I have read and re read your post.
I didn't want to coment because it reads like your already regretting your trip.
Yes, the buffet has limited hours. They close it to clean and switch between breakfast and lunch. It is not a 24 hour buffet. When the buffet is closed, there are other places to eat. There is a great little stand for fresh fruit and salads.
I never thought the food in the main dining room was bland. Even when I really wanted to not like it, they made my day. I have NEVER had a wait staff go so out of their way to make my day. I was absolutly surly last thanksgiving and my head waiter made my day. It made such a huge impresion on me I singled him out in my review.
The Palo is FANASTIC thats why it can be hard to get into. I am a repeat cruiser and I book my Palo time 3 months before my cruise. I had dinner there and after a couple of minutes with the menue the waiter came by and took away the menues. He could tell we didn't have the first clue what we were looking at. He began "interviewing" us about what we like and the next thing you know we had a fantastic meal, it was a very nice tour of Italy. I think next time I'm going to let them choose some wine for me. I used to be a wine snob so that should be fun.
I managed to stay very busy on board. I don't know what kind of adult activities your interested in but I never ran out of stuff to do.
Your trip is taking her to dry doc. I'm looking forward to her coming back to the west coast. I will definetly book another cruise on the Wonder. I am a little jelouse of your panama canal trip
I really wanted to take a trip to Hawaii on the Wonder.. lots of sea days with my feet up.