To cruise or not to cruise?

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Jan 17th, 2012, 09:49 AM
  #1
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To cruise or not to cruise?

Hi, my family and I are starting to plan our next vacation at the end of this year. We have decided to vacation with another family, our close friends. However, we are undecided as to visit Walt Disney World or take a Disney Cruise. Neither of our families has been to either.

I was curious if anyone had some helpful advice for us, on which they prefer. Or, if you have only visited one, what were the pluses and minuses to it? Will there be more adult friendly activities on the cruise ship and will it be safer for our children to run around on, with being able to have less adult supervision? Any advice will help and be appreciated. Thank you!
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Jan 17th, 2012, 02:00 PM
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If you have never been to both, I would suggest Disney World is the way to go, for a number of reasons. It would be helpful if we knew the ages of the young ones.

First off, Disney Cruise by far, is more expensive than Disney World for total packaging.

Regardless of age, I would advise against leting any children run free, be it Disney World or Disney cruise. (Unless they are older and mentally mature teenagers).

You will have more "personal time" without the children at the ship. They will have organized kid's activity (by age group) to keep the kids occupied and supervized, freeing the adults to enjoy themselves.

If you are in a Disney resort, you can do something similar to creat your own free time by having them going to water park etc.

Disney World is a Theme Park with entertainments suitable for all ages (okay, not all of them, some are way too kiddie for adults), there are some educational combined with fun elements (Epcot Center) as well as "rides" adn attractions.

The main difference between a Disney cruise ship and the other cruise ships is the "Disney's Cast", and the type of shows. It is not a theme park.

It is a totally different vacationing experience between Disney World and Disney Cruise.

BTW, if you pick Disney World, pick a Dsiney resort and add a meal plan. If you book the right time with the right discount, it can be quite cheap. If teh kids had never been to a Disney Theme Park, I would say the Disney World is the way to go.

If money is no object, you can have the best of both world as Disney offers a land/sea combo where you cruise for 3 or 4 days and spend 5 to 7 days in a Disney resort, with access to all the theme parks. Maybe that is the way to go?
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Jan 17th, 2012, 02:32 PM
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Thank you so much for responding to me! You had so many great ideas that I have not thought of.

The kids range in age from 2 to 9. So definitely not old enough to run around free. I was curious about the cruise ship, because I figured they had activities for kids that require no parents to supervise. You said that they do, but that it is not a theme park. The commercials show water slides and such, but what other kid-friendly activities do they have?

If you have been on a cruise ship, was it fairly safe, for people and their valuables alike?

How about food in both locations? You said you could buy a meal plan at the resort, but is the food good? I hear it is amazing food on cruise ships, is this true?

I have never heard of the land/sea combo, thanks for sharing. Alas, money is not a huge factor, but it is not unlimited, so I am not sure of this option. But thank you so much for your time!
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Jan 17th, 2012, 03:57 PM
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Disney World is the place you should go. There is nothing like it and if the children are young it is even better. When they get older like their teens they will lose a lot.
Get the food plan at DW. Frequently you can get it free or cheap when you stay at a Disney resort. The food ranges from mediocre to great. Get a guide book and pick the better places. ANd plan ahead. And stay at a disney resort. They are not that expensive and offer all sorts of extras like transportation, etc. Don't over buy tickets. You need a day at each venue, including water parks. We have four or five days left over that we will probably never use. Incidentally, our favorite resort is the Port Orleans, or what ever they call it now. It is handy and there is a boat ride to Downtown Disney from there. If you stay off site you waste a lot of time. As to cruise food the glory days are in the past. Seems to me that food is on a par with Applebees or some such. Not bad, but not 5 star either.
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Jan 17th, 2012, 04:27 PM
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Thanks for your advice, it is greatly appreciated!

I have heard twice now to go to Disney World and get the food plan. Do these plans include breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Are kids prices discounted and worth it, to buy them a meal plan, when they hardly eat anything and are picky eaters?

Are there any activities we can place the kids in, so the parents can have some free time?

Thanks so much, once again, I appreciate all and any feedback, concerns, tips and opinions!!
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Jan 18th, 2012, 07:38 AM
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When we went, the meal plan was a bit complicated in that you had points or some such and vartious places charged more or less. However in amounted to lunch, dinner and a snack and the snack could easily do for breakfast. Things may be different now. We used a travel agent in Cleveland - Mouse made easy - I think and she did a great job in getting us the best prices and restaurants. I don't know if she is still there, but if she is, she can help a lot.
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Jan 18th, 2012, 07:40 AM
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It's Mouse made simple, and looks like a part of a change, but we were happy.
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Jan 18th, 2012, 11:12 AM
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They have "different" meal plans. You can customize. You can have 3 meals or 2 or even 1. A typical 3 meals plan is a continental breakfast at the resort hotel, a coupon for lunch in any of the theme park (that's where the points come in, you can only have a meal plus a drink) and a sit down dinner at the resort. Nothing fancy but you have choices. The sit down dinner at night (in the hotel) usually is good; the food at the theme park itself is only so-so.

The food at the Disney Cruise Ship is definitely much better than the Disney resort. There is no comparison between the two.

When I say theme park, I mean rides. The pirates of the Caribbean, it's a small world, tea cup, carousel, roller coasters, that type of things. The resorts would have beaches and water slide as well.

There is definitely a lot more things for the young ones at the Disney World, especially for age 2 to 9. Don't get me wrong, they won't be bored at the ship either.

With that said, for age 2 to 9, you will need to be with them 24-7. You do what they do. You go on rides with them or you stand there and watch them enjoy their rides. The adults probably won't have much free personal time.

With the Disney ship, you will have personal time as they have organized and supervised activities on board. While the kids are enrolled in the supervised activities, the adults are free to go to the spa or bar, have a quiet lunch without the kids, or maybe relax by the pool while the kids are on the water slide. You can always go back to check up on them and watch them at a distance.

As I have said before, if you value your adult personal time, the ship is the way to go.

In Disney world, some activities are way over their head (especially for age 2) and they may not enjoy everything or find the "educational" stuff too boring (but would be interesting to the adults or teenagers), and they are probably too young or small for the thrill / speed rides.

I took my young one to Disney World when he was 2. He didn't remember a thing. We saw him having more fun pushing his stroller all over the place than going on the rides. He had fun at the beach and visiting the shops. We went back when he was older and he had a much better time.

The land sea combo is more affordable than you may think if you are not on a very tight budget. At the ship, they will have the Disney characters on board and the show at the big stage is Disney themed. There are all around family oriented activities and the best part is, you get to go to different places.

The land sea combo is definitely the way to go If you can afford both, I would go with a 10 days land sea combo, 6 days for Disney World resort and 4 days on the ship. You can do a 12 day combo (7 and 5) as well if you have more time. But I would definitely go to Disney World first, get tired running after the kids, and then you can relax on the ship before going home ...

Cruise ships are relatively safe, just be aware that the ship is a small floating city with a few thousand "strangers" with you and your family. They may not have the same values, sanitation practices etc. ( I guess it is the same anywhere you go, even the local mall). You can read my other post here about safe cruising. You just can't throw caution to the wind just because you were wowed by the commercial that promise to "look after everything".

You have a mini safe in your cabin so you keep all your valuables there. You won't need cash or credit card while you are on board. They give you a card that will serve as your ID, room key and credit card all in one. That’s all you need to carry while you are on board.

We don't wear jewellery while we travel but we have our laptops and tablets and MP3 players etc. with us, and we don’t lock them in the safe. Just the wallet, passport and cash.

Oh yes, passports, if you choose to cruise, passports are necessary, so if you are press for time to go, that maybe a deal breaker for you.

My suggestion is to talk to your local travel agent and ask them to get you prices for the land sea combo. You can contact the Disney cruise line direct and ask about the land sea combo. It is kind of funny that the land sea combo is well hidden. The link is below. It is better to call and ask anyway.

http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/cr...resort-cruise/

Good luck, and feel free to ask more questions. And you have not cruise before and this is your first cruise, you will have a lot more questions yet!
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Jan 18th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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Thank you so much, both Aristotle and Eschew! You have both been so helpful and went above and beyond what I thought anyone would reply with! You have answered more for me than any website does! I appreciate your time and honest feedback! I cannot think of anymore questions for my trip, but if I come up with one, I know where to go!
Thank you, Jennifer
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Jan 18th, 2012, 07:51 PM
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Jennifer, you are most welcome. You will find most Fodorites here very friendly and helpful. I received a lot of help here from others all the time, getting tips to places or leads that you cannot hope to find on your own. And in turn, we all offer our 2 cents worth to anyone who ask, sometimes even for things that they didn't ask or want to hear .

Planning a vacation is part of the fun of going on a vacation. You may want to get the older children involved in the planning stage and they may surprise you.

If you decide to take the cruise, feel free to post any cruise related quetsions here. Please post a trip report here after the trip and share your joy and experience.

Good luck and happy holiday!
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 05:18 AM
  #11
 
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On a side note, children 'running free" interferes with the enjoyment of others in many settings- stores, restaurants, resorts. Is it ever a good idea for all involved, especially the children??
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Jan 23rd, 2012, 11:44 PM
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It all depends on the definition of "running free". My definition is that they have the freedom to roam, behaving responsibly and not creating a scene.

I won't single out children as a source of "interferes" with the enjoyment of others. I have seen plenty of adults misbehaving and "interferes" with others' enjoyment! I probably came across adult bad behaviours more often than children misbehaving.

A little tolerance and patience is all that is needed; unless people are from an era that think children should be seen but not heard ... then it is a different story.
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