Our 1st Disney cruise with our 3 children. Something for everyone, including our 13 yr old son.
We took the Disney Magical Express from the airport. The cost of $350 is pricey and then the drivers were looking for tips! The bus was clean and the ride was safe.
Embarkation was seamless. We got on the ship without issue. The ship is HUGE! We love the varied international crew.
Our stateroom was ready when promised. We were in a category 4B - family of 5. Very tight quarters. Yes, we like the separate toilet/sink room and the sink/tub room. Directions on how to use the shower would be helpful - it took us a half hour to figure it out - it is not your average shower head. Cleanliness was amazing! Lots of towels and toiletries available. You could hear toilets flushing around you.
Beds were comfortable; room was clean; lots of storage space for a stateroom.
We did NOT like the energy saving feature of having to leave your room key in a slot to keep the lights on. For the amount of $$ Disney charges you to go on the cruise - it is ridiculous to say the least.
Our kids were underwhelmed by the Aquaduck. Lines were long. They only went on it 1x each. The pools are a joke - small and very crowded.
The food was excellent. We enjoyed the rotational dining and the 3 restaurants. We enjoyed our meal at Enchanted Garden the most. Although, the food at all 3 was very good. The servers aimed to please and were pleasant. We did feel VERY pressured to provide an EXCELLENT rating on the departure comment card. And, our head waiter kept hinting on extra tips - really?!
The food at Cabanas was excellent; we did not use room service.
We found many of the alcoholic drinks had very little, if any alcohol in them. Not okay when you are spending $10-$14 per drink.
Their was a HUGE international traveler crowd on our cruise. Someone from Disney needs to properly educate these international travelers on basic etiquette. For example, while waiting at the elevator for a few minutes - here comes international traveler to buffalo you out of the way to bust onto the elevator BEFORE anyone gets OFF the elevator. We saw this happen countless times!! Ridiculous!! Cutting lines was also a favored practice for these folks.
Activities were plentiful and our children enjoyed many of them. The shows were great. Character meet and greets were good. No Elsa and Anna for those girls looking for them. Not sure why Disney isn't jumping on that now. No Frozen merchandise either. Our girls were disappointed big time. They did show Frozen in the on board theater. The live music in the Atrium was great - a duo who literally sang their hearts out for 5 hrs straight!
Oceaneers Club - my girls liked it but were not begging to go. We only used it 2x and brief each time. They did not like the crowds in there and they said that some of the cast members were very grouchy! I get it - who wants to deal with a bunch of kids on a cruise ship but that is their job!! Also, Disney charges you $12.95 for each bracelet that is required to be worn by the kids!!
My husband got a massage and he said it was great. The massage therapist tried to sell him every oil, cream, salve, etc she had on hand. When he said no to all that - she tried to tell him he *really* needed another massage!! The massage was $159.
We went to the Atlantis Beach day to the tune of $400+ for our family of 5. One word - rip off! Beach was gorgeous. We then got harassed for 3 hours by native Bahamians hocking hair braiding; drinks, jewelry, dresses, pocketbooks, jet ski excursions, cigars - you name it. They would NOT take no for an answer and literally asked us non stop. To avoid them, we spent extra time in the ocean! We finally had to leave the beach as they were harassing us so much. This should not be allowed. Atlantis itself was nice - very crowded.
Castaway Cay was great! Kids loved it. Super clean, food was good. Sorry Disney but when I shell out $4K for a 3 night cruise - I should not have to pay $10 for tube to float around in. It should be included. Also, $29 to rent used snorkel equipment?! We were shocked Disney didn't charge for beach umbrellas. The alcoholic drinks here were a total joke - no alcohol in them at all.
Pirate Night was fun and festive. Fireworks were good - very quick show!
Photo prices are $$$$. A photographer comes around each night at dinner and starts snapping away.
I do not like the automatic addition of tips to your stateroom bill. In many cases, tips are optional. I am not cheap and I am a good tipper. But, when I have already given Disney $4K for a 3 night cruise - I should not have an additional $180 slapped on to my stateroom bill and THEN be given envelopes to give the cast members MORE tips.
It seems like the cast members are treated like dogs. Our wait staff shared with us that they are on ship for 6 months straight and never get a day off. They told us their schedule and it is crazy!! I have to say - they weren't singing the praises of working for DCL!!
Disembarkation - again very well run. We had to be at breakfast at 6:45 with our bags. Too early for us but we understand they have to empty the ship. We got off the boat without issue. Back at the airport by 9a.
All and all - we all had a magical time. It was relaxing, we were happy, well fed, excellent customer service. Can't say that I will book another cruise but we are happy we did it this time!!