We are very sad that Disney CL is leaving Galveston! We had a fantastic 5-day trip on the Wonder to Cozumel with 2 days at sea. 3 of us- my husband and 3 year old daughter.
First, I had sworn off cruises. I had sailed 4-5 times on another line and just wasn't real impressed. Too crowded and cramped and a "different" caliber of guests.
Friends kept telling me that Disney was different and they were right!
Check-in was a breeze- quick and easy. (Almost no waiting at all) The people were wonderful and I got my first "taste" of Disney hospitality and kindness. During online check-in, you choose your arrival time to the terminal. Ours was 1-1:30 but we were actually let on a little early. We were very pleased that an upgrade was available when we asked (thank you, Rebecca!) and we were moved (for a small fee) from deck 2 to deck 7 with a balcony!
Once aboard, the "magic" begins when your family name in "welcomed" via microphone aboard and staff cheers for your arrival. Nice touch.
We began learning our way around the ship and it was an easy layout, small ship. I loved that. This ship held only half the people that the other cruise line I had done held and it was obvious from the beginning. There were actually places to sit once you got your tray at the buffet, etc. We had plenty of options. People were nicely spread out and it wasn't crowded. A lovely welcome.
Our room was ready promptly at 1:30 and it was very spacious! I never once felt cramped in there. My husband and I shared a Queen bed and our stateroom attendant turned down the "couch" each night for our daughter with a toddler bed rail to prevent her from rolling off. This reminds me to discuss how very "in tune" Disney is to the fact that you're taking care of little ones on the ship- very convenient. I saw Diaper Genies in every public bathroom- nice! I also love the special touch of the curtain in the stateroom that divides it because they know that little ones will be napping/ going to bed earlier than the adults. Our daughter napped every day in our bed while we hung out on the other side of the curtain watching TV on the couch and taking in the view from our balcony. We also loved the mini-fridge that had plenty of room for sippy cups full of milk. (Reminds me: Bring bottled water in a carry-on- It's nice to have when you need it) One of my favorite things about our room as the TV channels. Two stations are constantly playing animated classics. Another station is Disney Jr. shows, while another is Pixar movies. This was helpful when our daughter needed downtime. There were also regular channels for the adults too (ABC, ESPN, etc. and some movie channels) The split bathroom was very convenient (one with a sink and toilet; another with a sink and shower/tub). There was plenty of storage everywhere for our clothes, etc. and the luggage fit nicely under the bed. I had read NOT to bring over-the-door shoe organizers for toiletry storage because they can damage the paint on the bathroom doors.This was understandable. But I brought mine and placed folded paper towels around the metal pieces so they wouldn't rub the doorway and it was fine. I didn't bring a power strip and didn't feel that I needed one. There were two outlets in the vanity section of the room and they were enough for us to alternate charging devices etc. Speaking of devices- loved the Wave Phones. Disney gives you 2 cell phones per room that allow you to keep in touch with your family on the ship. We kept in touch with some friends that sailed with us. Very convenient. Another way Disney keeps family and children in mind.
The muster was a little painful, but they always are and they're required so you just have to suffer through those 30 minutes of standing still and waiting. Not the end of the world. It was nice that we didn't have to bring life jackets.
The Sail Away party was a fabulous way to begin the trip. Our daughter loved seeing her favorite Disney pals on the deck 9 "stage" dancing after the countdown with confetti to sail time. I can still hear the "Adventures Away" song in my head- loved it!
Regarding the Oceaneer Club, I went several times with my daughter during the Open House hours and she liked it. She didn't feel comfortable going alone to the closed (no parents) sessions just yet, but maybe on our next cruise. The staff was lovely and friendly- all were very good with kids from what I could tell. I checked her in online days before the cruise and then simply received her wristband the first time she "tried" to go and it was easy. No need to wait in line upon arrival for "registration".
I really loved how accessible the characters were on the cruise. Lines were never long and we saw some characters several times throughout the trip. Our favorite was the Princess Gathering. That line gets pretty long. It was at 9am and my daughter and I arrived to line up at 8:15. We were the 6th family and she watched our iPad while we waiting. She loved seeing Tiana, Ariel, Cinderella, and Repunzel. Later that night Rapunzel was simply walking around the ship and she loved that too! (She remembered her and waved to my daughter- very sweet)
The shows are top-notch. Don't miss them. We skipped the magician because after you see the other Disney-themed ones, this wasn't real exciting. Toy Story and Dreams was incredible. I loved seeing the Toy Story characters on stage- WOW. Unfortunately, it followed the story-line of the first movie. They adapted it to the stage well, but I have just never liked the first movie (with Sid the toy-torturer). However, nothing was ever too intense/ inappropriate for our 3 year old. My favorite movie is the 2nd one. It's the most "friendly" one I think. Anyways!.... :)
Regarding food, we had the late dinner seating (8:15) and we loved it. It allowed for my daughter to nap each day from 3-5, get dressed, see the show and then see some characters and have dinner. She was never starving as we kept snacks handy and you can eat in the theater. We loved Animator's Palate- don't miss it. We missed Tritons dinner, but did it for lunch 2 days in a row and liked it. We weren't crazy about Parrot Cay. The service was always excellent though. Everyone we came into contact with was so very nice. The staff is just excellent and so happy to be there. The food was OK, but we did love the pizza place up on deck 9 by the pools- pretty darn good! I don't let "ok food" take away from the cruise because let's face it- it's hard to cook for 1700 people. I couldn't do it. :)
We didn't do a Paolo dinner (adults only) but would love to next time. We ordered room service quite a bit and it always came in a timely manner. I loved setting out my breakfast card the night before on my stateroom door to have something delivered first thing in the morning so that we weren't starving when we woke up, having to get dressed, go to a restaurant/ buffet, etc.
The pools are great. We loved the Ariel View (forgot what it's called) that shows movies over Goofy's pool. Our daughter is potty-trained so we spent a lot of time there, and even the splash area for kids that aren't.
Mickey's pool is fun too. There were people but it was never extremely crowded and there was always a lounge chair available and/ or a place to sit/ set your stuff. Very nice. Lots of room. Lifeguards EVERYWHERE.
Adults area/ pool looked nice and relaxing and quiet. I regret that I didn't make it outside on deck 4. You can walk all the way around the ship on that deck outside - nice exercise area, I'm assuming.
We had one port- Cozumel. We've been there several times (maybe 4-5) so we just got off the ship and took a cab to our favorite lunch restaurant- Pancho's Backyard and got back on the ship. Not much to report there. I felt bad for those that had booked expensive excursions. The day was rainy and dark and a little chilly.
We were very much looking forward to the Pirate Deck Party, but it was moved to the main lobby due to the weather without fireworks, of course. (It was still great and we loved the confetti, characters, and dancing, etc. but missed the fireworks) It got really cold and rainy that night with a cold front moving through and we had really rough seas- Yikes. We were fine though and took our Bonine (sea-sickness preventative that doesn't make you sleepy like Dramamine does) ahead of time when we knew it was going to get bad. Our daughter did great. (I hear it doesn't effect kids as much) This didn't upset us as it just happens and no one can control the weather.
We absolutely loved the cruise and plan to do another real soon! Thank you, DCL! Come back to Galveston, please!!!!!!!!