To start off with, I'm 19 years old and am a kid at heart. I love Disney and all the characters I grew up with, so naturally I couldn't wait to go on a cruise with all the Disney characters I grew up with. My family and I (I have two younger brothers), went during Christmas week. I've been on one cruise before with Carnival. To be clear, I can be extremely critical and opinionated.
From the beginning, Disney had the best service. I've been on one cruise before with Carnival, which did not match in comparison. The first thing that happens when you enter the cruise ship is that they will ask you for your last name. Then, they will say "WELCOME THE ____ FAMILY!!" into a microphone and a bunch of staff clap their hands. Yes, they do this for every family. It's cute, but kind of awkward. Nonetheless, I applaud their efforts.
Every time you walk into a restaurant, someone will give you a hand wipe. They have multiple people designated at the entrance of every restaurant to do this. I love it. Makes me feel like everything is clean and it shows that they're willing to put in the extra effort into the little things.
Dinner-The rotational dining service is pretty great. The same food and drink waiter follow you from restaurant to restaurant, so they know what you like to drink and stuff. For me, I loveddd the Wild Berry tea, so every time I got to dinner, my nice waiter had two tea packets waiting for me and a nice tea cup set out for me. He won my heart. Anyway, take advantage of their wide variety of tea, I looked it up online when I got home and it was super expensive (the ones in the sit down restaurants). Anyway, the servers are some of the nicest people I've ever met. They really do their best to make your experience enjoyable. One time, the head server cracked my parents' lobster for them.
Breakfast/Lunch- We went to Cabana's. Even though it's not "personal service" like at the other sit-down restaurants, it basically feels like it. They have special people just to fill up little juice cups and go around giving it to people. If you ever need anything, you really just have to ask and they'll be happy to do it.
I'm super super picky about restrooms, especially since I'm a girl. Seriously, 1 out of every 3 times I was in the restroom, someone was cleaning it. I live in a dorm and use a community restroom and usually have to look through a few toilets to find a "clean" one. This was never the case. The restrooms were always super clean, stocked with toilet paper/toilet seat liners. Even the restrooms near the swimming pools, I was wary to use because people are always "wet", but these were just as clean as all the other ones. Also FYI, they have vents in the restrooms in your cabin. I was thankful to find this out because I lived with my two brothers and they loved to "take dumps."
ROOM CLEANING SERVICE
The lady who cleaned our room always did an excellent job. They clean your room and do your best twice a day! TWICE! What luxury. I met her once and she was wonderfully nice.
My little brother went to the kids' camp. He loved it. Probably because of the computer games, but they really do have excellent counselors there.
PICTURES are taken all the time on the ship. TAKE ADVANTAGE of this. There's this package where you can pay like $300 for all your pictures in digital and print at the end of the week. This is ONLY worth it if you take advantage of this opportunity. They always have this backgrounds to take formal pictures with your family. There's always photographers everywhere to take a picture when you want. Do it all the time, whenever you can.
They way I would describe the overall service is that the crew is basically crawling over each other to serve you. Seriously, you just have to look at them and they'll ask you what you need or they'll know. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little but Disney has done an excellent job in encouraging their stuff to make the service amazing. I don't know what they do to get them to be so helpful, but it works. I'd be skeptical about HOW Disney encourages them, but our waiter told us that out of all of the cruises he has worked at, Disney has treated him the best, so I'm satisfied with that.
The food was meh.
BREAKFAST AT CABANA'S- It was pretty good. They have almost everything you can imagine. I really liked the oatmeal and wide array of toppings! The only thing I didn't like was that everything was lukewarm. Seriously, I want it hot! If they had a microwave for me to microwave everything, I probably would've like the food better.
BREAKFAST AT ENCHANTED GARDEN- They have a smaller buffet. What you lose in the variety of food makes up for the more personal service at this sit down restaurant.
LUNCH AT CABANA'S- It was pretty good. Definitely recommend this over buying food at the port stops. They had a lot of food including sushi, fries, and lots of other things. Once again, I wish the food had been hot.
SNACK TIME AT FLO'S CAFE- This place was great. The place had HOT FRESH made food. They have burgers, fries, chicken fingers, fruit, pizza. Excellent fast service.
DINNER- I honestly feel like all three restaurants (Enchanted Garden, Royal Court, Animator's palate) taste the same. Not that great. Every day I would desperately hope that the food would magically get better. But it didn't. The food was lukewarm and didn't taste that good. Seriously! This is supposed to be THE thing to look forward to on a cruise. The dessert was even worse. Was never THAT happy about it. They always asked how the food was and I'd say it was okay because 1) I feel bad for complaining 2) What can they do about it? All the food is mass made. They can't really make the food any better. It's like asking McDonald's to make a better burger.
Okay, so I thought, maybe..maybe they just don't know how to make the food. NOPE! My parent's went to Palo's to eat and the food there was amazing. So, I can only assume that they have lowered the standard for their food, which makes me sad.
Went to one of the comedy shows and the guy joked about how the kids on Carnival are starving. I laughed, but honestly, Carnival has WAY better food by FAR. There's no comparison.
A lot of people on the ship are Disney Cruise Line loyals and have gone on 5, 6, maybe even 7 Disney cruise's. I think they have some kind of discount. Anyway, it made me realize that Disney gets away with mediocre food because so many of people on the cruise have only been on Disney cruises and don't know what cruise food SHOULD taste like. Seriously, I almost cried multiple times on the Carnival cruise when I ate the dessert. BASICALLY, DCL food is mediocre. Not worth the price we paid.
What Disney lacks in quality of food, they make up for in the entertainment. Disney is an entertainment company and it shows on the cruise. They have shows every day, lots of them musicals, and they are excellent to watch. Much better and more "family appropriate" than those "Vegas" type shows that Carnival shows.
You could tell they put a lot of effort into each show. They aren't too long nor are they too short. Just the right amount of time.
The PIRATE PARTY was really awkward. As a business student, it seems like an event they made up to make tons of money. Lots of people bought pirate costumes and toys and other stuff on the ship. Even though everyone looked cool all dress ed up, there wasn't a real purpose for this event.
FIREWORKS were really cool! I don't really like fireworks, but DCL did a great job at this.
DISNEY MOVIES are shown every day in the Buena Vista theater. This is a great deal because movie tickets cost money and this is already included in the cost.
DISNEY CHARACTERS made appearances all the time to take pictures. I went to the princess gathering and all these cute little girls dresses up in princess costumers and had their hair and makeup done. Made me wish I was a little kid again. The princesses take the time to talk to every kid and make them really feel special. Word of advice though, if you want to take pictures with any character, show up EARLY and get in line.
There was lots of stuff to do on the ship. I would encourage you to do the "Culture of art theme show tour" or whatever it was called because it shows you how they design the rooms.
GYM was okay. It was kind of small and on the side of the ship. So it felt weird looking out the windows and watching the ocean go by sideways while running forward on an elliptical.
At the ports, don't book your adventures through Disney! It costs a lot more. We went scuba diving and this guy told us that basically they charge an extra $100 for going through Disney. Do research online and find people who do it independently. I'm not saying get off the ship and go with a random stranger, but do your research, find someone safe and who has good reviews and go with them. If you go through Disney, sure they make it much more convenient through them like bring your tickets to your room and stuff, but from what I could see, these groups are a lot bigger. If you want something more personal and private go with a smaller group and not through Disney.
Disney has great service and entertainment. If you have small children (especially girls who like to dress up as princesses) this is the place to be! If you're willing to give up great food, go with Disney. However, you will not lack in anything else. The DCL crew does a fantastic job taking care of you.
I love Disney. Sorry my review was kind of disorganized.