Category Archives: Disney Cruise Line

Summer 2016 Disney Cruise Line Sailings Announced

Disney Cruise Line has just announced its schedule for summer 2016, with bookings open to the public on Thursday, March 26, 2015. Gold and Platinum Castaway Club members will be able to book one day prior by phone only. Here is what we know so far:

Disney Dream

The Disney Dream will be sailing 3 and 4 night sailings to the Bahamas with stops in Nassau and Castaway Cay. The three night sailings depart on Fridays and the 4 night sailing depart on Mondays.

Disney Fantasy

The Disney Fantasy will be sailing 7 night Caribbean sailings, alternating Eastern and Western through the summer. The Western Caribbean cruises will make stops in Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth and Castaway Cay. The Eastern Caribbean will be sailing to Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay. Eastern sailings will be on May 7 and continue every other week through September 24 while the Western will be on May 14 and continue every other week through September 17.

Disney Wonder

The Disney Wonder will return to Alaska with 7 night sailings from Vancouver. Stops will include Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Juneau and Skagway. This also means that the Wonder will have a sailing through the Panama Canal once again.

May 1 will be a Panama Canal sailing from Miami to Cozumel, Cartagena, through the Panama Cana, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and end in San Diego. There will be one 3 night sailing to Ensenada, Mexico on May 15. Then on May 18, there will be a five night repositioning cruise to Vancouver with a stop in San Francisco. Sailing to Alaska will again be on Mondays with sailings from May 23 to August 15, 2016.

Disney Magic

Due to the popularity of this year’s sailings to Europe, the Disney Magic will again sail to Northern Europe! The Transatlantic sailing on May 15 will be a 14 night with stops in Boston, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Dublin, Liverpool and Dover. The ship will be homeported in Dover for the start of the season. On May 29, there is will be a 7 night Norwegian Fjord sailing stopping in Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger and Bergen.

New this year will be one sailings around the British Isles on June 5 with stops in Newcastle, Invergordon, Kirkwall, Greenock, Liverpool, Dublin, LeHavre, Guernsey Island and returning to Dover. June 17 will be a repositioning cruise from Dover to Copenhagen, with stops in Newcastle, Kirkwall, Reykjevik (overnight), Akureyri, Bergen, Stavanger and ending in Copenhagen. June 27 will be a repeat of the May 29 cruise, but in a different order since it starts and ends in Copenhagen.

July 6 will be a 7 night Northern Europe sailing will stops in Tallinn, St. Petersberg, Helsinski and Stockholm. July 17 will be a 12 night Iceland and Norway repositioning cruise with stops in Oslo, Kristiansand, Bergen, Akureyri, Reykjevik (overnight), Kirkwall, Invergordon and ending in Dover. July 27 will be a 7 night Dover to Barcelona repositioning with stops in Vigo, Lisbon Cadiz and ending in Barcelona.

August 1, the Disney Magic will start a 12 night Mediterranean and Greek Isle cruise, with ports of call in Villefranche, La Spezia, Civitavecchia, Piraeus, Kusadasi, Mykonos, Malta and back to Barcelona. August 13 will be a 7 night Western Mediterranean sailing with stops in Naples, Civitavecchia, LaSpezia and Cannes. August 20, 27, September 3 and 10 will be 7 night Western Mediterranean sailings with stops in Naples, Civitavecchia, LaSpezia and Villefranche.

If you would like us to get you a quote for any of these sailings, please complete a request form here http://bit.ly/1C7dOeK or contact your agent to get on their list. Please be sure to include your Castaway Club information (number and level if possible) as this will help us to identify when your quote can be obtained.

Change to DCL Onboard Booking Limits

In addition to new itineraries and cruise dates, this week Disney Cruise Line also announced a change in the time limit for using an onboard booking and receiving the benefits.

Prior to November 2013, you could book a future cruise while onboard your Disney Cruise and use it anytime in the future.  This led to many bookings that would need to be moved to a new date before the penalties set in.  Some reservations had been moved many, many times!  At some point, there needed to be the realization that you weren’t going to use that reservation.

That’s when Disney changed the policy and added a limit.  Bookings made prior to November 2013 were given until November 30, 2015 to be used or the onboard booking benefits would drop off of the reservation.  Any future bookings, however, were only given 18 months to be used.

This arbitrary number of months caused a lot of problems for future cruisers.  We started hearing a new reason for cancellations – “I can’t use the booking before the benefits will expire so I might as well cancel.”  We also were hearing back from those just off cruises that they didn’t book onboard due to the new time limits.

We figured that 18 months was a problem from the start.  There are a different types of people who make an onboard booking.  I’m going to focus on just two types.  Both of them are trying to save money on their future cruise and therefore have done their research.  They know that booking onboard is one of the ways to get a discount and onboard credit.

The first group are those who cruise every couple years.  They cruise pretty much at the same time each year due to the kid’s school break schedule or vacation time from work.  The problem is that 18 months is not long enough for them so they wouldn’t book onboard.

The second group are those who cruise every year.  Clearly, 18 months should be enough, right?  No, because they understand how to get the best price with Disney.  You book as soon as the dates are released.  That means if you normally cruise in January every year, if you book onboard your cruise, you would have to book for the following year.  However, to get the best pricing, you should have booked as soon as the following year’s bookings opened.  By the time you get onboard, you already have the next vacation booked, so it doesn’t do you any good to book onboard as you would need to use that booking within six months of your next cruise.

It seems as though Disney noticed this was happening and this week modified the time limit to now be 24 months.  While I would have preferred to see three or four years like Norwegian Cruise Line allows, or at a minimum 25 months (to account for shifts in school breaks/holidays/etc.), I think this is a vast improvement.

If the reason for the change is the reduction in the number of onboard bookings being made, I do think they will see an increase now.  If it is due to the number of cancellations, I don’t thing this will help.  Remember, when the rule went into effect, everyone booking before the rule was given approximately 24 more months.  It was only the new bookings that were given 18 months.  That means the majority of those who cancelled due to the time limit, were doing so because the limit was 24 months, not 18.

I am happy with the change however.  There was a need for it to happen.  For those who are sorry they didn’t book onboard or cancelled existing reservations due to the limits, don’t feel bad.  You helped Disney to see that the 18 months was too short a time.  Without your actions, there wouldn’t have been a reason to change it.  You sent a message and it appears it was heard loud and clear.

Early 2016 Disney Cruise Line Bookings Open Thursday

Disney Cruise Line has announced the itineraries for the first part of 2016 today. Gold and Platinum Castaway Club members can begin booking tomorrow with bookings open to everyone on Thursday, October 30.  Contact us today to get ready to book your date as soon as possible.  Or better yet, use this form to submit your request to us.

All four ships will be staying in the Caribbean and Bahamas for the spring months. Dates have only been released through the end of April. Here are the itineraries:

Disney Dream: Sailing alternating 3 and 4 night sailings from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas with stops at Nassau and Castaway Cay. 3 night sailings are on Fridays and 4 night sailings are on Mondays.

Disney Fantasy: Sailing alternating 7 night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings on Saturdays from Port Canaveral.

  • Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay – January 2, 16, 30, February 13, 27, March 12, 26, April 9, 23, 2016
  • Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Castaway Cay – January 9, 23, February 6, 20, March 5, 19, April 2, 16, 2016
  • Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth, Castaway Cay – April 30, 2016

Disney Magic will be sailing out of Miami and Port Canaveral. For Miami, the sailings will be:

  • 4 night Nassau, Castaway Cay, Key West – December 27, 2015
  • 3 night to Castaway Cay – December 31, 2015 and January 3, 2016
  • 4 night to Castaway Cay, Nassau, Key West – January 6, 20, 2016
  • 5 night Western with Cozumel, Castaway Cay – January 10, 24, 2016
  • 5 night Western with Grand Cayman, Castaway Cay – January 15, 29, 2016

For sailings out of Port Canaveral, we have:

  • 3 night with Nassau, Castaway Cay – February 4, 11, 18, 25, March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 2016
  • 4 night with Nassau, Castaway Cay – February 7, 14, 21, 28, March 6, 13, 20, 27, 2016
  • 7 night with Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Castaway Cay – April 10, 26, 2016
  • 7 night with Tortola, St. Thomas, Castaway Cay – April 3, 26, 2016

Disney Wonder will be sailing out of Galveston, San Juan and Miami! Here is what we have from Galveston:

  • 6 night repositioning from Galveston to San Juan – St. Thomas, Tortola – January 4, 2016

Here is what is showing from San Juan:

  • 7 night Southern Caribbean with ports of call in Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, Antigua, St. Kitts – January 10, 17, 24, 31
  • 5 night Southern Caribbean repositioning with ports of call in St. Kitts, Tortola and Castaway Cay – February 7, 2016

Here is what we are seeing from Miami:

  • 4 night with Castaway Cay, Nassau, Key West – February 17, March 2, 16, 30, April 13, 27, 2016
  • 5 night Western with Cozumel, Castaway Cay – February 21, March 6, 20, April 3, 17, 2016
  • 5 night Western with Grand Cayman, Castaway Cay – February 12, 26, March 11, 25, April 8, 22, 2016

Which itinerary are you most interested in?

 

“Can We Book 2016 Disney Cruise Dates Yet?”

We have been getting a lot of questions about booking 2016 cruise dates for Disney Cruise Line.  This started around the time that Disney released the remaining 2015 cruise dates.  The answer for the most part is that we have our suspicions when it will happen, but won’t know for certain until they are announced by Disney Cruise Line.

Disney Magic in St. Lucia

Disney Magic in St. Lucia

Based on the past few years, we do believe that Disney will divide the year into thirds again.  We think that the first part of the year, before the “Summer” season, will be released before the holidays this year.  This could be as soon as next week or as late as mid-December.  We do expect a release on Tuesday or Wednesday for Gold and Platinum Castaway Club members with a general public release the following day.  We usually get a feeling when the release is going to happen and our feeling right now is that it will happen sooner rather than later.

What do we think we will see in terms of itineraries?  Probably nothing different than Winter/Spring 2015 with the Magic on Western Caribbean sailings, the Fantasy on Eastern (though we do expect Tortola to be added), the Wonder sailing out of Miami or Galveston with Caribbean and Bahamas sailings and the Dream sailing 3 and 4 nights to the Bahamas.

What does this mean for you?  If you are looking for a Winter/Spring 2015 sailing on Disney, let your Travel On A Dream agent know!  Don’t have an existing booking?  Use our handy form to request a quote.  Tell us when you want to cruise, who’s traveling, where you want to go and what type of room you want.  When the pricing is available, we’ll get you a quote right away.  Be sure to let us know which category of Castaway Club you are in so we also know which date to book your reservation!

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Onboard Booking Incentives

Many of my clients ask how they can get a discount on a cruise when a promotion is not available.  One risky way is to wait until a discount comes available, however this is only recommended when you don’t really care when you will be cruising, just that you want to be cruising.

The two best ways to save are to book early, as soon as possible after dates open, and to book while you are onboard.  Many cruise lines have onboard booking incentives but the key is that you have to pay that deposit before you get off the ship or the incentives go away.

With some lines like Norwegian Cruise Line, you will purchase a certificate or coupon to use on a later date. You do not name your travel agent at the time of booking with Norwegian, but with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity you do. These may or may not have a use deadline (Norwegian has a 4 year limit).

With other lines you will select your cruise date. Some will have perks for booking onboard. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity give you a potential upgrade and onboard credit. Disney offers a discount and onboard credit.

There may be limits on how many you can book onboard. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean limit you to three bookings per line. Disney limits the discounted bookings to two rooms on the same sailing, but additional rooms may be booked but only receive the onboard credit.

Most lines do offer a reduced deposit as well.

Disney Cruise Line’s changes to their onboard booking procedure last fall make them among the most stringent policies. You have 18 months from the date the quote was first produced to use the booking or lose the onboard booking incentives. You will receive $100 onboard credit on sailings of 3-6 nights and $200 onboard credit for sailings of 7 nights or more. If you initially book a 7 night sailing, you will receive a discount on the deposit requirement (normally 20%, you will pay 10%). There are also several block out dates when a discount is not available.

I think the most important thing to remember is that you should book as soon as you know you want to cruise to lock in the best pricing. If you will be onboard before that sailing, you can always check pricing when you are onboard to see if you will save more money with the incentives. If so, book a new reservation. We can get you a full refund if outside of penalties or move monies already paid to the new reservation. As long as the same category is available with cabin assignments, we can generally get your original cabin reassigned to the new reservation.

Make sure you get your quote/booking before you get off the ship as many of the offers will no longer be available when you disembark. There is nothing wrong with putting a request in the bin for new quote requests, but I do recommend taking a photo of the form so you have it handy should something happen to the request. There is no need to stand in the lines to speak to someone. If you are using a travel agent, clearly write in their name and agency name on the form. If you do book onboard, it is recommended that you let your travel agent know as soon as you can that you did a booking so they can make sure they locate it.

2014-2015 Disney Cruise Line Black Out Dates

Everyone who cruises on Disney Cruise Line should know the best way to get a discount on a future sailing is to book onboard.  If you do that, you will get up to a 10% discount plus an onboard credit.  The onboard credit amount depends on the length of cruise you book in the future.  For up to six nights, you will get a $100 onboard credit.  For seven nights and longer, the onboard credit is $200.  If you book a cruise that is 7 nights or longer, you are entitled to a reduced deposit of only 10%, as opposed to the usual 20% deposit required.

One additional change is there are now black out dates. What this means is that if you book one of these dates, you will not receive a discounted price.  Additionally, if you move an onboard booking to one of these dates, you will not receive a discounted price.  Black out dates only apply to reservations originally booked after November 12, 2013.

Here is the updated list of all black out dates from this date forward:

  • Disney Fantasy – 2014 Dates:  June 14, June 21, December 20, December 27; 2015 Dates:  March 28, April 4, December 19, December 26
  • Disney Dream – 2014 Dates: June 29, July 3, July 6, December 22, December 29; 2015 Dates:  March 30, April 3, April 6, June 26, July 1, July 5, November 23, November 27, December 24, December 28, December 31
  • Disney Magic – 2014 Dates: July 14, July 26, December 21, December 28; 2015 Dates:  March 29, April 5, November 25, December 23, December 27, December 31
  • Disney Wonder – 2014 Dates:  June 30, December 21, December 26, December 30; 2015 Dates:  March 29, April 3, May 15, May 17, June 29, October 9, October 16, November 20, December 24, December 28

Of course these dates are subject to change, but this is current as of today.