Choosing your Disney Cruise Line Stateroom

So you’ve made the plunge (no pun intended) to a new adventure of a Disney Cruise! Well congratulations. It’s one of my favorite Disney destinations for so many reasons. The relaxation, fun, level of service, adventure, food, and more! So now comes the most difficult part – choosing your stateroom! With so many options with so many reasons for choosing a room, it can be confusing! So let’s unravel this piece of travel! As always, if you have questions of what may be best for your family, pleas don’t hesitate to contact me!

FIRST: How many staterooms do you need? If it’s just one, your possibilities are fairly endless! If you need more than one and you’d like to have a connecting room, it may limit your choices based on how early you book your DCL Piratecruise.

SECOND: Your concerns with motion sickness. Do you or anyone in your traveling party have a concern Truly, I can get motion sick on a windy day on flat ground and I can’t do coasters, but I can enjoy a Disney cruise with some over the counter meds. Consult your doctor or medical professional on what may be best for you. I won’t speak of any specific meds – I’m not a medical professional myself! If you have concerns with motion sickness, staying toward the middle of the ship is best. You’ll read all sorts of guest feedback that higher decks are better or lower decks are better. I can’t say if one is “best” but being toward the middle of the ship where there is less movement in general, will save you any trouble. For longer voyages – Eastern and Western Caribbean for example, aft rooms can feel some vibration when the ship is going full speed (we only really noticed it while in the bars and lounges on our last sailing but we had a more forward stateroom). That being said, many guests with concern for motion sickness prefer aft over forward rooms.

THIRD: Get to know the ship and what each stateroom offers. Standard inside rooms are going to be the smallest. If you have a concern with enclosed spaces, you’ll want to skip inside staterooms. You’ll have no window or way to see the outside world. On the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream, you’ll have a magical porthole that is attached to a camera so it looks like a window. It’s a sense of calming but not the same as having a big porthole window in your room.

Oceanview rooms give you that view to the outside – with either 1 large porthole or 2 small portholes, you’ll have a way to see where you’re coming and going! For some people it’s enough. Be careful of these rooms as  many of them are on the forward and aft of the ship (the ends) and feel more motion than you would if you were mid-ship! Also beware of “slanted” portholes for Oceanview rooms. These are more like skylights than the ability to look out a window!

Your next tier of rooms are verandah rooms (rooms with a balcony). These are for guests that need a private way to smell the fresh air! Many of these rooms are more mid-ship but you’ll find some forward and aft so they are not all created equal. Some lower cost verandah rooms have navigator’s verandahs which are smaller than average or verandahs with whitewall which means you wouldn’t have clear plexiglass type material that you can see the crashing waves while seated in the chairs on your verandah.

Confused yet? This is why I have my job because it is confusing!!

So now that you’ve figured out the type of stateroom you’d like, it’s time to look at which deck you’d like to be on! This varies by ship of course, but a few basics of every ship:

  • Health Center on deck 1
  • Main lobby/atrium on deck 3
  • Main dining locations on dimg_7085ecks 2-4 (depending on the ship)
  • Walt Disney Theater on decks 4-5 (balcony is on deck 5)
  • Buena Vista Theater (feature films) on deck 5
  • Oceaneer’s Club (kids club for ages 3-12) on deck 5
  • Spa & Pool Deck – last full deck (on the Magic and the Wonder – deck 9; on the Fantasy and the Dream – deck 11)

So now that you know where all of these things are, there are 2 questions – what locations are most important to you? It’s often fastest to travel by stairs to get to many locations – especially after a deck party, dinner service is ending, or a show is letting out. Elevators truly take forever! We’ve hiked up from deck 3 following dinner all the way up to deck 11 for the Pirates Deck Party and my quads were definitely burning. If you’re planning on spending most of your time in the pool, you won’t want a stateroom on deck 2 or if you think you’ll be planning on dropping your 5 year old at the Oceaneer’s Club on a daily basis, deck 10 is probably not ideal! The steps on all of the staircases are small, so 2-3 flights is very manageable but more than that starts to get tiring (especially with little kid legs in tow!)

A few things to be aware of as you consider all of these locations:

  • If you are on a specialty cruise or a cruise with a movie primEAR, you may have late night events in the Walt Disney Theater. Noise can easily carry into the staterooms in deck 5 and rooms directly above on deck 6. On standard sailings, most shows are done by 10 pm and live shows don’t typically cause problems (it’s more the vibration of movies that guests notice)
  • Rooms on 5 aft may have additional traffic with guests walking past to check kids in for Oceaneer’s Club and rooms right above the Oceaneer’s Club on deck 6 may have noise from open to close of the club (which has pretty wide hours – typically 9 am – 12 am daily).
  • Rooms below the pool deck may have some additional noise. Additionally, be aware of the buffet restaurant on the Dream & Fantasy on deck 11. For early risers, it’s a location to grab breakfast and coffee. I’ve heard resorts of guests on deck 10 aft hearing chairs being pushed and pulled around the deck above them that woke them from sleep.
  • I always love to start with deck 7 if availability allows on any of the 4 ships but choose what is available and what your budget allows!

That’s a brief overview of staterooms! Disney is known for their layout of rooms with families in mind so in most staterooms you’ll see split bathrooms – with the shower and a sink in one door and a separate compartment for the toilet and sink allowing 2 guests to get ready at the same time. Where space is a commodity, it’s a nice addition! These rooms are not available in accessible rooms or standard inside staterooms – so if this type of space is important, please know what you are booking.

What about guarantee (GTY, IGT, OGT, VGT rooms)?

What are these rooms and are they for you? These rooms will pop up when Disney feels like a sailing is “underbooked”. It offers a guaranteed minimum room type. You’ll see these guaranteed rooms listed as “guaranteed room with restrictions” and can be in the inside, oceanview, or verandah categories. You’ll be given a room guaranteed at minimum in the lowest tier of that room category and your room will be assigned as your sail date comes closer. This is a nice way to get your cruise at a slightly discounted rate but gives you little control over where your stateroom is, so there is some risk involved. Rooms may be available on party size as well – for example, these guaranteed rooms may pop up for a family of 3 but not a family of 4 based on the number of rooms left in the category. You may be assigned a higher category room – so you could book an oceanview room and find yourselves in a verandah room. Do not book a lower restricted fare in hopes of an upgrade. It’s not a common occurrence. Book in the category that best works for your family! I can’t stress that enough!

Some important notes about these restricted fares – full payment is required in full at the time of booking and is non-refundable and sail date and stateroom category changes are not permitted. You are truly at the mercy of Disney, but it may be a way for someone who has enjoyed a 4-5 night sailing and wants a 7 night sailing but just cannot afford the cost of the longer sailing!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

The process of booking a Disney cruise can be VERY confusing, so let a professional help you! Please contact me at any time for a free quote.The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation! Plus you won’t have to watch for any possible rate drops, research everything there is to offer, or keep track of milestone dates for any “extras” you want during your voyage.  The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your cruise planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Tips for taking your first Disney Cruise!

cruisemickey

So you think you want to go on a Disney cruise – well CONGRATS on making a really great decision. I was lucky enough to be invited on a ship tour of the Disney Magic. It’s one of the smaller ships, but it was an amazing experience and has me ready to head out on the open seas with Disney!

What makes Disney cruises different?

All sorts of magic!

  • Each family is announced as they come on the ship and you may even get lucky and see one of your best Disney pals on the way in.
  • Family friendly fun! There are activities for kids of all ages. There are kids clubs split for 3 different age brackets. More about these in a bit.
  • Meals included, all you can eat ice cream, and 24 hour room service
  • Fun for adultsFullSizeRender-1
  • Family oriented state rooms focused around the family experience and comfort
  • Live, Broadway style shows during your stay
  • Disney movies and events (and special sneak peeks at times!)
  • Lofted beds to give you more space for luggage – unlike any other cruise ship
  • Character meet and greet experiences in a smaller setting than some of the crazy theme park lines!

Kids clubs

Disney has 3 kids clubs geared toward ages 3-12, 11-14, 14-17. You’ll notice those age brackets overlap. It gives your kids some flexibility to play with younger or older siblings and the tweens choices of active games and activities or a more “chill” lounge area. ALL of the kids club areas are kids only (sorry parents – let it go and enjoy your alone time!) Your children are well taken care of and supervised no matter what the age. There are some flexibility on those age brackets as well. For example – your family has 2 children age 10 and 14 and your younger is very shy and wants to spend time with your 14 year old who wants to go Edge, the tween lounge. This can be assessed by Disney’s staff.

FullSizeRender-3You’ll have Wave phones to communicate with your kids and others while on the ship. They don’t make external calls but are great for on board communication!

For those traveling with kids under 3, there is a paid nursery with ample staff available. For me, it’s worth waiting until they kiddos are at least 3 (and potty trained) so you can enjoy everything the ship has to offer!

 

Adults only areas

All 4 Disney cruise ships have an adult district and nightclubs. This can be done at the same time while your kids are enjoying kids club, so take the time an enjoy. There’s also an adults only pool (with a quiet area) to relax, read a book, or just let all of your stress away on vacation!

There’s also adult only dining options, a beautiful spa area (some of which can be fairly inexpensive), and a fitness center.

I’m sold, now when and where should we go?

Look at the time of year you’re interested in traveling. Be aware of hurricane and rainy seasons. Avoid peak crowd times (SUMMER, HOLIDAYS) if at all possible – these increase prices just as they do at the theme park resorts.

Where is up to you. If it’s your first cruise, start with 7 nights or less. If you’re on a budget, think about one of the 3-5 night Bahamanian cruises.If you’re worried about sea sickness or not enjoy your time on the open water, start with something short. You can ALWAYS go back and there are benefits to booking another cruise!FullSizeRender-2

If you’re comfortable on boats, the 7 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise is a great one for families with kids. Lots of time on the boat, getting the lay of the land and enjoying EVERYTHING the ship has to offer. There are more benefits and dining experiences on longer cruises, so it’s worth the extra cash if you have it!

Choosing a deck…what do all these letters and numbers mean?!

The decision of choosing your stateroom, your home for several nights is a big choice, so how do you decode all of those letters and numbers? Like Disney World, there are all sorts of lingo you should know!

1. Don’t choose an inside stateroom if at all possible. It’s worth downgrading your trip for a night for an outside view and more square footage!

2. Consider a deluxe stateroom. It gives you a split bath – a shower and toilet in two separate areas to help maximize your time and giving a little bit more space! In the same breath, consider a verandah room. This gives you some extra space outside of your room!

3. The letter and number associated with your booking category category is associated with a location on the ship map. Know what you’re choosing. Know how close or far away you are to an elevator.

4. Choosing a deck. This may be more important than choosing a category for your trip! Elevators are slow (especially on the day you embark). There are several sets of stairs around the ship (shallow stairs, so an easy trip up and down). If kids clubs are most important, a lower deck might be better. If 24 fountain drinks or pool time are important, an upper deck is better. If both are important, pick somewhere in the middle. Another important thing to mention – does anyone get seasick or motion sick? A lower deck in the middle of the ship is the way to go!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

The process of booking a Disney cruise can be VERY confusing, so let a professional help you! Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation! Plus you won’t have to watch for any possible rate drops, research everything there is to offer, or keep track of milestone dates for any “extras” you want during your voyage.  The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your cruise planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!