Thursday, May 19, 2011

DCL Castaway Club

Castaway Club º What is it? How does it work? What does it do for me?



Castaway Club is a club every Disney Cruise Line guest becomes a member of at the end of their first cruise with DCL. Why am I doing an entire blog about it? Well a lot of people don’t pay attention to the benefits of being a member.

From your second cruise on you are treated to special Castaway Club treats. At this time there are 3 different levels of CC membership. The more you sail DCL the higher you go in the club and the better the benefits.

About a month after our first Disney Cruise on the Magic in 2005 we received a wonderful package from the DCL. It is the Castaway Club Shoreside Survival Kit. I don’t believe they send this out any more and if any recent first time cruisers could confirm this for me I would appreciate it. In the Shoreside Survival Kit there was a letter welcoming us to the Castaway Club. In addition there was a CDRom with fantastic reggae style atmosphere music from around the ship, the Disney Fog Horn, sounds of Castaway Cay and a beautiful screensaver for the computer. (Sad to say the screensaver does not work with newer computer operating systems and I have been unable to extract the graphics to use otherwise. We can still use the computer wallpaper and the music.) It also had our Castaway Club Membership Cards, one for each of us including our 10 year old daughter. In an effort to go “green” Disney no longer gives out cards but you still get a membership number that is easy to find with a phone call or online. You are not required to bring your card on the ship with you to get the shipboard benefits.

       Here is the published list of benefits for each level from DisneyCruise.com:

Castaway Club Benefits
at a Glance
Silver
Castaway
Begins after your 1st completed cruise.
Gold
Castaway
Begins after your 5th completed cruise.
Platinum
Castaway
Begins after your 10th completed cruise.
AT-HOME BENEFITS
Insider Exclusives
Just for members—Webcasts, info, tips and news.
Early Access to Online Activity Planning
Advance booking for onboard amenities and shore excursions.
90 days
prior to sailing
105 days
prior to sailing
120 days
prior to sailing
Dedicated Phone Number
(800) 449-3380—your direct line for info and assistance.
Early Booking Opportunities
Be among the first to book our newest itineraries and ships before
ONBOARD BENEFITS
Exclusive Cruise Terminal Check-In
Sail through the boarding process in a separate, members-only line.
Welcome Back Stateroom Gift*
Be welcomed back with a gift unique to your membership level.
Special Onboard Booking Offer
While on board, enjoy special savings on future cruises.
Castaway Club Onboard Reception
Meet and mingle with the ship's officers at a private party on voyages 4-nights and longer.
Special Merchandise Offering
Take advantage of special onboard shopping opportunities.
Priority Check-In at Cruise Terminal
Enjoy concierge priority boarding check-in at the cruise terminal.
Exclusive Platinum Experiences**
Unforgettable Disney fun created just for Platinum members.
Complimentary Dinner at Palo***
Savor an elegant dinner at Palo, on us.

·         * One gift per stateroom based on highest level Castaway Club member in stateroom.

·         ** Exclusive Platinum experiences are subject to change without notice.

·         *** Offer includes dining service fee ($15) for one dinner. Available to Platinum Castaway member and Guests staying in member's stateroom. Must be 18 years of age or older. Subject to availability

I will only discuss the Silver Level CC as that is the level I am at and know the most about. I dream of one day being a Platinum CC member! The length of cruise does not matter when counting cruises for your CCM.

At home CC gives you access to the members only portion of the DisneyCruise.com site. In that area you can find information about your membership, downloadable fun for the entire family, Castaway Club Compass Newsletter (Not done often enough in my opinion and it is not done on any schedule.) If you are already a CCM once you have booked a cruise the CC section is an easy way to get to your cruise online payment and planning area. This is where you will get early booking when available. You will also find early news releases and exclusive webcasts.

I will say they don’t keep the CC section of the DCL site as updated as I’d like to see it and the CC Compass Newsletter is not published on any real schedule or often enough. The three recipes that were posted there when I first checked it out in 2005 are still there and have not been changed or added too. Still there is a lot of good information there.

You’re on shore benefits include being able to book cruises earlier than non club members. You will also be able to book Port and Shipboard Adventures, including adult only dining at Palos and Remy. (Book those as soon as you can as they go fast!) You will also be able to book Spa and Salon time early. Check the above chart to see how far in advance you can book for each club level. I highly suggest booking anything you can early!!

Club Members also get a phone number just for them. You can call in to book your cruise, port and shipboard adventures or just ask questions you may have such as what time do you need to be at the ship and how early can you board.

Your “Onboard” benefits start at the terminal with a dedicated check in line just for CC members. It makes check in quick and easy.

Once in your cabin you will find a Welcome Back Gift from the CC. As a Silver Level CC we received a beautiful Backpack with the DCL CC logo neatly packed with two rice crispy treats shaped like flip flops, two sport bottles with the DCL CC logo, two Silver Level CC lanyards with id holders for our key to the world cards and one CC key chain. They give one of each item to every person in the room except the key chain. If this is the Silver Level Gift I would love to see the Gold and Platinum level gifts!! If you are a higher level and have done a recent cruise would you mind sending me a picture of your welcome back gift? Depending on your membership level you will get various other benefits while on board such as meet and great with the ships officers and special merchandise offers.


Is the Castaway Club worth looking at?? YES! Remember it is free with your first cruise! Does it add to your DCL fun>? YES! Does it make cruising easier? Again I say YES! So if you are cruising Disney for the second or more time make sure you take advantage of all the benefits of the free exclusive club you joined by sailing Disney the first time! If you are sailing for the first time watch for your membership number and future CC benefits. Make sure you register with DisneyCruise.com so you can check out the special section of the site just for CC.

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