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Showing posts with label Disney Cruise Line. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney Cruise Line. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Disney Cruise Line Returns to Greece in Summer 2021 and Offers an Exciting Array of Additional Itineraries for Families

 In summer 2021, Disney Cruise Line will sail a variety of itineraries around the world including a return to Greece – back by popular demand – and exciting and varied European destinations, Alaska ports, and tropical locales. Plus, Disney Cruise Line will visit three first-time ports of call in Greece, Sweden, and Norway.


Explore the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and Beyond

In summer 2021, a new collection of itineraries is part of Disney Cruise Line’s grand tour of Europe. From May through July, the Disney Magic will visit captivating locales in the Mediterranean including the Greek Isles, Spain, and the French Riviera. From late July through September, the ship will transport guests to bucket-list destinations in the British Isles, northern Europe, the Baltic, Iceland, and Norwegian fjords.

The Disney Magic will return to the awe-inspiring beauty of Greece in summer 2021, where guests can marvel at the stunning landscapes and archeological wonders of the region, like Santorini with its iconic whitewashed cliffside dwellings and Mykonos with beautiful beaches along the azure Aegean Sea. Four special voyages departing from Rome will visit the Greek Isles, with cruises ranging from eight to 11 nights.


Each of these unique Mediterranean itineraries combines a selection of stops in Greece with visits to other notable cities in the region. Noteworthy ports of call in Greece include Katakolon near ancient Olympia – home to the first Olympic Games – and the gorgeous Greek island of Kefalonia, the first-time port of call for Disney Cruise Line.

Another itinerary highlight is a visit to the picturesque Sicilian harbor city of Messina, where guests can sample tantalizing, locally grown citrus fruits and delectable olives. One cruise features a stop at the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” The walled medieval Old City of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers spectacular seaside views and centuries-old cobblestoned lanes to explore.

Additional first-time ports of call for Disney Cruise Line include the medieval city of Visby, Sweden, considered to be one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Scandinavia, and the village of Eidfjord, Norway, home to geographic wonders and situated at the foot of Hardangervidda, Norway’s largest national park.

Adventures in Alaska 

The Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for the 2021 summer season to explore the region’s breathtaking natural vistas, glaciers, and wildlife.

Departing from Vancouver, Canada, seven-night itineraries will visit Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Dawes Glacier. One nine-night Alaskan adventure will visit Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point, Sitka, Juneau, and Ketchikan. A special five-night cruise will travel to Dawes Glacier and Ketchikan.



Each Alaska sailing will offer adventure and fun in port and aboard the ship, with stunning scenery, exciting Port Adventures, and special Disney Cruise Line touches that will bring the splendor and spirit of “The Last Frontier” to life onboard.

Tropical Vacations to the Caribbean and Bahamas 

In summer 2021, Disney Cruise Line will embark on a variety of vacation voyages to tropical destinations in the Caribbean and Bahamas. Ranging from three- to nine-night sailings, the varied itineraries allow guests to experience charming island cultures, sunbathe on golden beaches and revel in local marketplaces. Most itineraries include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.


In addition to seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, near Orlando, Florida, and the Walt Disney World® Resort, the Disney Fantasy will embark on an assortment of itineraries throughout the summer of 2021. These include a six-night sailing and an extended nine-night Caribbean cruise. Three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises round out the Disney Fantasy summer season – all including a stop at Castaway Cay. One special five-night cruise features two stops at Disney’s private island.

The Disney Dream will provide even more opportunities for guests to visit Castaway Cay in the summer of 2021 with all three- and four-night Bahamian cruises calling on the private island paradise.


When To Book Summer 2021 Itineraries 

Platinum, Gold, or Silver Castaway Club members, can take advantage of the opportunity to book summer 2021 itineraries before they go on sale to the general public on February 27, 2020.  Reach out to us today to be added to the list for booking when your Castaway Club level is eligible!

  • February 25, 2020: Platinum Members 

  • February 26, 2020: Platinum and Gold Members 

  • February 27, 2020: Platinum, Gold, and Silver Members 

  • February 28, 2020: all Guests 

Guided Experiences with Adventures by Disney

In summer 2021, Disney Cruise Line guests can enrich their cruise vacation with a variety of add-on packages from Adventures by Disney, a leader in family-guided group vacations. Highlights include a return to Alaska and popular packages in northern Europe and the Mediterranean. 

With Adventures by Disney, guests can book the ultimate Disney cruise experience on select sailings in Alaska and Europe. Throughout the voyage, knowledgeable Adventure Guides provide dedicated service both onboard and in port, as they lead guests on specially curated excursions, interactive activities, and off-the-beaten-path adventures. Onboard the ship, guests enjoy unique experiences and premium amenities exclusive to Adventures by Disney, such as an intimate talkback session with Walt Disney Theatre cast members followed by a behind-the-scenes costume and prop activity.

Adventures by Disney also offer popular pre-cruise vacations in Rome; London; Barcelona, Spain; and Copenhagen, Denmark. These two- to three-night Escapes feature unforgettable experiences in iconic cities, such as a private guided tour to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel in Rome. Plus, activities like flamenco dancing, mosaic making, and preparing local cuisine immerse families in the culture of each region.

Bookings for these Adventures by Disney offerings open to the public on Feb. 27, 2020. 



Reach out to us today to include your name on the list for any of these exciting voyages!  317.776.1733

Friday, March 4, 2016

Disney Cruise Line Will Be Expanding The Fleet!


JUST ANNOUNCED: Disney Cruise Line will be expanding its fleet with the addition of two new cruise ships! The new ships will be slightly larger than the current Dream Class ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, and the scheduled call for them to be completed in 2021 and 2023. 

At this time design plans, ship names, and itineraries are still in development by Disney, but the Walt Disney Imagineering team is already dreaming up exciting new ways to create the world’s most magical oceangoing adventures. The most recent innovations and additions to the existing fleet included the addition of the Aqua Dunk to the Disney Magic, and re-imagined spaces onboard Disney Dream giving young guests the chance to experience the Star Wars™ universe and Millenium Falcon. 

Disney Magic

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Konk Kooler - You Can Make Them At Home!

 Konk Kooler

This refreshing concoction of light and dark rum is the signature drink on Castaway Cay, a stop on every Disney Cruise Line Caribbean itinerary.

  • 1/2 ounce dark rum
  • 3/4 ounce light rum
  • 1-ounce passion fruit juice
  • 1 ounce pina colada mix
  • 1-ounce orange juice

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Serve in a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a wedge of tropical fruit.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Featured Foto Friday - Details Matter

Attention to detail is one of the things that Disney is often cited for as one of the "Disney Differences" - not just in its' theme parks and resorts division, but also onboard its' ships of the Disney Cruise Line.  Check out this hallway from the Disney Wonder, found in the Route 66 area on Deck 3, an entertainment zone which houses 3 different lounges (WaveBands, Cadillac Lounge and Diversions), which offer various family-friendly activities during the day, but transforms to an adults-only zone after 9 pm each day.  

Not only are the walls painted to resemble the sky, and the various wall decorations resemble road side signs (which by the way are recreations of actual roadside signs that once graced the famed Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, just west of Los Angeles), but the carpeting plays a big, important role as well.  You can literally travel from Chicago to L.A. by way of the floor!  The entire route and various surrounding communities is shown in the carpeting, ending at the Pacific Ocean.  So even onboard the Disney Wonder, you can essentially get your kicks, on Route 66! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Trivia - Disney Cruise Line's Special Paint

Did you know that each ship in Disney Cruise Line's fleet (Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy) are painted with a special coating on the hull that is 100% non-toxic?  It's true.  This special paint is just another part of Disney's commitment to the environment, which is a benefit to the seas that the ships sail in;  plus, as an added benefit, the special paint increases each ship's fuel efficiency while at sea.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Featured Foto Friday - Disney Ships Have Character

In days gone by, sea-faring masted vessels were known for their beautifully carved figures on the bow. Modern cruise ships don't come with special decorations... at least they didn't until Disney entered the cruise industry in 1998 with the introduction of the Disney Cruise Line and her first ship, the Disney Magic.  Since then the line has certainly been known for its' "character" not only onboard - but outboard as well!  Each successive ship in the fleet, in both the classic line and the Dream class - the Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, each have their own special "character" addition to be discovered. 

Here we see the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, with their special character enhancements to the stern.  Goofy can be found painting the ship's distinctive logo on the Magic's hull, while Donald is found doing the same on the Disney Wonder.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday Trivia - Game Time

Game on, sports fans!  Did you know that each of the ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet have a dedicated sports pub onboard?  True that!  Diversions on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, 687 on the Disney Dream and O'Gill's on the Disney Fantasy are laid-back locations filled with screens airing a multitude of live events being broadcast at just about any time.  These spots are ideal for watching football, with up to six games shown at the same time - but it's also ideal for watching baseball, basketball and occasionally even hockey.  If there's a specific game you're interested in, be sure to ask about it at the door.  And oh yeah, there's even an occasional mini-buffet with great game-time food such as wings, hot dogs, and of course plenty o' beer to wash it all down with. The food is free, the suds are extra. Be sure to check it out the next time you sail with Disney Cruise Line!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Featured Foto Friday - Looks Like Blown Glass to Me

This beautiful chandelier is found on board the Disney Wonder, in the central Atrium.  It was handcrafted by famed blown glass artist, Dale Chihuly.  The entire chandelier hangs down about 10 feet from the ceiling mount and fills the central Atrium with lively color. The design and overall feel of this artistic creation are reminiscent of coral under the sea, which is quite fitting having a statue of Ariel, the Little Mermaid below welcoming guests to Triton's one of the three main dining rooms onboard. 

The piece, however, is not actually glass, but rather made out of acrylic. Due to the ship's near-constant movement, and the  4-level atrium's ceiling height, as a safety precaution, as part of Mr. Chihuly's commission, Disney Cruise Line and Mr. Chihuly made the decision that acrylic would be a safer option should any individual "glass piece" break free and fall to the floor many feet below.  

When designing and creating the piece itself, in order to get an accurate feel for how the chandelier would ultimately look and feel hanging inside the central Atrium, Mr. Chihuly had a mock-up of the Atrium built in his studio to get it "just right" before turning it over to the Disney team for installation on the actual ship.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Featured Foto Friday - Even Princesses Love to Sail

Character interactions and meet & greets are not only popular in the Disney theme parks, but at sea too!  Here Princess Tiana, Aurora, Cinderella and Belle love greeting their fans inside the central Atrium onboard the Disney Magic.  Viewed from above you cannot see the massive lines of children and parents just waiting their turn for an autograph, picture and hugs from some of their favorite princesses, who apparently love going to sea too!  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tips onThursday - Bringing Baby Along

As recent as just five years ago, the cruise industry varied greatly by line whether or not they would support people who wanted to bring their very young children along with them – including children as young as six months old.  The vast majority of cruise lines limited access for babies to at least a year old, but if you brought your infant along, you were pretty much on your own throughout your cruise vacation.  Beginning in 2010 though, the cruise industry began to standardize around a common set of recommendations from CLIA (the Cruise Line International
 Association) which not only encouraged the lines to allow children as young as six months old, but to also provide amenities such as high chairs, strollers, cribs, cots, and bottle warmers.  But it didn’t stop there either, as CLIA strongly recommended organized care programs for the children so that parents might be able to take a much-needed break from the constant care of their youngest children.  Certainly, all of the clines have had programs for older children, from three to 17 for many years now, some for decades, but not for the care of the youngest cruisers out there.  That was an industry revolution.

Today most of the major, mainstream cruise lines will provide for children as young as six months old.  These cruise lines include Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Princess Cruise Line. Furthermore, the Euro-centric MSC Cruises allows babies as young as just three months old.  However just because these cruise lines accommodate young children, do not assume that all cruise lines do, as many of the more “up-scale” or “luxury” lines do not, having no children’s programs on board any of their ships, and simply do not recommend bringing children of any age onboard.   

Truly the pioneer within the industry for accommodating children of all ages is Disney Cruise Line, being the first cruise line to be designed specifically for the entire family from the line’s introduction back in 1991.  From supervised children’s activities to Disney characters on board ship, to family-friendly dance parties and deck parties, and more, Disney just excels at making sure all ages in the family have a great time.  They’ll even cater specifically to the infant set, but delivering diapers and warm baby formula to the stateroom. 

So you might be asking, what is provided for these kids onboard?  Each line varies, and we’ll get into that below. 

All of the cruise lines above have a minimum age of six months for most cruises, but raise the limit to one year from the rare trans-oceanic cruises, trips to South America, and cruises to Hawaii.  While most do not sell diapers, a few of the lines have diapers available for sale in their onboard shops, including Holland America (must be pre-ordered), Norwegian, and Disney.  Baby formula is not available onboard, so you will need to bring your own. 

High Chairs, strollers, and cots are available at no extra cost on all the cruise lines mentioned above with the exception of Carnival which charges $6/day or $25/week for strollers and/or bouncy chairs.

Onboard activities and babysitting services are available on all of the lines mentioned above.  Most will provide organized group activities with a good number of trained and supervised caretakers. Generally, there is no charge for these group activities, you just need to go and check your child in. These services are offered during most days from breakfast through about noon. Often they take a break in the afternoon but re-open well before dinner, continuing to provide services throughout the dinner hour. After dinner parents have the option of taking advantage of organized babysitting services which have an added cost for most lines, except Disney, where it is included and available the vast majority of the day, even into the nighttime hours. 

Here’s a rundown of the latest offerings and charges, as of this post.  Know that the cruise lines reserve the right to change provided services and fees at any time.  So be sure to inquire about the current information when booking your next family cruise:

Carnival: Camp Carnival offers finger painting to cartoon time, arts and crafts to puppet shows. Toddlers do not have to be potty-trained. Group babysitting is offered from 10pm -3am - Charge: $6/hour.

Celebrity: Babies/tots have access to crafts, games & toys in the Fun Factory. Children under the age of 3 must be accompanied. Group Babysitting is available for $8 per hour, as well as private babysitting, also for $8/hour.

Cunard Line: Onboard nurseries are outfitted with Fisher-Price Little People as well as toys made by Little Tikes and Lamaze. The Queen Mary 2 liner has a "Minnows" pool for families, plus a splash pool for smaller children. Group babysitting is staffed by "British Nannies" and available from 6:00pm-midnight at no cost.

Disney:  Disney has a special area called "Flounder's Reef Nursery" which will accommodate babies as young as three months old (12 weeks). Within this area, they provide meals and cribs for nap-taking. The area is supervised by trained "nannies" so parents are free to go their own way. Parents are required to supply their own diapers and formula, but they can buy these onboard or have them delivered to their staterooms. Nannies will change the children.  The cost for the nursery is nominal, at just $6 per hour.  

Holland America Line: The line offers "Toddler Times" sessions for kids under the age of three to play in the children's facilities, but there are no trained caretakers so parents must stay with their children at all times. Babysitting is offered to children under three on a limited basis by voluntary staff - price negotiable.

MSC Cruises: One of only two lines to allow kids as young as just three months old onboard. However, there are no baby-sitting services, and any kids less than 36-months old must be accompanied by the parents when they are in the children's play area.

Norwegian Cruise Line: while this is one of the few cruise lines that sell diapers and baby wipe onboard, the line does not have any supervised activities for tots 36-months or younger nor does it offer any baby-sitting services.

Princess Cruises: children from six to 36 months are welcome in the youth playroom as long with supervision by a parent or guardian. Princess Youth counselors will not change diapers. Group babysitting is offered from 10 pm-1:00 am but only for kids three years or older. The charge is $5 per hour.

Royal Caribbean: the line offers 45-minute Interactive playgroup sessions developed by Fisher-Price, held in an onboard lounge. Moms can keep fit with the "Stroller Mates" workout sessions. Group babysitting is offered from 8 am to 2 am. The Charge is $10/hour. Private babysitting is also available.

While we all want to have a great time on our vacation, please do keep in mind that while some people will enjoy seeing your baby on board, not everyone appreciates loud kids or crying babies, especially in the dining rooms. So if you bring your youngest children, be aware of the close proximity of other cruisers and be prepared for the looks you’ll get from some passengers, and the comments you might receive from others. If you do not want to risk this particular social stigma it is best to stick to Disney Cruise Line, or the larger, newer ships from Carnival, Norwegian or Royal Caribbean.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

stopher's stuff - WONDERous Shows & Parties

As a brand Disney is certainly known for their family friendly entertainment and experiences, and it certainly doesn’t mean anything less on the Disney ships.  I have now sailed on both the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, (and am looking forward to the Disney Dream in July). Both times I've sailed with Disney I was delighted by the caliber of entertainment onboard.  Each night in the Walt Disney Theatre there is either a large, full-scale Broadway-type show, a featured performer, or some other special offering.  This cruise was a five-night sailing, and it included four full-scale type productions and one night with the featured performer – a magician/illusionist. 

Red Carpet arrivals for
The Golden Mickeys
Within the Disney fleet, there are a few shows and parties that are shared between ships – such as Sail Away Party up on deck, and the “Anchors Away” first night show introducing the guests to the ship inside The Walt Disney Theatre, what’s yet to come during the week, and a glimpse of the featured performer – and “Dreams – An Enchanting Classic"  - but then there are ship-specific shows too.  On the Wonder, guests can enjoy “Toy Story: The Musical” which re-tells the now classic Disney*Pixar story in a fun, new way.  Favorite friends such as Woody & Buzz are there, along with Mr. Potato Head, Bo Peep, Slinky Dog, the Green Army Men, and even Hamm.  Another fun show is “The Golden Mickeys” (also found on the Disney Dream), including the red carpet, paparazzi, “celebrity” appearances and statuettes being awarded. 

The ship is filled with other entertainment offerings on so many decks.  From the pool deck to the various children’s programming areas, to the adults-only entertainment found along Route 66 between WaveBands, Diversions and the Cadillac Lounge guests will find something to do each and every day of their itinerary.  Whether they are looking for age-specific entertainment or things the entire family can do together, there’s a lot to be enjoyed.  Personally I love the “80’s Revival” night in WaveBands and the onboard movie theatre where guests can enjoy a wide variety of Disney films – 
Entrance to the Cadillac Lounge,
just off Route 66
including first run films still in theatres.  On this voyage I enjoyed watching “Wreck-It Ralph” and the critically acclaimed, Academy Award nominated  “Lincoln” (didn’t know that that’s a Disney film?  Neither did I until I saw the pre-film credits and saw that it is distributed by Touchstone Pictures, which is a division of the Walt Disney Studios.  Touchstone was created back in 1984 to be able to produce films of a more “adult” feel than the traditional family-fare that the Disney name represented.  The first film under the Touchstone banner was Ron Howard’s “Splash” starring Daryl Hannah).  So yes, I was a tad confused at first when I saw Lincoln on the schedule, but figured it had to be something like that in order for it be shown on the ship. 

A personal favorite though, is the Pirates IN The Caribbean Deck Party – which includes the “Fireworks at Sea”.  Disney Cruise Line is still the only cruise line offering such an experience – though that WILL be changing come May 6th, when Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, BREAKAWAY, sets sail on her inaugural sailing.  I’ll be on that sailing and can’t wait to see how they will do their Fireworks at Sea.  Breakaway will be sailing year-round from New York City going to Bermuda from April to October, and then to Florida & the Bahamas from November to March – and will include Fireworks at Sea on every itinerary.   At that point, I’m sure Disney will start marketing themselves as “the original cruise line to offer Fireworks at Sea” or something similar.  Sadly for them their claim to fireworks fame will be coming to an end soon, but at the same time, they can be flattered that another line wants to emulate them with this truly unique, fun offering onboard ship.  

Recently I was chatting with a friend of mine (prior to sailing), who said he was a bit disappointed with the overall Fireworks at Sea experience.  Basically saying he was expecting more, along the lines of “Wishes” at Walt Disney World.  Now I do recognize that they ARE, afterall Disney, and could in theory pull something like that off… but at the same time, they are extremely limited by a) the size of the ship and what they could pull off, and b) no doubt have restrictions placed on them by the various authorities.  (Part of our Agent Education Program talked about this special feature of the DCL itineraries, and did also indicate that there are various rules and regulations that they have to follow based on locale as well – so there are restrictions on where they can offer Fireworks at Sea.  They are not offered on every itinerary, so if you are interested in seeing the Fireworks at Sea onboard your next Disney cruise, be sure to inquire about sailings outside of the Caribbean, as they might not be allowed).  In comment back to my friend, as a joke, I said, since they ARE Disney and can pull off a lot, why not just drape the ship with thousands of sparkling lights and add snow-effects on all Christmas-time sailings?  Simply recreate that whole winter castle effect that they offer in the parks?  Certainly there are limitations, even for Disney!   If you HAVE NOT YET been able to enjoy a Disney cruise itinerary, and would like to see what the Fireworks at Sea is like – feel free to take a look at this video on my You Tube channel.  I enjoyed taking it for posterity as I stood there with my new friends on the Disney Wonder.

So ends another entry about the Disney Wonder.  Again I will bid you adieu for now, or as they say on board…til we meet again,

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

stopher's stuff - WONDERful Memories, Fun & More

Wonderful is truly the best word that I can use for my experience on board the Disney Wonder last week.  The sailing was smooth, the food very good, and the service was once again exemplary.  Disney Cruise Line has certainly earned the various accolades from within the cruise industry that they have received. Regardless of how much I spent on my cruise, which was a lot less than the average guest since I was on board for educational and research purposes – the service provided not only met my expectations, but exceeded it. 

I was able to participate in an Agent Education Program, or AEP, where the host line brings travel professionals onboard in order to experience a particular ship for themselves, and then be able to better share the ship and the line with clients and potential clients, making recommendations where appropriate. Being onboard with nearly 90 other travel advisors and agents might make one think that we were receiving special treatment, but I can gladly say that I observed time and time again the same or better service being provided to the full fare-paying guests. 

Some of the many AEP participants from Cruise Planners,
 inside Diversions, one of the adult spaces on board,
following the first class session
Throughout the week, as a group, we were in seminars for 2 to 3 hours each morning.  It was a great experience to be able to meet so many fine people, who like me, enjoy putting together remarkable vacations for their clients, helping them to create memories to last a lifetime.  And through it all, I have made several new friends for a lifetime.  We enjoyed sharing best practices with each other, learning tips and new ideas for sharing the magic of the Disney brand with our clients and potential clients, and got to have some fun together as well. This AEP was put on by the good folks at Disney Destinations, and included three great presenters, one of which has been with Disney for 24 years.  (She certainly knows her stuff!)  Following the morning seminars, we were free to enjoy the ship (or ports of call when appropriate) until show time in the evening.  Then we had the shows, a few informal meet & greets, and second seating dinner after that.  Both were on our agendas, and we were expected to partake of them all, though a couple of times during the week the presenters said attendance at the shows was optional. 

Though our group did have a few pairs of husband and wife, the vast majority of the participants in this AEP were traveling solo.  All of the single travelers had a roommate – some we knew from previous experiences – and others who were meeting for the very first time.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I already knew my roommate, and we’d been planning for this trip for the week or two leading up to the sailing.  It was fun to further cement that friendship, while also meeting new friends along the way.   
Just as the families and friends sailing together onboard do, we ate at the same table each night with assigned table mates, and enjoyed the rotational dining program in each of the beautiful dining rooms on the ship. Just because it was a special program, didn’t mean we received special treatment.  (On this cruise, my favorite meal came from Parrot Cay, unlike when I sailed on the Disney Magic with my lovely bride in October – where my favorite meal came from Animator’s Palette).   Many fun conversations and much laughter came during our dinner conversations.  Table 7 certainly had some fun times together. 

Here I am, in Cozumel, with some rain clouds in the background
In each of our ports of call – Grand Cayman and Cozumel – a number of the agents went off to enjoy and explore the ports together, while others did so solo.  I enjoyed both ports on a solo basis, and then later enjoyed hearing of my various compatriot’s tales about their experiences in both ports.  I will share more about my personal experiences in another entry yet to come. 

The weather on our sailing was mostly superb.  We did get some rain on and off throughout the day we were in Cozumel, and our last at-sea day was windy – very windy – not just the regular breezes you feel as sailing along either – but very windy, which did produce a little more wave action.  Even though I didn’t, a few members of our group were feeling a bit nauseous for the first time all week as a result of the stronger winds.  The sunshine and warmth was a welcome sight after dark grey clouds and rain in Cozumel.   

College of Disney Knowledge sling backpack,
Disney Parks branded pedometer, small tin of DCL logo
bookclips, Graduation Certificate, 3 pins & lanyard, our
choice of one onboard photo, and the training manual
Exclusive AEP Graduate Pin
I will say though, that even though we didn’t receive any special treatment throughout the week, we were given a small tchotchke at the conclusion of each seminar, and at the end of the week treated to a nice reception / graduation ceremony on the final afternoon of our cruise.  It was a nice cocktail reception, and we each received our completion certificate and a special pin.  Here’s a photo of the few things that we received.  Other than these things just mentioned, nothing special was done or provided.  Will these things by themselves help me to promote the Disney Cruise Line over any other line?  

Absolutely not – but – the experience and additional knowledge gained about the ship itself and the rest of the DCL fleet – will help me to recommend DCL whenever appropriate.  There is such a perception out there that DCL is just for families, and that is certainly just not true.  When working with clients, I always want to make sure that I am recommending the best experience for their individual needs and desires.  I want to make sure that my clients have the best possible time and get the best value for their hard-earned money.  Many times that will include DCL in my recommendations, but there are times that it just won’t.  Bringing home a couple of pins, a certificate and the like won’t change that.  After all – it’s their vacation at stake, not mine.  The best value and experience to one client will not be identical to another client – so being able to match them up with the best possible experiences is critical.  And AEPs such as this one that I just completed help those of us who sell travel to be able to speak from experience – not just be items to select from on a nameless, faceless website.  I like to treat each client with friendly, personable and professional one-on-one service.  I don’t just view my clients as another number or sale.  I appreciate each and every one, and at the end of the day, want to know that the recommendations that I make truly are the best for each client.  So these types of familiarization trips are not only nice, but necessary. 

So with that, I will bid you adieu for now, or as they say on board… til we meet again, 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

stopher's stuff - What a Wonderf-ful Week it Was

What a WONDER-ful week it was this past week.  I had such a great time onboard the Disney Wonder, and look forward to sharing lots of information, photos and more about the ship, and the experience soon.  I just got off the ship yesterday morning, and today am headed over to Universal Orlando for some first-hand experiences with both parks, as I haven't been to either one since 2007.  It'll be nice to see how Islands of Adventure has changed since Harry Potter came to reside in that park.  Plus seeing some newer attractions and experiences that have been added to Universal Studios since I was last there too.  Be sure to check back soon for more on the beautiful ship, the Disney Wonder! 

As always, thanks for reading along.  Until next time...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Featured Foto Friday - Sailing Away on the Disney Magic

As the ship gets ready to set sail, the "Sailing Away Deck Party" begins.  On board the Disney Magic.

After lots of singing and dancing from assorted crew members, the Disney characters make their way on deck to enjoy the fun, and get the crowd ready for a week of fun and adventures at sea, followed by minor pyrotechnics and lots and lots of streamers!

Monday, January 28, 2013

stopher's stuff - The WONDER Begins Now

Greetings from sunny Florida!  Once again it’s time to set sail on another cruise adventure, and I’m sure this week will be filled with WONDER-ful new experiences and fun.  Yes, I’m setting sail on the Disney Wonder, leaving out of Miami, FL for a 5-night Western Caribbean itinerary.  This cruise will different from my last Disney cruise in October, (when my lovely bride came along with me) – different since my lovely bride is not coming along with me, rather I’ll have another travel professional as my roommate.  This is an Agent Education experience, so we’ll be in a conference room each day for a couple of hours at the least, and specific activities that we “recommended” to experience for ourselves. 

Just as my last Disney cruise was, this is a business research and building trip.  It is a FAM, or familiarization trip, offered to travel professionals, specifically to other CRUISE PLANNERS agents like me, so that we might experience first-hand the ships & itineraries for ourselves, so that we can then have a better understanding of what we sell – and of course, to be able to sell even more of it.  But beyond the deeply discounted price, there are no special perks that I’m receiving as a result of going on this voyage.  It will be interesting to be able to enjoy spending time with other Cruise Planners.  My roommate, in fact, acquired his franchise at the same time as we did, and went through initial training when I did.  So it will be fun to reconnect with him and spend the week together. 

Our itinerary includes stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel.  Unlike the last cruise, I do not have any pre-planned port adventures, though Jeff, my roommate, has said that he’s been trying to get us to be able to explore a specific resort in Cozumel as an FAM tour.  So we’ll see if that works out or not. I was just planning to head over to the beach or something myself, so if we can get in to see a resort, great!  If not, I’ll just put on lots of sunscreen and head to the beach for a while. 

It’s been cold and snowy at home, so my family isn’t all too thrilled about me being able to escape winter’s cold while they have to stay home.  So for now, there will be no talk about the weather right now, except to say that it is a good deal warmer here than at home.  With that, I will bid you adieu, and hope you have a great week… I know my week will be WONDER-ful.

Until next time,

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Spotlight - Disney Wonder

© Disney

Disney Cruise Line® boasts four majestic, family-friendly ships in its’ fleet, which first set sail in July 1998. The Disney Wonder, is the second ship in the fleet, and set sail on her maiden voyage August 15, 1999, just a year and a couple of weeks after her older sister ship, the Disney Magic.  The Disney Wonder is a ship that takes guests of all ages to exotic destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, the Pacific coast and the great Pacific Northwest including Alaska.
Designed in very much the same style as the Disney Magic, the Disney Wonder blends the classic beauty and grace of the “golden era of ocean travel” with all the modern luxuries, technology and comforts that make cruising a pleasure, including many splashes of fun, since the fleet was designed with families in mind.  Like the Magic, this ship is 20 feet longer than the infamous Titanic, and can transport 2,400 passengers. 

© Disney
Onboard guests can delight to a wide array of dining and entertainment options.  The Wonder continued the innovative and fun rotational dining system first pioneered onboard the Disney Magic.  The system  allows guests to dine in each of the themed dining rooms on board:  Triton’s, Parrot Cay and Animator's Palate.  Each night, as guests rotate to another restaurant, their table mates and wait staff remain the same which allows for a greater deal of familiarity. The ship includes highly seasoned chefs, and the wait staff is very efficient and quick with their service. By keeping the same wait staff as guests rotate around, they are able to quickly learn guests names and remember beverage choices and whether you like coffee, tea or something else with dessert or not. On longer cruises, such as 5 to 7 night cruises, the wait staff will often also be able to anticipate your desires based on other meals served throughout the voyage.

© Disney
Like almost all of the large cruise ships, onboard entertainment includes shows in the beautifully appointed Walt Disney Theatre, some of which, have been nominated, or have won, multiple awards.  There’s also a movie theater, The Buena Vista Theater, showing both first-run and classic Disney movies.  First-run films are typically the same Disney movies that are currently in theaters on land.  There’s also a large, 24x14 foot Jumbo LED screen on the ship’s forward funnel known as FunnelVision which is used in various ways during deck parties, such as the Sail Away Party.   Deck 10 features the Wide World of Sports deck, offering basketball, foosball, ping-pong and workouts.  And of course there are the pools.  Youth activities, nightclubs and lounges add a lot more fun to the entertainment offered onboard the Disney Wonder.  And, weather permitting, Disney Cruise Line pioneered Fireworks at Sea, as part of a rousing deck party, “Pirates IN The Caribbean”, and so far, is the only cruise line to do so, though truth be known that will be changing in May 2013, when Norwegian Cruise Line introduces their newest ship, Breakaway, to the world.  

Watch for more detailed information about the Disney Wonder in blog entries yet to come, as I’m setting sail this week onboard, and no doubt will be sharing some of my adventures in the weeks to come.  Ahoy mateys!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday Trivia - Ships of the Disney Cruise Line

Did you know that there is enough cable onboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder to run an extension cord between Texas and Michigan... 1,367 miles worth!  And there's even more on Disney Cruise Line's newer ships the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy!  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Disney Cruise Line Unveils Early 2014 Itineraries

Disney Cruise Line officially announced their "early" 2014 itineraries today (apparently early to them means through August). But no matter, it's great news.  Here's part of the official announcement sent out this morning.  

"With all four Disney Cruise Line® ships sailing from Florida ports in the early half of 2014, your Clients will have more opportunities than ever to visit Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, or combine a cruise with a visit to the Walt Disney World® Resort to experience New Fantasyland®, the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom® Park history.
In the early part of 2014, Disney Magic® will return to Port Canaveral, joining Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, while the Disney Wonder® will homeport in Miami. Your Clients can choose from a variety of exciting itineraries – from quick getaways to week-long tropical vacations with something for everyone in the family to enjoy!"

Booking will begin at 8 am on Thursday, December 6th for all guests, and it actually begins at 8 am Wednesday, December 5th for any Gold or Platinum members of the Castaway Club.  I have a long list of folks waiting to get booked but would be happy to help any others who have not yet put in their free vacation quote request.  Simply visit this link to do so:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another Magical Port Adventure - Cozumel

Like so many other 7-night cruises out there, our sailing on the Disney Magic through the Western Caribbean included stops in ports of call.  Our itinerary included stops in Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel.   This entry will share some information about our stop in Cozumel. 

Cozumel, also known as the island of the swallows, is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.  It is close to the Yucatan Channel, opposite Playa del Carmen, and is one of the ten municipalities of the state of Quintana Roo.  The main town on the island is San Miguel de Cozumel, and it is a major tourist destination for its balnearios, scuba diving, and snorkeling.   The island is Mexico’s largest Caribbean island, and is formed on a flat  bed of limestone, covered with jungles, and is about 30 miles long by about 10 miles wide. 

Like the previous day in Costa Maya, we docked in Cozumel in the morning hours, around 7:30am.  Once again we would be leaving the ship, headed to our adventure at 9:00am.  This adventure would take us out to explore some Mayan ruins, as well as the Discover Mexico Cultural Museum, where we would also enjoy lunch.  Unlike the previous day, the skies were clear, and blue, with hardly a trace of clouds. 

We met our guide, and the driver of the van, and were quickly on our way with about a dozen dozen other guests to the site of the Mayan ruins – San Gervasio Archaeological Site – Mayan Sanctuary of the Goddess Ixchel. 

Everyone was strongly encouraged to cover themselves with bug spray as soon as we got out of the van, and it was a good thing we did.  The site was deep in jungle, and very populated with mosquitos.  We got to see some fascinating ruins of structures that the guide described to us as temples, houses, steam rooms and other structures.  We saw the well where they would have drawn their water, and an ancient road coming in to the site through the jungle.  According to the story shared by the guide, this particular site was the primary worship location where all Mayans were encouraged to go to at least once their life – similar to Mecca is in the Islamic religion. 

Following our tour around the site, we were invited to spend a few moments in the on-site shops, and then we were escorted back into the van.  We got a nice tour of San Miguel de Cozumel on our way to the Discover Mexico Cultural Museum. 

Discover Mexico was an interesting museum, filled with a vast array of artifacts and pieces created by local artisans in the indoor galleries.  We enjoyed a nice 10 minute film on the history and culture of Mexico, and then got a nice tour of the grounds.  Scattered throughout the grounds were large, miniature re-creations of famous Mayan temples, Aztec temples & pyramids, and modern Mexican landmarks.  It kind of felt at times like a Mexican version of a “Legoland” type display, but it was neat to be able to see various structures and things that I’ve read about but never personally visited. 

Following our miniatures tour, we were treated to a fantastic lunch.  Delicious tacos, chips, guacamole and a wonderful mango punch were served.  I enjoyed seconds, and contemplated thirds, but decided in the end that two helpings was plenty.  I have always enjoyed Mexican fare – having grown up in Southern California, my family frequented a number of restaurants serving “real” Mexican food (unlike so many others throughout the country that are a sad imitation), but this lunch was absolutely fantastic.  It was wonderful to enjoy truly authentic Mexican food.

At the conclusion of lunch, our time there was basically done, with the exception of watching the few children on the tour get to enjoy a piñata.  It was fun to watch them try to break it open.  It was all part of the experience, included in the tour, and kind of sad to watch the parents of said children then limit their kids to just 2 or 3 pieces of candy each.  Even the hosts of the museum thought it strange as they were encouraging the children to take more.  But the parents didn’t want their kids to seem greedy, I guess, or were concerned for their teeth, or something… I’m not sure what.  So those kids each only got a few small lollipops and other treats.  But it was still fun to watch, and listen as the hosts all sung a traditional Mexican song as the piñata was raised and lowered during the hitting process until it broke open.

We then were returned to the port, where Julie and I walked around for a short while, taking various photos, until we returned to the ship to enjoy the rest of the afternoon onboard.  I truly enjoyed Cozumel, and cannot wait to return.  It was a beautiful island, and one that I would like to be able to explore further in the future. 

Next time we’ll take a look once more at dining opportunities onboard.  Before that though, for my U.S. readers, whatever you do, enjoy your Thanksgiving!   Thanks once again for reading and following along.  I always welcome comments, and would love to hear from you.  Thanks also for sharing this page with friends and family. 

Until next time,