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Geazer Glider October 25th, 2009 07:43 PM

1st timer with questions
Never been on a cruise. DVC member (Saratoga Springs, FL). Been to WDW 4 times, Disneyland more than I care to mention (currently Annual Pass Holder). Why, because I married a Disney Nut over 23 years ago.

We just booked on DCL Wonder for the 15 Night Panama Canal relocation cruise sailing 1/6/2011 (my Disneynut wife's birthday) and I have a ton of questions. I have read some of the message board comments about what to expect and I am very grateful to all of you that shared.

We used our DVC points to book this cruise and were able to get a cat. 11A room paid in full. It has been mentioned to me more than once that there may be an opportunity to upgrade to better category at a minimal or no cost. Is this true for DVC members?

Also, how much more per day will it cost us to enjoy the extras on board (ie. adult beverages and any other meals or entertainment) as well as gratuities?

andrei1 May 3rd, 2010 08:22 AM

I am also planning to be in a cruise in the near future and i also want to know some specific informtions in the said field.

Hope someone can give me some advice. Thank you

Tunisia holidays

Kathleen Templeton May 5th, 2010 09:28 PM


I can answer a bit of your questions.

Extra costs:

Alcohol will depend on what type of drink you want. Beer, wine or Bahama Mams? There is always a drink of the day which is discounted. it will be listed in your Navigator paper and in many of the elevators. Average costs $3.50 to $6.00. Not counting if you want to buy a bottle of wine for dinner. They do have special wine packages you can purchase.

Spa is extra Cost depends on what you have done.
Bingo is extra, not sure what that costs now?
Entertainment is all included in the price of the cruise.

Pop, coffee, tea, milk is all free at the restaurants and the drink station on deck 9 (24/7) If you order it from a waiter or at a bar you will be charged for it plus a 15% gratuity.
we always get our pop at the drink station and take it with me to the shows or club.

If you want to go to a wine tasting or martini tasting there is a charge, sorry I dont know how much. I have never done this.

I will try to find copy of a navigator for you to look at, it will help a lot with prices for you.

Food is free. Room service is free although we keep a few ones for a tip.
They do have snacks you can buy in the store and by the WD Theater, candy,cookies etc...

Tips for staff are room host, head server, dining room server, drink server.
The suggested amount averages out to around $10 per day per person, including kids. I will try to find the link to that info for you too.

I'll try to get back tonight with the links to the info for you.


Kathleen Templeton May 5th, 2010 09:33 PM

Oh the upgrades.
I dont know about DVC, you'll have to call and ask.

However 3 times we have got a free upgrade.
We booked an inside room and got free upgrade about 6 weeks prior to the cruise to botha port hole room and 2 other times to a balcony room.
Sometimes when the lower priced rooms sell out they will move people up to make room at the last minute to try and sell out more rooms.

This only happens when the ship isnt full. Lots of empty rooms tha tneed to be filled. I tmakes sense that to fill the ship they make the lowest priced rooms available for last minute bookings. So those who had them booked can get bumped up to fill the more expensive rooms.

It is just a random thing to happen. No way to just aks and get it, it doesnt happen that way.


Kathleen Templeton May 5th, 2010 09:44 PM

This site will give you room reports once you get your room number you can see what others who have had your room thought about it.
Plus it has links to lots of other information to help you.

Disney Cruise Line Reviews of Staterooms, Disney Cruise Reviews#

Answer It is customary to give gratuities in recognition of service, which you will most likely be treated to in abundance aboard the ship. As a guideline, we suggest the following:
Per Guest per cruise3-Night4-Night7-NightDining Room Server$12.00$16.00$28.00Dining Room Asst. Server$9.00$12.00$21.00Dining Room Head Server$3.00$4.00$7.00Stateroom Host/
Hostess$12.00$16.00$28.00Dining ManagerYour Discretion Room ServiceYour Discretion PaloGratuity included Vista Spa & SalonYour Discretion BabysittingGratuity not expected Shore ExcursionsOptional;
not included in shore
excursion price. For your convenience, a 15% gratuity is automatically added to bar, beverage, wine and deck service tabs. All gratuities can be charged to your room charge.

Kathleen Templeton May 5th, 2010 09:51 PM

This site has a lot of navigators. Read the most recent dated ones and it will talk about some pricing of drinks.

Disney Cruise Line Navigators

Hope this helps both of you.
If you have more questions please ask, I am happy to help when I can.
Feel free to contact me through the PM section of this thread if you want.
We just booked our 21st DCL cruise for 2011, so I do have some experience with them. Happy tp help!


Kathleen Templeton May 5th, 2010 10:06 PM

This is my personal list of tips. Some may not be for the ship your on, but most are general tips. Hope they help you.

1.Early arrival gets an early boarding pass number at check in.

2.Terminal opens 10 a.m.

3.Boarding starts around 11:30 to noon.

4.Keep camera with you at ALL times, even in the terminal. characters will appear there for photos. outdoor viewing area of the ship for photos.

5 check in at kids club table while waiting to board ship. saves you time on the ship. In the Terminal it is near the cafe in the front of the area.

6. Take a few ones. some for room service tips some to tip porters who take your bags at the termnal. $2 per bag is customary.

7. Take small bills for the islands. many small shops dont have change.

8. If your going to use your credit card on the islands, call your CC company first and tell them or you will have to wait on a phone call to ok all your purchases. This is a big hassle and can take 30 minutes or more.

9. Most shops who take credit cards, require a $20 minimum purchase.

10 Take camera to dinner each night, surprizes happen all the time. You wont be alone. you will even see cam corders at dinner. In fact I take my camera everywhere!!

11. arrive at all shows 20 minutes early for good seats.

12. arrive at character meets 10 minutes early

13 Princess meets arrive 15 minutes early

14. On Castaway cay if you want your photo taken with Captain Jack Sparrow, do NOT ride the tram to the beach area. It does NOT stop near him. You must walk in to the beach signs say 20 minute walk in it takes us 10 minutes. he will be along the way in the sand and photo has the flying Dutchman behind you, great photo! Check navigator for times he will be there. Try to arrive 10 minutes early he lines up fast.

15 There are characters along the way to the beach, ok to ride the tram for this. Lines are short and move quickly so it is a great opportunity to see characters without lines. check navigator for times and places.

16 Also characters appear at the gazebo near cookies BBQ on the island during the day. Check Navigator for times.

17 Adult only beach has it's own area for lunch they often have steaks or lobster there as a special treat for the grown ups. But Cookies BBQ by family beach has more variety of other foods.

18 Dont miss the good bye late the last night in the atrium. Many of the characters and actors from the shows will line up on the stairs and will pose for photos for you. This farwell party is really nice and fun.

19 Check for photos everyday at shutters. buy a package deal and save $$ if you dont buy enough photos for the package deal they will refund you the difference at the end of your cruise .
or if you buy a photo and then decide the next day you see one you want more, just bring back the one you bought and the receipt and tell them you want to exchange it and they will be happy to do this for you.
Shortly they will be changing over to photo pass where you can order your photos on line after you go home.

20. You can order warm chocolate chip cookies or Mickey ice cream bars from room service even though it is not on the menu. The warm cookies are available in the evenings only. You must tell them WARM or they wont be.

21. Bring 2 white pillowcases or a matte style picture frame in a zip lock baggie with water proof markers and leave at guest services desk ask to be autographed and it will be returned to you the last night all signed by the characters. I also add a card with my name and room number on it just in case their card gets lost. I like to use dark colored markers, the light colors dont show up as well.

22. If you need to change dining times or make a Palos reservation go to Wave Bands club directly upon boarding to take care of this. The sooner you do it the better your chances of getting what you want .At check in you will be given a paper that will have an exact time to be at the club. Different ships it will be a different club. Your welcome aboard paper they give you will tell you where and when.

23. I f you have kids leave a wake up call and then let them answer the phone. It will surprize the because Mickey will be on the phone telling them it is time to get up. If they are young kids, have a cam corder ready to catch the surpize on their face. It is great.

24 Afternoon matinees of the shows are great to see. They are the exact same show, they leave out nothing but it is less crowded and kids arnt as tired, plus it makes for a more leisurely evening. No need to rush to or from the shows due to your dinner time. Only certain cruises have this, check navigator.

25. Pop is free in all restaurants and at the drink station on deck 9. But if you order it from waiter or buy at a lounge or bar you will be charge for it plus a gratuity.

26. Stop by the drink station and grab a drink to take with you to the shows or movies instead of buying a can a pop there. If you want a snack stop and grab pizza or hot dogs or fruit on deck 9 to take with you. again save money over buying a bunch of snacks for the kids.

27.At dinner kids can order from both the kids or adult menu.

28. The BBQ at the adult beach often has a fewer choices than Cookies BBQ on the family side but they often will have steak or lobster for the adults only BBQ. That is a nice perk.

29. No need to book floats and bikes ahead of time for Castaway Cay. They have tons of them. wait until you get there to make sure your really going to need the floats or have time to ride the bikes before renting them. we always just walk up and do it at the beach.

30. If you want to do the banana boat ride or the ski do(eco tour) I would book ahead of time. They do often have last minute openings so dont be afraid to ask when you arrive if you didnt book it and decided you'd like to do it.

31. if you rent bikes there are 2 nice trails just off the runway. The first one will have an observation tour. It has a great view of the island and ship. Bring your camera for this!! while up in the tower be sure and look around the base area of the tower. There are some whimsical things to see there too.

32. all the trails have ice cold water in big yellow barrels in wooden framed stands, so no need to carry your own unless you want to.

33. They do NOT have microwaves on board but they will give you hot water to heat baby food if you need it. They will also purre' some foods from the menu for you for babies if you request it.

34. Many of the island have attendants in the public bathrooms and they want a tip for you to use the bathroom. So keep a few quarters handy. Some are very pushy about this.

35. Casinos bathrooms are free and cleaner on the average than public restrooms in the shopping areas.

36. Often by mid morning bathrooms run out of t. paper and paper towels and soap. ALWAYS take your own sample size in your bag of T.Paper, hand wipes, hand sanitizer and seat covers. You'll need them most places.

37. NO water fountains to be found , water is precious on the islands. So you must buy bottled water if youw ant a drink. There is always someone selling bottled water on the ship by where you exit the ship if you want it. It is cheaper than what you'll find on the islands.

Be ware of vendors walking around saying one dollar for a bottle of water. some have been found to be used bottles they have filled up themselves.

38. If you want to have your or your childs hair braided, DO IT ON THE SHIP !! Dont do it on the islands accept Castaway Cay.
They will braid your hiar, shove the comb in their pocket them use it on the next person and the next without sanitizing or even washing the comb!!!
Plus they have been known to give people a hard time about the price they owe them., AFTER they have finished.

39. ALWAYS set a price before doing anything on the island and make them stick to it. Taxis or private tours are great, but always set the price before you get into the cab.

40. Some excursion you drive the vehicle. Make sure before you leave home that your insurance will cover you IF you have an accident. Most will NOT cover you outside the U.S. without you making arrangements ahead of time.
Just before you drive off for your excursion you will be asked to sign a waver saying YOU are responsible for that vehicle and if your insurance wont pay, you will !!. Also many times you will share the driving with another couple, but only one of you are required to sign the form, so if you sign and the other person wrecks the vehicles, YOU are responsible!!

41. take an over the door shoe holder for the bathroom door to store little things like toothpaste, deodorant, make up etc.. That way it wont slide off the shelves and leaves you more storage. If you go to the dollar store, they only cost a dollar so you can even throw them away at the end of the cruise to make room for souvenirs in your suitcases.

Hope this helps you some.


Manuel August 21st, 2010 07:51 PM

Hello fellow cruisemate.

I am posting here to say hello to Kathleen.
I remember the fine posts that you used to on the (who's last ) thread.

Hope that you are doing well and we in the (last gang ) miss you.


Kathleen Templeton August 22nd, 2010 11:37 AM

Hi TM,

I have been reading the Last gang thread ( it pops up on my e-mail all the time) but just never seem to get over there to say hello, especially in the summer months. We have been going camping, beach trips, trips to visit my mom every 2 weeks, trying out sitters for the dogs( old sitter retired) so we can continue to go on cruises and a WDW vacation this December which I have been planning.
Also seeing family who live about 110 miles or farther away. Soon grandkids will be back in school and college so we wont see them until the holidays.
Once winter sets in we are often stranded from bad roads where we live. Nobody fixes the roads or removes the snow or ice on the country roads.
Watching cows, sheep and horses walk in the snow and ice is hilarious!!
of course watching me walk in that stuff is also a sight I'm sure:D

I will try to day hello again soon, as i stated above I have been reading the thread almost daily from my e-mail.

Tell everyone Hello and I will pop over soon,


Ames November 23rd, 2012 11:39 AM

Kathleen - amazing list of tips..thank you very much for this! We are planning our first DCL cruise for Feb. 2013 and this helps out big time!! Much appreciated! :D

Donna November 23rd, 2012 05:43 PM

Hi Ames,
Keep in mind the posts from Kathleen are 2 years old, while much of the information is still current, some may not be...

UTcruiser December 3rd, 2012 01:40 AM

Thank you for the tips!

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