I have a question about Disney cruise?
I'm trying to organize a Disney cruise for a group. I know that Disney is expensive, but we've been planning this for a long time and maybe there's a group rate? I have a few close friends that may be interested in the cruise, but how should I introduce it to them? Also, my friend's family wants to go but her mother is iffy on the cruise. How do I organize this big cruise? We've also been saving up for this cruise. Please no answers on how it's too expensive and all. Thanks
***Edited to remove commercial reference***
Your best bet to organize a cruise like this, would be to get in contact with a cruise travel agent. They can tell you how to get a group together and what comps you may be able to get.
I can't recall the number for Disney, but for other lines the magical number is 8 - to make up a group.
The key to Disney is booking early - as soon as the itinerary is out. This makes it hard when you are trying to manage a group. Are you able to pick a date and say "this is when we are going" are you dependant on agreement from all parties?
If the later, get group consensus on a date outside the available booking.
For example, I'm not sure yet if you can book for 2015. If not, figure out a sail date that works for your group. Then have an agent ready to get you your cabins on that sailing as soon as itineraries are announced. Especially if you are trying get adjoining/special needs or cabins within a similar proximity - this will give you the most availability.
You will also get the best price this way. If there are sales/specials/price drops - your agent can grab this for you before final payment.
I've been on two Disney cruises, and both times have booked early, and then watched the prices steadily go up until sail date. Yes, just before sail date - there is a 3 month window (I think) when people who have put down deposits don't follow through on final payment, and you may see price drops at this time. It may be easy to get a few cabins together, but not an entire group. After that, prices will go up again.
Just to be clear, it's not 8 passengers, it's 8 cabins.
As for getting together the group, I agree that it's always best to contact a cruise specialist as they have all the information and resources you need.
First rule of thumb that I always tell my group leaders; do not present a bunch of options to your group - you will get as many difference answers as there are options and in trying to satisfy everyone, you usually end up causing more problems. It's always best to make the decisions and then let the group know what is being offered - that way they have one choice to make - whether to go or not. Makes it much easier on you, as the group leader.
Second rule of thumb, once you've made the decision, then turn everything over to the cruise specialist and let them do their job. Notify everyone that they are to contact the agent and not you. This will save you a huge amount of hassle. They should also have the ability to send out electronic 'cruise sheets' so everyone will be able to see everything about the cruise, the ship, the itinerary, and the price. For example, we send one out where you can click on the port and it'll also provide information about what there is to see and do there.
Bottom line is, when it comes to working with groups, the more information they get from the agent, the less they will want to contact the group leader. And this is a good thing if you want to save your sanity.
I've been doing groups for almost 12 years of all sizes from 6 to 8 cabins up to 365 people. So trust me when I say that should you book this yourself through the cruise line and not use an agent, you will thoroughly regret it. Everyone will be contacting you with all sorts of questions and problems, and you'll end up with so much hassle that you'll end up not enjoying your cruise at all. Plus, you may not get all the amenities you're entitled to as often the cruise lines will benefit due to your lack of experience.
Disney is a great cruise lines for families and for groups. We've always enjoyed working with them because they help us provide a wealth of information and services to our groups.
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