We took our 4th Disney Cruise to the Mexican Riviera during Spring Break. This was our 4th trip on the Wonder, so we were very familiar with the ship. In fact, sailing on the Wonder feels like we're at our vacation "home."
Our waiters were great! They interacted with our 10 yr old son and the other children at our table. They remembered not only our drink orders each night, but also our preferences. For example, as a Texas girl, I don't like my steak smothered in sauces, so my sauce was always on the side. My son was always anxious to get back to the Oceaneer Lab and missed dessert each night, so our waiter assembled a plate of cookies and milk for him to enjoy in our cabin later in the evening. He even remembered to send chocolate chip and not oatmeal raisin cookies! Since this was our 4th cruise with Disney, we've made some observations. First, the quality of the waiter is not a direct reflection on the cruise, but on the waiter and if you're not getting the service you believe you should, this should be taken up with the head waiter immediately. Our servers on our 2011 Alaska cruise were not up to par and we should have said something. Second, this cruise was the first one that we've had the first dining time and we noticed a huge improvement in the qualify of the food in the main dining rooms as well as how quickly we received our meals. The first 3 cruises we requested 2nd seating and dinner took 2+ hours. This allows for a more leisurely meal. The food was never that fantastic but we couldn't put our finger on the reason. This time we requested first seating and there was a 110% improvement in the food and the speed to the food getting to the table. We ate the same food we had had on previous cruises expecting a certain flavor/texture, but it was much much better this time. We truly believe the food must be getting "held over" for the second dining and is not as fresh. We're requested 1st seating on our Nov 2012 Western Caribbean and our 2013 LA to Vancouver cruises!
We had a wonderful stateroom host who ensured our room was always clean and neat! We noticed a couple changes to the room. The have added Velcro to the sliding closet doors so they no longer move back and forth with the movement of the ship. A down side is that one of my nice blouses kept getting stuck to the Velcro. I wish they would have put that up high or down low on the door, but not at hanger level. They've replaced the old bedspreads with the new duvets (I think the same ones used on the new ships.) And, during our cruise to Alaska in 2011, we noticed they changed the clocks in the room to one you can actually see in the middle of the night. The only down side is the clock is entirely too bright. The first night of our cruise, our cabin had unusually LOUD creaking noise and resulted in very little sleep for my husband and I. We mentioned this to our cabin maid first thing and he said he reported it. (He was fantastic all week, so we don't doubt that he did indeed report the issue.) However, when we were in our room getting ready for dinner that night it was obvious the noise had not be resolved. One brief stop to the front desk, and all of a sudden we had the Head Engineer in our room placing little wedges around our room between the ceiling and the wall. Surprisingly this pretty much fixed the issue. They also sent up ear plugs to our room just in case, and asked us to tell them right away if the issue persisted or if we had any other issues during our stay. We received several follow up calls asking if the noise was ok, and they sent chocolate covered strawberries to our room and gave our son a $15 gift card to be used in the arcade to help make up for our first night without sleep. I learned two things here. One, tell the front desk. They know who to call to get quick resolution. Two, Disney does a great job at trying to make a situation "right".
We chose Disney for our cruises because we've had some fantastic cruises and each cruise has been consistently great. However, Disney does not make any real changes in their programming from year to year. In other words, the Disney Broadway shows on this last cruise were the same ones that were on the other 3 cruises, dating back to our first cruise in 2008. So, we tend to skip the shows every other cruise. this is the same thing with the game shows. We love "Who Wants to Be A Mouseketeer" and "Mickey Mania" but we'd like to see some new game shows and other entertainment. Our son has been in the same kids club since 2008 (he was 6, now he's 10)and he's made Flubber, cookies in the Ratatouille Cooking School, and solved cases in the Goofy Files 4 times now. He needs some new programming.
Some of the counselors remembered our son from our Alaska cruise last year and he made some new counselor friends as well, which he enjoyed. However, now Disney does not segregate the Club from the Lab and so there's very small kids (4 yr olds) in the Lab, which goes through age 11. My son was not interested in several activities because the children participating were so young. He didn't even want to play the Wii because the boys playing were so young. He didn't feel it would be fair to the little ones so he spent lots of time visiting with the counselors and using the computers for individual games. Not exactly what we're paying for when we book a Disney cruise for our son. This huge age range needs to be whittled down, or let the older kids go into Tween club.
Our ports were Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. We booked excursions at both ports, although we did not enjoy these ports like others we've been too and were disappointed in Disney choosing these. We especially didn't enjoy the tendering at Cabo and can't imagine how scary it would have if we would have had small children with us.
This was our first time to ever arrive before noon but we were excited to get there this time to get on the ship early. We had to wait and got on around 1pm which wasn't too bad. It was nice to get on and have time to eat leisurely without rushing to finish in time for the safety drill. Right after eating, our son had his swim suit in his day bag, so he hit the pool!
This process we found to be very smooth on our cruises out of Port Canaveral since our bags "magically" went from the hallway the night before all the way to Dallas without us having to touch them. However, this was a complete nightmare in Vancouver last year where we had to WAITE for our bags to be taken off the ship and then FIND them at the port, take them through customs, etc. So, this year we did something different. Our suitcases are large rolling bags, so we decided to NOT put them out the night before and take them off with us. That way we also didn't have to wait until our turn to get off the ship. This was AMAZINGLY smooth and will be our choice going forward if we are not at Port Canaveral.
Yes, the ship is aging, needs dry dock time, and overall upgrades. However, through out the week we did notice workers repairing sections of carpeting, painting etc., so they are trying to keep the ship in good repair. This is not to ignore the fact that the bathrooms do need new tiling and paint, the sleeper sofas should be replaced, etc. I assume all of this will be accomplished in the next dry dock and none of this diminished the enjoyment our our cruise in any way.