Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

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LifeIsGood
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Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

Post by LifeIsGood »

This June my wife and I are taking our 4 grandkids ages 8-13 on a 4 night Disney cruise to the Bahamas. We will leave from Pt. Canaveral and spend 2 days (1 coming and 1 going) in Disney's Castaway Cay. The other day is in Nassau. We chose Disney because of a lot of positive feedback and they were the only cruise line I could find that offers a cruise that lasts less than 1 week.
We've already spent a fortune for the cruise and I'm reluctant to spend much on shore excursions. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on what to do for the days at Castaway Cay and Nassau?
pilotpaul
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Re: Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

Post by pilotpaul »

The 4 day disney cruise is a very nice trip. In Nassau Disney will offer an excursion that will get you access to Atlantis' waterpark which is incredible. There are cheaper ways to get access to the park such as making reservations at the Comfort Inn across the street. Going on the disney discussion boards https://www.disboards.com/forums/disney ... e-forum.9/ will yield some of these suggestions. Castaway Cay is fairly inexpensive. You can reserve some snorkel gear and relax at the beach. There is also an opportunity to reserve a time to swim with the sea rays which was enjoyable with young kids.
pilotpaul
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Re: Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

Post by pilotpaul »

The cheapest way to get out to Port Canaveral is to rent a car at Orlando, drop the family off at the port and return the car about 2 miles away. The car rental facility will have a shuttle back to the port. When the ship arrives at the end of the cruise, just reverse the process.
FreemanB
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Re: Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

Post by FreemanB »

My wife and I have done several Disney cruises(With two more planned for next year). For Castaway Key, our favorite activity has been the fishing trip, where they take you out on a boat fishing along the reef. You get to see lots of exotic fish up close, and we even had a pod of dolphins swimming alongside the boat at one point. Everyone, adults and kids, had a lot of fun. Another fun and relatively inexpensive activity was to rent some bikes and ride around the island. There are lots of good options there, as mentioned above.

We've honestly never been big fans of Nassau. I'm sure there are some good excursions there, and Atlantis is nice, but on our last cruise, we actually stayed on the ship while docked there. We've been there 2-3 times now, and we've never really been that impressed with anything there other than Atlantis. Last time, we just didn't think any of the Atlantis excursions were worth the price to us.
SimplicityNow
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Re: Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

Post by SimplicityNow »

We took the same cruise way back in 2009 with our kids.

If you are arriving in Port Canaveral the day before, you can stay in one of the hotel by the port (I think we stayed in a Raddison but its been a while) that allows you to leave the car there for free and has shuttle bus service (also free) to and from the port. We were 5 minutes away. You may have to reserve a time for the shuttle bus at the time of the reservation. Check with the hotel because like I said it has been awhile for us and things may have changed.

In Nassau we went a dolphin discovery and beach excursion where you get to swim with a dolphin, take photos etc. It was cute but expensive.
We didn't like the vibe on Nassau. We went through the market and everyone was very aggressive in trying to sell you something or lure you somewhere else. In the future I'd stay on the ship which will be relatively empty and you would be able to enjoy the pool which will be less crowded. Plus it's free!
Castaway Cay was great. We brought our own snorkel gear but we went in February and it was cooler. In June it should be great.

Disney does a great job. There are a lot of preteen and teen activities in the kid clubs (research it and sign up) the staff is great the ships are well maintained. Enjoy your trip!
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ResearchMed
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Re: Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

Post by ResearchMed »

LifeIsGood wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:23 am This June my wife and I are taking our 4 grandkids ages 8-13 on a 4 night Disney cruise to the Bahamas. We will leave from Pt. Canaveral and spend 2 days (1 coming and 1 going) in Disney's Castaway Cay. The other day is in Nassau. We chose Disney because of a lot of positive feedback and they were the only cruise line I could find that offers a cruise that lasts less than 1 week.
We've already spent a fortune for the cruise and I'm reluctant to spend much on shore excursions. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on what to do for the days at Castaway Cay and Nassau?
Start browsing on www.CruiseCritic.com

You'll find *many* sub-forums there that will probably be useful... one for Disney cruises specifically, one for "Ports of Call" and discussions of what to do there.

There will also probably be a "Roll Call" for your specific cruise (ship and date), where others on your cruise may arrange sail-away parties, or -> excursions privately, which are typically *much* less expensive than those arranged by the cruise line... and smaller groups than the big bus type outing.
Or your own private excursion might be less than the combined total of costs for the cruise line sponsored activities.

But mostly, you'll get a lot of background and general info.

BTW, there are some other short cruises to the Bahamas, but many of them tend to be for younger adults (some have "free booze", obviously included in the price, so not really "free", but, well, lots of drinking.
However, I remember my very first cruise, when my parents took "children and grandchildren" on one of those short cruises, and I don't remember any obvious "drinking problems" - but that was a long time ago...
[Apologies if I am giving one-sided info about these shorter cruises nowadays; it's based only upon readings on CC.]

Disney is supposed to be wonderful, so much so that some adults without children take those cruises (or so I hear; we've never been on one of those, and we prefer longer cruises, which tend to be somewhat different).

There will probably be lots to do at Castaway Cay, but at Nassau, you should choose more carefully. Ask your question on CruiseCritic, and you'll get a wide variety of suggestions!

Enjoy!

RM
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Liberty1100
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Re: Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

Post by Liberty1100 »

I don't know about Disney, but on other cruise lines, their private islands are typically very nice. It is easy to walk to the beach and have a nice "free" beach day. There's no need to purchase anything (unless you need a chair). Sometimes they serve lunch by the beach so you don't even need to back to the ship.

I haven't been to Nassau yet, but it may be a good place to do an excursion. Go to cruisecritic.com and take a look at some. Pay attention to travel time (some may have a long bus ride, long ferry ride (could be fun), and only a little time at the destination). I would also not be persuaded by the selling points of food and drinks on the excursions. They aren't made by the ship staff (except on the private island) and may not be the best or even safe to eat.

I wouldn't want to feel pressured on doing excursions. First, they don't know what they are missing and neither are you, so you'll have fun together anyways. Second, when the ship is in port, it gets quiet on the ship. It might be a good time to do other fun stuff on the boat or even just walk around the port area and look at all of the souvenirs.
linakin
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Re: Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

Post by linakin »

Unless you want to go to Atlantis which can be pricey, take the day at Nassau and just enjoy the boat. It'll likely be less crowded that day since most people will be on land so you can enjoy some of the activities they have without having to spend much money. Castaway Cay can be done for cheap if you just want to rent snorkel gear and just enjoy the beach.
delamer
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Re: Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

Post by delamer »

I don’t have any specific experience with Disney. But generally on cruise ships, days in port are good days to take advantage of amenities on the ship — like the pool, for instance — because they are much less crowded than when the ship is at sea.

We did a combination tour in Nassau of regular boat ride, glass bottom boat ride, and bus tour of historic sites. The whole thing was only about 2.5 hours, which is good for kids. Plus, because it was short, we were able to have lunch on the ship rather than pay for it onshore.

Atlantis has a vistor’s pass that allows you to tour the The Dig, which is a terrific series of exhibits of marine life. You can’t use, but don’t pay for either, the waterpark with the pass. http://www.atlantisbahamas.com/thingstodo/marinehabitat
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Watty
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Re: Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

Post by Watty »

Just FYI if you will be snorkeling and wear glasses you can get prescription masks for a reasonable price online. I got some from here years ago but I am sure there are other places too.

https://www.snorkel-mart.com/master.cfm?CategoryID=28

If you have a strong prescription this will make a huge difference. The lenses are basic in that they are not custom made to correct for astimagatimism but when I am underwater I can see very clearly.
Topic Author
LifeIsGood
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Re: Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

Post by LifeIsGood »

Thanks everyone for the feedback and suggestions. Looks like the consensus on Nassau is exactly what I've heard from other sources. I assume on Castaway Cay you are a Disney captive audience - ie It's their activities only.
I'll definitely give Cruise Critic a look for other suggestions.
DidItMyWay
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Re: Disney Cruise Shore Excursions

Post by DidItMyWay »

I agree that it's not necessary to spend on excursions to have a great time.

Been to Castaway Cay twice, and it's one of my favorite places: close to my idea of paradise. You don't have to spend any money there unless you want to. Enjoy the "free" (included) barbeque lunch. The water is beautiful and calm. You can rent beach chairs and floats if you want. You can rental snorkeling gear if you want. You can rent bikes and ride around the island if you want.

Been to Nassau a bunch of times as well, always on cruises. If you haven't done Atlantis, it's nice but very pricey. Is it worth it? Eh. Glad I did it once. We had fun on the lazy river, and the aquarium was kind of cool. Would I go back? No. The food (excursion included lunch) and service there is mediocre at best. Overall, Atlantis is overrated IMHO for what it costs. What we do now is get off the ship (just to get on land and for a change of scenery) and walk to the shops/straw market. We walk around for an hour or two at most (it'll be hot!) and get right back on the ship to enjoy the "free" stuff there (food, pool, etc.) while it's not crowded.

Yes, definitely go on Cruise Critic or the Dis Boards, and you will get lots of opinions. Do a search on "fish extenders". It's a fun thing for the kids. Also, Disney does a great job with their kids' and teen clubs. Warning: If you bring the kids there, they might not want to leave!

Enjoy! What great memories you are making for you and your grandkids. You will love the Disney cruise.
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