Year Started: 1996
Ships in Fleet: 4
Summary: Everything Disney; great entertainment, Disney characters, movies and live theater. Interactive fun for all ages. Only four ships, two older, two newer.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western
Good for: Families. Teens. Children`s Programs.
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western, Mediterranean Western, Transatlantic
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Good for: Children`s Programs. Teens. Families.
Regions:Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean Western, Mexico
Good for: Families. Teens. Children`s Programs.
We just returned from our first Disney Cruise. We had 13 in our group, daughters and husbands, and grandchildren(6,5,4,and 2 years of age.) The cruise was out of this world. I'm in a wheelchair, so we got a handicapped room. The room 7136 was out of this world. Roll in shower, grab bars and roll under sink. I also rented a mobility scooter from one of Disney's recommended companies. It was waiting for me when I got there.
The ship is very handicap accessible, plenty of handicap bathrooms all over the ship. Dinning was excellent, rode scooter to dinner and waiter moved it after I transferred to chair. Food was great all over the boat. Plenty of food to snack on 24 hours a day. Castaway Cay was wonderful. All walkways paved so the scooter worked well. Used a beach wheelchair to go onto beach and enjoy my grandchildren.
Food on island was fabulous, ribs, bbq chicken, corn on cob, chips, baked beans, salad, fruit and cookies. Pool were excellent for the children, they are on the 9th deck near the drink station and ice cream machines(open 24 hours), Pete's Boiler Bitesoffered Chicken tenders, hot dogs, hamburgers, FF all day long. The Buffett had the best prime rib ever. All food on the ship was excellent. Looking forward to our next Disney Cruise.
This was our first time on DCL. We set out from Port Canaveral, where DCL has their own terminal. Very smooth operation. The Disney Dream is a beautiful ship, very clean and easy to navigate. Our 4 night cruise took us to Nassau and their private Island, Castaway Cay.
Castaway Cay was just like all other private Islands in the Bahamas own or operated by the cruise lines. Castaway Cay has the advantage that the ship does not have to tender, but docks right into port where a disney tram shuttle awaits and takes you to the main center.
Disney Cruises has everything well coordinated as far as shows,movies and activities. The only drawback I encounter were the long lines for picture taking and character meets.
The stateroom was very accomidating, we had a varanda on the deck 10 fwd. Large enough for two people, but it would be a bit crowded for 4 which is what is intended for.
Dining was very different, since you are schedule to dine at a different restaurant every night. I had mixed reviews for all three and to sumarized I wasn't thrilled with the idea,much toonoisy with the young ones. Food was not as good as I expected, however the Cabana dining for lunch was the best of any ship I've been on with their sea buffet selection.
I took this cruise with DW because of a good discount offered to Florida residents, I would never paid full price for this cruise, however I must say to be fair that anyone with children would probably enjoy it more. Disney Cruise line is not for adults even though they advertise as such. I don't beleive I would take a Dsiney Cruise again unless it was a Transatlantic repositioning with less children on board.
Well, we're back from Disney Dream â€“ our first cruise with DCL. I thought it was an amazing holiday â€“ but certainly not a relaxing one. We're currently booked for Fantasy for next spring break, but I'm not sure if we will keep the reservation or not. You can see my cruising history in my signature which gives some perspective to some of my comments. While we/I love Disney, I don't view Disney through rose-coloured glasses.
Characters â€“ I had an amazing time on Dream. However, I did not feel it to be a relaxing holiday (my own doing). I felt somewhat rushed to take everything in. I never wanted my kids to miss a character, so it felt like one of us was always standing in line for something. There were a couple of disappointments when we'd been standing in line only to be told that we were now lining up for a different character. At the Farewell, we also got cut off when we were the next in line for Chip and Dale. All that being said, the characters were AMAZING. They spent sooo much time with each child, oftensinging and dancing. On our sailing we had, Snow White, Cinderella, Tiana, Aurora, Ariel, Jessie and Woody, Tink, Remy, Smee and Hook, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Chip and Dale, Pluto and Goofy, Pinochio, Peter Pan, Mr.&Mrs. Incredible, Lilo&Stitch, and probably a few others too. We'd sometimes encounter characters coming/going to a photo op, and they ALWAYS stopped to give a hug and chat. The character experience was truly magical. The character experience was a zillion times better on DCL than it was on the Dreamworks cruise on Royal (FOTS).
Autographs â€“ we dropped off our photo mats at guest services. My son did not want princess signatures, so I wrote NO PRINCESS on his bag. My daughter ended up with almost all the signatures. My son however, only ended up with the VIP (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy,Pluto, Goofy and Chip&Dale). He was heartbroken that he did not get any "boy" characters like Woody, Hook, Smee etc. At 9:30 on the last night (when the photo mats were delivered to our room), I ran to guest services and came across the most amazing cast member who wanted to spread some Disney magic to a sad little boy, and ran about the ship to track down the characters and have them sign my son's photo mat. The hard part is now picking one of 600 photos to put in the frame!
DH â€“ I was really unsure how my DH would fare on DCL. We are far from gambling addicts but we do enjoy gambling on our cruises. I had kind of thought that without a casino, we would have tons of free time to do as we pleased. But we seemed to be kind of bored. We only ever had small pockets of time between shows/characters/meals that we were not sure what to do with ourselves. As I note above, we're not sure if we will keep our Fantasy reservation or not. DH was kind of Disneyed-out, and I admit, so was I.
Keys â€“ We had a lot of trouble with our room keys. We had to go through 3 batches before they would work. I'm not sure what the trouble was, but it ate up about 2 hours on first day trying to sort this out. Even after that, we only had our keys working, and could never use the kid's keys to open the doors. I just got tired of pursuing it.
Wave Phone â€“ the wave phone concept is great and I saw many using them. I'm not a techno-expert but I'm pretty savy, and I had trouble figuring out how to use the phone. I probably should have taken the phones to guest services and asked for a tutorial!
Splenda â€“ if you're like me and you like splenda â€“ bring your own! They ship had little yellow packets, but they were not splenda â€“ they were nutrasweet.
Food â€“ overall the food was pretty good. I found the food at Cabanas to be much higher quality than the buffet food found on other cruise lines. The food in the main dining room was very good, but I would consider it to be on par with other cruise lines. Be warned that the breakfast in Enchanted breakfast is buffet, and the lines are long and slow. If you want a sit down breakfast go to Royal Palace and if you ant buffet go to Cabanas. I found Disney did an excellent job of fish (sea bass was excellent!) and an excellent job of roasts. I like my beef medium rare and it was always perfectly cooked. I was disappointed with the desserts. I don't think there was a single dessert that I ate in entirety (other than a mickey bar!). I buy my pastries and cakes from some fine bakeries, so I guess I have a demanding dessert palette. I enjoyed the Celebration cake the most, but if I had paid money for it in a restaurant I would have been disappointed.
Service â€“ this is DCL's strongsuit. The service was excellent. I might still give the edge to HAL for service though. One of the things I most noticed was the service during breakfast/lunch â€“ which are open seating. On most ships, you have excellent service at dinner when you have your dedicated wait team who are working for their tips. The wait staff on Disney watch out for each others guests, and they give phenomal service to all guests. This truly sets Disney apart. Even with open seating at breakfast/lunch, the waiter always made a point to find out our names before they came to our table so they could personalize the service. Even the head waiter was excellent.
Tips â€“ DCL is also quite unique in this area in that there was NO BEGGING for tips, which is often found on most cruiselines. Many cruiselines start telling you on the very first night, with a big sell on the last few nights that you need to tip, tip, tip. I can't recall if there was even any mention of this at all. We asked one water how DCL was as an employer compared to the other cruise lines and we were asking him about compensation, benefits etc. When this question is asked on other lines, they very quickly tell you that they are not paid at all. This is true for Disney, but we had to pull this information out of him, whereas on any other ship, the waiters try to find a away to let you know they work for tips.
Service Questionnaire â€“ At the end of every cruise on any lines, guests are asked to complete a satisfaction survey. Usually, on the last few nights the CD makes a point of soliciting 'excellent' reviews telling guests that they must report excellent because the cruiselines view "very good' as not good enough and that even "very good" ratings get held against them. We received no such pressure from the DREAM CD. In fact, Disney goes so far as to ask if you were pressured in any way to give an excellent rating. Kudo's to Disney for wanting honest feedback. Entertainment â€“ was excellent! We saw Golden Mickeys, Villians, and Believe. All 3 shows were excellent. We also had Mike Super on the ship, and he was truly lavenous.
Kid's Club â€“ was good. I think given the number of kids' they have going through the club, they do an excellent job. My kid's really enjoyed the kid's club but not as much as they have on other ships. They never begged to go to the kid's club and I think that had to do with the number of kid's in the club. On other ships (HAL comes to mind) they have so few kids onboard, that they are able to give amazing personalized service to each family. I asked my 6 year old daughter to rank the kid's clubs and she ranked them in this order HAL, Disney, RCCL, Carnival.
Family Environment â€“ I found that Disney did a very good job of the "family" environment. There were no hairy chest or beer belly contests that I've found on most ships. On other ships, we've enjoyed family activities such as family mini golf tourney, family scavenger hunt, family trivia etc. I'm not saying that Disney didn't have these events, but if they did, they were timed for older families (with teens) later at night, or they were timed when they conflicted with shows or character events. You can't do it all on any ship, and that is the case with DCL.
FE - I panicked before leaving when I read someone write here that the FE space is very narrow and it was! I had made my FE to about 10 inches and it was at least 2 inches too wide. We were on an inside cabin that crossed through the ship, so our cabin steward was not too concerned. If we cruise Fantasy next year, I will use the same FE just shorten my stick from 13" to 10.5" so the stick doesn't stick out as much. The FE was a wonderful experience. We only had 9 families in our group which was perfect. It was easy to manage from a cost perspective, and did not eat up too much time running around the ship. Almost every time we came back to the cabin there was a gift waiting. We gave out the Wilton Mickey Cookie Cutters and a package of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix. We received 2 music cds, sleep masks, pez dispensers, silly bands, buttons, water pistols, stickers, markers, pencils, notebooks, candy, pirate stuff, St. Paddy's stuff, and much more.
Private Table in MDR - We requested a private table for the four of us and received it. I had heard wonderful stories here of Disney pairing guests who forged friendships after their cruise. I contemplated changing our request, but never did. Our table of 4 was always paired with another table of four who based on demographics were a good match for us. They looked to also be in their early 40s and had kids the same age as ours although their daughter might have been a year older and their son a year younger. We were certainly within speaking distance, and made several attempts to make eye contact or engage with them. There were several times when i'd smile at the other mom, and rather than smile back, she'd look away. When DH attempted to speak to them, we'd get brief answers and then they would terminate the interaction. My point is that Disney does a pretty good job of demographic match-up but they can't account for people who are not social.
Formal Night â€“ I see a lot of questions about formal night. On Disney Dream - I am not certain there was one. Usually, cruises make a big deal (in the navigators and by the announcements) of letting you know when it s a formal night. Usually, the night before, the wait staff will also tell you that the next night is formal night. We came prepared with formal wear for 2 nights. For my daughter, every night was formal! We asked at Breakfast on Day 2, and were told that you could be formal whenever you wanted and that most people were dressier on nights they were in Royal Palace. By Night 4, I noticed that people were dressier, as I was walking around the ship, so we broke out our formal wear for nights 4 and 5. Don't stress over it if you don't want to be too dressy. I think business casual is perfectly acceptable on DCL. A 7-night cruise might be different though.
Magical Porthole â€“ loved it! I don't think we ever felt like it was a true ocean-view. But, there were a constant parade of characters. I also liked that we could shut it off at night. I love the black-out you get with an inside cabin.
I think that is pretty much it. I'd be happy to answer any questions, especially from anyone who wants information comparing DCL to other cruise lines.
I rarely write reviews, but this time i am so grateful...i just can not be silent.
To make a long story short...On the way to the port i realized that I (don't judge) forgot the folder with our passports at the hotel. I panicked! Going back to the hotel and then returning to the port would take 2 hours and would cost me around $200.00 extra.
I am so glad our driver (company is called STAR TRANS-VIP - www.startransvip.com) offered to call the dispatch priorto going back. After he spoke to them we had to wait for 10-15 min and then one of the dispatchers called back and let the driver know that they called the hotel and they will be able to fax our passports! I was worried that that would not work, but when we got to the port i was told that we will be able to board. Thank you so mush...to the driver, who kindly waited for us to make sure everything was ok, hotel staff and the cruise line! I am so grateful!!!!
I'd like to share a racist encounter I had with a Disney employee on a Disney Fantasy cruise. The appalling incident took place on Sept. 21, 2013, and ruined my entire cruising experience.
At 9:50 p.m., I was standing in front of The Tube (Disney's adults-only nightclub), waiting for my wife. Two Disney staff members (one male and one female) stood at the entrance of The Tube. While I was minding my own business, the male staff member called me a "chink" and walked away. (I later discovered his name was Franky, the host of cruise game show "Match Your Mate."
As a Canadian citizen of Chinese descent, I was extremely offended by this racial slur, and shocked that Disney would hire racially intolerant people as employees.
On September 22, I reported this horrible incident the front desk. On September 23 at 2 p.m., my wife and I discussed the incident with Mike, the assistant cruise director, at Cove Cafe. Mike informed us that he would talk to Franky a second time (Franky claimed that the incident never happened when Mike first talked to him after I filed my complaint).
I later filed aformal complaint in writing to Disney after leaving the cruise. In response, Joel Hayes, Disney's "executive guest correspondent," apologized, but refused to disclose any disciplinary proceedings, only vaguely saying that my "concerns were handled accordingly." This was despite my insistence that, as a victim of an ugly racist remark, I am entitled to know that Franky's punishment was appropriate for the level of embarrassment and pain that this incident has cause myself and my wife during what was supposed to be an enjoyable vacation.
As a result, I have lost my confidence in Disney hospitality. It is ironic that Disney is reputed to have top-notch management, as this has not been my experience in the least.
In all our past cruising experiences (as frequent cruisers, Disney Fantasy was our 24th cruise), this was the only one in which a cruise staff member directed a racial slur at me, a paying guest.
This was our first cruise - EVER. I wasn't sure about the price, seemed reasonable until I read the other comments today indicating otherwise.
We had a great time, but felt it was too much packed into too short a period of time. Our next cruise will be a minimum of seven days. Period.
I'm all for fun, lots of fun, but have several concerns with this cruise experience -
1) The pools were completely shut down after fireworks so a party could take place. Again, I'm all for fun, but my kids wanted to swim and there was nothing available that evening other than very, very loud, rock-type music that got on our nerves - BIG TIME. Because our kids are 9 and 11, they weren't allowed into the splash pad which also closes early.
2) Compared to the WDW experience, the character lines SUCKED. What was most surprising was there were ZERO characters available at any of the evening dinners. No characters walking around and greeting the children, giving autographs, allowing for pictures. Instead, you had to WASTE your valuable time standing in a stupid line waiting ang waiting and waiting. Iguess that was the price to pay. At WDW, you can plan your meals (with the dining plan) and eat at restaurants at least once every day with characters abounding throughout the restaurant.
3) No lifeguards at all so it was a big free for all with wild kids jumping in an already overcrowded pool with zero consideration for others safety and enjoyment. Parents nowhere.
4) Stateroom (level 10) was great other than it always seemed hot and stuffy. A/C didn't keep up.
5) MAKE SURE to have your luggage outside your room by 10:30PM the night before disembarkation. We weren't aware of this little policy and had to man handle all out luggage off the ship. No big deal though and it was our fault anyway.
6) Don't even think about internet availability. I'm self-employed so I"m almost always in work mode. Bad mode while at sea or at a port. Doesn't work... even though I was charged over $15.00 for service.
7) Food was great at the three restaurants, my request for an additional slab of prime rib was met without question, and it was excellent. HOWEVER, pizza, burgers, and chicken strips after hours? That's it? We were very disappointed by this. After hours crap food in my opinion. Maybe my expectations were set too high, but I though because this was a cruise, I could eat what I want, when I want it, 24/7. Forget it.
8) If you want to get somewhere in the ship - TAKE THE STAIRS. The elevator lines were a joke and big waste of time - waiting in lines AGAIN.
I booked a cruise with Disney not too long ago. The ship, The Wonder, was sailing out of Miami of January 24th 2014. I booked my cruise at that time as it was affordable for myself and my family. This was my first cruise and I found it more affordable to book my airfare on my own, as it was much cheaper. I got an e-mail last week saying the cruise was cancelled, due to unexpected maintenance. No other time of the year is an option for me and Disney will not reimburse the cost of my airfare, saying I must use it and incur the penalties prior to being reimbursed for the change fees. I told them the only reason I booked air to begin with was to go on this specific cruise and they refused to satisfy my request. I am now out over $900 in airfare that I am not going to use, and if I do will have to pay $600 in penalties. I strongly encourage anyone booking through Disney to look at other options!!!!
We were incredibly lucky enough to be serviced by Christian, Sebastian, Svetlana, and Yosif as our dining staff. I had a fantastic time with all of them, they knew the kids, and they made sure that the kids had a great time.
As for the boat itself, its the perfect size for 3-8 year olds. Not too big where it could hold thousands of people, and thus be REALLY busy, but not too small where everyone that was on board was on top of one another. We were also lucky enough to have found the Disney cruise groups on facebook and the Disney forums. The inclusion of "Fish Extenders", and all that new friends that they brought made the trip extra special.
The side trips/excursions, in my opinion, where way over-priced, and the only one that I truly enjoyed was the Great Alaskan LumberJack show oddly enough. They did a great job at including the adults and whole family, and the kids loved it. Some things to be warry of in Alaska:
1) The constant drone of Jewelry sales.
2) The constant drone of "selling Disney Vacation Club", and
3) the constant advertisementof more jewelry. Honestly I don't get it. I understand that the retailers, which are likely owned by the cruise lines, which are providing kickbacks all over the place, have a captive audience and need to make a buck, but the amount of garbage that is advertised got to be a bit ridiculous...to the point where many of us in the party of 67 where cracking jokes about it, as most educated consumers wouldn't be buying jewelry or other expensive items in a place that we couldn't return them if not satisfied with the purchase. So be it.
The food, I like seafood. I had seafood every night, sometimes doubles, with the only exception being the night that we had Beef Wellington, which was HEAVENLY ! I had heard a lot about the poor food on DCL, or that they don't season their food too much for kids sake, but I gotta tell ya, as a foodie, I loved everything they did with the seafood, and my beef Wellington.
Is this a NCL, Princess cruise level experience, NO - its not supposed to be. IMHO, its supposed to be a family vacation, with your family, so if you go at this cruise with the right perspective you will have an amazing time. The look on my 3yr old little girls face the first time she saw Minnie Mouse was worth every penny to me. "Daddy, its Minnie Mouse!!"
Embarking/Disembarking - Vancouver. Bring your patience. Bring your camera. They had a Mickey/Minnie photo spot set up in the way back as the boarding had run late due to late docking times in the morning. If you need the babysitting facilities, also sign up while waiting in the terminal to board. I can say I never once saw a kid turned away from the Lab or Club due to over crowding. The staff in general was amazing. The room was in good shape, though 2532 and 2530 are connected and you can hear each other.
That was unfortunate for the group in 2530 as I caught pneumonia the last 2 days of the cruise as I had unintelligently decided to hang out outside on deck for 4 hours in Tracey Arm with only a fleece on. My apologies to the family in 2530, for all of the hacking and coughing the last few days.
When our son found a good deal on a Disney cruise to Alaska, my wife and I decided to join our granddaughter and him. It was our first time on a Disney cruise. The cruise left from the port of Vancouver, went ashore at Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan in Alaska and returned to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Having been on Caribbean cruises with sunny weather, we applied our past experience to the Pacific coastline as to what clothing to wear. I remembered in 1979, when the operator at the Prince Rupert BC tram said out of 365 days, 250 days had limited viewing because of cloud cover and rain. This allowed us to bring appropriate clothing - rain gear and warm clothing when going outside.
When making selections as to port adventures, we tried to incorporate what the highlights of the area were and our various activity levels and then preordered them. Also, we pre-ordered a 24 pk of bottled water, a 6pk of beer, and a couple of day spa packages. These items were delivered to our staterooms before we boarded.
We assumed that besides a formal night on the cruise,there was to be a pirate night. We went out and purchased inexpensive pirate items at Dollarama and put them in our suitcases. We found out pirate night is only Caribbean cruises.
Unique to Disney, is that you can carry alcohol aboard in a travel bag. Wine will be charged a corkage fee if you bring it to your seated dining.
We used the VINCI Park (604-684-2251) at Canada Place to park our truck as we did not fly. The cost was $186.21 CDN for 8 days. It has a reservation system and is conveniently located under the boarding area.
We signed up for the early dinner seating 5:45 pm thus enabling us to go see the shows at Walt Disney Theatre at 8:30 pm. If we had chosen the late dinner seating at 8:15 pm, we could see the shows at 6:15 pm.
We selected an early boarding time between 11:30 am and 12. The pre-boarding process took about 1.5 hours. The longest was waiting in line to get to the Disney agent booths, where we got our pass for boarding which also served as our room key. We passed through US Customs and then an area in which you get embarkation photos taken before scanning your pass.
DAY ONE - Onboard
Upon entering the Disney Wonder at the middle of the ship on Deck 3, they scan the security pass. It displays the picture you got taken at the agentâ€™s booth. You then are introduced to the staff waiting to greet you as you board. You feel special with this grand entrance.
As we had not eaten since breakfast we headed to the 9th Deck for something to eat at the Beach Blanket Buffet with our travel bags. We then went to our staterooms to offload our travel bags. As half of our suitcases had arrived at our staterooms, we were also able to unpack them.
One of our friends, a past guest, on a Disney cruise said he took over 3000 pictures with his camera and that a good deal was to have linked CD picture package for $350 especially when you consider the number of professional photo opportunities (those with imposed backgrounds and those with Disney characters). He also suggested the need to reserve early to the Disney Friends Tea Party as there was a limited number.
By the time we got to Guest Services on the 3rd Deck to reserve our tea party pass, we missed getting the first seating (had a waiting list), but were able to get the second and final seating. We also booked some beverage seminars that had a nominal fee (Beer tasting $15, Wine Tasting $15, Martini Tasting $15, Champagne Tasting $30, Chocolate & beverages $30). Next, we looked on the 9th deck at the Arcade and Vista Spa for special opening day packages. Then, we returned to the room. Our final suitcases arrived, so we finished unpacking.
We met on the 9th deck. Our granddaughter was going down the slides in the Mickey Pool, as we passed under the Lions Gate bridge, while we enjoyed sipping on Drink of the Day – “Nautilus”. At 4:30 pm, we shifted to the Goofy Pool to enjoy the cruise staff’s official “Adventures Away” opening. We enjoyed its ‘bubbliness’. When it started our granddaughter was just watching, by the end she was shaking her pom-poms.
At 5:45pm, we headed to the Animator’s Palate for seated dining on Deck 4. We were escorted to our assigned seats at Table 71. Our server was from Croatia, assistant server from Thailand, and head server from Jamaica. As Disney has rotational dining. They followed us we went the other Dining rooms – Parrot’s Cay and Triton’s Deck. They even have a kid’s menu.
The thing about cruising is the food. The gourmet dining and access to other restaurants such as Goofy’s Galley (soft ice cream station is also there), Pluto’s Dog House, and Pinocchio’s Pizzeria increases the possibility of gaining a pound a day. Although we would usually access the Vista Fitness Center (Deck 9 fore) to burn off the extra calories, we didn’t.
Initially, we were disappointed in the quality control of the food – lumpy sweet potatoes and food temperature. The head server brought this to the attention of the 2nd cook with whom we discussed our concerns. The end result was that we were happy with the food experiences.
Then, we walked over to Shutters Photo Gallery to see if our embarkation photos had been processed. We found they would not be ready until the next day. As we continued walking towards the shopping areas, we passed the Atrium area where and looked down onto the 3rd deck lobby area. This is where most of the character appearances take place. They shift characters every ½ hour. Guests can take pictures with their own camera or let the Shutters staff use your camera or let them take professional shots.
We bought an Ariel jewelry music box at Mickey’s Mates, looked at perfumes in the Treasure Ketch, and purchased a carton of cigarettes at Radar Trap (Deck 3).
Walt Disney Theatre is the location of the main performances – 4th Deck fore. The shows started at 8:30pm with doors open before 8pm. If you get there early you get a good selection of seats. The initial performance was called “Welcome Aboard: Let The Magic Begin”. The main performer was a physical comedian, Michael Holly.
DAY TWO – At Sea
We decided to have a sit down breakfast so we went to Triton’s Deck. My granddaughter enjoyed her Mickey Mouse waffles, while the rest of us had Eggs Benedict.
After eating, our son took his 7 year old daughter to the 5th Deck mid-ship to the Oceaneer Lab. She received a monitoring bracelet and could only exit with a scanned adult who gave the prearranged password. Initially, she was apprehensive; she thought she was going to a Daycare. But, after an hour she was delighted in going to “The Club”.
We headed to Wavebands, Deck 3, fore, to play 4 games of bingo at 10:45am. We did not win the door prize – a diamond and sapphire pendant.
At 12:00 noon, our wine tasting was in the Cadillac Lounge. It was hosted by the sommelier from the Palo Dining room. We then got a quick bite to eat at Beach Blanket Buffet. We needed something in our stomachs before starting the Beer Tasting at 2:00pm at the Cadillac Lounge.
As my wife and I decided a nap was in order, our son went to Surf & Sea where the internet service is headquartered. As the service is noticeably slower than what we are accustomed to, buying a package for a block of minutes is the way to go.
In conjunction with the formal dining night was the Captain’s Welcome Reception. Professional Photographic opportunities abound during this dress-up time. You need to get in the line-ups early, if you want to access most of them.
After dining at Parrot’s Cay and getting some photos we made it to the Walt Disney Theatre around 8:10pm to get seats to the Golden Mickeys. The production was a spin-off of the Oscar awards complete with the Red Carpet. We were proud grandparents when we watched on screen our granddaughter wearing a Cinderella dress being interviewed by Rona.
DAY THREE – Tracy Arm
In July of 2004, we drove to Anchorage, Whittier, and Homer Alaska from Whitehorse, Yukon. The weather was warmer than early June on this Alaskan cruise. Early in the morning, the deckhands had on parkas and wore toques on the 9th deck where I went to get our morning coffee.
We preferred our morning breakfasts at the Beach Blanket Buffet because we could select the quantity and type of food we wanted.
At 10:45am we arrived at Wavebands to get a family package of Bingo cards ($80). Bingo started at 11:00am.
As we got closer to the glaciers, we passed a couple of humpback whales and the water turned a glacial blue. There were many small icebergs in the Tracy Arm fjord. We did not make it to the end, the Sawyer Glaciers, because in our path on a small iceberg was a mother seal and her pups. Having icebergs beside the ship, many guests did not make use of the swimming pools. A few used the hot tubs.
At 4:30 pm, we went to the Cadillac Lounge for our Champagne tasting.
After eating supper at the Parrot Cay, we went to see The Ricky Kalmon Hypnosis Show at Walt Disney Theatre.
DAY FOUR – Skagway
When we arrived the sky was overcast but the sun shone through. Many of the locals were so happy that they peeled to their short sleeve shirts.
There are many choices as to shore excursions. Our neighbor took the float plane trip and said it was wonderful. My wife and I chose the street car & railway tour. The street car tour guide gave us a delightful rendition of the history of Skagway. Then we boarded a bus and headed to Fraser BC on the Klondike Highway. The snow surrounding the highway had started to disappear 3 weeks ago. We saw a mountain goat and her kid up on a ridge before stopping at the marked border and were given a history on the Alaskan gold rush. We passed through a customs check before got on the train from White Pass railway. It was interesting 21 mile train ride travelling on the sides of mountains and going over trestles. We had to go through Customs again before departing from the train.
Skagway’s 862 residents had to contend with the tourists from three cruise ships that were at port. The stores were quite full. The jewelry stores got a lot of business as shopping guides from the ship make you feel you can get great deals.
My son and granddaughter went on the Klondike Experience tour. I thought her highlight would have been immersing herself with Idtarod sled dogs and their pups, she really enjoyed gold panning and the resulting gold flakes. She did not care for the cold chamber.
We had supper at Triton’s Deck before going to see the movie Iron Man 3.
DAY 5 Juneau
We arrived in the morning mist at the capital city of Alaska. Most of their groceries come in from Seattle by containers as Juneau is only accessible by boat or plane. My wife and I did some power shopping (magnets, rocks, t-shirts) before staring our port adventure.
We boarded a bus that took us to the Medenhall glacier visitor centre. We walked for 25 minutes along the path to the Nugget Creek Falls and got a closer view of the glacier. On top of some of the icebergs (part of the glacier that broke off into the ocean) in the bay were bald eagles. We took a picture of the state flower (the forget-me-not) in bloom.
Next we went to the Mount Roberts Tramway. It is owned by the Alaska Native Tingit people. At the top, we watched an 18 minute documentary film in the Chilkat theatre about Tingit heritage and observed the spectacular views of Juneau, the islands, and passage.
Our son and granddaughter chose the “Fins and Grins” shore excursion. He had taken his daughter fishing off of Vancouver Island, but wanted learn more about salt water fishing. He learned all about downrigger usage.
He said he enjoyed the scenic trip to Auke Bay where they boarded their fishing boat. Their boat with 6 tourists ran into a school of Dolly Varden and caught three of them as well as quite a few sole.
We talked to man from Diana, Texas, on the cruise. He and his family enjoyed the 11 platform zip-line adventure.
After supper at Animator Palate, we went to the Walt Disney Theatre to see “Toy Story – The Musical”. Most of the shows last a little over an hour. As our granddaughter was hungry, the only place I could get her food outside of room service was Pinocchio’s Pizzeria because the rest of the places were closed.
DAY 6 – Ketchikan
After eating breakfast, we played bingo at 10:00 am in Wavelengths.
It was raining when we arrived in Ketchikan. I got off the ship to get the free give-aways at the jewelry shops before buying a jade pendant for my daughter at the Jade Shop in the “salmon capital of the world”.
At 1:00 pm, my wife and granddaughter went on the Duck Tour. It is a narrated tour on an amphibious vehicle which explains part of the Ketchikan highlights. My wife said that the ones in Boston and Chicago are much better. My granddaughter had the pleasure of shopping with her grandmother and being spoiled. They had rain throughout their tour.
At 2:30, my son and I took the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour offered by Disney. The Princess cruise line gave them plaques as being one of the best Alaska port adventures. I agree. They run two tours a day.
They give you a sample of the skills need to fish. Our first stop they bring up a drop line. They caught three sculpins and one rat fish. They released the rat fish in the aquarium in the middle of the boat for closer viewing. The next stop was the most exciting because they fed the bald eagles. Imagine 25 bald eagles swooping to get herring thrown into the water. My son took 30 pictures. To ensure the tourists get to see catches they keep a crab pot with golden king crabs, a crab pot with rock and Dungeness crab, and a barrel pot with an 8 pound Pacific octopus all sealed. Their prawn trap is live. They release the prawns in the aquarium after the tourists have held them. The crabs are also held but then sealed back into their respective crab pots.
Some of the tourists paid an extra $80 to have a fresh crab supper with the crew. We chose to have crab leg appetizers for dinner at the Parrot Cay (My son had 2 orders).
Showtime at 8:30pm Michael Harrison, a comedian & ventriloquist performed.
My wife and I gave our 10:30 pm martini tasting to our son and his guest. Having bartender experience, he did not enjoy the flavors that were offered.
DAY 7 – At Sea
After breakfast, we used our day spa package. My wife said we should have done this on the first day at sea. She also said when my daughter and her were on the Norwegian Jade for a European cruise they were able to get a 14 day pass at a reduced rate and enjoyed using it every day.
At 12:00 pm we went to the Cadillac Lounge for our Chocolate and Beverage pairing. They had three different types of gourmet chocolate: white, dark and caramel. One of our favorites was the caramel chocolate with the Banfi Rosa Regale sparkling wine.
After having a buffet lunch we went to the final jackpot bingo ($120) at Wavelengths. It started at 3:30 pm. We were one number away from winning one of the minor bingos.
My wife and granddaughter left at 4:00 pm to attend the Disney Friends tea party in the Studio Sea theatre on the 4th Deck. Princesses Ariel and Cinderella attended. My son & I joined them after the Bingo.
Our final dinner seating was at Triton’s Deck. The servers paraded in the Baked Alaska dessert.
We were hoping that Disney cruise lines offered bargains on the last day at their shops because the four other cruise lines we have been on did. But no such luck.
The final production “Dreams” was the best show. You had to get there very early to get good seats.
We finished off our suitcase packing by 10:00pm. We wanted them outside the room by 10:30pm so that hosts could store them for port of Vancouver delivery. We did not want to bring them to breakfast and then carry them off the ship.
DAY 8 – Vancouver
We were assigned the first breakfast seating at 8:00 at Triton Deck because we were driving home and were the third group disembarking. We used the express check-out.
In very little time (20 minutes), we scanned ourselves off the ship, picked up our luggage and went through Canada Customs.
This was my first Disney cruise, but fourth overall. I have also cruised with NCL twice, and Royal Caribbean. This cruise was overpriced, when you compare it with similar styled cruise lines
The food quality was substandard at best. Most of our meals came out lukewarm, heavily sauced, and over salted. This was consistent throughout the cruise. It's almost as Disney felt that since they were creating the Disney "magical" experience with the characters, that the adults and children wouldn't notice the lack of variety in food, fresh fruit or appetizing meals. I know that children's palates aren't as developed as adults, but please, there is just some much mac n' cheese (made with what seemed like velveeta), pizza and chicken fingers that a child can eat over the duration of a 7 day cruise. The orange and apple juice was only available during meal hours, so if you didn't plan ahead and bottle some for your stateroom, your child was drinking milk or from the soda station
We had a family deluxe oceanview. Our stateroom attendant was polite and did a great job of keeping our room clean, tidy, and well stocked withfresh towels, etc.
The Disney meet and greets were fantastic for the children. You have alot of opportunities during the cruise to meet with the different characters. If your little ones are looking at getting some autographs and pictures, you will want to get the majority of them as early on in the cruise as possible. Disney runs their ship lean, which means closer to the end of the cruise, you have less opportunity to meet the characters as many of them double for the evening entertainment. Also, for those families that didn't get their quota of photos earlier on in the cruise, they are now scrambling to get as many photos as they can before the end of the cruise. Picture taking is scheduled, and random all at the same time. Since there always seems to be a character(s) walking around on the ship, you often end up taking unplanned pictures causing you to miss other onboard activities. Due to the lineups sometimes taking a 1/2hr or more for photo taking, kids often end up getting cranky. If you can take turns with lineup duties, and have your little ones join you just before their photo is to be taken, you will make your life alot easier.
All three swimming pool areas for the younger babies, children and adults were extremely small and insufficient for the number of people onboard.
The evening (Broadway type) entertainment was also fantastic, and is definitely a higher calibre to what I've seen on other ships. The shows were done "Disney" style, and they didn't disappoint. The pirate party was also fantastic, with the fireworks show at the end - Awesome!
We did our own excursions and we were quite happy with the price and activities we were able to do on our own. I've always found that the excursions offered by cruise lines were higher than what you can get if you plan it yourself, but make sure you do your research beforehand, so you're not wasting time at port. If planning ahead isn't for you, then go with a pre-packaged excursion since there's bound to be at least one which, will interest you and your family.
If you want to see as many Disney characters as possible - than this is the cruise for you. If you are looking for the best quality cruise experience for your dollar, I would recommend a similar styled cruise which offers some character events and children programs.
Reading this review you might think that this cruise wasn't that bad, but please take into account that this itinerary only goes to 3 ports of call. Leaving alot of time spent using the amenities and onboard activities. Overall, this cruise was disappointing due to the cost, poor amenities, and the lack of quality food.