Felt like a new cruiser DH & I bringing on our 5-yr old GD alone for 3-night Bahamas sailing. Had such nerves about the predicted rain but really shouldn't have -- confident we would have had a great time anyway.
Embarkation does take longer than on previous cruises but I think it was due to the pre-cruise photographer stop. On other lines, we skip the pic but on Disney we posed (and bought that one which is unusual for us). It's different when you are with your GD. The announce-our-name welcome was cute with entry into the atrium, a beautiful space. Arrived about 12:30.
Up to Cabanas for buffet lunch, crowded especially with our carryons and everyone else's but within a few minutes had a table. Surpisingly wide array of choices of food, all good. The only complaint was no milk or cream for coffee, only coffeemate but the coffee was ok black. No milk for GD that I could find, either, just soda & juice.
Our Stateroom was beautiful with a giant circular window with window seat. There were 2 comfy chairs, a large couch which becomes a bed for GD and a privacy curtain which can be closed to provide privacy and blocks the light if someone wants to read, etc. There was the split bathroom with toilet & sink in one room and little tub/shower and sink in the other. Nice rain shower and wand with shelf/seat, good toiletries in a little larger size than usual. There are shelves in both bathrooms for storage but too small for my makeup bag. I wish as on other lines, there would have been a couple of closed cabinets or drawers especially for garbage. There was a desk with drawers near the window and other drawers near the closets and bathrooms. The safe is in a closet opposite the bathroom but you have to kneel to use it. There is a refrigerator empty -- handy for leftovers for room service or bottled water. Our room steward was good and made terrific towel animals -- GD was impressed. She even used GD's Princess blanket for another animal. The room was very clean as was the rest of the ship. Public restrooms have attendants, toilet seat covers, multi-level handwash sinks but we did encounter some lines for stalls around the ship.
The Dining concept of switching Rooms but keeping your waitstaff seems to work well, Our GD kept asking "what are you doing here?" Service was exceptional. My GD only has a few "likes" for dinner and they accommodated her with patience and care. Prince Ali, the head waiter made a beautiful fruit plate each night with blueberries, strawberries and peaches. He stopped by our table every night to chat, not my experience on other ships. GD had "the usual" each night with plain mickey pasta, chicken tenders and peas, chocolate ice cream. Our dinners were wonderful, loved the food. Milk was available for coffee and GD in Dining room. We had early dining and it was well-paced. We were in a hallway the last night near Animators Palate during late dining and there was a huge line to get in. Glad we had early dining.
Speaking of lines, there were many and they were long. A character gathering would take an hour (bring your own camera mostly). It was difficult to schedule all the characters GD wanted to meet. I can say that the Characters were wonderful to each child, they chatted a moment and then gently guide the child to face front for the picture. Even the people assisting the Characters were very polite and patient. Without exception, these Disney employees know how to treat the public with respect. The outdoor areas like Mickey slide had lines, shallow pool very crowded. Disney employees did clear chairs occupied by only towels, nice to see. There is alot of shade, also nice to see. Chairs can be found around the pool. Children were well behaved, nice to see.
The best part in my opinion is the entertainment. Do not miss any of the shows we saw, Golden MIckey, Villains, Believe and the big Pirate show on deck with fireworks. They were fantastic. They had the happy attention of a 5-yr old and 2 60ish GP's. Can't say enough about the performers, the imagination, costumes, choreography, humor,just fun. GD dancing on deck, in atrium to a terrific singing duo, priceless.
Another good note. The only real pressure to buy stuff are the beautiful shops and our own desire to extend the Disney feeling so yes, we did spend a bit.
Another plus. It is difficult to describe -- but there is usually on cruises a different attitude of the crew on the last night, not so nice. Not only was service great, even on the last night and last morning breakfast. There is a Goodbye from employees gathered at the door when leaving the ship and a quick, painless disembarkation.
The only change I would make in my own planning is I would take a longer cruise so that I didn't feel pressured to do it all. Not Disney's fault, mine. I would also get her parent's permission to let her join the kids club for a few hours. Met parents who were very happy with it, their kids had fun and they had a break.
We stayed on the ship in Nassau - thought we would be alone but lots of people had that same idea.
Castaway Cay was the nicest private island we have visited -- and it docks, no tendering, a pleasure. A tram takes you to 2 different family beaches and also the adult beach. Water was beautiful, shallow, soft sand. Lots of chairs -- shade was difficult to find but we did move a couple of chairs near one of the bar shacks. Barbecue was very good, don't miss the ribs. There were tubes, slides, bikes, characters, wonderful place.
We loved our cruise and would do it again in a minute. GD loved it too. This is the only ship, and it is beautiful inside and out, that we would feel safe bringing our children on. The price seemed a little expensive until we were actually onboard and we saw what was offered. You truly don't need to spend alot of money on the ship since juices are included.
Our admittedly small complaints -- it is Cruise Critic after all.