My boyfriend and I booked this cruise last minute. It was originally to celebrate my graduation but it was also around our 2 year anniversary, making it a double celebration. Background, I am 23 and my boyfriend is 29. His parents are AVID Disney cruisers and have been on more than 30 of them. My boyfriend had been on 2 Disney cruises with his parents when he was in his teens but this was my very first cruise. We found a great deal online that guaranteed a room with a veranda. Downside was that we had to pay the full price upfront, we could not get any money back if we had to cancel, and we could not pick our room and had to wait until we boarded the cruise to find out what our room number was. This was well worth it to us due to the price! We ended up paying less for a veranda than others had for an indoor room.
Getting on the ship was a piece of cake. The terminal was busy, but there are Disney cast members at every turn pointing you in the right direction. It was fun to be announced by name when boarding. One of the crew members then pulled us aside to give us general directions. Honestly, it was pretty loud and he had a thick accent so we didn't really understand him haha. No problem, we just walked around the ship aimlessly exploring. We made our way up to our room which was beautiful! The plexiglass veranda was amazing and we spent about 30 minutes looking around and calling our parents to brag a bit before we left port.
Complimentary Food -
We went to Cabanas to eat for the first lunch. We are not food snobs but we were really pleased by the selection and quality of the food. One thing we learned is to get there a bit earlier because we were just able to grab a plate of food each before the buffet was shut down. Luckily we were both full with the one plate! We also had breakfast there each morning and I enjoyed it. The eggs benedict was delish! I think that Disney does a great job of grouping the tables for dinner. They try and put similar groups of people together and so we were seated with 3 other couples, all in their mid-late 20s. Our servers were great! Very friendly and we had inside jokes going on by the time the cruise was over. There was a bit of a problem the first night because one of the tables was spanish speaking and needed a spanish speaking waiter. They ended up having our waiter take that table on which slowed down our dinner. By the time we were ordering dessert, there were no other cruisers in the restaurant. Our waiter worked so hard. He was running around like crazy and still came to the table with a smile. I thought that the food quality at all 3 of the rotational restaurants was really good, not 5 star, but still good. I have read some people who complained about the portion sizes. It is true that the portions are smaller but, you can order 2 of everything if you want! If you leave hungry, that's your fault. The bbq buffet on Castaway Cay was also really nice!
Palos - AMAZING! If you have the chance, DO IT! A beautiful spot, with beautiful views, exceptional service, and delicious food. We are looking forward to trying Remi's next time and having a return trip to Palo's.
The Shows - I thought the shows were pretty good. My favorite was Believe. Honestly, one of the best parts of the shows was that there must have been some hearing impaired cruisers, because there was a pair of signers at the front of the theater. They were amazing because they knew EVERY line from all 3 of the shows, including the songs. They even acted it all out. It was fun to watch them with the small amount of sign language that I know.
The pools - I agree with other reviewers. The pools are way over crowded. We did not go anywhere near the family pools and stuck to Quiet Cove. It was really nice on the Nassau day and we easily found lounge chairs and space in the pool. On sea day, it was kind of aggravating because only about 25% of the loungers were occupied but the other 75% had towels and bags on them. Luckily, we got plenty of swimming in on Castaway.
Ports - As other reviewers have stated, Castaway Cay was really nice. We did the sting ray adventure. It is fun because they let you feed the sting rays on a specially built horseshoe shaped platform. Then you get to go out and snorkel with them. The only problem was that we couldn't find any rays when we went swimming. It was fun, but we probably won't do it again. Serenity Bay was great! It was not crowded at all and servers frequently walk by to take any drink orders. As stated above, the food on the island was great and it is situated in this quiet little shaded areas complete with picnic tables and free of screaming kids. Make sure you keep a look out for Captain Jack Sparrow! Can't say much about Nassau because we stayed on the boat that day. It was fun to pull up next to the other cruise ships and feel like you have the best looking ship. Funny part - a woman who I was talking to said that Goofy was up on the top deck waving to people on the other ships as we pulled in haha. Bet they were jealous.
Other - We attended the martini tasting on sea day. It was held up on the Meridian bar between Palo's and Remi's. I think that most people aren't aware that this bar exists, but it is probably the most beautiful place on the ship! The tasting was amazing and consisted of 4 different mini martinis. I was skeptical about going because I don't really enjoy the taste of alcohol, but I actually loved 3 out of the 4 martinis. The host, Alexandra from Romania, was the best. Please go visit her and let her make you a drink! We had so much fun that we signed up for the Margarita tasting as well which consisted of 3 double shots of different tequilas and 2 margaritas. I did not like the tequilas, but the others at the tasting really did! The tastings were about $15-$20 per person. Well worth it! As I expected, the service was amazing Our cabin hostess was lovely and such a hard worker!
Disembarking was pretty easy. Breakfast was a bit hectic, but still good. Getting our bags was quick.
Cannot wait to schedule our next cruise. Alaska maybe?