Category Archives: Disney Fantasy

Disney Cruise Line vs Azamara Club Cruises

As many of our friends and fans know, I just returned from my first Azamara Club Cruise on the Azamara Journey.  I traveled over Easter, so more children were onboard than normal.  According to the stats we were given, there were six onboard under 17.  Yes, I did say that was more than normal.  Part of the reason it is surprising is that Azamara does not have dedicated children’s programming like all of the contemporary cruise lines.  That was ok with us as we are two adults with no children.

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We have cruised 27 times on Disney since 2002.  People are amazed when I tell them that.  We have been very happy with Disney Cruise Line and to be honest, the experience on board has rarely been less than excellent for us.  We have realized that we pay a premium to cruise on Disney and it hasn’t been a problem for us when we consider all we are getting.  This started changing about 2 1/2 years ago when the Disney Magic came out of her reimagination.

As I was preparing to host a group onboard for the five night sailing, I received a call from Disney Cruise Lines, indicating that the cruise was going to be cancelled as the ship was not ready yet.  This was three days prior to sailing.  I scrambled to reschedule or postpone all of my clients to another cruise date and then I started worrying about myself.  Our flight was in the morning and we had been scheduled to cruise back to back, plus meeting friends at Disney World pre-cruise.  We couldn’t just cancel, we had a lot of arrangements to be made.

Of course, since our notice was three nights prior to the sailing, we figured that the rest of the work should only take three more days, right?  I think I would have been more accepting if it had only taken three days, but instead, when we got onboard eight days after we received the notice, there was still work being done.  Some cabins weren’t completed.  Reserved cabins weren’t cleaned, toilets weren’t attached, etc.  This made me realize that Disney should have been able to give more than three days notice.  As far as I can tell, this is when my opinion started to change.

After this time, Disney started putting limits on onboard bookings, changed the alcohol policy, significantly increased pricing, yet didn’t vary many of the sailings at all.  After 27 sailings, we really didn’t see a need to cruise except if it was a very special itinerary or a new ship.  When summer 2016 sail dates were released, we made our decision that unless it was work related, we would not be cruising Disney again after our scheduled cruise to Iceland and Norway in summer 2015.  It was a very sad moment in our household.  It was a tough decision, but we had decided that unless people started to send a message about the itineraries and the pricing, nothing would ever change.  As long as people were paying, Disney had no incentive to change.  I was no longer going to be a part of the problem.

Don’t get me wrong.  If you have young children and haven’t been on every Disney Cruise Line itinerary, you have every reason to cruise.  The children’s programming is fantastic.  I don’t know of any cruise line that comes close to what Disney does for the kids.  I’m not saying the other lines have bad children’s programming, I’m saying that Disney far exceeds the others.  Disney is a great line to go on a multi-generational trip.  There is something for every age to do.

Disney prides itself on is exceeding the competition in terms of what they offer onboard.  I think the children’s programming is a great example.  But when it comes to the rest, I think you can reasonably argue that Disney has started to fall behind the competition.

With summer 2017 sailings released last week, it was great to see some new itineraries out there for more than just the Disney Magic.  Four and five night “double dips” to the Bahamas, new ports in Alaska, a nine night sailing in Alaska, plus two Southern Caribbean sailings on the Fantasy.  However, when I looked at the pricing on those sailings, it was the same old, same old.  New itineraries mean higher prices, justified because they are during summer break and because you can’t compare to previous sailings as there weren’t others.

Let’s turn back to our Azamara Club Cruise.  This cruise far exceeded our expectations.  From the food, to the service and everything in between, Azamara was, well, just amazing.  While onboard we booked a future cruise in November 2018.  This was a 10 night Eastern Caribbean, visiting many islands that we have not visited before.  The price was not cheap, but the experience made us realize it was worth it to us.

Balcony Cabin

After Disney announced 10 and 11 night sailings on the Fantasy, we felt it was important to compare the two lines and sailings.  Here is a comparison of the ships and what is offered.

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Yes, gratuities and standard alcoholic beverages are included in the cruise fare.  The inclusions listed above are for all cabins, not just concierge and suites.  They have other extras as well.  I should also mention that with a new booking on a future Azamara cruise, onboard credits are available for most of the categories.

Of course, you have to compare the pricing as well as the ports of call as it wouldn’t mean much without that.  Below I compared the 10 night Disney Fantasy sailing with the 10 night Azamara Journey sailing that I am booked on.  The price difference is staggering!  Yes, the Journey is not going as far south as the Fantasy, but I will get nearly 20 more hours in port and visit three ports of call I have never been to, and return to three ports that I loved in the past.  Plus I won’t have to pay for gratuities or beverages.  If I opt for the concierge room, I’ll pay just a little more than a balcony on Disney and I’ll also get my specialty dining included.  Plus I’ll get between a $300 – $1500 onboard credit from Azamara.

Next I compared the 11 night Disney Fantasy sailing with the 11 night Azamara Quest sailing in January 2017.  Editor’s Note:  Price comparison removed by request.

10 vs 11

One other thing that I forgot to mention about Azamara pricing.  Several sailings a year will have single rates at 125% instead of the industry norm of 200%.  This is great for the solo travelers.  Additionally, if you are a cruiser who has been on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises, you have an advantage.  When you are part of either the Crown and Anchor or Captain’s Club, you can request a one-time match into the other club.  You will come in to the other club at a corresponding level, then start earning loyalty with the second line.  Azamara shares the club levels with Celebrity.  What this means is if you have cruised with Celebrity, when you cruise on Azamara, you come in at their respective level.  What is different is that you continue to earn points with both!  We started our Azamara Journey cruise 6 points away from the next level with Celebrity and Azamara.  After completing the cruise, we have now reached the next level with both of them.  The repeater benefits are much better as well with both of these lines.

This has made me feel even better about the amount I’m spending for my Journey sailing.  The only question left is “Who wants to join us?”  If there is enough interest, we will make this a ToaD group sailing!  Drop my wife a note at tracy@travelonadream.com.

Summer 2017 Disney Cruise Line Itineraries Announced

Disney Cruise Lines has announced the itineraries and dates for Summer 2017 sailings today.  Here is what we are seeing.  Gold and Platinum members of the Castaway Club will be able to book tomorrow and everyone else on Thursday.  If there are dates you are interested in, please let us know as soon as possible so we can book for you as soon as the bookings open.  If you don’t have a Travel On A Dream agent, please email vacations@travelonadream.com.

Disney Fantasy – Will be alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings.  The Eastern Caribbean sailings will go to Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay while the Western will go to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth and Castaway Cay.  Eastern Caribbean sailings will be on June 3, July 15, July 29, August 12, August 26, September 9 and September 23.  Western Caribbean sailings will be on June 10, July 8, July 22, August 5, August 19, September 2, September 16 and September 30.

Also, there will be an 11-night Southern Caribbean on June 17 with stops in Aruba, Barbados, Martinique, St. Kitts, Tortola and Castaway Cay.  Finally, there is a 10-night sailing on June 28 with stops in Aruba, Curacao, St. Kitts, Tortola and Castaway Cay.

Disney Dream – The Dream will sail 3, 4 and 5 night Bahamian sailings from Port Canaveral.  Several dates will include two stops at Castaway Cay.  The 4 night sailings with two stops at Castaway Cay include June 7, June 21, and July 5.  The five night sailings will have two stops at Castaway Cay on June 2, June 11, June 16, June 25, June 30 and July 9.

Disney Magic – The Disney Magic will again visit Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.  The Eastbound Transatlantic will visit Ponta Delgada, Portugal, Portland, England, Dover, England, Amsterdam, Netherlands and end in Copenhagen, Denmark.  This sailing will be on May 13 for 15 nights.

May 28, June 11 – 7 night Northern European – Copenhage to Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm.

June 4 – 7 night Norwegian Fjords – Copenhagen to Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger, Bergen.

June 18 – 10 night Northern European – Copenhagen to Warnemunde, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Amsterdam, ending in Dover.

June 28 – 11 night Norwegian Fjords and Iceland – Dover to Stavanger, Alesund, Akureyri, Reykjavik and Invergordon.

July 9 – 12 night British Isles visiting Newcastle, Invergordon, Kirkwall, Greenock, Liverpool, Dublin, Le Havre and Guernsey.

July 21 – 7 night Western Europe – Dover to Le Havre, Lisbon, Cadiz, Barcelona.

July 28 – 10 night Mediterranean – Barcelona to Villefranche, Livorno, Olbia, Civitavecchia, Naples, Palermo, Palma.

August 7 – 5 night Mediterranean – Barcelona to Cannes, Livorno and Civitavechhia.

August 12, 19, 26, September 2 and 9 – 7 night Mediterranean – Barcelona to Naples, Civitavecchia, Livorno, Villefranche.  September 2 sailing visits Cannes instead of Villefranche.

Disney Wonder – The Wonder will again be visiting Alaska with a new port of call – Icy Strait Point.  We visited this port in 2014 and know it will be popular!

April 23 – 14 night Panama Canal sailing – Port Canaveral to Cozumel, Cartegena, Panama Canal, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, and ending in San Diego.

May 7 – 5 night Baja – San Diego to Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas.

May 12 – 2 night Baja – San Diego to Ensenada.

May 14 – 3 night Baja – San Diego to Ensenada.

May 17 – 5 night repositioning – San Diego to San Francisco and ending in Vancouver.

May 22, 29, June 5, 12, 19, 26, July 3, 10, 17, August 7, 14, 21, 28 – Vancouver to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan.  July 17 date will also stop in Icy Strait Point.

July 24 – 9 night Alaskan – 9 night Alaskan – From Vancouver to Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm.

August 2 – 5 night Alaskan – Visiting Tracy Arm, Ketchikan.

Any dates not listed will not be released this week and should be available on the future release.

Fall 2015 Disney Cruise Line Itinerary

Today, Disney Cruise Line announced the itineraries for fall of 2015.  Bookings open on Wednesday, May 21 to the public with bookings available tomorrow for Gold and Platinum Castaway Club members. Request your quote here.  Be sure to tell us your Castaway Club level so we properly prioritize your request.

Here is what we are seeing:

Disney Wonder

  • September 7, 2015 – 10 night Vancouver to Hawaii with stops in Hilo, Nawiliwili, Kahului and 2 days at Honolulu
  • September 17, 2015 – 10 night Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver with stops in Hilo, Nawiliwili, and 2 days in Kahului
  • September 27, 2015 – 4 night Vancouver to San Diego with stop in Victoria.
  • October 1 – 3 night Baja with stop in Ensenada
  • October 4, 11, 18 – 5 night Baja with stops in Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas
  • October 9, 16 – 2 night Getaway from San Diego
  • October 23, 2015 – 14 night San Diego to Galveston with stops in Puerto Vallarta, Cartegena, Cozumel, through the Panama Canal.
  • November 6, 2015 – 7 night sailing from Galvest with stops in Cozumel, Falmouth and Grand Cayman
  • November 13, 20, 27, December 4, 11, 28, 2015 – 7 night Bahamian sailing from Galveston with stops at Nassau, Key West and Castaway Cay
  • December 18, 2015 – 6 night sailing from Galveston with stops at Key West and Castaway Cay
  • December 24 – 5 night Western from Galveston with stop at Cozumel

Disney Magic

  • September 19, 2015 – 11 night Westbound Transatlantic Cruise from Barcelona with stops in Funchal and Castaway Cay, ending in Miami
  • September 20
  • October 4, 18, November 1, 15, 29, December 13, 2015 – 5 night Western Caribbean from Miami with stops at Cozumel and Castaway Cay
  • October 9, 23, November 6, 20, December 4, 18, 2015 – 5 night Western Caribbean from Miami with stops at Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay
  • September 30, October 14, 28, November 11, 25, December 9, 27, 2015 – 4 night Bahamian sailing from Miami to Castaway Cay, Nassau and Key West

Disney Fantasy

  • September 5, 19, October 3, 17, 31, November 14, December 28, 2015 – 7 night Western sailings with stops in Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth and Castaway Cay
  • November 28, December 12, 2015 – 7 night Western sailings with stops in Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay
  • September 12, 26, October 10, 24, 2015 – 7 night Eastern sailings with stops in St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay
  • November 7, 21, December 5, 19, 2015 – 7 night Eastern sailings with stops in Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay

Disney Dream

  • September 4, 11, 18, November 16, 23, 30, November 6, 13, 20, 27, December 4, 11, 18, 21, 28, 2015 – 3 night Bahamian sailing to Nassau and Castaway Cay
  • December 23, 2015 – 4 night Bahamian sailing to Key West and Castaway Cay
  • September 7, 21, October 19, 26, November 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, December 7, 14, 24, 2015 – 4 night Bahamian sailings with stops at Nassau and Castaway Cay

Updated Disney Cruise Line Schedules for 2014

We have compiled a list of all the schedules for the Disney ships next fall, following the changes in the last couple weeks.  These sailings are available to book at this time.

Disney Magic®

  • October 4, 2014 – Southern Caribbean out of San Juan (no change)
  • October 11, 2014 – Southern Caribbean out of San Juan (no change)
  • October 18, 2014 – 3 night Repositioning cruise from San Juan to Port Canaveral (Day at Sea, Castaway Cay)
  • October 21, 2014 – 5 night from Port Canaveral (Castaway Cay, Nassau, Key West, Day at Sea)
  • October 26, 2014 – 7 night Eastern Caribbean from Port Canaveral (Two Days at Sea, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Day at Sea, Castaway Cay) – Also November 9, 2014
  • November 2, 2014 – 7 night Western Caribbean from Port Canaveral (Key West, Day at Sea, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Day at Sea, Castaway Cay) – also November 23, December 7 and December 21, 2014
  • November 16, 2014 – 7 night Western Caribbean from Port Canaveral (Day at Sea, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth, Day at Sea, Castaway Cay) – also November 30, December 14 and December 28, 2014

Disney Dream®

  • 3 night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral – Nassau, Castaway Cay –  October 2, 9, 16, 31, November 14, 21, 28, December 5, 12, 19, 26, 2014
  • 3 night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral – Day at Sea, Castaway Cay – November 7, 2014
  • 4 night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral – Nassau, Castaway Cay, Day at Sea – October 5, 12, 19, 27, November 3, 17, 24, December 1, 8, 15, 22, 2014
  • 4 night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral – Nassau, Castaway Cay, Castaway Cay – October 23, 2014
  • 4 night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral – Day at Sea, Castaway Cay, Castaway Cay – November 10, 2014
  • 4 night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral – Nassau, Day at Sea, Castaway Cay – December 29, 2014

Disney Wonder®

  • October 1, 2014 – 5 night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral (no change)
  • October 6, 2014 – 4 night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral (no change)
  • Transit to Miami (not for sale) October 10 – 11, 2014
  • October 11, 2014 – 6 night Western Caribbean –
  • October 17, 2014 – 5 night Western Caribbean from Miami – Day at Sea, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Day at Sea – Also October 31, November 14, 28, December 12, 2014
  • October 22, 2014 – 4 night Bahamian Cruise from Miami – Castaway Cay, Day at Sea, Key West – Also November 5, 2014
  • October 26, 2014 – 5 night Western Caribbean from Miami – Day at Sea, Cozumel, Day at Sea, Castaway Cay
  • November 19, 2014 – 4 night Bahamian Cruise from Miami – Castaway Cay, Nassau, Key West – Also December 3, 17, 2014
  • December 26, 2014 – 4 night Bahamian Cruise from Miami – Day at Sea, Nassau, Castaway Cay
  • December 30, 2014 – 5 night Bahamian Cruise from Miami – Castaway Cay, Nassau, Day at Sea, Key West

There are no changes at this time to the Disney Fantasy® scheduling.  With this schedule, unless Disney cancels some of the dates already for sale, there is not going to be a dry dock opportunity for the Disney Wonder or the Disney Dream in 2014.

Don’t forget about our onboard credit offer, available on most sailings.  Also we currently have two promotions for our birthday – one giving you double referral credit and the other with a bonus for groups.

A Fantasy Review

Editor’s Note:  This review is from our friend Nicole Fazzio from her recent cruise on the Disney Fantasy.   Thanks Nicole for taking the time to share this with us!

The Fantasy was just so beautiful, and I loved the additions to the adult area at the front of the ship- Satellite Falls was a great place to hang out, although it can get windy at times.  I do think DCL went a little overboard with shaded areas on this ship though.  There seems to be more covered areas than open so there are limited lounge chairs for sun which compounds the problem of people saving chairs.  I was by myself so I didn’t have too much of a problem but for those needing 2 or more chairs together in the sun it appeared challenging.  La Piazza was spectacular, felt so much larger than on the Dream.  It was almost too large though—I always felt like I was missing something and couldn’t do it all and this was a 7 night cruise!  The bars were so beautiful and themed but I am definitely looking forward to my cruise on the Magic this summer when I will feel less overwhelmed with it all.

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New 2014 DCL Itineraries Announced

Disney Cruise Line has finally announced the rest of the 2014 cruise itineraries.  The first half of the year were released in early December and can be found here.  This actually wasn’t that long of a wait when we look back at some recent years, but it seems like forever when you are looking for a specific itinerary or date.  We will look at what’s happening ship by ship.  But first, bookings for these itineraries will open on February 14, 2014 (opening February 13 for Platinum and Gold Castaway Club members).

Disney Magic

As was predicted, the Disney Magic will be returning to the Mediterranean to embark on exciting sailings in the summer of 2014.  Select sailings will call Venice, Italy, as her home port.  All Venice sailings will overnight in the city so you can experience the nightlife here.  Disney Magic will visit several ports of call (some for the first time), including Katakolon, Rhodes, Heraklion (Crete), Santorini and Corfu, Greece and Catania, Sicily.

On June 26 and July 5 there will be new 9-night Mediterranean Greek Isles sailings departing from Venice with visits to Katakolon, Pireaus, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Mykonos and then overnighting in Venice.

She will conclude her season in Europe with another Transatlantic sailing returning to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Here Disney Magic will embark on four 7-night Southern Caribbean sailings with stops in Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and St. Kitts.  These sailing will be September 20, 27, October 4 and October 11.

Next she will go back to Miami and continue with alternating 4, 5 and 5 night sailings to the Bahamas and Western Caribbean.  This is the same itineraries the Disney Wonder will be sailing in early 2014.

Disney Wonder

Yes, the Disney Wonder is going back to Alaska!  But before she gets there, she will be making a journey through the Panama Canal.

The first sailing out of Vancouver will be special as the Wonder will visit Sitka, Alaska for the very first time on a 9-night sailing.  Following the 9-night sailing, she will continue through the summer with 7-night Alaskan itineraries, with ports of call in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan and a visit to Tracy Arm fjord.

The 9-night sailing will be on May 24, while the remaining of the sailings will depart on Mondays with the final Alaska sailing on September 1.

Following the Alaskan season, Disney Wonder will go back to the Caribbean and Port Canaveral!

Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream

The Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream will continue it’s schedule of Bahamas and Caribbean sailings out of Port Canaveral in the fall of 2014.