It's been a few years since our last Disney Cruise, but we just got home yesterday and are missing it already!
It was just me and my daughter this time. She's a high school senior now, but couldn't stop talking about taking another Disney Cruise, so we scheduled one and had been counting down the days till our Thanksgiving Cruise (had always gone over spring break before).
We set sail from Galveston this time (previous cruises left from Port Canaveral), and liked the shorter flight from Denver, although didn't care for sailing past the oil rigs out in the Gulf of Mexico. Seas were rough, which we enjoyed, but the weather wasn't great: colder than expected, windy and overcast much of the time. I've heard that Disney won't offer cruises out of the Port of Galveston next year, and I think that's a good call. We had fun despite the weather though and wrapped up in blankets by the pool.
We loved our visit to Key West (third visit) and enjoyed walking around Duval Street for the short time we were there. The next day was Nassau. Our excursion was cancelled, so we decided to walk around Nassau. Neither of us liked Nassau much, so we went back to the ship and enjoyed a nice afternoon by the pool. Castaway Cay was next, and this was the first time we experienced a rainy Castaway Cay, but we explored the island, had lunch and enjoyed the scenery and sound of the ocean.
The cabin looked the same, but we did notice some wear and tear since last time. The ship, overall, looked fantastic, and it was fun to revisit some of our favorite spots: Promenade Lounge, Beach Blanket Buffet, and the workout room. (Running on the treadmill while the shipped rocked back and forth was quite an experience)!
I had a hot stone massage the first day, and it was wonderful (though expensive), but I did not care for the many suggestions to purchase products that I did not want. Maybe I didn't notice this on past cruises, but it did seem like there was more of a focus on selling stuff that was not included.
But there is a bunch of great stuff that is included, including the wonderful food and fabulous desserts, parties, entertainment and, best of all, sailing away from the world for a while.
The international staff is great and highly professional. Like anyplace, some seem to genuinely enjoy their roles while others do what is required. Most made us feel welcomed and valued.
On earlier cruises, my daughter loved the goofy pool and characters that roam the ship. This time, she appreciated the Quiet Cove adult pool, but did take the time to have her photo taken with Chip and Dale.
On the last day, we expected to go to guest services to purchase gratuity tickets for dining and state room staff, but we found that now these tickets are automatically charged to the account for the suggested amount. While saving a trip to guest services, it makes gratuity-giving seem required. I like to tip well for good service, and while I appreciate a suggested amount, I prefer to make the decision.
Would we go again? Yes, absolutely! It's magical and wonderful for any age.