Choosing a Stateroom – my journey to the Disney Dream

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Thanks for coming along with me as I plan my somewhat last-minute vacation on the Disney Dream. Our family has never been on a cruise before, so even though I’ve taken travel agent training classes and been on a ship tour of the Disney Fantasy, I’m still experiencing this for myself for the first time.

So after deciding on when, where, who, and how much, it’s time to choose a stateroom. Some questions to ask:

1. Are you prone to motion sickness? The answer for me is a giant YES. I’ve been known to get car sick while driving to work. I couldn’t sit through The Hobbit. I am 100% sure that I’ll get seasick on this cruise without the aid of medication.

Disney Fantasy in Port

Disney Fantasy in Port

(I’ll cover that piece later.) So the best advice for helping to avoid motion sickness that I’ve heard from fellow agents is to book a cabin near the middle and as low as possible. If you picture the ship as a large V-wedge sitting in the ocean, you can picture that the center of gravity of the ship is low. If the ship starts rocking, it’s like a see-saw – the greatest range of motion will be on the higher decks. Get low, and there is much less movement. Makes sense to me, and I’m hoping it helps.

2. Which categories fit within your budget? This is pretty important. I don’t know about you, but of COURSE I would choose a Concierge Royal Suite if I could. But I can’t. Odds are, you can’t either. Or I guess I could if my kid didn’t need braces or food… but in any case, we all make choices. And so obviously, just eliminate from consideration those categories that are out of reach. This will leave you with a more manageable list to peruse. So let’s take a look at what’s available on the Disney Dream.

Stateroom Room Size Sleeps
Concierge Royal Suite with Verandah 1781 sq. ft. including verandah 5
Concierge 1-Bedroom Suite with Verandah 622 sq. ft. including verandah 5
Concierge Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah 306 sq. ft. including verandah 5
Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah 299 sq. ft. including verandah 3 to 5
Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah 246 sq. ft. including verandah 3 or 4
Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Navigator’s Verandah 246 sq. ft. including verandah 3 or 4
Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom 241 sq. ft. 4 or 5
Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom 204 sq. ft. 3 or 4
Deluxe Inside Stateroom 200 sq. ft. 3 or 4
Standard Inside Stateroom 169 sq. ft. 3 or 4

There is a great tool on the Disney Cruise Line website that allows you to compare up to 3 categories at a time. Have two or three in mind that would be acceptable to you when it’s time to choose your stateroom. Then, you can be flexible based on the location of the actual rooms that are available. For instance, if you are trying to avoid motion sickness and want a Deluxe Oceanview with Verandah, but there are none available to the middle and on the lower decks, you may flex to the Deluxe Family Oceanview with Verandah in order to get the location you prefer. Or your Standard Inside Stateroom may be located right above the night club district, but you really want to get some sleep. You may want to find a comparable room a little further away from the action, and be willing to pay a few extra dollars.

3. How much time will you be spending in your cabin? If you’re the kind of person who needs to escape the crowds in order to relax, you might want your cabin to function as a retreat for you and your family, and you may spend a bit of time there. If your family is always on the go, only stopping to sleep, chances are you’ll spend very little time there. This can help you to decide whether it’s worth it to pay extra for a little more space or a verandah. And finally,

4. When you close your eyes, how do you picture yourself on this cruise? For me, I picture my husband and me sitting on our verandah, feet up, sipping a glass of white wine as we watch the sunset. I’ve obviously been

Deluxe Oceanview with Verandah

Deluxe Family Oceanview with Verandah

brainwashed by the Love Boat and too many cruise commercials because neither of us drink white wine, but that’s what my vacation looks like in my head. (I also picture us in a tuxedo and beaded gown sipping champagne on the promenade deck before heading in to dinner at the Captain’s table with Captain Stubing.) Anyway, if we didn’t have a verandah I know I’d feel let down.

So that’s the process I used to choose our Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah, on deck 6. There are definitely other considerations, but frankly I didn’t have time to spend weighing a million options, and because we booked so late there weren’t that many options available. If you want to dig a little deeper, I found this very cool article that has some really insightful advice.

Was this helpful? Not at all? Let me know in the comments! Next installment – Activities and Excursions.

Dreaming a little Disney Dream

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I did it! That’s right, I finally convinced my dear sweet husband to go on a Disney cruise. Ever since I had the amazingly good fortune to attend the christening of the Disney Fantasy, I’ve been dying to take my family on a cruise. Our daughter has

Disney Fantasy in port

Disney Fantasy in port

begged, I’ve pleaded, but my husband just did NOT want to go. I’m not sure exactly what changed or how I got him to say yes, but he finally did. So I booked our cruise that day before he could change his mind.

We’ll be sailing in April during school break. As we’re first-time cruisers, I thought it might be interesting for other first-timers to follow along on our journey. I’ll be blogging semi-regularly leading up to our cruise, and then of course I’ll give you the whole recap once we get back. I hope our journey helps you plan yours. (And once I get a little cruising experience under my belt, I’ll be glad to help you plan yours as well!)

So to jump right in, the first thing that I did was figure out dates and itinerary. You can either do this yourself on http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/ or even better, give your favorite Disney travel agent a call. (Hopefully that’s MouseChow Travel…but if not, make sure you find someone who specializes in Disney, not just cruising.) I knew that I wanted to sail on either the Disney Fantasy or Disney

Senses Spa aboard the Disney Fantasy

Senses Spa aboard the Disney Fantasy

Dream, since I had been dreaming about the Fantasy for a year. The two ships have a few minor differences and the Dream is a year older, but the general layout and amenities are very similar. So I found a 4-night cruise leaving out of Port Canaveral, Florida at the beginning of our school break on the Disney Dream. The itinerary takes us to Nassau, Bahamas (a place I’ve visited) and Castaway Cay (a place my daughter is dying to visit.) It seemed like a good idea to start with a shorter cruise since we’ve never been, so it seemed like the right fit.

I went through my favorite travel agent (me) and booked the cruise. Because we will be sailing within just a couple of months, I paid in full at the time of booking. Typically you can put down a deposit and then pay as you get closer to the cruise. But then typically you would book further in advance than I did.

So when starting out, here are four quick questions to ask yourself (and answers to pass along to your travel agent).

1. When do I want to travel and for how long?

2. Who will be traveling?

3. Where would I like to go?

4. What’s my budget?

5. Do I have a ship preference?

Once you’ve answered those questions, you can start looking at potential sailings and itineraries. Then the planning fun really begins. Stay tuned for the next episode – Choosing a Stateroom.

What questions do you have about booking a Disney cruise? Ask in the comments, and I’ll share answers with everyone!