Whimsic Alley Wizard Cruise
Princess Cruise Line's
The Golden Princess
Departing Los Angeles, November 27, 2013
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the cruise? The cruise is four days. Many respondents to our questionnaire cited budgetary issues as a primary concern, so our goal was to make the cruise (at least this first one) affordable. Longer cruises would have been more costly. A shorter cruise simply wouldn't have given us enough time for all the things we've got planned.
What's the agenda? What specific activities does Whimsic Alley have planned? The planning process is just beginning. We're hoping to arrange some top entertainment, and possibly even some celebrities. But even once we've finalized the agenda, don't expect us to share it with you. Half the fun is in the surprise. As a general rule, however, you should know that Whimsic Alley's events are interactive. You will NOT be going to meeting rooms and listening to lectures or panel discussions. This is NOT a symposium--you shall do no symposing here. You will be enrolling in a wizarding school and will be treated, by our kind, sympathetic professors, as the snot-nosed little weasels that you are. You will face challenges that make a day in Mexico seem like child's play. You claim to be a grown-up? We'll see about that. Expect round-the-clock activities.
Why Thanksgiving weekend? That's the time I like to spend with family. Many questionnaire respondents were concerned about whether they could get the time off of work or school in order to participate. Thanksgiving weekend was selected since it is a four-day period when most people are off work. As for family, we think that once you've spent four intensive days with a group of wizard-world fanatics like yourself, you may choose to re-evaluate who your true family is.
Will I miss my turkey dinner? Come on, really???? You're asking that? Next question!
I don't know if I can stand to miss out on the Black Friday sales. What should I do? How about doing without a 90-inch TV for another year? Besides, can you think of a single national chain that allowed you to miss out on their Black Friday sales last year? The sales started weeks before Black Friday, and ended weeks afterward. Hey, what's the worst that can happen--you inadvertently save enough money to pay for your entire cruise ten times over.
What is the cruise itinerary? The ship will set sail from San Pedro (Los Angeles), California on Wednesday, 11/27 at 4:00 p.m. We'll be at sea all day Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. On Friday, 11/29 we'll be in San Diego from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.. Saturday, 11/30 we'll be in Ensenada, Mexico from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Then Sunday morning, 12/1, we'll be back in Los Angeles at 7:00 a.m.
How much will the cruise cost? We've priced out several options, depending on how lux you'd like your accommodations to be. You'll be able to select an inside cabin, a window cabin, a balcony cabin, or a mini-suite. Within those categories you can choose whether you'd like double occupancy, triple occupancy or quadruple occupancy. Pricing, including all taxes and port fees, and participation in all on-board Whimsic Alley events, will be as follows:
Occupancy Double Triple Quad
Interior Cabin $764-784 $689-706 $651-667
Ocean View (obstructed) $814 $731 $689
Ocean View (un-obstructed) $864-874 $772-781 $727-734
Balcony $1024-1034 $906-914 $847-854
Mini-Suite $1164-1184 1022-1039 $952-967
Prices are all per person, based on double, triple or quad occupancy.
Are there hidden charges? If you're familiar with cruising, you know that the price of the cruise includes all your meals (and then some), entertainment and lodging. Some people pay that amount and not another cent. However there are certain optional things such as alcoholic beverages, sodas, internet access, casino games, optional shore excursions, transportation to and from the dock, parking, travel insurance and other such expenses which are not included in the price. Furthermore, the cruise line typically adds a gratuity charge which you are expected to pay at the end of the cruise. This gratuity charge is described as optional and you can choose to adjust it or remove it if you wish to.
I looked on the Princess website and found lower prices. Can I book directly through them? No. You will be part of a special group. Whimsic Alley is arranging special on-board events, practically around the clock, that are just for our group. There will be other guests on board during our cruise who will not be a part of our group. They will not be entitled to participate in our group activities. The rates shown include admission to all those events as well.
Will there be other hidden Whimsic Alley charges? We may arrange certain optional shore excursions at the ports we'll be visiting. As with the on-board activities, participation in those optional excursions will be restricted to members of our group, but some may require an additional charge. Fear not, however. Should you decide not to participate in the optional shore excursions, you won't be left behind twiddling you thumbs. We will schedule alternative, no-charge, and equally exciting on-board group activities at the same times as the optional shore excursions. Other possible costs may include alcoholic beverages at group parties, or purchases of Whimsic Alley products, should you choose to make any.
I'm a vegetarian. Will there be food I can eat? Absolutely. The ship can accommodate vegetarian diets, kosher diets, allergy diets and more.
How many people will be in our group? We are limited to 600 guests in our group (the capacity of the entire ship is about 2600 guests). We've already had hundreds of people express a strong interest in going, so we expect to sell out very quickly. If you are interested, we'd recommend making your reservations as soon as possible.
How much do I have to pay now to reserve a cabin? The required deposit, per person, is based on the category of cabin you select, as follows: Interior Cabin ($225), Ocean View Cabin ($250), Balcony Cabin ($275), Mini-Suite ($300).
When is the remainder due? Final payment will be due by September 6.
Is the deposit refundable if I change my mind, or can't go for some reason? Unfortunately no. However, if you cancel prior to July 6, you can use the full amount of your deposit (in one lump sum) toward any future Whimsic Alley camp or cruise. If you cancel after July 6, your deposit will be forfeited.
May I bring my kids? One of the questions we asked on our survey was whether kids should be included. Many respondents, understandably, said that they wouldn't be able to go if they couldn't bring their kids. Others felt that it should be an adults only group--that kids would require too much attention and thus detract from the overall experience. Both arguments are valid. So we have decided that while you may bring kids along on the cruise, no one under 18 will be permitted to attend our group activities. Parents will find that the Princess-sponsored age-specific kids clubs have fun activities and staff supervision all day long, and long into the evenings. Staff will even escort kids to the buffet line, which offers a more kid-friendly menu, and sit with them while they eat. Since your kids would not be allowed to participate in any of the Whimsic Alley activities, the fare will be $100 less for children under 18.
If my spouse or other family member or friend chooses to accompany me, but not participate in any of the Whimsic Alley activities, can he or she get the same reduced rate? The answer is a qualified yes. The caveat is that if they choose to not be part of the group, they will not be entitled to accompany you to group meals, parties, or other group activities. If that falls within your comfort zone, then by all means bring them. Perhaps Grandma can watch the kids while you're off being a kid yourself.
Why the requirement that participants be at least 18? That's a really good question and we're afraid there isn't a really good answer for it. There are clearly many 14-year-olds who are more mature than many 30-year-olds. Fans of Harry Potter will remember that, from the time he was 11, Harry was old enough to fight off Voldemort year after year, but was not old enough to legally practice magic outside of Hogwarts. It's frustrating. Like it or not, there are many age restrictions throughout our culture. Princess Cruises, for one, does not permit anyone under 21 to travel unless they are in a shared cabin with someone over 21 (some cruise lines require that at least one person in the cabin be at least 25). Various state governments ambiguously define one age for voting, smoking, and legal responsibility and a different age for drinking and gambling. Whimsic Alley doesn't make all the rules, we just have to live with them. Then there's the fairness issue. We don't want to have to be in the position of determining that person A is mature enough, while person B, who is the same age, is not. There has to be some cut-off point. If we made it 16, instead of 18, then there would be 15-year-olds protesting. The best advice we can give someone under 18 is be patient and grow older. We'll do our best to be here for you when you reach that magic age.
There are one or more people I would like to room with. Can that be arranged? Absolutely! Bear in mind that most staterooms are designed to accommodate two passengers. Some, but not all, can accommodate three or four. None can accommodate more than four. Since the larger capacity staterooms are in limited supply and often in high demand, those looking for such rooms should feel even more incented to reserve their cabins early.
I like the low rates of the triple or quad occupancy, but I'm traveling solo. Is there any way I can get those rates? Our agents will do their best to pair up people with similar preferences, but logistics may prevent them from doing so in some cases. Therefore, for solo travelers, your assumed rate will be the double occupancy rate, unless and until, suitable pairing can be achieved. Pairings will be done on a first-come, first-served basis, so once again, if interested we encourage you to book early.
Recent news articles make me fearful of Mexico. Is it safe to travel there? For those who'd like to explore Ensenada, either as part of an organized excursion or on your own, keep in mind that hundreds of cruise ships dock there every year without incident and that we'll only be in the city during daylight hours. For those who are less adventurous, note that there is a fool-proof way of staying perfectly safe while in Ensenada--don't get off the ship. As discussed, Whimsic Alley will be scheduling on-board activities even while we're in port.
Do I need to have a passport to go on the cruise? Yes, Princess, in accordance with the U.S. Customs Department, requires that all passengers have a current and valid passport.
Will I have a chance to visit Whimsic Alley proper while I'm in L.A.? Do you honestly think we're going to let you get away without visiting Whimsic Alley? Don't think of L.A. as just a starting and ending point. It will be the most interesting port of call on your journey--even if you were born and raised here. We'll have activities planned on both the front and back end. One that we're planning is something that you'll remember and talk about your whole life--something that not even one percent of the people who live in L.A. have ever done or will ever do.
How do I book it? Please call us at 310-453-2370, Ext. 402. It may take a few days for us to get the procedures down, but we'll record deposits in the order they are received to ensure that you have priority and preference in your cabin choices.