This cruise was part of a land and sea trip over March break 2013. While we have cruised 3 times with NCL, this was our first Disney cruise. Disney does many things very well, including managing large crowds and impeccable customer service. Embarkation was a breeze, we had a port arrival time of 11-11:30am and arrived in the terminal at 11:30am. We were checked in and on the ship in less than 30 minutes, as our embarkation group had already been called. We asked to eat in a sit down restaurant, but got the cattle call in Cabanas. The food was great, but the tables are very close together and crowded. We never went back. Cabins were ready at 1:30pm as promised, we had already been down the Aquaduck twice at this point!
Our cabin was 6068, which was just aft of a staircase with a crew door across the hall. I was worried about noise, but it was definitely unfounded. We loved the location, it was a nice compromise between the pool deck, restaurants and entertainment.
We travelled with our two boys who were 8&5 yrs at the time, they toured the kids club area on the first day with us but never wanted to go back. There were a lot of kids and not a lot of personal attention, which they are used to on NCL.
We met a few of the characters, following the suggestions posted here and elsewhere to get to the location a few minutes before the character arrives. We never waited more than 5 minutes and got some great interactions. I also dropped off a ziplock bag with two 8x10 photo mats (and treats!) at guest services on our first day which were signed by many characters and returned to our cabin on the last day. They look great and we didn't have to cart autograph books around the parks.
We didn't like the rotational, assigned dining times. Many times we were racing against the clock to get ready or leaving an activity to get ready for supper. Our server was amazing and very accommodating to the fact our children do not eat chicken fingers and Mac and cheese for supper every night.
Others have commented on the pool situation and I will adamantly agree that the pools are not big enough for the ship. The Mickey pool was outright dangerous at times, with kids jumping in while others attempted to swim in the same immediate area. Ironically comments were not solicited about the pools on the comment card...
The entertainment is top notch and certainly geared to people who know Disney. This is not my family (!), so some of the shows were not as interesting to us as others. They play movies currently running in theatres, including some in 3D. Mental note, don't send anyone prone to motion sickness to a 3D movie when the ship is rocking and rolling lol!
Nassau as a port is well reviewed elsewhere. We didn't get off the ship as we were there in January, although I popped into the Clinique store.
Castaway Cay is amazing. I ran the 5k fun run which was a wonderful experience. Some people ran faster, many ran slower and even more walked the course. Everyone got a running bib and Mickey medal at the finish. There are plenty of chairs and umbrellas for everyone, we went to the end of the family beach and had a wonderful time. BBQ lunch was simple but tasty, and they bring the ice cream machines out too! We spent much of the day at Pelican Plunge, they supply life jackets for kids big enough to ride the watersides. We also brought our own snorkelling gear, they lend you the snorkelling vests free of charge. The snorkel sites were far for the kids, we ended up pulling them out to the first point then turning back. There were lots of very friendly fish out there!
Disembarkation was very easy, we ate breakfast in the dining room, returned to our cabin for our bags and walked off the ship. Breakfast was at 6:45am for the early sitting and we were in our car at 8:00am.
We booked a "placeholder" cruise while onboard for $90, which we will have to move over and over until we want to use it sometime in the next 5 years. The onboard booking deal gives you on board credit, 10% off DCL's advertised price and a reduced deposit.
Many people ask if it is worth the price to book DCL over other family friendly cruise lines. While we found the food and overall service better on DCL, it was not a relaxing experience for the adults. For that reason, we are keeping (and looking forward to) our two upcoming NCL cruises.