You would think that my husband and I were on a different cruise from the one that our 18 year old took. She had a fantastic time, all the time. Our cruise had a few ups, but mostly downs. We should tell you that this is our fourth Disney cruise, and probably our last.
Employees - The best! I don't know how Disney does it, but they have the most pleasant employees in the world.
Dining - All three of us thought that the dining was usually spectacular. The exception is the night in Animator's Palate where you have to draw the pictures for them to animate. In order to make enough time for the animation "show," Disney cut the menu to the bare bones. There is an appetizer offered - take it or leave it. If I remember right - there was one soup offered - macaroni and cheese and baked potato soup. Really? Would you order that in a fine dining establishment? It has the texture exactly like the first time you ever tried to make a roux for homemade mac and cheese, a little on the grainy side. Don't get it unless you like really bad mac and cheese with a hint of onion.
18-21 activities - Our daughter had a great time. There seemed to be A LOT of 18-24 year olds on this cruise - much more about this later.
Activities for older parents whose kids don't need them anymore - I give Disney an F for this. Everything - and I mean EVERYTHING is geared to young kids and young adults.
Gym/Spa - We tried to work out in the gym/spa. This area is very small and had a waiting line seemingly all the time. We finally discovered that we could get in sometime around the middle of the day. As for the Spa, on the first day, the employees will hard sell you to come to their raffle, that they are going to give away great "prizes." My daughter and I sat through the hour-long sales pitch which was very boring. Then, hurrah, I won a $75 certificate. I tried to book a mani/pedi with my "prize" and found out it was only valid on services that cost over $200! Not a prize in my book.
Tastings - They have wine, beer, champagne, and cocktail tastings. These are good, but only the first 16 people get in. We only got in because we have cruised Disney before and know that if you don't get these booked by noon on boarding day, you won't get in. These are filled before half the guests even make it on board.
Live entertainment - The Disney shows are the same year after year. I don't think that they are as good as the shows at WDW in Orlando, but I realize that they have limited space. They have some musicians playing here and there on the ship, but they never have any pizazz surrounding them, except the ones playing for the character photo shoots. The ones entertaining the adult crowds looked like they needed a b-12 shot to perk them up.
The night club - Absolutely wonderful if you are 18-24. Dreadful if you are over 24. They play dubstep - nothing but dubstep every bleeping song, over and over and over. (If you don't know what dubstep is, check it out on youtube.) Hubby and I left the first night immediately when the DJ started. The next night was supposed to be 70's night. The DJ played one or two 70's songs, then the songs started sounding strange. The DJ was playing a 70's song WITH dubstep playing over top of it at the same time. Then the DJ just dropped the 70's altogether and went straight to dubstep. Another night was supposed to be 80's night. Our daughter came in to change clothes at about 11, and we asked if the DJ was playing 80's, and she said "no," he is playing dubstep.
The night club crowd - On past Disney cruises, the crowd has been mixed. But this cruise had a large number of 18 to 24 year olds. They were obnoxious. They didn't understand that a dance floor is for dancing, not for socializing. Since the dance floor is only the size of a large banquet table, having 20 or so obnoxious kids on the floor just hanging out created a problem. When they weren't just hanging out, they were creating a circle that they each took a turn dancing in the middle of. They just flat out PUSHED everyone else off the floor.
The other bars - they are dead, dead, dead. Not a bit of activity in any of them. I've been to peppier funerals. I don't know why Disney doesn't do something to attract cruisers to these areas. Hubby and I would have consumed liquid refreshments for hours if we had been entertained.
Dinner time / night entertainment - We had late dining, so we finished around 9:30 to 10:00. Since the night clubs were so bad, we had nothing to do but either: a) watch Disney movies on the TV in our room, or b) go to bed.
Embarkation - It got started very late this year compared to previous trips.
Disembarkation - It was a NIGHTMARE. You are supposed to go to breakfast, then get off the ship. Apparently, no one who had early dining, therefore early breakfast, actually got off the ship. When it came time for us to get off, there were about 4,000 other people trying to get off at the same time. What a disaster!
Will we go back? - Well, our 18 year old definitely wants us to fund another cruise for her, but it's not happening. Hubby and I will definitely cruise again, but it will be with a cruise line that caters more to adults and less to kids. Disney is special when you have kids, but once those kids become adults, Disney's shine is a little duller.
The other side of the story - We own Disney stock and it has performed incredibly well for us. Disney knows what it's doing. We shoveled money at them for years while our daughter is young. Maybe Disney doesn't want to confuse customers by doing anything that's not child-centered.