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  1. #46

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    I went on the DCL in Jan on a eastern 7 night Cruise and am going in May on the western... I?m actually bummed that on the western you have less days at Sea. I saw those as the days to sleep in enjoy the pool and Relax. I wore pretty much every night to dinner a polo shirt and a pair of jeans except for Palo and the formal night. Not everyone every night was dressed up, jeans and a polo shirt were just fine. I enjoyed the cruise only wish that we were able to spend maybe 2 more hours at Castaway Key because Serenity Bay was awesome adults only quiet and beautiful.

  2. #47

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    Kevin Kevin Kevin.

    For being so well versed with Disney, you failed to really find out all the details about your cruise before you booked. THAT IS YOUR FAULT. Disney provides a wonder DVD and information booklet about DCL. Also, if this was your first cruise, why would you go on a seven night cruise when DCL offers three and four night vacations? I think you bit off more than you can chew.

    Now let's get to all of negative comments. Well not all, I would be typing all night playing point/counterpoint with you. I will only do a few responses. Disneynut gave one of the best counterpoint responses around.

    My biggest complaint to you is your personal dress code. It says casual cruisewear. You cannot think that this is the same as dressing in the parks. That was a big mistake on your part. If you had the DVD, you would have seen many photos of how people dress on the ship. Heck, any print brouchure would do the same thing. And I'm sure that you would know someone through this website or others or even friends that have gone on DCL for you to ask advice. Why on earth would you avoid restaurants because you brought jeans? You already declared how much your trip cost and you didn't take full advantage of it. I would also let you know that most cruises also have theme nights, especially a formal night. No, you don't have to wear formal attire, but something nice. I brought my suit with me. Did I want to, no, but I assumed that there would be a dress up night. Camp shirts are very big on the cruises as well as polo style shirts. I might also bring up the fact that you brough jeans on a cruise to the Caribbean! Why would you wear something so heavy? Khakis would have been a better lighter choice. If you booked a nice adult only dinner at Palo, you would have brought nicer clothes. And at our seating at Palo, men were in polo style shirts and khaki, even though it was only a few gentlemen. Enough talk about the dress wear.

    Concerning the segregation of adult/children activities and even separate decks. I think this is a great very Disney "out of the box" idea. If you wanted to sit in the sun and read a book, why would you subject your children to that when there are so many other activities they could do? There are tons of family activities aboard. I think you got something in your head and won't let go. Do you really think that a 13 or 14 year old really wants to hang out all vacation with their parents? A little away time from each other would probably be a good thing.

    I think you missed the best meal possible by not going to Palo. For only $10 more per person (don't know why, but it's a cruise thing to charge more for certain restaurants) it was worth it. I think it was the best meal I ever had. We took our two-year old with us on the cruise and she was in the nursery for only three hours the entire trip, but it gave Mommy and Daddy some romantic alone time. Heck, they even gave us a text-message pager and paged us a few times to let us know how she was doing. How great is that!!

    I think you must not have been fully in the shop on Castaway Cay because that shop is loaded with Castaway Cay branded items. And they are only found on the island, not on the ship, which makes them even more special. I do agree with you about the lack of DCL items in the shops on the ship. They are sorely lacking in that area.

    The personal navigators were a great thing to have. It gave you a daily update on what was available. Wanting them all at once, well how about if there was inclimate weather, the outdoor activities might be rerouted to an indoor venue. Getting a new one every night helps. Better to predict the weather that way.

    As for the room keys being your credit card, they do that at Disney. But in this case, it makes it all the more easy to move around the ship and less likely for money to get stolen. Most cruises do this anyway so if you went on another cruise line first, it wouldn't have caught you off guard.

    Kevin, you do so much research for your books and your articles, why wouldn't you do the same thing for yourself when you were shelling out five grand? I learned stuff from the DCL website, hardcopy brouchures, and the wonderful DVD (and these were all free items!). If I had questions, I called DCL and talked to a cruise operator. I found out ahead of time what rotation I "should" have, which was accurate so I knew when to book my Palo night. We did the four night cruise so you double up on one restaurant so we knew we had a choice night to go to Palo. That is basic travel research, nothing out of the ordinary. You could have even booked your excursions/rentals/Palo/babysitting ahead of time online.

    The only problem we faced was the our exclusion of the wine tasting. The wine tasting is in Palo so no children are allowed. But the problem was that the wine tasting was at a time when the nursery was closed. That didn't make sense. We were then not able to take full advantage of all the cruise offerings. Babysitting should be available during any adult only functions (at a charge of course, not looking for free here).

    Cruising is different that just going on vacation to the theme parks or the beach. Do your homework!!

    Sorry that I seem a little harsh, but your article came off very negative and it wasn't Disney's fault. They can't make you have a good time. They can only provide the means. It's up to you to take it from there. And boy, DCL really does provide the means.

  3. #48

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee
    I do recognize that, and should have said more than just once in the article. What I was trying to say was that the Disney brand - the REAL thing they are selling - usually implies that they do things a little differently.

    I mean, if Disney just did amusement parks like everyone else did, there would be Ferris Wheels, midways and barkers, and underthemed coasters. Until DCA, Disney parks WERE different from the industry.

    I guess maybe my expectations were that they would be Disney first, and a cruise second. But I found that to be true only on Castaway Cay.
    But that's the point. Disney does do it different. They do it better than almost anyone else.

    For example, the rotational dining, where you have the same servers each night. That's a Disney exclusive. I love that we get to be friends with our servers. On our 3rd cruise, we saw our server from our 2nd cruise, and he remembered us. That's a Disney difference.

    The shows are different. They are much better than anything else out there. I have a friend who is doing shows on another cruise line. There is no comparison. Disney does it better.

    3 Pools, one exclusive for adults, one for children, one for families. Another Disney difference. We cruised 3 times before our son arrived. It was great being able to have an "adult" pool.

    Almost an entire deck dedicated to children. Who else does that (or did that before Disney)? No other cruise line would give up the space a casino could take for children!

    Animators Pallet? Show me another cruise ship that has that kind of Disney magic in a restaurant!

    Characters Everywhere! Music Everywhere! Movies, TV, everywhere.

    And Castaway Cay. Wow. As I'm sure you would agree, that's as close to heaven as you can get. But, you wouldn't want to be there at night, when the bugs come out. From what I understand, the mosquitos are fierce.

    I truly feel that if you do ever chose to go on a cheaper cruiseline, you will realize just how good Disney is, and how much magic you took for granted. If you had only been to Disney, and never to Worlds of Fun (local Kansas City park), you wouldn't know how much better Disney is.

  4. #49

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    Unless you already have, I suggest you try Royal Carribbean cruise with your kids and then tell me the extra cost isn't worth the experience you and the rest of your family get on Disney's. Given what you criticized negatively, I imagine this was either the first cruise you've ever been on or you simply forgot some of the basics of what a cruise experience is.

    I've been on DCL 3 times now and am returning again this winter so I'm a bit biased. I wholeheartedly agree with every positive aspect you highlighted. Many of that is NOT true on other cruise lines. So be warned if you try another cruise line.

    As for your negative criticisms, the only one I can agree with is the cost. DCL costs a lot more than most ships. More than it should. But we still pay the cost because we have sailed on everything from Carnival to Princess and Royal Caribbean and by far Disney offers the best cruise experience.

    Your complaint about the attire thing is ridiculous imo. It clearly states in the brochure as you provided as part of your argument that DRESS SHIRTS AND JACKETS ARE RECOMMENDED and the NO SHORTS ARE ALLOWED That alone should make you realize a t-shirt is inadequate (is that even close to a dress shirt?) and shorts shouldn't be allowed. It is the same on every cruise line. DCL may in fact be a bit lax with their dress code in that they actually LET guests eat with t-shirts on and dress up like Pirates one night, etc. On the Princess ships, if you came to dinner with a t-shirt on you would be asked to change or they would supply a dress jacket for you. They only reason I now this is because the guy being seated in front of us one evening was in an argument with the host over this issue.

    The shopping advertisements are practically cruise standards. MANY guests come on cruises simply for the shopping experience at the ports of call. Primarily, the ports of call maintain their lifestyle on the ships providing tourists to their shops. MANY guests would be furious if Disney didn't supply that information. Every ship I've been on supplies shopping guides and seminars. Its part of the traditional cruise experience. The seminars are also provided in the morning when the theater is usually empty. That theater is often used for many other presentations in the morning too. On my last cruise we had a 2 day talk with Marty Sklar who was on the ship with us about Walt and the making of DL. It NEVER replaces a show or movie. Movies are played at the Buena Vista theater every day anyways in the afternoon and evening.

    You obviously didn't read your Navigator/Daily planner well either. There are activites nearly every hour that you could do with your kids, assuming you can get them away from the planned activities on the ship that kids alone can do. Some are as simple and fun as Parent and kid mini-golf in the main lobby to towel animal creations, to the shows, dinner, FAMILY pool, etc.

    Castaway Cay is one of a kind in terms of a cruise. There is absolutely no other cruise line that I've been on that has a private island like that. It does deserve more than one day, but so do some of the other ports of call. Suggesting that average guests would book a Disney cruise if they didn't stop at any of the major ports of call in the Caribbean is naive, imo. Disney has listened though and now offers special cruises that make two stops at Castaway Cay during the cruise.

    As for shopping, I have a lot of DCL stuff on my shelves, on the walls in our house, and in my closet to wear. There is no Castaway Cay stuff on the ship for a reason. It makes the Castaway Cay specific that much more special and unique by only being offered on the island.
    Last edited by CTXRover; 07-13-2006 at 02:02 PM.

  5. #50

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee
    I do recognize that, and should have said more than just once in the article. What I was trying to say was that the Disney brand - the REAL thing they are selling - usually implies that they do things a little differently.

    I guess maybe my expectations were that they would be Disney first, and a cruise second. But I found that to be true only on Castaway Cay.
    Have you been on any other cruise lines? While there are certianly similarites in some of the traditional cruise line offerings, the Disney ships and the overall experience is vastly different than anything else out there from my own experience.

    No other ships have the amount and variety of onboard entertainment DCL does. From my own experience, the shows on DCL are vastly superior to anything else on the sea. Even if two of the shows are musical revue style shows, at least they have a over-arching story line. Did you know that there is only 1 other ship besides the Disney Magic that has the authority to shoot fireworks off their ships? The other ship is the Disney Wonder. Castaway Cay is also a Disney exclusive and really sets them apart from other cruise lines. Their programming for children isn't even closely matched on any other ship on sea either.

    Before you compare the Disney experience to other cruise lines, try another cruise line. If you already have, then I can't imagine how you had any fun on those ships given some of your criticisms.

    Sorry to be overly critical of you. I rarely post here, but I read all you articles and I respect your opinions. I just have a difficult time understanding the reasoning behind some of the negative complaints this time around.
    Last edited by CTXRover; 07-13-2006 at 01:56 PM.

  6. #51

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee
    I think my overall reaction (which is mixed, not negative) came out that way BECAUSE of the price. If you agree that the price is inflated, could you agree that premium pricing generates expectations of a picture-perfect experience?
    The extra price goes to the larger than average staterooms onboard. It goes towards the extra effort in cleanliness, nightly shows, and the DCL only fireworks. It goes towards the upkeep of their private island. Hurricane damage does happen. It goes to the kids only deck, the teen only club in the Stack. Your photos looked picture perfect to me, especially the one from the tether.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee
    The same goes for supposedly not doing my homework. I did know that on other cruises people dress up. My expectation was that on Disney's boat that would be different, and the pre-cruise materials didn't really completely disabuse me of my wrong opinion. People don't dress up at Disney restaurants. In this respect, my familiarity with the parks worked against me.
    Kevin, you are so wrong. What do you mean "People don't dress up at Disney restaurants?" There are dress codes at many restaurants at WDW. Victoria and Albert's is a given, but that is a choice by a very select group of guests who already know about that experience. But how about Flying Fish and Bistro de Paris. They have a dress code. As does the Yachtsman Steak House and Artist Point. If you would have to wear dress shorts or khakis and a polo shirt or other collared shirt there, why would you think the onboard restaurants would be any different? I guess you need to go back and research more about WDW because you are notthat familiar with the parks as you think. Am I being harsh, maybe, but your last two sentences did you in. I usually love your articles and that's one of the reasons I visit Miceage. I just feel that you are still angry that you didn't get your money's worth and you are trying to place blame.

  7. #52

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    Quote Originally Posted by CTXRover
    That alone should make you realize a t-shirt is inadequate (is that even close to a dress shirt?) and shorts shouldn't be allowed. It is the same on every cruise line.
    My larger point on this is that Disney's brand works against it. People who only visit fine dining establishments know to dress up. People who only visit fine dining when they go to Disney parks know that you can wear pretty much whatever. The result: the Disney brand implies informality when "normal" circumstances would dictate formality.

    That's where I was on the day before the cruise. By the time I stepped on board and learned to the contrary, it was too late.

    FWIW, almost no one wore dress shirts on most nights. Colorful or muted print shirts with collars, polo shirts, that sort of thing. My complaint was that Disney's dress code warning could be read multiple ways. They may not have been aware of the alternative readings of it, and hopefully complaints like mine will encourage them to be more direct. That's really all I ask.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  8. #53

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    Quote Originally Posted by Herc
    What do you mean "People don't dress up at Disney restaurants?" There are dress codes at many restaurants at WDW...If you would have to wear dress shorts or khakis and a polo shirt or other collared shirt there, why would you think the onboard restaurants would be any different?
    I'm at Disney restaurants every weekend of the year. Many have dress codes. Many could be considered fine dining, and there are people wearing shorts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Herc
    I guess you need to go back and research more about WDW because you are notthat familiar with the parks as you think.
    Do I need to provide the photos? That would probably bore the majority of miceage visitors, alas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Herc
    I just feel that you are still angry that you didn't get your money's worth and you are trying to place blame.
    That wasn't the intent of the article. It was meant to provide a BALANCED look at DCL, something in very short supply in the online world. I do feel the vacation was overpriced, but "blame" is far too strong a word. I'm an online critic, so it's my role to provide a review. Just like what I do with the parks, I call it as I see it.

    Others do the same; they call it as THEY see it. There are lots of places in the Internet where DCL is revered and I think there's a place in the world for that kind of review, too.

    It's odd how the emails I'm getting are so different from the micechat reactions. It seems that a majority of people who didn't like my article are cruise veterans, whereas a majority of those emailing me who do like the article are not cruise veterans. There's almost a defensiveness to those who don't like the article, which I find interesting too.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  9. #54

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee
    My larger point on this is that Disney's brand works against it. People who only visit fine dining establishments know to dress up. People who only visit fine dining when they go to Disney parks know that you can wear pretty much whatever. The result: the Disney brand implies informality when "normal" circumstances would dictate formality.

    That's where I was on the day before the cruise. By the time I stepped on board and learned to the contrary, it was too late.

    FWIW, almost no one wore dress shirts on most nights. Colorful or muted print shirts with collars, polo shirts, that sort of thing. My complaint was that Disney's dress code warning could be read multiple ways. They may not have been aware of the alternative readings of it, and hopefully complaints like mine will encourage them to be more direct. That's really all I ask.
    Exactly. The DCL dress code IS much more lax than other cruise ships likely, as you suggest, BECAUSE of the Disney experience at its theme parks despite the recommendation that men wear dress shirts, as I mentioned in my first post. On Princess, you wouldn't be allowed to even enter the dining room in a t-shirt, yet it is tolerated on DCL. Some, like myself, actually wish Disney enforced the dress code a bit more, but they apparently recognize cruisers like yourself that either come unprepared or with different expectations given the theme park experience as you suggest. It shouldn't be Disney's fault that they actually elevated their own standards a bit to what is expected on a CRUISE experience. Are you honestly suggesting Disney lower their standards in terms of dress codes from other cruise lines yet suggest everything else should be better and above traditional cruise line standards?

    I'll agree that your suggestion for an improved dress code description is better than provided, but what they provide does indicate that t-shirts and shorts, or even jeans, are not to be expected.
    Last edited by CTXRover; 07-13-2006 at 02:25 PM.

  10. #55

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    I'm suprised by someone that calls himself a writer and a critic would not know that it is important to carry dress close to any trip. It is a given that wether you go on a cruise or just a nice vacation that fine dining requires you to have some class an dress apropriately wether its a Disney restuarant or not.

    i agree with the person who first posted, why in the world would you want to go on a cruise and be stuck in the same port for seven days.

    I actually found the picture of the open seas funny.
    "Is this Disney"
    Maybe disney could create a special Disney water channel thruout the carribean so that it is Disney enough. Oh how about adding paint sprays to make the water colorful an have a few animtronics scattered around in the open seas.

    Great pictures though.

  11. #56

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo
    It is a given that wether you go on a cruise or just a nice vacation that fine dining requires you to have some class an dress apropriately wether its a Disney restuarant or not.
    And it is a given that you'd need nice clothes to visit Disneyland? Epcot?

    No, it's not. So people see the word "Disney" and may assume a level of informality.

    Is it a given that the "normal" restaurants on the Disney cruise ship have a dress code?

    No, it's not. Palo, the pay-per-visit restaurant, was clearly marked as the fine dining one with a dress code. I wasn't confused about that. It was the equivalent of Victoria and Albert - I wouldn't have tried to show up there in a T-shirt.

    But the restaurants I'm supposed to rotate through each night... they have dress codes. And most Disney restaurants, the non-Victoria-and-Albert ones, do not. THIS was the confusion.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  12. #57

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee
    It's odd how the emails I'm getting are so different from the micechat reactions. It seems that a majority of people who didn't like my article are cruise veterans, whereas a majority of those emailing me who do like the article are not cruise veterans. There's almost a defensiveness to those who don't like the article, which I find interesting too.
    The reaction you are seeing is likely because your review, while your honest opinion, compares the DCL to other cruise ships/experiences and given some of your critiques, I'm finding it hard to believe this wasn't your first cruise experience. Likewise, I imagine cruise veterans, such as myself, have a difficult tiime understanding many of your complaints and comparisons to other cruise lines while cruise novices wouldn't know better.

    You stated: "Bottom line: we could have paid HALF the price and gotten a more or less equivalent experience". Unless you had some experience on another cruise line that I haven't (which I admit is likely), I find it hard to believe you can honestly claim that other ships even come close to providing an experience equivalent to that of Disney's.

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    I don't get it...a cruise is a cruise is a cruise, regardless of the name. Unless the ship markets itself as the "no dress code line", then it's pretty much just common knowledge that someone should look "decent" when dining.

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    Quote Originally Posted by CTXRover
    The reaction you are seeing is likely because your review, while your honest opinion, compares the DCL to other cruise ships/experiences
    Actually, I was trying to compare DCL to the Disney parks. I was trying to see if DCL measures up to the Disney brand name, basically. The only times I held up DCL to other cruise lines was on the issue of price.

    Several of the posts here in micechat, though, have been trying to compare DCL to the other cruise operators.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

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    Re: 7/13: Setting Sail

    Fair enough - after just reading your article, I'll be happy to respond in kind to the park comparison. (And I love your articles, but... I'm sorry, I have to disagree with you on this one. )

    My first cruise was aboard the Disney Magic last year, during the west coast sailing. For starters, we had to pay $15/day for parking at the port - it's standard LA port parking fees, and certainly not Disney's fault.

    When I mentioned I was going on my first cruise to some friends and family, they offered me a few tips as to attire, etc., having been on some non-Disney cruises. No work at all. But, still, I didn't find the cruise docs to be vague in any way. However, I wanted to make sure on the passport vs/ birth certificate issue, so I called, and they were quite helpful and very pleasant with explaining it to me.

    Once we were onboard, we glanced down at the ship map given to us at check-in. It was like being a kid at Disneyland for the first time, like on a "treasure hunt" for new and exciting places and things to see. It reminded me of the first time I visited Animal Kingdom back in 2003, and I didn't do any "research" beforehand, because I wanted to be surprised. Running around AK with a map was no different than running around the Magic with a map - like I said, it was just fun to explore new things.

    I was impressed to see the self-service beverage bar. I had heard that most cruise ships even charge for sodas, thus running up one's room tab even higher.

    Our final tab at the end of 7 nights for two people was $680, and included (with all listed excursions being booked through DCL):
    • Dolphin swim excursion (me only - $179)
    • Dolphin swim "observer" (my honey only - $25)
    • catamaran sail and snorkel excursion (both of us) ($69 x 2)
    • approximately 2-3 cocktails a day (me only)
    • a small spa treatment (me only - $40)
    • a TON of souvenirs - a ring, two snowglobes, shirts, beach towel, plush, keychains, antenna balls, etc.
    • all gratuities
    Overall, it really wasn't that bad. Cocktails onboard that ship are a lot cheaper than most cocktails at Downtown Disney or DCA's Cove Bar even.

    In comparison to a park vacation, the price is still cheaper, when taking into consideration the costs of lodging and food.

    I liked the cruise better than the theme parks of late. The ambience and CMs seemed to capture the true magic of Disney that's been gone from the parks for some time now.

    I cried when we had to disembark. Even going to Disneyland a couple days later didn't appease me. I missed the magic that is the Magic.

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