This was my 9th cruise, but my first time on Disney. I love the Disney brand and their commitment to family fun, but it comes at a very high price.
Embarkation in Vancouver was similar to waiting in line for a ride at Disneyland - weaving back and forth. However, it did move very quickly, even with all of the strollers. They did board by number, which eliminated a huge line to actually get on the ship and it was really neat how they announced each family as they came on. From the beginning, every employee was always smiling. Access to the cabins did not begin until 1:30, and due to the rain, the open restaurants became very crowded, very quickly. Maneuvering around the buffet with carry-on luggage was tricky at times. We chose to eat outdoors in a covered area - it was a little chilly, but at least we had room to move.
We normally book cabins with a balcony, but our friends used their Disney Vacation Club points for us so we were in a deluxe inside cabin. I was pleasantly surprised at how much space there was. I loved the split bathrooms and the ample storage. The hair dryer wasn't the greatest, but having one provided was definitely a plus.
The sail away party had to be held indoors due to inclement weather, so the crowds were a bit much, but we secured a nice spot on the fifth floor overlooking the excitement. It turned out to be really quite fun. They quickly got the energy going and everyone was having a great time.
It was so nice to be on a ship without a Casino. As an avid non-smoker, I really enjoyed not having to walk past the cigarette smoke that's usually found on other cruise lines.
I had two spa treatments while on board and was again pleasantly surprised by the lack of pressure in "pushing" their products. In fact, not once did they "recommend" any of their products. I definitely enjoyed that!
The food was good - but I'm not a food connoisseur. I LOVED the pineapple! Someone told me the ship had been in Hawaii recently, so maybe that's where they picked up the fruit. No matter, it was absolutely the best pineapple I had tasted in a long time. Our waiter and assistant waiter were both very friendly and remembered from night one our drink preferences. We also had brunch and dinner in Palo. The brunch was absolutely amazing! We loved it! Dinner was also fantastic and well worth the $20 per person premium. That, I can honestly say, was not overpriced.
The character breakfast was fun and all throughout the cruise I loved watching the faces of the little ones when Mickey or a Princess came around. It was absolutely priceless!
The shows were also extremely entertaining and fun. The theater rows were a little long though - especially when someone had to walk by several people to get to the middle seats.
All in all we had a great time - after all, this was a cruise! I personally felt that the cruise itself was overpriced compared to other lines. However, since Disney has name recognition and a wonderful reputation, people are willing to pay for it and if you have kids, this is by far the best cruise line for families.
I wish we could have sailed Disney when our children were much younger. I guess we'll just have to wait until we have grandchildren!