I have to say that I have never cruised before, and never really had any interest until another family asked if we would be interested in going with them. We thought this would be a good idea as we both have 10 year old daughters who are good friends. Let me say that my husband and I have traveled extensively in the Carribean prior to our daughter being born, and a few times since. We generally stay at all inclusive resorts. Our favorite thing is to lay in the sun, eat and drink. We thought that a cruise would be ideal, especially Disney so that our daughter would have the time of her life.
We stayed at the Hilton Orlando at the Convention Center for three days prior to our cruise. the hotel is brand new and was wonderful. the morning of our cruise we arrived at the terminal at 10:30. I didn't realize that the ship was just discharging passangers and that it would leave again in a few hours. Needless to say we spent alot of time in the cruise terminal. there is nothing to do, other than take pictures with the few characters that come out. Once on board we had something to eat and waited for our luggage to arrive. It was finally brought to our cabin at 5p.m. just in time to change for dinner. We had requested a late dinner, but somehow it was changed to the early seating.
I was very disappointed in our cabin, I expected it to be small, but a catagory 11 was minisule, and badly in need of updating. I asked to upgrade, but every cabin was booked. People had told me not to spend the extra dollars to get a window or balcony as you don't spend much time in the cabin. I was very sorry that I didn't. I had to turn on the TV to see what it was like out in the morning. Many people like an interior cabin, as the kids will "sleep in", but I felt like I was in a cave.
Also as the ship was sold out, it was very crowded everywhere, and a balcony may have given me some feeling of space. The first morning on the way to breakfast I walked by the kids pool, the 4ft. deep one. My impression was that it looked like blue raspberry slush, with popsicle sticks stuck in it. It was so packed with kids, that I don't think they could even raise thier arms, let alone swim. I had hoped to spend some time at this pool with my husband and daughter, but no way in that crowd. My daughter will spend 8 hrs a day swimming but this didn't interest her other than to cool off. I spent some time at the adults pool, but that felt very crowded also. Had a tough time finding a lounge chair. I have been told since that all ships pools are tiny like this.
We did thoughly enjoy the food on board. Our only complaint was having the first seating for dinner, I felt that we were being rushed, so they could get ready for the late seating. Our servers also had a large family reunion type group to wait on, and they pretty much got all the attenion. Palo was fabulous we had both brunch and dinner there. A couple of the shows were great, the others just ok, however my daughter enjoyed all of them. There is a definate lack of things to do though for the adults late evening. As far as the kids club and kids my daughters age in general, Disney really missed the mark with them. Both her and her friend thought the kids club was lame, and that only the little kids on the ship got any attenion from the characters or the staff.
We did enjoy our shore excusions, though very expensive and not worth the money. In Key West we did our own thing, however had to rush back to the ship, and did not get to enjoy the sunset party. In Grand Cayman, we swam with the Dolphins, did the Turtle Farm, and went to the beach. Beach was great. In Cozmel we went to the Tulum ruins. Although the ruins were interesting getting there was very long and involved a very rough ferry ride, a 10 minute walk thru town to get on a bus, and an hour bus ride. During the bus ride our tour guide announced we would be stopping to get sandwiches. Well the bus did stop behind an abandoned restaurant, and a truck pulled up and handed the driver a cardboard box! it had sandwiches in it that were wrapped in Subway wrappers, mini muffins, some kind of peanuts. Water was served from a litre bottle in paper cups. Talk about trashy!!!!! This was a Disney excursion! Also at the ruins were were looking forward to going swimming however we were not even allowed onto the sand as the waves were to rough. Our tour guide only talked about himself and his family, we didn't really learn much about the Mayan culture.
In closing let me say that I was very disappointed with the cruise. I felt that it was very very expensive, definitely not work the money. We didn't even try to do much on the ship, but everything was a rush to get to, they rush to the next thing. I expected that the characters would be seen around the ship. No that was something else that you would have to rush to go stand in line to see. I actually could not wait to get off the ship. My husband and daughter did enjoy it slightly more than I did, but hubby agreed that the amount of money we spent, we could have done at least two all inclusive luxury vacations. And a drink would not have been $8.00 each.