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Old February 21st, 2008, 06:59 AM
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Default Buyer's Remorse

Dh and I have buyer's remorse, and we haven't even "bought" our cruise yet. Help me work through this, please, Cruisemates.

Dh is due to return from his third tour in Iraq, a 14 month-er, by late spring. We want to take a family cruise to celebrate his return. He and I cruised without the kids (ages 6 and 10) a few years ago and vowed to take them on our next one.

We're eyeing the Triumph on June 15th. We know we want a balcony this time so we have an escape when the kids are sleeping.

All together the base price for our family will be about 3500, before excursions, tips, souveniers, etc. We're thinking the final total will be closer to 6K. That's a lot for this military family.

We usually vacation at WDW and call it our home away from home. For the 6K price of a cruise I'm thinking we could get two or three long wDW trips. It's hard for me to justify a 7 day cruise knowing we could have about 20+ days in Orlando for the same amount.

So talk me through this. I want to book our cruise before prices increase again, if we're going to do this.

I also posted our cruise on cruise-compete, but not sure how comfortable I'd feel letting an unknown book our cruise for us.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 07:52 AM
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First, have you checked about the military rates? Carnival has given my family great rates since my husband is a army veteran...so I figure you all would get a great rate since your DH is active military. As for cruisecompete.com...I booked my first cruise with them and have nothing but compliments. I used Beth at Cruisevacationoutlet.com and she worked with me right up until the day before we left. Infact, I'm now booking another cruise directly with her for November.

Before you have "buyers remorse" check on the military rate...the agents won't cough up this info unless you ask!
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Old February 21st, 2008, 07:57 AM
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I booked a cruise through the online you mentioned and it worked out great, so don't worry about that.

as for the cost of 20 days at WDW; did you factor in food/drinks? I have compared a 5 day stay at WDW with a 5 day cruise and the cruise was by far the less expensive route

definetly check on the military rate as teh previoius poster mentioned; it is a substantial savings;

also another military poster mentioned that she puts money down towards her online cruise account prior to cruising so as not to have to cough up all the money for excursions, tips etc at the time of the cruise; like a cruise savings acct
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Old February 21st, 2008, 08:01 AM
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Yes by all means check out the Military rate. I have used it on our last 2 cruises, and it saves a bunch. Since you are going to be in the Orlando area why not do a 3-4 day cruise in the middle of your trip there? You can get pretty good rates for the shorter cruises. You could put it in the middle of you trip, and get the benefits of both types of vacation. You can sure stay in the Orlando area easily on a tight budget. There are many good internet packages available.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 08:03 AM
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First of all, let me say that, regardless of what vacation you choose, you and your DH deserve this time together. IMO, you, your husband and your children all deserve the time together and I can think of no better vacation than a cruise.

Let me suggest that you contact a PVP at Carnival to discuss the situation. I do not know enough about how things work, but I do know that they value all their customers and will work with you to look for ways to reduce your costs.

One idea - drop down to an outside view cabin (or even an inside view cabin) and make use of Camp Carnival. You and your husband can reconnect during the day and the family can reconnect at night. By the time you get back to the room after a busy day, the kids are almost certainly going to be tired and ready for bed - you and your loved one can lie in bed, not getting romantic, but basking in the happiness of being together again.

Another idea - consider a shorter cruise. Maybe five days instead of seven days. I, personally, am not thrilled about the idea of taking kids to Ocho Rios, although I know that the security in the port has improved greatly since the last time I went there.

Next, if it is applicable, look into your own airfare. Airfare through Carnival is expensive and I can always get a better deal through the airlines, etc.

Now, more radical thought - you and your husband do back to back three day cruises to the Bahamas with someone else taking the kids to WDW for one of the two cruises.

There are a lot of ways you can reduce the cost and still enjoy the benefit of the cruise - IMO, what you need is the help of an expert and that opinion is the reason for the suggestion of the PVP. They can help you come up with an itinerary at a cost you can afford - and be sure that you get all discounts that you are due.

BTW - what branch of the service is your husband in.

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Old February 21st, 2008, 09:36 AM
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Please tell me you have been using your military rate for your trips to WDW?
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Old February 21st, 2008, 10:12 AM
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Default Re: Buyer's Remorse

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkmmah
...Dh is due to return from his third tour in Iraq, a 14 month-er, by late spring. We want to take a family cruise to celebrate his return. He and I cruised without the kids (ages 6 and 10) a few years ago and vowed to take them on our next one.
First off my thanks for your husband's service to our country and to you for the sacrifices you and your family endure.

My only reason for visiting d-land or WDW would be for my kids. Standing in long lines for a 2 minuted ride is not my idea of fun. Now that my kids are grown, I don't see me ever going there again (unless they get off their rears and start making grandkids). But then again I'm kind of a grump.

I think your estimation of additional costs are a bit high. A cruise would be more relaxing for you two, and allow your Mr. to unwind. I think your kids would love it because they would be able to connect with other kids on board and have the experience of visiting other countries.

I went reluctantly on my first cruise at the urging of my wife. Once on board my opinion changed radically. Without the telephone, newspapers, and other daily nonsense I was really able to relax and enjoy myself. What was a seven day cruise to me seemed like maybe ten days (in a good way).

I don't think you would regret missing WDW. Good luck with your decision.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 10:49 AM
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OP here.

To answer a few questions posed to me...

Dh is active Army, 19 years service. Not looking to retire, either, God love him. He loves serving and if that means more deployments then he accepts that.

Yes, the price I was quoted through our military travel agent was the military rate, and the same rate that cruise.com offers for military as well.

Yes, we do go to WDW with military rates and it saves a bundle! We've had annual passes in the past, though they've since expired.

I guess dh and I are grownup kids because we enjoy WDW as much as the kids do. We never resent going there and never look at it as if it's something we suffer through FOR the kids. It's "our" place and we adore it. However, we know we're already going back next January because both dh and I are going to run the WDW marathon, so going to WDW in the summer when dh returns from Iraq isn't a huge priority. It's just the cost of the cruise I was comparing in what I know to be the cost of our WDW trips. We've gone to WDW enough to know where we can skimp on stuff and where we splurge, so we know what it's costing pretty well.

Airfare isn't an issue. We live in GA and would drive to the port.

I had wondered about B@B shorter cruises. Haven't priced it out yet. I'll think about that more seriously. Thanks for the suggestion.

Might consider going to an inside cabin to save some $$. Just had my hopes up for a balcony. Could envision dh and I reconnecting as we peer out over the ocean. Can't imagine anything better right now that having our girls sleeping in the room, dreaming wonderful dreams, and dh and I alone in the world on our balcony. Hard to give up that little peice of Heaven for an inside cabin....

What about a last minute deal during the summer? Are those next to impossible to find? I'm guessing they would be because of the high demand season. If anyone has experience with last minute summer deals, though, I'd love to hear it!
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Old February 21st, 2008, 10:50 AM
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I've been to DW in the east, and DL in the west with my family. Frankly can't imagine how total costs for a Disney vaction, including rooms, food, drinks,park admissions, etc. can even come close to be cheaper than a cruise.

Am certainly not even close with comparable accommadations and meals.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 11:12 AM
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For our family of four we purchased annual passes (which we used on 4 different trips but have now expired) for approx. 1200. Then we stay at value hotels on property with military rates around 60/night X 8 or 9 nights. We bring snacks from home for breakfasts, and quick food in the parks. We eat at the restaurants some, but not the whole time, unless we're on the dining plan (and the only two times we've done that was when it was free the past two years in a row). So, in looking at it from my angle, WDW isn't as much for 9 or 10 nights as the cruise we were quoted.

But I still really want the cruise! We're looking at all options and trying to find what will work best for us.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 11:46 AM
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I first noticed the 3500 dollar figure for a balcony and it caught my attention. My wife and I paid about $2k on NCL for 5 days and about $2.5k for a 7 day on HAL.
We are not in the military and only benefit from the services of those that are.

Even with the kid supplement I think you are being way overcharged.

Try a regular TA or contact nmnita.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 01:51 PM
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Here's the breakdown on what the TA quoted us:
Adults 1 and 2
831.57 military rate
250.65 fees, taxes
=1082.22 X 2 adults = 2164.44

Children
400.00
215.65 taxes, fees
= 615.65 X 2 = 1231.30

Adults + children total = 3395.74

I rounded to 3500 just for ease.

Do you still think this is overpriced?
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Old February 21st, 2008, 02:21 PM
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Well the problem is the time of year you are sailing, Kids are out of school and the prices get higher. You would save a substantial amount of money if you were able to go a couple of weeks earlier on May17th. The price is quite a bit less. However, with kids and school schedules it does make it more difficult to manage. If you have to cruise during the busy season, and must choose an inside cabin to make it affordable, perhaps you wouldn't mind if I suggested you might consider two connecting inside cabins, though it would likely cost you a few hundred dollars more for that, it would give you and your husband that little extra bit of privacy and room, not to mention an extra bathroom. If you and your d/h need a little extra "couple time" Camp Carnival offer late night sitting thats like a slumber party for the kids until the wee hours of the morning. I really like this because to me it is guilt free time, when the kids would be sleeping anyway, so I don't feel like we're taking time away from family time together. Let us know what you decide to do.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 02:36 PM
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I only WISH we could go earlier. The kids could easily be pulled out of school a couple weeks early. The problem lies in getting dh home from Iraq. He's on Uncle Sam's time, and they're not too interested in sending him home early so we can get a better rate!
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Old February 21st, 2008, 02:37 PM
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We have articles here in CruiseMates comparing cruising to Disney.

But getting back to Carnival - there are ways to save on a cruise. I think $6k sounds pretty high even for a family and a balcony.

Sometimes you are stuck having to sail on a specific date (in this case - likely) but looking at different sail dates often reaps big differences in price.

Otherwise, possibly a different hip of the same class may b cheaper.

I have becone very adept at price shoppin over the years. so I would invite you to email me directly with your specifics and I could reply with some options. I am NOT a travel agent, but I do know something about cruise shopping.

Happy to help our Military!
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Old February 21st, 2008, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkmmah
Here's the breakdown on what the TA quoted us:
Adults 1 and 2
831.57 military rate
250.65 fees, taxes
=1082.22 X 2 adults = 2164.44

Children
400.00
215.65 taxes, fees
= 615.65 X 2 = 1231.30

Adults + children total = 3395.74

I rounded to 3500 just for ease.

Do you still think this is overpriced?
No, that really isn't a bad rate for a balcony in prime cruising season.

I know it a lot though. You also have to remember that this does not include the tips...which will be another $280.00. If you are driving in, you will have to pay around $20 a day to park the car...that is another $140.00. So it does add up quickly. Add $200.00 for a couple of drinks a day and some pictures and you are basically close to $4,000.00 right there.

The good news is that you don't have to blow a lot of money in the ports.

Cozumel can be a day at Paradise Beach for a family of four :
Taxi (round trip) $30.00
Wristbands for all day play for the kids @10.00 each $20.00
A couple of frozen margaritas each (regular $7.00 each) $28.00
Soda and cheese nachos $15.00
Tip on the $43.00 in food and drinks $7

That is still a nice day at the beach for $100.00 for four people.

Grand Cayman is pretty expensive...so it could be a nice day of what I call "Sea Day On the Ship". The pools and slides are open. Food is free. It is not crowded. Or do an independent tour like Cap Marvins if swimming with sting rays if your thing. An independent tour in Grand Cayman is easy to do because it is very tourist friendly.

Ocho Rios - I would not do an independent tour here. If you did swimming with the sting rays in Grand Cayman..this could be your day on the ship OR you can walk to Island Village spend some time at their small but quaint beach. If I remember correctly the entrance fee was like $5 each. And I think that includes an inflatable slide for the kids.

Even if you spend $100.00 in Cozumel, $250.00 in Grand Cayman and another $100.00 in Ocho Rios.....you are looking at $4,450.00.

But the ports can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want them to be.

Hope this helps. Thanks again for your husband's service and the sacrifice you and his kids make every day to keep us safe.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkmmah
Here's the breakdown on what the TA quoted us:
Adults 1 and 2
831.57 military rate
250.65 fees, taxes
=1082.22 X 2 adults = 2164.44

Children
400.00
215.65 taxes, fees
= 615.65 X 2 = 1231.30

Adults + children total = 3395.74

I rounded to 3500 just for ease.
Do you still think this is overpriced?
No, not when you break it down like that....I guess it's not so bad.
I thought kids went for a couple hundred max...I apologize if I got your hopes up.

What bothers me is your adult MILITARY rate is about what we paid...and that ain't right.

Ever think about just opting for an outside (no balcony) and an interior across the passageway? Or do you think they are too young?
If they are not too young to be alone...then even an exterior and the adults could sneak away when its's bed time. (?)
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Old February 21st, 2008, 05:23 PM
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the cruise rates are not bad. Look for cheaper parking, carry on two bottles of wine, buy more in ports, no excursions. Also, think about putting the kids in your cabin.

By the way, carnival imagination has been upgraded and is much cheaper. See the evolutions of fun article front page.

More. Later sent from iPhone
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Old February 21st, 2008, 05:45 PM
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Have you thought about a Disney Land and Sea Cruise?
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Old February 21st, 2008, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
the cruise rates are not bad. Look for cheaper parking, carry on two bottles of wine, buy more in ports, no excursions. Also, think about putting the kids in your cabin.

By the way, carnival imagination has been upgraded and is much cheaper. See the evolutions of fun article front page.

More. Later sent from iPhone
That is a great idea. We just cruised on the Imagination on a Back To Back and we had a fabulous time!!!!
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Old February 21st, 2008, 06:25 PM
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And I was complaining because we spent a total of $6500 for the 2 of us on 5 cruises (including airfare) for a total of 58 days at sea in 2007!


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Old February 21st, 2008, 06:48 PM
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You have received so much good advice here, that it isn't necessary to repeat it, but as one military wife to another, let me tell you why you should do the cruise.

You know when your husband takes leave, he has to always tell them where you will be, and the phone numbers?

Honey, You say cruise, and they pretty much just smile and tells you to have a good trip.

It would be so expensive to get your hubby on a re-call, that they don't even bother.

Take the cruise, take those babies, so daddy can be with them without the phone ringing, and enjoy your hubby on that balcony.

Your right that is a lot of money for a military family, but call it a mental heath trip, and have fun. You will be making memories, and to me, that is priceless.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 08:49 PM
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IMHO go, and instead of doing excursions, which are expensive, just jump a cab and find a good beach and enjoy some family time. If the kids are staying inthe same cabin it shouldn't be that pricy.

Your kids will get bored with WDW eventually. My mom, brother, SIL, and niece went to WDW for 10 days and FOOD alone for four people costed $1500, and they didn't go to fancy restaurants. They rented a cat and that costed over $500 after a few gas tanks of gas. The hotels they picked were perhaps 2 star hotels, and they were NOT cheap either, close to $100/night. They did 10 days Orlando and a 4 day cruise and my mom ended up paying over $8000 for two weeks. The food on the ship is included so you'd be saving money there as well as car rental costs.

Cruise and be happy....
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Old February 21st, 2008, 09:28 PM
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Thank you all so very much for all the wonderful advice. This is by far one of the friendliest boards I've ever frequented.

You've helped make our decision. Barring any huge jumps in prices in the next couple days, I plan to book our cruise and not look back. No regrets. Just a wonderful week of memories that could never be replaced.

Thank you for the help and all the kind words. I'm looking forward to sticking around and learning the ropes from all of you.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 09:45 PM
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Don't get buyers remorse at all. But do call Carnival's PVP asap. I always compare their military rate to the rate given on base. Carnival has been able to beat the base rate on a couple of occasions and it does not cost anything other than a phone call to compare the two. Being retired military and having two children currently serving on active duty I know how much this time will mean to you. God knowns that your husband doesn't get paid enough for what he does. It you want some true quality time with your husband and kids take the cruise. Also tell your husband that my family says thank you for serving and we thank you also for supporting him and holding down the home front while he is away.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 08:31 PM
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You might want to check out the Carnival Miracle too leaving NY June 10th. They have balcony rooms left and a Military rate. I figure you want to leave from NY since the cruise you mentioned is departing from their.


The Mircale is a nice ship with lots of activities for children as well as alone time with the DH. I'm taking the Miracle cruise to Western Caribbean Oct 28th. And, have friends that have taken their kids on the Miracle and have loved it!
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 08:36 PM
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Just step up in faith and do it. You wil be satisfied beyond your dreams.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkmmah
Thank you all so very much for all the wonderful advice. This is by far one of the friendliest boards I've ever frequented.

You've helped make our decision. Barring any huge jumps in prices in the next couple days, I plan to book our cruise and not look back. No regrets. Just a wonderful week of memories that could never be replaced.

Thank you for the help and all the kind words. I'm looking forward to sticking around and learning the ropes from all of you.
Make sure you ask about the miliraty discounted rates before booking through this agent. You should receive a lower rate. if you dont you need to go to someone else and book.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old February 23rd, 2008, 07:43 PM
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ok, have you searched any group deals? you might have to change the date or even the ship but i've found my cruises thru groups and get better rates.

Also, have you thought about a Cruise in Sept? Take the kids out of school a week? You'll have to deal with potential hurricane issues but mostly the ships bypass the storms if they can, we've been lucky. You'll get it for half price atleast. Keep shopping, that price does seem high, but then again i could never pay more to travel in June (plus i hate heat), but i'm not in your situation. June/july/august are the highest priced months except for holidays.

But then I wouldnt want to go to disney in June/July/ of august either, but i hate crowds and i melt!

With the money you could save going in Sept or even Early November after hurrican season, you could probably take a short trip somewhere for the welcome home and have a great trip to get excited for and look forward too in November!
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old February 23rd, 2008, 08:34 PM
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Default Re: Buyer's Remorse

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkmmah
Dh is due to return from his third tour in Iraq, a 14 month-er, by late spring. We want to take a family cruise to celebrate his return. He and I cruised without the kids (ages 6 and 10) a few years ago and vowed to take them on our next one.

We're eyeing the Triumph on June 15th. We know we want a balcony this time so we have an escape when the kids are sleeping
Jkmmah, Are you aware of the Armed Forces Vacation Club????? It’s a perk available to active duty and retirees. And, as retired Army we’ve saved a bundle staying in resorts all around Florida. You have to check back daily as space- A changes constantly.

Call an AFVC planner toll free 1-800-724-9988.

Website URL for AFVC: http://www.afvclub.com/vacationrr_spacea.asp


I’ve been able to get some last minute accommodations through them in early to mid June. And, we’ve stayed at the Vacation Villas in Titusville (near the Space center and a very short drive to Canaveral where some cruise ships depart from). Also very close to Orlando to visit WDW and Universal Studios & Island of Adventure

Worth a try to call AFCV and see what they might have coming available in mid June at the Vacation Villas in Titusville. Mid June is still before the family vacation rush and many kids around the country are still in school, which is how we booked Titusville last minute a few years ago.

And, they may even have something else available in your area that you'd like to book.
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