This was our 9th cruise but first with Disney. There were 10 in our party: 8 adults and our two grandchildren, 7 and 11 years old. Except for my wife and I, everyone else was a first time cruiser. The ship was well maintained, the staff and crew were terrific and we all had a great time. The first time cruisers were very impressed but, they had nothing to compare it to. My wife and I, on the other hand, do have a few issues.
Food service was less than we expected. Of the seven dinners, only two were very good and the rest were just okay. (Even the two that were very good were not as good as what we've experienced on our last two Holland America cruises.) Most of the food, including breakfast and lunch, was delivered luke warm. I'm baffled by this as the two very good meals were delivered hot. On the plus side, the waiters and assistant waiters were very, very good and especially so for the two kids in our group. We had a lot of fun with them. Disney has rotational More
dining, where you (and the wait staff) eat in three different restaurants over the course of the cruise. It's not a bad idea but all three had very high noise levels and it made conversation difficult with anyone other than those sitting right next to you.
To my surprise, the food in the Topsider Buffet on the Lido deck was pretty good. I'm not a fan of buffets but they did this well and we had most of our breakfasts and lunches there. The only drawback here is the relatively small space available to tables inside the buffet; most of patrons wound up eating on deck and several days were pretty windy. However, if you get there early you can get a seat inside.
The nightly floor shows were elaborate and done on a scale we haven't seen on a cruise ship before. The costumes were colorful, the singers and dancers were enthusiastic and very good (I counted 15 cast members in one number, more than any show we've seen previously) and they even had special effects, something else that was new to us. The music was not live but the singing was. All in all, very impressive. Each of the major shows was geared toward the kids (no surprise) and were variations on Disney characters or movies. After a while they seemed repetitive.
Some of the non-staff entertainers performed more adult themed shows in the various bars and clubs elsewhere on the ship but they didn't start until after 10 PM.
Our last issue was the overall noise levels on the ship. There really weren't any public areas (except perhaps the spa) that were quiet. On the lido deck there was constant Disney music and frequently movies and cartoons being shown on a large video screen. There was an adults only area, Quiet Cove, where the noise levels were less but it was still noisy.
Castaway Cay, Disney's private island, was the last stop on our trip and it was very, very nice. Lots of things for everyone to do or, in our case nothing. And, it was pretty quiet where we were.
Again, we had a very good time and my comments should not deter you from a Disney cruise, especially if you have children. However, as you would expect, it's geared primarily for them and that part of it is done very well. Less
The tour we were on had a very knowledgeable and informative guide. It started in St Maarten and went to Marigot and back. It was about 4 hours and reasonably priced. We spent the afternoon on the Boardwalk which fronts the beach and is where the restaurants are and downtown, where the shops are (it runs parallel to the Boardwalk). All of the merchants were pleasant and helpful.
Several in our party went on the "beach bash" at one of the more popular beaches and had great fun.
We'd all go back to St Maarten.
This was a disappointment. The open air taxis are fun but the speakers on this one were apparently left over from a 1950s drive in theatre. They were tinny and what little attempt the driver made at talking to us was unintelligible. We didn't know where we were going or where we had been. One of the two stops was at a cheesy souveneir shop in the mountains. It would have been a spectacular view but it was raining so we didn't see much.