TCM Classic Cruise: Your Questions Answered

Winding down our coverage of the Turner Classic Movies Cruise, we have answers to a number of reader questions that came up along the way. Unexpectedly, we received more questions during this event than on any in recent memory, on a variety of topics. Divided between specific questions about the TCM cruise and themed cruises in general for the most part, some were quite specific while others were more of a general nature. Let’s jump right in.

Day One - 184

Flawless Times Three Equals TCM Theme Cruise

“I have never been on a themed cruise before but the TCM Cruise might just change all that,” writes Susan from Ocala, Florida, asking “Is it like a regular cruise with film content added on top of the regular things we normally do on a cruise?”

Good question Susan and to a certain extent, yes, that’s right. Most features that one might find on a Disney Cruise Line sailing of any sort were still available during our sailing. Something not talked about though that is important: Who’s running the show. There are really three different organizations in play here: the cruise line (Disney), the sponsor (Turner) and the event promoter, a company called Sixthman which we have written about in the past.

Sixthman is considered the best at promoting events at sea and they do a bunch of them. I first started writing about Sixthman when they sponsored the Kid Rock’s Chillin’ The Most sailing, a multi day concert at sea event. They handle the mechanics of making it all work at sea. The sponsor lines up the stars, designs the content we will experience throughout the voyage and has people on board to coordinate those two elements. Sixthman makes it all happen, seamlessly.

At the same time Disney cast and crew are working as they normally do, cleaning cabins, making food, seeing to our enjoyment of the ship itself. On this particular sailing, with few kids on board, we have fewer character meet and greets, organized top deck activities and no big showroom presentations of Disney nature. That’s mainly because those venues are being used for film-related shows, talks, games, etc.


 2- Castaway Key - 192

The Verdict On Disney Internet Access
Roger from Tulsa asks “OK so now that you have done the Disney version of Internet access, how did it work out for you?” “Better? Worse? Tips?”

While other cruise lines charge for Internet time by the minute (and has passengers tapping their toes, waiting for photos to upload), Disney Cruise Line charges for Internet by usage (and has them sizing down photos to save it). Frankly, while I like not having to upload photos at 3AM while everyone else is sleeping (and not slowing down the process on the shared-bandwidth system) big photos chew it up rather fast.

Best bet: Buy the biggest package that, like systems that charge by time, gives the best rate. In this case, that’s 1000MB for $89 and called the “Large” package. Other levels include Medium (300MB for $30), Small (100MB for $19) and Pay As You Go (25 cents per MB).   Interesting, but what does that get you?

One photo from my Nikon camera measures 3264×2448 pixels in size and comes in at 882KB, nearly 1MB. I could send about 100 of those for the price of the Small package. Sounds good right? Yes and no. The Disney system is also charging data usage when I check email, browse the Internet or any other internet activity.

Bottom line: Day in and day out, the Disney system levels out the cost of sending a photo. If that is all that is being done, we don’t really care if it takes a minute or an hour to upload. I like that part.


Day One - 416

Star struck…Or Not
Chris, thanks for bringing us along on your trip, “ says Jeannie from Salt Lake City, asking “Tell me, how accessible are the stars on board? Are they out and about the ship or do you see them just at events?”  Jeannie, that’s an interesting question that is easier to answer than it is to think about.


The Easy Answer
Yes, we do see the stars throughout the day but mostly at events, of which there are many. In a series of “A Conversation With (fill in name of star)” we received a great amount of insight into what makes world-class movie stars tick, where they came from, how they got to be stars and more. But those events are held in the Walt Disney Theater, Disney Magic’s main showroom. We see them at other events too, scattered throughout the day.


The Difficult Answer
As far as one-on-one time with the star of choice: No, that does not happen too much, and for good reason. When I was talking to Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss earlier in the voyage, this topic came up and is one that he and the other stars share a similar view about. One of the most difficult parts of their “job” is interacting with fans, some of which may be rabid fans who know more about the star and their films than the star does.

They want to talk to their fans, would love to give autographs and probably make that fan’s day. But if they are going from point A to point B on the ship and pass through an area where hundreds of passengers have gathered, they will probably be there for quite some time.

Best Bet: Make eye contact with the star and say (or mouth it if too far away) “Thank You”. They will know exactly what you mean; that you are thanking them for (in this case) decades of entertainment that has added to the quality of your life.

If you want to ask specific questions, there are times for that at scheduled events throughout the voyage.


Day One - 138

You Can’t Do Everything, But You Can Try
“I like the idea of a cruise all about films but wonder if there is enough to do, “ asks Bill and Betty from The Villages in Florida adding “Probably a stupid question but is there anything for kids on this or is it totally all about adults?”

Well first of all Bill and Betty, there are no stupid questions here. We answer all questions one way or another, throughout our coverage of an event. Your question is a very good one, here’s why:

  • There were 75 scheduled TCM Cruise-specific events that had absolutely nothing to do with Disney.
  • In addition, there is a nearly-full roster of “things to do” provided by Disney Cruise Line in the daily Personal Navigator newsletter that comes out each day, just like any other cruise.
  • Still, the schedule of events is greatly weighted to film-related events and, like other cruises you can’t do everything. While there are no overlaps of events on the TCM schedule, things like going to dinner can conflict as there are events scheduled throughout the day, non-stop.
  • Guests on board for the TCM Cruise sometimes have to choose and the choice can be difficult. On the first night, I had to choose between my scheduled dinner time of 5:45 and A Conversation With Shirley Jones, going on in the Walt Disney Theater. I enjoyed an appetizer and soup then got up and went to see Shirley, getting some of both experiences.


The last question was asked a number of times, throughout the event. A number of readers asked it as many different ways but here, we get to the bottom line:  “Having done this, would you do it again?”

Easy answer: Yes, absolutely, without hesitation.
After sailing with the TCMCruise bunch (avid film fans), I would love to do this again, albeit a bit differently.  Actually, we (and you) might get another chance to do just that.  While I can’t nail anyone from TCM down for specific details, the grapevine has it that Turner will indeed do a fifth TCMCruise in 2015 and that it will be on a Disney Cruise Line ship.  Reading between the lines, it would not surprise me if they make it one of the new, bigger ships.

Regardless, here are some tips for booking an upcoming TCMCruise or about any themed cruise in general.

  1. Buy early, this particular sailing sold out fast.  Watch here, we will announce if/when the sailing is open for booking.  Book it even if you are kind of “iffy” still on going or not.  Like other cruises, you can cancel before final payment and get back the deposit.
  2. Book a mid-ship cabin.  Always a good idea for a smooth ride, my midship location on deck six put me directly under Goofy’s Pool, where all the outside events are held.  Some of the best events are outside events too.
  3. Study Films- Once back in the office, I will scan and post the daily schedules of film screenings that go on all day via Disney Magic’s big screen on deck to give you an idea of what is being offered.
  4. Dress the Part- On Noir Night, many guest dressed the part and had obviously been working on their costumes for a long time.
  5. Relax and Enjoy- I saw people watching classic films on the big screen and imagine as many more were watching from their stateroom television.  There is something about watching a classic film, made before so much of what we entertain ourselves with today was even invented.  It’s a calming experience that Turner has down pat which fits in very well with the classic ocean liner design of Disney Magic.


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