We were on the March 11, 2011 sailing to the Mexican Riviera. We have been on 7 cruises prior to this. NCL 2x, Carnival, Princess, Royal, Costa, and MSC. It was my husband, our two girls (12 and 7) and I. We also had 3 other families with us. We enjoyed this cruise. Like most cruises there was some good and some bad. I had always wanted to try a Disney cruise but they were always double the price or more. Kids sailed free on this cruise, so we decided to give it a shot!
Prior to the cruise we stayed in San Pedro at the Crowne Plaza. We used Priceline and got it for a winning bid of $65 plus tax. Overall I felt the hotel was a great price and rooms were nice. We rented a car from Hertz at LAX. Then returned it the next day and took execucar back to our hotel. We really enjoyed walking down by the port. We even walked to a Mexican restaurant called Acapulco. Very good, it is right down there on the water.
Embarkation: We took the shuttle from the hotel to the port. It took maybe 5 minutes to get to the port. We arrived at 10:15 to the port. We were given boarding number 6. We did not register the kids in the terminal because it was a madhouse, the line was so long and their computers weren't working right. We boarded the ship around noon. It was pretty special how they announce your name when you are getting on the ship. I got a little teary eyed because I thought this was going to be the best cruise yet.
Once onboard we went to Beach Blanket Buffet. I found the food to be very boring here and went in search of the grill. Here I enjoyed some yummy chicken tenders. The buffet just had too much seafood on it. I don't eat seafood and am not a big meat eater.
CABINS: We were able to go to our cabin around 2pm. We had an inside cabin on deck 2. We enjoyed the split bath. Beds fairly comfy! The wave phones were quite handy also. Storage was adequate. Room steward wonderful! The one complaint I have about the cabin was that the cabin creaked constantly, never heard so much of that before. We were actually awakened several times to such loud popping we thought something broke.
Pools: My girls did the Mickey slide a couple of times. The lines were long and they had height restrictions. The water in both the Mickey and Goofy pools were cloudy and really weren't inviting. I can't comment on the Quiet cove pool because I never got to visit it (more on the reasoning later). Deck chairs were hard to come by. There weren't many lounge chairs, mostly tables with chairs. Movie on the pool deck was nice.
Entertainment-The shows were one of the highlights of the ship. My favorite show was Dreams. There wasn't a bad seat in the house. They also had a comedy act called Alfred and Seymour, they were great and I don't usually like comedy.
Character Happenings- We enjoyed these. The lines could get quite long but usually could be avoided because characters were all over the ship walking around throughout the cruise. The Princesses had the longest lines. The Mexican Fiesta show was a great spot to get pictures of Mickey, Minnie etc. It was not very crowed.
Dining- Animator's Palace was our first restaurant. We were a party of 14. Our table was back in a corner. Not enjoyable at all. They only had the lights changing colors on the first visit to the dining room. When it was not changing colors I found the room a bit dull. The food started out good, Baked potato soup, Caesar salad, the entrees were not to my likings (lots of seafood again), dessert was good, apple cobbler. The spotlights in that dining room made you very hot. Parrot Cay was our favorite dining room. It was tropical and made you feel like you were on vacation. I know many people have said this is there least favorite, not sure why. We were in Parrot Cay on formal night and enjoyed it. Tritons was the last dining room, it was nice but along the lines of a hotel banquet room. The mural on the wall was nice though. I was disappointed because the always available was only chicken breast or baked salmon. Other cruise lines have had more always available choices. My favorites: Onion soup (yummy), Potato and Leek soup, banana bread, any of the sundaes, chicken crusted parmesan and fettuccini. The grill was usually my staple at lunch. Daughters of course liked the Krispy Kreme doughnuts. They ran out of these towards the end of the sailing. Pizza was not good at all. The crusts were already premade unlike Carnival's wonderful pizza. I love pizza so this was upsetting. Ice cream on the pool deck was good. Our wait staff was very friendly and nice. My only really complaint was that dinner was usually 2 hours, which doesn't really bother me but we missed most of the Pirates party due to still being in the dining room. We made it out just in time to see the fireworks!
Activities: Sail away party-so crowded you couldn't see much! Pirates of the Caribbean Deck party-missed most of it because of dinner taking so long. The fireworks were neat to see over the ocean though. We did go to wine tasting. It was okay but we joked about trying 5 wines. We could have bought several full glasses of wine for the price it cost us to have 5 tiny samples.
Oceaneer club, lab and Edge: What can I say but disappointing! Within 15minutes of going in they paged me saying that my daughter wanted to leave. When I picked her up she said that it was boring and the staff was mean. On NCL I could barely get my girls out of the kids club. I think the staff was overwhelmed with kids. The age group was too broad. One time when the girls went it said they would be having a PJ party for the 3-10yo group. This consisted of reading a story aloud for quite a long time(not fun for the older kids in that age group), playing freeze dance for a few minutes and handing out pillowcases to color later on, on the way out the door. My 7yo said why we didn't get to color or decorate the pillowcases while we were there. That was the main reason the kids wanted to go. They had pj parties before and always decorated the cases before they left, but nope not on Disney. The lab also had cooking school where they made chocolate chip cookies. This apparently didn't go well either as the kids didn't get their own cookies back but some premade ones. This wasn't noticed by the young kids but the 10yo's definitely commented on it. They also had scheduled slide time, really? My guess is that the kids clubs were better before they group all the kids from 3-10 in the same age group. The Edge was okay, but way overcrowded for the space. Needless to say after going 3 or 4 times to the clubs was enough. The kids in our group never lasted more than 30 minutes or so. And to think this was one of the reasons we came on Disney!
Ports-Cabo San Lucas- We took a water taxi around the arches and then over to Medano Beach. We really enjoyed this. Beach was very nice. We got lounge chairs at the Mango deck. We arrived fairly early so there was hardly anyone there when we arrived. Drinks were by one get one free. The water was very cool. By the time we left it had definitely become a spring break crowd. On our second day we came back to the beach by Taxi. This time we didn't purchase anything just put our towels in the sand and hung out enjoying the quiet beach at 8:30. Be warned that there are many people trying to sell you everything from pottery to sunglasses.
Puerto Vallarta- Los Veranos Canopy Tour- Awesome! We really enjoyed this. We had done zip lining before but felt this one was superior. The restaurant and stream were great. The food and drinks were really good. I even got to hold a monkey.
We were supposed to go to Mazatlan but in its place was Cabo.
Overall: We had fun! Room was good, characters were good, ports were nice and shows were fantastic! Would I go on Disney again? Yes, if the price was comparable to NCL. Good thing kids were free on this sailing otherwise I would feel cheated as my kids HATED the kids club. We can have fun anywhere, when we are with our friends! This cruise did not live up to my expectations.