In our 15 years of marriage, we have never gone on a family vacation that didn’t involve other events tied to it, like a wedding or reunion. We were so focused on getting out of debt that we didn’t see the point in “wasting our money” on a trip that we really couldn’t afford. Fast-forward to last year, when we finally paid off all our debt (except our mortgage) — it was time to plan a legit big family trip. We included our kids in the decision because the vacation was really for them. Ultimately we decided on a cruise, but not just any cruise; a Disney cruise. We went cruise-big as a way to make up for the 15 years we hadn’t had a family vacation. I asked around to find out which cruise experience is best for families. Hands down everyone said Disney cruises. That was easy! As I started comparing prices with other cruise lines, I was very surprised. The price different was huge, so I begun a Facebook conversation to voice my concern. Everyone who replied said that a Disney cruise was more than the others but was worth the cost. So I took their word and moved forward with a Disney cruise.
Since we were paying more for this cruise, I wanted to make sure we were booking the best deal possible. I begun researching cost vs. dates and came to find that there is a difference in price depending on when you go. We chose to go at a very slow time, which was the end of February or first week of March. As much as I wanted to go during the kids’ Spring Break, there was a huge jump in price that week.
Another way I found to help cut cost was to work with a Disney Travel consultant. A friend in my Facebook conversation referred me to her friend, a certified Disney Travel Consultant. These people love Disney so much that they become consultants for Disney’s travel packages. This Consultant helped me find the cheapest week to go and also helped with other details like insurance, filling out forms, room and lodging, best discounts, and even a tip sheet.
So in good faith from what I was told, we booked our cruise and waited.
I used the time between booking and leaving for the trip to research as much as I could about the trip. I was able to find some great tips that helped our experience. I read everything I could about what my kids could do while on the boat. The more I read, the more I was impressed with what was included in the cruise: all food (aside for a few exceptions), all activities on the boat, childcare for kids 3+, and round-the-clock room service.
I was starting to get even more excited about our trip, maybe even more than the kids.
The day of our cruise finally arrived and we boarded the boat just fine. As each day passed, my expectations were exceeded. There were no hiccups. No one got sick. The kids never wanted to leave the kids’ club (fine by me!). The food was amazing; I ate whatever I wanted without guilt (because how often am I on a cruise??). My husband and I experienced peace and quite, not to mention a lot of alone time! Even when we were on Disney-own island and beach, it was the same thing: food and childcare were FREE.