I thought a quick cruise would be a great way to introduce my children and grandchildren to this unique way to vacation. After a few days at Disney Parks in Orlando, we met our shuttle bus and travelled to Port Canaveral on the day of the final shuttle launch. We got through security quickly, I liked the idea of checkin being done at the airport before we boarded the bus. The welcome luncheon was spectacular, lamb chops, shrimps, crab legs, fruits, desserts. Of course, lots of kid friendly finger foods too. Soft drinks and juices were free and unlimited. There was an announcement that the ship would delay sailaway until after the quick muster drill and scheduled shuttle launch at 4:50pm. Decks 12 and 13 were some of the best viewing sites for the launch, and they were crowded with Pax taking pics of the blastoff. The shuttle seemed to pass directly overhead as it rumbled to its mission, what a fine way to start the cruise!
Our luggage was outside our cabin by 5:30, so we were able to change clothes for dinner. We had two adjoining tables with a total of 10 seats, 6 adults and 4 kids. The dinner menu selection was better than what I experienced on the other cruise line I usually go on, I was quite pleased with the selections, presentations and taste. The only down side was that we had an inexperienced team who couldn't quite get our orders right, were sometimes too slow, othertimes rushed, were very pushy in telling us what our selections should be. For example, my 6", 200lb muscled son was told the appetizer and soup he requested would be too filling for him and he should order something less. When I ordered 2 appetizers instead of an appetizer and a soup or salad, they brought me both at the same time. My daughter ordered smoked salmon and a bagel for breakfast the last morning, and the waitress brought her the salmon and whole wheat toast, since they were out of bagels and she figured this would be ok. The asst waithelp could never remember to return our key to the world cards after drinks were ordered. Each meal had hiccups like that, and since it was only their ninth cruise, we chalked it up to their lack of experience.
The cabin was laid out nice, I really liked having the bed in the middle of the room with an extra curtain available to keep the morning light out. There was space under the bed for our luggage, ample drawer and closet space, flatscreen tv, a nice balcony, and of course, the split bathroom, with one room having a toilet and sink and the other a tub shower and sink. That was great for families. We had 3 adjoining rooms, and my kids had the extra large family verandah with connecting inner doors and crawl through on the balcony. All rooms had the pullout sofa bed and drop down ceiling bed. Cabin service was excellent.
We stopped in Nassau, Bahamas and Castaway Cay in the Abacos Islands, and I liked Castaway better for its family activities. I've been to Nassau numerous times, so I stayed on the ship and explored some of the adult sections in the forward part of the ship. I tried the "Aquaduck" once, it's a good ride but nothing to rave about. Note that the height limit is 42" minimum for the kids. In fact the exciting part is the first 20 seconds, after that it's relatively tame and straight forward.
One thing that amzed me was the fireworks show on the second night at sea at 10:30PM. With the lights of the Aquaduck tube and the ship's funnels all lit up, the fireworks had a great backdrop. The pools on deck 11 were covered and the entire area was first a viewing spce and then a dance floor. They followed the fireworks with a "Pirates of the Caribbean" skit on the stage (also shown on the big screen) and then had a DJ spin some tunes. I saw more dancing and partying on this night than at any of my prior 16 or 17 cruises.
While Disney is certainly a high priced cruise, there are such great services available for both adults and kids that I felt it was worth the added expense. I'll probably look to another Disney cruise, maybe a 7 nighter and bring the family along. My grandchildren were reluctant to leave the ship, they wanted more, so I guess I'll have to respect their wishes sometime in the future.