Category Archives: Disney Cruise Line

News & discussion from Disney Cruise Line

Wave Phones Now Available on Disney Cruise Line

Beginning on the Dec. 16, 2010, sailing of the Disney Wonder and the Dec. 28, 2010, sailing of the Disney Magic, families will have a great new way to stay in touch with one another. Portable Wave Phones will enable Guests to contact members of their party while onboard the ship or ashore at Disney’s Castaway Cay.

All staterooms will now offer two portable Wave Phones for complimentary use during the length of the cruise. Four phones are provided in the Royal Suite and 2-Bedroom Suite categories. Guests can rent an additional phone from Guest Services for $3.50 per day.

The Wave Phones replace the paging system previously used by Youth Activities. Parents with children participating in activities are now never more than a text message or phone call away.

All Guests are encouraged to utilize the Wave Phones for staying connected with their party while on the ship or at Disney’s Castaway Cay. However, Guests can opt out of using these phones and have the Wave Phone service disconnected in their staterooms.

If phones are lost, damaged or not returned to the stateroom prior to debarkation a $250 charge per phone will be applied to the Guest’s stateroom account. This charge will be mentioned on the payment authorization form that Guests complete during the check-in process.

Disney Dream Nears Completion with ‘Float Out’

PAPENBURG, GERMANY, (Oct. 30, 2010) – After 20 months of construction, the Disney Dream cruise ship floated out of the enclosed building dock at the Meyer Werft shipyard today, completing a major construction milestone.  The ship was greeted by thousands of visitors lining the shore to see the newest Disney Cruise Line ship, which features the first water coaster at sea and other cruise industry firsts designed to build upon Disney’s commitment to delivering unparalleled family cruises.

The “Float Out” is a special maritime event that celebrates the ship’s final stages of construction, where exteriors become complete and final touches are assigned to interiors. In true Disney-style, the celebration was punctuated with a fireworks display and the appearance of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.  The Disney Dream is scheduled to sail its maiden voyage on January 26, 2011, from Port Canaveral, Fla.

“Today marks a monumental milestone and begins the first of the finishing touches for the Disney Dream as we prepare to welcome guests aboard our newest ship,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line.  “Our guests are counting down to the maiden voyage, and in just 88 days, they will get to experience all that the Disney Dream has to offer.”

The Disney Dream is the first of two new ships being built by the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.  The Disney Fantasy is also currently in production and is scheduled to set sail on its maiden voyage on April 7, 2012.

“Today is a day of great pride for all of us at the Meyer Werft shipyard,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft.  “To finally see the largest ship this yard has ever built floated out and nearly complete is an inspiration within itself, and that coupled with the pixie dust Disney is known for, made this a truly magical moment for all involved.”

The Disney Dream will remain alongside Meyer Werft’s outfitting pier in the shipyard harbor for about two weeks, while testing is completed on the ship’s stabilizers, rudders and other functional features, and work on the ship’s interior areas continues.  The ship is scheduled to leave the Meyer Werft shipyard and be conveyed down the River Ems, the second weekend in November, where its destination is the North Sea at the port of Eemshaven, The Netherlands.

Click the links below to view the official photos from the event:

The doors open to reveal the new ship
A worker stands at an open window as the ship is tugged out
This ship sees daylight for the first time
Fireworks explode as the ship emerges from the building
A view of the ship from the side as it emerges from the building

Disney Dream Float Out Celebration

As pyrotechnics light the sky, the Disney Dream cruise ship makes its first public appearance Oct. 30, 2010 in Papenburg, Germany as it exits an enclosed building dock, pulled by a tugboat, at the Meyer Werft shipyard.

 

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage & 2012 Itineraries

Disney Cruise Line is pleased to announce selected itineraries for 2012, including the maiden voyage of its fourth ship.

The Disney Fantasy is scheduled to set sail on April 7, 2012, offering 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida.

A sister ship to the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy will feature an AquaDuck water coaster, magical children’s areas, world-class entertainment, delightful dining, retreats for adults and immersive experiences for Guests of all ages with beloved Disney Characters and stories.

As an exclusive benefit to Guests who are Gold and Platinum Castaway Club Members, bookings open at 8 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010. All other Guests may book beginning at 8 a.m. EDT on Oct. 20, 2010.

Here are some highlights from the upcoming 2011 and 2012 sailing seasons:

Disney Fantasy

  • Maiden voyage: April 7, 2012
  • 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises
  • Sailing from Port Canaveral, Fla.
  • Itineraries and sail dates: April – August 2012

Disney Dream

  • Maiden voyage: Jan. 26, 2011
  • 3-, 4- and 5-night Bahamian cruises
  • Sailing from Port Canaveral, Fla.
  • Itineraries and sail dates: January – August 2012

Disney Wonder

  • 7-night Mexican Riviera cruises
  • Sailing from Port of Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Itineraries and sail dates: January – April 2012

Disney Magic

  • 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises
  • Sailing from Port Canaveral, Fla.
  • Itineraries and sail dates: January – March 2012

For complete itineraries, download our handy schedules in PDF format for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Disney Cruise – Hurricanes vs Low Costs

A client of ours recently brought up a good point, which we’d like to share with anyone considering a fall Disney Cruise.

August and September represent the peak of hurricane season in the Caribbean. With this comes lower rates from Disney Cruise Line. But, are those lower rates worth the risk of a shortened cruise, or skipping key ports along the way?

This is an extremely important decision that must be made before booking a fall cruise.  The client we mentioned above recently returned from a 4-night Bahamian cruise with Disney Cruise Line.  During their trip, Tropical Depression Nichole was hot on their tail, and generated some extra wind and rid tides.

It may not sound like a little breeze and some waves are a real problem, but they can be if the ship is trying to dock at Castaway Cay.  Although the ships are giant, and have enormous stabilizers on their hulls, they still can’t attempt a docking if there are rid tides and currents below the surface of the water.  These forces of nature can wreak havoc on a ship – or more specifically, on the dock (when the ship is slammed against it repeatedly).

Our client experienced the wrath of Mother Nature by way of missing Castaway Cay completely on their trip.  The Captain attempted the maneuver once, but decided it wasn’t safe enough. He promised he’d try again the next day. Well, the weather was worse on Day #2, so they had to head back to Florida instead.

Disney makes it clear in their contract and Terms and Conditions that something like this might happen, and that they don’t owe you anything in return for missing a port. And be forewarned that while being trapped onboard, your disappointment may only be addressed with extra character meet-n-greets, a few extra showings of movies and shows, and additional opportunities to spend more money.

Disney is known for it’s customer service, but there is only so much they can do with limited resources on a boat in the middle of a storm.  Safety comes before anything else.

This is merely a public service announcement from Mouse Unlimited to its current and future clients, and not representative of Disney Cruise Line’s point of view. We simply want our clients to understand that with lower fall rates comes the risk of missing out on key parts of the trip.  If it happens to you, your sadness might be addressed with some sympathy, but not with any sort of compensation.

Why a Verandah Room on Disney Cruise Line?

Upgrade your cruise experience by booking a verandah stateroom. Not only will you enjoy panoramic views of the sea and favorite ports of call, you’ll also get more privacy and space to relax.

Disney Cruise Line staterooms are among the first in the industry to be designed especially for families with substantially more space than is offered with most other cruise lines. And since verandah staterooms on all Disney ships feature more square footage than a standard inside stateroom, you will truly savor a comfortable cruise experience surrounded by natural woods and plenty of creature comforts in an environment decked in nautical charm and elegance.

Stretch out in a seating area to watch TV and first-run movies from a comfortable couch. When the day is done, nestle into plush beds for restful nights on the high seas. In the morning, step out onto the sunny surface of the verandah and welcome another great day sure to be filled with great experiences and wonderful memories.

Located on the upper decks, verandah staterooms offer beautiful views and special amenities, including a privacy curtain and split bath – a cruise industry first which allows several people to wash up at the same time. While all verandah staterooms will sleep between three and four Guests, most Deluxe Family Oceanview Staterooms with Verandah will accommodate up to five Guests. And of course, all Disney Cruise Line staterooms feature innovative comforts, modern features and nautical touches not found on other cruise ships. Add in renowned Disney quality service, and you will truly feel like a VIP.

“Just For Kids” on Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has so many onboard spaces and activities created just for kids, they created an entire website to help showcase them to their guests. Featuring helpful videos, www.justforkidsdcl.com highlights all the special onboard areas designed just for kids, tweens, teens and toddlers.

Disney Cruise Line continues to be a leader in family cruising. Each purpose-built Disney ship offers a wide variety of uniquely Disney activities to keep cruisers of all ages entertained and delighted. Children as young as three months, and up to 17 years old, will find dedicated areas designed just for them. Plus, Disney Cruise Line features some of the longest operating hours at sea, providing greater flexibility for parents and even more fun for kids.

The new website features nine video segments designed to help you get a true understanding of how the onboard kids experience includes not only their memorable character interactions, but also their custom-built areas with Disney-exclusive programs that are unique in the cruise industry.

Also, don’t forget about www.visitcastawaycay.com, the Disney Cruise Line site dedicated to all the fun in the sun found on their private island, Castaway Cay.

Disney Cruise Line® has so many onboard spaces and activities created just for kids, we created an entire website to help you showcase these to your Clients. Featuring helpful videos, www.justforkidsdcl.comhighlights all the special onboard areas designed just for kids, tweens, teens and toddlers.

Disney Cruise Line Heading to Hawaii?

There are rumors floating around that Disney Cruise Line might toss in a few Hawaii itineraries in 2012.

An article in the Honolulu Star Advertiser said that Disney might be sailing toward Hawaii in the future, which would seem realistic since the new Disney Vacation Club Resort, Aulani, will be opening in August 2011.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation “confirmed that Disney has tentative bookings at Pier 2 in Honolulu Harbor in May and September of 2012.”  A Disney spokesperson declined to comment and insisted that Disney Cruise Line has not published their schedule past 2011 at this point.

An interesting point to make is that since Disney’s ships are registered in the Bahamas, that technically makes them “foreign” vessels.  According to the Passenger Vessel Services Act, foreign ships may not sail directly between two U.S. ports (hence the stops throughout the Caribbean before returning to Florida on it’s Bahamian and Caribbean cruises). Since the Wonder will embark from Los Angeles, it will need to stop in Mexico or Canada on both legs of the trip.

If this proves to be true, the Hawaii sailings will probably book up almost immediately after becoming available. Be sure to contact Mouse Unlimited when you’re ready to book!

Disney Magic Rescues 18 People at Sea

It was first reported on the internet by people aboard the ship, and then confirmed by Disney spokespeople – Disney Cruise Line has yet again saved lives.

On Friday afternoon, the Captain made an announcement over the PA system that the ship – the Disney Magic – had received an SOS distress call overnight and successfully located 18 Algerians who had been lost at sea for several days.

Disney released the following statement:

“While sailing from Gibraltar to Barcelona, the Disney magic rescued 18 people who were aboard a small boat that had lost power. The boat was located by the Disney magic crew members around 3:45am, and the people were brought aboard the ship and provided with food and staterooms. We are proud of the Disney Magic crew members, who skillfully demonstrated their training and commitment to maritime protocols around saving lives at sea. We have notified authorities in Barcelona of this rescue, and they are coordinating the debarkation of the group.”

Kudos to the crew of the Disney Magic!

Quiet Pool on the Disney Dream

The newest Disney ship to sail the seas – the Disney Dream – is just a few months from being launched.

The craftsmen at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany have been working furiously to keep construction on schedule. Photos of the construction have proven that the ship is going to be absolutely beautiful – as expected.

One such photo was featured on the Disney Parks Blog yesterday, and showcases the Quiet Cove Pool, which will be reserved exclusively for guests 18 and older, and will feature a swim-up bar at one end, a 6″ deep wading pool with built-in lounge chairs, and a 4′ deep plunge pool.

Check out this photo, courtesy of Disney, of construction progress at the Quiet Cove Pool.

Disney Dream Quiet Cove Pool

Quiet Cove Pool under construction. Copyright Disney.

 

Travel Insurance: Don’t Get Caught Without It

The following blog has been excerpted in whole or in part from an article originally written by John Stone, a veteran travel trade journalist and media relations manager for Travel Insured International.

These days travelers have more reason than ever to decide whether they need to purchase insurance when booking their next vacation. This year, which isn’t even half over, has already seen massive floods in Machu Picchu, Rio de Janeiro and Nashville.  It has seen at least four major earthquakes affecting such destinations as Haiti, Chile, China and Mexico. And, more recently, it has seen the unprecedented closure of northern European airspace for a week in April, with briefer subsequent disruptions since then, due to volcanic ash clouds from the Iceland eruptions.

In each of these disasters, many trips to affected destinations were cancelled or delayed for many hours, if not days, forcing travelers with prepaid itineraries or unplanned expenses to face substantial financial losses. For those who purchased a comprehensive travel insurance plan prior to the outbreak of the specific disaster that disrupted their trip, their prepaid funds could be protected and their unplanned expenses reimbursed. Without such coverage, as widely reported in the consumer media, most travelers had to incur significant costs and lost any monies paid for their trip.

It therefore came as a surprise to many travel experts when they read the popular financial website Forbes.com describing travel insurance as a “rip-off” in its May 18, 2010 column, “10 Ways You’re Getting Ripped Off.” Forbes.com made no effort to present its two-paragraph “rip-off” proclamation as the opinion of the writer or her single source identified in the column. Instead, the article, presented as informed financial advice, saw nothing good to say about either travel insurance or the travel agents who sell it.

“[Travel insurance] is not a good economic decision for most people,” said the official from the Consumer Federation of American, whom Forbes.com quoted. “If you just can’t sleep without insurance, don’t buy from someone who’s selling you something else. It’s almost always a bad deal involving kickbacks to whoever is offering the service.” The Consumer Federation official further argued that homeowners’ insurance and credit cards can cover cancelled flights, without providing any documented examples of how this could work.

Fortunately for consumers and agents, the U.S. State Department has an opposite opinion from that of Forbes.com, as stated on its website (www.travel.state.gov). Unlike Forbes’ dismissal of insurance, the State Department sees the necessity for travel insurance to prevent major consumer losses due to unforeseen risks while traveling.

“Obtaining medical treatment and hospital care abroad can be expensive, and medical evacuation to the U.S. can cost more than $50,000,” the State Department says. “Note that U.S. medical insurance is generally not accepted outside the United States, nor do the Social Security Medicare and Medicaid programs provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the United States. If your insurance policy does not cover you abroad, it is a good idea to consider purchasing a short-term policy that does.”

In addition to citing the disasters over the past few months that could be covered by pre-purchased travel insurance, travelers should not hesitate to consider some other potential uncertainties that can be covered by a good travel insurance plan. Here are just a few examples:

  • Trip Cancellation or Interruption coverage when a steady job is lost between pre-booking and travel, or the boss says you must work on dates on which you are booked to travel.
  • Trip Cancellation or Interruption coverage when a client cancels due to the illness or injury of a family member, whether that relative is scheduled to go on the trip or not.
  • Trip Cancellation or Interruption when the supplier providing the trip goes bankrupt and defaults before departure or during the trip.
  • Trip Cancellation coverage when the school attended by your child needs to extend the school year calendar into a pre-booked vacation date to make up for snow days.
  • Trip Cancellation when the client or travel companion is involved in a car accident en route to the departure airport.
  • Trip Interruption when clients learn that their home was burglarized after they left on their vacation.

There are still people, like the Consumer Federation official quoted by Forbes.com, who want to accept the financial responsibility for themselves, regardless of risk.  The outright dismissal of travel insurance without reviewing its content, as suggested by Forbes.com, is when the true “rip-offs” occur. This is when unforeseen trip disruptions cause travelers who did not buy travel insurance are truly separated from their hard-earned, prepaid travel investments.

Mouse Unlimited sells travel insurance offered directly by The Walt Disney Travel Company. We offer it to every client, with no obligation or requirement to purchase. We provide sample policies for review before purchase. Please e-mail us if you have more questions.