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  1. As Shmoo describes above, if you are sailing with children ages 3-12, you can do most of the check-in (including listing people who are authorized to pick up your child, and the password they must use to do so) online before your cruise begins. Then, either while waiting in the terminal before boarding or by going to an open house onboard the ship, you will need to verify that information and pick up a wrist band for each child. Throughout the cruise, at any time during operating hours, you can bring your children to the Oceaneer's Club or Lab and sign them in. (If one of the spaces is having an Open House, you will need to either stay with your children in that space or bring them to the other space for secured programming.) If you were able to book a cruise with a party that includes children, then there is enough space to register them for the Club/Lab -- when the number of age 3-12 children who will be onboard reaches a certain capacity, Disney Cruise Line won't book any more parties with children in that age group. There is a very slim possibility that at a particular time, the Club or Lab will be at capacity, meaning the number of children currently in the space is the maximum permitted given the number of staff in the space and DCL's required staff ratios. If this happens, you won't be able to drop off a child until another child leaves, which will probably be within a few minutes. I never saw this happen during 9 cruises with kids in the 3-12 age group, and have not heard of it happening at all in the past 4 years.
  2. When our cruise stopped in Salerno last month, we booked a gastronomic tour through Joe Banana Tours that took us to an olive oil farm (with tastings of at least 20 types of olive oil), a limoncello factory (with tastings of 3 kinds), and a restaurant where we prepared our own pizzas with our choice of fresh toppings. We also stopped at Pompeii, but Joe Banana has a similar tour from Naples that goes to a mozzerella farm instead. There was very little walking, except during a 1/2 hour free-time stop in Sorrento (and of course at Pompeii). We had great views of the area while being driven from place to place.
  3. When my kids were young (3 and 7) they enjoyed the Ardastra Gardens zoo. It's not large, but it has a cute "marching flamingoes" show. We visited as part of an excursion that included a stop at the Queen's Staircase (during which I stayed on the bus with my sleeping daughter) but you could probably get to the zoo on your own.
  4. As you can see from the menu above, Palo has many vegetarian and fish options on the menu. (The same is true for brunch -- many meatless options, especially if you eat fish and shellfish.) The Remy menus may look less accomodating, but you can get a meal made just for you. If you choose to dine at Remy, it wouldn't hurt to stop by before your meal (such as the evening of embarkation day) and make sure that your dietery restrictions are noted on your reservation. That will give the chef time to think about what to make you. My husband and I don't eat meat or shellfish, he is allergic to bell peppers, and I don't eat mushrooms. When we dined at Remy on the Dream, we each got meals that were perfect for us. For most of the courses, we each had different dishes. We both left fully satisfied. For a special occasion, my vote would be Remy because it is something special. You wouldn't go wrong with Palo, either, though. (We have dined at Palo on every one of our 12 cruises except the 3-night when we dined at Remy.)
  5. If there are characters at dinner, they will probably be "face" characters such as princesses. It is much less likely to see "costumed" characters at dinner (except at character breakfasts), although some years ago Mickey did show up briefly at dinner at Animator's Palate. It would be difficult for characters with limited visual acuity to walk between the tables.
  6. Choosing dining time is really a matter of your family's preference. All shows are scheduled so those with early dining see the show after dinner (during late dining) and those with late dining see the show before dinner (during early dining). Because most of the ship will be at either dinner or a show at any given time, there won't be a significant difference in the kids' club activities offered during each dining time. There may be slightly more activity during late dining, because more families opt for early dining. However, if you have late dining and there is an activity your child really wants to attend at the kids' club, you can ask your server to expedite your child's dinner.
  7. The recommended gratuity on Disney cruises is $13.50 per person per day, which covers gratuities for the cabin steward ($4.50) and the dining room server ($4.50), assistant server ($3.50), and head server ($1.00). The recommended total will be charged to the stateroom account for each guest, but can be adjusted by going to Guest Services. A day before departure, each stateroom will receive a set of tip envelopes with cards for each tipped position that can be given to the staff. The gratuities on the room account are actually “paid” electronically, so it is not essential to deliver the envelopes. Gratuities can be paid in cash instead of or in addition to the amount charged to the room.
  8. Disney transportation from the airport to the ship is on a bus that doesn’t have appropriate seat belts for car seats or booster seats. If your are taking private transportation, such as a rental car or van, you will need to either bring a car seat or make sure the company provides one. Most excursions buses can’t handle car seats or booster seats. Private cars probably will not have car seats. I don’t know if it is possible to bring your own, since we did only bus excursions when my kids were young enough for car seats.
  9. Children ages 8-12 can be given permission by parents to check themselves in and out of the Oceaneers Club and Lab. Children registered in Edge must have self check-out permission, because Edge sometimes has activities in other places around the ship. When either the Club or Lab is having an open house (meaning anyone can attend, including adults), the other area will have secure programming (meaning only registered children and counselors are allowed). At least one area will be open throughout the day, from morning through after dinner (11 or 12). If you want to make sure your children eat, it’s best to get them food before they check into the club. That’s easy to do from various places on the pool deck as well as from the buffet and main dining room.
  10. If there is space in the parent’s room, having the child actually stay in the parents’s room will not be a problem. You should be able to get a Key to the World card to allow the child access to the parents’ room. There are a couple of minor effects. The official lifeboat station will be the room in which the child was booked, which could be different from the station for the other room. This should affect only the lifeboat drill. In order for the child to leave the ship without the grandmother who is in the booked room, she will need to sign a release allowing the child’s parents permission to take the child off the ship.
  11. You can also get a copy of your itemized bill, with charge separated by passenger name, by going to Guest Services at any time during the cruise.
  12. If you are US citizens on a cruise that leaves from and returns to the same US port (as all Dream cruises do), then birth certificates from the kids will suffice. Of course, passports would make things easier in the unlikely event you need to fly home, but the requirement is birth certificates for everyone and a government-issued photo ID for those over 16. The Oceaneer Club/Lab are open to kids ages 3 through 12, so your grandkids can definitely be in the same club. The Club has activities geared more to the 3-7 group and the Lab more to the 8-12 group, but kids can move between them freely since there is a secure passageway. Happy planning! Sent from my iPad using Forums
  13. As others have said, if a strong storm is expected to strike the departure port, a cruise may be cancelled. (Disney Cruise Line did cancel departures when storms were predicted in Port Canaveral in fall 2016 and fall 2017.) If a storm is expected elsewhere on the cruise route, the captain will reroute the ship in a different direction to avoid the storm if possible. This may involve stopping at different ports or even no ports at all. When ports are changed or cancelled, additional activities will be scheduled onboard (similar to what happens on sea days, with activity all around the ship). Sent from my iPad using Forums
  14. None of the rooms on the Magic (except the 2-bedroom and larger suites) have 2 queen beds. All rooms have one queen bed that does not split. Most of the rooms that sleep 4 have a sofa that turns into a single bed and a bunk bed that comes down from the ceiling. Rooms that sleep 5 also have a single bed that folds out of the wall — I think that all rooms on the Magic that sleep 5 are veranda rooms on upper decks. Sent from my iPad using Forums
  15. As long as your son cancels before the paid-in-full date (around 3 months before the cruise) and as long as you are not in a Concierge room, his fare will be fully refunded. If he is moving to a room of his own on the same cruise, he may be able to move his reservation rather than cancelling and rebooking. That might allow him to book at the rate for the new room as of when you booked, rather than at the current rate, which may be higher. Be aware that the cost of one person in a room is roughly the same as the cost of 2 people, and much higher than the rate for a 3rd person. Also, there is a possibility that the ship (or the room type your son wants) will sell out, so it’s best to change his booking as soon as he decides he wants his own room, if he does. Sent from my iPad using Forums
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