Planning Your Disney Cruise – Part 2: Cabins and Cost
Hello again! Last post I talked about the basics for planning for your Disney cruise. Now I want to talk about booking a cabin. From the cheapest to the extravagant, finding the one that you want is easy if you know what to look for. Let’s go!
When it comes to accommodation, I’ve noticed that there are two types of travellers: There are the ones who just want a clean, safe place to sleep in, and the ones who want a little more panache to their surroundings. Knowing what kind of traveller you are will help you make a decision quickly. Example: If you’re a “just a place to sleep” kind of person, then you may not want that expensive balcony cabin – the view is the same from the public decks – and might choose a cheaper inside stateroom. If you want to spend some alone time with you and the deep blue sea, then you may just want that balcony.
I’m sure you’ve all heard (or experienced) just how small cabins are on a cruise ship. To be honest they’re not designed for stretching out in. Unless you’re spilling out hundreds of dollars a night for a suite up in the exclusive Concierge level, you might be a little surprised at the smaller cabin sizes. Think of them as being a cross between a New York City hotel room and a Japanese bachelor apartment with comfy furniture. However, Disney’s cabins are slightly larger than the average industry cabin by a few feet, here and there.
All ships have Queen beds that I’ve never experienced a bad night’s sleep on. On the Wonder and Magic, they can be split into twins making room for family or just good friends travelling. Most cabins have pull out couches or drop-down berths that kids go crazy for so you can stow a family of 4 cozily. There are even connecting rooms but usually book up fast. All cabins have a sitting area with TV, couch and writing desk.
Some things you should know about the rooms:
- Find your life jackets as soon as you get into the cabin. Some ships keep them under the bed, some in the closet. New regulations say you don’t have to wear them to the mandatory safety drill, so just note where they are.
- On the Magic and the Wonder, the fridge in the room isn’t a fridge, it’s a “Cooling box” and doesn’t actually keep things refrigerated. Medicines that require cooling can be given to the cabin crew. On the Dream and the Fantasy, there are real fridges in the room.
- If you are utilizing bed and pull out couch or pull down berth, there is a privacy curtain that can be drawn, dividing the room.
- All ships provide safes, toiletries, inter-ship phones, big closet and shelf spaces and towels. The ships are equipped with WAVE phones which work just like walkie-talkies: excellent for staying in touch when you’re at opposite ends of the ship!
- The cabin stewards are the best in the business. I’ve never experienced any that weren’t rude or fake-happy, ever. If you ask for something, it happens. Maybe not in the crush of when you first arrive when everyone is settling in, but it does get done. Tip: Before sailing, pick up small candies and/or toys – a pack for every day you’re at sea – maybe something that represents your province/state. Leave these as a daily “tip” for your steward. You’ll find not only is it a nice thing to do, you’ll get better towel animals!
- The bathrooms are small. But, all the ships have a split bath: shower and sink on one side, toilet and sink on the other – convenient when dressing for dinner! Note: if the cabin description says “Tub” don’t expect anything you can stretch out in! They’re perfect for bathing kids under 10, not so great for anyone older.
The rooms may all be pretty similar with amenities, but there is differences in the amount of square footage and ocean access – either by porthole or by verandah.
An “Inside Stateroom” is a cabin that has no windows. On the older ships (Wonder, Magic), there are faux portholes with mirrors in them. Some may find them a tad bit claustrophobic, but if you’re one of those “just there to sleep” kind of traveller, these are the cheapest cabins you can get. On the newer ships (Dream, Fantasy), the mirrors are replaced with HDTVs that broadcast views leading from the ship, giving the illusion of actually having a porthole. And, if you look long enough, a Disney celebrity might just fly by! Know that these particular rooms are usually first to be bought up – value conscious travellers get them first.
The next set of categories all have ocean views, either with real portholes or verandahs. You can find different sized rooms/verandahs of varying prices with patient searching, but know that some cabins have “obstructed views” which mean you might have a post, rail or a lifeboat covering up your view of the ocean. If money is no object, then the Concierge level has one or two bedded cabins and large balconies offering excellent views from the ship.
Fore? Aft? Starboard? Port?
So your price range, comfort level is sorted… Where do you want your cabin?
My personal choice? Book near a forward elevator. I’ve found for some reason the forward elevators on most ships are generally underutilized compared to the aft. I suspect it’s because the boarding area and restaurants are near the back on most Disney ships and are the busiest. And book close but not too close to the elevators: elevators have common areas where people tend to talk louder. In the actual cabin corridors, there’s not a lot of room to walk side by side forcing people to walk in almost single file, reducing their ability to talk *to* each other.
When searching for a room, be wary of what is above and below your cabin, deck-wise. One cruise we made the error of booking one deck above a nightclub and the thumping kept us awake until the wee hours. One review of a cabin I saw online recently complained of water spilling onto their balcony from the cleaners working on an outdoor restaurant seating area above. Take a second to check out what’s around that perfect cabin you’ve discovered.
Pro Tip: when you hunt out cabins on the ships, I generally have one browser window open to the Disney site and another on CruiseCritic.com, a fantastic crowd-sourced site with reviews and deck plans. And, when you’ve decided what kind of room you want and where you want it, there is a wealth of media out there, of people videotaping or photographing their rooms. Go on Flickr and YouTube to search for the cabin number you want! You may just find it!
So you’ve settled in… Now what? Oh my friends… the magic is just beginning!
(All photos are taken from the Official Disney Cruise Line site and are owned by Disney)
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