Never having cruised, I did not know what to expect. I really wanted to do the Eastern Caribbean, but our traveling companions had the week of April 13th off, so we had to do the Western Caribbean. We have an 8 year old, and our friends have an 11 and 14 year old. We had connecting staterooms with veranda. Due to booking late, we were assigned the late seating. Some nights it was tough for the kids as we did not get out of there until 10:00 or so, but we were able to see the earlier shows and not be rushed on excursions. First, I have to say, the staterooms were fantastic. My husband is 6' 9" so we were very concerned. He did have to be careful in the hallways due to the lights and sprinklers, but other than that, he was completely comfortable. Bed was extremely comfy, the space was so well planned that they utilized every in of space available. Loved the split bathroom. No complaints at all about the room. None actually about the ship at all except that most times we sat on our balcony we were treated to a nice breeze of cigarette smoke from one of our neighbors. It really sucks to be sailing in the beautiful ocean air only to have it ruined by a cancer stick! I called the front desk to find out what the smoking policy was and sadly found out that it was acceptable. I asked her to pass on the info that I thought it would be nice if in the future they could consider designating one side of the ship as non smoking. They did actually haver a manager call us to follow up on this suggestion (not that I think it will change). As many others have noted, the service on the ship is top notch, the ship is beautiful and well maintained, and they are constantly cleaning. My hands have never been so clean! Our servers were Zsolt and Budi.....Zsolt was awesome, and always gave us some tidbits about the next days shows or excursions. Very personable. These folks work extremely hard. They work 7 days a week for 4 - 6 months. Most do not see their families for 6 months. And they always were pleasant and helpful. The head server was Roberto, also really helpful when we requested some dining changes for time slots. Our hostess was Beauty, who kept our rooms sparkling clean. Like that they service the rooms twice a day. No need to call for clean towels. These folks were a pleasure, and we always felt well cared for. Nice people. Lastly, my son also ended up with an ear infection by the end of the week (he had something brewing before we left for the cruise) and I was very pleased with the on board doctor - Dr. Johan. He was great with kids and with the parents.
The only negatives I noticed on the ship:
1) Day one, they were hawking water delivered to your room 24 bottles for $35, noting that if you bought 24 it was like getting 4 for free. We did not end up using 40% of them! We really only needed them on the days we went off ship. I would suggest buying them as you need them.
2) The pool on deck 11 was so noisy that it was not enjoyable at all. Basically if you wanted to use the pool, it was so crowded you could just sit in the pool, you could not really swim. Did not have a problem getting chairs. The kids loved the aqua duck and used that rather than the pool.
3) We had an opportunity to use the adult only area on Sunday and I noticed a family who had the audacity to have their 3 children in there with them from 6 years old to maybe 14. No one said anything, and I got so agitated, I went up to the Disney person and complained, especially when the dad was bringing the 6 year old into the hot tub! We have to leave our kids and look at someone else's in the adult area? The Disney guy spoke almost no English so I sought out someone in another area. Eventually a management type person came and asked them to remove their children. Sadly, that was not the only time I saw this happen...I was in that area 3 times and each time saw some dopey parents think they were special and that their kids could sit there with them. After that first time, I saw them routinely go up to people and ask the children to leave in their polite Disney way.
4) Overall, the food was better than ok, but not fantastic. Cabanas had a great variety for lunch, loved the breakfast buffet in Enchanted Garden, and favorite included dinner was the second night at animator's palette. Palo was a bargain at $20 pp surcharge and would go their more than once if we cruise again. Ali was our waiter and the food was the best we had. The chocolate souffle is a must! Overall in the 3 main dining rooms food was decent, sometimes very good but the desserts were disappointing overall. The Royal Court was my least favorite. It was also hard to find a good cup of coffee on the ship!
5) The Oceaneer's Club was a little to young for my 8 year old. He was turned off and I could not get him back to try the Oceaneer Lab, which I think he would have liked better. He also loved the mystery game on board. Much better than the one at Disney World, which he lost interest in quickly.
6) Spa - My husband and I used the spa for a couples massage - enjoyed that. However, at the end they spent a good 5-10 minutes trying to sell us some products (while we were still naked in our robes) which totally killed the relaxing mojo we had going on. Next time I will request not to be asked to buy anything. That was especially annoying. I also decided to shower there since the showers were much bigger than in the cabin, but was disappointed to note they did not have any products to use (no comb, hair spray etc...) I said something to the receptionist and she gave me a comb which they stock behind the counter because people take them...pretty sad when people are spending $10k on a vacation and need to steel a cheap comb...
Now Some Good things to note:
Loved our room - 9618 could sleep 5. Good area, not much noise. I did notice in some of the restaurants at the back of the ship you could notice the rocking. Try to stay closer to the middle of the ship for least rocking. Was a connecting room to 9618.
As an alternative to the noisy pool, found a great place to sit on deck 12 behind the funnel vision screen. - no noise!
Favorite excursion: Grand Cayman Rum Point beach
Least favorite: Costa Maya - agree with other reviewer - it's a dump!
Best experience - Cozumel swim with the dolphins at Dolphinaris - nice facility...
Again, the combination of the team of servers we had, the cabin, the beauty of the ship and variety of things to do made this a wonderful trip. Would absolutely cruise Disney again! Trying to book Eastern Caribbean for next year....great time!!!!! Wish I had booked it on the cruise to save 10%