Surprising our Kids with a Disney Fantasy Cruise (Day 1)
Hubby and I booked a Disney Cruise vacation for the family and our plan was to surprise the kids. However, I am not very good at keeping secrets. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t tell them per se, I just start talking to hubby with them in the room and don’t realize it. So it was a conscious effort for months to not let the cat out of the bag. The first slip up was hubby at dinner one night. He and I were talking and he said something like, “We should get that done before the cruise.” I gave him this look and he realized what he’d done and we slowly looked over at the kids who were being mischievous at the table and had not heard a word!
Hubby and I spent months NOT talking in the car when the kids were present because we just couldn’t trust ourselves. Then, as the days got closer, we tried not to say things like, “We need to finish off that milk in the fridge before we leave.” The Friday before we left, Hubby took the kids out for errands and ice cream. I made a mad dash to grab all their clothes and throw them in a suitcase in our closet. We woke them up Saturday morning and told them we were going for a ride.
Hubby and I saw cruise billboards and direction signs all along the highway, but they never caught on. Then, we headed over a nearby bridge, and they spotted the cruise ship.
Hubby and I love cruises, and ever since the kids went on one 2 years ago, they have been begging us to go back. So, when they spotted the ship they were very excited.
When we booked the cruise we contacted more than one travel agent. We ended up booking with Small World Vacations with a restricted outside stateroom. This reduced our price because we could not choose our room. Instead, we were guaranteed an outside stateroom with a window, but it could be a restricted view and they would assign it to us based on what rooms were left over. If you decided to look into a restricted reservation here are a few details you’ll need to know. Just be sure to read them all or talk to your travel agent so you aren’t caught off guard:
- Full payment is due at time of booking. Booking holds are not permitted.
- Reservation is non-refundable.
- Reservation and applied payment is non-transferable.
- Full legal names and birth dates for all stateroom occupants are required at time of booking.
- Name changes after the reservation number is confirmed will not be permitted.
- Sail date, stateroom category and cruise itinerary changes are not permitted once a reservation number is confirmed.
I have to say, it may have been one of the best rooms we’ve ever gotten. It was in the back of the ship, with a huge window, no one across the hall from us and we were not near a stairwell, which can be noisy. We’ve had a verandah room before but we have sensitivity to cigarette smoke and usually can’t enjoy it.
After exploring our room, we headed to the afternoon buffet. Who wouldn’t? Then the kids found the Aqua Lab, a special water area for kids:
Hubby and I noticed several things different on the Disney Cruise line, that others did not have. Specifically, we sailed on Disney’s “Fantasy” ship.
1) The pools and water features were filtered and salt free. On most ships they are salt water. They were also open before we left port. Most ships close the pools while you are in port.
2) The 24 hour beverage stations have soda in them. On most cruises you have to pay extra for soda.
3) The kid zones were larger than others we’d seen and they have specialized electronic arm bands for each child. So they can scan them when they enter and leave. Oh and they had these awesome hand cleaning machines that the kids used upon entry and exit. They just slide their hands in and it washes their hands for them … like a car wash for hands!
4) The Disney Characters are out all the time and they give you a schedule of when and where each will be. None of the lines we were in were more than 10 min waits.
5) They had Disney Detective games on board. At the detective stations your kids could pick a crime to solve, like the “case of the missing puppies”, then retrieve their own detective card (each one is different) and then you can explore the ship for specialized locations with clues. It was fun for the whole family!
6) There were 3 main dining rooms and each family rotated rooms. So we got to dine in the Enchanted Garden, The Royal Court and the Animators Palate (my favorite, and I’ll show you why in another post).
If you are adults and want to cruise alone, they had plenty of adult-only bars, restaurants and even a pool deck area. It was nice when the kids played in the supervised play area and hubby and I could sit by the adult pool and read our books.
I’ll post more pics and fun later this week. Have you ever been on a cruise or Disney Cruise? What was your favorite part?