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NIX70

I'm a first time DCL cruiser, just back from the Med

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Utterly exhausted, but we loved it. Did the May 26th sailing, which was a 7 night Barcelona round trip. We had three generations of the family, ranging in ages from 11 to 71. Every cruise line is different, so here are my tips for those first-timer DCL cruisers out there:

 

  • If you don't want to sit with other people at dinner, make sure to request a private table. We assumed that - as a party of 5 - we would be allocated our own table. Not so. The head waiter Simone did a marvellous job sorting it out for us though.
  • Don't worry about getting to the Walt Disney theatre before the doors open half an hour before the show starts. We assumed the shows would be packed, they never were. You could also watch the shows on the TV in your stateroom, which I suspect some people did. Wonderful entertainment.
  • Soft drinks are only free if you get them from one of the drinks machines on deck nine (or in one of the restaurants). If you're at a show, or doing an activity in one of the lounges or clubs, you have to pay.
  • A lot of people have said the cabins are large compared to other cruise lines. That wasn't our experience (we had standard OV on deck 1) but they are cleverly designed with lots of storage space. My SIL and her two children had no problems in their cabin, with the smart bed arrangement (double, then sofa into a single bed and pull down bunk bed). The split bathroom does help when you have multiple people sharing a cabin.
  • The bath itself is very small; I'm six foot and didn't attempt it, but the shower over the bath works fine (although at my height I had to duck a little bit).
  • You are provided with hard soap, shampoo and conditioner. There is no shower gel or bubble bath, so bring your own. Also bring your own slippers and dressing gown if you want them, as they are not provided. There were clocks provided in all of our cabins, along with several USB charging ports and plentiful plug sockets.
  • If like me you are a planner, it can be disconcerting not to get disembarkation details in advance. On DCL you don't get them until around midday of the last full day of the cruise. Effectively you can get off the ship anytime you want after it's been cleared by customs, and everyone has to be off by 9am. Your luggage has to be outside the door between 8.15 and 10.15pm the night before, if you're not taking it off yourself. You'll be given luggage tags with Disney characters on; look for that character in the terminal.
  • On the morning of disembarkation you are allotted either early or late morning breakfast slots based on what dining slot you have (so early dinner=early breakfast). Breakfast will be in the restaurant where you eat dinner on the last night. That slot didn't work for us; we were early dinner but not getting off the ship until 9am so didn't want too much hanging around. You can ask your head waiter for a switch but you may be disappointed if a lot of people want to do the same thing. Don't worry - while it's not advertised, Cabanas is also open for breakfast on the final morning.
  • Finally, if you are travelling with kids BRING AN AUTOGRAPH BOOK. All of the characters are happy to sign and we had to make a mad dash for the shop to buy my niece one before the Princess gathering (and the shop was doing a roaring trade in them at $15 each).

Happy to answer any questions you may have if I can; I didn't go to Palo as we always ate with the kids and we didn't really use the bars but other than that I think we did most things on the ship.:)

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Naples: we did DIY and took the hydrofoil over to Capri, which is one of my favourite places. The kids loved the brightly coloured open-top taxis that took us up to Anacapri, and the funicular railway down to the port.

Civitavecchia: we've done Rome several times so stayed on board, but my SIL took my nephew to Rome (used the Disney Rome on your own tour, and then took the hop-on hop-off bus around the city)

Livorno: we split up; my SIL took the kids on the Disney Easy Pisa half-day tour and we did the adults-only Florence & Pisa full day tour. Both were very good.

Cannes: we did DIY again and just took the 'Petit Train' around the town.

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Utterly exhausted, but we loved it. Did the May 26th sailing, which was a 7 night Barcelona round trip. We had three generations of the family, ranging in ages from 11 to 71. Every cruise line is different, so here are my tips for those first-timer DCL cruisers out there:

 

  • If you don't want to sit with other people at dinner, make sure to request a private table. We assumed that - as a party of 5 - we would be allocated our own table. Not so. The head waiter Simone did a marvellous job sorting it out for us though.
  • Don't worry about getting to the Walt Disney theatre before the doors open half an hour before the show starts. We assumed the shows would be packed, they never were. You could also watch the shows on the TV in your stateroom, which I suspect some people did. Wonderful entertainment.
  • Soft drinks are only free if you get them from one of the drinks machines on deck nine (or in one of the restaurants). If you're at a show, or doing an activity in one of the lounges or clubs, you have to pay.
  • A lot of people have said the cabins are large compared to other cruise lines. That wasn't our experience (we had standard OV on deck 1) but they are cleverly designed with lots of storage space. My SIL and her two children had no problems in their cabin, with the smart bed arrangement (double, then sofa into a single bed and pull down bunk bed). The split bathroom does help when you have multiple people sharing a cabin.
  • The bath itself is very small; I'm six foot and didn't attempt it, but the shower over the bath works fine (although at my height I had to duck a little bit).
  • You are provided with hard soap, shampoo and conditioner. There is no shower gel or bubble bath, so bring your own. Also bring your own slippers and dressing gown if you want them, as they are not provided. There were clocks provided in all of our cabins, along with several USB charging ports and plentiful plug sockets.
  • If like me you are a planner, it can be disconcerting not to get disembarkation details in advance. On DCL you don't get them until around midday of the last full day of the cruise. Effectively you can get off the ship anytime you want after it's been cleared by customs, and everyone has to be off by 9am. Your luggage has to be outside the door between 8.15 and 10.15pm the night before, if you're not taking it off yourself. You'll be given luggage tags with Disney characters on; look for that character in the terminal.
  • On the morning of disembarkation you are allotted either early or late morning breakfast slots based on what dining slot you have (so early dinner=early breakfast). Breakfast will be in the restaurant where you eat dinner on the last night. That slot didn't work for us; we were early dinner but not getting off the ship until 9am so didn't want too much hanging around. You can ask your head waiter for a switch but you may be disappointed if a lot of people want to do the same thing. Don't worry - while it's not advertised, Cabanas is also open for breakfast on the final morning.
  • Finally, if you are travelling with kids BRING AN AUTOGRAPH BOOK. All of the characters are happy to sign and we had to make a mad dash for the shop to buy my niece one before the Princess gathering (and the shop was doing a roaring trade in them at $15 each).

Happy to answer any questions you may have if I can; I didn't go to Palo as we always ate with the kids and we didn't really use the bars but other than that I think we did most things on the ship.:)

 

Can you tell me your experience with time of year you went. I am looking at the exact same time for next year.

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We are doing a similar cruise in June. I would love to know about the easy half day to Pisa (for my 15 year old)- what time did it leave the ship?

Also in Cannes do you know if the Petit Train goes to Palm Beach?

Thank you for sharing! 

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As a side note Nix70, you can use the showers in the spa/gym area if you are a little cramped in the cabin ones. They have body wash, shampoo, conditioner as well as razors and blow dryers in the changing rooms by the showers. 

 

Glad you enjoyed your cruise 

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