Disney Cruise Line

Touringplans #Everywhere – Cruising for Larger Families and Families With Special Needs

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We’ll take seats for five please

I’m excited to announce that our assignment is the 7-night Western Caribbean Cruise aboard Disney’s ship, Fantasy. The mission: to plan the trip and write about it to help others plan their own Disney Cruise Line adventures and learn from our mistakes. You’ve seen my colleagues write about their trips to Disney destinations in California, Tokyo, and everywhere in between, so I will write about the aspects of our trip that make it unique.

The world was built for a family of four – especially when you travel

My brother-in-law used to say this, having experienced life with a wife and three kids. Cars, hotels, and restaurants are designed for parties of 4. He was right. The Hazelton/Brazeau group is a party of five, so one of our first struggles in the planning process was to pick a stateroom that would accommodate us. The group includes me (Fred), my two sons Bram (age 13) and Alec (age 11), my wife Chantale (age censored), and her son, Matice (age 9). The most economical of Disney’s stateroom options for a family of five are the Deluxe Family Oceanview Staterooms that sleep 5 (category 8) or two adjoining Standard Inside Staterooms that sleep 4 (category 11). Although a Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah was a hundred dollars less than two adjoining inside staterooms, we chose to get the two rooms. Our feeling was that with the age of the kids, the negligible cost difference and having the second bathroom made it the smarter choice for us. Plus, if the kids need an escape from us or we need an escape from them, having the second stateroom provides a nice separator.

Alec (left) and Matice
Alec (left) and Matice

Alec was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and, although ambulatory, does have some mobility issues. We are interested to see how easy or difficult it will be for him to manoeuvre around the ship, especially if the seas are rough. Our choices of Port Adventures may be limited, as well, to those that don’t involve a lot of walking. Beach days, Jeep tours, and boat excursions will be a lot better for us than climbing ruins or walking tours. He’s an easygoing kid, though, so he will likely be just as happy to spend the week alternating between the buffet and the Edge Club.


Stay tuned for more about our trip and the other Touringplans #Everywhere trips, the planning, the during and the aftermath.

[Our cruise departs on October 11, 2014, from Port Canaveral. If you happen to be sailing on that cruise with us, please let us know.]

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Fred Hazelton

Fred Hazelton maintains the crowd calendar, theme park wait time models and does hotel rate analysis for the Unofficial Guides. He's also done the models for the new mobile wait times product Lines. Fred Hazelton is a professional statistician living in Ontario, Canada. His email address is fred@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @DisneyStatsWhiz.

4 thoughts on “Touringplans #Everywhere – Cruising for Larger Families and Families With Special Needs

  • Donna P

    Hi Fred! Our family (of 4) have been planning this same Western cruise for over a year. It is myself, DH, ds8 and ds5. This will be our second Fantasy cruise after having done the Eastern last October. Feeling good about getting back on the big ship. For ease of traveling and some space away from 4000 other guests, we have booked a private ecotour boat (carries up to 10 passengers) for Grand Cayman. This allows a more leisurely, tailored pace to the day: stingray city, uncrowded beach, snorkeling, mangrove touring, tubing.
    For Falmouth, we opted for Courtney Taylor private tours which I found thru Trip Advisor. Again, it allows for a slow enjoyable day and with both, we can look to be back to the tender or ship by 2 hours prior to all aboard.
    We may simply enjoy an uncrowded ship for Cozumel.
    Looking forward to your blog post and maybe I’ll see you onboard. We are opting for more space and a splurge this time up on deck 12. Email me if you need pictures or are interested in the concierge spaces.

    • That’s great, Donna! Happy to know that we’ll have some TouringPlanners aboard. We will be hosting a get-together on board for you and anyone else wishing to get together. Details, TBD.

      • Donna P.

        Cool, would love to meet others too. Count me in. I’ll check back on the blog posts for details.

  • DisneyDad

    Best wishes for an excellent family vacation, Fred. I look forward to reading your insights.


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