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Disney Cruise Line Discuss DCL Pros on a new ship. What we learned this past trip . . . in the Miscellaneous Disney forums; Our family completed our 5th Disney cruise this past November. We couldn't pass up a great price for a 3-Night Cruise to the Bahamas and we finally got to experience ...
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    TXTaylors5's Avatar
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    Arrow DCL Pros on a new ship. What we learned this past trip . . .

    Our family completed our 5th Disney cruise this past November. We couldn't pass up a great price for a 3-Night Cruise to the Bahamas and we finally got to experience the hyped Disney Dream. We've now sailed on all of the Disney Cruise Line ships! (Sailing on the "new" Fantasy in October!!! ) Coming back from this trip, I knew eventually that I needed to post some things that I noticed from our recent cruise experience . . .

    Arriving at Port Canaveral
    In the past, we would try and get to Port Canaveral by 10 am to get a lower boarding number. Now, they have you pick a time to arrive. Our scheduled arrival time was 11 am. However, after reading about the chaos in the terminal pre-boarding for The Dream, we decided to arrive later. There is no issue with this as the guard just flagged Bill to the unloading area. Wow! What a difference a few hours makes.

    Checking-In at Port Canaveral
    We arrived at Port Canaveral around 12:30 pm. My husband dropped us curbside with the baggage. A porter took our bags and my husband went to park the car while I took the kids inside to check-in. There was no need to go to the Castaway Club line, there was NO line. I walked straight up to a waiting CM at the counter. This is where having all your paperwork printed and signed was handy. I had all our passports open and documents signed. I was at the counter no more than three minutes. There was still a family at the counter next to me when I left and I heard their teenage daughter tell the Mom, "Look! They're already done!" This was me keeping three kids in line while checking in and my husband still wasn't back yet from parking the car! They didn't need him to be there. I guess when they scanned the passports, it put his picture in their system too.

    Kids Activities Check-In
    We always check the kids in at the terminal. So after getting our KTTW cards and new Castaway Club lanyards, I made my way to the Kids Club Activites line. This is where I did find a smallish line, due to adults who can't read and did not do online registration. It's really not that difficult people! While in line, my husband showed up actually shocked I was done checking us in. After about five minutes, we were in front a CM completing our two youngest registrations and they got their wristbands. These newish wristbands can easily come off. So, be careful!!! There is a charge if you lose it! Our youngest's fell off that first night. Luckily it fell into my hand. They re-attached it at the club that evening. I think the CMs checking the kids in at port try and not make the band too tight. However, that makes it loose and easy to snag and break.

    Boarding (Embarking)
    We arrived so late (about 12:50 pm by now) that we encountered NO LINE embarking and walked straight to the lady scanning the cards. After the swipe of our KTTW card we had our first encounter with the Shutters CMs.

    Shutters
    Embarking is where I started to see how this was going to be a "different" cruise from our past DCL cruises. Of course we wanted a family picture. Then, they wanted to take individual pictures and then the kids. Enough already! We finally said what they had was fine and we just wanted to embark.

    I had a BIG issue with the Shutters photographers this cruise. Every evening during dinner, they come around the tables to take pictures. The first night I noticed they took an individual picture of everyone and started to walk off. I had to pull her back to take a "family picture". Again, the second night a different man came around and took individual pictures and started to walk off. I was now onto their "scheme". The more pictures = more money (bigger package). So, I learned not to be afraid to ask them to take a family picture.

    Walking by Shutters most nights it was a madhouse. With the new system of them putting your pictures into a family book, there is absolutely no reason for people to be in there every evening. Save your vacation time and do it once closer to the end of the cruise after you know no more pictures are taken. It also helped us spend less because we chose a smaller picture package. (FYI - If you have more than one family in your party or extended family, don't purchase two of the same picture at Shutters. You can download a Shutters photo release online and do the reprints at home for a fraction of the cost.)

    Shutters Photo Release Form

    Adult-Only Areas
    This was the first cruise I encountered kids in the Adult-Only Areas onboard and on Castaway Cay. To me, Adult-Only means the kids shouldn't even be allowed to walk through. There needs to be a door where you have to slide your KTTW card into it allowing access to the Adult-Only areas onboard. JMHO

    Aquaduck
    As expected, this was very popular. Like us, I think most people stayed onboard at our day in Nassau. The line for the Aquaduck was ridiculous! One thing I noticed, there was NO LINE at night. If you want to ride it over and over again with no wait, ride it at night!
    (Normally open 10 am - midnight)

    Cabanas
    We decided to have a "proper breakfast" on our Castaway Cay day (no room service today). With everyone in their bathing suits and cover-ups, we headed to Cabanas. I am not a buffet person. However, I honestly enjoyed the breakfast buffet here. I made sure to browse the buffet first and then made my choices. Somehow, my husband overlooked the made-to-order omelet station. So, when I came back to the table with my yummy omelet, he had to get one too.

    Palo (Meridian Bar)
    We have been to Palo on the Wonder and Magic. So, we know what a truly romantic and delicious time awaited us. We arrived early and started with a cocktail at the bar next to Palo and Remy (Meridian). This is a really nice bar that anyone 21+ can enjoy. (You don't have to be eating at Palo or Remy) A hidden gem! We plan to enjoy it on our next cruise on Palo night and not Palo nights!

    BTW - We had a Remy reservation and decided to cancel it while in Palo. We relooked at the Remy menu while in the Meridian bar and felt the extra cost would be wasted when we weren't excited by the menu. ($75 pp)
    (FYI - You may cancel a Palo or Remy reservation by 2 pm on the day of the reservation and will not be charged the dining fee.)

    Servers
    Our Server and Assistant Server were great! I had been told all the "good Servers" were sent to the new ship. We found this to be true. Our Assistant Server was actually "better" than our Server. You know how you can tell when someone is being "fake" nice? Our Server was "fake" nice, but our Assistant Server was "really" nice. You could just tell. She had told us that she was turning into a Server the next cruise. She was very excited and doted on our children at every dinner. (She was tipped VERY well! )

    Okay, I am very hesitent to include this, but need to especially if you've sailed on the Wonder or Magic . . .

    Fellow Cruisers
    This was the first Disney cruise where I encountered rude, crude and classless people. I was shocked at the clientele this cruise attracted. It wasn't me being a "snob". It was apparent from the moment we stepped onboard, this wasn't like any past Disney cruises. It was "that bad". My husband and I looked at each other and without words, knew what the other was thinking. We encountered GROWN women wearing "hoochie" clothing and teens swearing as if they were in a locker room. I was VERY uncomfortable in the environment. Not everyone was like this, but there was an overwhelming amount that you "noticed" it. We honestly don't plan on sailing The Dream again for the shorter cruises.

    Plus, this was such a teaser cruise. Too much to see and do in so little time. It's a BIG ship. I never even made it into the spa! I can't wait to sail on The Fantasy in October for a longer cruise. Now on that cruise, the spa will be visited!

    Things I would NOT have known about sailing on The Dream, had I not browsed some online forums beforehand:

    You must keep a KTTW card in the slot to turn the lights on in the room.
    You can order Mickey Bars from Room Service (not on the menu).
    You can order a caesar salad at every dining room meal (not on the menu).
    Keep a copy of the ship map with you at ALL TIMES! (I picked up two in the terminal at Port Canaveral.)
    The only time the Captain plays ALL the horn songs is while sailing out of Port Canaveral on your first day. So, make sure to record it while "sailing away". It gives those on the shoreline waving to the ship a nice concert.
    If you plan to rebook while onboard (10% discount), do it on the FIRST night to avoid a long line and better incentive.
    You don't have to attend the DVC Member Meet to get the "goodies". We got a card in our stateroom that said "We Missed You" and to see the DVC Desk to get our goodies. We got our new hats, tattoos, bag and picture without wasting precious vacation time.
    Last edited by TXTaylors5; 01-06-2012 at 02:49 PM.
    Jennifer Bill (DisneyTaylors) Will (12) Emily (10) Cole (7)
    2004: CBR; 2006: BC ~ DCL(Wonder); 2007: BCV,YC,BC,SSR,ASMU ~ MVMCP ~ DCL(Magic); 2008: VWL,BCV,SSR,BC,POR,FW(cabin) ~ DCG, PPP,MNSSHP & MVMCP ~ DCL(Wonder); 2009: DLH(DLR), POR, SSR, BWV, POFQ; 2010: BWV (2xs), AKV (2xs) ~ ABD CA ~ GC (DLR) ~ DCL(Wonder); 2011: BCV, AKV (2xs) ~ MNSSHP ~ MVMCP ~ F&W ~ DCL(Dream); 2012: BWV, AKV, BLT ~ F&W ~ MNSSHP ~ DCL(Fantasy);
    Upcoming Disney Trips:
    2013:04/AKV, 05/AKV ~ Flower and Garden Festival & Expedition Everest Challenge, 12/VGC (DLR)
    2014: 06/DCL ~ Alaska (Wonder), 10/DCL ~ Southern Caribbean (Magic)


    "Sparkly"

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    FrankVC is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Re: DCL Pros on a new ship. What we learned this past trip . . .

    Great review. We are going on the Dream for a 3 day cruise on 2/2 for the same reason. We booked a VGT Verandah room (yes through Mousefan Travel) for just over $1k for two adults. A good way to celebrate our anniversary. We were married by CAPT Henry on the Wonder and hoping he will be at the helm for this sailing.

    Appreciate the advice. I will report back and tell you if anything is different. We are doing a 5 Day on the Magic in May as well.

    If you haven't done it, highly recommend the the Alaskan Cruise. It has been our favorite so far. This year DCL is sailing from Seattle vice Vancouver so airfare is even cheaper.

    Also -- I see you are planning on a trip to Aulani, my trip report is posted here:

    Aulani Trip Report December 2011

    Frank
    Last edited by FrankVC; 01-06-2012 at 06:50 PM.

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    Re: DCL Pros on a new ship. What we learned this past trip . . .

    Thanks for the review! I'm sailing for the first time in Feb on the Dream, and I am sooooo excited!
    Many as a kid (1986-1998)Aug 1998- Port OrleansMarch 2003- Jr Band Trip (offsite)Aug 2003- Port OrleansJan 12-Aug 5, 2005- CP (CS)Jan 1-5, 2006- AS Sports (solo)May 24, 2006-Jan 5, 2007- CP (CS)Jan 31-Feb 3, 2007- offsite (solo)March 1-3, 2007- Dad+ Me (offsite)May 16-Aug 10, 2007- CP (CS) Aug 10-12, 2007- GF/P&PMay 21- Aug 15, 2008- CP (PC)Aug 15-18, 2008- AKL!!Mar 25-29, 2009 (offsite)Aug 10, 2009-Jan 2, 2010- CP (CS)Jan 3-May 14, 2010- CP (CS)Feb 12-16, 2012: DCL DreamOct 20-27, 2012: DCL Fantasy (Eastern)Sept 8-12, 2013: DCL Dream Jan 20-24, 2014: DCL Magic Dec 3-6, 2014: DCL Wonder (for now)

    CP #1: 1/12/05-8/5/05: MK merchandise and parades
    CP #2: 5/24/06 to 1/5/07: character attendant!!
    CP #3: 5/16/07-8/10/07: Epcot WS Custodial/seasonal CA
    CP #4: 5/21/08-7/5/08: Casey's (QSFB); 7/6/08-8/15/08: character attendant
    CP #5: 8/10/09-1/2/10: Toy Story Mania attractions
    CP #6: 1/3/10-5/14/10: Great Movie Ride attractions
    FT: 5/16/10~
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  4. #4
    TXTaylors5's Avatar
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    Re: DCL Pros on a new ship. What we learned this past trip . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankVC View Post
    Great review. We are going on the Dream for a 3 day cruise on 2/2 for the same reason. We booked a VGT Verandah room (yes through Mousefan Travel) for just over $1k for two adults. A good way to celebrate our anniversary. We were married by CAPT Henry on the Wonder and hoping he will be at the helm for this sailing.

    Appreciate the advice. I will report back and tell you if anything is different. We are doing a 5 Day on the Magic in May as well.

    If you haven't done it, highly recommend the the Alaskan Cruise. It has been our favorite so far. This year DCL is sailing from Seattle vice Vancouver so airfare is even cheaper.

    Also -- I see you are planning on a trip to Aulani, my trip report is posted here:

    Aulani Trip Report December 2011

    Frank
    Congratulations on your Anniversary Cruise! We didn't start sailing DCL (or going to Disney Parks) until we had kids. If I knew back then, what I know now, we would have gone pre-kids!!!!


    Doing an Alaskan cruise in our "list" of must do's. Whether it is with Disney or another cruise line, we will eventually get to Alaska.

    Thank you for the Aulani trip report link. My daughter and I are "scheming" to get my husband onboard with a trip to Disneyland and Hawaii for Christmas Break in 2013 or 2014. As always, $$$$$ is the biggest factor. We are a family of five and airfare is getting . . . We normally take roadtrips. So, a trip out west would be an adventure. But, we'd have to take a plane from LAX to Honolulu, Hawaii = $$$$$ I'd better start saving now! When we go, I want to do it "right". So, we don't plan to use our DVC points for the next year and a half. (use current year points and borrow from the next year for the trip) Hoping to use points for the stay @ VGC and Aulani. If we don't have enough points, I am so onboard staying at the renovated Disneyland Hotel OOP.
    Jennifer Bill (DisneyTaylors) Will (12) Emily (10) Cole (7)
    2004: CBR; 2006: BC ~ DCL(Wonder); 2007: BCV,YC,BC,SSR,ASMU ~ MVMCP ~ DCL(Magic); 2008: VWL,BCV,SSR,BC,POR,FW(cabin) ~ DCG, PPP,MNSSHP & MVMCP ~ DCL(Wonder); 2009: DLH(DLR), POR, SSR, BWV, POFQ; 2010: BWV (2xs), AKV (2xs) ~ ABD CA ~ GC (DLR) ~ DCL(Wonder); 2011: BCV, AKV (2xs) ~ MNSSHP ~ MVMCP ~ F&W ~ DCL(Dream); 2012: BWV, AKV, BLT ~ F&W ~ MNSSHP ~ DCL(Fantasy);
    Upcoming Disney Trips:
    2013:04/AKV, 05/AKV ~ Flower and Garden Festival & Expedition Everest Challenge, 12/VGC (DLR)
    2014: 06/DCL ~ Alaska (Wonder), 10/DCL ~ Southern Caribbean (Magic)


    "Sparkly"

  5. #5
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    Re: DCL Pros on a new ship. What we learned this past trip . . .

    Thanks for the tips.

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