Disney Wonder Cruise Review by Cooley Consumers: Disney Wonder overcame all of my negative expectations!
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Disney Wonder overcame all of my negative expectations!
Destination: Western Caribbean
We prepared for our Disney Wonder cruise with a lot of negative misgivings: we had been to the ports NUMEROUS times; how much Goofy can you stand?; and, a lot of screaming kids. We were completely blown away with a great cruise. We were not traveling with children or grandchildren, and we thought that we would be swamped with kids. Not so.
The embarkation was absolutely a breeze. We arrived in the Galveston Terminal and within 10 minutes were sitting waiting to be called. We were in group 10 and were told that the cruise line takes their higher repeat cruisers first (who doesn't?) and then those who had booked the earliest. Since we had booked over a year in advance of sailing, we were in group 10. Snap.
The ship is old but VERY VERY well maintained. Our dinner waiter and back waiter were a bit shy at first, but then warmed up quickly during the tour. Disney has 3 dining rooms, and you rotate through the dining areas with your wait staff moving with your table. Food More was quite good and in large portions.
The evening shows were all Disney, which is what you expect. Two shows: Dreams and the final show, were pure Broadway. The magician and ventriloquist were pretty childish, but the kids loved the acts.
Every cruise day at noon, the ship would sound its famous horn ("when you wish upon a star") with the captain's announcement. The children are not permitted in the forward third of the ship, and there is little reason for adults to go back to the children's area.
Another great advantage is that soft drinks are included in the price of the cruise, together with hot chocolate and coffee/tea. (other cruise companies frequently will charge for hot chocolate or cold drinks).
We have previously sailed on the Disney Dream and were impressed by the friendliness of the crew. We didn't expect a repeat but the staff on the Wonder was every bit as professional. Whenever our wait staff (Noel and Jorge) and the head waiter (Jeffrey) saw us, THEY CALLED US BY OUR NAME! I mentioned to Jeffrey (from the Philippines) how much I loved a native dish - chicken adobo - and on our last night, he had one of the chefs prepare it as a surprise for our table.
A special mention also needs to be made about a waiter who was not assigned to our table or group. Theo (from South Africa) saw me waling through a dining room at lunch one day, and I was wearing a New Zealand All-blacks rugby jersey. She came running up to me and with a huge smile on her face said, "You need to support a REAL team!". I caught her home country and asked, "Maybe something like the Springboks??" She roared with laughter. This little rugby chatter made my trip. Later in the cruise, I caught up with her again, and showed her my I-Pod with a Springboks commercial. She was completely overjoyed that someone from the U.S. would like the commercial; know about the South Africa Springboks; and actually have a Boks jersey. It turns out that her uncle made the commercial!!!
It is this friendliness - completely random - from ALL of the staff that made our cruise special.
We ate in the specialty restaurant Palo's and the chef came out from the kitchen to chat a bit. The kitchen is an "open kitchen", meaning that you can see all of the staff working on meals. I noted his kitchen, the work flow, and the sharp service by not only the kitchen staff but the wait staff as well. We then compared notes about fine dining in London. Again, the time spent just saying "hello" and a few laughs absolutely made our cruise.
We could find NOTHING wrong with the 7 day cruise. The tours are what one would expect. They are designed for families and for fit adults. The Green Grotto Cave tour in Falmouth required visitors to be fit. Even for us seasoned cruisers "North of 60 years", we were able to keep up. The Island Tour and Saltwater Forest in Georgetown, Cayman Islands was similarly top notch. We have been to both of these ports several times but on a different cruise line, and we found these Disney tours to be the best.
Take away from the cruise: Yeah, you pay more for a stateroom than other ships, but Disney does not have a casino and has to make up the money someway. The ship's staff is absolutely the best that we've encountered. The children see more characters (Mickey, Donald, Goofy, etc.) than they ever would at a Disney Park. For adults, if you want to stay in the adult area, the only time that you'll see children is at the evening shows. The lounges (bars) are absolutely superb. Our Irish bartender from New Ross, county Wexford, in Ireland really kept us happy in his lounge.
I can find nothing negative to say about our Western Caribbean cruise on the Disney Wonder. Less
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The balcony rooms have a protective lock at the top of the door so that children cannot open the door to the balcony. Nice size balcony with a table and 2 chairs. There is a solid plastic shield to prevent kids from slipping through, and it was a bit unkept. I did a swift wipe down with a washcloth and it was fine for the rest of our cruise.
Port and Shore Excursions
We have been there numerous times, but the folks at our dinner table found it exotic.
Disney will stop on the pier closest to the city, so that it is a very short walk to the tourist portion of the town. If you want to go into the downtown (city centre), it requires a taxi ride.
Because there were heavy rainstorms in the area on the day that we visited, we decided to stay close to the ship.
Cozumel HAS rebuilt a huge mall with their tourist shops in it. Several escalators make the trek easy.
Our guide was exceptional. Even though there were 3 very young and talkative children on the cave tour, it kept it interesting for them and for the adults. At the end of the tour, the 3 children all ran up and gave him a huge hug (which he really wasn't expecting!!!). I highly recommend this tour if you are fit.
The Island Tour with Saltwater Forest in a truly memorable tour. We were driven by bus around the island (yeah, been there and done that) but then we went out on a boat captained by Don. We saw the mangrove trees, canals of the wealthy homes, and the iguanas and birds of Georgetown. This is a must do tour. Danielle gave the narrative of the birds, flora and fauna with an in depth knowledge. Great Tour.
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