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Opening Magic Kingdom

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Debunking Myths and Misconceptions--Disney Cruise Line

Inexperienced cruisers, would-be cruisers, and never-will-be cruisers have no doubt heard and have many myths and misconceptions about cruising with Disney Cruise Line or cruising in general.  While the presidential campaign is targeted at swing states and undecided voters, this post is for would-be and inexperienced cruisers.

I will get seasick.
You might, but it’s not likely.  Today’s ships are equipped with baffles that do a lot to reduce rocking and swaying.  Having written that, if the seas do start to swell, you may feel some of the ship’s movement—most likely in open waters.  If you are prone to seasickness or motion sickness, head to an outside deck for fresh air and a horizon line to focus on.  There are also preventative medicines such as the prescription required patch and over the counter medicines.  Ginger is also known to reduce the effects of seasickness. 

We bring over the counter medicine with us and have used it once—on our first cruise.  Also, we have experienced some slightly rocky times on-board.  I can remember a 7 night cruise where one of the evenings the dining room was partially empty due to the rough seas.  We ate and enjoyed.   Personally, I love to feel the ship move and watch it glide through the water.  I’m great on the sea, it just takes me a few days to get my land legs back—maybe that is a sign that I’m meant to live on water!

The staterooms are too small.
Disney Cruise Line staterooms are 20-25% larger than the industry average.  We have never felt cramped or claustrophobic in our staterooms.  And, we don’t spend a lot of time there either—morning to get dressed, late afternoon to get changed for dinner, late evening to go to bed, then sleeping.

The bathrooms are “compact” but have enough space for everything you might need, including shelves for personal toiletries, etc.

The husband and I are big people and we have felt right at home in our various staterooms that we have experienced.  And the beds are comfy cozy!

Cruising is expensive, especially with Disney!
Other cruise lines do offer last minute specials and deals that Disney typically does not, however, Disney Cruise Line just released a special that children sail free on select itineraries sailing from Galveston, so deals can be had.  Also, the price Disney quotes is the price you will pay for an all inclusive vacation—food, entertainment, ports, etc.  Other cruise lines then add on for dining at various restaurants other than the buffet, soft drinks, additional fees for getting off the ship at ports, use of fitness facilities, kids’ clubs, etc.  I have heard it referred to as “nickeled and dimed” which ultimately increases your final cost for the cruise.

Disney only adds onto your bill if you dine at Palo or Remy—all other dining venues including Room Service are included with your cruise.  Soft drinks are available for free in the dining rooms and from the beverage station.  Participation in Kids’ clubs for children potty trained and 3 years and older are free.  Getting off at a port does not cost extra unless you are paying for a shore excursion.  Photos, spa services, and alcoholic beverages are extra.

Given the caliber of service, accommodations, entertainment, and dining options, a Disney Cruise is comparable in price to other cruise lines.  And, discounts and specials can be had, especially if booking far in advance.  We take advantage of rebooking while on-board to get the best discount as well as rate for a cruise 18 months to 2 years away.

I’ll be bored, or all there is to do is eat.
If a guest is bored on a Disney ship, it is their own fault.  The offerings of activities start in the morning and go into the wee hours of the night.  Shows, character greetings, tours, tastings, games, contests, movies, shopping, swimming, and classes—and that is just a sample of what is available on the ship!  We have yet to experience all of the activities that are offered.  Each evening a Personal Navigator –click here to read more—is delivered to your stateroom highlighting the events for the next day.  You can then use the Personal Navigator to plan your day or use it to just know what is available.  One of my favorite moments  on a Disney cruise is laying in bed reading the Personal Navigator for the next day and planning with the husband.  (While only one Personal Navigator is delivered to your stateroom, you can get another copy at Guest Services if you need more than one copy.)  Yes, food is available virtually 24/7 but there are many more things to do than eat.  Having said that, if a guest wanted to enjoy all of the dining options on board, they are welcome to.  What you won’t find on a Disney ship is a casino or a library.

Disney Cruise Line is only for kids or families with kids.
While Disney Cruise Line is a fantastic family vacation option, even a multi-generation family vacation option, each ship has designated “adult only” areas with a swimming pool, lounge area, spa, bars, and restaurant(s) reserved just for adult use.  If the trip is adults only, you will be accommodated on the ship and can interact as much as you like in the family areas or not.  If your trip is a family trip and you need some time away from the kids, take advantage of the adult only areas on board.

This particular myth and misconception is, in my opinion, one of the hardest ones for DCL to combat.  Targeted advertising helps and I think the word is getting out.  We certainly have bumped into adults cruising without children and enjoying themselves very much.  The boy, having experienced multiple Disney cruises and being aware of the adult only areas of the ship, encourages us to take advantage of them while he is in the club.

Disney Cruise Line is too much Disney.
The Disney influence on the ship is relatively subtle in terms of d├ęcor and design.  The service, cleanliness, safety, and entertainment are definitely Disney.  After that, guests can decide how much of Disney they want to be immersed in while cruising.  Character greetings, Disney movies, trivia games, and art work all have a distinctive Disney flavor but are choices for guests.  The “Disneyness” of DCL is part of why we choose to sail with them, but it isn’t the only reason.

Well, I hope some of the myths and misconceptions that would-be cruisers and inexperienced cruisers are battling have been debunked. 

For us, there is no easier vacation that a Disney Cruise Line vacation.  We get the “Disneyness” without the crowds or hurt feet from traversing the parks.  There is less packing required as less stuff is needed—no umbrellas, ponchos, or park touring bags.  And, we know cruising isn’t for everyone, but if you think it might be for you or your family, we encourage you to give it a try.

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