As of January 1, 2019, we have closed our forums. This is a decision we did not come to lightly, but it is necessary. The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk. The server software itself must be updated, and it cannot be without removing the forums.
So it is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our long-running forums. They came online in 2000 and brought together so many wonderful Disney fans. We had friendships form, careers launch, couples marry, children born ... all because of this amazing community.
Thank you to each of you who were a part of this community. You made it possible.
And a very special thank you to our Guides (moderators), past and present, who kept our forums a happy place to be. You are the glue that held everything together, and we are forever grateful to you. Thank you aliceinwdw, Caldercup, MrsM, WillCAD, Fortissimo, GingerJ, HiddenMickey, CRCrazy, Eeyoresmom, disneyknut, disneydani, Cam22, chezp, WDWfan, Luvsun, KMB733, rescuesk, OhToodles!, Colexis Mom, lfredsbo, HiddenMickey, DrDolphin, DopeyGirl, duck addict, Disneybine, PixieMichele, Sandra Bostwick, Eeyore Tattoo, DyanKJ130, Suzy Q'Disney, LilMarcieMouse, AllisonG, Belle*, Chrissi, Brant, DawnDenise, Crystalloubear, Disneymom9092, FanOfMickey, Goofy4Goofy, GoofyMom, Home4us123, iamgrumpy, ilovedisney247, Jennifer2003, Jenny Pooh, KrisLuvsDisney, Ladyt, Laughaholic88, LauraBelle Hime, Lilianna, LizardCop, Loobyoxlip, lukeandbrooksmom, marisag, michnash, MickeyMAC, OffKilter_Lynn, PamelaK, Poor_Eeyore, ripkensnana, RobDVC, SHEANA1226, Shell of the South, snoozin, Statelady01, Tara O'Hara, tigger22, Tink and Co., Tinkerbelz, WDWJAMBA, wdwlovers, Wendyismyname, whoSEZ, WildforWD, and WvuGrrrl. You made the magic.
We want to personally thank Sara Varney, who coordinated our community for many years (among so many other things she did for us), and Cheryl Pendry, our Message Board Manager who helped train our Guides, and Ginger Jabour, who helped us with the PassPorter-specific forums and Live! Guides. Thank you for your time, energy, and enthusiasm. You made it all happen.
There are other changes as well.
Why? Well, the world has changed. And change with it, we must. The lyrics to "We Go On" for IllumiNations say it best:
We go on to the joy and through the tears
We go on to discover new frontiers
Moving on with the current of the years.
We go on
Moving forward now as one
Moving on with a spirit born to run
Ever on with each rising sun.
To a new day, we go on.
It's time to move on and move forward.
PassPorter is a small business, and for many years it supported our family. But the world changed, print books took a backseat to the Internet, and for a long time now it has been unable to make ends meet. We've had to find new ways to support our family, which means new careers and less and less time available to devote to our first baby, PassPorter.
But eventually, we must move on and move forward. It is the right thing to do.
So we are retiring this newsletter, as we simply cannot keep up with it. Many thanks to Mouse Fan Travel who supported it all these years, to All Ears and MousePlanet who helped us with news, to our many article contributors, and -- most importantly -- to Sara Varney who edited our newsletter so wonderfully for years and years.
And we are no longer charging for the Live Guides. If you have a subscription, it's yours to keep for the lifetime of the Live Guides at no additional cost. The Live Guides will stay online, barring server issues and technical problems, for all of 2019.
That said, PassPorter is not going away. Most of the resources will remain online for as long as we can support them, and after that we will find ways to make whatever we can available. PassPorter means a great deal to us, and to many of you, and we will do our best to keep it alive in whatever way we can. Our server costs are high, and they'll need to come out of our pockets, so in the future you can expect some changes so we can bring those costs down.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your amazing support over the years. Without you, there's no way us little guys could have made something like this happen and given the "big guys" a run for their money. PassPorter was consistently the #3 guidebook after the Unofficial and Official guides, which was really unheard of for such a small company to do. We ROCKED it thanks to you and your support and love!
If you miss us, you can still find some of us online. Sara started a new blog at DisneyParkPrincess.com -- I strongly urge you to visit and get on her mailing list. She IS the Disney park princess and knows Disney backward and forward. And I am blogging as well at JenniferMaker.com, which is a little craft blog I started a couple of years ago to make ends meet. You can see and hear me in my craft show at https://www.youtube.com/c/jennifermaker . Many PassPorter readers and fans are on Facebook, in groups they formed like the PassPorter Trip Reports and PassPorter Crafting Challenge (if you join, just let them know you read about it in the newsletter). And some of our most devoted community members started a forum of their own at Pixie Dust Lane and all are invited over.
So we encourage you to stay in touch with us and your fellow community members wherever works best for you!
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Sounds like some wonderful options Don!! Can't wait to hear which ones you chose! You will like FLL and Port Everglades - easy to get in and out of. Do you know your hotel? I can tell you what is in the area.
BAYS, BURROS, BEACHES, BUTTERFLIES AND BOTANICAL GARDENS-part four
BAYS, BURROS, BEACHES, BUTTERFLIES AND BOTANICAL GARDENS-part four
A pause in the direct pre-report to talk about internet planning.
There are several things I look for when I plan for a cruise.
1. Suggestions as to who, what, when, where. (already knowing why)
2. Hints and kinks to add more magic to the trip
3. Connecting with others in advance and on the cruise.
If it is our beloved DCL, then I primarily plan on Passporter (of course). Being a guide for the DCL forums, I am very prejudiced. I believe our forum has the best and most complete information. Information is also available on forums on the Disboards, and Cruise Critic. As to other cruise lines it seems to be more difficult. I have only found complete forums on www.cruisecritic .com . There reviews of ships, cruises, embarkation/debarkation ports, and ports you visit give a lot to consider.
As to meets on Disney cruises, as much as l love Passporter, I also peruse the Disboards for meets on DCL cruises. I find many more people register there as many are not aware of Passporter. Of course , I also direct any cruisers I am sailing with to the Passporter website and the guidebook. (There is another guidebook on DCL out there. I got to look at it, and it does not have half the information that Passporter’s Disney Cruise Line and its Ports of Call has. For non-Disney cruises, I have found tons of help on Cruise Critic. There are other similar sites, but they don’t give reviews more than a small paragraph. Many of the Cruise Critic reviews are detailed (both on Disney and Non Disney cruises)
C. For connecting with others Passporter has a meet section for DCL ( http://www.passporterboards.com/forums/cruising-disney-together-meets-gatherings/ ) and we move those to another subsection (http://www.passporterboards.com/forums/cruising-disney-together-meets-gatherings-archives-older-meets/ ) in case you want to find your companions later.
Cruise Critic has forums for meeting people organized by Line, then ship, then sailing date (though they don’t sort in order)
So how does this affect my upcoming voyage.
1. There are now 13 rooms talking to each other, and we will have at least one meet on the cruise.
2. I have found nice little ‘hints’ to make my cruise more enjoyable. Such as….
a. The coffee cards: Like most cruiselines (and the hotels at WDW) the coffee served onboard is Nescafe (not my name for it… the f changes to a p ). I usually have a morning Mocha everyday. If I buy a coffee card for so many mochas, you can also get ‘regular’ brewed (not concentrate like Nescafe) coffee at the specialty coffee location. You must have at least one ‘punch’ remaining on the card. In addition, you can use that card on later cruises, as long as punches remain.
b. I already talked about the military/veterans credit.
c. I found that if I was willing to pay for my internet in advance (they have an online PDF catalog/pdf file for ‘gift’ purchases ) you get bonus minutes. :woot;
d. They do their future cruise discounts differently. You buy a future cruise voucher for $100 onboard. This will serve as your deposit for your next cruise. You have 5 years to use it. If you do, you get a $200 discount on the future cruise price. You can also ask for a refund anytime within 5 years.
e. Lots of discussions of the various soda, coffee, and ultimate beverage options.
f. Lots of advice as to what excursions to take, ratings of them, and when and how to book them separate from the cruise line if you wish.
g. Who your Captain, Cruise Director and assistant Cruise Director are, and how people liked them.
h. The special features of your ship.
Great update Don! I must save that I've been spending a huge amount of time on Cruise Critic for our Alaska cruise on RCCL. The amount of information over there for excursions and ports is amazing and invaluable! Even for Alaska in general (we're doing land on our own)!
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Great researching tips! And I agree; prior to planning this cruise- passporter is the only message board I had ever really read..... But with the cruise I have found a wealth of information in a few different places and Cruise Critic has been especially helpful in researching for Alaska!
Hi Don! You have chosen a gorgeous itinerary!! I have never cruised Princess but have been to the other ports. They are amazing!! Havea blast and congrats on the extra credit! My son is Air Force and I think you guys should get discounts and perks on everything!
Just jumping on the bandwagon of your TR. Your plans sound like so much fun! Especially touring the pink sand beaches. Will you take pictures of that?
I think it's awesome that Princess gives Veteran's discounts. They should!
That is the hard part about all the features. Bonaire is one of our 'short' days. 7am to 2 pm. My tour for that day does not finish until 11:30. So if the pink sand beach is on our tour, I will take a picture. Otherwise, it is a quick stop to buy a souveneir and local snack.
Bays, Burros, Beaches, Butterflies and Botancal Gardens pre trip report part five
Well I worked my through the 58 page excursion book, and re-read my Caribbean book and made my excursion decisions. Aruba –This is our longest port day 8am-8pm
($59) “Aruba by Land and Sea” from 9-12:30
Bus tour to California Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the island. Then visit the Alto Vista Chapel, where the Spanish missionaries are said to have converted the island’s Indians into Christians. Then proceed to the Casiban rock formations, which see, to have been scattered on the landscape to puzzle geologists, and impress travelers. Then board a tour boat and cruise by the white sand beaches and famous resorts on the western part of the islands while enjoying rum punch .
After I return to Oranjestad, take a cab to the donkey sanctuary (about $25 each way) and visit the animals that were the islands transportation for a lot of years. (Take pictures for Chezp(or she might not forgive me—though if we see wild donkeys on the tour I might save the $50 plus donation to the sanctuary)). Then return to town to purchase a ‘been there’ souvenir. Bonaire-7am-2pm
Discover Bonaire ($59) 8:30-11:30
Three hour bus tour of the northern coast with its very blue waters. Landscape is covered with cacti, divi divi, mesquite and acacia trees. View Devils Mouth, 1,000 steps, Goto lake, pass through Rincon on the way to visit Washington National park and the museum/cultural center there. They say wildlife sightings are common (but not guaranteed).
After the tour get a local snack and ‘been there’ souvenir Grenada –noon to 7pm
Spices of Grenada ($49) 12:30-4:30
Enjoy a scenic drive through St George en route to De La Grenade Industries where you sample the jams, jellies and nutmeg syrup before trying their prize winning nutmeg liqueur and rum punch. Next head to Laura Herb and Spice gardens, home to medicinal herbs and spices such as nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, and see how the spices are processed and packaged. Then on to Westerhall estates which produces the island’s leading rums, and sample their exotic blends.
Then back to the port for souvenir (including some spices to bring home). Dominica 7am to 4 pm
Emerald Pool and Volcanic Sand Beach ($59) 8am-1pm
Drive through Roseau to Morne Bruce for a panoramic view of the city and ship. Continue to the Botanical Gardens to view the national birds (sisserou and jacquot parrots) as well as many plants and trees. Travel through the Springfield valley to the Emerald Pool. A 20 minute hike (each way) is required to reach the 50 foot waterfall and pool. Take a dip in the pool (bathing suit under walking shorts as there are no ‘facilities’. Then travel through the Layou Valley to a volcanic black-sand beach. A two hour beach brake prior to returning to the ship (refreshments are provided). St Thomas USVI 8am-5pm
I visited there in the Navy so, I booked: St John Island Tour $49 10:30-3
Travel across Pillsbury sound to the quieter island of St Johns, part of the Virgin Islands National Park.
In an open air safari bus, observe the white sand beaches, crystalline waters and dramatic scenery. Visit the ruins of the Annaberg sugar mill, Whistling Cay, Trunk Bay, Hawksnest Bay, and Caneel Bay which overlooks the Rockefeller plantation. Stop at Bordeaus Mountain (1,200 ft elevation) to view the British Virgin Islands. Return to Cruz Bay for a brief shopping time before the ferry back to St Thomas. Princess Cays, Eleuthera, Bahamas 9am-4pm
No excursions planned. Lounge on beach. Eat and drink.
One of the nice things about Princess I discovered is that I have my reservations, but if I change my mind, I have until the onboard closing time to book excursions to change and not be charges.