Being without children, I had a few issues with DCL, but honestly, I could see why anyone would want to take another Disney Cruise, it's a fabulous company. But it doesn't fit my personal interest. Here goes a breakdown of my experience:
The good: The decor on this ship is beautiful. I found myself always noticing something new in the details. The color scheme is nautical and classic. There were always crew members cleaning; even cleaning places you would never think needed it! I wish ALL cruise ships were this lovely. The layout was easy to navigate, I never found myself needing to go up to get down or anything, although that may have been luck.
The good: The rooms are HUGE! We had an Ocean View (normally we like balconies, but this cruise was a gift to us so I'm not complaining!) and I loved how much space there was. With just two of us in the room, we didn't even use the majority of the storage provided.
The "whatever": I'm iffy on the split bathrooms, I like the idea of it, but there was a lot of "Oops, that's the shower," and "Oops, that's the toilet." Not a big deal at all, but I'm just as content with the whole bathroom as I was the split one. Had it been more than my husband and I sharing a room, the split bathroom would have been VERY handy!
The bad: Our Folio never worked on the TV, which was kind of irritating, but it may have had something to do with my mother-in-law being the one that booked the trip? It wasn't irritating enough for me to ever report the problem, though. So again, not a big deal.
Our room had a lot of noise at night. We were under the Bridge, so I'm not sure what that was about? It got loud, though.
The good: I've yet to go on a cruise where the staff weren't friendly and didn't seem happy. But on Disney, they were almost over the top accommodating. The Head Server (Alex) always cut the food for the younger kids in our party, the staff always said "Good Morning" and remembered our names, our Hostess (Nortel) played with the kids and chatted with us for about 20 minutes one night. All things I've never seen elsewhere. A+ to Disney on that one!
The bad: The servers in Cabanas (the lido buffet) were actually not terribly friendly. There were a few that were always smiling and sweet, but several didn't even talk. Kind of odd!
The Cruise Director- WHO? WHERE? He was not accessible and the only time he was seen was before the production shows. He didn’t even make most of the announcements.
The good: The soft pretzels that were served in The District (adult’s area) were the best food on the ship! The BBQ pizza from Luigi's was also fantastic. The apple deserts served in the MDR were good, but I didn't care for any others.
I loved the rotational dining, but wish we had been at The Animator's Palate the whole cruise. Love that MDR! The characters on the TVs were interacting with the guests and, again, there was SO much to look at.
Our servers (Alex and Merrick) were fantastic, as previously mentioned. Full of life and always happy to bring us MORE than what we even asked for.
The bad: I really didn't care for any of the food I haven’t mentioned yet. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t eat anything that made me go “WOW!” with the exception of the pretzels, pizza, and apple desserts. The food was all just so-so. But believe me, I did eat. I’ve got three new pounds to get rid of! :)
We were told that the buffet in Cabana’s was not open during dinner (not sure if that’s true or not) and I didn’t like that I felt there was no other option than to eat in the MDRs for dinner. There was nothing that was served 24 hours. Not even the ice cream. The times were weird for the Flo’s Cafe area, I didn’t like that either. I want to be able to eat whenever I want, even if it’s 3:00 in the afternoon and I want something to hold me until dinner.
Entertainment (get ready for more bad than good here)-
The good: You can tell they put a great deal of money into their production shows. The actors are good, the dancing is good, and the staging is good.
I like that they show first-run movies on board. We were able to watch Frozen while docked in Castaway Cay, which not many people can say they’ve done yet! The TVs in the staterooms offer almost every Disney/Pixar movie you can think of. I’m honestly not one to watch TV or movies on vacation, but…
The bad: The productions shows got boring. My favorite show was the Vegas-style magic show, and we unfortunately left that early. I also went to The Golden Mickeys and Villains Tonight. They were cute, but boring at times. The fireworks on Pirate Night were short and followed a performance I couldn’t see from the amount of people on deck. There were other shows I didn’t make it to, but I didn’t love the ones I did see, so I’m not too upset.
Having eaten at the early seating, my husband and I had a tendency to get full and tired before anything started for the night. I pulled myself to go do things the first three nights, but there were hour lulls where there was nothing else to do but go sit in our room and watch TV while he fell asleep and I waited.
I didn’t feel like the Characters were around as much as people said. They only came out for scheduled pictures, then disappeared. I thought I’d see them all over the place?
I didn’t like the lack of adult entertainment on board. I only went to one of the three shows that were 18+ because I really wanted to sleep at 10:30 after being bored for two and a half hours. That one show was… okay. It was the “Love and Marriage Game” or whatever. It went exactly as the games on Carnival go, same questions and all. This game was hosted by my favorite of the entertainment staff, Jo. But I only saw her once more.
Other than that, there were two magic shows for 18+, neither of which I made it to. The only other scheduled adult activities were centered around Nightclub Dancing (no thanks), the Spa (not my cup of tea), and Fitness Center (I prefer to work out on my own). We spent most of our time on board in the Serenity area, but I wish they had some sort of entertainment there during the day.
The good: I want to OWN this island! Very pretty. It’s not overly Americanized and the island isn’t overly developed. With the exception of the beach area, the island appeared to be natural and untouched, which I love. I wish we’d been able to check out the Serenity area of the island, but we were spending time with family.
The bad: Maybe I should have eaten the BBQ at Cookies, because I didn’t eat a thing from there that I liked!
The good: Love that we can bring alcohol on board. That saved us a lot of money, even with still buying several drinks a day so we wouldn’t have to go to the room.
Debarkation was awesome. We could just get off the ship whenever we wanted! The luggage was arranged by room number, very convenient!
The bad: Maybe we should have chosen a later port arrival time? The embarkation process was just as I’ve experienced in the past. They make it seem like it would be more organized by giving you a time to arrive, but you don’t get on the ship at that time. That, I didn’t like.
To end things-
I loved the Disney Cruise, there are certainly things they do better than other lines. But I’m not sure they’re the right cruise line for me. Most of this rests in the entertainment and food schedule, obviously. But for those reasons, I’m not sure I would choose DCL if given the choice in the future. If they were to focus a little more on the adults at night (starting around 8:30 rather than 10:30!), I would definitely consider them again.