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29 Disney Fitness Cruise Reviews

This cruise was basically the third change we had to make to our vacation plans thanks to work schedule. We originally booked our cruise with Allure of the Seas, but watching too many videos of that ship I had the impression that the ... Read More
This cruise was basically the third change we had to make to our vacation plans thanks to work schedule. We originally booked our cruise with Allure of the Seas, but watching too many videos of that ship I had the impression that the Oasis-class ships are nothing but mere floating malls in the ocean - no theme, no character. We wanted a cruise that was going to be memorable before I head to a long deployment. After much deliberation, we went back to the Dream as our last cruise with them three years was exactly just that - it was magical. This cruise went out exactly the same way as we had it three years ago. We got our transportation arranged from the airport, and the whole embarkation process was smooth like before. Once on the ship, we had our cabin on the tenth deck, middle, just below the pool deck. I found our location to be very convenient to wherever we needed to go. We had access to two nearby elevators, and the pool deck are just a deck up. We also noted that our balcony is directly below the pool deck, so like an awning, it was well protected from the elements which I found nice. The room itself had shown some age to it. I'm not sure when and if the ship have ever been refurbished, but with my OCD, I quickly found scuff and wear marks on the light switches and fixture parts that have been heavily touched through the years. Expecting a premium product for this price, it was hard for me to see past that glare of the wear. Our embarkation lunch at Cabanas were not too pleasant. It was way too crowded, open tables were hard to find, and I found some of the servers unwelcoming. Once we got our seats, we did find the food less desirable than the last time we were on the ship. We brought these issues to management and were given immediate answers to our concerns. Over the following days, we experienced the same magical moments that we had the first time we cruised with these ship. Public spaces were clean and looked just as ornate as before. For those that haven't cruised on this ship, Disney did not spare on the small details in creating their theme on the ship. Their shows were of Broadway caliber, especially beauty and the beast. Their character meet and greets were always a hit with the kids, if you don't mind waiting up to a half hour. And because this was a holiday themed cruise, they went over the top for showcasing Santa. As well, their pirate show fireworks on the top deck was an extravaganza. Hands down it was the coolest experience I've ever had at Sea. Our day at Castaway Cay was just Divine. I still can't forget how beautiful and perfect the island looked. It didn't feel over crowded and there were ample opportunities to just unwind and take it all in. Buffet services followed us there and it was great. No complaints. Food was something that this ship have to at least revamp. It was almost the same menu we had three years ago, so we were not as excited this time. Also, we were not served lobster on this cruise, not one time, which I found surprising. On the other hand, we were able to enjoy our previous favorites instead. I was about to write off Disney from our future cruise consideration after this trip, but what made us book another future cruise with them is the fact that our daughter had the best time of her life at their Kids club while the peace of mind it gave us allowed us parents to enjoy our own time at Sea. I don't think we even want to risk trying that out with other cruise lines and be disappointed. Another biggest factor that made us decide to book another future cruise with them is their customer service. They truly went above and beyond to ensure that, despite the issues we raised, we had a magical experience on this ship. Our guest manager was exemplary, and nothing short of commendable. When we disembarked, we felt highly satisfied that the cruise fulfilled our expectations. So much that we ended up cancelling our Royal Caribbean cruise for next year, and ended up prebooking our next Disney cruise with an even bigger family in tow. Disney cruises are not the cheapest out there, but the many repeat cruisers we had on board can't be wrong on going again for the Disney experience. With the amount of people already prebooking their cruise, we can't be wrong on making that decision either. It's simply the best cruise experience for families, and definitely something to strongly consider if you've never cruised with Disney cruises before. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I went on the cruise with my family to celebrate the life of our beloved dog Roxy because she passed away from cancer. We went on the Fantasy Star wars cruise it was awesome they had fireworks for Pirates night and then a Starwars ... Read More
I went on the cruise with my family to celebrate the life of our beloved dog Roxy because she passed away from cancer. We went on the Fantasy Star wars cruise it was awesome they had fireworks for Pirates night and then a Starwars fireworks for Starwars night. The service in the dining area was excellent and the steward was one of the best we have ever had. The food was good but the menu you could have more seafood options. All the shows were great and the Movie choices were excellent as well. The fantasy is one of the most beautiful ships I have ever been on the cabins are large and spacious. If you have children and you love Disney this is an excellent vacation for your family. The service continues to get better we really liked our dining staff Edgar & Clinton and the room steward Alston was excellent taking time to talk with us every time he saw us. We can't wait for our next Disney cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
My wife and I sailed on the Disney Dream the last week in Nov 2017 to Nassau and Castaway Cay. Overall it was a good cruise. We were by ourselves so will review the adult areas of the ship for those sailing without children. A Disney ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Disney Dream the last week in Nov 2017 to Nassau and Castaway Cay. Overall it was a good cruise. We were by ourselves so will review the adult areas of the ship for those sailing without children. A Disney cruise is obviously designed for families with children ages 5-13 (in our opinion) but they also have adult areas and activities. This was our 22nd cruise overall and 2nd on a Disney ship, prior was the Disney Magic. We preferred the larger Dream as it had more activities and common areas, also a larger adult pool area and more adult clubs. EMBARKATION: We booked the early embarkation at 11am as we drove over from Orlando. Plenty of parking at the terminal for $85 for 5 days/4 nights. I splurged for preferred parking right next to the terminal for $105 and boy was that a mistake – it was outside parking and a flock of birds must have liked my car as it was covered in bird droppings. I wasn’t parked under a tree so no clue why. Next time it’s the $85 parking garage across the street! Getting on was a snap at 11am, we were on the ship within 15 minutes. Bit of a line at security but it moved fast. We had lunch in the dining room rather than fight the crowds at the buffet. Cabins were available at 1pm. CABIN: We had a balcony stateroom with an obstructed view (9012) which was slightly cheaper than a regular balcony. We didn’t mind the obstruction as it gave us shade in the front area and sun in the back. We really liked the room layout, especially the two bathrooms (one shower/sink, one toilet/sink). There was plenty of storage in the room. Our cabin steward was excellent and kept the room clean and made up. TIP: In order to have lights and air conditioning, you have to insert a card in a slot by the door. Designed for your room pass obviously, but any card will work (credit card, etc). This way you don’t have to keep inserting your room key. FOOD: We liked the rotational dining concept with the same servers each night in a different dining room. Our servers were terrific, as good as you’d expect from a Disney cruise. Overall the food was very good. Mostly seafood which my wife enjoyed, I prefer beef and chicken and those dishes were good but not great. Steaks were a little tough. TIP: If you are adults-only, pick late dining as there are fewer children then and thus a quieter experience. We rarely went to the buffet as we heard it was crowded. For breakfast and occasional lunches we went to the dining room instead and had great meals in a peaceful setting. As we spent most of our ship time on Deck 11 by the pool and spa, we took advantage of the food café’s between the adult and family pools. The pizza at Luigi’s wasn’t good at all, but Flo’s Café had great sandwiches (inc panini’s) and a selection of fresh fruit. Tow-mater’s Grill had good hamburgers and other grilled items. We usually had a late afternoon snack here as we had late dining. Never crowded and you can take the food to your pool chairs if you prefer. Soda machines are to the back on Deck 11, also in the buffet on Deck 11. CLOTHING: Disney has casual dining now so you don’t need a suit/tie. You can wear jeans and shirts to dinner if you want. They do have an optional dress-up night which was our 2nd night at Nassau. The next night was Castaway Cay and they had the optional pirate dress-up night and fireworks display. POOL: Adult pool area was very relaxing and also had two large Jacuzzis. On our 2 port days, you could get loungers pretty easily. On our sea day, loungers were gone by noon but there were more loungers on Decks 12 and 13 forward for adults. The family pool area was always very crowded and I can’t speak for chairs there. I did the Aqua Duck water slide once, it was okay but not worth waiting in line for. I did it early afternoon when we were at Castaway Cay so there was no line. SPA: We booked a day at the Rainforest Spa online before the cruise. Onboard we visited the spa and booked it for 2 more days. The Rainforest has 10 thermal couches and 2 small jacuzzis (each seats 2) plus an assortment of saunas and fancy showers. Unfortunately it lacks any other chairs or loungers. The thermal couches are very warm so you can only spend an hour at most before the heat gets to you. If we did it again, we’d only go with the one day pass and use it on the sea day. Good news is it wasn’t crowded except for the jacuzzis. ENTERTAINMENT: A very definite plus for Disney! We loved the three Disney performances and the other night’s entertainer, a comedy ventriloquist, was very good. One of the Disney shows was their new Beauty and the Beast show which was fantastic. Just over an hour in length but included all of the songs from the movies. TIP: Get to the shows at least 15 mins early, preferably 30 mins early for Beauty as it was packed! The other thing we liked was their movie theater. That week they played Coco which was a new release so we saw it for free. They also played Thor: Ragnarok that week. NASSAU: We had been to Nassau so weren’t excited about it. We booked the cheapest Atlantis tour which included a guided tour of the “Atlantis ruins” and their shark tank, about 2 hours of walking. Then we were free to explore the resort. They ran shuttle buses back to the ship every 30 mins. As it was late November, the water was too chilly for any water activities in our opinion (we’re from Florida). CASTAWAY CAY: We like Castaway Cay but that day it was rainy in the morning and the water was chilly. We didn’t see many folks in the water but the sun came out later on. We did the Castaway 5K Race which was a lot of fun. You sign up at Guest Services or Port Excursions desk. The group meets at 8am and you head off the ship first for the 9am fun run. There were almost 200 runners but the course is well laid out so there was plenty of room for the fast runners, or plodders like us, and walkers. DEBARKATION: The breakfast times depend on your dining times – early dining had breakfast at 7am, late dining breakfast was at 8:30am. The buffet was open also, I believe, although there was some confusion with the printed schedule. You could walk-off the ship at 6:30am with your luggage if you had to go early. We were glad for a leisure morning and we didn’t depart the ship until 9am. Customs line was a little slow so we didn’t leave the terminal until 9:30am for our car. Again, it was parked right next to the ship so easy to find. Just had to go to a car wash in Orlando to clean off the bird stuff lol! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I realy enjoyed the cruise We had a problem with the information on the visa and we were forced to desembark in azores and rembark in amsterdam We were a party oh 5 and that cost us a lot of extra money But everything else was ... Read More
I realy enjoyed the cruise We had a problem with the information on the visa and we were forced to desembark in azores and rembark in amsterdam We were a party oh 5 and that cost us a lot of extra money But everything else was realy great Excelent food Great entertinment for the kids Loved thr attention of our waiters aaron he was so special Ask for him if you can The pirate night is very amazing m i would encourage not to eat much becouse the buffet at 11 pm looked amazing but i was full amd could not eat Movies were great, we had the premiere of pirates of the caribean and that was very nice. Also amazing were all the movies in 3d Finally my son was happy , my wife was happy and i alao had a great time , i will surely go back again . Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My wife and I took the April 9 cruise offered by Disney on the Disney Fantasy. We are two seniors (68,69). The cruise was during many families spring break. The cruise director said there were 3800 passengers on this sailing so it was ... Read More
My wife and I took the April 9 cruise offered by Disney on the Disney Fantasy. We are two seniors (68,69). The cruise was during many families spring break. The cruise director said there were 3800 passengers on this sailing so it was pretty full. We never at any time felt that the large number of kids on board was a problem. Spent our pool and sun tanning hours on the decks reserved for those 18+. Never had a problem finding a lounge chair to lay on to catch some sun. So, if you are traveling without any children I would hit the adults only areas. We had second seating at dinner. Most families with children eat at the main seating. We like second seating as it is later and we don't feel we have to rush back to the ship from shore excursions. We see the first showing (6:15) of the shows whatever entertainment is being offered and then still have time to kill before our dinner at 8:15. We had terrific food servers. Actually, the main server, Ronaldo, was our server on the Disney Magic in 2011 on a Mediterranean cruise. We requested him in 2013 when we found out he was sailing on the Fantasy for our western Caribbean cruise. Requested him again for our eastern Caribbean cruise April 9-16. We booked a cruise for summer of 2017 and told our server that we would see him again! That would be cruise number 4 with him. By the way, his name is Ronaldo and he is absolutely the best. Our cabin was a deluxe family oceanview cabin with veranda (9112). Plenty of storage, and plenty of room for two seniors that's for sure. The split bathroom is a real plus. Our cabin hostess was Andrea from Jamaica. She was absolutely the best. Cabin was spotless and sparkling. Provided us with fresh, clean towels at least three times a day and we didn't even ask for it. Our cruise took us to Tortola, BVI, St. Thomas USVI, and Castaway Cay. Three at sea days also. It was a very nice leisurely cruise for us which we enjoyed immensely. When in St. Thomas do take in the Paradise Point Skyride. Amazing views from the top. We had no complaints about service, food, entertainment. This was our 6th Disney cruise and we enjoyed it because of the great service Disney provides. If you have time and also don't mind an extra charge of $30.00 per person, you should eat at Palo for brunch or dinner. We did both the brunch and a dinner and it was fantastic as usual. Disney probably is more expensive than other cruise companies but I believe you get what you pay for. We were docked next to the Carnival Splendor and let me tell you looking at that ship compared to the Disney Fantasy, it is a rust bucket. The Fantasy was spotless!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I've cruised many cruise lines, Disney was honestly a disappointment. First the cost is double so you should be able to expect double right? Wrong. Employees with no personality waiting for their 8 months to be up ! People pushing and ... Read More
I've cruised many cruise lines, Disney was honestly a disappointment. First the cost is double so you should be able to expect double right? Wrong. Employees with no personality waiting for their 8 months to be up ! People pushing and shoving at Cabana for the brief time that the buffet is open each day. We actually missed a few meals because of lack of opportunity at Cabana and dining room being gorgeous but unappetizing for the human palate. The room was amazing and probably the cleanest boat Ive been on. Having a tub and huge floor to ceiling window was gorgeous! The shows are disney shows...no adult comedy club and thats one of my favorite entertainment. Everything closed down about 6 pm so on top of the steep price, they shut ya down at 6! Gym closed early and wont let muscle fitness 15 yr olds work out with adult even. Movie theater was a bonus but not the bonus I would've preferred on my first disney cruise. We missed all meet and greets due to lines or lack of tickets. The adult only pool area was nice, but of course my kids couldnt go so we tried not to stay too long. We all did the waterslide only twice because of long lines..15 year old didnt enjoy the teen club so he stayed in the room a lot. Yup... it was a waste of money in my opinion. If my kids had been younger and we hadnt been to Magic Kingdom 3 times a year while they were young, it might have been worth the extra cost. Im actually anxious to get back to Carnival in November and possibly adventure over to Royal Caribbean for son's graduation. Hopefully I can find the best ship out of Florida on RC. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Sorry for the late (nearly a year) review. A month after we got back from this trip, we lost our 29 year old son in a car accident. It has been a difficult year and I have only recently stopped to think about this trip. My husband ... Read More
Sorry for the late (nearly a year) review. A month after we got back from this trip, we lost our 29 year old son in a car accident. It has been a difficult year and I have only recently stopped to think about this trip. My husband and I booked this cruise as part of a group of runners who were running at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in 2016 called the Mickey Milers. We spent three days at the Beach Club Resort at WDW and then transferred to the ship on January 11th. This was our first cruise ever and it was an amazing experience. I had just completed the Goofy Challenge at Disney (a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday). Disney also offered a special challenge on the ship called the Castaway Cay Challenge in which if you ran a race at Disney before the cruise and you then ran the 5K on Castaway Cay, you got a special medal. Embarkation at Port Canaveral was pretty easy, even though it was crowded. We had arrived around 1:00 p.m. since we used the Disney shuttle service. Getting through security was a bit slow but once we lined up to check in, it went quickly. When we got onboard, our stateroom was ready. We thought doing our first cruise with a group would be a good idea. I was nervous about the trip. Our cabin was 6040 on Deck 6 midship and it was a verandah stateroom. The room was beautiful, clean and the split bathroom was a plus. We loved being able to have a glass of wine on the verandah and just listen to the ocean. My husband fell in love with the shampoo and conditioner, so much so that I had to order some when we got home. Our group had provided us with a schedule of events and we also signed up to do a fish extender exchange. We enjoyed the sail away party on deck and a quick lunch at the buffet. We spent most of that first day exploring the ship, and that evening, walked around the ship and delivered our fish extender gifts. That first night was rough for me. The ship was rocking and rolling and I got a bit sea sick. After taking some Dramamine and getting to bed early, I was okay for the rest of the cruise. I was later told by our dining room attendants that the ship was running a bit fast that evening to be able to get to Nassau the next morning. The rest of the cruise felt a lot smoother, so I didn't have any other issues. As for the dining, we really enjoyed each of the restaurants in the dining rotation. We sat with several people from our group which was nice. We did splurge one night and dined at Palo. It was an amazing dining experience and the service was over the top. We would definitely do it again. As for the entertainment, the only show we were able to catch was Villains Tonight! and boy was it fun! The actor who plays Hades was so funny and so talented. We thoroughly enjoyed it. We were also able to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 3D! in the Walt Disney Theatre. The theater is very comfortable and spacious and it was a treat to be able to see a movie in 3D at sea. The only other activity we were able to do other than our group activities was Bingo, and I won! It was so much fun and I was stunned to win. As for the ports of call, we did not care for Nassau at all. We are not interested in shopping and don't care for all of the panhandlers and agressive shop keepers there. We literally walked around for 20 minutes or so and came right back to the ship. The day we stopped in Castaway Cay, I got off the ship early with the other runners doing the 5K, came back to the ship to shower and have breakfast and then we headed back to Serenity Bay. The day was very windy and chilly, so much so that we couldn't enjoy much of our beach time. After my husband took a dip in the ocean, we headed back to the ship. It really was a beautiful island and would love to go back and enjoy it during a much warmer time of the year. Service on this cruise was wonderful. We rarely saw our cabin stewardess but she did a great job keeping everything nice and tidy and kept leaving us nice towel animals each night. Our restaurant attendants were very nice and attentive. I have food allergies and they were very thorough about taking care of my needs. They really went above and beyond in that regard. It was nice to feel secure that what I was eating was safe and that I could enjoy normal meals with my table mates without too much hassle. Disembarkation was smooth and simple. We used the Disney shuttle service to the airport as well and that went smoothly. The cruise flew by and we definitely want to try a longer cruise on DCL. There was so much to do that we didn't get to try. It has something for everyone, whether you're 2 or 92. We loved it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We love Disney and it was are first cruise so we decided to try Disney. We picked a 3 night cruise with a Halloween theme. The Disney Dream was an awesome ship with much do and it was always clean. The entertainment was excellent , the ... Read More
We love Disney and it was are first cruise so we decided to try Disney. We picked a 3 night cruise with a Halloween theme. The Disney Dream was an awesome ship with much do and it was always clean. The entertainment was excellent , the rooms were spacious and clean. The restaurant themes were cool and fun , the food was good but the service was horrible. They promote that the servers will take care of you personally each night knowing what you like after the first night but that was not true are server pushed alcohol on us every night and we told him that we do not drink but he still pushed it on us. I complained and Disney did nothing to help with the situation. We were very disappointed because I work for them and I always pride myself in great service and I try everyday to make Magic. I still would recommend them because the ships are wonderful and the entertainment I s the best. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We took this cruise for a five day stint as first time cruisers for any cruise line. Before reviewing anything at all, I will let the reader know that the five day cruise for the non experienced cruiser is not enough. I will explain why ... Read More
We took this cruise for a five day stint as first time cruisers for any cruise line. Before reviewing anything at all, I will let the reader know that the five day cruise for the non experienced cruiser is not enough. I will explain why in greater detail below but will simply state that in sum, that by the time you get the hang of what to do, the cruise seems to come to an end. Warning, this is not a short review, but I will break this down into 32 things that will help you as a cruiser on the Dream. I will break this down into precruise, during cruise and post cruise helpful hints. I will not tell you how to book the cruise as that is a personal choice experience (be it online, via Disney cruise line, travel agent etc), but I will give you some hints that allow you to navigate what to do after you have booked your cruise. PRECRUISE: First, and this is for you folks who have a Chase Disney Rewards Card. Make sure that you contact the people at Chase and transfer your Disney Rewards Dollars to a Chase Credit Card that can be used on the ship. You will see where it comes in very handy at the end of this review. After you book your cruise, Second, I would recommend that you book a Disney mid range hotel, such as the Port Orleans (I just reviewed this hotel) on TripAdvisor as well) one day before you arrive for the cruise. Although I traveled with the ever reliable Jet Blue, there is always concern that having a flight arrive on the same day of the cruise can be a bit unsettling, especially if the flight is delayed for any reason. The ship will not wait for you and unless you have awesome travel insurance, good luck getting any money back if you don’t show up on time. I recommend a mid range Disney hotel because you will be afforded the benefit of the Magical Express that will pick you up at the airport and will ensure that your luggage is delivered directly to your room without you having to deal with baggage claim. Third I would highly recommend using Happy Limousine for transport to Port Canaveral, where the cruise ship departs from. There are those who would say that one could use the Magical Express for Cruise lines which is also offered, but the problem here is that you arrive with a busload of people at about 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. and it is a bit of a glut to get on board the ship. Book Happy Limousine and if you are lucky, you will get a driver who is text savvy and will stay in touch with you via text before arrival to pick you up at your hotel to take you on the ship, and will also text you the moment you arrive back at port to coordinate pickup time. Fourth, Book the Atlantis Excursion if you have children who like waterparks. The Excursions will be discussed in the during cruise part of my review but I put this part of the discussion here simply because it is part of the pre cruise process. If you do not have a particular penchant for waterparks, the Atlantis Excursion is going to be nothing more than a couple of fast moving water slides, with or without inner tubes with a lazy river experience. You can experience this at almost any stateside waterpark and I the only difference is that you get to waterslide in a tunnel immersed in a shark aquarium tank. Don’t let the commercials fool you though, you are going through these tunnels in a blink and won’t notice the sharks. I would rather recommend, if you don’t have the kiddies in tow, that you consider exploring a little bit of the Bahamas shopping and local environment. It’s safe if you have an escort and most importantly do not arrive on a Sunday. Why Sunday? Well, if your ship docks at port on a Sunday, most shops are closed. So if a Bahamas excursion/experience is on your plate, this is worthy of consideration. Fifth, While I recommended booking a hotel prior to your cruise, so that you would have a buffer to ensure prompt arrival for the cruise, I would recommend you book an afternoon flight back to your home city on the same date of debarkation (fancy words on the cruise for when your ship comes back to port to boot you off the boat). The ship arrives at port at about 6:00 a.m., and you will be fed at 6:45 (if you chose the earlier dining time – which I will also discuss next) and you will be off the boat and through customs by about 7:45 the latest (assuming you haven’t declared anything unusual on your customs forms and have US passports etc). The ship is prompt and you will be out of port fast, assuming you booked Happy Limo See hint second above and thirtyone below). You will be bound for the airport by about 9:00 the latest and if you have an early afternoon flight, you will have absolutely no problem getting the flight. Sixth, Two items to bring that you wouldn't think to bring: 1. An extension cord since the staterooms are a little sparse on electrical outlets and if you have tablets, computers, MP3 players etc, you will run out of charging areas. You can't bring a power strip, but there does not appear to be a ban on an extension cord with maybe 3 outlets on it. 2. Another item to bring is a waterproof case for your cell phone so you can take it with you on excursions and take pics of what you are doing. Seventh: Your cell phones will not work on the boat - no service, no internet, no email, no youtube, no facebook etc... but hey! You are on a Cruise so get over it. You should load the Disney Cruise App on your phone well in advance of cruise day, since it has a neat countdown function whenever you turn the APP on, which tells you how many days are left for your cruise. With the app, you will be able to use your smart phones to text eachother, if your family is using smart phones. The room provides you with two phones that are like personal communicators that you can use to converse with eachother on board the ship. You can also text eachother, but only exclusively on these phones - try as I might, I could not get these phones to text to my mobile phones. That was the only minus, I could report. I would think that with all the money being spent, that the Ship would provide a phone per person using the Stateroom. It's a big boat and they seem to think that a family of four would pair up leaving two phones per couple. That's not practical, since the activities are geared to literally everyone's personal tastes and you will be tempted to venture off on your own, but still want to be in touch with family. DURING CRUISE: I will first discuss a bit about the process of boarding and then what to do when you get on the boat. Once you are dropped off at Port Canaveral, you can wait on a line to get into the port building that is the Disney Port’s building. It’s a very big air conditioned building that has a basic metal detector that you will need to pass through. It’s not as complicated as the airport security detector (ie shoes off, computers out and in separate trays etc), but it’s still a security checkpoint. Once you take the escalator upstairs, you come into an atrium which you learn is a processing center. You need only ask any uniformed Disney person (who sports the large Mickey Hands) what to do next and they will guide you. That being side, you will get on a line to present your passports to a checking counter where they get scanned and a plastic card gets printed up for you. This card is the equivalent of your wrist band that you would have on any Disney property, as it has you personal info, stateroom number, credit card info etc all rolled into one. It also makes a pretty coot souvenir after the cruise. THERE ARE NO WRISTBANDS ON THE CRUISE, EXCEPT…. If you have a child whom you want to enroll in a club (who is under 12 years old). Eighth: Register your under 12 year old child for the under 12 clubs so that they can be deposited in these clubs or if they are confident enough, can check themselves into the clubs during your cruise. Once you are processed and your child is registered (if you have one under 12), you can go sit on one of the sofas in the waiting area and wait for your group number to be called for boarding. I would take this time to take a few pictures of the model ship. Once youre group number is announced, you board. Your name is announced as you enter the doorway of the ship and you receive an ovation from white uniformed staff. Pretty cool! Ninth: for DVC members. You will see that there is a small kiosk where DVC will welcome you right before you enter passport processing. They will give you lanyards to hold your key card (which is great because you don’t have to buy one on the ship this way and you have the benefit of having access to DVC events and gifts that are handed out on days’ one and two of the cruise. There is also a sales pitch party which is set at about 2:30 p.m, disguised as an orientation of sorts for DVC members, where you can get some other souvenirs(we loved the DVC cups because they were reusable and you can get unlimited soft drinks and water to carry around the boat)… You’ll never not be hydrated. Tenth: Have some lunch! You can Aquaduck anytime! Other sites have stated that you should hit the waterslide on the boat ASAP. Wear swimsuits and go on this ride when you get on board. Well yes, if that’s your thing, I suppose it’s important. But believe me, you, your spouse and kids will be hungry by the time you get on the ship. You don’t have your luggage yet, so you are probably still traveling light with just carry on stuff. Go to the Cabanas buffet. It’s the first meal of the cruise and first impressions are key with Disney. You will not be disappointed and believe me there is anything and everything available, starting from carving tables to different breads for consumption. So as soon as you board, go and eat. Get some energy or just grab some grub so that you can settle into your stateroom for a quick nap prior to the ship leaving port. Eleventh: Yes, there is a party where you will be asked to assemble on Deck 11 and 12 of the ship. Check it out at about 4 pm when the boat leaves. But it’s not Gavin McLeod’s love boat with confetti being tossed onto the docks from the departing ship. Disney’s port is truly utilitarian and no one except the dock people are on the dock. It’s a cute kickoff party so it’s a great idea to go see what all the buzz is about. There is a huge screen in the mid/forward part of the ship, in front of the pools, which also sits above a stage for the shows or DJs or any events that will later take place. The party will have everyone assembling for a kickoff and it is exciting. Twelfth: You will need to attend an evac drill, where you will be assigned a letter, where you would be expected to assemble in the event of having to leave the ship. It is mandatory to attend, so do not think you can skip it, like you would wander off or read a magazine when the stewardess is telling you about how to put on your oxygen masks. It’s not as rigorous, say as the emergency instructions you get when you are waiting for a plane to take off, but there are life vests that are in your stateroom closet that the crew encourages you to try out on your own time. However, they will demonstrate the actual donning of the vest and verify that you and your family have assembled at your designated latter on Deck 4 of the ship, which is next to all the lifeboats. What’s kind of neat is that this deck is also the running deck for you runners out there. The letter signs that also provide great markers as you are running if you need to know exactly where you started and where you want to stop. Thirteenth: Become familiar with your navigator handout. When you are done with the drill, you might want to squeeze in some time to check out what’s going on before dinner, and after the drill. Fourteenth: Opt for the early dinner! You are getting a fresh staff and you are also given the options of attending fun activities after dinner. The dinner times are at 5:45 and 8:15. If you grab an early meal, you will have enough time to digest before passing out on your not very healthy (but tasty) meal. The great thing for an early dinner is that turn down service will happen during this time while you are away. Fifteenth: Check out the movies at the Buena Vista Theater, located in the forward part of the ship after dinner. Disney runs recent and new releases. We were fortunate enough to catch Tomorrowland, Inside Out and Monkey King, on the ship when they were released to theaters. The great deal is that the movies are all free! The Popcorn is not, but if you’re smart, you can grab some snacks at breakfast or lunch at Cabanas and save them for the flick. Also, you can grab free ice cream in a large cup and bring it in with you. Sixteenth: Enter the Buena Vista from the 5th Floor. The theater has 2 levels and you won’t hit a crowd, essentially coming in from the back end top of the auditorium. WOW, THAT WAS JUST DAY 1 Your second day will be at on shore at Castaway Cay (pronounced Key). It’s Disney’s private island with beaches, snorkeling, simple water slides and little souvenier shops with Disney flavored (and some seemingly local/Bahamas style trinkets). Seventeenth If you are a crazy beach enthusiast, eat light and get on a tram for a 5 minute ride to get to the first or second beach. The itinerary says you are supposed to be at the Cay for 9:30, but that’s not mandatory. The only reason to get to the Cay is that I believe that you can only get the buffet lunch at the Cay and that there’s no food service on the ship. I did not think to inquire, but I would tend to believe that for people who stay on ship, there must still be food to eat. If you are interested in the beach activities, then go early, get an umbrella, enjoy the day and get back by 4:00. The neat thing about the Cay is that although you are warned about making sure you return to the ship on time, there’s no other ships at the island and you will more likely than not have your boat within view from wherever you are so you have the security of knowing you have not been “marooned”. Eighteenth: Lunch at the Cay is mostly standard mid grade stuff you’d probably see at a BBQ. You can have anything from Ribs to Hot Dogs to cous cous. Stay away from the Corn on the Cob (nothing was wrong with it really, it just was a little gnarly and surprising considering this was Disney Sanctioned food). The sodas and dessert are free flowing but again not blue ribbon fare that you will see on the ship – ship buffet included. Lunch starts at the Cay at 11 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. Remember you will be stopping at the Cay on day 4, so if you do want to stay and explore the ship and take chances on dining on board, it is a worthy exploration of options and you will have a very uncrowded boat. I do not know if all activity ceases (shops close, pools close, aquaduck closes, arcade closes etc), but I did note that on the days that the Cay was in the itinerary, the Navigator did not imply that activities cease on the ship. It seems that people have said that they encourage you to leave the ship for the Cay days, but I do not think it is absolutely mandatory. As I said before, you will only know what you can get if you try. Nineteenth: Get back earlier from the Cay and make use of the spa. Guys… get a haircut and a shave. I’m a straight forward no nononsense guy who usually frequents the mall salon (no appointment necessary) when I remember to get a haircut. I shave with a disposable razor (which overstays it’s welcome long past the time I should have disposed of it) in the shower. I had never experienced a facial, shave and haircut. I had the chance to chat politics with a friendly South African stylist who’s amazing facial earned the incessant caressing of my 11 year old daughter at dinner, who could only exclaim that I actually looked 10 years younger. My wife had the massage spa experience and loved it. Twentieth: Grab another movie after Castaway night 1. Or see a live Disney themed musical show. Check your Navigator. I would tell you to avoid the comedians, magicians and “adult” style entertainment (Don’t worry, it’s not R-rated entertainment, it’s just a little edgy but boy let me tell you, it is 2nd and 3rd rate stuff). The musical performers were good, though, but they pervade the main hall during the evening hours, near the grand staircase which is mid ship. They also alternate playing at clubs that are on board the lower decks of the ship. As I said before, avail yourself of the musicals which have great special effects and are very entertaining. We made the mistake of trying the comedians and missed a couple of shows. I won’t repeat that experience. Twentyfirst: Try room service! It’s fun and you can find out what you can order, literally any time, to be brought to your room. Again, it’s not the same blue ribbon fare you will see at the restaurants or at Cabana’s but it’s not bad food either. Other reviewers have denigrated the food quality of room service on the Cruise Line, but remember, it’s just a convenience thing and if you are still vigourously awake, you can grab a late night snack after you have seen your movie, grabbed your show (and if you don’t feel like free ice-cream again). It’s similar fare to what you would receive at the Theme Parks (sandwiches, pizza, French fries etc), but it’s a cruise! Chill out and enjoy it! If you are a foodie or food snob, rest assured you will be seated at one of the restaurants the next morning. Twentysecond: Royal Palace cannot cook vegetarian to save their lives! If you are a vegetarian, we consistently found that the Royal Palace restaurant was sorely lacking in making Tofu flavorful and undercooking veggies. I have had Korean Vegetarian Tofu dishes, cooked to simulate chicken etc. and the Tofu was excellent – so I know it’s not criticasting but reasonable to expect decent tofu dishes. I did find that they meat dishes were adequate. However, the Beef Wellington was cooked properly, but the pastry around the wellington was soggy. I had a Gordon Ramsay potty mouth moment playing in my head from “Hells’ Kitchen” . That being said, Animator’s Palate and Enchanted Garden were excellent. If you can set up your dining experience ahead of time to limit your dining rotation to only one time at Royal Palace, that’s ideal. Perhaps by the time I go back, RP will be up to snuff! I’m hopeful. Twentythird: Ask for seconds at dinner or two entrees/desserts(or both) at a time. If you are hungry, your server will bring you more than one entrée or side dish. Leave your modesty at home. If you see something interesting that you wouldn’t normally try, give it a whirl. Your server will bring it to you, so long as you are not completely cramping up their efficiency. Remember, they are running two dinner shifts so try not to be too late to dine. Twentyfourth: You sit with your family during dining. There was a time, it appeared, that you sat with others (and I suppose you could if you wanted), but you are limited on this ship to your family. You have an assigned table number and it rotates with you as you rotate from different dinner restaurants nightly. You will be seated if you get there on time or a little later. You won’t be waiting. That’s cool! Twentyfifth: Wake up early and enjoy a sunrise. Coffee is brewing at all hours on deck 11. Get up at 5 and get it. You have solitude and the ship is at its quietest. Watch the sun rise. There's no comparison to a sea sunrise! DAY 3 NASSAU, BAHAMAS You will see the boat pull into Nassau. I already commented on Atlantis vs. touring the island. Again, I would advise you to leave the boat on this date. I do not know if there is any food service but know that all stores have to be closed when the ship is docked in another country. So this particular date, you are encouraged to take your excursion shoreside. Next time, I tour and avoid the waterpark. The only caveat is that you are on your own for dining that day if you do not go to Atlantis. Twentysixth: On Pirate night....Get back to the boat, shower up and put on your Pirate Costume early. There is a Pirate's of the Carribean party with a show that's at the Funnelvision stage. But you will not be able to see the show, unless you get there with some time to spare. If you followed my advice and took the earlier dinner seating, then go dine in costume! Remember, it's going to be hot, so if you like an elaborate costume, then be prepared to lose few pounds dancing. The little children love elaborate costumes and it's fun. If you don't have dinner, don't fret, there's a full dinner/like buffet right after the party that's on Deck 11 at Cabanas, although it's later in the night. If you don't have all the necessary pirate regalia, the Disney Ship's stores will have costumes, tee shirts, toy pistols, toys swords, and even a Captain Jack Cap with dreadlocks (which I bought).... AAARRRRR! DAY 4 Twentyseventh: Regarding Castaway Cay I undertook the Stingray Adventure. There is a snorkel rental area right next to the entrance, so you won't need to bring Snorkeling Equipment with you. The adventure begins with a 20 minute class tutoring you on the types of Rays at the Cay, their origins and habits. You then enter a shallow beach area, which has been cordonned off and populated with Rays that will assemble on a table with your host and eat from you, if you feed them. They don't bit and have no external teeth. If you are daring, you can opt to feed them mouth to mouth. My host told me that I was the only one who ever took him up on the offer. It was an interesting experience. You will have an hour on for this activity and it goes fast, but beware, the rays don't really swim up to you as promised. They move about but don't really show interest, unless you are with your host at the "dining" table. The other caveat is that the host tells you that you will get a badge/pin for having been part of the adventure, and that this pin is tradable with other Disney pin fanatics (at the equivalent of being valued for 3 pins). Beware, it is not true! My family and I don't really do the pin thing, but my 11 year old daughter was curious about the validity of the bold claim. The pin was worth nothing, but it does make a keepsake of the experience, if you weren't taking pics with a waterproof camera/cell phone I described earlier. The rest of day 4 pretty much goes along with Day 2, so I won't belabor the point. DAY 5 This is a great day to shop on the ship, do some of the things you didn't get to do earlier (like hang out on your verandah if your stateroom has one, or get that massage or haircut etc). Get your ice cream and pizza and bring it back to your room and chill out for a while! Get to really use your Navigator and take in any and all live musical shows! I stated this earlier but it bears repeating. Twentyeighth: Beat the crowd to settle your bill. There is a lot of stressing out by people who wait to the last minute to settle the bill with guest services on the last day, especially as night rolls in. So you have an idea of what's coming, I'll break down my experience for you. You will find little envelopes left in your room by staff for tips for your head server, server, drink pourer and person who makes up your room everyday/gives turn down service with the chocolates etc. Note, that you can authorize the tip to be taken from your credit card(which is what I did since I didn't feel like leaving cash/or carrying loose cash either. The total left was $300.00 for the 5 nights, which got apportioned out between the four persons mentioned above. I've heard that people haggle this up or down, but I would suggest not stressing out over it and just go with the suggested tip and the suggested amount (which is what I mentioned above). This monetary figure ($300.00) may not be your tip amount, since I had a party of four people. The only other gripe I could state is that how can one justify tipping the guy who just brings a bottle of wine to the table and pours it, who is not the same person who is actually having to take your order, process it and bring this back to you. I had to wrap my head around the idea also tipping the head server (who really does not serve you but is more a trouble shooter if you have a problem). I settled my bill at the reception area/front desk area of the ship and this was great because there were no surprises Twentyninth: Here is where your Disney Dream Rewards Pays off! If you have a Disney Chase Card which gives you points and you've been saving them, you can square off your bill with any Disney Dream Rewards Dollars that you have racked up. It cut my final bill in half. Thirtieth: Pack smart for departure. You will be given all instructions on gathering and leaving your bags in the hallway at 10:30 that night, so that they can be gathered up and taken to the luggage area for quick offloading. Keep a day back with your clothes for the next morning (or keep them in your closet) and to hold you PJs and toiletries when you leave. Do not pack any thing that you'll need to declare (such as the expensive Jewelry) since you will be facing customs when you get off the boat. You will get Cardboard Disney character tags that will be identical and you will fill in your names on these tags as well as indicate how many pieces you have (for example your first luggage tag will have your name, address etc and state Bag 1 of 3). You then fill in the remaining tags accordingly. Also, fill out the declarations page (real short 1 page document - don't make any mistakes on it. Don't fret though, there are extras at that reception area of the ship (where you settle your bill). DAY 6 - THE DEPRESSION SETS IN Your ship pulls into port at 5:30 a.m.. You will be asked to attend breakfast which is a very meager dish, as compared to what you were offered for the days before and then. It is quick and efficient, but well mannered (you are not hurried off the boat or anything, but you will leave in an organized manner, much like how you entered five glorious days earlier. Once you enter the customs area, you are met with reality. Your luggage will be put together on racks that you collect and walk over to the Customs Officers. NOTE that if you lost anything, Disney has a lost and found it works! My son misplaced a shirt that he removed to go on Aquaduck on Day 2, and the shirt wound up here. Note, The customs agents are not ill mannered but they are not paid to make you feel special. So they will rather indifferently direct you to an officer/agent who will ask you some basic questions and ask you for declarations. Thirtyfirst: Happy Limousine Rescues again! If you used HL to get you to the boat, your driver, if he is tech saavy will text you that he is either en route or waiting out of the pick up area and when you give him a final text advising that you are nearing customs, he or she can be ready to meet you within minutes. Thirtysecond: Here's a personal choice issue but I would advise you to book an afternoon flight to return home on the same day the cruise returns. The ship is very prompt and you will be out of Port Canaveral by 8:30 a.m.. I stayed an extra day at the Port Orleans on Disney Property but it was probably an unnecessary expense. It was enjoyable but not needed. Happy Limo can just the same get you directly to the airport and you can be home bound. Thirtythird: Start thinking about your next cruise at the end of this one. It's the only way you can beat the sadness that has set it. I cannot say enough about how great this cruise line is, starting from the little details, friendly staff and the fact that it is Mickey's nicest boat! My family and I will be likely undertaking an Alaskan Cruise in a couple of years, courtesy of the "Ears" and this time will make it a 7 day gig. I hope it was worth your read. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We recently returned from our Jan 19-23, 2015 4 night cruise on the Dream, 2 parents in mid 30's and 2 daughters, 5 & 7. This was our first Disney cruise but we have been on 7 RCCL cruises, mainly on the Freedom class ships ... Read More
We recently returned from our Jan 19-23, 2015 4 night cruise on the Dream, 2 parents in mid 30's and 2 daughters, 5 & 7. This was our first Disney cruise but we have been on 7 RCCL cruises, mainly on the Freedom class ships (Liberty, Independence). We have also been on 1 Carnival cruise. In summary, the cruise was excellent and we would highly recommend it to anyone. My biggest concern is the value for the money. We were in 7690, an aft balcony room, which cost ~$2800 and was booked 11 months before the sailing. A neighboring (standard) balcony room was ~$2600 and interior rooms were ~$2300. The increased cost from an interior to an aft balcony seemed very small compared to our prior experiences with Royal Caribbean ships, where interior to balcony costs can be more than double. So we splurged on the aft balcony for this trip. Parking in the port- For the 4 night cruise parking was $75 in the General Parking or $95 for Preferred Parking that you pay upon entering. There was a hard sell from the parking attendants to park in the preferred area when it was only 30 yards closer. They said there would be a line of cars in the general area upon leaving which would delay our trip home. This was not the case, leaving the parking area could not have been easier. By the way, the parking attendants do NOT take the disney gift cards, only debit/credit and cash and they did NOT take large bills so come prepared. Porters- The cruise got off to a rough start. My 7 year old had saved up $54 and innocently put it in a clear baggie in the outside of her luggage (the water bottle pouch). There is no way the baggie fell out of the luggage or was misplaced anywhere else. The luggage arrived at our stateroom by 2pm with the baggie of money missing. We immediately notified our stateroom attendant, who encouraged us to report it to guest services. Three to four DCL security personnel discussed the matter and stated they are only responsible for issues arising on the ship, that we could report the issue to a Florida sheriff on land before the ship sailed off. This seem futile given the amount of money and the likelihood of it being recovered/prosecuted. The biggest concern wasn't the $54 but the loss of innocence and having to explain to a child that the money was not just lost and why we can't leave it where others can see it. Characters- Meeting Anna and Elsa were highlights for our daughters. Immediately after boarding the ship we waiting in line for 40 minutes to get tickets to see Anna and Elsa (could only see them by tickert) the next morning and also to meet other princesses (princesses TBD) in the atrium. This ended up being Belle, Tiana, Snow White and Rapunzel. With the tickets in hand, the lines were only a 5-10 minute wait. Guest Services FTW- In true Disney fashion, guest services inquired what my daughter liked and created a very nice gift package including a Frozen doll and picture frame to help make the situation better. This was delivered to our stateroom in the middle of the cruise. This is just one more example of Disney going out of their way to make an unfortunate situation better, when they could have simply filed a report and moved on. I have to give Disney all the credit in this situation and honestly, I'm not sure how other cruise lines would have handled this situation. Gluten Free- My wife was diagnosed as having an allergy to gluten within the last year and Disney went above and beyond in all instances with preparing GF meals for her. The Waiter and Head Waiter would ensure she picked out her meal the night before and it was specially prepared for her. Even at Castaway Cay, she had a special plate that was waiting for her for her lunch. She said she felt spoiled by the extra special care and attention she was given. She especially liked the GF donuts and the bread basket that was prepared for her each evening for dinner. Castaway Cay- The port was very nice. My main comment is that Castaway Cay is in the Bahamas so I was surprised how cold the water was. I am used to cruising in the Caribbean where the water is much warmer. The beaches are white sand but there are definitely some rocks along the shore, however I would not say you need to have water shoes here. We also sent a few post cards from their Post Office. The post cards are $1.35 and each stamp is $.65, so $2 total. Make sure to bring cash (dollars, not Bahamian), they do not take the ship card (Key to the World) or credit/debit. The post office attendant was super friendly and a great extension of the experience from the ship. Oceaneer Club and Lab- Our kids LOVED the club and lab. They were torn between doing other onboard activities and the club. My wife and I were equally impressed and there seemed to be many more workers to kids compared to the kid's clubs our kids have participated in with RCCL. Our kids enjoy the RCCL kids clubs but they were extremely excited about the Disney clubs. In room movies- Just a reminder that you are able to view nearly every movie Disney has created via on demand, for free, from your stateroom. You are also able to watch the entertainment shows (Golden Mickeys, Villians, Believe) on demand. Food/Dining- We were not impressed or excited about the food in Animator's Palette and only slightly happier with Enchanted Garden. The filet in AP was just okay, probably as exciting as Friday's (TGIF). The shrimp in EG was flavorless. Honestly, the best food items we liked of everything we ate was the french onion soup and the watermelon soup, both served during the same meal at Royal Palace. I personally much prefer the food in the main dining rooms on the RCCL ships. If it weren't for the exceptional treatment and options for my wife's GF needs, I would be much more critical in this area for Disney. We did not do any of the upcharge dining. However, 2 soups shouldn't be the food highlights for a 4 night cruise. Ship Layout- I am a huge fan of the promenade layout on the RCCL ships compared to the Dream's layout. I could not get used to walking through Cabana's (buffet area) to get access to the pool area. Also, the atrium of the Dream is nice except it nearly deserted by 11:30pm. Jogging Track- there is a jogging track on the 4th deck and 2.5 times around = 1 mile. The forward and aft sections are fully covered and it makes jogging a little difficult due to the tight corners. Also, there is a smoking area right beside the track. Fortunately, there were no smokers outside in the early morning hours when I used the track but it felt like an interesting location between these 2 locations. Entertainment/Shows- Disney excels in their production shows. We especially like the Believe show but also liked the other production shows. They are must see and had plenty of jokes that kept the adults entertained as well. The Villians show was not too scary for our kids, we were a little hesitant at first but are glad they went. We were not as impressed with the illusionist although I think the kids liked him. Overall, we had a wonderful trip. Given we have been on 6-8 night cruises with RCCL that cost nearly half as much as a 4 night Disney cruise, it is difficult to justify the value for the money. I'm very glad to have experienced this cruise but given the shorter duration and wanting to take advantage of the Disney experiences, it definitely was not as relaxing as past cruises. I could see going with Disney again but I still feel RCCL hits the happy medium for relaxation and a good value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I have taken 14 cruises prior to this, my first Disney cruise. I was very impressed by many things on this ship. A couple things to note, we were 4 adults and a 17-year-old traveling on this vacation. Check-in was super easy and fairly ... Read More
I have taken 14 cruises prior to this, my first Disney cruise. I was very impressed by many things on this ship. A couple things to note, we were 4 adults and a 17-year-old traveling on this vacation. Check-in was super easy and fairly speedy. We were not traveling with small children and I do realize this is geared towards families with children but the check in arena was kind of crazy with lots of whining, crying, wound up children and strollers galore. Just go into knowing this and having patience. Once on board we headed out to investigate the ship. It was really beautiful, super clean and they offered a wonderful "adults" only section up top. I noticed a couple times some smaller kids tried to use the adult pool but were quickly escorted out. Now if you are traveling with kids, then you hit the jackpot! Their kids pools with lifeguards and huge screen tv's were the place to be for that age group. They all seemed to be having a ball, it was also very crowded in that area as well on sea days, while the adult section was really nice and quiet and we always found deck chairs to lay out on. We did go to a couple of shows which we all really enjoyed. If you are looking for that promenade area to have drinks and people watch, you won't find it on this ship. They have a huge center area where they have photos taken, character meet and greet, etc and it is very near one of the dining rooms. There is one bar there and gets a lot of traffic right before dinner starts. On another note we went to a different dining venue every night (rotation thing) which was rather interesting. Dinner was always entertaining as our servers were the absolute best! Never a dull moment. Not to complain but the food wasn't anything to write home about. It was okay. Nothing I'd go out to pay for at a restaurant. I do know it is hard to crank out food for thousands of folks all at once. I did not complain, just found appetizers that I liked and would order a couple of those instead of an entree. We did the buffet for lunch instead of dining room and it was not bad. The stateroom was excellent. Very clean, lots of room and plenty of storage space. They also had small refrigerators in them and used that daily. Nice to have to keep the wine chilled :) I never used the gym but my husband did. Said very clean and mostly cardio equipment which was what he wanted. My other adult traveling companion wanted weights (crossfit guy) but said it was pretty much lacking in that dept. We all enjoyed their private island. It was super clean and the beach was excellent. Getting off the ship was so easy. I have never had such and early and easy departure and it was kind of nice. All in all, we probably won't sail with them again just because we are looking for more adult oriented things. We like to stroll the promenade at night and visit different bars, etc. Not that we are big party people but miss that from RCCL and Carnival.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My wife and I have deemed this year our family's "year of adventure" and one of these adventures was to take a cruise. We sailed with our two children (9 & 11) and save for a hiccup in St. Maarten (not a Disney fault), ... Read More
My wife and I have deemed this year our family's "year of adventure" and one of these adventures was to take a cruise. We sailed with our two children (9 & 11) and save for a hiccup in St. Maarten (not a Disney fault), it could not have been a more perfect cruise. This was our first family cruise, my wife and I have cruised (Carnival) before, and surely will not be our last. Embarkation – Disney has this process down to a science. We were supposed to board at 1030. We were running a bit late and instead arrived to the counter by 1100, showed our paperwork, took our picture (for security, boarding) and were on the Fantasy by 1130. The longest wait was with taking the boarding photo (optional). All in all, it was better than having a FastPass... Disney Fantasy – When boarding you are "greeted" onboard by Disney CMs. I don't want to "ruin" what happens here, in case you do not know, but let's just say it's a nice and fun touch. After boarding, the wow factor kicks in. The Fantasy is a big and beautiful ship. From the public spaces to the small details within the bars, Disney has done a fine job. There is a lot to see and do and trust me, we tried to see and do it all. As far as crowding, we had heard that she was going to be full (4,000ish passengers + crew) so we were a bit wary, but we later realized that with all of the things happening on the ship that appeal to mostly all ages, the ship never really seemed to get overly crowded. Everyone seemed fairly spread out so there never seemed to be huge crowds of people in one location. The only "congestion" that we experienced was lines for character pictures and just prior to seating for dinners, as folks tended to cue within the passageways. Cabanas, which is the buffet restaurant serving breakfast and lunch, would get busy but there always seemed to be a seat available. As a matter of fact, we were always able to walk about and find a seat at a window. In addition there are two sides serving the same thing which seems to dilute the crowd. Cabin – Perfect. There were four of us and we fit nicely. Storage was sufficient for my wife's 89 pair of shoes and all of the other items (clothes, costumes, things) she/we brought along. We have a Sleep Number bed at home, and I did not miss it once. The Wavephones (basically shipboard cell phones) are an excellent way to keep in touch with the kiddos throughout the ship and after a small learning curve, are easy to use. Pull the trigger on a verandah room too...worth it. Fitness & Recreation – Keeping it simple, the gym or fitness room onboard this ship is terrible (i.e. small). Maybe Disney did some research and learned that people on cruises don't really workout, or maybe they just simply ran out of space filling the ship with other means of awesomeness. Who knows, but if you are going to try to burn off those added cruise calories, bring yourself and your hangover to the gym when it opens at 0630. If not, hahaha! However we did use the top-notch spa, a couple’s massage, which was perfect. Enrichment Activities – The whole cruise was an enrichment activity... So, yeah. Dining – (Late) Always a center point of a cruise and Disney does not disappoint. We did not try Remy or Palo, due to what we thought would be logistical issues with the kids, plus family dinner time is (and should be...) a big deal. My kids are not your typical McDonald's babies. They eat, and like to eat QUALITY GOOD, so we were not going to upset this experience. However, our plan for the next cruise (already booked ;) ) is to either dine early (but not eat - well maybe an appetizer and some wine) with them, and have reservations for a later seating at Palo/Remy. This way we can fill their demanding bellies with happiness then send them off to enjoy one of their activities or clubs while we try Palo/Remy. Makes sense? Good. You should try that too. Entertainment – We watched every show. EVERY. SHOW. We all loved the experience. Disney does a wonderful job with their productions and the variety acts, both adult and family, were great. Highly recommend to try and catch all of them if you can. Service – Impeccable. Order a drink once and the server will know your name the rest of the cruise. Smiling faces greeting you everywhere, just perfect. Our servers Mircea (Romania), Zsolt (Hungary) were EXCELLENT X 10 to the point that our children were teary eyed when we had our last meal with them. I cannot say enough about these two gentlemen. Professional yet fun, they were amazing. Definitely added to our experience and overall enjoyment; promote now Disney! Jerry (Ireland) the bartender was in the Meridian during our cruise. He knows his craft, is a kick in the pants to talk to, and his passion for mixology is impressive. Find him and let him make you a drink. Donovan (Jamaica) was our room steward was quiet yet friendly and did a fantastic job taking care of our cabin while dodging my wife's 89 pairs of shoes. Shore Excursions – St. Maarten: Due to a paperwork hiccup we could not swim with the dolphins in Anguilla so we switched to the Rhino boat excursion. Very fun, but now I owe my daughter a dolphin swim... St. Thomas: Tree Limin' (zip lines), do it. Super safe (seriously) and the guides are funny but very professional. Castaway Cay: Perfect. We got the snorkel/tube/bike package and were very happy. Take the bike ride, very fun and you get to see just how beautiful Castaway Cay is. Value for Money – Remember, this review said "Disney". I think I just paid $5 for saying Disney. Value for money here is relative. When it comes to money, Disney knows how to make you enjoy spending…a lot of it. We are huge Disney fans, so yeah for us it was a good trade-off. I know Disney definitely enjoyed us spending our money. Seriously though, this ship is not practically rated the best in every category (except the tuna can gym) for nothing. It’s worth it. Overall – Simply perfect. So much so that we have already planned our next cruise, requested our same waiters and are already counting down the days until we are welcomed back aboard the Disney Fantasy!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
About me: Frequent cruiser in my 40s, traveling with a group of 20, first time on Disney (RC and Carnival in past), love to dance. Not a Disney fan in general. Was worried about boredom on 12 day Transatlantic. Most of group in early 20s. ... Read More
About me: Frequent cruiser in my 40s, traveling with a group of 20, first time on Disney (RC and Carnival in past), love to dance. Not a Disney fan in general. Was worried about boredom on 12 day Transatlantic. Most of group in early 20s. 3 teens. Before I give a general review, let me tell you about the end of our Disney cruise. Docked in Barcelona. One in party had quick flight to US. Rest of party going on excursion to Montserrat. Collected bags. All there except one giant bag belonging to person with flight out now. Searched with Disney help for about half an hour. Finally, excursion to Montserrat cannot wait any longer. Disney staff reassuring. We will take care of your friend. Go. Lost bag person and one companion stay to continue search. Rest of party leaves for excursion. Disney arranging cab for lost bag person to airport. At last minute, an older male passenger pulls up to debarkation area with bag. He thought it was his mother's and took it by mistake. Lost bag person whisked to airport at no charge by Disney. Makes flight. But Disney goes that extra mile. Friend who chose to stay and help is now not with the excursion to Montserrat. Disney hires a cab who drives up the mountain, radioing to tour bus, to get traveler back with group. Cab ride almost 45 minutes one way. Charge on meter over 100 Euros one way - paid by Disney. So now here is the review. Best embarkation ever. Large group, so a couple of minor issues, but handled well and quickly. Port Canaveral Disney facility very nice. Cabins: Use patch for seasickness so had oceanview midship in the bowels. Deck 2. Cabin lovely, plenty of room for four of us, noticeably larger than Carnival or Royal Caribbean, separate shower and bathroom great. Service from steward perfect. Bags arrived before we had completed tasty lunch in buffet topside. Not a buffet fan in general, but Disney does it well. Rest of party on Decks 6 (oceanview) and 7 (balcony). They also had no complaints over the 12 days about cabins or service. Ship is gorgeous. Food: Dining rooms were visually pleasing. Food always good - new menu daily. Be sure to try the sole on the brunch menu. Generally ate in the dining room with large group assigned to two large tables for dinners. Brunch with small group, open seating. No singing or distractions during meals, except on last day. Free sodas were appreciated. One dinner in Palo's - worth the extra. Palo's was splurge. Wasn't necessary as food was always delicious in regular dining rooms. Had two party members with special dietary restrictions (no chocolate or meat for one; other gluten-free). Dining staff super-attentive to needs. Brought the menu for next day at end of each dinner to guests with restrictions to assure that guest had adequate choices. Wasn't necessary but nice touch. Generally had beverages there toot-sweet after seating. Rarely ate at buffet. Others in group used it for all breakfasts and lunches. No complaints, except that fish was better at dining rooms. Huge buffet, tons of choices. Activities: Plenty of activities for all three of our age groups (40s, 20s, and teens). Teens actually wanted to go to teen program. Rarely saw them except at dinner and excursions. Great dance instruction from Beverly and Curtis - multiple sessions daily. Movies and entertainments in evening more than sufficient for early 20s. Galley tour interesting. Plenty of Disney activities but easy to avoid if one lacked interest. Outside decks quiet after 11 or so. No casino. Less cigarette smell on ship than others. Port excursions: East Madiera tour was incredible, as was Barcelona Montserrat. Highly recommend. Easy Malaga excursion was not up to expectations. Great place, but tour guide not interesting and seemed almost hungover. Complained to Disney and received reasonable partial refund. Castaway Cay was self-guided for us. Summary: If this cruise was offered next year, I would go again and bring a large group. It was incredible. But ship going to Norway and we have no interest. Hope Disney does the same or similar route in future. We will be there.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
A quick note about embarkation, we stayed and did some park days prior and then got to port (we park offsite), had a fine experience getting our shuttle and getting to port and getting right on. We were eating lunch on deck by 12:30 and if ... Read More
A quick note about embarkation, we stayed and did some park days prior and then got to port (we park offsite), had a fine experience getting our shuttle and getting to port and getting right on. We were eating lunch on deck by 12:30 and if we had gotten out earlier, we could have been on even earlier than that. Embarkation at Port Canaveral is a breeze, even with a crowd. This was our second Disney cruise, and one that we planned far in advance (as opposed to the first one on the Dream last year which was short notice and we didn't know a lot of what to expect.) Our 2013 Dream blew us away so we booked a 4 night this year on the updated Magic. Because we loved our Blue Lagoon Sea Lion experience at Nassau so much, we decided to do over the same itinerary as last year, and both islands again wowed us. (Nassau and Castaway Cay.) As for our cruise experience, overall, its definitely in one of my top cruises. A big part of this is due to the incredible staff we experienced all over the ship. Special kudos to their Adult Cruise Entertainment Director Andy from England. From the very first 80s themed night and Magic "Quest", he and his crew had us literally (and I mean quite literally!) rolling all over the floor in absolutely laughter. It was one of the funniest nights of our life. It was wonderful that Disney had the adults only entertainment that was top notch without needing 4 letter words or getting a bit too uncomfortable. Perfect balance here. We actually spent time every single evening in the AfterHours area in O'Gills Pub (with trivia, and also had a wonderful nacho, veggie and dip and appetizer bar which helped get us to our 8:15 dinner), and Keys (incredible pianists and very relaxing and the best Martini our friends had ever had), and Fathoms (with karaoke, or game shows, or dance club, or trivia, or bingo, a little bit of everything.) Continuing on the Entertainment theme, should be a very special mention for the Twice Charmed stage show. This show currently sits in my top favorite due to its high end look and feel (even though it is about Cinderella, it wasn't overly juvenile). I felt like I was watching a colorful, perky version of Cinderella meets Les Mis, that is how good the caliber of talent was. The set and costumes were top notch. Prince Charming, is this guy for real!? 5 Stars there alone for him! :) A close second was the very enjoyable but somewhat more juvenile Disney Dreams stage show. Big applause goes to their Peter Pan, who committed every minute to his character. I would have loved to play all night in my room with him like Ann Marie did. All the talent in this one was good also, and lots of good effects. It was like every Disney movie you have ever watched: Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Lion King, Peter Pan, Pinnochio, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and so on. Definitely not one to miss, but slightly less appealing to me than Twice Charmed. If you like Disney parades, you would like this show. It had a staged parade feel to me with all the characters. Very fun and a great way to the end the cruise. In third place was the variety ventriloquist who had the kids laughing in the aisles (and we enjoyed it too.) A very distant fourth place mention goes to the Magic version of Villains Tonight! We had seen this show on the Dream, and its set and talent were quite a bit better (nothing against Ursula or Cruella though). It seems like they needed something to fill the night, and it wasn't nearly as elaborately done as the Dream version. Hades did carry his roll and there were laughs, but I was glad that they placed it on the opening show night, since it got dramatically better from there. Unfortunately some of our group who went to Villains didn't bother coming back to Twice Charmed the next day, which as you can tell, I find very unfortunate! Since that was the star for me. Still, anyone of these shows blows away the competition for any of the other cruise line staged shows I've seen. Not at any point did I wish to have my 45 or so minutes back. And the Twice Charmed and Dreams left us utterly delighted. In addition to these live entertainers, we enjoyed thoroughly the new Captain America movie that played in the giant theater on the sea day. We packed the place out, it was a cool enjoyable afternoon and we appreciated the movie admission included. Never made it to Frozen, unfortunately. Speaking of which, the Kids karaoke, that was about all any of them sung! If you go to the DLounge for Family Karaoke (typically a favorite), be prepared to hear a TON of Snowman and Let it Go! since they just got those songs in about 2 sailings ago. My condolences to the karaoke crew! Moving on to dining, we had top notch experience again. Bo from Croatia was impeccable. He was perfect for our mostly adult needs (in that he didn't do magic tricks, but he got all the orders right), and you can tell he likes delivering professional service. The beverage waiter, although highly recommended, seemed a bit behind this time. However, I got plenty of tea and coffee so I can't complain. Andre from South America was our Palo brunch waiter. Bo and Andre were both STELLAR for handling out Gluten Sensitivity. We had placed this on our reservation early, and we had all kinds of goodies waiting every night. The chef would already order a GF desert for us so it would come with everyone elses. Additionally, Levent from Hungary was our Head Waiter. I would dearly love to take that man home with me! He ordered an entire apple pie made for our table (not the kiddie pie) since my husband LOVES apple pie, he made sure all of our allergies were handled (I think he was the one ordering the GF deserts for us), and even had 2 platters of GF chicken tenders made for us, and warmed up for later since we weren't able to pick them up at 6 before the show. This is a Head Waiter who earns every bit of his tip. (Normally on cruise lines, its like who is that guy? NOT so with either of the Head Waiters on Disney.) Top marks to all our dining teams. Andre would snap his fingers and order us GF pizzas, and the king of the Palo brunch for us: DEATH BY PANCAKES, gluten free. Where else could we ever eat so decadently and not pay for it later? I give our dining a 99% grade. And as far as dining goes, this one fits snuggly right in between DINING and ENTERTAINMENT as we got to experience the highly anticipated interactive drawing show in Animator's Palette on the last night. It was MUCH more involved and delightful than I had thought. They even inserted the characters into classic Disney scenes, and we had just drawn them a few minutes earlier! Major kudos for this technology. It was REALLY special. I was glad, because last year's Nemo themed Turtle Talk in Animator's on Dream blew our family away, and they had high expectations. My favorite dinner choice was Carioca's, because it was a meat/seafood paradise. Although I did enjoy the brown rice risotto (it was off the vegetarian menu but they added tiger shrimp for protein for me.) Some kind of pink marshmallow dessert the chef sent us was our favorite desert and we are still talking about it. Also, the cheesecake was great too. We couldn't finish it before Pirate night, but we took it back to the room with us and had it with tea before bed. In all instances, having a good sensitivity presented no problem at all. I would give the food a solid 90%! And we had great service from quick service at Pete's Boiler Bites too. The shwarma stand was well received in general. Another note about Palo brunch, my steak and potatoes man did not like it, it was a waste for him. My oysters rockerfeller loving brother in law was in pure HEAVEN and thought the cheese plate alone was worth the extra fee. So if you have a husband that like burgers and steaks, skip the brunch. If your husband (or you) LOVE seafood, than sit by me and we will enjoy it! :) Moving on to the actual ship, I have already mentioned the updated Animator's Palette, which was high tech and BEAUTIFUL. Carioca's, lively and exceptional menu and pretty as well. These are new updated areas. We did ride the Twist n Spout (felt the seams along my back, and a bit slow for adults, but you gotta try it right?) We also did AquaDUNK. Not Duck, DUNK. Thrilling, most definitely. Fast, like lightning. My experience featured getting tons of water EVERYWHERE it could go. In my eyes, in my nose, and more, but I'll leave it there. Time and preference meant I only rode it once. I ended up in the Quiet Cove hot tubs more than on the slides. Nice guitar music, I LOVED that area. Somehow, despite the rock concert loud pool deck, this spot really was quiet! Unless you happen to be in the hot tub when the ship horns sound to leave the island, like we were. What? I can't hear you! Talk about an UNQuiet Cove at that moment! (The horns are right above us.) But this was a lovely area in general. Adults only too, but they didn't seem to be entirely strict about that. We have the premise that as long as you don't bother us, we don't care. None of the "are they really 18?" bothered us, so we didn't care. The halls, the atrium, the dining areas, the show areas, the AfterHours areas, all the NEW areas were every bit as nice as the Dream. Unfortunately, the staterooms don't come close. The bathrooms were not part of the update, and you can definitely tell. One stateroom (7129) in our group had a continual leak, but they didn't complain because it's more Disney's problem than theirs. We had an AC vent (7127) that was creaking and clamoring all night, and when an officer in the atrium asked, my husband told him about it. It never did creak again (they might have had maintenance come while we were on the island because it was much quieter after), but I had constant telephone calls from Guests Services the entire cruise asking to follow up about it, (and 2 bottles of wine were left in our room as apologies. Sadly, we never got to open them, but we did appreciate them! Family drove back with them since we were flying, and they will be our next family reunion goody.) The biggest complaint came from our parents in 7130, a solid wall veranda. Turns out, that solid wall is QUITE high, so even though I told my parents it would be solid, they couldn't see past it at all. That wasn't necessarily Disney's fault, just fyi to everyone else out there. They claim they would have paid more for a see-through one, but who knows. Their chief complaint about their room came from some sort of floor problem. Either a major dip or hole or some kind of big bump under the carpet. They complained throughout the trip. On the final cruise morning, the staff finally moved them to another room, and this time they could see through the veranda. So guest services did finally do the right thing and move them, but with one night left. Not sure how much of this was my parents complaining or an actual concern that with them being aged, they could actually trip over it. Our room was comfortable, but the consensus of the group is that there is a lot more to be desired for the room conditions and their updates. The beds slept GREAT!!! They were so comfortable, the carpet and hair dryers (although they left the nasty old ones up?) were great updates. I also just now remembered that our friends in 2139 actually got stuck in their bathroom when the door jammed. The room steward busted them out, but someone else I met on the cruise talked about actually having to be let out by maintenance. We didn't spend much time in our rooms, our room steward was wonderful, and after they fixed the vent, we slept well. But the dry dock did not fully address the rooms, and as I have been told, they are still continuing to work on the AC and plumbing problems. This was the biggest part that we noticed that could use more pixie dust. The youth counselors didn't effect me personally (no kids here), but friends that were with us noted that they seemed very overwhelmed and did not give their service or their activities as high marks as their Dream counselor activities. The 8 year old with them was glad when we picked him up from Castaway Cay clubs, and that was in stark contrast to his first Dream cruise on Castaway Cay where he begged and begged to stay longer. We also dropped him off after 12 since he went on the catamaran snorkel with us, so it could have been timing too. They wouldn't let him do the whale dig after that. In general, I can say that the ship entertainment and dining and guest services staff did a wonderful job with what they had, which is a really pretty older ship with new carpeting and water slides, updated dining and adult areas, and atrium, and a fresh coat of paint. But its still an older ship and you can tell. It was fine for me for 4 days, but I was not jumping at the gun to book it again for something as expensive as Europe. After my 4 days, I felt like I had done everything I needed to do and enjoyed my trip immensely, although the family complaints were a bit annoying. The non cruise of the bunch (brother in law) actually said he had no complaints and thought nothing was wrong with the cruise. That is about as good as we could have hoped. We had great weather, great experiences on the islands again, but the ship did feel crowded to us (and most of the time, people think Dream is more crowded) and the island did too. I feel like the entertainment staff outdid themselves because they had perhaps less people so they could connect more with us, or maybe its because we were there every day. It felt very personalized. I have been on some beautiful newer ships on other cruise lines that I couldn't wait to get off because the staff was so unprofessional and rude, or unfriendly and not helpful. So to me, I appreciate the wonderful ship experience in terms of the people. We got photos with Rapunzel and she was SO fun! (But there were lots of lines for characters, I even saw one mother about to jump the handler if she didn't get a photo with Jack Sparrow when he informally cut the line off.) The photographers took wonderful photos and we bought a few, and they also took some with your own camera. So the experience was definitely Magical! It does make me question booking on the Wonder though. Family members still preferred the Crush show on the Dream to the interactive animation show. Others lamented that their weren't the midship detective interactive games all over the ship, and I was hoping for the on demand channels similar to the Dream, although we always found something good to watch when we wanted something. I think for us, we will stick to the newer ships if we are with our family. Regarding Pirate Night, we still preferred the Dream with Jack Sparrow as the pirate dance party seemed much, much more geared for young kids. (Although lookout for Stitch's awesome moves! Wowee!) Mickey comes down the zipline, and its ok. But the fireworks still receive great marks! But it wasn't the same as the Dream for us, it was just for the younger crowd. (Thankfully, it was 2 for 1 happy hour so I enjoyed myself anyway! And we got GREAT pirate costume photos!) We really enjoyed our catamaran snorkel on Castaway Cay, although they didn't take you very far around the island (so not a lot of boat time), but we did see lots of fish and even a barracuda and had wonderful service on that excursion as well. Our Blue Lagoon sea lion was changed up a bit due to sea lions in encounter training (the one we had last year was recovering from some sort of ailment so they had to bring in a younger one), and so the majority of the encounter was out of the water and it was HOT (even though they had shade.) The last part in the water was nice, but not as good as last year. Still, they are much more concerned about their animal's welfare and for that, I appreciate and salute them. The dolphins were great to watch, and one came and threw a basketball up to me while I was waiting on the deck! We passed it back and forth, so that was neat. Bottom line, I wouldn't hesitate to book the encounter or go to the island in a minute as it still wowed everyone anyway. Thankfully, all the rain that came through the few days prior had stopped and we had nothing but sun, and LOTS of it. We also had calm seas the entire time and not a bit of ship motion. Thank goodness! One note about cleanliness, which Disney typically receives incredible remarks for. A few of the public restrooms' conditions surprised me. I figured the cleaning crew hadn't been by yet... On a different note, we used the fitness room on the Magic, and while it was really cramped, there was plentiful equipment and it was as good as any gym I have used on a cruise ship. It didn't look old and was well kept up. Everyone on the machines had fun things to choose, such as movies or even games like solitaire. If it is just me, I would cruise Magic or Wonder in the future since I loved the personal experience and entertainment and don't need moving pictures to make my cruise. In general, everyone had a really great time on the cruise, and it was as successful as one could have hoped. (Which is more than I can say regarding the Land portion in the parks with their new fast pass system. But that's not the cruise line's fault.) However, as a group, I would consider only the newer ships from here on out. We started on the Dream, and the Magic was just slightly under that from a ship point of view. Another quick note about debarkation, we let our parents collect our luggage that we put out the night before, and we ran to breakfast, got through customs at about 7:40am and made it to SeaWorld by 9:20 (we had to wait for a few others, or else we would have been even earlier.) Our parking shuttle was right there waiting for us even at 7:40, and it was easy peasy to debark the ship. I hope this summary helps you in your cruising future!   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was our 9th cruise with Disney, but our first without the little (now all grown up) children. This was a trip with highs (many) and lows (just a couple). We arrived a day prior into Vancouver because I a): Am Paranoid about being ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise with Disney, but our first without the little (now all grown up) children. This was a trip with highs (many) and lows (just a couple). We arrived a day prior into Vancouver because I a): Am Paranoid about being late to the party and b): Love to see a bit of other cities. Our first low (but very minor) occurred about 2 months prior to arrival when we were notified the ship would be embarking at Ballantyne Pier vice Canada Place (Which, conveniently (we thought) was where we had booked our "night before" hotel). I don't think this was Disney's choice, because there were 3 other ships docked at CP that day. The first "high" was that Disney had arranged free (yes, that's right, you read it here first -> FREE) shuttle transportation to Ballantyne. They took our luggage at the Pan Pacific, put it on a truck and bussed us to Ballantyne without having to mess with the bags anymore (score!!). Embarkation was well handled (but announced very quietly). The only issue was that they did not seem to give one whit about the "port time" on your cruise papers. You could show up anytime without worry, so embarkation passenger level was probably heaviest in the morning instead of steady throughout the day. We Were initially assigned room 51XX (don't remember the exact #). Aaaaand it was, uh, broken. 1st - the phone did not work. 2nd - the wave phones did not work (& the charger was broken). 3rd - the veranda was microscopically small. Could not even face the chairs outward. This would not have been an issue if we had chosen the room, but it was assigned by DVC when we booked. 4th - (& the biggie) the shower had little to no water flow. So little we had to shower in the fitness center. Additionally,the staff seemed to be somewhat slow to address the issues. We finally went to guest services the next morning to address the issues, and (long story short) they gave us a free 1 category upgrade and moved us to a deck 8 room.. Btw, if you sail the Wonder, the guest services manager (Szylvia) is an absolute gem! She bent over sideways to make sure our problems were resolved and checked with us periodically throughout to see how we were doing. Even gave us a bottle of wine. My wife and I are definitely not high maintenance people, so that was a bit overboard to us, but we appreciated the effort. Staff was amazing! Adult entertainment people were well prepared, very active and a ton of fun. Entertainment shows were the normal Disney superb. Even got to see "Maleficent" while on board. Twice. Our wait staff (Roy (head), Henry (table) & Rose (assistant table) were great. We even had the good fortune to have table mates that we got along fabulously with! Weather was good. For Alaska. I think. Definitely NOT a bikini and sunscreen cruise though.......... Cool to cold, mostly overcast, but practically no rain. All in all a great trip..... However. IMO, the Wonder is just a bit "rough" around the edges. Not talking carpet, chairs, furniture or the like, but a fair amount of corrosion is present in spaces. This boat needs the "Magic Update", but due to the ducktail addition to the hull, it can't be done until the Panama Canal expansion is complete or Disney is locked out of the Pacific. The ship just fits now. Add 20' and it won't.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
The "new refurbished Magic is what our friends call the ship. They have sailed so much that they have been on the newest to the oldest and are looking forward to Disney cruise number 10. As for us, this was our second cruise but there ... Read More
The "new refurbished Magic is what our friends call the ship. They have sailed so much that they have been on the newest to the oldest and are looking forward to Disney cruise number 10. As for us, this was our second cruise but there was a 40 year gap between them. Our first experience was not very good and the sea sickness was awful. Now I know why the upper cabins are wonderful -- we had one. We were in 7098 which is the aft end of the mid ship. The stability was wonderful so there was no sea sickness. We have decided that there will be no cruises unless we have a veranda! It was home for resting, reading, and just quiet time. Our cabin steward was unbelievable - patient and even learned our habits after day two. He was there to make sure we returned from breakfast with a clean cabin and so patient when we needed something changed (our grandchildren spend the night with us one night). He even realized that our grandson needed the special pad sitting on our dresser. Loved him and the wonderful towels each night with chocolates! The spa - so what can I say - amazing. The best deal was the daily Rain Forest pass - what a deal. You can go to the spa as many times each day that you want. They will supply the yummy scrubs, the chairs are heated, the floors heated, steam rooms both moderate and aromatic, plus saunas both in the Rain Forest and in the changing rooms. After the first two days I took my shower in the spa just so I could use the wonderful shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. It is also a great location because the exercise facility is next to the spa. I keep hoping I can find a Rain Forest nearby.....ah, wishful thinking. Our grandchildren enjoyed the children's program, sort of. Our grandson would not leave because he could not only dress like his heroes but actually meet them. We tried so hard not to laugh. Our granddaughter is not a child nor is she a teenager. There is not much for the in betweener. We stayed with her until she made a few friends at the pool, but it is true. Disney needs to address the age group. The food is another issue. First, go to Palo for a fantastic dining experience! We did not want to leave and thought if we cruise again, we need two nights. Our server was funny and an expert with the food. The wine, well they were out of about 8 or 9 different wines, especially by the glass, and it was only night two. Our server apologized profusely but said that they have not been able to get the wine on board. We understand to a point, the ship was just re-done; however, this is Disney, and they can do anything at anytime. My only comment - get the wine on board and if this is Palo then make sure you have the wine named after the restaurant. The other food, well it was ordinary. Adults who like coffee should try the Cove Cafe for great coffees, quiet, and comfortable chairs. Cabana's had the primary buffet. Some was good but most it was for those who must have lots of food. There were no culinary delights there, but there was quantity beyond belief. Our problem is that the waste is extraordinary. We decided you could feed a third world country for 6 months to year on what was wasted. Disney needs to address this somehow. Our dinner rotation was okay - the steak on night two was good but very tough on another night, the salmon was over sized (why not have a two size portion? this could save money), the pasta was disgusting, the cold soups were amazing but very small (again why not address the portion size option), the salads were okay, and the desserts were ordinary and small. Sometimes, the desserts were just what the children wanted. Yes, they liked the food, especially the macaroni & cheese and the mashed potatoes. The best place to eat breakfast for us was Luminere's - good service and quieter than other places. Our assistant server had so much personality that we thought she was the server. What an outstanding person. Our server was quiet and reserved but very efficient. The Head Server did follow through and get us a better table, but it took him quite a while. We did not enjoy the table by the noisy server area. Certainly Disney can do some rearranging. The activities seems to meet everyone needs. We found the departure event nice since most people were crowded in the middle of the ship. The pirate party worked for us because if you crowd into the section that shows you on the screen then you won't have space to move. We opted for not being there and the children had a place to dance and have fun. The movie theater was comfortable and we could see current movies. Plus, other movies were on the television, but our favorite channel was the map that shows you where you are and where you are going. Frankly, we did not participate much because we enjoyed the cabin and veranda so much. Take binoculars to enjoy watching the ocean, the coast and the ports. We went Grand Cayman which had wonderful options like sting ray city (amazing), snorkeling (fun), and star fish city (interesting). Cozumel was not good - another place for many hawkers and pushy salespeople. We walked for about a mile, but did not venture beyond the main street. We do have experience in third world countries and know better than to go beyond the main street. Is there something better? Our negative is no fault of Disney. We put down our camera and then it was gone. Our daughter put down her i-pod and it was gone. Unfortunately, with this many people in one place there are people who have sticky fingers. We did manage to prevent our daughter's phone from walking away - it was a teenage girl who thought it look pretty and just wanted a phone. When you report your loss on board do not expect to have it returned to you. I only saw one person recover something and that was when we debarked and went to Lost & Found. On a positive note, the representative said that if they found the item after the trip it will be mailed to you, plus you are given a card to contact Disney 10 days after the cruise. Our recommendations are: if possible get a room with veranda, stay just between the mid ship and aft, bring binoculars, make sure you remember that you will need to tip everyone, go to guest services and find out what is offered either free or for a small fee and sign up early, and visit the very front of the ship on top for amazing views during day and night. If you want a sunset or sunrise try the aft - beautiful. The most important is to enjoy what you can and want to -- remember NO technology. It costs too much and this is a time to really enjoy quality time. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I am recommending it to everyone. While most days were magical, there are always areas for improvement.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This is my third cruise, first on Disney Cruise Line. The other two cruises were on NCL Pearl and Spirit, which was great. Disney Wonder is a old ship but really well maintained, you feel is newer. I went with my wife and 2 year old kid, ... Read More
This is my third cruise, first on Disney Cruise Line. The other two cruises were on NCL Pearl and Spirit, which was great. Disney Wonder is a old ship but really well maintained, you feel is newer. I went with my wife and 2 year old kid, which actually was his birthday onboard. They did a good job celebrating him on dinner. About the ports, we went to Falmouth, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mx. The best for no excursion plan, is Cozumel without doubt. Jamaica is nice, with the new port and small stores, but not too much to do. Grand Cayman is a classic town with some stores and nice to walk around for a couple of hours. Cozumel as well, but we found more party and restaurants near the port, more stores. We´ve been there on the past cruise, and is a good place to walk around. Our recomendation is, take a shore excursion if it´s possible on the three of them, if not, there´s not too much to do. About the Pro´s and con´s of the ship. Pro´s: - Great for kids (specially 3 to 14 years old.) my son was 2 and couldn´t enter to most of the things, pool, lab, etc. - The experience with disney characters (pictures, hugs, etc) are excellent, coninuous and great for kids happiness. - Cruise is well maintained and cabin was very good (porthole) deck 5 front. - Shows were great, very well done (disney style). Cons: - Very few things for kids below 3 years old. (only splash zone "tiny", and only nursery club but more focused on- Food was ok to less than ok. (Compared to NCL, was less than OK). On both NCL Pearl adn Spirit, we were amazed with food, on included and specialty restaurants, always. If we rated, NCL 10 points out of 10, Disney 7 out of 10. - Cabin was good in size and maintenance. The things we found was 2 cockroaches (small ones) one on first day and one on 5th day. (we didn´t expected that). - The assigned hours (5 45 dinner and 8 30 shows) didn´t work very good for us. (Compared to Freestyle on NCL which you decide when and where)... And also, two shows, Pirates and Farewell, were at 10 30 pm, which was a mess for us with small children (2 yo) which sleeps regularly at 9 pm... we had to leave on both shows at 10 40 because he was crying, beggin to sleep LOL Overall, we love cruising and I think Disney Wonder is a good choice if bringing kids, if not, NCL will be by far a much better option, for us at least. Also, we considered Freestyle as a great option, now that we compared with scheduled hours, is a EXCELLENT OPTION, Freestyle. Maybe Disney should consider this.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
To be fair, I will put the good parts of the cruise first: The shows were very nice and well done. The singers were awesome and I was really impressed that some of the Disney dancers actually had some meat on there bones and weren't ... Read More
To be fair, I will put the good parts of the cruise first: The shows were very nice and well done. The singers were awesome and I was really impressed that some of the Disney dancers actually had some meat on there bones and weren't complete toothpicks. I really give them a hand for this! The stage props and effects were awesome and we really liked the fireworks, etc. Most of the staff were very pleasant, but obviously overworked. The bad: The lines for lunch were crazy. The buffet was only open until 2 pm- One day, we got in line at 1:45 and the drink machine was already shut down by the time we got to the end. The dessert bar and salad bar was already empty. There were still about 20 people in line behind us as well! While we were eating our lunch, a worker was gathering salt and pepper shakers off the tables and grabbed ours up! While we were eating! I couldn't believe it. The hot food was almost always cold and the breads were stale. We wanted to eat at the buffet another day for lunch and it was already closed. (we had the 8:15 seating, so we wanted to eat lunch late) So, we went to the 'alternate' lines, which were hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, tacos, chicken fingers, and some fancy sandwiches with really hard, stale bread. The lines were really crazy for these because they were the only places to eat at times. At dinner, the food was mostly ok, but I almost always left feeling slightly hungry still because the portions weren't very big. (I am not a large person either!) Service was SLOW... I don't believe this was our waitstaff's fault. They had too many people to take care of. It took us over an hour to eat our meals because we had wait so long for the food. When you have an impatient 2 year old at the table, you want the food as soon as possible! We were celebrating my son's birthday on board and I was told he would get a little birthday cake with 'happy birthday' on it. Instead, he got a little chocolate cake that wasn't any different from anything else they had. :( I was disappointed by this. Room service- stale pastries. :( Again, another disappointment on the food. The 'kiddie' pool had kids that should have been in the bigger pool instead of splashing around with the under 5's. They were rough and made me nervous with my kids. The lines to see the characters were very long and would take about 20-30 minutes to get through. I wouldn't have done it at all if my daughter wasn't so insistent. The ship almost always felt crowded- except in the adult area. No adults are allowed on the one slide on board btw. The nursery for my son was nice and the staff were very good with him. It wasn't as overcrowded as the Oceaner's Lab and Club. They should put some occupancy limits on those. They were so overcrowded that I was worried about my daughter being in there. She did have a blast for a 4 year old and got to sing on the stage in a small performance they put on. She had a blast, so that's the only saving grace. Overall, I would only go on Disney again if I got a REALLY, REALLY good deal because I was very disappointed. Especially after everyone told me how great it was. I had better experience on Carnival. :) Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
So I have tried writing a review of the Wonder twice on my smartphone but it turns out I am not smart enough and kept losing it. Hopefully, the third time is a charm! We sailed on the Dream in 2012 and had such a great time that we ... Read More
So I have tried writing a review of the Wonder twice on my smartphone but it turns out I am not smart enough and kept losing it. Hopefully, the third time is a charm! We sailed on the Dream in 2012 and had such a great time that we booked another cruise on DCL before we disembarked. We were limited as to when we could travel because of our kids school schedules, coupled my need to escape the northeast during the winter, so we either had to sail on the Fantasy or the Wonder. Since the Fantasy trip would have cost over $4000 more, we decided to sail on the Wonder. I have to say, though I am usually a 'glass is half full' kind of girl, I was definitely pessimistic about the older ship! When we pulled up to the port in Miami for our 2:30 boarding time, and saw the size of the ship, we were all snickering. The Wonder looked so tiny compared to the Dream. To my family's amusement, I literally drove around three times before finally just asking somewhere where I was supposed to park. Finally situated, we went inside to start the boarding process. There was almost no one there! We were worried that the boat was going to be empty. When we went on the Dream a year earlier we waited in line for half an hour. This time we walked right up to the counter. For a brief moment I thought maybe we had come on the wrong day! I also couldn't help but notice how much less ostentatious the decor in Miami was compared to Port Canaveral. I have to say, at the time I saw this as a bad thing. Once we got our room passes we headed to the ship to board. Where was our welcome? On the Dream they announced us and clapped as we walked on. Here...nothing. On the Dream as soon as we boarded they grabbed us for a photo. Here...we walked right past the photographer who was situated not on the ship but in an alcove in the terminal. They had to yell after us to get us back. I only give this background to say that this was all BEFORE we were even on the ship so knowing that the Wonder is older and smaller than the Dream, I was ready for disappointment and was already feeling it. Add to that, when we got to our adjoining staterooms (6028 & 6030) there was this horrible musty odor coming from the shower room in 6028. We immediately called our Host who poured some chemicals down the drain and scrubbed the floors. The odor did not completely go away but was much much better. I am happy to say that all these little issues now seem so trivial given that we had the time of our lives on the Wonder! STATEROOM: As I said, we had the one issue with the stateroom. Other than that, as stupid as this may be, the only other problem I had with the stateroom was that, unlike on the Dream, you cannot get all the free Disney movies whenever you want them. Instead they have a schedule of certain movies that just played over and over at specific times. Unfortunately for me, the one I wanted to watch always either started too late or too early. I never did get to see it from beginning to end! Of course, the rooms were older than the Dream but still nice enough. And...I can't say enough about the bed. Just so comfortable! ENTERTAINMENT: My three older kids (6, 8 & 10) could not get enough of the Oceaneer's Lab. On the Dream we really didn't take advantage of the kids' clubs but this time we definitely did. The kids had a blast and couldn't wait to go there! They even loved going to Scuttle's Cove (kids' club) on Castaway Cay, which didn't exist the last time we had sailed. The only issue that we had was that our 2 year old just refused to stay in the Nursery, so we were never able to enjoy the adults' only places on the ship. Maybe next time. POOLS: I had no real issues with the pools. In fact, since the Wonder holds so much less people than the Dream, there was plenty of room at the pools. My only advice would be that on "at sea" days, you should grab a chair or lounge chair as soon as possible because otherwise you won't get one near the pool. My only issue, and the one area where the Wonder definitely showed its age over the Dream was the toddler area. Nemo's Reef on the Dream definitely far surpassed Mickey's Splash zone, which kept my 2 year old entertained for all of 5 minutes. I was definitely surprised that Disney would have something so lame, given that Disney's whole purpose is catering to families. FOOD: I've seem several reviews where people lamented that the food and service on DCL sucks. I had the opposite experience. I found the dining staff to be completely attentive, flexible and entertaining. My kids loved the origami sculptures the assistant server made for them every night. I am a picky eater and DCL was extremely accommodating. Letting me order turkey off of the children's menu (which they gave me a full portion of) and letting me order 5 custom-made appetizers instead of an entree one night. PORTS: In Cozumel my husband took my older kids on an excursion which they were unimpressed with (Salsa & Salsa) while I walked around with the toddler. I wasn't long before I went back on board since I felt much safer on the boat then out-and-about by myself in Cozumel. Despite not planning any portside adventures this time in Castaway Cay, my experience there this time was more fun than last time. As I told my husband, I do not book a DCL cruise for the ports (which I am not a huge fan of) I choose it for the whole experience. SPA & FITNESS: I irresponsibly allowed myself to get a bad sunburn on my shoulders and went to the spa for a 'sunburn massage.' It was a wonderful massage, though I did find their constant peddling of their products to be a little annoying. As for the gym, my husband signed-up for a boot camp class that we had to pay like $120 extra for, which I thought was ridiculous given how much money we were already paying to DCL. Having said that, he absolutely loved the class and will definitely be taking it again if it's offered on our next cruise! All in all, the shows, clubs, activities, Buena Vista theater experience, pools and food either was comparable or actually surpassed my experience on the Dream. In the end it made no difference to us or the kids that the Wonder was a little bit more worn than the Dream. It was every bit as fabulous and given the smaller crowd, in some ways it was better! I am looking forward to February 2014 when we sail on the Fantasy! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Background Information First, a little about our family. I am 38, my wife is 35, and our boys are 6, 4, and 3. I am a veteran of six cruises with four different cruise lines, and my wife has been on even more (she is not a details ... Read More
Background Information First, a little about our family. I am 38, my wife is 35, and our boys are 6, 4, and 3. I am a veteran of six cruises with four different cruise lines, and my wife has been on even more (she is not a details person and they occurred before we met, so I am not sure how many or on what lines). We have taken our last 4 cruises with at least one child, and on the past two (this one and our voyage on the Carnival Fascination this past September) all of our kids have been able to make full use of the kids' clubs. Also, know this about me -- I am not of fan of lines or waiting, so I try to search for and use as many tips, ticks, and hints as possible to avoid the lines onboard, and maximize the fun. On the Disney Dream, we experienced both success and failure with this. Pre-cruise We drove into Port Canaveral from the Atlanta area the day prior to embarkation and checked into the Country Inn and Suites (closest hotel to the port). We booked a family suite -- the kids loved that they each had their own bed and the big map of the world on the wall in their room. Also, the hotel had a nice pool area, with a children's pool with a mushroom, a nice sized hot tub with a waterfall, and big main pool with depths from 3 to 5 feet. The pool was heated, and the water temperature was a little on the cool side, but the boys and I were fine with it (it was a little too cold for my wife.) Also, the free breakfast in the morning was pretty good, with the Belgian waffles being the highlight. We spent the pre-cruise evening dining on the waterfront at Fishlips, and watched the Carnival Pride sail out of port - it was a very nice experience. Embarkation So Disney has you choose a port arrival time when you do your online check-in. I am not sure when this becomes available, but I completed it as soon as I booked the cruise (72 days out from sailing), and chose the first available time - 11am to 11:30am. We pulled into the port at 10:45am, and it was already bustling with activity. After dropping off our luggage with the porter, and parking the car, we quickly entered the terminal, and checked-in with no line. We were given a boarding number of 4, and were told that boarding would begin soon. We then took the opportunity to get a picture with Minnie Mouse in front of a model of the ship, and get the boys the bands required to check in and out of the kids club. By the time we had done this, our boarding number had already been called. We entered the mouse ears, get our picture taken again, and were then introduced to the ship. It was by far the quickest, easiest boarding that we have ever had! Cabin(s) We booked last minute (as a Christmas present to our children who had really enjoyed our last cruise) when I spotted what I thought was a pretty good deal for Disney. Our booking was two interior guarantee cabins (I don't like the idea of 5 people in one cabin), and we hit the jackpot as we were assigned cabins 9111 and 9611, which were midship connecting cabins. The magical portholes were pretty cool, and even my 3 year old would get really excited when he saw the pixie dust, to see which character would be stopping by for a brief visit (we saw Aladdin and Jasmine, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey, Donald and Goofy in a band, and a few other minor Disney characters). The cabins had plenty of storage, although one cabin has a closet with shelves, but the same closet in the other cabin did not have shelves - strange. The couches converted to beds, and since the main bed did not split into twins, we ask the steward to convert both couches, so that each child could have his own bed (none of us like to sleep with the 3 year old - he takes up more space than is humanly possible). Also, the TV had on demand Disney movies and shows (free of charge and a large selection), which was really nice to relax the kids before naps and bedtime. The only thing that I did not like about our cabins was that I had to duck down to get a shower (I am 6'5"). Dining We really enjoyed Disney's rotational dining system, and our wait staff very nicely anticipated our dining preferences with the children. For example, on the first night (in the Royal Palace), our server got the children fed quickly, and they finished dessert as the adults finished the main course, so we took the kids to Oceaneers Club, and returned to a nice, leisurely dessert. On the second night in Animator's Palette, however, the children were served at the same pace as the adults, so they could enjoy the show. Our final night, our boys wanted to eat in the Oceaneers Club, so we enjoyed a nice, relaxing dinner in the Enchanted Garden. Overall, the Royal Palace had the best food (the tenderloin steak was very, very good), but the Animator's Palette stole the show (so to speak), with such an imaginative, interactive experience. It was definitely Disney Magic at its best. My wife thought it was great seeing all the Finding Nemo characters on screen, but was blown away when Crush actually started talking to people. My favorite moment was when Crush was asking our family a question, and my 3 year old started babbling nonsense loudly, and Crushed responded "Whoa! That little dude is totally speaking dolphin!" - we were in hysterics. As for breakfast and lunch, Flo's V-8 Cafe was quick and pretty good - the panini's were the best offering, in my opinion. Cabana's was good for a buffet at lunch, but tended to be really crowded at breakfast (we should have gone to Enchanted Garden for a smaller buffet). We really enjoyed our lunch at Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay - good selection of burger, dogs, brats, chicken, ribs,and rib eye steaks. The only bad meal was debarkation breakfast (I am not a fan of sit down breakfasts on cruise ships, but it was very efficient - the food just wasn't very good.) The best buffet item that I had was definitely the jelly filled doughnuts at breakfast - better than Krispy Kreme's. One last thing about dining - our server was spot on with his meal suggestions, and our head server spotted us as we walked in the dining room on our second night and knew what table we were without even asking. As for our assistant server, his English was very limited, so we found it best to keep our requests simple. Activities One of the main attractions for the Dream is the Aquaduck, the only water coaster at sea. It is 6 year olds dream, and he wanted to get as many rides in as he could. Our strategy to accomplish this was to carry on our swimwear, eat quickly at the buffet, change in the bathroom, and get in line. We did this, and had a wait of about 5 minutes on our first ride (which was great by the way - a few thrills, but not scary). We got back in line and waited 25 minutes to ride again. After that ride, the waited looked to be about 45 minutes, so we headed for the pool. We figured that we would have the run of the ship the next day (we were not getting of to go into Nassau), and could ride as much as we wanted. It seems that a lot of other people had the same idea, as the next morning the pools were very crowded, and the line for the Aquaduck started at about 25 minutes and just looked to get longer. We thought we could do some riding that night, but the ride shut down early for the fireworks. So, I decided that we would come back early the next day from Castaway Cay to get our Aquaduck fix. Again, everyone on board seemed to have the same idea, and there was a 30+ minute wait for the ride. Distraught and defeated, I devised a last ditch plan - we rushed to get the kids from the club after dinner the last night - quickly changed into our bathing suits, and went up to the pool deck where we found - not a single person in line for the Aquaduck!!!! Success!!!! We rode 5 or 6 times in a row, hurried back to our room, and quickly changed and got ready for the show. I love it when a plan comes together. My 6 year old was very happy -- the 4 year old, however, after two months of talking about the ride, would not go on it. He did, however ride the Mickey slide a bunch of times, and loved the family hot tubs. And the 3 year old absolutely loved Nemo's Reef - we couldn't get him out of there. He and the 4 year old slid down the little slide in there about 100 times, and cried the night we went to ride the Aquaduck because it was closed. The Mickey and Donald pools tended to be really crowded when we were there. I glanced at the Quiet Cove pool, and it didn't seemed to be crowded. On the last afternoon, I inadvertently started a cannonball competition among the kids in the Donald pool, simply by telling one kid that his cannonballs was really good, and daring him to splash me in the face. Next thing I know, there are upwards of 8 kids jumping in the pool, which was not good because it was very crowded. A similar thing happened on our last cruise, as my brother and I led a group of 20+ kids doing cannonballs in the pool at the same time -- I have to stop encouraging these kids! As far as non-water family activities went, we enjoyed the Goofy golf (very nice theme), and playing foosball on the Sports Deck. My 6 year old and I solved two mysteries playing the Midship Detective Agency, which was both great exercise (you had to find the enchanted artwork scattered about the ship), and a great interactive experience. You search for clues, and have to use deductive reasoning to solve the crime, and then apprehend the thief. It was another great piece of Disney magic. My kids also played shuffleboard on the Promenade Deck (I also enjoyed a nice, peaceful, breezy early morning jog on this deck -- it was a great way to exercise). In contrast to the crowded family activities we encountered, the adult activities that we did were not very well attended. My wife and I played a couple trivia games, and watched the Match Your Mate game show. All of these activities took place in The District, the adults only area of the ship, which contained a lounge with live music, a few themed bars (Sports Pub, champagne bar, and a martini bar featuring an ever changing skyline), as well as a nightclub. Entertainment Here is another area where Disney shines. We saw 3 production shows, which were by far the best we have ever seen on a cruise. It was very easy to see that a lot of money went into the productions, with great costumes, special effects, and a large cast including many of your favorite Disney characters. My favorite of the 3 was Villains Tonight, featuring Hades trying to maintain his position as lord of the Underworld. It was a comedy, and I laughed out loud many times. My wife and kids' favorite was Believe, which is more of a traditional Disney story about a father connecting with his daughter through magic. The lead actors in both productions were very talented. The running times were a bit long for the 3 year old, so we took him to Oceaneer's club when his attention span waned (though he loved the singing and dancing). We also loved the Buccaneer Blast Fireworks show featuring Captain Jack Sparrow repelling down the funnel and battling a group of rogue pirates. My wife thought the fireworks were amazing. Not as strong was the pirate adventure featuring Mickey battling Captain Hook, or the sailaway show featuring Mickey and friends. Oceaneer's Club/Lab My children really enjoyed their time in the clubs. The older ones loved the Super Sloppy Science activity with Professor Make-a-Mess, where they did things like make Flubber, make snow in the Bahamas, and see what happens when you drop 11 Mentos into a bottle full of Coke. The 3 year old was enamored with Andy's Room, a replica of the Toy Story movie. They also loved playing on the Magic playfloor, and playing the various video games in the Oceaneer's Lab. There were 70 youth counselors onboard, so we felt that they were well equipped to take care of our children. I would look at the count of children every time I signed the kids out, and at any one time, there were between 130 to 240 kids in between both areas, and it never looked too crowded or overrun. I did have to remind my boys to tell the counselors if there was an activity that they wanted to do, as they can get distracted easily. Only one time did we have to wait more than 5 minutes to sign the kids in or out, and they had a pretty good system with tracking bracelets, and secret words to keep the kids safe. I was a bit worried heading in that my 3 year old would get lost in the shuffle since the area was open to 3-12 year olds (and not the break down as it is on other cruise lines), but the counselors did a good job of engaging and looking after the little ones. Another thing I wanted to mention was the lack of teenagers lurking about the boat. We were exploring the ship the first day and found their club (Vibe), and it was definitely a nice place to hang out. It was an indoor/outdoor space with their own pool and hot tubs, a basketball hoop, smoothie bar, large video screen, and porthole seats with an ipod hookup. The last night of the cruise my wife saw a group of six teenage boys, and noted that it was the first time all cruise she noticed any teenagers. Ports We didn't get off the ship in Nassau, as we had a bad experience with our 4 year old on our last trip there (we tried to go to the Pirates Museum, but he got scared and took off at full speed the other through traffic into the heart of Nassau). Castaway Cay was a very nice island, and I especially liked the fact that they maintained the children's club on the island at Scuttles Cove. This let my wife and I have a nice, peaceful lunch, and time to enjoy Serenity Bay, the adults only area. Also, we enjoyed riding the waterslides at Pelican Plunge, and seeing all of the fish right around you in the clear water. There was also an area with water sprayers called Spring-a-Leak which my kids liked. There was so much to do on the island that you would need a few days to do it all. Also, we did our one character interaction (they always seemed to have lines) with Mr. Smee and Captain Hook, who is the 3 year old's favorite. Overall, the island was not as nice looking as Half Moon Cay (which is the most beautiful place that I have ever seen), but it was definitely a fun day. Disembarkation We chose to carry our own luggage off (we didn't have that much), and Disney has open disembarkation, so 10 minutes after they announced the ship was clear, we walked off, went straight through customs without waiting, and directly to our car. We were on the road by 7:30am (we had school and work the next day, so my wife wanted an early start). It was amazingly easy, and not one single line. Odds and Ends Places we didn't explore (not enough time or lack of interest): Gym, Spa, Buena Vista Theater, Cove Cafe, Quiet Cove Pool, Outlook Biggest Surprise: The amount of Cast Members who spoke English and were from the United States. One of our cruise pet peeves is crew members who just can't understand you being in customer service positions. This was definitely not the case on the Dream. Biggest Disappointment: How crowded a lot of spaces were - breakfast and the pools, especially. I could not imagine what a sea day would be like on the Dream. Service: I was pleased with the level of service we received - we are pretty easy people to please, and don't require pampering. I think it also helps when you know what to expect. I saw some unhappy cruisers, but it was mostly because their level of expectation was beyond absurd. Differences Between other Lines: This mainly applies the last cruise we took on the Carnival Fascination -- I liked that we did not have to check out clubs and balls to play mini golf, or check out towels for the pool, or take towels from our room to the private island. Also, I liked the soda stations on the pool deck, and that it was included in the price. The one thing I though would make a difference but didn't was the ability to bring your own alcohol onboard. I brought a bottle of vodka with me, but only had 5 or 6 drinks from it. Overall Impression: We had a great time, but not sure if we would cruise with Disney again. It was an overall better experience than our last cruise, but I don't thing that the overall value is there (we are not Disneyholics). We will however, be taking a 7 day cruise (next up for us is the Carnival Dream in September). 3 days is way too short for a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We just came back from a wonderful Disney cruise on the Fantasy. This was our second time on this ship. The Disney Fantasy is absolutely beautiful and so very clean. Our family is new to cruising -- this being only our 3rd cruise. We ... Read More
We just came back from a wonderful Disney cruise on the Fantasy. This was our second time on this ship. The Disney Fantasy is absolutely beautiful and so very clean. Our family is new to cruising -- this being only our 3rd cruise. We cruised on Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas 2 years ago. We have 2 primary-school-aged children who loved the ship. The character appearances were fantastic. The photographers would take our pictures with our camera, as well as their own. If you take the time to get professional photos taken with and without the Disney characters, the photo package with the the CD and photos is really a good deal -- not cheap but professional photography never is. Embarking and Disembarking was a breeze. We did offsite parking with Cruise Parking at Port Canaveral. We really liked them but you do have to wait for the van to pick you up afterwards. The Room: Stateroom 9554, Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah. It was very comfortable with 2 closets, bathroom separated with bathtub in one and toilet in another. The view is slightly obstructed but only very slightly so. The Service: The room attendant and our servers were great. Really great service. However, ironically, we were not impressed with the youth counselors on the ship. They were the least "Disney-like" employees. Although they are involved during some structure activities, they often just loitered in the back area chitchatting with each other -- looking very unproductive and lazy. It seems to be the working climate and culture in the kids club here. This was our 2nd time on the Fantasy and each time we found that others on the ship who felt the same way. I would say that a few of these youth counselors were very good but they are in the minority. My kids had a good time with each other despite this because there are enough computers, movies, and activities to keep them busy. Maybe next time we go, I will feel differently about this. The Food: Very, very good in the main dining rooms and even good at the buffet. Beverages: Free drinks station was a great bonus! Don't miss the "show" in Animator's Palate. Also take advantage of the quiet breakfast and lunches at Royal Court and The Enchanted Garden if you want to avoid the buffet. It's also a good time to ask for a window table or special table -- one that you may not have been assigned for dinner. The pools: Much too crowded at the kids pool but if you get to the pools early, you can actually get the pool to yourself for about 1 hour. The adult areas were really nice, though. AquaDuck and Waterslide: Kids loved them. We tried going early in the morning and on port days took advantage of having fewer people on the ship. Towels: Unlike Royal Caribbean who makes you check out towels, we didn't have to do it here. And if you took a Disney excursion, they had towels ready for you in the meeting place before the excursion. Nice touch! Entertainment: Disney-wonderful and obviously catered to kids -- rightfully so. For adult entertainment, you have to stay up pretty late and find someone to watch your kids if it's past mid-night. We didn't get to go to those shows because our kids are still young, but maybe some other time. The costumes and the special effects were wonderful on the main stage productions. We also loved the first-run movies! Popcorn was reasonable at $2.50 a bag but the caramel corn was about $6 a small bag. I would say there are not enough quiet areas to hangout with our kids on this ship to play board games and stuff at night. During the day, we were able to use O'Gills or La Piazza. We brought our own board games with us and had a blast in our room, though. Medical Emergency: There was an medical emergency and the captain brought the passenger to a hospital in Cozumel, so we did not stop at Costa Maya was planned. And we ended up in the Grand Cayman a day later than scheduled. So I was very glad that I didn't pay for any non-Disney excursions. Gym: Very small compared to Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas - which was massive! But adequate. I would recommend a cruise on the Disney Fantasy simply because it is such a beautiful ship and the service and food is very good. And if you are a Disney fan, it is a must -- at least once, just for the experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My husband and four other friends left from NYC on the Disney Magic, September 7 returning September 12. From the moment we stepped on board until we left it was wonderful. Because of the week we chose, there weren't very many ... Read More
My husband and four other friends left from NYC on the Disney Magic, September 7 returning September 12. From the moment we stepped on board until we left it was wonderful. Because of the week we chose, there weren't very many school aged children on board, some little ones. However it doesn't really matter because there do have adult only spaces and activities;and they enforce the rules which is important. Our dining experience was great. Our stateroom was in an excellent location, clean and tidy. I do feel the staterooms could use a face lift, we had problems with air conditioning, the shower head wasn't working properly, and our refrigerator wasn't cold. All we needed to do was ask the stateroom attendant and they were fixed. The service is superior. After we disembarked in NYC, about half way home, my husband realized he had never taken his wallet out of the safe. We tracked down the lost and found number for Disney, called them and the very next day the wallet was returned by overnight mail, everything still in it's place. Nothing was taken! I would recommend this cruise line to anyone., with or without kids. Canada was wonderful, and the 5 days were just enough. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Firstly I'd like to say that I'm _not_ a huge Disney fan, specially when it comes to pleasurable vacations. Oversold ("at capacity") parks, over-crowded hotels, huge lines everywhere, people yelling, children screaming, ... Read More
Firstly I'd like to say that I'm _not_ a huge Disney fan, specially when it comes to pleasurable vacations. Oversold ("at capacity") parks, over-crowded hotels, huge lines everywhere, people yelling, children screaming, scorching heat and so forth. Not my idea of pleasure (or fun). However, for a family reunion, we decided to give Disney Cruise Lines a chance. And I tell you, we're are incredibly glad we did. The ship: The Disney Dream is an absolute marvel of artistry and engineering. From the outside a towering and imposing yet friendly presence. On the inside, the ship is simply breath-taking. Granite/marble flooring, flamboyant chandeliers, picturesque stairs, beautiful stained-glass murals in the common areas. Incredibly spacious staterooms many with mind-blowing views and balconies. And in all of its humongous beauty, it's incredibly easy to navigate your way around the ship. Dining: forget what you know about Disney food (on terra firma). The food on board is absolutely exquisite. The three main dining facilities (each with its own beautiful theme) offer all sorts of amazing food and delicacies. The "informal" dining is anything but casual: five-star world cuisine but in self-service format. Cabanas is such a neat place to eat, specially if you score a good table. Amazing tropical paradise views + amazing food, it simple does not get any better, at least in my opinion. Service: this, in my humble opinion, is what made this cruise so special. They have chosen a mantra of not just going above and beyond, but moving heaven and earth in order to please you. But don't get me wrong, it's not the flaky, artificial demeanor that's so annoying to many. No, it's simply a mantra of :ask and ye shall receive. Entertainment: Disney at its best. The three shows we saw at the Walt Disney Theater were nothing short of a true Broadway production. Amazing technical production, stage management and the wardrobe and costumes are flabbergasting. The acting crew is amazing and incredibly talented (and some of them will change attire and roles in a matter of seconds), some of them had quite the physical aptitude and pulled some acrobatics that were simply stunning. There is also entertainment for the whole family (dancing, fireworks, etc.). The little ones can be checked in at the Small World Nursery and they'll be handled by the awesome child-care crew. Kids around seven-years-old, can check in at the Oceaneer's Club which is an amazing themed mini park inside the ship. The personnel is super friendly and security is VERY, VERY strict when it comes to picking your kids up (which definitely gives peace of mind). Character Interaction: if you have little ones and not-so-little ones, they'll be in for a treat. Character appearances are by the bushel. Often characters randomly show up in the basketball court (as it happened to us) and shoot a few hoops and play with the kids. The princesses encounters are great and often so you'll have several times to get that "magical" picture you'll use to embarrass them in a few year's time. Other: the stateroom cleaning staff was always very friendly and attentive. Our stateroom was always spotless. All the facilities were also spotless, the upkeep for such large vessel must be quite a task, but DCL pulls it off. Public bathrooms are so pristine and clean that I would consider having a meal in one of them. In short, amazing ship, amazing staff, amazing cruise you won't regret. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
If you have toddlers and/or infants...by all means...take this one. Unfortunately we have teenagers 17 and 15....not unfortunately we have them, but the way they put it..."if it weren't for other kids we met, it would have been ... Read More
If you have toddlers and/or infants...by all means...take this one. Unfortunately we have teenagers 17 and 15....not unfortunately we have them, but the way they put it..."if it weren't for other kids we met, it would have been the most boring cruise yet!". My 15 yo son states one of the nights, one of the Disney employees at the teen club was so bored...she BEGGED for them to entertain her!!!....the one that's supposed to entertain them!!! As far as me and the Mrs goes...well...the same...as much restricted the kids felt in their activities, the same feeling we had as adults!!! We particularly don't drink alcohol...which i think is a disadvantage...the adult clubs at THE DISTRICT...a place for adults in the ship...basically were tiny hallways, very nicely decorated , with a bar. The is a so called dance club which we attended...very poor choice of dance music...and when they did play something decent...it was time for THEIR DISNEY DANCERS to hit the stage!!! BUMMER!!! By midnight???....ALL PRACTICALLY CLOSED...NO DISNEY EMPLOYEES IN SITE...very very sad scene. There were otherwise some positives, food - EXCELLENT. Spa, NICE. There is a sauna for adults to share, and one in the men's change room, which i enjoyed ....I'm assuming the same for the ladies. The room- IMMACULATE. The service in the restaurants, slow but good. They showed AVENGERS in their theatre in 3D! AWSOME! The shows?...the mickey golds award and villains were two of them. Not so good. Ive heard the third one...believe...was really good. I was disappointed by then, so i didn't go to it. My eleven year old...did enjoy her kids club....A LOT! So in general, nice food, clean boat, lame shows, no after hours activities for adults and teens, unless you as an adult like to drink alcohol. LOTS of shows for the toddlers/infants. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We traveled on an April 2012 sailing of the Disney Fantasy. There were 8 adults in our party. When I booked in January, I reserved an ocean view room with veranda, however, I asked to be on the waiting list for a concierge room. Disney ... Read More
We traveled on an April 2012 sailing of the Disney Fantasy. There were 8 adults in our party. When I booked in January, I reserved an ocean view room with veranda, however, I asked to be on the waiting list for a concierge room. Disney called the week before the sailing to offer the concierge room. Concierge privileges begin upon arrival at the airport and embarkation was expedited. The concierge staff, Todd, Julia and Kemisha were very accommodating. They assisted us with multiple dinner bookings at Remy and Palo. Julia even came to the laundry room to help me with the dryer operation. Operation at the laundry was difficult. It requires swiping of your room key onto a keypad which indicates which washer/dryer is available. Your account is charged $2 at this time. Many times when I opened the washer/dryer that I paid for, another guest had not yet removed his clothes. The cleanliness of the ship was excellent, especially the public restrooms. Crewmembers were posted at each restaurant, pre-meal, to hand out hand wipes. The rotational dining team was very attentive. My daughter has food allergies, and Marcos took her order each night for the following night, in order to assure the chef had time to prepare her meal. Marcos even arranged to have her Castaway meal prepared on the ship, and then delivered to Cookies. Dining at Palo's was very good, and definitely worth the $20 fee. We celebrated my daughter's 25th birthday at Palo's, and the restaurant provided us with a "party room" to accommodate 14 guests. Our server, Ivan was attentive and entertaining. Earlier in the cruise, we visited Palo for high tea and brunch. Brunch was definitely the better experience. An enormous buffet, and complimentary mimosas. Dining at Remy is an experience that I found superior to Victoria and Albert's at the Grand Floridian. It begins with Nicolas, the maitre d', describing hidden details of the restaurant, which reflect the movie "Ratatouille". Our server, Gerard, was very knowledgeable about the menu. My husband and I each ordered a different tasting menu. We each loved our meal, and when we returned for the second evening, we again ordered the sea and the earth menus. Gerard suggested that we change the desserts to offer variety. We couldn't have been happier with our green apple and raspberry sorbets. The Senses Spa was the best part of the cruise. I had an oxydermy facial by Eleanor, who was gentle and thorough. She recommended I have a free acupuncture consultation for the sore muscles in my neck. Stephanie, the acupuncturist, first explained her background, and then devised a personal treatment plan for me. I had never considered acupuncture before, but decided to try it. I went every day and I couldn't wait for the next treatment. It gave me a sense of well-being, in addition to alleviating my pain. I even had facial acupuncture to lift my eyebrows. My husband tried the acupuncture for sleeplessness, and he had excellent results. The men's spa room was busy with shaves, haircuts and pedicures. My husband had all three and wants to return in three weeks for upkeep. My family loved the horseback riding in Cozumel, declaring it to be the "best excursion ever". We also enjoyed the salsa and salsa in Costa Maya. The day we spent on Castaway Cay was sunny, but our excursions were canceled for high winds. We enjoyed the beach and the water. We departed the ship for the island at 9:30 in order to assure that we would have an umbrella and beach chairs. Guests arriving after 11:00 were disappointed to find the umbrellas were taken. The travel to Serenity Bay requires three tram rides and takes 30 minutes. On the final morning, we went to Cabanas Buffet for breakfast at 6:30. We acquired our customs forms from the concierge, and we went to the lobby with our luggage at 7:10 to await debarkation. The debarkation began at 7:20 and we were on the bus to return to the airport by 7:40. I will definitely book another cruise with Disney, and definitely on the Fantasy. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
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