This trip was a surprise for our 11 year old son and 5 year old daughter. We were also traveling with grandparents too. We have done the Disney Parks a few times before and thought the cruise would seem like more of a vacation than running around in the heat and crowds for 4 days. I had done on line check in ahead of time to make things easier at the terminal. It did expedite things a bit but I had also registered both of my children for the youth activities - mainly the oceaneer club but still had to stand in a huge line for them to get their arm bands so not much time saved there. Our boarding time was 11:00 but didn't actually get on the ship until later. They assign numbers and you board accordingly.
The ship itself is beautiful and spotless. The cabins were spacious and really liked the split concept of the toilet and tub. We did have a verandah and I would not sail without one. Throughout the ship the staff was friendly. I never went into a restroom that there was not someone cleaning and making sure everything was in tip top shape. The ship was crowded and lots of kids but we did take the Disney Cruise so I expected that.
I'm from the South and don't care much for a lot of the fancy foods offered in the dining rooms but I did feel there was a fair variety of choices so I certainly never went hungry.
The issues I had with the cruise are probably petty in nature but in the whole scheme of things just left a bad taste in my mouth. For starters, I had read a lot of reviews on cruise critic - I actually read them for months before our trip so I would know what to expect. I knew that there would be character greetings throughout the trip, but I expected them to be more than twice a day and not have to stand in line 20 minutes prior to the scheduled time to get a place in line and then wait 20 more minutes to actually have our turn. I really feel that Disney should have all of the characters walking around the ship all day and interacting with the children. Even if you do a character dining experience at Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary at Disney World, all of the characters rotate to the tables and sign autographs and allow pictures. I feel like we wasted a lot of time in line and usually around eating times or scheduled shows. On that subject, I feel that the cost of a popcorn maker for a company such as Disney would be dirt cheap and offer that during the evening performances. Instead, you have to pay for a bag of grocery store bagged popcorn. Another example of this greediness is at Castaway Cay where they force you to pay $6.00 to RENT a float. As much as this trip cost, a float should be provided. This was ridiculous. My final beef was with the "Day at Sea". On all of the other cruises I have taken a "Day at Sea" meant you were cruising and the ship was actually MOVING. This ship literally parked out in the middle of the ocean for the day and never moved. It was HOT with no breeze so it made it next to impossible to stay in the shade much less the sun or the pools. The water in the pools was like bath water. Even during the times that we were cruising the ship was barely going fast enough to stir up the water. I had taken dramamine with me in case of sea sickness but surely didn't need that. I guess I feel that Disney is such an insanely profitable company that they can afford to GIVE you some things but instead I felt like we were constanlty having to pay for one thing after another. They never miss an opportunity to make more money off of you. I mean we did get 10 waters (they do throw in 2 for kicks - whew!) for the bargain price of $33.00. Ridiculous. In closing, I think next time we will try Royal Caribbean to see how that compares. I think for the money we spent, we could have done a longer cruise with them and got more for the buck.