she won't have a birthday party, but we'll go away and she's cool about it.

Thank you in advance!
 

bobbiwoz

I'm happy to dance with you!
Joined
Aug 26, 2003
#1...you like the price, it’s a Christmas Themed Cruise, you can enjoy Sea World!

It seems that I have heard it’s the Florida Straits that can give you some rolling seas. Take the meds you need BEFORE you need them! I hope you have a wonderful vacation!
 

amberwc

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 10, 2016
Personally, would vote 1. Get a taste of DCL and see if it's for you. There's so much to do on the ship, I probably wouldn't bother getting of in Nassau. You can do an OBB and get a discount on a longer trip later. But I'm being super budget-conscious of late -- so it's your $$$ if you want to go all out--do it!
 

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  • Mommb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2010
    I would go for choice 1 or choice 2, depending on how much you want to spend. My thoughts:
    • The longer cruise does travel farther, but it also has more days in the middle. I have had the most trouble with the ship's movement on the first day and last day, so having several days in between might be beneficial.
    • You can celebrate your daughter's birthday onboard even if it's not her actual birthday. Your dining room server will be happy to bring out a cake whatever night you request. You can even order room decorations and tell your daughter it's actually an "un-birthday" celebration if she'd like that. Then you can celebrate in some way at or near home on her actual birthday too.
    • I prefer Veranda to Oceanview rooms, but on Caribbean/Bahamas cruises I haven't actually spent much time on the veranda. There are plenty of spots onboard to look out on the water even if you can't from your cabin. It wouldn't bother me having a GT room and being unable to select a specific room. If you book an OGT room on the Fantasy, it's possible (though not likely) that you could end up in a veranda room anyhow.
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    Oasis class ships have some of the least movement I've encountered on a cruise - so I'm thinking that you'll feel the movement on DCL ships which are smaller. That said, if the water is choppy you're gonna feel the waves no matter what. Please be prepared for that.

    Your daughter is SK? If so, I guess the dates aren't that important. The January cruise contains MLKjr Day. Not sure if that's important.

    Overall I think I like 1 best. It's before Christmas break, doesn't contain a US holiday, and you can use your Sea World tix. Plus a theme cruise, which is kind of cool. I don't book GTY rooms, so I can't speak on that.
     

    auntlynne

    Aunt Lynne
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2008
    ... It seems that I have heard it’s the Florida Straits that can give you some rolling seas. Take the meds you need BEFORE you need them! I hope you have a wonderful vacation!
    Florida Straits, between FL and the Bahamas - I heard the same thing (and felt it) - choppy sailing due. Other than a storm in the Mediterranean, it’s the only time I’ve been queasy while sailing. On a short Bahamas itinerary, it’s hard to get over it.

    ... What’s a “real” Princess or Darth Vader to a six year old? Maybe she just means a human?
     

    parkbr

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 1, 2016
    Thank you all!

    BTW, what is OBB?

    Yes, Allures was also heading to Bahamas and I said "I'll never cruise again!" then it got better rest of the trip.
    And yes, we love sea days.. too bad that shorter cruises have just 1 sea days, but we can choose to not get off the ship or come back quickly. And I will take the med BEFORE going on the cruise.

    We might consider 'super early birthday (like 2 months early??)' celebration!

    Yes, she's in SK. So we're bit flexible with timing. We want to be around if the school has Christmas party or year-end concert (it is super big at her school and it's a must-attend event!), but other than that, I think we have the flexibility for the next few years.

    The 'real' princess/star wars question is like: is she REALLY Cinderella?? or is he a real Darth Vader? Are you sure it's not someone pretending to be a Darth Vader?
    So DD is in this 'doubt' stage.... Really, I believed in Santa Clause until I was 12!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (yes that is late... and I almost got bullied for believing in him!)
     

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  • auntlynne

    Aunt Lynne
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2008
    OBB is Onboard Booking Bonus. Only available during the cruise, it is a way to put down a reduced deposit on a specific cruise or a placeholder Cruise (you pick all the details - date, ship, etc - at a later date). In return, you save 10% on the cruise fare when you select your cruise. Taxes and port fees are not discounted. You must sail within 24 months or money is returned to you.

    Does it bother her that Mickey, Minnie and other characters are just people in costume? I know it, it still get that warm feeling when I see them. Maybe I outgrew that concrete thinking stage of development :)

    You are a pretty clear thinker and planner despite what you told us. You’re going to pick a great cruise, I bet.
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    Yes, she's in SK. So we're bit flexible with timing. We want to be around if the school has Christmas party or year-end concert (it is super big at her school and it's a must-attend event!), but other
    Definitely can't miss the Winter concert if they have that. My younger daughter's school has so many people attend that they had to move the event to the high school. The JK and SK kids are always super cute. Maybe check in with the front office?
     

    DCLCruiseFan09

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2019
    This may sound a bit harsh, but if you were seasick on Allure, you'll get seasick on the Dream or the Fantasy even easier as they are smaller ships and more prone to movement.

    I would recommend option number 1. Shorter cruise, lower cost is usually the best for me. Also: I am a huge fan of Seaworld's Christmas event so make sure to enjoy that. The shows and the environment they have in the park is great.

    Some prefer the Fantasy but the overall offerings on the Dream are far better. Plus if you are worried about seasickness, you wont have to deal with it for as long on a 4 night cruise if you have issues.

    Also, there are no issues celebrating a birthday at a different time. We took our honeymoon on a Disney Cruise around 9 months after we got married and our serving team made it feel like we had just gotten hitched before we left.
     

    parkbr

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 1, 2016
    OBB is Onboard Booking Bonus. Only available during the cruise, it is a way to put down a reduced deposit on a specific cruise or a placeholder Cruise (you pick all the details - date, ship, etc - at a later date). In return, you save 10% on the cruise fare when you select your cruise. Taxes and port fees are not discounted. You must sail within 24 months or money is returned to you.

    Does it bother her that Mickey, Minnie and other characters are just people in costume? I know it, it still get that warm feeling when I see them. Maybe I outgrew that concrete thinking stage of development :)

    You are a pretty clear thinker and planner despite what you told us. You’re going to pick a great cruise, I bet.
    Ohhhh. If I do OBB - is it cancellable?

    I don't think she is bothered, but she knows that they are not real. But I am in deeply love with Winnie the pooh and my daughter once said "Mommy, you like Pooh bear more than me. You RUN to him and leave me behind." :worship:

    Thank you so much for your response. We have decided to go with Dream. Will be booking in the next hour. :D
     
  • parkbr

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 1, 2016
    Definitely can't miss the Winter concert if they have that. My younger daughter's school has so many people attend that they had to move the event to the high school. The JK and SK kids are always super cute. Maybe check in with the front office?
    Winter concert is on the 19th and 20th, but there's Christmas party on the 16th.
    She is doing some extra curricular activities and they are also putting shows together on the 10th and 15th. And DD LOVES being on a stage and perform. So we cannot take her out.
    So Dream on early December works the best for us. (and you and many others also recommended it too!)

    Our year-end concert (in May) is BIG! We rent a theatre for that event!

    Yes, they are super cute!
     

    parkbr

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 1, 2016
    This may sound a bit harsh, but if you were seasick on Allure, you'll get seasick on the Dream or the Fantasy even easier as they are smaller ships and more prone to movement.

    I would recommend option number 1. Shorter cruise, lower cost is usually the best for me. Also: I am a huge fan of Seaworld's Christmas event so make sure to enjoy that. The shows and the environment they have in the park is great.

    Some prefer the Fantasy but the overall offerings on the Dream are far better. Plus if you are worried about seasickness, you wont have to deal with it for as long on a 4 night cruise if you have issues.

    Also, there are no issues celebrating a birthday at a different time. We took our honeymoon on a Disney Cruise around 9 months after we got married and our serving team made it feel like we had just gotten hitched before we left.
    Thank you. I am quite scared of the seasickness.
    Yes, we were at SeaWorld last December and it was really nice. And with new Sesame street area, and now DD is slightly taller to go on couple more rides (last year, she only could go on carousel.), so it will be worth it.

    We will try Dream and see how I feel about the ship and motion, etc. Perhaps, everything is so great, so I will just forget about being sick!
     

    bobbiwoz

    I'm happy to dance with you!
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2003
    Thank you. I am quite scared of the seasickness.
    Yes, we were at SeaWorld last December and it was really nice. And with new Sesame street area, and now DD is slightly taller to go on couple more rides (last year, she only could go on carousel.), so it will be worth it.

    We will try Dream and see how I feel about the ship and motion, etc. Perhaps, everything is so great, so I will just forget about being sick!
    Enjoy! :boat:
     

    DCLCruiseFan09

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2019
    Thank you. I am quite scared of the seasickness.
    Yes, we were at SeaWorld last December and it was really nice. And with new Sesame street area, and now DD is slightly taller to go on couple more rides (last year, she only could go on carousel.), so it will be worth it.

    We will try Dream and see how I feel about the ship and motion, etc. Perhaps, everything is so great, so I will just forget about being sick!
    As someone who gets motion sick from the ships (but is obsessed with cruising), I also recommend what a previous poster put on here saying to start taking the motion sickness medicine a few days in advance as this can help to build up in your system.

    I took Non Drowsy Dramamine for the Daytime and I take regular "Put you to sleep" Dramamine for the evenings to help with sleeping. Some recommend the pressure bands or the behind the ear patches also to help with some discomfort.

    Another thing that may help to keep in mind, usually the lower in the ship I am, and the lower my stateroom is the better I do when it comes to seasicknes. When I was in a Deck 7 room on the Fantasy, I did a lot better than when I was on the Dream (Deck 10 both times). I know that you are looking at booking VGT so you don't necessarily get to pick but it seems for me that I do better when I am not so high up. Just something to think about.
     

    parkbr

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 1, 2016
    CAN I SCREAM??? (which I already did!)
    I just booked my very first DCL!! Thank you SOOO SOOOO SOOO much for all your help.
    You are amazing!

    We decided to go with Dream and SeaWorld. :)

    Now, we have to think about when to go to SeaWorld - before cruise or after cruise?

    I just found out that our flights and hotels are cheaper (and only 4 night stay required before cruise) overall if we fly on American thanksgiving, but SeaWorld may be more packed.
    If we go after the cruise, then overall cost will be bit more expensive, but SeaWorld will be less packed.
    We tend to like to come home on disembarkation day because we feel like vacation is over and want to come home. But that was with 7-night cruises.

    Or shall we drive 20 hours??????? :D
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    We decided to go with Dream and SeaWorld. :)

    Now, we have to think about when to go to SeaWorld - before cruise or after cruise?

    I just found out that our flights and hotels are cheaper (and only 4 night stay required before cruise) overall if we fly on American thanksgiving, but SeaWorld may be more packed.
    If we go after the cruise, then overall cost will be bit more expensive, but SeaWorld will be less packed.
    We tend to like to come home on disembarkation day because we feel like vacation is over and want to come home. But that was with 7-night cruises.

    Or shall we drive 20 hours??????? :D
    The drive isn't bad if you've got multiple drivers. In the late fall, I'd probably play it safe and stay overnight somewhere, which adds a day on either end.

    As for before or after, I think you'll be more relaxed and less tired for a long drive coming off a cruise vs walking around a theme park.

    If you're flying, I suppose it then doesn't matter.

    BTW, I don't know if you've got annual passes to the Science Centre, but if you do, admission to the Orlando Science Center is free - might be a good use of half a day or so.
     

    auntlynne

    Aunt Lynne
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2008
    Ohhhh. If I do OBB - is it cancellable?...
    I haven’t found that exact info on a Disney website, but I called DCL recently about the possibility of moving a cruise date after picking a specific cruise booked with the placeholder deposit. That response was that the current cancellation rules apply. The rules spell out when payment is due or is refundable. (Which should mean you could book a cruise and immediately cancel it, getting your money back. Also, this is not advertised as a non-refundable deposit). This deposit/discount cannot be used with GT* rates or Canadian resident discounts (on that future cruise).

    A reputable website says yes, if you decide to not book a room with you onboard booking deposit, you can get your deposit back before the 24 month window ends. If you haven’t sailed before the 24 months, your money will be refunded.



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