Disney Wonder Cruise Review by cheshrgato: Disney Wonder - Mexican Riviera - With a three year old
Member Since 2009
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Disney Wonder - Mexican Riviera - With a three year old
We just got back from the cruise, and we enjoyed it so much we talked about scheduling the next cruise while on the ship. The main positive about the Disney cruise was the staff. Every single "cast member" was exemplary. The person in charge of our stateroom was always available (he may live in the hallway...) and constantly provided fresh towels (including towel monkeys with chocolate doubloon eyes), advice, and endless kindness to our barely manageable three year old. Our food servers were excellent, and very attentive.
The rotational dining around the many restaurants was also charming, since it gave you a lot of variety, and you could decide where to go for lunch based upon the formality / menus. The menus changed every day. The entrees were great - especially the beef tenderloin, the cornish game hen, and the fish options. Food was available nearly around the clock - but do yourself a favor and make it to Parrot Cay buffet rather than Beach Blanket buffet. The food was More better and there are actual servers, versus a clean-up crew. The best restaurant in my opinion was the Animator's Palate. The walls change colors while you dine, and the kitchen did the best job of the bunch.
The one slight food complaint is the chocolate. The ganache is great, the mousse is great, the souffle in Palo is great, all the cakes are awful. The desserts in general are just okay. I would lean heavily towards the scooped ice creams at the restaurants. Luckily I brought Ghirardelli with me in case of chocolate emergency.
We also dined at Palo twice during the cruise. The atmosphere was better early in the cruise due to the crowd later in the cruise being more cranky. Our server was awesome and full of advice on dessert orders, intricacies of the menu, etc. Well worth $20 a person, plus corkage fee of $20. (We also brought six bottles of wine (and scotch) onboard in our carry-ons to cut down on alcohol costs.) Even when our charming kid called during dinner and we had to pack the entrees and chocolate souffles to go, it was totally worth it.
Our daughter was only in the oceaneers club with us, plus three hours on her own in two separate visits. That was her fault, not the staff. She is a bossy little kid, and as soon as she figured out she could call mom and dad and they would have to leave dinner to come play with her, she abused the privilege. Meanwhile all the other kids were playing duck duck goose with the counselors, and having fun riding on the giant tree slide, and reading books with the counselors, or playing on the computers or watching movies or television cartoons. We spent no time in the Lab portion nor the nursery, since she is too young / old for those areas. Both areas looked really nice and had plenty of staff.
The pools were great fun and available for every single age group.
The adult only options were very nice - we walked through to view rather than staying, but the Cove cafe was pleasant and perfect for book reading / ocean watching. The adult pool looked nice and quiet and even a lil romantic. Needless to say we saw it from a distance while running after our kid.
The gym was nice, but we were too tall for the equipment in the window row, and whacked our heads on occasion due to the dropped ceiling.
The character opportunities were plentiful, and some were unexpected. We ran into characters several times in the halls, and they each time bent down to kiss our little "shy" princess and blow kisses before moving on. A very special experience for a little girl who really believes in all the Disney magic. I am embarrassed to admit we spent $150 on pictures with the characters, but the photographers they have on the ship did a better job of getting our kid to smile and captured the moments better than I did with my more than decent camera.
As for the ports - we did one excursion through Disney in Puerto Vallarta - the Tequila tasting and town visits. The tequila tasting was great at Leyva distillery's shop front. The town visits were TERRIBLE. The two little towns we were taken to were not ready for an influx of forty tourists at a time, nor were these towns pretty / remarkable in any way. I hate to discourage people to get off the boat and have a cultural experience, but really these sites were BAD. I have been to ten states in Mexico, 20-30 colonial towns with tons of charm. Personally, I would take a taxi directly to Leyva tequila, do a tasting, then taxi back to Puerto Vallarta's main cathedral, walk the shops to Rio Cuale and back to the cathedral, walk downhill through the town square (plaza), walk along the beach to see the statues downhill from the cathedral, and taxi back to port. The lunch that was included was nice, but not unique in any way. The port area is a Walmart and not much else. Get away to the real town asap.
In Cabo San Lucas, I chose to scuba dive through Sunshine Scuba separate from Disney - they were awesome and didn't expect a dive log updated in the last year (I stopped keeping a dive log when I was a teen - shortsighted I guess). Again, the marina where you are dropped off is clean but not representative of the city of Cabo San Lucas. There are tons of vendors trying to sell whatever experience - when I was walking to the scuba place I was offered a fishing trip, snorkeling, water taxi, food, beer and trinkets. My husband (when he was by himself - but he is honest to a fault) was offered marijuana, cocaine and/or a prostitute. Again, get away from the port and into the town asap. Read Frommers / Lonely Planet and get a real idea of the area so you can see beyond the marinas please. We never felt unsafe if that is a concern of yours.
Even though our ports were only so-so, and Manzanillo was cancelled off our schedule (dang) we would go back next week just for the experience on the ship. Some people have written that the Disney Wonder is past its prime. We had no such concerns. Our toilet stopped working once, and it was fixed in a few minutes. The balcony had tape around one wooden area that had just been restained - so really the staff is on top of every detail. Donald and Huey, Dewey and Louie are on the outside of the ship painting at all times, and when you are in port, there are other real painters helping them. Maybe it isn't the new Fantasea ship, but it was very well cared for. The pools were sparkling, etc. We saw no condition issues (except one chair that needed reupholstering in Studio Sea). Our stateroom was similar but more spacious than the one we had on Celebrity. The tv was superior, and the split bath made a big difference. The curtain room separator came in handy too. I have to say I thought all in all it was worth every dime we spent. I bet we will be on the Wonder to Alaska or Hawaii in the next year. Perhaps the four-year-old-to-be will be kept further away from the ice cream machine onboard and will spend more time in the Oceaneers club. Less
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