Back to Back Cruising

I have had several people ask me how this Disney Cruise Line “back to back” cruising works. It’s a neat concept, and has it’s perks and downfalls.

First, let me explain. We went on two separate Disney cruises recently: a 4 night Bahamian sailing and a 3 night Bahamian sailing, back to back. Why do this instead of just a straight seven night cruise? For us, adding the 3 night was a last minute decision as we had already booked the 4 night with friends. Another perk for us was two stops at Disney’s private island: Castaway Cay. We love it there, and each sailing made a stop so we got two full days in our favorite place.

309

Also, once you sail on a Disney cruise you become a member of what is called the Castaway Club. If you have completed 1-5 cruises you are a silver member, 6-10 is gold, and then platinum. Each level has different perks like gifts in your room, different booking windows for bookings excursions, and platinum cruisers even get a free meal at the adults only restaurant Palo, as well as the ability to board the ship with boarding group one. So, for us, doing two cruises instead of one “counted” twice and my next cruise, I will be platinum.

187

It’s also fun to get on the boat before everyone else and get to your room first on the second cruise. Let me explain how it worked. The last night of our first cruise (the four night cruise) we had a letter in our room explaining the process. If you are staying in the same room, you can leave you luggage etc. in your room, and debark the ship by 9:15. If you are changing rooms (like us) just pack up, leave everything in the room, and the stateroom host will bring your bags to your new room for you. perfect!

The next morning we ate breakfast and were in no hurry to get off the ship. We actually stayed on closer to 10:00 because people were still getting off. We relaxed in the adults only coffee shop checking emails and doing work while we had a day in port (another perk to a back to back, ability to get on the internet halfway through your trip).

We got off, breezed through customs, then turned and went right back up the escalators to check in. The port wasn’t even open yet, so it was empty. We checked in and were given a special green ticket, and were told to go sit in the concierge/closed off area in the back of the terminal.

273

We sat there just hanging out until 10:45, when a cast member led us through a side door to get back onto the ship. (to the right of the Mickey ears is the closed off area we sat in while waiting to board).

274

It was weird being on the ship early (boarding usually starts around 11:45ish) because people were still cleaning and scurrying about getting things ready. The next perk was a big one, getting to our rooms early. The letter that was left on our bed started that our stateroom would be a top priority to get cleaned, and it would be ready by 11:30. FYI, for everyone else that gets on board, you can’t access your room until 1:30. We were able to get into ours just before 11:00, and our luggage was already in there, it was awesome.

277

We unpacked, called our families, and hung out in the room until the lunch buffet opened at 11:45, and we were among the first to eat, and we simply went back to our room after, changed, and went to the pool. Normally we have to lug our day bags around, change in the public bathroom, etc. So this was a very nice perk.

Another fun thing was Disney kept us with our same dining room team, so it was nice to have familiar faces at dinner, it made it seem like a 7 night cruise.

We enjoyed experiencing the back to back, but I don’t know if we will make it a habit of sailing on them. One downfall is they only go to Nassau and castaway cay, so if you are looking to go to other ports this may not be for you. However, we use Nassau day to stay on a near empty ship anyway, so we didn’t mind. You lose a few hours on the day you get off and back on, having to get off then wait to get back on etc., but other than that we enjoyed ourselves!

If you have any questions about the process please let me know!

QOTD: Would you ever consider a back to back cruise?

Disney Cruise Recap 12/13

Hello! I am officially back home. I made it back late morning yesterday, and I have been playing catch up with work since then. I cannot believe Christmas eve is in a week, I feel so unprepared (my Christmas tree has NO GIFTS under it. I am so behind y’all). Anyway, we had a fabulous time on the cruise, and I plan to recap the Castaway Cay 5k (again) because I took some video this time. But for today, I wanted to share what we did the OTHER days of our cruise.

We did what is called a “back to back” which means we did a four night ailing followed by a three night sailing on the same ship. There is a certain procedure that you follow in order to do this which I will also be sharing about. So we were on the Disney Dream for a total of seven nights. We went to Nassau twice and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, twice.

We drove to Disney on Saturday and stayed with Jen and Jeff at Port Orleans Riverside in a royal room.

162

We took the boat to Downtown Disney for dinner at Earl of Sandwich.

163

The next day we drove to Port Canaveral and boarded the Dream. The ship looked gorgeous all dressed up for Christmas.

181

172

We had lunch then went to check our our verandah stateroom. (Category 5C is anyone is curious)

173

We then did some walking around and lounged at the pool until time for early dinner.

176

A Mickey Bar was my dessert of choice most nights.

177

After dinner Bobby and I went to one of the adult only areas to watch the Saints play on Sunday night football. (There was a HUGE screen to the right of this photo and we sat in recliners right in front of it. Aaahhh, bliss).

178

The next day was a sea day and we went to the gym then had Palo Brunch reservations which was amazing as always. My favorite part: dessert.

185

Bobby and I attended a special reception for gold and platinum castaway club members that afternoon. Free champagne? Of course I’m there! We got to hear from the captain which was neat.

190

At dinner we may have all been craving cheese sticks…

193

The next day in Nassau, the Disney Magic parked next to us. It was neat to see the ships side by side again and get some photos. A couple years ago I was on the MAGIC when we were next to the Dream. This time it was reversed!

196

We didn’t get off in Nassau. it rained, so we just read books up on deck and took a nap.

200

I love these guys

209

The next day we were at Castaway Cay, and we ran the 5k.

231

We had a great day on the island relaxing and also playing volleyball.

249

We had Palo dinner that night which was amazing, even though poor Bobby had a migraine. Luckily, with a special concoction from the Palo Maître d’, he started feeling better. Even though said concoction was disgusting.

265

217

The next day we had to get off the ship and say goodbye to our friends. Then, we got back on board shorty after.

274

Our new room was a deluxe family verandah stateroom, a category 4B.

277

We went to the hot tub, and honestly I don’t remember what else! We had late dining this time, so we got to see the sun set before dinner.

281

Our cute dinner table

283

The next day was Nassau day again, so we hung out at the pool, rode the AquaDuck waterslide, and took a 2.5 hour nap! We had dinner at Palo again that night, and I had the most amazing Crème Brule martini. Seriously. Order it. (The the way we had the same server for both Palo dinners and the brunch and he was amazing. his name is Matt he is from Poland. be sure to request him!)

289

These two goofballs were eating at Palo that night as well and came and found us.293

Katherine, Amanda, and me.

The next day we were back at my beloved Castaway Cay for another day of fun in the sun. We had beautiful weather, high of maybe 80, crystal clear water, perfection.

298

306

310

315

2222

318

The next day it was a 10 hour drive to Louisiana to pick up the dogs then back to reality yesterday. We had a wonderful time, it was a great idea to give the cruise as a gift to each other, and I can’t wait to go back some day!

QOTD: Have you been on a cruise? Favorite thing about them? Favorite cruise line?

*WINNERS of the Runner’s Christmas gift guide giveaways are posted on the Rafflecopter widget. See if you won!

**If you would like me to help you plan your magical cruise on most any cruise line (at no extra cost!) email [email protected] I would love to help you!