Flying from the UK to Florida and staying in the airport hotel meant we were off to a relaxing start. The Disney Cruise Line Shuttle was a great way to transfer from airport to port. We checked in by 12, had a low number (2) to board and were soon announced on the ship.
The preliminary look around included scoping the areas we have previously visited on our Baltic cruise. Not only did the children remember the counselors, the counselors remembered the children from 11 months previously. This was a great start and made the children feel wanted and welcome.
Lunch, the buffet was delicious, eaten inside due to the swarm of 'love bugs' but this was fine. Before we knew it, after the lifeboat drill, we were sailing away.
The 9 year old boy thought the Lab was the best part of the ship, the games were good and there were computers. Playing dodge ball and making chocolate chip cookies were highlights for him. Our 14 year old loved Vibe because right from the start, there was a cast member who lived three hours away from us, which was good. The intmacy felt between the young adults and counselors was evident from the word go. Not only were there English counselors who knew their home towns, there were American ones who broadened their minds. Not once did these relationships step over the mark.
As for the adults, the time spent on deck 4 watching the sea, the birds and wildlife was fabulous. The calmness of the sea was spooky. The food was delicious and there were more than enough activities to entertain everyone for 2 weeks, without getting off in the ports.
Castaway Cay was a highlight. Our 14 year old did the 'wild side' excursion. A teen experience comprising of snorkeling, cycling and kayaking, with lunch together enhanced the bonding of the group. Our 9 year old did the dig in the children's area facilitated by counselors wearing safari outfits. The meal at Cookies, a bbq self service restaurant was great.
That evening, we had the proper sail away party outside to compensate for the indoor one the afternoon before. it was fun and full of energy. Dinner was in one of the rotation menus and as before all food was great.
The next 5 days crossing the Atlantic was smooth and calm, a real chance to unwind and relax. By the time we reached Madeira, we were happy but not desperate to see land. In each port we repeated our ritual from the Baltic cruise; find an expensive place for coffee or beer and walk around to feel the ambiance.
After Madeira it was Gibraltar, then Cadiz followed by Barcelona over night. in each port we felt the spirit of the place and made a few memories, not least was the port adventure in Cadiz, a trip to Jerez to Gonzales byez to see Sherry being made.
After a fortnight we were still sad to leave and glad we have booked again. The Disney Cruise Line suits our family needs and as a family we have enjoyed all 26 nights onboard. We hope to have another 26 nights in the next couple of years...................