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Origin Story - Surprise Sweet 16

There’s a story behind every trip, right? To my epic surprise this is the first year I qualified for travel agent benefits. My work as a travel agent has grown and evolved over a decade as a purely satisfying aspect of my life. Never was I striving toward or expecting this to ever happen. Skipping all the details, I/we decided if/when this happened, we’d definitely prioritize an “extra” Disney Cruise experience. So while we’d chatted about this minimally, nothing was solidified. Yet, it was enough when I presented a spontaneous gift while video recording - something we never do - Kara knew what it was. Thus it wasn’t so much of a surprise after all.

Hi all - this is Kara. It actually was a surprise - but since it is the second time in our friendship Gayle has recorded me opening a gift and both of them happened to be trips involving Disney, I kept my reaction a bit more in check this time.

However, it does make it an especially “sweet” cruise, as it’s my #16 on Disney Cruise Line. Thus, it must be celebrated onboard at Sweet on You - not that I need an excuse to go there everyday! It’s my favorite venue on the ship with ice cream, gelato, shakes, sundaes, and various sugary baked goods!

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So what did we choose and how? First, over the years we’ve both learned and agreed the longer the cruise the better. Thus, we were only looking at the Fantasy, as neither Europe or Alaska were in the budget this year. Second, considering strategic use of vacation days (me), travel already booked in 2022, and others in the works for 2023, May would be our prime target.

However, it turned out between graduations and other commitments, only a single sailing of the Fantasy would work. Holding my breath I waited to see if it would appear on the travel agent list. The day I expected it to be added to the list was incredibly disappointing, as it never appeared. Uncharacteristically I called anyway just to check and Disney magic embraced me again. Yes, the sailing we wanted was now offering the rate I sought.

Disney Rep: Would you like to place it on hold until midnight?

Me: NO! I want to book it right now!

So, pending another at-port negative COVID test(!), we’ll be setting sail:

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Ports:

Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay with 2 Days at Sea

As for our Stateroom, when you book a travel agent rate, you never get to choose your stateroom like on a “regular” reservation. The rate is advertised as the simple category: Verandah. (In Disney-speak, you are booked in a Guaranteed - Disney guarantees to place you in a particular category or higher.) When we first started sailing, room selection and location were really important. Now, as long as we’re on the ship, we don’t care (with only a couple of aversions). As this was my first travel agent rate, I didn’t know what to expect!

The “lowest” Verandah is a 7A category, usually with an undersized verandah or with a slightly obstructed view (like we had in Feb.) This time - WOO HOO! We were assigned 9056 - a category 5c on Deck 9 (with stateroom-only decks above & below us) and Midship! The only way it could have been any better was to be Starboard.

Disclaimer: I (Gayle) am a travel agent with Authorized Disney Travel Planner agency - Off to Neverland Travel. Contact me today for a no-obligation quote!