Sunday, March 29, 2015

What is rotational dining?

by DreamFinder Travel agent Kim Merrill

Today I wanted to take the time to highlight one of the details that places Disney Cruise Line head a shoulders above the competition:  Rotational Dining!

Disney outfits its ships with not just one or two, but THREE main dining rooms, and with all things Disney, they are beautifully themed with menus to match.  But you know what?  You don’t have to make reservations or fight to get into these restaurants during your sailing.  With rotational dining, you get to visit all 3 on a three-night cruise, and begin to repeat them on four-night and longer cruises! 

The other beautiful detail is that you are assigned to a dining team (or they are assigned to you?).  You are given a table number, the same for all three dining rooms, and your servers follow you from dining room to dining room.  How is that a benefit, you ask?  How lovely would it be to have your favorite non-alcoholic drink delivered to your table shortly after you sit down without having to ask?  Your servers get a feel for your likes and dislikes, and in true Disney fashion, take care of the details seamlessly. 

So how do you know what rotation you are assigned to?  Well, there are two ways. The first is the most obvious if you have never been on a Disney Cruise.  In your stateroom, you will find a “ticket” that lays out which dining room you will eat at each evening, as well as the time to arrive.  The other, far more convenient method, actually involves your “key to the ship” card:

Take a look at the card above.  I was on the Disney Magic on the dates shown above.  It was a 3-night cruise, and if you look at the bottom line that starts with “dinner”, you’ll see that my dining time was at 8:15pm.  You also see that I was assigned to table 20, but you may also see “CLA”.  That right there is my dining room rotation!  “C” stands for “Carioca’s”, “L” stands for “Lumiere’s”, and “A” stands for “Animator’s Palate”. For a longer cruise, these letters begin to repeat, but not necessarily in order, so that’s why I said this is a great way to keep track of where you’re going to be.   You need this card to get in your stateroom, so most people adopt a lanyard to wear around their neck to hold it!

Rotational dining is included in your cruise fare.  Disney's ships also have two adult-only restaurants to choose from if the adults need an adult outing, but if you choose not to do this, your cruise experience will not be diminished in the least!  More on the adult-only options at another time.

As I mentioned, the menus change from restaurant to restaurant, and also from night-to-night.  They do not repeat, so you will not be culinarily bored (I’m not sure that’s a word, but hopefully you get the point).  Your servers take your order, and typically, it’s a four-service meal: Appetizer, soup/salad, main dish, and dessert, however, you can order whatever you want (and as much as you would like.)  No appetizer pique your interest but want soup AND salad?  No problem.  Two entrees?  Ok!  And most importantly, if Mickey Bars are your thing, they carry them on domestic cruises!!

Hopefully this gives you a bit of info so that you can hop on board and just relax!
But wait! ”What is that giant K on the lower left of the card” you ask?  That has nothing to do with dining: That is your lifeboat drill station!  (I'll cover that at another time!)

Can't wait to cruise and find out more?  Visit the DreamFinder Travel website today and request your complimentary no-obligation pricing quote to find out just how affordable it can be for your family.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Disney Cruise Line: It's all in the Details

Disney Cruise Line:  It's all in the details

The Walt Disney Company is no stranger to hiding unique details in their products.  Animated films often hide characters from other movies while the theme parks are known for the “hidden mickey,” an intentional or unintentional likeness to everyone’s favorite mouse.  With the announcement of the 2016 summer itineraries for the Disney Cruise Line, now is a great time to take a look into some of the details that help make the Disney Cruise Line extra magical.

The cruise industry is known for the customary bright orange lifeboats which are perched on each ship offering safety and peace of mind to their travelers.  Disney Cruise Line has taken the safety of their guests seriously, but with a fun twist, by painting their lifeboats yellow.  The company had to seek permission from the U.S. Coast Guard to stray from the regulation orange and is the first cruise line to do so.  The color helps to keep with overall special color theming of the ship by complimenting the Black hull, white superstructure, yellow trim, and red funnels featuring the Disney Cruise Line Mickey Mouse logo.

Another first among the cruise industry, Disney Cruise Line is the first of its kind to offer fireworks while at sea.  On most sailings, the unique Pirates in the Caribbean Night features themed food, themed party, and plenty of guests in costume.  While not available on all cruise itineraries, the highlight of the night is when a fireworks show takes place above the open sea, providing a one of a kind experience only provided by the Disney Cruise Line.

The cruise line also has another first in the amount of captains on their ship at any one time.  While other cruise lines feature one captain, the Disney Cruise Line features four captains on each ship!  The ship’s captain, Captain Mickey, Captain Hook, and Captain Jack Sparrow!  Both the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder each employ an additional 950 crew members aside from the four captains.  The crew members come from over 86 different nationalities.   An additional 60 crew members live and work full-time of Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island.

While these are just a few of the amazing details you can find on Disney Cruise Line ships, there are plenty more surprises around each corner of the four ships with amazing itineraries coming in the summer of 2016.  From the first time sailings to the British Isles to the tropical paradise of the Southern Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line can help your family to experience the most magical summer vacation.

Want to experience all of the magic that Disney has to offer onboard their ships?  Request your complimentary pricing quote today so that your family can enjoy the special attention to details that only Disney can offer.

Article written by DreamFinder Travel Agent Tanya