Monday, July 25, 2011

Planning and Booking a Disney Cruise

Planning and Booking a Disney Cruise
       We all know that money is tight and finding extra cash for a trip like a Disney Cruise is not easy. Most people need at least a year if not three or four to save up for a big trip like this! Problem is Disney only adds a future years schedule/rates in the fall two years before. For example as of today you can only book to the end of 2012. Nothing is available for 2013 or beyond right now. In the fall of 2011 they will start booking 2013. Sometime in mid-late 2012 they will release information on 2014.
       So I can’t afford a trip before December 2012 but I still wish to book and start paying for a trip so I have a way to insure money intended for my Disney Cruise goes for the cruise. How can I book what is not available? Simple, book the furthest date out you can find. It takes $200-$250 per person to book a Disney Cruise. You can then start making payments assured that your money is going directly to what you want it to, your Disney cruise.
       When new sail dates come out you can cancel your cruise and transfer the money you have already paid toward a cruise that is either the date you wish or at least closer to the date if the dates you wish are still not available. There is no charge for canceling and changing dates as long as you do it before the date your final payment is due (Seventy-Five days before sail date in most cases). I know people who start booking like this three to four years in advance. You can also watch for deals to come up, such as kids sail free or a discount for people from your state. DCL often has Kids under seventeen Sail Free deals in the off seasons out of ports other than Florida. They also have discounts for Florida residents sailing out of Port Canaveral and now I see they have a discount for California residents sailing out of Los Angeles. You can change your dates to take advantage of these deals.
       Seventy-Five days from your sail date is the last day to cancel your cruise without penalty. You can cancel your cruise past that date but you will lose money. How much of a penalty you pay changes the closer you get to your sail date.
       Once you have booked the date you want and paid for your cruise check with Disney Cruise to see how early you can start booking Shipboard and Port Adventures. Usually this is about Seventy-Five days out for first time cruisers but as you do more cruises you get to book further out.
       I highly suggest if you wish an adult only restaurant meal you book the Palo’s and Remy’s as soon as they become available for you to book them either online or by phone. (Usually Seventy-Five to Ninety days before you sail.) They are usually fully booked before the ship sails. The same goes for Spa and Salon time and Port Adventures. If the Port Adventure you wish is a popular one really consider booking it ahead. You can cancel them as late as four days before your sail date without being charged. If you cancel less than four days before you sail you will still have to pay for the Adventure you booked no matter if you go or not. You can wait until you get on the ship to book your Port and Shipboard Adventures but you may find the adventure you wish is filled.
       If you don’t plan on getting off the ship while in port this may be the best time for a visit to the Spa or Salon. There are discounts in the spa and salon while the ship is in port. You can book these discounted adventures anytime after the ship sails.
       I also recommend making things easier for yourself by signing up at DisneyCruise.com (If you already have a Disney account for any park you can log in with that information.) Take advantage of the online check end to make things easier at the terminal. Using this also makes it easier to book adventures online. If you have already been on a Disney Cruise make sure you put in your Castaway Club ID number and take advantage of the Castaway Club area of the site.
       If you have family and friends going with you and they are in different cabins make sure you inform Disney when you book your cruise so they can “link” the reservations together. This does not make you financially linked. It just links information so you get booked in the same restaurant at the same table. Also tell them of any special events you are celebrating such as birthdays and anniversaries. They will give you a special treat at dinner one night on the cruise. If you have several special events to celebrate in your family/group they will schedule them and let you know what days you will be doing a little extra celebrating. Being linked with others in your group will also help make sure that special celebrations aren’t scheduled at the same time unless you wish it.
For more information and a free planning DVD kit just go to this link.
       I highly recommend ordering this DVD if you are planning on going on a Disney Cruise or if you just enjoy finding out information about what is offered. It is mailed to your home for free. You can also see most of what is on the DVD online in the planning center of DisneyCruise.com.

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