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Kierste

First time DCL

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Hi all!  Just got home from a multi-island Hawaii trip, that included a few nights at Aulani.  We have been cruising NCL every other year or so, and like their casual vibe, plus free drinks always being thrown in is a bonus.  Teen dd says before college she wants to do a DCL cruise.  We live on the west coast, have never done this side of Mexico, so that is a possibility, or we can head over to Florida and do a cruise out of there.  

 

Teen club is up to 17 I see, and looks super cool.  So if we wait till her senior year she will be aged out of teen club (thinking spring break or early summer.)  So now I am thinking junior year, maybe spring break because that would be easiest if she gets a summer job, 2021.  DCL doesn’t seem to release calendars very far out?  I like to book as early as possible and take advantage of paying over time.

 

No drink packages? But soda is free? What about things like virgin piña coladas and such?  Lattes or mochas?  I saw an ice cream shop on one of the ships, is that an upcharge?

 

Dinner... is the early seating solid kids? So if we wanted a “quieter” dinner we should choose the later and hope we stay awake thru it?  I read somewhere they rotate you and you sit with the same people every night. Is that mandatory? Can you skip a restaurant or repeat one, or eat with just your family?

 

Castaway cay, it sounds like this port gets skipped a lot.  When they skip it what happens? They float around or do they add a different stop?

 

I am sure I will have other questions... but for now the big differences between NCL and DCL are what I am thinking of.  We are big DL geeks... we just never did a DCL cruise before.

 

 

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Yes, soda is free at the fountains on Lido, or in the dining room. Otherwise, you get charged. All other beverages you mention will have a charge. 

 

Yes, once your daughter becomes an adult at age 18, she will not be allowed in the teen club. 

 

Dinner is rotational dining. You are assigned a rotation to go through the entire rotation. You can request to just be seated with your family. But you can't pick what dining room you go to. Most families do pick the earlier seating because of their kids, but they can be in the later dining as well. If you don't wish to use the MDR, the buffet will be open, but it is a sit down atmosphere. This will probably be the big difference with NCL, where you don't have assigned dining. DCL is only assigned dining.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Kierste said:

Hi all!  Just got home from a multi-island Hawaii trip, that included a few nights at Aulani.  We have been cruising NCL every other year or so, and like their casual vibe, plus free drinks always being thrown in is a bonus.  Teen dd says before college she wants to do a DCL cruise.  We live on the west coast, have never done this side of Mexico, so that is a possibility, or we can head over to Florida and do a cruise out of there.  

 

Teen club is up to 17 I see, and looks super cool.  So if we wait till her senior year she will be aged out of teen club (thinking spring break or early summer.)  So now I am thinking junior year, maybe spring break because that would be easiest if she gets a summer job, 2021.  DCL doesn’t seem to release calendars very far out?  I like to book as early as possible and take advantage of paying over time.

 

DCL usually releases itineraries about 18 months in advance.

 

12 hours ago, Kierste said:

 

No drink packages? But soda is free? What about things like virgin piña coladas and such?  Lattes or mochas?  I saw an ice cream shop on one of the ships, is that an upcharge?

 

No drink package, but soft drinks are free at meals and there is a drink station on the pool deck (Deck 9 on the Wonder and Magic, deck 11 on the Dream and Fantasy)

 

12 hours ago, Kierste said:

 

Dinner... is the early seating solid kids? So if we wanted a “quieter” dinner we should choose the later and hope we stay awake thru it?  I read somewhere they rotate you and you sit with the same people every night. Is that mandatory? Can you skip a restaurant or repeat one, or eat with just your family?

 

You will generally see more children at the early seating. Second seating is around 8:15 to 8:30. You can request a table for just your family, although not guaranteed, my experience is it is usually granted. There are three main dining rooms that you will rotate through and your servers go with you. 

 

12 hours ago, Kierste said:

 

Castaway cay, it sounds like this port gets skipped a lot.  When they skip it what happens? They float around or do they add a different stop?

 

I think I recall that the miss rate is actually quite low, maybe 2% of the time (someone will correct me if I got that stat wrong). I know out of the 17 cruises we've done, 13 had a stop at Castaway Cay and we never missed it.

 

12 hours ago, Kierste said:

 

I am sure I will have other questions... but for now the big differences between NCL and DCL are what I am thinking of.  We are big DL geeks... we just never did a DCL cruise before.

 

 

 

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Thanks!   Very helpful answers!  I have flipped back and forth about wanting to go out of California or Florida.  Leaning toward Florida, we have done two spring break trips out of Florida and they were NBD, but the California ones are short, 3 and 4 days... I feel like those may have a different atmosphere, maybe not because it is still Disney?

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One of the big differences is California will be the small ships (Wonder or Magic). Florida you might have an option, but the large ships (Dream and Fantasy) are both in Port Canaveral year round.

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There’s a 1821 Club your daughter can join to meet up with other youngsters her age. They do have organized meetups which should be listed on the personal navigator or DCL App.

 

Alcoholic drinks and specialty coffee cost extra plus gratuity charge. I believe non-alcoholic Shirley Temple is free at MDR though. 

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On 8/22/2019 at 2:08 AM, Kierste said:

 Teen club is up to 17 I see, and looks super cool.  So if we wait till her senior year she will be aged out of teen club (thinking spring break or early summer.)  So now I am thinking junior year, maybe spring break because that would be easiest if she gets a summer job, 2021. 

 

No drink packages? But soda is free? What about things like virgin piña coladas and such?  Lattes or mochas?  I saw an ice cream shop on one of the ships, is that an upcharge?

 

Dinner... is the early seating solid kids? So if we wanted a “quieter” dinner we should choose the later and hope we stay awake thru it?  I read somewhere they rotate you and you sit with the same people every night. Is that mandatory? Can you skip a restaurant or repeat one, or eat with just your family?

 

I am sure I will have other questions... but for now the big differences between NCL and DCL are what I am thinking of.  We are big DL geeks... we just never did a DCL cruise before.

 

Teen club is 18 to 20

They have specific activities and meet ups, usually organised on the first day of the cruise

 

Disney Cruise are all inclusive to an extent. The extra costs that I have found out so far ahead of my first cruise

 

  1. Alcohol, either from a bar, walking around server or during meals
  2. Premium barista coffee at Cove Cafe and during meals
  3. Bottles of water - free water available at drinks stations
  4. Room service items which are factory sealed such as soda or candy, will have a number / price listed on the menu
  5. Room service tips
  6. Candy / popcorn at the Disney Theatre
  7. All merchandise in the onboard shops
  8. Bingo
  9. Mixology and alcohol tasting classes
  10. Spa treatments and Rainforest Pass
  11. Adults only restaurants Palo and Remy
  12. Stateroom gifts
  13. Port excursions

The all inclusive part includes

 

  • All food in MDR restaurants, buffet and pool side Quick Service
  • All soda and water from self service drinks station
  • All tea / hot chocolate and none Barista coffee from drinks stations
  • All soda and none bottled water during meals
  • All tea and none Barista coffee during meals
  • Snacks in  adult only pool side bar and coffee area and various other locations
  • Room service food made onboard and tea / coffee / hot chocolate
  • Character meet and greets
  • Shows, entertainment and activities excluding Bingo

Disney Cruise Line Dining  and Restaurants 101

The 3 main restaurants are usually abbreviated to MDR

The rotational dining is a unique to Disney Cruise Line experience

You can request a private table just for your party. This can be done in advance by contacting Disney Cruise Line. You can also request a private table just for your party when you first board the ship. Just remember this is a request and is not a guarantee you will get a private table just for your party.

When you check in at the departure port you will be given your dining room assignment.

  1. On your first night restaurant you will be assigned a server team. 
  2. On night 2 you will eat in the second restaurant on your dining room assignment. You will have the same server team and be seated at the same table number as on night 1
  3. On night  3 you will eat in the third  restaurant on your dining room assignment. You will have the same server team and be seated at the same table number as on previous nights.
  4. On night 4 you will rotate back to a one of the other restaurants.  You will have the same server team and be seated at the same table number as on previous nights.
  5. Depending on the length of your cruise, you will eat in some restaurants multiple times and some restaurants only once. 

Each of the MDR restaurants are themed and have a unique dining experience. Each of the restaurants has its own specific menu. Disney Cruise Line always a themed night, either Pirates in The Caribbean or Frozen. On the themed night, all 3 restaurants will serve the same menu and food.  Depending on your cruise, they may be other nights when all 3 restaurants will serve the same menu and food, such as the first night, the last night or if your cruise has an overnight in a port. 

 

You can choose not eat in the MDR on any night of your cruise. If you know in advance you will not be eating in that nights assigned restaurant, make sure to let your server team know, so that they do not delay the food service for your table mates. The quick service and buffet restaurants serve food in the evening time as well, so you will not go hungry if you choose to skip the MDR. 

This could be for any reason such as

  • late back from an excursion and you miss your assigned dining time
  • you don't want to sit with your assigned table mates
  • you have booked one of the upcharge adult restaurants  Palo or Remy 
  • you are participating in onboard activities or events 
  • you don't like the food served in that particular restaurant

 

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Thanks Black tink! So teen club is up to 17 and then there is post teen 1820 Society.

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Hi

 

We've cruised DCL 10 x now and this year went to Royal Carribbean and I feel your pain!  Just not knowing how things work, or what's included and the hints and tips is daunting.

 

You have some great answers, but do ask again if you think of anything else.  One thing to bear in mind is that some of room service is free, you can get Mickey ice creams, cookies, hot milk, a cheese platter and a few other things delivered without charge, or maybe a $ tip.  Its in the hard back book in your cabin.

 

The dining room thing of moving around, sounds weird, but it isn't, your servers get to know your quirks and as each dining room is themed differently and some have a few surprises too, it works brilliantly.

 

We came off our last cruise and booked DCL straight away again!  

 

 

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