I made the decision on a 3-night cruise with my family celebrating my parents' 45th anniversary to do a solo 4-night cruise during my winter break (Presidents' Week) and took advantage of Disney's onboard rebooking deals to book this cruise. I went back and forth on which side of the ship to be on, but never wavered from my 8B cabin decision. Ultimately I decided on 9000 the port side, and I'm glad I did as the one time I visited the laundry (across from 9500 - the other cabin I considered), the people in there were talking rather loudly. Overall it was a fantastic experience!!
About me: I'm 42 and teach special education as well as work a part-time retail job. I live in NYC. While I've don a 3-night with my family, this was a solo adult trip.
I flew down Saturday afternoon before embarkation on Sunday. Weather made it interesting, but we made it to Orlando safely if a bit late. I stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Orlando Airport at Gateway Village and it was lovely! After the free breakfast in the morning, I hopped on their shuttle back to MCO to catch the Disney Cruiseline Bus to Port Canaveral. There is a charge, so for family it might not be the best deal, but it's a nice, easy trip and they play both cruiseline videos and Disney cartoons to help pass the time. We were the first group let into the terminal, and it was nice to be there and know that my vacation was starting.
I was in the second boarding group and probably one of the first 100 or so people to board. I had checked all but my backpack, so I didn't have to lug a lot of bags around. I went to Cabanas - the buffet - for lunch and ate before wandering around. At 1:30, cabins were ready, so I went to drop off my stuff.
I loved my cabin - 9000. It was all the way forward, and from my large porthole window with seating, I could look into the bridge wing. The cabin could potentially sleep 5 - a queen bed, a double sofa bed, a pull-down berth, and a murphy bed - though it might be a little crowded depending on the size of those people. I heard very little noise, and felt little motion - only an occasional gentle rocking.
My cabin steward, Yasa, was incredible as was Sri who served the cabins just down the hall. Every encounter with them was friendly and warm. Though I was a solo adult, Yasa never failed to create wonderful towel animals for me, and he was always willing to get anything I needed from soap to extra towels. After the first night when he learned I liked having the curtain open at night, he left it open when he did turn-down service. Definitely excellent service!!
Ports and Excursions...
Nassau ~ I opted to do the "Catamaran Sail and Snorkel" excursion and really enjoyed it. There were more fish (and more varieties) than I'd been led to believe I'd see by some other people. Nothing exotic like rays or turtles, but several pretty types of fish. We motored out to the snorkel location and "motor-sailed" back. Coming back towards port it was a prety sight to see 4 ships docked next to each other. I was back on the ship by 1:30 or 1:45 and was able to just relax and do nothing - which for a teacher with an additional part-time job is thrilling!!
Castaway Cay ~ I started my day with the Castway Cay 5K, which at least for now is free though you do need to sign up in advance. Went back to the ship to shower and change into my swimsuit (I did the sweaty change thing this summer and it wasn't pretty), then headed back out to Serenity Bay, the adult beach on the island. The water was chilly, but not bad once in. However, it was very "currenty" - I swam essentially in place for over a minute before putting my feet down in the seaweed and just walking in. But it was a gorgeous day on the beach!!
Sea Day ~ Our third full day was a sea day, and I had a blast just hanging out on the ship. I did a Mixology class that afternoon. As the day was so pretty, a number of people had dropped out, so we each made our own drinks - a mojito, a tequila sunrise, a cosmopolitan, and a B-52 shot. It was a lot of fun and well worth the $15.
I opted to dine at Palo my first night - it's one of two adult-only (18+) restaurants with an upcharge. For Palo, it's $25, but well worth it. I was a little apprehensive going solo, but I was treated like a pampered princess with most everyone stopping by to check on me and chat. The chocolate souffle is to die for!! Dining there meant I was missing Royal Palace, which made me a little sad as I like that menu, but I also love kicking off the cruise with that peaceful experience.
Not dining in my assigned room could have provided an awkwardness the second night as my tablemates would have had a night together, but I was able to get moved to an empty table my second (and subsequent) nights, and all was well. My new servers - Ronald (main) and Giovanni (assistant) server were fantastic.
Animator's Palate ~ I love this restaurant. It's a Pixar fan's dream as there are various models and things all over! On the Dream you have a "show" with Crush - the turtle from Finding Nemo. If you're there a second night (which I was), you have Pirate theme where the screens show the pirates through the ages of Disney. I really liked both of those menus.
Enchanted Garden - This is not my favorite menu by a long shot, but I managed to find enough to eat. One thing to note - Disney is fantastic with food allergies. I have a mild (as in wheezing and an itchy-burny sensation around my mouth) peanut allergy, but even with that, everything had to be screened by my head server and approved. Even moreso than our cruise in July when I'd mentioned it as well. One night my sundae was totally changed (though I'd had the exact same one as-is on the menu over the summer), and the night in Enchanted Garden, Ronald went ahead and ordered me the "known to be peanut-and-contact-free" dessert, which was fine but not what I would have chosen. Since my allergy is mild, I will likely not mention it again and just be intelligent (and use "I don't like them" if I ask about it) about it and take responsibility for whatever happens. But definitely follow the steps (advance notice, reminding your server if necessary) if there is a serious allergy, and you will be well taken care of on DCL.
Palo brunch - I was able to do this on the sea day, and it is fantastic!! Included is one complimentary mimosa as well as whatever still water, coffee, tea, or soda you want. Some of the brunch - pastries, antipasta, cold seafood, desserts - are at stations and you serve yourself. Other parts - pizzas, cold strawberry soup, and other dishes like chicken parmesan - you order from your server. From what we can tell, you can order as many things as you'd like and go back to the buffet section as many times as you like. Again, a $25 upcharge, but well worth it!! Also 18+.
No one does entertainment like Disney. All the shows are well performed. I opted to skip the variety act as I'm not really into "physical comedy". I saw the movies "Saving Mr. Banks" and "Thor: The Dark World" while on board, the latter in 3D. "Frozen" and "Monsters University" were also playing, though I was not able to see them due to schedules. On the sea day, they had a showing of Frozen in the Walt Disney Theatre.
Always an early day. I had "late" breakfast at 8am. It's a pre-set menu with some choices as to which set meal you're having. After finishing, it was time to gather whatever I'd not set out the night before from the hall (it goes to breakfast with you as you're not allowed back in the cabin), and then into the luggage hall. Things are organized by characters on luggage tags and generally kept together in room groups. Clearing customs was simple and easy and then I was on the bus back to MCO.