Fellow Travelers... A six cabin /w outside verandahs purchase for Thanksgiving '99 resulted in an almost $l7,000 fiasco...a special occasion, with the family..3-=4" of water on the verandas(took three days to remove)..no scuttleholes..totally inedible food the first nite, resulted in the chef apologizing..advising his job depended on it..careless waiters and busboys who brought cold , incorrect orders..neglected to remove dishes..begging the hotel director aboard to help..resulted in a non effort.Britework (varnished wood)peeling...'THE DISNEY WONDER..WENT IN TO SERVICE AUG.'99..this was November'99.
A Disney Disaster for us, resulted in three poor,expensive days...FORGOT TO MENTION THE FACT WE WERE "DEAD IN THE WATER" DURING THE NIGHT FOR MANY HOURS.. All of the above resulted in fax's to the CEO and related personnel...months later..received a letter from PR dept.."they were sorry for our not enjoying the dinner..and would offer a 25% discount on a future trip.." Letters echoing our personal adventure to numerous papers in the country, resulted in "0"..they must be big advertisers...
CAVEAT EMPTOR...let the buyer beware
P.S. The travel manager did good..when Philadelphia travelers had a tough time..and they managed, with super human effort to get them on board.
My husband and I set sail on the Disney Wonder for a three-day cruise to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay. Boarding was quick and although we could not go to our rooms until 1:30 we decided to eat at Parrot Cay for lunch. The food was good and the desserts were enjoyable.
After we ate we were allowed in our rooms. The room was an inside handicapped and somewhat larger then usual. One problem was that my husband has a scooter and it was very difficult to get in and out of the room because it was at an angle. It was not set up very well for a handicapped guest.
Castaway Cay was nice. We could have spent two days there instead of one. The characters were there which made it enjoyable for the kids.
Palo's was very nice for dining. The food was great and Sean was a great server. Should have ate there all three days.
Leaving the ship was quick and organized. Would I choose Disney again? I don't think so. A specific crew member was very rude to my husband because he was on a scooter. Wewent to guest relations and they took the info. We never heard anything after that conversation. An apology would have been nice.
My family and I sailed the Disney Wonder on 11/8 for a 3 night cruise stopping in Nassau and Castaway Cay. It was the occasion of my husband's 40th birthday. We have never been on a cruise, but it has been something my husband always wanted to do, so this birthday seemed to be a good time. We knew our son would be a bit young to really absorb the experience, but we also knew we would not feel out of place on a Disney cruise with a 2 year old child in tow.
We spent the night in Orlando at the Homewood Suites hotel on International Blvd. Very nice facility, clean, comfortable with a great breakfast. We drove to Port Canaveral (approx. 1 hour) and parked at the port. As we expected with everything Disney, the service was wonderful and the check-in was seamless. We were in our stateroom by 2:30 p.m. after arriving at the port at 1:45 p.m.
Our son proceeded to take a long overdue nap while we acquainted ourselves with the room (6578). Over the course of the course, we were just amazed at howsoundproof the cabins are. We could not hear the folks on either side of us nor the folks above us. Occasionally, we would hear kids running in the hall outside. We did the mandatory evacuation drill at 4:00 p.m.(our son was not happy about being awakened for that!) and we attended the send off show on Deck 4.
We dined at Triton's, Animator's Palette and Parrot Cay. The food was fine, but nothing was exceptional. I would suggest that parents of young toddlers bring snacks (e.g. cut apple wedges, crackers, etc.) as the food delivery time is fine for adults who are relaxing and talking, but it is a bit long for a hungry toddler. Our servers were great; they were very patient with our son and after the first night, they began delivering his food even before the appetizers for the rest of the table arrived. They also remembered his preference for broccoli cooked really well and aversion to desserts. We were confused on the morning of disembarkation about when we were scheduled for breakfast, but we were accommodated very easily. Outside of the scheduled dining rooms, we loved the room service available as we would order wine with crackers, cheese and fruit every evening after our son went to sleep (around 9 p.m) and then we would sit on the verandah talking about our day and just things in general (what a luxury to have uninterrupted conversations when you have a toddler!). We also ordered our breakfast to be delivered every morning. Fruit plate, muffins, cereal and GREAT coffee! The delivery was always within the time we requested. Our stateroom steward kept the room spotless. I will admit I was a bit put off by the constant mention of gratuities, but these folks work hard and they really put great effort into it. I actually ended up tipping higher than the amounts recommended.
Nassau was OK. It is what it is and that is a port town with day trippers out to spend money. We walked around for about an hour and half and then went back to the boat for lunch and his nap. We spent the remaining afternoon in the Mickey wade pool, which he enjoyed, but not as much as he could have. The pool is supposed to be for toddlers only, but there were a lot of bigger kids (5-9 years old) who just couldn't seem to stay away from that area, even after the Disney life guard shooed them back to the pool for the bigger kids.
Castaway Cay is AWESOME and I wish the cruise had skipped Nassau and spent two nights at CC. We spent an hour at the Family Beach, which is rocking with kids, but there was still plenty of chairs and loungers. We snagged an area under a shady palm tree right off the bat; it came in handy later for our son's nap. After the beach, we rented bikes and took a self guided tour of the island; this was my best experience! Our son loved the bike ride and it felt great to get a bit of exercise in such beautiful surroundings. After the bike ride, we ate lunch at Cookie's BBQ. The lunch was excellent, much better than what we had on board. After lunch, we put our son in a hammock and he slept for 1.5 hours while swinging in the breeze under the shady palm tree. Meanwhile, my husband and I took advantage of the two for one drinks the local bar was offering. My only suggestion would be to offer more options for families with really young children; not everyone with a young child wants to send them off to a nursery just b/c it is vacation, although for some I am sure this is a very welcome respite. I would suggest a small library with board books and a sand box on board. On CC, I would suggest a jungle gym with bucket swings and a slide, again, for the toddlers. Another tip for toddler parents: bring your own plastic shovel and bucket, it is worth it.
As we normally had our son in bed by 9 p.m., we did not see many of the shows. However, we did stay up to watch the Disney Dreams show on the last night and it was top notch. As good as any we have seen in NYC. We also did not take our son to the Flounder's Reef Nursery.
Disembarkation was a complete breeze; 15 minutes from the time we walked off the boat to the time we got in our car. We were on the road by 9 a.m. We will definitely be doing this again and are looking forward to our son being of an age where he will enjoy it as much as we did!
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.
When I read online about the Disney Wonder cruise I was really worried about how it would be. Most of the reviews were quite negative. My dealings with the business office by email and by phone were not pleasant. It took three emails before they would even answer the question I asked with other than their form letters that did not fit the situation. Since we could not fit my daughter's vacation into the calendar of the Disney Magic we decided to do a 3 and a 4 day on the Wonder to add up to the seven day cruise. I asked my travel agent and emailed a request to customer service at Disney to please be allowed to occupy the same cabin on both cruises. I talked to others on the cruise that had been granted this request, but we were made to pack up and change cabins after the 4 day cruise. The replies from Disney indicated that this was something they could not do. When I asked at the guest relations desk, they said that it could easily have been done, the person making the room assignmentsjust did not want to take a bit of extra trouble to do it. On the positive side, the cabin for the four day cruise was a very nice upgrade. The one for the three day was over the engines and under the disco so it vibrated a lot when starting or stopping and was noisy until late at night. I do not recommend number 2652, but number 2550 in the same category was very comfortable and much quieter.
Once we got on the ship the cruise was wonderful. I wrote a review of the Disney Magic several years ago. The Wonder is just as nice. The food has improved, but is still not a strong point of the cruise. The children's program and the private island, Castaway Cay, are the best features of the cruise. Our 2 ½ year old went happily to the nursery where the staff was friendly and competent. We were allowed to take him to the 3-5 year old area where it was quite dimly lit as several reviewers have said. Our eyes adjusted quickly and he did not mind; the staff members were friendly there also. We had to stay with him, but he played and participated in the program happily until time for us to leave.
One advantage of taking the back to back cruises was that we got two days at the island and two evenings at Palo. The second day on the island we left our toddler in the nursery and went to the adults only area of the beach. The BBQ was much better than the one served in the family area with rib eye steaks and a nicer area in which to eat. Dinner in Palo was a special treat both times although the lobster ravioli which was so delicious the first time, was too salty to eat the second time. Our server, Kim, gave us excellent service both evenings.
Embarkation and debarkation for both cruises was quick and easy. Packing for this cruise is no problem. One dressy outfit and a few casual outfits plus your bathing suit and you are good to go. I even had room in the suitcase for my snorkel gear and plane toys for Charlie.
We took the annual family vacation on a 7 Day Land & Sea package with Disney on the Wonder. This was our first Disney Cruise experience and we are already looking forward to 2011 when the Disney Dream is launched for sailing.
Our package was for 3 days in the parks and 4 days on the ship and if I had it to do over I would not combine them because neither is enough time to fully enjoy what is offered. Our cabin was an outside Superior Stateroom with balcony which is one below the Family cabins though I could never tell what the actual difference was since they both will sleep 4 to 5 depending on the size of the individuals (kids).
Port Canaveral was a breeze and is very true to the reviews on this site and others. Our girls were 8 and 3 at time of sailing and they had no problems with the process, of course they were to excited to worry about anything but getting on and getting started. They announce each guest separately as you come across the gangway onto the ship which is prettydarn cool. They had the standard fare for a first day of the cruise buffet and over all the food was pretty good and pleanty of choices for the kids.
The cabin was the largest we have seen for a non-suite cabin on any of the cruises we have been on. The two separate bathrooms are very nice (tub/shower and sink in one and toilet/sink in the other) it made getting ready much quicker and the bath tub had enough room for our 3 yr old to take a bath in. Queen size bed for the wife and myself while the sofa fliped into a single and the other pulled down from the ceiling which of course the kids loved. There was pleanty of storage under the bed and in the trunk that is like a book shelf. The tip to bring an over the door shoe organizer worked great as well for shoes/toiletries and other assundries. The balcony was great to have which made the room feel even bigger, they have a curtain that pretty much splits the room in two for some privacy when the kiddo's go to sleep.
As far as the shipboard entertainment goes, it's Disney and you really can't go wrong, there is something to do everyday and the characters are constantly found throughout the ship. The kids programs put anything out on the high seas to shame no matter what age your children may be. They give you and your children an armband that stays on the entire lenght of your stay and they also issue you a beeper to notify you if your child would like to be picked up or in case of an emergency and they do not let anyone else that does not have a wristband check the child out.
Nassau and Castaway Cay were the only two stops we made and since we had been to Nassau several times we decided to stay aboard the ship. Castaway Cay is great with to many things to do in one day and the BBQ that they have was pretty good as well and at no extra charge it is priced just right. There is an area for everyone of all ages here and we found the family beach to be just right. I will say other reviews I have read say that it doesn't really matter what time of the year you go the water never really gets Hawaii warm but one you have been in it for a few minutes it is fine.
Disembarkation was just as easy as getting on the ship, you just wait until your bag tag is called and off you go, no fuss no muss. Overall we were very happy with the total Disney experience and the Wonder.
My mother and I went on a three-day cruise aboard the Disney Wonder to Nassau and Castaway Cay for my 19th birthday, and the tenth anniversary of sailing with Disney Cruise Line, last August. We embarked the ship rather early (some four or so hours pre-departure) and had lunch in time at the Beach Blanket Buffet. The food was scrumptious, with the fruit nice and sweet, picked at the peak of its ripeness. (Blame the magic of Disney on their originating soils.)
The shows were more enjoyable, especially my favorite (besides Disney Dreams), Toy Story the Musical! Note that the shows don't use show bands, just not to detract theatergoers from the magic on stage.
The deck parties (Adventures Away and Pirates IN the Caribbean, with pyrotechnics on the ship) topped the bill, with Disney characters on hand to rule the roost. Speaking of which, a lot of them are virtually EVERYWHERE! One day, I saw Lilo and Stich while taking pictures in the spa and I saw Donald, Captain Hook, and Mr. Smee on our way to the fitness center (with LCD TV screens on their ellipticals, which was brilliant). Despite thefact that guests under 18 are not allowed in the area, I think the characters were exceptional! I met Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy (while exploring the ship before viewing The Golden Mickeys), among some others, while onboard.
Despite skinning my right knee on Nassau and being set back a tad bit due to inclement weather in Castaway Cay, I still had payloads of fun in the shore excursions. The tours of the zoo, city, and Fort Fincastle in the latter port of call were excellent!
My mother and I also dined a Palo's at the last night of the cruise, since I just turned 19 nearly two months before the cruise (you must be 18 to dine there) and we were iffy of dining in our least favorite restaurant, Parrot Cay, again. My northern Italian experience was relatively placid, with no sight or sound of screaming kids or seat-heeling brats.
I truly recommend sailing with Disney, even if itineraries are as short (sometimes lacking a day at sea, just like ours) as the Disney Wonder's! Excellent service and food aren't the only things I enjoy about this aforementioned cruise. For families who either don't condone gambling or worry about their kids inhaling secondhand smoke, they'll flip over the lack of casinos and the stringent smoking policy! Because of the ounces of magic Disney tosses at you each day onboard, I give this five stars!
All I can say is WOW! I have been on over 60 cruises, and all I can say is once you've done a Disney cruise, all other cruises pale in comparison.
I was hesitant to go on this cruise. I was going with a girlfriend. We had no children with us. So what were we doing on a Disney cruise? It was a gift.
We arrived the day before and stayed at the Radisson Hotel in Port Canaveral. Fabulous value, fabulous hotel.
The next day we took the Radisson shuttle to the ship. We got there around noon and we figured there would be long lines. WRONG. Disney is so efficient that we were on the ship in less than 15 minutes. And what a welcome we got. They ask your name when boarding the ship, they announce your arrival and all of a sudden there is clapping for you. Then one crew member is assigned to you to advise you when the staterooms would be available and directed you to the lunch buffet being served.
When we finally got to our stateroom, all I could say was WOW -- it washuge! The bathroom design is fabulous. The rooms are good sized. My biggest complaint is the toilet paper (sand paper).
Changing dining rooms every night was so much fun. You got a different room every night, but the same servers. Excellent idea. The food (which I expected to be the quality of the Disney park food) was to die for (well -- I gained 5 pounds eating it -- does that tell you anything?)
The service on the ship was impeccable. From our cabin steward (Edgar) to our dining room servers (Lloyd, Amanda and Ali the head waiter) were eager to please and wonderful to deal with. Ali even brought me recipes for the some of the dishes I enjoyed.
Nassau is Nassau -- it's a port I can do without. However, Castaway Keys is unbelievable. Once again, Disney has outdone themselves. The Island is beautiful. The adult's only beach is so peaceful. The tram system works wonderfully. The BBQ they had was delicious.
I can usually nitpick at a cruise. I feel I've done enough cruises to be able to do so. However, the only thing I could find wrong with this cruise was the toilet paper. The shows, the fireworks at sea, Mickey on a Zipline -- I guess as an adult without kids I could complain that I had to shove all the little ones out of the way so I could get my one on one time with Mickey :)
This cruise makes you a kid again. People without children should not hesitate to take this cruise. Family oriented or not, it was a blast!