My wife and I booked this cruise while on board our Alaska cruise in 2011. We were not completely happy with our experience in Alaska but this cruise was CHEAP and since we live in Southern California, the airfare was only one-way. We are very happy we booked it as we had a great time.
As the summer began we took our 25th Anniversary cruise to the Western Caribbean aboard the Freedom of the Seas in June. That was the most amazing vacation experience ever. We knew we had another cruise coming in September and had everything already planned out. We were a little nervous that this little Disney ship would fade in comparison to the grandeur of the much larger Freedom. It did not. This "little" classic ship held her own.
We started our vacation by flying to the Pacific Northwest to see family for the weekend. Then we headed out to Seattle to see the sights before taking a train from Seattle to Vancouver. There we shared a cab ride to the cruise terminal with a couple sailing on NCL that same morning. The pre cruise experience was nice and relaxing. We had an excellent meal in Seattle at a place called Elliot's. They had amazing crab cakes and the rest of the food was excellent as well. It was also great to walk Pike's Place Fish Market, visit the Space Needle and ride the Seattle monorail. The next morning we took a cab to the train and enjoyed a nice and relaxing ride into Vancouver.
Once we arrived at the port it was a very smooth and quick boarding process. We were Castaway Silver and skipped the lines. They didn't even have to take our pictures for our KTTW card as they were stored in their system from the last cruise. We were on board after having arrived just 30 minutes earlier. We were sitting and eating lunch by the time our scheduled boarding time had arrived. Obviously this didn't matter. We were on board, in familiar surroundings and very relaxed. This was awesome.
We chose not to book any excursions for the entire trip. Having seen most of the shows, there was no need to make time for those either, if we didn't want to. This allowed us the addiitonal freedom to wonder around on the Wonder. One of the first things we noticed is that the ship was very clean. Typical Disney but it made us remember that the Freedom was clean, but showed occasional signs of guests coming before us in ways that Disney seems to erase away. Our first day was to be a sea day and the one and only port was San Francisco for two days. We lounged around, caught a movie, enjoyed dinner in the main dining room and had a generally relaxing time our first two days on board. We had purchased our own tickets to Alcatraz and had booked a tour with MiceChat for the Walt Disney Family Museum for San Fran. We were looking forward to the time in port.
We had a great time in port and boarded the ship in time for the Disney Dreams show on day two, but spent very little time on the ship while the ship was in port.
We are not fans of the Toy Story show and were much happier with Disney Dreams, although some of the numbers seemed to be lip-synced, which surprised us a little. Perhaps the lead was not feeling well. We know that happens sometimes. We watched as the ship sail under the Golden Gate at night. What an awesome experience that was. We had Palo dinner that night. We had pretty high expectations and were a little disappointed. We sat outside the banquet room, which was too loud. The food was good but having had an amazing dinner at Elliot's in Seattle and then at Scoma's in San Fran the night before, Palo just didn't measure up. It was good, but not that good.
The rest of the cruise found us out on deck and spending time on the second floor of the Cove adult area. We had an excellent and very relaxing time. The final sea day we enjoyed brunch at Palo. That was outstadning, exceeding our expectations and putting Palo back into our good graces. We had been put at the same table outside the banquet room and asked to be moved, which was done promptly. The variety of food was a big surprise for such a small area. The chef was out tending to the presentation at the buffet, which was also a pleasant surprise. Service at Palo was always outstanding.
Disembarkation was just as smooth and Disney really does this process much better than any other line in our view. We had booked a van to take us home from the port and we were off the ship and ready for pick up much earlier than we had originally thought. We did get to see the carsland cars arriving at the port to get ready for arriving guests of the pixar cruises that followed ours.
In all we had a great time and actually booked another cruise while on board, this time because we felt Disney had redeemed themselves as a top notch cruise line. We really saw several positive steps from our feedback on the Alaska cruise and were pleased with the service and the experience. Nicely done Disney. Nicely done.