We (husband, 10 year old son, 16 year old granddaughter and I) just returned from our first Disney Cruise, aboard the Magic, Western Caribbean, September 2011. It was an experience. Disney does try to do it all right, but I think they try too hard, or maybe they try to cram so much into one week, could never really figure it out. The confusion on the ship is amazing.
I had booked an inside state room, but later was worried about the size, so I up graded to a Deluxe Ocean View. After seeing the room, I am so glad I did. I would really hate to think what an inside room was like. I had really high expectations' for this cruise, as I had cruised before with Princess Line. The cost of a Disney Cruise is not worth it. With the price you pay for the kids clubs, the characters, and just being Disney, it's a lot for what you get. After the first night, my 10 year old was bored with the club, and never went back, my 16 year old, only went to her club VIBE for something to do and she got to stay out after 10:00 PM.
On the first night at dinner, we were seated with another family of 4, which we never got to know; because they didn't come back....they hated the food. We tried to eat at all the dinners, but again, the food was lacking. Believe me, we are not picky, I love it when someone else will cook and clean for me, the meals were just not there. My son loved it, he ate the Mac and cheese..can't go wrong with that. My husband and I don't really drink a lot, which is good, as the drinks on board are expensive. The Bars on board were ok..Nothing special.
I know this is a Disney Cruise so it goes without saying that there will be kids on board, but there was so much for the kids, that those under the age of 10, especially the little ones, were on OVERLOAD. Sensory integration was big time on the ship. Parents running the kids from one end of the ship to the other, trying to get the autographs, the kids, by the 3rd day were DONE. There were so many melt downs, some nights the ship was NOT the happiest place on earth. Parents were yelling at the kids to stand still in the lines to get the autographs, smile when they did get to finally get a picture taken, it was just too much for so many kids. You have to walk around/through/and over all of these kids to get to dinner. It kind of takes the fun out of things when you are stepping over a child who is having a melt down and the parents are yelling. Disney has all these activities going on, wine tasting, bingo, etc, but you miss most of this because you never know what time it is unless you ask someone. I am on vacation; I am not carrying my cell phone. Very few clocks on board. The "wave phone" in the room never had the right time on it, so it didn't help to carry that around.
I spent 7 days on the Magic Ship and I do not feel like I had a vacation. I met several other passengers who didn't feel like Disney lived up to their expectations, but these were passengers who had sailed with other cruise lines. Most First Timers were having a good time. There were passengers who had sailed many times with Disney, and loved it, to each his own. I heard some parents say they wanted to go on the Dream or the Fantasy, are you kidding me? The wait lines on this ship were over 1 hour long at times; can you imagine the wait lines on a ship that is twice as big? I can say, I have done the Disney Cruise, been there -done that-- but won't do it again. Guess with all the hype you hear about Disney Cruise, I was expecting the "WOW" factor and it wasn't there, it was just ok.