(Aqua)duck, (Aqua)duck, dolphins!

And here is why cruises are such a great option for families:  My client, Karen, took a Disney cruise this winter with her 11-year-old twins (and without her husband) and all three of them had a wonderful time! Plenty of onboard activities to keep them busy — separately — but great opportunities for family time when they all wanted to be together. All in all, fantastic memories made, and they’re already looking forward to the next trip. But maybe they’ll bring Dad this time 🙂

Hi Ann,
 
We had a great time!  We had no trouble traveling out of Westchester Airport other than a little delay.  (The Delta flight that was supposed to leave about the same time was delayed even longer because they had to dig the plane out of the snow!)  I’m sure you saw my FB post about winning 25,000 JetBlue points.  The COO of JetBlue was on our plane and raffled off two prizes, which I actually won the first one.

The night at the Animal Kingdom Lodge was good.  We got there too late to see much outside of our room but the morning brought a parade of zebras and some birds.  Breakfast at Boma was amazing as always.  The kids decided to swim before we headed off to the cruise.  The pool is heated so they were happy.  We had plenty of time since our bus left at 11.  They took the luggage from our room while the kids were swimming and the bus pick up was handled well.

view on the deck of a Disney Cruise ShipWe were on the ship just after 12:30 and had a quick lunch before the rooms were ready at 1:30.  Then the kids swam again and Kyle did the Aquaduck five times.  After the emergency drill, we got ready for dinner.  Our tablemates were a family of five who used to live in Brewster but now live in Hopewell Junction.  Their daughter was a year older than Kyle & Jenn and the boys were younger.  We had lots of fun with them during the week. Check out what the waiter brought when I said I wanted “nothing” for dessert!

a plate of "nothing" with nothing written in chocolateTrip highlights and recommendations: 

Stingray City and the Turtle Farm in the Cayman Islands.  Amazing to see all the turtles and swim with the Stingrays.  The rays acted like dogs, bumping up against you to be fed.

Dolphinarus in Cozumel was great!  Their photographer was very good, and being able to kayak, paddleboard, and snorkel after the dolphin swim was a bonus. The included lunch was okay.  Photos were pricey but when I selected a basic photo CD package, I got a very good “family” deal that included the DVD and some prints.  I wasn’t crazy about the gauntlet of vendors getting off and on the ship but I know it’s like that in most places.

dolphins leaping out of the water in a pool

Rainforest Room – wish I had more time to just lay on the warm loungers and use the facilities.

Aladdin production and a show by “Buckets & Boards” were both great.  I would skip “Believe” next time and we didn’t see the other shows.  We actually missed the Pirate night!  We stopped at the room to watch some cartoons after dinner while waiting for the activities to start.  We all fell asleep!

It turns out Jennie wanted to hang out with me for most of the cruise.  I had to help her find activities before I headed off to a wine tasting and the rainforest room.  Kyle was happy to ride the Aquaduck, play basketball, and he enjoyed several of the Edge programs.  He took the room wave phone and was able to text/call me if he needed.  Jennie had the phone a few times too and was better at getting in touch.

children in a water filled tube at a water park on Disney Cruise

The car service was great.  They took our bags and put them in a mini trailer.  We were too tired to hang out at Seaworld until pick up time and they were there within 30 minutes when I called for an early pick up.  I’m glad I picked Seaworld for the day because it turned out to be rainy and there was one thunderstorm when they had to close the outside rides.  It was also empty due to the weather so we didn’t have to wait for one ride.

Thank you for all your tips and for the OBC.  I stayed with a “cash only” room charge for the first half of the cruise and used gift cards I had gotten through BJs and my Disney card rewards.  Then I switched to my credit card.  It helped me keep track of my purchases because I picked up a print out every two days from Guest Services.

Now I’m a little lost.  For the first time in years, I don’t have a trip planned!  I’m going to have to do some research for some long weekend trips in August.  We have DVC points to spend so I’m going to start with their other holdings.  Any suggestions?

Have a good day and thank you again for your help!
Karen

 

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You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)