I was seriously planning a Disney cruise this year for 2018 but when the Autumn schedule was released the cruise I wanted, South Med wasn't listed. So I am going to wait for the 2019 schedule and hopefully it will be listed.
The 4 options I looked into were
1.Booking with my local travel agent
2.Booking direct through Disney cruise website
3.Booking with an Irish Disney specialist travel agent
4.Booking with an American Disney specialist travel agent
Option 1 and 2 would both be basically the same thing. When I talked to my local travel agent, they said they would be using the exact same booking system as I would at home. Any booking options available to them would be available to me at home.
Option 3 turned out not to be a viable option. They would basically be the same as my local travel agent
I decided that I would book through an American Disney Specialist travel agent for a few reason.
1. The travel agency https://www.dreamsunlimitedtravel.com/
are the company who run the most active and long running Disney fan message board https://www.disboards.com/
2. The travel agency do regular podcasts about Disney cruises and Disney Parks. They know their stuff, they have been doing Disney travel for may many years
3. There is a very active Disney Cruise section https://www.disboards.com/forums/disney-cruise-line-forum.9/
where a huge amount of posters regularly book cruises with Dreams Unlimited
4. Dreams Unlimited give onboard credit to everyone who books a cruise with them. This is a sliding up scale of the % of your total cruise cost. For me, it would have worked out at $100. This means that I would be in credit by $100 on my onboard account. As far as I could research no other travel agency does this.
Does Disney organise transport to - from Dover port
Yes there are precruise hotels in London where Disney organise bus transfers to Dover from. There are also pickups at Gatwick airport. Dreams Unlimited would have more info about this
Do they collect & drop off luggage - from home to Dover & return- (our agent has organised this for previous cruise holidays with Princess)
This I am not sure about, you would have to ask
I found out a ton of info by picking a similar cruise in 2017 and getting a free quote from Dreams Unlimited. You send an email to the general email address and a person responded to me in less than 24 hours. Once you have a person assigned to you, you can then email them with questions.
Useful Info I found Out
1. Disney cruises are like flights. The earlier you book, ie the more in advance, the cheaper the price
2. Disney cruise line opens booking approx 18 months before departure dates. For example, the Autumn 2018 . . bookings September to December opened in April 2017
3.Bookings Open on a sliding scale
Platinum Level - people who have been on 10 or more cruise get to book first
Gold Level- people who have been on 5 cruises get to book the day after Platinum
Silver Level- people who have been on 1 to 4 cruises get to book the day after Gold
New Cruisers / general booking the day after gold level
4.Some meals or excursions or onboard extras may be fully booked before general booking opens
5.Research the ports and port excursions yourself. It is often far far cheaper to go DIY at ports than to just just book Disney excursions
6.Be aware though, that if you do DIY excursions, the ship wont wait for you.
7. Disney cruises operate on a cashless system. Things such as shopping, excursions, tips, onboard experiences such as spa treatments, bar tabs etc etc are all charged to your onboard account
I have a ton of other general info, but I would defiantly recommend joining DISBOARDS and researching on the cruise section. You will find people who have been on this itinerary and some very experienced Disney cruisers who will help you.
There is also a ton of people on Disboards who have just been on the British Isles Cruise which also went from and returned to Dover. They will be able to give you lots of advice about the port and transfer options