Last summer we were fortunate to take a 7-day cruise on the Disney Fantasy. We wanted to do another 7 days this year, but wanted to try the Disney Dream. After consulting the future bookings desk on the Fantasy, we decided to do back-to-back cruises, a 3-day followed by a 4-day.
DIStracted tip: Back-to-back cruising is a great way to get your cruise count up if you’re interested in getting to the next Castaway Club level as soon as possible.
Here are the top 10 things to know:
10. You will have to leave the ship in between cruises. Disney Cruise Line (DCL) needs to clear the ship before allowing you to reboard. We had late-seating breakfast and walked off the ship at 9:00. We waited a bit at the empty terminal and were able to check in around 9:45. Then, we got to wait in the Concierge Guest area (they call it the fishbowl) before we we were directed back onboard at 10:30.
9. If you book early enough, you might be able to have the same cabin for both cruises. We were able to do this, and it was really easy. We left all of our luggage in the room when we left the ship after the first cruise and only had to take our passports and paperwork. We received a letter the last night of the first cruise that detailed the procedure for us. If you need to switch cabins for the second cruise, you will be informed of what to do.
8. You will probably get to have the same dining team and table for both cruises. This was great because we really got to know our server, head server, and assistant server.
DIStracted tip: Many times, your family will be seated with other families for dinner. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you can request to be seated at a table by yourselves. The requests are not guaranteed, but they do try to accommodate you.
7. Even though you are back on the ship for the second cruise before all of the new people, don’t expect to spend all of that time in the pool while it’s empty or riding the Aqua Duck several times in a row. The pools and Aqua Duck don’t open until 11:45 or 12:00. You can be first in line for the Aqua Duck, though!
DIStracted tip: If you need to do laundry, an excellent time to do it is when you get back on the ship for the second cruise. You will have the laundry room to yourself.
6. There are a couple drawbacks to getting back on the ship early. First, there is no chance for a photo opportunity with Captain Mickey in the terminal, and no chance for a “Welcome Aboard” photo. Of course, if you did this before the first cruise, it’s not a necessity.
5. There are a couple of awesome advantages to back-to-back cruises: two Pirate Nights and two stops at Castaway Cay!
DIStracted tip: If you are trying to book a cabana at Castaway Cay or popular excursions in Nassau, take some time to learn how to navigate the DCL website before your booking date. If you log in before midnight (EST) and get to the right page, refresh the page as soon as the clock hits midnight and you just might be able to snag that cabana. Seconds count, and it is so worth it.
4. Even though the cabins are not ready for the other Guests until 1:30, if you are keeping the same cabin for the second cruise, you will most likely be able to get into your cabin as soon as you’re back onboard. Our stateroom host was fantastic, and since he knew we were doing the back-to-back cruises he cleaned our cabin first so it was ready for us when we returned.
3. Shipboard charges do not carry over to the second cruise. You will need to settle your account at Guest Services or have the balance charged to your credit card on file at the end of the first cruise. DCL suggests that you settle your account the last night of the cruise, as the morning can get very busy. If you are having everything charged to your credit card, you do not need to stop at Guest Services; the charges will post automatically the morning you disembark.
2. On a 7-day cruise, the menus change each time you eat at a restaurant, even though you’re eating there more than once. On a 3-day cruise followed by a 4-day cruise, the menus are the same each time you’re in a restaurant (except for Pirate Night on the 4-day; there is a special “Pirate” menu that night). This can be an issue if you or anyone in your family is not a very adventurous eater, as there isn’t as much variety as on a 7-day cruise, but then again, if you love the menus, you get to experience the amazing food twice!
1. At least one time during the cruises, you will think, “Hey, this is pretty cool … I wonder how much back-to-back seven-day cruises would cost?” You will (most likely) quickly come to your senses – but you will definitely have the thought.
Has anyone done back-to-back seven-day cruises? I’d love to hear about it!