This was our second cruise (first one was a Mexican cruise on Princess), but first time cruise with Disney Cruise Line. We chose this Disney cruise for three main reasons: 1) we live in Vancouver and wanted to take advantage of Disney's inaugural Alaskan cruise embarking from Vancouver, 2) we have two young boys (age 3 and 6), and 3) there was a "kids sail free" promo. Our deluxe oceanview cabin on deck 5 in the front of the ship was laid out efficiently and had a lovely large porthole. My 6 year old quite enjoyed sleeping in the overhead bunk and our king sized bed was quite comfortable. The cabin location was convenient to access the kids clubs and the theatre, though on the opposite end of the restaurants located in the aft/back of the ship. My husband was concerned about possible seasickness, but we found the inside passage route quite smooth and had no issues. Despite the ship's age, the ship was well maintained and had a nice regal feel given the black and gold colour scheme. Some tips to share:
* Board the cruise early on the date of departure (around noon) as the lunch buffet will be available. If the family wants to use the pool, have swim suits in a separate bag as luggage will not arrive in the room till later. The ship also offers a tour of the ship that is useful.
* Order the kids meals off the adult menu, which has better quality food.
* If you prefer buffet style breakfast, choose the Parrot Cay buffet instead of the Beach Blanket buffet.
* There is a free beverage machine and ice cream machine located by the pool area. The kids and my husband enjoyed making Coke floats almost every day.
* Bring along some medium sized Ziploc baggies or plastic containers to carry snacks in. I would often packed snack mixes for the kids using breakfast cereal, dried fruit, and marshmallows (from the breakfast buffet) for the Ports of Call days.
* The evening entertainment at Walt Disney Theatre is enjoyable, family friendly, and should not be missed.
* If the family is interested in doing shore excursions, I recommend researching the internet before the trip to compare activities and prices as arranging your own excursions can be a lot less expensive than booking through the cruise.
As I am from BC a lot of the scenery and activities are things I have seen or have access to so most of the excursions were not of interest to the family. We did, however, really enjoyed going through the Tracy Arm Fjord as the glaciers were truly a beautiful and unique sight. We took the cruise in May so the weather was still a bit chilly, but not rainy.
Disney cruises are about the kids so here are my comments about the kids clubs for kids under 10:
* There should be more kids club staff members engaging the kids as I felt too much staff was allocated to manning the check-in/check-out point.
* I found the younger kids area was too dark for the younger kids to really enjoy (it seemed like they were in a cave).
* I do like the fact that the staff do take cleaniness and safety very seriously when looking after the kids at the kids club, but I do hope they can find a less bulky tracking device to attach to the kids.
Overall, my complaints are minor and would recommend the Disney cruise to families with young kids. We will likely cruise again with them, but will probably cruise somewhere warmer to take advantage of the pool area more often and would probably cruise on a different ship so that we can watch different shows. I would not recommend this cruise line for people without kids or for foodies as the food on the Princess cruise is better. You do pay a premium for Disney cruises, but you do get a lot of extra for the kids that you can't get with other cruises e.g. photo opportunities with Disney characters, kid appropriate shows and entertainment, and servers that will cut your kids' food for them.
Thanks for reading my review.