Disney Wonder Cruise Review by jonlee: Disney Wonder Mexican Reviera - First-time Cruisers
Overall Member Rating
Disney Wonder Mexican Reviera - First-time Cruisers
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: Los Angeles
First-time cruiser here, so I don't have any other reference points. This was a family cruise with my wife and two kids, which is why this Disney Cruise was of particular interest. Plus, this specific cruise was part of the Kids Sail free promotion, so we saved quite a bit of money over the cruise we had originally booked (also on Disney). We left from the Port of Los Angeles and set sail for a 7-day trip along the Mexican Riviera. Ports of call included 1 day in Puerto Vallarta and 2 days in Cabo San Lucus. Mazatlan was originally scheduled, but canceled by Disney recently due to conditions deemed unsafe.
Overall, we had a great time, despite some minor issues. Frankly, I set my expectations a little low based on the feedback from other members here. Yes, this cruise is geared more for kids. The facilities, activities, and entertainment are definitely set-up with kids and families in mind. I did see some couples-only around the decks and during meals, but the vast More majority of the passengers are families with multiple kids.
Of course, that doesn't mean adults can't have a good time too. The ship has some adult-only sections such as the adults-only pool, Palo (the ship's high-end, adults-only restaurant), the spa, and a few of the lounges. The spa was very nice and relaxing. My wife had a few treatments there and she said the service was exceptional. We both used a day-pass at the "rain-forest" room which is an area with one dry-sauna and two steam-saunas. The adult-lounges are comfortable and a nice escape from the general public areas. We didn't use the adults-only pool, since we spent most of the time with the kids, but it didn't seem overly-crowded or noisy.
The overall service was excellent. All the crew were very good to excellent. Guests are assigned the same servers throughout regular meal service for the whole week. Our servers during meal service were particularly attentive, accommodating, and even entertaining. I could order multiple appetizers, entrees, and desserts without hesitation. After diner, the assistant server would entertain the kids with some magic tricks at the table. Our room hostess was not particularly great, but did a good job keeping our room tidy and clean without being too obvious. The youth counselors manning the Ocean Lab and Kid's Club do a great job taking care of the kids. We never had a serious concern about our kids safety while in the custody of the Disney crew. Of course, all of the Disney characters did their usual Disney-best to keep the kids entertained and in awe.
The food quality was somewhat mixed. I wasn't expecting great food going into it, and that's how I left the ship. While the service was excellent, the food is OK. In general, the food was overcooked and didn't offer a great variety of choices, however given that the chefs are typically cooking for more than 1000 people at a time, on a ship with limited on-board resources for fresh ingredients, I think they did a good job. Even Palo, the high-end, adults-only restaurant aboard ship, was just good, but not great. My meat was good and cooked to perfection, but the lobster tasted frozen. Oddly enough, the lobster at the regular dining service (the next night) was actually better than the one at Palo.
The entertainment was good, but pretty much all geared for kids. The Walt Disney theater on board is a very nice and spacious theater where the crew can produce some full-blown musical productions. The shows are comparable to some of the stages shows at the Disney theme parks. The ship also puts on numerous photo opportunities with all the Disney characters as well as for family portraits. The pics are a little pricey, but considering there's no sitting fee and the photo quality is generally excellent, it's not a bad deal.
I think the big plus to this cruise was the ability to leave the kids in one of the kid's play areas at any time in confidence, while enjoying some adult-time in other parts of the ship. The kids areas are open until midnight (I think) and there's even a service called Dine-and-play where you can have your kid's dinner service started earlier during the dinner service and a Disney crew-member will escort your kid from the dining table straight into the kid's play area.
Some of the minor issues - the kid's pools are crowded and they did seem down for maintenance quite a bit. Yes, I think there was at least one shut-down of a pool because some kid lost his lunch in one of them, but the crew do a seemingly thorough job maintaining the pools at all times. They do constantly scrub down and drain the pools regularly. As I mentioned, there are a lot of families around - it's a Disney cruise after all, so if you don't particularly like kids, you'll likely be confined to a relatively small portion of the ship. My biggest gripe (making me feel a little short-changed) is that the second day in Cabo was way too short. The last tender to return to the ship was 12:30 - barely enough time to do anything on land on the second day. I ended up staying on board. I would have preferred more time on land, and less time on the ship. Lastly, the ship was fairly rocky at times as the seas were rough out of LA and once we got back from Mexico. My wife, who was not prone to motion sickness got sick, while I, who am prone to motion sickness, did not get sick - go figure! Can't blame Disney for the weather however.
Hate to end on a particularly sad note, but this cruise was the Disney cruise where one crew member was apparently lost at sea. They are still trying to determine what happened to her after missing her shift a few days into the cruise. Despite this horrific loss, the Disney crew were still able to perform their jobs well, put on a happy-face, and make all their guests feel special throughout. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Public beaches are nice, but VERY crowded. You might be better served to hire a boat (from one of those annoying salespeople mentioned above) and spend some beach time over at another beach. Be sure to bring an umbrella and/or lots of lotion because the sun is very strong in Mexico.
As mentioned earlier, even through we had 2-days in Cabo, the second day was way too short given the last tender had to leave at 12:30.
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