Our Trip on the Disney Wonder
I am not a Disney person, I like the parks, but do not make special trips to go there. I have no vinyl Disney decals on my car. So take this review with that in mind. We are pretty veteran cruises though, this being our 9th.
We decided to jump on the "Kids Sale Free" (KSF) promo that Disney was running for the Mexican Riviera (MR) cruises on the Wonder. Our whole family: DH, DS16, DS12 decided to go. Our DS16 is profoundly autistic, but does enjoy Disney movies and Disneyland. We cruise quite often, but have never brought him before. We figured this would be the best for him and the cheapest way to try it out. Do to the nature of his autism, we brought along his two helpers. So DH and DS12 were with me in one room, the nannies and DS16 in the other.
We drove from Utah the day before and stayed at the Vagabond Inn in San Pedro. Definitely not the Ritz, but for $125 it included transfers to the port (but not back, weird), parking for the week, and donuts and coffee on Sunday morning. The room was a typical motel, but the seemed to have good security and it was clean.
Sunday morning we took a shuttle to the port at about 11:00am. Holy Monkees it was crowded. There were people everywhere no chairs to be had. Make sure you pre register online AND print out the page. That will save you a lot of hassle. We were able to board in group #1 due to DS16 disability, which was nice. The rest of our party was #17 and they were on about an hour later. Rooms were not available until 2:00 which was typical for any cruise line.
We had an inside cabin for four. It had a queen bed, sofa bed and one Pullman bed above the couch. While spacious for a cruise, it still is pretty tight with the coffee table next to the sofa. There is not tons of drawer space, and there is this weird thing with the closets. They width of the hangers is just a little too wide for the width of the closet. So when slide the sliding door all the way to one side, the hangers get mashed and it makes opening and closing them difficult. The shoulder of my favorite dress got caught and now has a hole in it. Our Nannies room had a much better layout as it was a side facing inside room for three. Even though it is the same size I am sure, it just felt larger. I did like having the little tub, even if I did not use it. It felt larger than a typical cruise shower and much cleaner with less water on the floor. The fridge did not get cold, but cool, and you had to go through 3 doors to get to the fridge. The beds were comfortable, the linens nice. I did not care for the shampoo and conditioner they provided, but that is a personal thing.
The Wonder is a very pretty boat, not flashy, but quietly elegant. I enjoyed all the art on the walls. The boat is showing some wear here and there, but that is to be expected for a boat of this age. Most of the public spaces are very nice, but a lot are underused. I had hoped there would be a more adult activities held in these areas during the day, but no. We particularly liked the Outlook Cafe which is above the Cove Cafe. It is on deck 11, for adults and is a nice way to relax with a drink and look out at the ocean. Go for the "adult" coffees! They pack a punch! You can also get a punch pass for the Cove Cafe where you buy 5, get one free (that does include the "adult" coffees).
We spent the first couple of days at sea getting the layout down of our temporary home. I was very worried about the amount of children on board (over 700) but Disney seems to manage it very well. There were no hoards of crazy teenagers running amok or evil elevator trolls. Since my children were in the older groups, I cannot comment on the Oceaneer's Lab and such. My niece and nephew seemed to enjoy it, but the large bracelets that had to wear were annoying. The tween and teen groups had a lot of different activities. I thought it was very well done.
Since this was our first Disney cruise, I was very interested in the rotational dining. I have to say I enjoyed it. I think my favorite restaurant was Parrot Cay. I did enjoy Tritons, but we ate there a lot as we don't usually eat in the buffet. Animator's Palette was not so hot, the food was fine, but I was expecting more of the "show". In general I found the food good, not great. There was nothing that blew my skirt up, but then there was nothing that was truly horrible either. We only did the buffet a couple of times as we like the pace better at the dining room. It would have been nice to have more late night choice of food. Most things seemed to close at 9:30pm. I would like to point out some good food points. #1 the lobster tails. They were BY FAR the largest I have ever seen on a cruise, even in the pay restaurants! The tomato & basil soup, very yummy! Also a happy surprise was the pastas! Most were very tasty. My DH enjoyed the braised short ribs as well as the chicken strips and Pluto's Doghouse. Low points were pretty much most of the desserts and most of the fish dishes, which were overcooked and dry. The times I went to the buffet I was underwhelmed, so I just did not go back.
Since we were traveling with our handicapped son we decided not to do a lot in port. In Puerto Vallarta I just stopped by Wal-Mart for some socks that I forgot and some tequila and vanilla. It was very cheap! Use your credit card for the best exchange rate. Due to the cancelation of Mazatlan, we were in Cabo for two days although one was very short. I went shopping the first day at the outdoor market they have and while there was a lot of stuff, it was stuff we had seen before, so not interested. On the second day we decided to have a beach break and took a water taxi to Lover's Beach. It was $5 per person round trip. This is not a great swimming beach as the waves are hard and the undertow is strong. The sand is also pretty grainy. But to just play and relax, it was perfect. We even had a local come by with some cold beer for $5 a bottle and he took the empties. The rocks here are pretty spectacular so bring your camera. Also there is NO bathroom or facilities so bring bottle water.
The Pirate night was a lot of fun and I was surprised to see how many people dressed up. I felt a little underdressed. I did not go to the show, but enjoyed the fireworks. They have the Disneyland turkey legs at the buffet after the show.
All in all I felt it was a good cruise. The cost with the KSF was about the same as any other MR cruise in an inside cabin. If we were to pay for the kids, I would have not gone. The free soda is a huge benefit, as well as bringing on your own liquor. I felt the service was good, but I was expecting a little bit more since it was Disney. We have had much worse service on Norwegian but better on Celebrity. The waiters seemed to be overwhelmed and I hated to keep asking for water and drink refills, but they do a good job. Our stateroom host was very good. I really appreciated the adult only areas, they really police that. The adult pool is truly wonderful. The Goofy and the Mickey Pool were pretty busy all the time. If you love Disney you will love this cruise. If you love to cruise, you will like this cruise.