1st time cruiser questions

Hello! I’m interested in doing a Disney cruise and have never cruised, nor has any of my family. We’ve done WDW twice and have an upcoming visit to there and UOR. But, never a boat (we did take a train however…). I’m thinking of probably doing a cruise solo first to try it out before bringing the family (I know about the 100% solo upcharge). Family is DH, DS12, DS10, DD7. By the time we’d cruise they’d be a year or two older. I’m sure DD7 would have a wonderful time but I’m not sure about the older boys. They love interesting restaurants and pools but I don’t know if the kids clubs for their ages would be interesting to them or not. I keep reading about how the pools are small and aquaduck is packed etc. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and bought the TP book too. Am thinking of doing a 4 day Disney Dream Nassau / Castaway Cay trip, hopefully with 2 CC days (that might eliminate Nassau). Am thinking of using military discount but you can only book those 30 - 60 days in advance and we’re not near any ports so that means plane tix. Am mostly interested in Cape Canaveral or Miami, mostly Cape C. Any advice would be appreciated. I hate crowds but am very hesitant to take kids out of school so probably would be a crowded ship time. All our WDW have been Thanksgiving week.

BTW have thought about only taking DD7, for a mother / daughter trip. I just don’t know if the boys would forgive me. :slight_smile:

You will love the Disney Cruise. Though I haven’t been on one for quite some time, I can tell you they are geared to individual groups such as pre-teen, teen, young adults, and adults. Disney separates them out and they all have different programs until later in the evening when you all get together for Dinner. When your on a cruise, food is everywhere at all times. The call it grazing. Castaway Cay is great of adults and kids of all ages. Nassau not so much. Get a room with a balconey toward the center of the ship closer to the top of the ship. Remember to take motion sickness pills whether you think you will need them or not. Everything on board is expense and that includes off ship excusions. Plan a motel before and after the trip and if close by they will shuttle you to and from the ship at Port Carnival. Hope this help some. Oh yes, bring sun screen! 15" in the tropical sun nearer the equator is extreme and equal about 1 and a half hours off the ocean. I can’t tell you the number of people I saw burnt to a crisp from suntanning on the top deck. :hot_face:

My guess is if you cruise alone first, you’ll never want to take the family along afterwards!! :smile:


Our first cruise was a Disney one, and sons were teens. Like you, we did a 4-day to start small, see if we’d get seasick, see if we’d like it, etc. We all loved it! The boys hung out with their age group during the day. They especially loved the buffet with so much free food (picture a plate full of sausage wrapped in bacon). As a mom, I loved that I did not have to cook, clean, do laundry, go grocery shopping, or drive the kids anywhere. I didn’t have to worry about where they were - they were on the ship and easily within walking distance.

I can not encourage you enough to try a cruise. Any cruise! There is something so wonderful about them.

We did a family DCL 4-night cruise in 2014. My kids were 1, 4, 8, 9, 11, 13.
We all loved it so much. Sadly, prices SKYROCKETED that same year and we’ve never been able to do DCL again. That said, we did NCL 7-night in 2016 and have a Carnival 5-night next week. I’ve also taken two cruises with mom-friends since that DCL cruise.

Time goes so quickly on the ship. I have a very hard time with people who say they can’t imagine taking a cruise because they know they’d be bored. I don’t even know how this is possible. Time FLIES. It moves too quickly.

On DCL in particular my kids loved the movie theater, the shows and the rotational dining. There was literally NOT enough time.

Like @mkmuzzy says:

I love the expanse of food and I didn’t have to go to the store, buy 8 different kinds of fruit, come home and work forever to make a fruit salad… (by the way - I’d never do that). But on the ship I can have mango and kiwi and pineapple.

IMO - if you can afford DCL - I would RUN - not walk - to making it happen.

(I will carefully add that there is not a lot to do comparatively speaking on DCL vs. the newer NCL or RCI or Carnival ships. For four nights, I think DCL is an excellent choice.)

If you take a cruise try and work your way up to the bow. Remember the scene in Titanic where he is holding her up on the bow? Well you can’t quite do that but you can get to the bow and have the wind blowing in your face. We did it and it was amazing!

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Thank you all so much! I do have another question. I’ve seen that Royal Carribbean has a ship, Grandeur of the Seas, that sails from Baltimore. This is the only port I’ve read about that is anywhere close to me. I know it’s inferior to Disney. Can anyone offer a comparison? A lot of reviewers have been saying that RC is really good. It really would solve the plane tickets problem. I’m looking at the military discount for DCL but they only release those rooms 30 - 60 days in advance. In many cases the plane tix for 5 people that late would be too expensive for the discount to really do any good.

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Grandeur is a smaller, older ship. Honestly, can you drive to NJ? The Anthem or Oasis would have the kids clubs but also bumper cars, iFly, kids clubs…

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Not possible on Disney ships.

You need a ship with an open helipad for that. RCCL’s Radiance Class has them I know.

I know NCL Breakaway class ships also go out of NYC. Another driving option?

Yes, I believe this was one the Carnival Triumph. Yep the one that got stranded at sea with the fire on board. Luckly we were on it a long time before that happened.

Quite frankly I and my wife would not do another cruise ship. Way too crowed and unorganized. Security is crap and you know the pools that are meant for adults. Forget it. The kids jump in undetoured. Now these weren’t Disney Ships but they are still very full of people of all ages. If you don’t mind the crowds and you love the ocean, go for it, but it appears these days the maintenance isn’t so hot with all the problems they been having lately.

That has not been my experience.

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Agreed. Disney regularly gets the highest possible inspection scores. Their ships are impeccably maintained. And the adult areas are kept adult. Families with small kids who wander in and stay (many walk through on the Dream Class ships if they are at the forward elevators rather than walking to midship ones inside - covering the same distance they have to outside) are gently directed away by crew members. And that also goes for the adult beach on Castaway.

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I can easily take a train to NYC. I don’t know about NJ. Perhaps.

We did our first ever cruise earlier this year on the Disney Dream. 3 nights to Nassau and Castaway Cay, kids all the same ages as yours—we all loved it and agreed that 3 nights was too short. Everything was impeccable, and we had no issues with kids being in adult-only areas. Waking through the adult-only pool area was like walking into another world- different music, misters, people lounging in the sun…I laugh every time I remember it because it really was like a movie dream sequence! :slight_smile:

I picked the short trip too because I wasn’t sure how we’d like it, and with the one I chose, the kids only missed one day of school. Trying to figure out how to fit in another one!

It’s only a couple hour hr train ride into NYC from my location.

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lizzieanne771, it was your trip report where you showed pics of the stateroom on your recent cruise that got me interested in researching DCL more. I looked into it a year or two ago and decided it would be difficult and put it low down on my list of things to do, but now I’m thinking I can’t wait to do one.

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I’m sorry to hear this.
I’ve enjoyed one DCL, one NCL, and two princess cruises in the last five years. We have a Carnival one booked in two weeks. I’ve only had outstanding experience thus far. I admit crowds don’t bother me too much. Thanks to message boards I’ve learned to Zig when “they” Zag.