Six of us went on this July 4 sailing, my wife and I and our two kids (6 and 2) and my parents. We had two separate staterooms not joining.
This was a very good experience for the six year old. The Disney Adventure Club is extremely well run--its a place where kids over 3 can be "checked-in" securely and where they have games, movies, and other activities all run by a well staffed and well trained crew. Simply fantastic and a huge draw for this cruise. Actually the biggest draw in my opinion.
We used the nursery twice for our 2 year old. It too was very well run, and the customer service is exceptional. We received little pictures and notes from the nursery staff documenting the 2 years old's visit. Fantastic. The nursery is an additional charge, however. So that's the first thing I would do differently: I would wait until my kids were over 3, and thus eligible for the free Adventure Club. Or, quite honestly, I think the ideal age for kids would be in the 5-8+ year old range. Kids in diapers aren't allowed in the pools, understandably so, so it's best to go with some a bit older. Other than the nursery there simply isn't any real "programming" for kids much under the age of say 4 or 5. And that is surprising to me, considering this is a Disney product.
The pools. Are. Just. Simply. Too. Small. The Dream was completely sold out on this holiday weekend. 4000 people. I could walk across the pool, standing on sun-burned bodies, and never touch water. Ridiculous. The lines for the Aquaduct were massive, 30+ minutes unless you got there exactly at 9 AM. Which we did on day 2 and day 3. We were able to get 2 runs in before the lines swelled too long. It helped to have two adults and one child to engineer the line waiting: one would go with the kid, the other would wait 7 minutes then stand in line as a place holder. Once finished the kid would jump out and run up to the second adult and ride down with them. Yeah it's cheating. On day 2 the Aquaduck kept being shut down. I'm not sure why, something about people getting "stuck". But it happened twice while we were in line. If this happens, recognize that it will take about 25 minute just to restart the Aquaduck. You are better off getting out of line.
For a Disney product I would expect just "more" in the water department. Maybe another twisty waterslide. Or maybe a bigger toddler themed Nemo Zone (spray nozzles, etc.). Maybe another pool. Heck we had a bigger pool on our last Carnival cruise.
Lines everwhere on the ship were insanely long during sailing times. We elected to stay on board during the Nassau stop. From about 9 to 11 there were little lines, and it was ideal. After about lunch time, the lines grew again. Later at night the lines for the aquaduck were ok too, but our kids just crashed at 9PM, so we didn't do too much later evening water activities.
As has been mentioned multiple times, Castaway Cay is a class act. 5 star family fun on every front. Even the weather was perfect for July!
The food was very, very good. All 6 of us agreed. We did not have a bad meal. By far, however, the family favorite was the super cool Animators Palate, where the artwork "comes to life" and interacts with the guests. Really top class Disney on display.
The staff was just very good. Nothing exceptional, but what I would expect for a nice cruise. Hands down, however, the kids program staff in the Adventure Club were the best. Very well trained and all around a polished Disney product.
Overall I'm giving this cruise 4 stars out of 5. Lines are something Disney just "deals with" in Orlando. But on the ship there is no way to handle this. I am not sure how to avoid having 4000 of you fellow humans bump and jostle you in every space on the ship. In the pools, in the dining areas, in the elevators, on the stairs. Go in the off season? I'm not sure how you would avoid these crowds, but beware!