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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Planning Your First Disney Cruise

If you have been dreaming of a Disney Cruise and have decided to hop on board, where do you start with planning?  Do you use a travel agent or not?  Trip insurance?

All of these questions and more were posed on a Disney message board by someone who had no idea where to start when planning a Disney cruise.  At least they did know to ask on a Disney message board site, because those folks DO know where to start and gave some great advice.  It also got me thinking about our first Disney cruise and trying to remember how we started our planning. . .

A recommendation would be to obtain some sort of Disney Cruise Line guide book—or better yet, borrow one from a library or borrow one from someone who has cruised with Disney before and might have one available.  Personally, I prefer PassPorter’s Disney Cruise Line and there are many editions to choose from.  A new edition is coming out soon and I just may snag one as it will contain information about the Ports for our cruise next summer.  You can purchase on their website at www. PassPorter.com. 

Since gaining information is the key here, ordering a free planning DVD from Disney Cruise Line is another option.  The DVD has a great menu of choices and can be watched in snippets answering your questions for right now and then returned to later for more information.  It is also great to watch with your family so everyone is on-board, so to speak.

We love our travel agent, so I may sound a bit biased here, but find a travel agent that specializes in Disney and use them to help book your cruise.  There are many more details in booking and planning a Disney cruise, especially the paperwork, than there is with a trip to Walt Disney World and a well trained travel agent can help you.  And, there may be bonuses in it for you!  (Ironically, the actual cruise vacation is easier than Walt Disney World!)

For example, there are specifics about flights and flight options when sailing with DCL and they can book your flights for your, if you like.  All you have to do is tell them you want to fly the day of your cruise or the day prior.  We did this for our first cruise but haven’t since, as we prefer to pick our flight times—still knowing DCL’s expectations for arrivals and departures.  DCL can even book your overnight stay prior to your cruise.  Again, we did this the first cruise, but haven’t since.  Still stay at the same place, but for much less than the DCL price.  A travel agent can help navigate all of this for you.

After the research, comes decision time—or vice versa.  Timing can change your price here.  The farther away you book your Disney cruise, the better price you are likely to pay.  This again, is opposite of planning other trips when deals can be found closer to your travel dates or specials at Walt Disney World are announced just a few months ahead.  While making dining commitments 6 months ahead for a trip to Walt Disney World can seem strange, booking a Disney cruise 14-24 months ahead will pay off in the long run.  And, besides, you’ll just have that much longer to look forward to an exciting vacation!

Trip insurance?  You bet!  We purchase trip insurance for our cruises, and knock on wood, haven’t had to use it.  Disney cruises can be expensive and I want that investment protected.  Our travel agent prices different insurance options for us and we pick the one we want.

Our dreaming of a Disney Cruise Line vacation began when the boy was an infant and was fed, rocked, and soothed while watching/listening to the Travel Channel—how ironic given his life now!  Four years later, we were sailing! 

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