This was our third experience with Disney. We have stayed at the theme parks twice and this was our first Disney Cruise. Disney does a lot of things right. Disney employees are always smiling and waiting to assist you.
Embarkation is chaotic and exciting, but went smoothly. We enjoyed the first two days at sea and had a chance to enjoy the amenities aboard the ship. Our two boys ages 10 and 9 loved the pool and riding the aquaduck around the top deck of the ship. Cabanas is an informal dining area on Deck 11 by the pool. There you can snack on breakfast and lunch fare while staying close to the poolside action, don't miss the raw bar where they have huge shrimp and mussels. My boys loved Flo's café on the other side of the pool where they could snack on pizza, chicken nuggets, sandwiches and desserts at there pleasure.
Excursions are a bit pricey, but worth it. The Sea Blaster Snorkeling excursion on St. Thomas was well worth the $55 ea. We spent hours checking out coral reefs, stingrays, turtles and Casper the friendly barracuda. The Sea Trek Helmet dive on St. Maarten was very cool, it's basically snorkeling for dummies, my younger son was very tentative to go, but glad he did, especially when we looked at the pictures later. Castaway Cay is a great place to relax and take in the Stingrays adventure where you can swim with and feed the Stingrays. On Castaway Cay they hold a BBQ style outdoor lunch that was great, make sure to try the ribs, I started and couldn't stop.
Back on board my boys signed up for the Aviators Club, but they found it a bit young for them (Ages 10,9). We dropped them there while my wife and I had a couples massage that was truly exquisite. They preferred to seek out characters for autographs and play mini-golf and basketball on the top of the ship when not in the pool. The entertainment aboard the ship is fantastic. We go to Broadway shows occasionally, and put these shows not far below in terms of talent and quality. We also took in the movie Planes, which was out in theatres at the time. The dining experience was great, we only went to the standard dining rooms and found the food to be above average and service extraordinary. The last night at Animators Palate was a party where they display the guests artwork to music on the walls of the dining room, we enjoyed that. Disembarkation was smooth, but bittersweet knowing we were leaving.
Castaway Cay was a nice place to kick back and enjoy some beach time, we also took in the Stingray Experience. The island is mini Disney theme park with Disney signage and shops about. We found a nice palm tree to settle under and got some Pina Coladas. There are swings and jungle gyms in the water for the kids as well as tubes and snorkel gear to be had. The stingray excursion is very cool. The kids loved feeding the stingrays then swimming with them in the Stingray beach. There is a BBQ for lunch where burgers, chicken and delicious BBQ ribs are served.
On St. Maarten we went on the Sea Trek excursion and enjoyed it very much. You put on a scuba type helmet and climb a ladder down to the ocean floor where you are led on a tour of reefs, tropical fish life and a helicopter wreck. Afterwards there is ample rum punch and soda. We also went to the beach by the town after the excursion. The locals are a bit aggressive trying to sell you cabs and beach umbrellas, but we couldn't resist the umbrella, 2 chairs and a bucket of beer for $10, s we settled in and enjoyed the beach for the rest of the day.
The Sea Blaster snorkeling excursion was a bargain at $55. You board the Sea Blaster and the friendly crew lead us to Turtle cove where we saw dozens of turtles big and small in their natural habitat. We then went to the reefs where we followed the stingrays and could barley keep up with them. We also met Casper the friendly Barracuda, who liked to hang out by the boat.