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  • Critique of my first DCL Experience

    While I may be critical, I want to note that I thoroughly enjoyed my DCL Experience and will return again (finances permitting). My critique are more so observations, and comparisons of the DCL operation compared to Disney Park and Resort operations on the mainland, and compared to Royal Caribbean (RCCL).

  • #2
    A Different Operation

    A Different Operation






    Also the cast, crew, and characters seamed like they were free do things that their counterparts in Anaheim and Orlando would never be allowed to do. Things like a costumed Pluto character riding on the elevator, stopping at every floor to jump out in an attempt to startle any guest that may be waiting in the elevator lobby; it was a lot of fun, but I know it would be frowned upon (if not actionable) in Orlando.

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    • #3
      The Immersive Story





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      • #4
        Mouseowners.com the following thread keep popping up: How Cheap Is Super-Last-Minute?

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        • #5
          Booking





          The pros of using an agent.The cons
          • the process takes longer.
          • you lose control of the reservation. You want to communicate with Disney, you have to do it though them.
          • I felt like it just added a step or two to the process.
          • I felt guilty using 40 different $50 gift cards purchased at Target (5% discount) to pay, so I didn't.

          The question is, when we do it again will we use an agent or book direct?

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          • #6

            The trip included my Wife, DS8, DD3, and myself.
            3-Night Bahamian Cruise on Disney Dream Itinerary A, sailing on 06/27/13, room category 5E (Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah) GTY, Second Seating (first seating wait listed)

            booking

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            • #7
              On-Line Check-in

              This was a relatively straight forward process, similar to RCCL and the Orlando Resorts. Not much to really comment on here. It was nice to be able to pre-register your kids for the kids club, saved you a few minutes at the counter. You were also able to pre-book spa appointments, shore excursions, and other on-board activities.

              This being our first DCL cruise and such a short cruise, we didn't pre-book anything with the exception of a message at the spa (more on that later).

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              • #8
                Arrival/Check-in

                Even though we were assigned a 1:00pm Arrival Time our Agent advised us to arrive early to unload luggage, park the car, get through security, etc.



                At this point the kids are still in their pajamas. After eating lunch we change them into their Embarkation outfits. Mom and DD3 have to be wearing coordinating nautical attire.

                We pull up to the terminal gates between 11:30 and noon. There are 3 boats in port (2 Carnival and 1 Disney) yet the place seams like a ghost town. There are people in the roadway directing traffic, but there is no traffic to direct we are the only car on the road. Either we are the first people here or we just missed the opening rush?





                So far the process is soooo much more efficient than RCCL. I think the layout of the DCL terminal perpendicular to the ship creates efficiencies compared to the RCCL terminal which is parallel to the ship. With the parallel terminal all guest traffic (busses, hired cars, and private cars) arrives on the same side. The perpendicular terminal building allows all the private cars to unloaded on the north side, hired cars on the west side), and all the buses on the south side.

                When we get across the Breezeway we encounter the security screening. Here we encounter our first line of guest. Still a relatively short line compared to my experience with RCCL, there all guest have to go through one of only two security check points. Here I assume there are at least two (one at the 3rd floor Breezeway and one at the first floor entrance). And I assume

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                • #9
                  Photos

                  I think this is one of my first real Critiques. I think Disney is missing an opportunity here when it comes to photos.








                  The laptops proved even more troublesome outside in the sun. The photographers at Castaway Cay had to drape a towel over their head and the laptop so that they could see the screen. This requirement for a laptop made it more difficult for the photographers to freely roam the ship and take random shots of people. And as a result there were fewer photos to choose from and/or purchase.

                  If they had the same equipment as in the parks they could freely roam the ship and Castaway Cay to snap up thousands of more shots. I really thought there should have been more photographers around the boat especially with all the character opportunities.

                  I also kind of missed the photos set out before dinner. I never found the time (or desire) to scan my KTTW card at the kiosk to see what came up on the screen. But if there were photos in the racks I might have been more prone to look through them.



                  There was a lot of hard selling on this ship (more on that later), just like on RCCL. But in this case there was no hard sell, there was no sell at all, and as a result I think they are missing an opportunity.

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                  • #10
                    The Ships Appearance





                    On our disembarkation day the RCCL Freedom of the Seas was in port next to the Disney Dream. That was a good boat, ten times better than any of the Carnivals, but not quite as nice as the Disney Dream. Honestly the thing that sets the DCL ships apart is the dramatic paint scheme. Classic colors reminiscent of the Queen Marry and other great ships of old. The stark white Carnival and Royal ships are reminiscent of floating hospitals, or the image of Communicore Weekly show

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                    • #11
                      Re: Critique of my first DCL Experience

                      Follow-up critique…
                      The constant cleaning and maintenance sometimes got annoying. This was also true on the RCCL ship, but to a lesser extent because they didn’t cars as much as Disney does about keeping the ship in its superior condition.

                      I’m used to the glory days at the Parks and Resorts when all the cleaning, painting, and maintenance occurred at night. When guest magically awoke to what appeared to a fresh new Park/Resort.

                      The ship operate 24/7 they don’t have the luxury to do everything at night. But it was sometimes annoying to always find a section of the ship roped off as they pressure washed, painted, swabbed the decks, and what have you.

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                      • #12
                        Magic Rehab

                        to get a little off topic...



                        I understand the ship must be showing its age and is in need of a rehab. But from the videos posted by DCL showing the before and after photo/rendering, I prefer the before. Looks like they might even be eliminating the Dale Chihuly chandelier from the lobby atrium?

                        Sometimes I think Disney wastes time and money on supercilious rehabs simply to give decorators and designers busy work. Many times while ignoring major work that needs to be done.

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                        • #13
                          Music





                          One afternoon I was in the Grand Lobby Atrium with DD3 waiting to meet the princesses. In the background we could hear what I would ignorantly describe as Chamber Music compositions of many of our classic Disney favorites. The style was very fitting for this elegant space and the occasion of an audience with the princesses. At some point there was a song playing that was eerily familiar but based on the unique composition I couldn't place it. Then all of a sudden I realized it was baroque hoedown the theme from the Main Street Electrical Parade, but this composition made it truly unique.

                          Where can I buy the soundtrack?

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                          • #14
                            Onboard Shopping

                            Originally posted by PecosBill View Post

                            Where can I buy the soundtrack?


                            Now we are on the ship and we have a little time to kill before the 1pm

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                            • #15
                              Welcome Aboard Ship Tour

                              Several online threads recommended the

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