I really wanted to love this cruise. I have cruised 15 times previously (albeit without children, whereas this time we had a 6 month old and a 4 year old), I love cruises and I love Disneyland.
Alas, it was not what I expected. To be fair, it was not horrible. The service in regard to our waitstaff and the kids' activities was excellent. But there were too many negatives that overall I would not recommend DCL, at least with young kids.
I began encountering problems even before we boarded, which in hindsight should have been a red flag. When I went to check in our family on-line a few days before the cruise, I discovered that I had to pick an arrival time at the port (because we were using a shuttle and not DCL's transfers). The only one left was 3-330pm. Given the fact that our shuttle was to drop us off at 1230, and that I had two young kids including an infant that I had no idea how I would keep entertained in the terminal for 3 hours, I called DCL for help. More
The first time, I got a rude lady who told me there was nothing she could do because it was a Port of Los Angeles issue and not something DCL caused. I later found that to be an out-right lie. So my husband called back, not getting much further, with a different rep who told us it was our fault for checking in so late, despite the fact that when I had tried weeks before the system would not let me and despite the fact that DCL had not given us a heads' up about it since I have never had to pick an arrival time with any other line before. Finally, on the third call, with a supervisor, we got some assistance.
I found this same strange-for-Disney inability to help when I went to the Guest Services desk two hours after boarding. I was trying to sign my daughter up for this special princess tea they have on board. I was told it was already booked and that it "usually books in the first hour after people board". Um....ok? Shouldn't this be a signal to you then that you need more than ONE??? Disney shoves all this princess crap down our girls' throats...of course all the little girls are going to want to go. I would think they would be better prepared for this contingency. We were ultimately waitlisted, and, despite only 4 parties being ahead of me, were never called.
I had a similar problem with the adult-only restaurant, Palo. We did get our one night there (I think everyone is allowed one night) and it was pretty good. But apparently the place has brunches and teas which I tried to book months prior to the cruise but could never get in. Again, I was waitlisted, and heard nothing more.
Since we had a child under three, we booked nursery time. You are only allowed 18 hours when you book. I was able to get a little more when I pestered them the first day. The service in the nursery was excellent and they were wonderful with my son. The problem is that because DCL doesnt give you any kind of idea when things will be scheduled, you are basically booking the nursery hours blind. What that translated into was that when my husband and I did get time alone, no adult activities were happening. (Except the occasional cigar club and martini tasting, which we have no interest in). I really wanted to go to the trivia and games, but we had the baby during these times. I asked if we could still go and was told no. I think Disney should either A) give you more time; B) give you the schedule in advance so you know when you will need the nursery time; C) offer babysitting; or D) let you take the infant with you.
The food was pretty good in the dining rooms, but the buffet, when it was open, was kind of mediocre. I say when it was open because it had limited hours and if you did not get there by a certain time, you were kind of screwed food wise. My husband and daughter had that problem at least twice.
Our cabin was alright, but we barely fit. Yes, there is a tub in the bathroom but it is half-sized. That didn't bother me although I could never get anything but scalding hot water to come out which is kind of a problem when you have young kids. It was also very noisy...when the tenders were being taken in and out it sounded like a major construction site outside our window. Frankly, given the weird placement of the cabins (we were on deck one) I don't think they were initially intended as passenger cabins anyways.
Our cabin steward was nice, but sometimes slow on the cleaning. I know we were hard to pin down in the morning but we were always at dinner 545-7pm and we would come back to put the baby to sleep and the cabin still wasn't turned down for the night. At least twice I told him to not worry about it and just had him hand me extra towels because we were already heading to bed.
Room service was fine and prompt except no one ever collected trays. They would line the hallway up and down for hours. It was actually kind of gross. I don't expect them to be taken away in a second but I would leave our cabin and see dirty trays outside the door and then return FIVE hours later seeing these exact same trays had yet to be cleaned.
The adult activities, as I hinted above, are limited, unless you like alcohol tasting. They also had a couple presentations (mostly to buy spa crap or their vacation club) but not much else.
The kids' club was very nice and had lots of activities. I think my husband would have rather played there. My daughter had a great time, so that was a plus.
OVERALL: Not a horrible experience, but not great either, especially given the fact that you pay that extra Disney mark-up to travel on the Disney Cruise Line. I just don't think it is worth what you pay for it. Less