Planning a Cruise

Updated on July 15, 2013
L.W. asks from Fontana, CA
8 answers

My 12 year old daughter & I have never really been on a vacation.She has had to endure sooooo much!!!I am a cancer survivor(6 years remission).I have always wanted to treat her to something special for being such a trooper through it all!!I now would like to save and plan for a Disney Cruise,which she has ALWAYS wanted to go on.Im not sure how to go about the planning?I would like to plan a trip for maybe around March or April God bless..Thank you for any and all input.It is truly appreciated.

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answers from Detroit on

cruises are great. but Disney cruises are expensive. royal carribean is always nice so is princess.

expect to pay twice as much for a Disney cruise.

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answers from Reno on

Disney cruises are THE BEST! There will be so many (free) activities, classes, games etc. that you will never have time to do it all. There are family activities and a family pool, teen activities, tween activities and adult only activities. They also include things in the price that other cruise lines charge for - for instance, they have self serve soda machines and a self serve ice cream machine on deck.

Since you're in California, it'll probably be more convenient to sail out of Los Angeles or San Diego, but Disney also sails out of Galveston, Texas and Port Canaveral, Florida. Go to the Disney cruise website ( and look around at the different cruises. Depending on the time of year, a cruise to the same place for the same length of time will be very different prices. The least expensive cruises will be ones that begin and end in a different port. (We're thinking of doing the San Diego to Vancouver or Vancouver to San Diego cruise next year.)

We've been on both the larger ships (Dream) and smaller ships (Magic). They're both great. You never feel crowded, and there's plenty to do.

Even though almost everything is included, you will need money to tip the servers, housekeepers etc. (This is the way they get paid; Disney doesn't pay them, just provides room & board.) Disney will let you know what the standard tip amount is, and you can pay that, less or more. You'll pay it all at once, and can use a credit card. There are also shops and opportunities to get your photo taken, plus organized shore excursions - they can add to the cost. We've had great experiences buying shore excursions, but we've also had great luck just walking off the ship and entertaining ourselves.

If you tell them that it's a special occasion - and remission IS a special occasion! - they'll make a special effort to make your trip happy. Honestly, though, even if you stay in the cheapest cabins on the shortest cruises, they'll treat you as if you're special.

If you call Disney, they'll answer any questions you have, as well.

You'll need to make a down payment when you book. Then, you can either make monthly payments, or just wait until the rest is due, usually 30 to 60 days before you leave.

If you don't already have passports, get them now! You'll need one, and they take about 2 months to process.


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answers from Los Angeles on

Oh man, you are going to love a Disney Cruise!!! We took one last fall and are booked on another next summer. I can't wait!!

I found to be the absolute best resource for all things Disney. They have a huge forum specifically for the cruise line and you can find a TON of information there from other cruisers. Plus, the site has a lot of general information as well to help you with planning.

Things to consider are how many nights you want to be on the ship, where you want to leave from (in the spring, most Disney cruises will be out of Florida), if there are any ports you really want to see, and how many port days vs sea days you want. If you are in the Caribbean or Bahamas, make sure you choose a cruise with a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island.

You also need to think about what type of room you want. Inside cabins have no windows, though some Disney ships have fake windows that actually are like a TV, showing images of the ocean going by (animated) and occasional appearances by characters like Nemo and Flounder. Otherwise, they have Oceanview (huge window), Verandah (balcony) and Concierge (extra service and amenities but a lot more money).

Disney also has two classes of ships. The Magic and The Wonder are older ships and are smaller with less amenities. However, I think by next spring the Magic will have been significantly refurbished and upgraded. The Dream and The Fantasy are the newer, bigger ships. They have more amenities as well. Some people prefer the smaller ones; others the bigger ones. It's just a matter of personal preference, as I hear they're all great.

Go to Disboards - you can't go wrong. Have an amazing vacation and congrats on your 6 years in remission!!! I'm sure you and your daughter will have a blast.

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answers from New York on

Go online and learn as much as you can. Then call the Disney planners and ask a lot of questions. Then go to Mousesavers for savings advice. Then book and enjoy. You're going to love it.

And I do agree that Disney is expensive - a great second choice is Royal Caribbean. Stay away from Carnival.

And definitely check the cruises on

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answers from Detroit on

We've been on 3 Disney cruises so far and they are AWESOME. If you talk to be people who have been on multiple cruise lines, they will tell you Disney wins, hands down. They are more expensive, but it terms of activities, entertainment, service, etc., they are totally worth it.

You can go directly to the Disney Cruise website to start planning your trip. We've always used Dreams Unlimited for our planning. is a great resource too. It's really as simple as looking at the dates they are sailing and seeing what is available. Basically, they have 3, 4, and 7 night Caribbean cruises. The 3 and 4 night ones stop in the Bahamas. The 7 night are either Eastern or Western Caribbean. The exact stops are on their website, along with excursions available. We did the Western Caribbean this past winter and the ship went to Grand Caymen, Cozumel and Costa Maya (Mexico). All the Caribbean cruises spend one day at Castaway Cay, their own private island in the Bahamas. There are also cruises that go to Alaska, Europe, etc. Disney cruises also allow you to bring your own alcohol on board if you want. It cannot be in checked luggage but as long as you can physically carry it on yourself, you can bring it. I don't know if you care about that or not, but for hubby and me, it's nice knowing we can bring on some beer and a bottle of wine and not always have to be stuck paying inflated cruise ship prices. In your planning, be sure to also budget for tipping your staff (there's usually your server, who is the same person at every restaurant as you rotate through, an assistant server, and your stateroom host) and for extras like excursions if you choose to book any, alcohol drinks that you do get on board, etc.

Your daughter will have a blast. They have a "tween club" where they can go hang out with kids their own age and tons of other activities as well. Good luck planning!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I go to yahoo travel and click on cruises. I would drive to the port so the flight part makes our choices cheaper.

I would call and see what Disney has to offer. Then I'd check online with yahoo travel then I'd look at what a travel agent could get the cost for.

You also have to think about "what" you want to do on the cruise. Do you want to sit on the beach all day and do nothing else> The cay is like that. They spend one day there and you have to spend money for rentals and stuff.

Then if you did the Bahama's you go to Nassau for a whole day, what is there that you would enjoy? The straw market? Then what, is there anything else you'd enjoy that she will enjoy too? That's where I always get screwed because I can't imagine finding Nassau any fun at all. I do however want to go to Freeport. There are several forts, one being Blackbeard's. Then that's where their Parliament is seated. There are many museums that have the history of the islands and the people. It's not just a straw market and not much else.

On a Disney cruise you have some options for dinner. If you eat together each meal then you can't go anywhere that kids can't come. That's okay in this instance. My sister is already shopping for her formal gown to take on their cruise that is going to be some time in the future.

I think researching stories and finding out which cruise fits your styles is the priority. I would not want to go on a Disney cruise as my first choice. I'd choose the one where I could ice skate on the ocean...

When you look at the different destinations you will see many choices. I hope you think about the trip from your daughter's point of view too. She might be totally out of touch on some of the cruise lines.

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answers from New York on

Best prices for Disney cruises: Book all of my cruises they them. Disney cruises are the best. I lucked out last year. Disney was trying different ports, so they had some cruises go out of NYC.

You can get all additional info on Disney Cruise Lines.

Have fun. Disney really knows how to do it. We did not have any waiting for characters because it was first week in Sept. only very young kids were on ship and not many. I understand it can be quite crowded. When you book it, the agent can usually tell you when the least crowded times are.

Have fun and congrats!

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answers from Washington DC on

You are going to LOVE a cruise! We went on one in January and can't want to book another! For 5 people it is pricey, but very worth it! We went on Carnival because the Disney cruise would have cost what our entire trip cost. We do plan to save and do a Disney cruise - because I have heard they are amazing. But, we have NO complaints at all about our voyage on the Carnival Liberty.

We were more interested in our ports than the ship also, for our first time out. We had nothing to compare to, so if the ship wasn't the best, it wouldn't have been a let down.

We use a travel company for our needs, so I'm not sure where to find the best prices and all, but I'd think Disney would offer some great discounts through their website.

Have fun!!

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