Like many others on our cruise, we were expecting a beautiful run of the Caribbean. However, much to our surprise, we ran into a powerful cold front that threatened our cruising adventure. When we booked our five night Caribbean Disney cruise we wanted an escape from the cold drab winter we had in Maryland. Upon our arrival at the Port of Miami we were greeted by very friendly port employees that were all hopeful that the passengers were heading for warmer weather. Well, I am still waiting for that to come...8 days later.
Our arrival and check in at the port went very quickly and smoothly. The port did not seem over crowded like I had feared and the staff were excellent with dealing with masses of children. I am very happy that I had completed the online check prior to my arrival. I do believe this sped up our check in. My only regret was standing in the long line to register my son for the Oceaneer Club. Even though you can preregister children online, you still need to confirm their password and have a special band placed on them. Just FYI: Save yourself the hassle and board the ship and go to open registration being held a few places on board with no wait.
My first food experienced on the ship was not very good. We were all directed to the Beach Blanket Buffet upon arrival. The food selection was little random and the place was very crowded. I wish I had noticed that Goofy's Galley was open, which I came to discover later in the cruise. This became my favorite lunch destination as it had tasty offerings of sandwiches, wraps, salads and fresh fruit. My son preferred Pinocchio's pizza which I also thought was very good. On the main outside deck there was also a bar and a place to grab some average fried food items(Pluto's Dog House). This was just your average theme park food and tasted just okay. Our go to breakfast spot ended up being the Beach Blanket Buffet due to it's variety of it items that we really enjoyed. We did have Triton's on our morning of departure and we actually thought Beach Blanket was much better.
Dinners on the cruise were a much better experience. You rotate through to all three of them and you will repeat them as assigned. We enjoyed the best tasting food at Parrot Cay but the best performance was certainly Animator's Palate. My husband and I had dinner at Palo and the $20 cover charge was well worth it.
So I really do have to write about our little mishap with the first room. Our first room was way down on the second floor but still had a porthole. The first day at sea we faced a wicked cold front and very rough seas. To make a long story short, my in laws in the room next to us saw dirty water coming out of the drain in the bathroom. Once it was brought to the staff's attention someone came and checked it out but nothing was addressed. A few hours later, we experienced the same problem. This time both of us called and were upset nothing had really been done earlier. Maintenance came and worked on something then our host came to clean up the mess. The problem persisted but the cruise line was nice enough to assign us both different rooms. Even though this process was disorganized at first, they more than compensated for our inconvenience. The second rooms were a little nicer with newer tiles in the bathrooms and maybe a few more square feet. It really could not have happened at a worse point on the cruise. I was seasick and we were all freezing outside with the high winds. Eventually the weather got a little better the next day.
I can not say enough good things about all the staff we encountered. I know you would expect Disney to have the best staff for kids but some staff really went above and beyond. This was the Disney experience I was looking for. I can certainly say that certain staff members made a difference in our vacation. Of course our servers were great but also many others from the staff at the store to the kids club and many in between. My son was having such a great time at the kids club that he didn't even want to come with me when I went to sign him out. The kids programs were wonderful. Often I would check in a see Disney characters in the club putting on a program or the little kids having a glow dance party. This was a little break when my husband and I could slip over to the sports pub for some trivia or have a few drinks. The drinks were very reasonably priced.
By far the best part of the cruise was Castaway Cay. My description does not do the island justice. It is a little piece of Disney paradise. All of the excursions were cancelled for the day and I didn't even care. My family had a beautiful beach day despite the wind. My husband and I rented bikes and explored the island which is pretty large. There was also a full tram on the island to transport people to different areas. The adults only area was very quiet and scenic and contained its own facilities.
Overall: Yes I would do a Disney Cruise again but probably not this time of year when the weather is so unpredictable. If it had not been for the wonderful staff, our vacation would not have been as enjoyable due to the pluming issue and the weather. This is what I appreciate about Disney in general. I appreciate that most of the staff (even at the resort) will go above and beyond and so many are great with kids. Disney Cruises are a little more expensive but I can understand why and it is worth the extra for families with small children.