We had a short trip to Port Canaveral from the Tampa Bay area. Our almost 5 year old granddaughter was very excited as this was her first cruise and her birthday is very soon.
The parking garage was still not filled when we got to the parking area 40 min. before our scheduled time to check in the terminal. Parking was not an issue. We had our luggage taken very quickly by the baggage men by the terminal. Check in went very quickly and we took our granddaughter over to get a GPS bracelet as she wanted to join the Oceaneers Club while on board. That went very smoothly and boarding was so quick I'd say less than a half an hour from entering the terminal to being on ship.
We went up to get our lunch at Cabanas buffet on deck 11. The food was good and we then were able to go to our cabin as they let you get in at 1:30 pm. We packed a "day bag" which they suggest you do, as I knew our granddaughter would like to go into the pool or the splash area. She went into the splash area and spent an hour or more in there, she had a ball. We could watch her at all times as it's all glassed in and she just loved the water slide in there. We also enjoyed the family pool and the Mickey pool (which is geared more for the younger kids under 10 I'd say.) She just had a ball playing. Yes, it's crowded in the pools but not so much that it made it difficult to play.
Went back to the cabin and it was a Deluxe Family Ocean View cabin with a very large sit in port hole window which our granddaughter enjoyed laying down in and looking out the window. The cabin was very large and could probably sleep 3-4 kids as well as two adults. The bed was very comfortable and so was her pull out futon like bed. She was happy there was a large night light in the ceiling that made her feel secure. There is also a large curtain that can be pulled across to close off her sleep area from ours if you need to close it, we found the nightlight somewhat bright for us. Our bed was great and we are used to a king bed, but this Queen bed(not two singles like most lines put together) was very comfortable and we had no trouble sleeping in it since we are not "small boned" :>) The closets and drawer space are so plentiful, there is NOT a stocked refrig. like on other cruises. You can bring water bottles etc and have a whole refrig to store them in. One thing I will warn you of. Disney "scents" the room through the air conditioning it seems. Either that or they are very heavy handed on the scent bottles when they clean. There was always a perfume smell in the room and if you have a sensitive nose, then maybe you would need to tell someone about it beforehand.
The room steward did a wonderful job of cleaning the room and it was not intrusive.
You are assigned 3 dining rooms on this trip (3 night cruise). We had the Enchanted Garden, Royal Palace, and Animator's Palette in that order. The wait staff follows you to each dining room and the table number stays the same in each dining room. The food was OK, I had an issue with the choices for kids, as yes, it's food kids normally eat like spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, Minnie Burgers, chicken tenders. They eat this all the time and I thought it might be good to put some other options on the menu for them. But they will usually add something like meat loaf to the menu and they can have an adult entree too if they like. By "an issue" I mean when they serve spaghetti and meatballs (which was very good) they also put french fries on the plate. Two starches. I think french fried were on every plate she ate even with the Mickey Pasta. They do offer a fruit plate for the kids which is nice too as my granddaughter loves fruit as well as salad but they didn't offer a "mini salad" which might be nice for kids. The wait staff was good and attentive. Plan to be at dinner for an hour and a half. Its a long time for kids to sit.
The activities for the kids are plentiful, but mindful to look at the daily cruise bulletin for times. Some kids activities are only offered at certain times and character appearances are at certain times. Some of the princess appearances are at 10:30pm late (I think) for the small ones. Also our granddaughter wanted to go dig for the "whale bones" on Castaway Cay but get on the island by 10 or so as if you want to go do that after lunch, it wasn't listed on the activity brochure after 11:30.
Getting to Castaway Cay, since this was our first Disney Cruise, (we've taken 28 cruises on other lines)we were disappointed as the "Flying Dutchman" pirate ship was not there, which is shown the Disney videos of the Castaway Cay. Wanted to get pics of it. Nobody could(or would) tell us why it was gone or where it was. But Castaway Cay had a very good bar b que lunch, as good as any and better than some others we've attended. The beaches were nice and the kids had a ball there. there is a splash area too for the little ones, not as elaborate as on the ship but the very small ones will like it, toddlers up to 3 I guess. You can buy a "castle" bucket and shovel there for about 5 bucks and worth getting there as it's nice for kids to play with it on the beach there and a nice souvenir to take home if you have the room.
We only saw the "Believe" show which we enjoyed so much and our granddaughter loved it. She's leery of "Villains" so we didn't see it, and missed the "Golden Mickey" show because she was in Oceaneers Club the other time.
Granddaughter went to this place the first night with the little girl who sat at our table. She was there for an hour and a half and had a good time. They will text you on a special phone they give you when they ask to be picked up.
One thing that I noticed right away and it's a concern. I know Disney is all about kids and making them feel at home etc. But, when we were in line to get on the ship a female counselor spotted our granddaughter and made a bee line to her and knelt down and gave her a big hug. My granddaughter's eyes were wide and she looked at me. We've always told her to be leary of strangers and not to let any stranger touch her, let alone hug her. She was very nice and we were cordial. EVERY crew member including room steward would say "hello princess" how are you today and talk with her as if they are all best friends. Men and women alike. This is Disney's way of putting kids at ease but in this day and age, little ones get mixed signals being told about "strangers" and then watching Grandma and Grandpa let some stranger hug or have a conversation with the them. I would think Disney might think this policy over a bit more and have the crew/counselors limit touching/hugging and being too familiar with the kids.
All in all we enjoyed our cruise and our granddaughter cried when we left the ship, she didn't want to get off. So I guess that tells you how much fun she had.