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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
BACKGROUND Well, it finally happened! For many years, I had researched Disney Cruise Lines. I'd read about them, looked at itineraries, activities, staterooms and deck plans, but I would stop short of booking a sailing once I got to ... Read More
BACKGROUND Well, it finally happened! For many years, I had researched Disney Cruise Lines. I'd read about them, looked at itineraries, activities, staterooms and deck plans, but I would stop short of booking a sailing once I got to the pricing page. I just couldn't get myself to book a cruise on Disney and pay what I perceived to be over inflated fares for a product that I wasn't even sure I cared much for. But now, raising a young family and always looking for a new cruise line to sail on, the time to do a Disney cruise seemed right. I pulled the trigger and booked a 7 night Very Merrytime Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Disney Fantasy during Thanksgiving week. I will digress a bit and start by stating that, even though we love to travel, and our 8 and 5 year old children have already visited 10 countries at such a young age, we had never been on ANY Disney vacation. I will admit it; we were not Disney enthusiasts. Our kids couldn't even tell the difference between a Disney cartoon or a PBS cartoon! But after some encouragement from friends who take multiple Disney vacations every year, we took our first vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando with them a month before sailing on the Disney Fantasy. We had a fantastic time on that land vacation and it provided a much needed warm up for our upcoming cruise, but I quickly realized what Disney rookies we were when my son was asked by Disney staff at a pool game what his favorite Disney character was. He blankly stared at her, and then chose the Yeti from Expedition Everest which he had ridden on earlier that day. PRE PLANNING We booked this cruise almost a year and half in advance, probably the earliest I've ever booked a cruise. Yet, I had my first taste of what a strong fan base this cruise line has when, even that far in advance, we had a hard time finding two connecting balcony staterooms and settled for the only ones available all the way aft on deck 7. Also, 1st seating dining was already full so we had to take 2nd seating. No matter how many times I checked, even after we boarded the ship and placed our name on a wait list, we weren't able to change it. But the most painful thing about this pre planning process was realizing that, even booking this far in advance, the price was almost 2 times more expensive than our inaugural season sailing on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, 3 times more expensive than our Alaska cruise on Holland America's Westerdam, and 5 times more expensive than our last Caribbean cruise on the MSC Divina! Based on that, I set my expectations very high for this Disney cruise. ITINERARY Originally, we were scheduled to sail to the Eastern Caribbean visiting Tortola, St Thomas and Castaway Cay. Unfortunately those islands were badly hurt by hurricanes Irma and Maria so we were switched to a western itinerary visiting Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Castaway Cay. THE DAY FINALLY ARRIVED! After a torturously long year and a half wait, cruise day finally arrived for what would be my 30th cruise. We drove from our home in Atlanta to Port Canaveral the day before the cruise, but we decided to spend the night in Jacksonville, FL and drive the remaining 2 hours on the morning of the cruise. We spent the night at Hotel Indigo in Tapestry Park which was ranked #1 on Trip Advisor. Great hotel, with wonderful rooms in a terrific location, which provided a perfect place to spend the night. EMBARKATION DAY During our online check-in, we were assigned a boarding time of 1:30-1:45pm. Even though some may have considered this late time slot less than desirable, this was ideal for us. In all of my years of cruising, I've always preferred to check in later for many reasons. First, we don't need to rush to be first in line or wait for our boarding number to be called. Second, check in lines have usually died down closer to sailaway time. Third, we prefer to eat lunch before getting on the ship, and fourth, because staterooms are ready by then so we can proceed straight to ours instead of wandering around the ship waiting. This time was no exception. We arrived in Port Canaveral around 11am and had a very enjoyable and relaxing lunch at Grill's Restaurant overlooking the cruise ships. Shortly before 1:30pm we proceeded to our cruise terminal. Even though there are considerably cheaper parking options in the area, we always choose to park right at the terminal. We pre-paid online a few days prior to the cruise. We entered the cruise terminal and found zero lines at the security checkpoint, followed by zero lines at the check in counter, followed by zero lines to board the ship! The entire process was so fast and efficient that it seemed like a blur. I didn't even have time to appreciate any of the little details that Disney is known for. Before we knew it, our family name was announced as we entered the beautiful ship's atrium. I turned around and realized that my wife, who rarely shows any emotion about vacations, had tears in her eyes. Maybe there's something truly magical about a Disney cruise or maybe the effect of pixie dust is something real! THE SHIP Disney did an absolutely fantastic job designing the Fantasy. Even though it's a 129,000 ton ship, and this was our first time sailing on this cruise line, we quickly learned our way around the ship. And even though we thought that being all the way aft would be a negative, we were close to the third bank of elevators which made getting to the kids club and the buffet restaurant a breeze. Needless to say, the ship has Disney touches everywhere, but it's all done in a subtle and classic way. The Art Deco inspired decor makes the ship feel more like an upscale cruise ship or hotel than a Disney park. It took us a few days to realize that we hadn't smelled cigarette smoke since the cruise began. And it dawned on us that the ship doesn't have a casino, which is normally where the worst smoke smells emanate from. Also, the smoking areas are very limited which helps maintain most of the ship blissfully smoke free. We just saw one smoking area near an outdoor bar in the adults area. Needless to say, we are not smokers or gamblers when we hadn't even noticed the casino's absence, but it's something that first time Disney cruisers (and smokers) should be aware of. STATEROOM We booked 2 connecting deluxe verandah staterooms, one for my parents, and one for my family of 4, which included our 2 children aged 8 and 5 years old. These are the "smaller" balcony staterooms offered on this ship, but square footage was still larger than what we've experienced on other cruise lines for similar types of accommodations. However, the layout felt tighter. Part of it may be because these staterooms have a split bathroom which may occupy more square footage, and also because the bed is closer to the door and closet disrupting flow as one enters the stateroom (I prefer to have the sitting are closer to the door and the bed closer to the balcony). Also the coffee table, which doubles as storage space, feels like a large block oddly placed in the middle of the sitting area. Nonetheless, it was a fantastic stateroom, tastefully decorated and with plenty of storage space for our entire family on a 7 day cruise. As it's customary on most cruise lines we've sailed on, beds are raised enough to provide a place to store large suitcases. The split bathroom, with toilet in one side and shower in the other, may occupy more square footage but it was a welcome feature which came in handy more than once. The provided wave phones which can be used all over the ship as well as on Castaway Cay were a nice touch although we never used them. The sliding balcony glass door was one of the best designed we've seen and it also minimized the possibility of locking oneself outside as we had experienced on other cruise lines in the past. Needless to say, The TV system offered a lot of Disney content, including tons of free Disney movies. Non-Disney content was much more limited than what we've experienced on other cruise lines but thankfully we barely watch TV on vacation anyway. We did miss having the ability to do more things interactively from our stateroom, like making and changing reservations for shore excursions, specialty dining reservations, or simply checking and reviewing our onboard account as is now customary on other cruise lines like Royal Caribbean. FELLOW PASSENGERS I don't know if the reason is because this was a Thanksgiving sailing, when most schools across the USA are on break, or because this is how Disney normally is, but this group of passengers was one of the most homogeneous and less diverse I've experienced on a cruise in years. Maybe great for some, but not so great for those who consider meeting people from other countries, cultures, or ethnicities a highlight and an integral part of cruising. We also realized that many, if not most fellow passengers, were repeat Disney cruisers. It seemed that, every time that a staff member asked how many repeat Disney cruisers were onboard, majority of people would raise their hands and cheer. It always seemed that us Disney first timers were a very small minority. We also saw tons of passengers wearing their Castaway Club lanyards. One thing that I always enjoy is watching other fellow passengers wearing shirts or hats identifying cruise lines that they've sailed on in the past. I can say that, on this particular sailing, I literally didn't see one during the entire week. The only cruise wear that I saw was for Disney Cruise Lines. I almost felt as if I was breaking some secret dress code by wearing my Princess Cruise Lines baseball cap. Nonetheless, fellow passengers were in the most part a pleasure to sail with and the vast majority were courteous, polite, and happy. One negative that I saw was that it seems like Disney has a bad case of "chogs" (chair hogs). Even though there are clear signs everywhere reminding people not to reserve chairs with towels or personal items for extended periods of time, I saw a large amount of loungers already hogged as early as 6:30am which is when I would go for an early morning walk around the upper decks. Vastly more than I've ever soon on any other cruise line and in far more creative ways. So not even Disney's magic can make the chogs disappear on this cruise line! One things is for sure. Disney cruisers are rabidly enthusiastic about the Disney product. I got my first taste of it walking down the hallway to my stateroom and seeing so many doors, not only decorated, but in such creative and painstaking ways, many with professionally made personalized items. A lot of thought and time probably went into many of these door decoration displays. Although I have seen cabin decor before on other cruise lines, specially on Carnival, I have NEVER seen anything close to what I witnessed on Disney in terms of quantity and creativity. Our stateroom doors stood out because they were so bare. Amusingly, someone anonymously decorated our door with all sorts of Disney magnets on day two. A day or two later, we had even more personally made magnets wishing us a Happy Thanksgiving from another family onboard. It made us smile and brightened our cruise even more. ONBOARD EXPERIENCE Our sailing was a Very Merrytime cruise, which meant that the ship was decorated for Christmas. We have sailed during the Christmas season before, but nothing that we've experienced has ever come close to what we saw on this Disney sailing. Decoration throughout the ship was absolutely beautiful and tasteful, specially in the atrium. The list of Christmas themed activities was extensive which allowed people to really immerse themselves in the Christmas spirit. Participation in most Disney themed activities is very high. There are always long lines any time that there's a Disney character nearby. Even though having photos taken with any character was nowhere in our must do list, we ended posing with Mickey, Pluto and Stitch and our daughter participated in a Princess gathering. Pirate Night seemed like the highlight of the cruise for most passengers. I was advised by our friends back home to bring pirate wear (which we didn't do, thinking that it would be silly and unnecessarily occupy space in our suitcases) but nothing could prepare me for, not only the fact that most people did bring pirate wear on this cruise, but also for how elaborate some of these costumes were. I saw several families in movie quality, custom made, matching outfits that looked like something straight out of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. It almost made me feel like a bad parent for not going out of my way for this night! Thankfully our children seemed perfectly happy to just wear the cruise line provided pirate bandanas and have a pirate Mickey painted on their cheeks. ENTERTAINMENT I was obviously expecting plenty of Disney entertainment on this cruise, and I was not let down. Disney movies and character appearances dominated the daily activities with a sprinkling of other activities throughout the day. However, what I wasn't quite prepared for is how limited non-Disney activities would be. Granted, most people sailing on Disney adore Disney themed entertainment, but for those who would prefer a more diverse selection of activities, the options were a bit slim. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed most activities onboard, but I would lie if I said that there weren't times when I just wanted something different. On deck during the day, Disney movies on funnel vision (Disney's version of the outdoor big screen) dominated daily pool activities. No pool games or silly competitions that are the norm on other cruise lines. The Aquaduck was a unique feature which we used almost on a daily basis. Lines did tend to get long, sometimes requiring a 45 minute wait, but we learned to go either very early in the day as soon as it opened or in the early evening when most people would retire to participate in other activities or to get ready for dinner. Stage entertainment was a definite highlight on this cruise. The Walt Disney Theater is a wonderful venue rivaling some great theaters on land. Aladdin was fantastic and earned a standing ovation from the audience. We also enjoyed Believe on our last night onboard although not as much as Aladdin. We also had the opportunity of watching the premiere of Pixar's newest movie Coco which opened on Thanksgiving day. FOOD Disney uses the rotating dining room concept with an assigned table and time but at a different restaurant every night. You get to dine at each one of the 3 main dining rooms at least twice during a 7 night cruise. For us, Animator's Palate provided the most entertaining dining. We enjoyed Enchanted Forest and Royal Court as well. However, the consensus about the food was inconsistent. Some courses, specially at the beginning of the cruise, were memorable. Others were mediocre at best. One night (our 2nd night at Animator's Palate) was downright awful. Although the rotating dining room is a great concept that breaks the monotony of eating at the same dining room every night, we sorely missed the flexibility that any time dining provides on other cruise lines. We hate having to eat at the same time and table every night. And having an 8:15pm dinner time absolutely sucked for our kids that normally eat closer to 6:00pm back home. They powered through it, but most nights ended with one or both kids either asleep at the table or having a melt down. We enjoyed dinner at Palo, one of two specialty restaurants onboard, one night. We thoroughly enjoyed having an adults only dinner. The facilities where these two restaurants are located are very adult oriented and provide a quiet and enjoyable haven away from the high energy, kid friendly rest of the ship. The execution was wonderful, however the quality of the main courses fell short of expectations. I ordered the rack of lamb, and honestly it wasn't as good as the rack of lamb that I had at the Royal Court on a different night. We've enjoyed better quality and taste on Carnival's specialty restaurants. However we've learned that specialty restaurants are in big part about the ambiance, which Palo delivered extremely well. One negative that soured the beginning of our time at Palo a bit was our waiter. Although he did a fantastic job, his introduction centered on how good Disney is because the other cruise lines aren't. He was aware that we were first time Disney cruisers, but I don't believe he knew that we are seasoned cruisers who've sailed on pretty much every other mainstream cruise line. On that particular day, there were two Freedom class Royal Caribbean ships in Port with us, and our waiter spent part of his introduction telling us how dirty those ships are and how inferior their product is (which in our experience, they are not). In my humble opinion, you don't uplift once cruise line by looking down at the others. It's tacky and unprofessional. Cabana's is the buffet restaurant, and the experience here is at par with what we've experienced on other cruise lines. Nothing that would set them apart, either above or below. I personally prefer the "islands" layout where one can go from one station to the next without having to stand in long lines and which feels less cluttered, but overall, Cabana's was pleasant enough to enjoy a casual breakfast or lunch. The free ice cream stations were great and offer more variety than what we've experienced before, but they are not open 24 hours a day like on Carnival. Probably a good thing, otherwise I would've indulged much more than I did. SERVICE Overall, this is where Disney truly shines and is leaps and bounds superior to what we've experienced before. We didn't come across one crew member who didn't smile or was eager to please. No matter what we asked for, we never heard the word "no". Instead, they would courteously and patiently tell us what they could do for us. Little details, like knowing our names and delivering our drinks of choice before asking at dinner time left a memorable and positive mark. Disney does an exemplary job training their employees. We also had a maintenance issue with our stateroom's toilet, and they responded and solved the problem within 15 minutes of placing the call. Not only that, but the following day we had 4 Mickey shaped Rice Krispies bars delivered to our stateroom with a personalized note apologizing for the inconvenience. We were already beyond satisfied with the way the Disney had responded to our issue, but this token of their appreciation took their customer service to an even higher level. KIDS PROGRAM The Oceaneer's Club and Lab are the kids areas on this ship. In a nutshell, they are fantastic. They are large, high tech areas, divided into different themed rooms with tons of activities for the kids. The check-in process is excellent. Kids are given magic bands which they wear the entire week. The kids location can then electronically be tracked. Staff could tell us exactly where in the kids club our kids were located. But as wonderful as the facilities were, our kids surprisingly told us that they preferred the kids club on Royal Caribbean and most recently on MSC. Why? Because Disney keeps kids confined in the kids club most of the time. On other cruise lines, several activities are held on other venues around the ship which allows the kids to be escorted around and not feel so confined. The other reason why my kids preferred other programs is because, on Disney, when they ate a meal at the club, they said that what was offered was horrible and repetitive (cheese sandwiches were common). On other cruise lines, the kids are taken to the buffet as a group where they can select what they want to eat. On MSC, they even have an entire section of the buffet decorated and devoted to children and that's where they are taken. For some reason which still is beyond my understanding, my kids fell in love with MSC's mascot, Doremi, who also had his own theme song (which they kept singing over and over, even weeks after we returned from that cruise). But they didn't develop the same obsession for any character or song on Disney. Go figure. PORTS As mentioned before, our Eastern Caribbean itinerary was swapped to a Western Caribbean itinerary due to the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. We had been in Cozumel and Costa Maya several times, but it had been years since I'd been to Grand Cayman by cruise ship, and obviously we'd never been to Castaway Cay. - Cozumel: We'd booked a Dolphin Swim Adventure in Tortola directly from Dolphin Discovery months in advance. They offered a discount which brought the cost per person to only $59 (vs. $139 if we'd booked it directly through Disney's Port Adventures). Once our schedule was changed to Cozumel, Dolphin Discovery graciously changed our reservation and honored the original price. Although we enjoyed this experience, it's not something that we will want to do again. After we finished, we returned to the Punta Langosta Pier where we checked out the stores for a few minutes before returning to the ship. - Grand Cayman: This is the one Port that I had been looking forward to. The last time I'd been here on a cruise was before our kids were born. Although the ship made it there on our last visit, we had to anchor off Spots Bay, far from Georgetown due to high winds and choppy seas. That also meant that all water excursions were canceled. This time, we booked a 2:15pm Shipwreck & Reef excursion through Disney's Port Adventures and crossed our fingers. We made it to Grand Cayman and anchored off Georgetown, but shortly after that, it started storming, and it wouldn't stop. We took an early tender to explore Georgetown before the excursion but ended at the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch to kill time and to take shelter from the heavy rain. Thankfully, the skies cleared and by the time the excursion began, we were blessed with a spectacular, clear skies afternoon. This excursion proved to be one of the highlights of this cruise. Exploring the Cali's shipwreck was fantastic. The water in the Caymans is one of the clearest I've ever seen. The reef was also wonderful, with tons of fish everywhere. Our excursion was over just in time to take the last tender back to the ship at 530pm. This is one island that I'd love to visit again with more time. - Costa Maya: Our stop here was short, only 5 hours. On previous visits we'd been to the Chachobben Mayan Ruins and explored the village of Mahahual. This time, due to the short visit, we decided to stay in the welcome center and just check things out. It has considerably changed since our last visit in 2011. It has received a major facelift and an enormous water park has been built. It's still as chaotic as the last time I visited though. Too many stores and attractions jammed into one place . Many stores sell the usual junky, touristy trinkets that aren't even made in Mexico, but there are several interesting stores that sell authentic, Mexican made crafts and other items. We purchased a few things and returned to the ship. - Castaway Cay: Disney's private island. From the ship, it looks like any other private island that we've visited on other cruise lines, but it has the advantage of having a pier. It's also much better developed, in true Disney fashion. Activities are similar to what other cruise lines offer though, down to the BBQ lunch on land. We enjoyed the water park at Pelican Point which was unique because it floats on the ocean and the only way to get there is by swimming to it. We also explored by foot the more desolate parts of the island and made it to the observation tower. It didn't rain, but the weather didn't cooperate, with overcast skies and gusty winds, which meant that most water related excursions and activities were canceled. Still, we enjoyed our time here tremendously. DEBARKATION We enjoyed breakfast at the Royal Court on the last morning at 8:00am. We said goodbye to our fantastic dining room staff and proceeded to disembark. No calls for group numbers or assigned times. Yet, debarkation was painless and leisurely. We were in our car, driving home by 9:30am. OVERALL IMPRESSION AND FINAL THOUGHTS So, the big question is, was Disney worth what they charge? Although I still consider that the prices that they charge are overinflated, after experiencing a week on the Disney Fantasy I believe that they are not as overinflated as I thought prior to our cruise and there are several factors that justify the higher prices. Disney does a great job and provides a very memorable and unique experience, like nothing out there. There are several superlatives, most notably the unparalleled service, the quality of nightly entertainment, the small details throughout, and the great kids facilities. But on the same token, there are many things that other cruise lines do just as well or better at a fraction of the cost. You do pay a premium for the Disney experience, but looking at many of our very loyal to Disney fellow cruisers, it's worth it to them. Will I ever take another Disney cruise? Perhaps, but I won't be rushing to sail on them again immediately. Not because there's anything wrong with Disney, but because we are the kind of people that prefer to try new things rather than to stay loyal to one cruise line or product. We would look at Disney again if they provide an itinerary which we haven't done before and if the price is right. But overall, we are extremely glad and grateful that we had the opportunity of sailing on Disney, and I can now see more clearly why they have such a loyal following. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
The buffet is the best in the business the dinners are just ok. We had excellent service from the wait staff and from our steward. The ship is one of best for beauty and entertainment. The rest rooms were messy they left cleaning products ... Read More
The buffet is the best in the business the dinners are just ok. We had excellent service from the wait staff and from our steward. The ship is one of best for beauty and entertainment. The rest rooms were messy they left cleaning products on the floor. I really enjoyed the believe show and the comedian Taylor Mason. We had awesome Christian speakers and the Mercy Me performances were excellent. I love the water slide the fitness center is equipped ok the life fitness equipment is some of the worst on the market. We really liked taking pictures with the characters and the Pirate party with fireworks was a lot of fun. I did not enjoy the tv options they did not have a movie option. The Cast away cay day was great in the adult only section the food on the island was very good. The cabin has plenty of space and was kept very clean while we were on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
We chose this cruise because: 1) It's Disney! and 2) the convenience of sailing from the NYC area. DCL does not disappoint when it comes to entertainment, friendliness, and making you feel welcome. The shows and Marvel characters were ... Read More
We chose this cruise because: 1) It's Disney! and 2) the convenience of sailing from the NYC area. DCL does not disappoint when it comes to entertainment, friendliness, and making you feel welcome. The shows and Marvel characters were fantastic. There were four sea days on this trip and we did not run out of things to do. Castaway Cay was excellent, but time for a change to the lunch menu on the island. Food on the ship was very good, but time for some changes to the menu too. Our day at WDW was the highlight of the trip. Our 9 yr old daughter loved the Oceaneer Club and Lab. She spent any free time engaged in the activities. Disembarkation was the fastest we've ever experienced. We walked out of breakfast and found no line to get off. We picked up our luggage, went through immigration, and were in our car in less than ten minutes. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
We sailed on the rerouted cruise on 11/4. The ship is BEAUTIFUL, a true work of art. All areas of the ship are immaculately clean. We never once smelled any sewage or saw anything out of place. Our waiters (Lucio and Paul) were fantastic, ... Read More
We sailed on the rerouted cruise on 11/4. The ship is BEAUTIFUL, a true work of art. All areas of the ship are immaculately clean. We never once smelled any sewage or saw anything out of place. Our waiters (Lucio and Paul) were fantastic, our kids really enjoyed them and their nightly magic tricks. Our stateroom attendant, Ronald, kept our stateroom spotless and his towel animals were great. We saw three shows, the best of which was Buckets and Boards. In a world were any idiot can be famous for absolutely nothing, it is a shame that people who use their amazing talents well are somewhat overlooked. Gareth and Matt were so entertaining and extremely enjoyable when we met them. The second best show was Aladdin. I had read that the show has too much of the Genie, he is a large part of the show but for good reason. The up to date jokes make the well known story more enjoyable. We also saw Believe and we didn't care for it at all. It was nice to see all of the Disney characters to show up but overall it just felt like a cheesy way to tell a story. I have seen better shows on Carnival. We went out on our own in Cozumel to Chankanaab Park and we highly recommend it. The park is beautiful and so clean and well manicured. The taxi fair is preset at $12.00 each way so it is a rather inexpensive day. We booked a beach day through Disney in Costa Maya. I'm not one for cruise ship excursions, we'd rather go it alone most of the time, but since we were switched from an eastern cruise to a western and we didn't know anything about Costa Maya, we thought we would play it safe. The excursion itself started off a little shaky, lots of standing around waiting with some confusion mixed in. Although once we arrived at the beach we enjoyed ourselves. Drinks were included and were brought by a waiter who was friendly. There were five ships in port in Grand Cayman and we had been there before so we just walked around town, did some shopping, and got some coffee and ice cream. What else can be said about Castaway Cay that hasn't already been said hundreds of times. It is absolutely magnificent and a great way to end a fun cruise. Everyone asks if Disney cruises are worth the extra money and I think that overall they are. They give you those Disney experiences that no one else can and we will sail with them periodically in the future between cruises on other lines. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
I booked this cruise for my 17 yr old son and myself on opening day (more than 500 days out). This was our 3rd Disney cruise and his last chance to do the Wild Side Teen Adventure on Castaway Cay after previous 2 attempts were cancelled ... Read More
I booked this cruise for my 17 yr old son and myself on opening day (more than 500 days out). This was our 3rd Disney cruise and his last chance to do the Wild Side Teen Adventure on Castaway Cay after previous 2 attempts were cancelled due to weather. Originally, we were supposed to go to Eastern Caribbean (Tortola and St Thomas) with 3 Sea Days. Because of hurricanes in September, our itinerary was changed to Western (Cozumel, Costa Maya and Cayman) with only 2 Sea Days. Initially, this was a big disappointment since we'd already done the Western and we weren't going to Jamaica (our favorite Western port)...and we were losing a Sea Day. All planned and booked on board activities (dining, tastings, meet/greets, etc) had to be changed, so everyone was feeling the 'chaos' of this itinerary change. We were patient with what DCL was dealing with as we weren't the first of the Eastern cruises that had to be changed, so I understood the immediacy of others needing help before me. Patience paid off as we got the on board activities re booked at favorable times and we were able to do what we wanted at each of the ports. The weather was absolutely perfect the entire cruise. We had one or two very brief moments of rain, but it was still warm and enjoyable on the upper decks. This was the first cruise that I'd spent any time at Satellite Falls and was so very glad I did this. There were 3 movies that we wanted to see and we were able to see all of them without compromising anything else we wanted. It was opening weekend of Thor: Ragnarock and we'd also not yet seen Cars 3 or Moana. We also saw all of the evening shows and continue to be impressed with the quality of the stage productions. Buckets and Boards was one of the guest performances. We've seen them before and love what they do. I would like to see a bit more variety in DCLs options of guest performers -- note that Buckets and Boards will also be appearing on my next cruise on Fantasy in Sept, 2018. We weren't greatly impressed with the juggler...even though he had a few tricks go well, there were just too many that didn't and his comedy was very 'dry'. We enjoyed our dining rotation (ERAERRA) even though I'd made a request for Enchanted Garden 3x. We were seated by ourselves, as requested, and our service team was better than average but not 'great.' We didn't get as much of the very personal attention (conversation, doing 'tricks', etc) that we've gotten on previous sailings, but they were very attentive to our dining needs. The MDR food was very good. We have our favorites, but were always open to trying new and different things and were never disappointed. Pool side and buffet was always good, as well. There's always wonderful variety, so we never had to just 'settle' on something that we didn't really want. Our stateroom host was awesome! He always took time to talk with us when we were out in the hallways and, if he saw only one of us, he would ask about the other's whereabouts so he wouldn't disturb anyone in the room. We had an extended verandah on deck 5 forward. This is our preferred room category and location. Rooms have lots of storage (drawers, closet space, counter and desk tops, etc) and the split bathrooms are the BEST!! We know we will sail with DCL again, so we always make sure to buy a placeholder on board. Looking forward to May, 2018 when the October/November, 2019 itineraries come out for using this placeholder. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This is our second Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream, I can't seem to persuade my self to go on another cruise line even though Disney costs so much more than others. It's the little extras that Disney does that keep them ahead of ... Read More
This is our second Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream, I can't seem to persuade my self to go on another cruise line even though Disney costs so much more than others. It's the little extras that Disney does that keep them ahead of other lines. The shows are some of the best Disney themed, they are top of the line productions. You certainly do not have to have children to go on a Disney Cruise to enjoy the Disney experience. The rotational dining is great three themed restaurants your wait staff follow you to each so they get to know what your likes and dislikes are. The food, The cabins are five star the service is five star. Even though I do not have anything to compare I believe I get more than what I pay for. . Disneys private island Castaway Cay is fantastic there is so much to do or nothing at all it is very well kept . Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our second Disney cruise (Wonder in 2015), and our 7th cruise overall (we previously sailed with Carnival). Embarkation - We used the Disney bus transfer from MCO. It was easy and seamless. We were on the second bus of the ... Read More
This was our second Disney cruise (Wonder in 2015), and our 7th cruise overall (we previously sailed with Carnival). Embarkation - We used the Disney bus transfer from MCO. It was easy and seamless. We were on the second bus of the morning from the airport. We received our boarding number at the terminal, and was disappointed that it was 15 instead of a lower number (smaller wait). We waited about 1.5 hours at terminal before boarding. Cabin - We were in 10592, a deluxe verandah room mid ship. We liked the accessibility to the pool deck, drinks, ice cream, and Cabanas. We have twin toddlers, and appreciated the Diaper Genie in the cabin with two pack-n-plays. We would book something similar again. Dining - This is an area that we were disappointed in. We are pretty low-key & easy to please. We enjoyed Cabanas for breakfast and lunch. The food seemed fresh & hot. The food in the Main Dining Rooms was disappointing. It seemed just thrown together, and not much better than cafeteria food. The children's meals were disappointing too. Two French fries & a piece of broccoli with no seasoning? We dined at Palo once night. I ordered mushroom risotto and it was crunchy throughout - not al dente. I expected better. Children's Activities - We enjoyed Nemo's Reef, Andy's Room, the open houses in the Star Wars Lab, & Its a Small World Nursery. Service - We loved the customer service on the ship. Rui from Portugal & Sean from Phillipines were awesome & so helpful when it came to our twins. Rannie from India was our cabin steward & was so nice & helpful too. Amanda from Mexico in Palo was amazing. The workers in Its a Small World Nursery were great as well. Ports - We only went on one Disney excursion to Jewel Beach in Jamaica. It was a wonderful, fun, and really nice resort with great pools and food. The tour guide on the bus told inappropriate jokes but we rolled with it. Debarkation - Easy. We used the airport check in so our bags were taken off ship for us and we didn't have to worry about them until we got home. That was nice. We were loaded immediately onto a Disney bus & taken to the airport. Summary - We love cruising with Disney, and will do so again, but we are hoping the food quality improves. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Disney does an excellent job of entertainment. Disney shows were Broadway quality in both talent and production. Ship seemed a little too crowded for outdoor shows, and for family pool areas. Definitely liked the rotating dining (you ... Read More
Disney does an excellent job of entertainment. Disney shows were Broadway quality in both talent and production. Ship seemed a little too crowded for outdoor shows, and for family pool areas. Definitely liked the rotating dining (you dine in three different dining facilities during the week, with different chefs, but same servers). Will do again as a large family event. Will probably not do again for adult only. We did not have the opportunity to utilize any of the adult only venue, so you should rely on others if you are planning this for adults only. The attentiveness to the passengers was mostly excellent. Unfortunately, when we did have a problem, and asked a crew member for assistance, was told no, and was told no again when we asked to see the cruise director. After making a complaint at guest services, they did address this matter. Not certain if this is a good value or not... However, ignoring that, would recommend Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Family oriented, great service and excellent entertainment. No need to spend any money, attention to detail and comfort in every aspect of the cruise gives you the ability to enjoy the cruise and kids had a blast! Entertainment was ... Read More
Family oriented, great service and excellent entertainment. No need to spend any money, attention to detail and comfort in every aspect of the cruise gives you the ability to enjoy the cruise and kids had a blast! Entertainment was well beyond our expectations for a ship's and there was always something to do for both kids and adults. Disney has a lot of resources and their staff are very well trained to please the kids and had a few surprises. Food was very good for both meat eaters and vegetarians. Staff all over were always helpful, polite and friendly. Ship was very well kept, clean and did not looked old or lacking in any sense. We spent very little extra money on a few luxuries but we could have been fine without. The kids loved Disney island and the the stop and Animal kingdom/Epcot (included in price). Only complain was the wait time for a picture with Super Heroes even after having an appointment time. Great Vacation! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
This was my second time on the Disney Magic with my two daughters 16 and 11. I love these cruises as it gives me time to myself and time for us together. My girls are adventurous eaters and had a lot of fun trying new things. I have a big ... Read More
This was my second time on the Disney Magic with my two daughters 16 and 11. I love these cruises as it gives me time to myself and time for us together. My girls are adventurous eaters and had a lot of fun trying new things. I have a big sweet tooth that I don't indulge at home and every dessert was on the mark. We had an inside cabin which is nice because it's very quiet and will get very dark allowing for a great sleep. Our stateroom hostess was sweet and hard working. In and out quickly but with the room looking spotless. The only thing we didn't like about this particular itinerary was our day at Disney World. The three of us agree we just aren't amusement park people and much prefer the calmness of the ship. I have a place holder booked and am hoping to cruise the EBTA in 2019 if not something sooner. My 16 year old was hardly out of the Vibe. She particularly liked the Castaway Cay teen excursion where she went bike riding, snorkeling, and on a speed boat. My 11 year old was happy with the Edge but also happy to chill out on the deck or in the room. I did several new things this trip including the Castaway Cay 5k (my very first!), attended two sessions of Anyone Can Cook, and played a round of free bingo. Swam lots in the adult pool, used the walking track on deck 4, and walked on the treadmill in the gym like last time. Read Less
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