This was our first cruise, first time out of the country, etc. So, I didn't know what to expect but I too had read a lot of traveler reviews and this ship scored fairly well so lets just say that I had high expectations.We boarded the ... Read More
This was our first cruise, first time out of the country, etc. So, I didn't know what to expect but I too had read a lot of traveler reviews and this ship scored fairly well so lets just say that I had high expectations.We boarded the ship at 11:30 and everything went smoothly. I do have to say that they are properly staffed for check in which is a plus. NOthing starts your vacation off to a bad start like standing in line for 45 minutes. So, we had lunch about 12 noon at the Beach Blanket Buffet which had a good assortment of just about everything you could think of!Our rooms are ready at 1:30 ( disney tapes off the corridors until 1:30 ) and our luggage arrived pretty soon there after which was great considering I had forgotten to take the sunblock out of our luggage and put it in the carry on after we got off the flight! The cabin itself, was fairly small - although, from what i understand of cruises, this is fairly common. However, the housekeeping staff was SUPERB. I mean, really, SUPERB. EVERY time that I left and came back the room had been cleaned, and by cleaned I mean she took the time to organize our clothing, hang things up, put things away, clean up the towels, everything you would expect from housekeeping with the exception that they did it every time you left your room. Literally. These people are stealth like. :) I had no idea when they were coming or going! I will say that I was not all that impressed with the fitness center. Pros and cons - #1 - the treadmills had windows so you could overlook the ocean - that was cool. #2 - they had TV's - cool as well - as for the cons - for a ship of this size, they had very limited weight equipment. I was really surprised. Only one leg machine, one arm machine, etc - all the rest was cardio equipment. Having stayed at many disney resorts, the Saratoga Springs resort had a much larger and much better selection in terms of equipment!As for the excursions, this was our first time in Nassau, which was an adventure. We wanted to visit the Astrada Gardens and Zoo and the ship had something you could book, OR, you could venture off on your own and take something called a Jitney ( public transportation, like a bus ) there and back. So, I thought, lets do that! What a mistake! Apparently, Nassau is divided into two parts, the first part is very run down, impoverished and not a place you want to be walking with kids. Easy target for lots of bad things. The Jitney looked , and smelt, like someone had vomited all over the seats, it was FILTHY. I made my daughter sit on my lap and wouldn't let her touch anything! We got there and the zoo was quite nice - but I was so grossed out by the jitney, I wouldn't take one back and decided to walk the mile and half / 2 miles. We did come across a nice little beach along the way, which was neat.
The other side of Nassau is where we went for the Dolphin Encounter and that side is beautiful. It is surprising that they are so different! We did the dolphin encounter and booked it directly through the company. Disney wanted $125 pp for the dolphin swim and it was $85 pp if you book through the company directly, plus $4 pp for the cab ride there. The dolphin swim was great, we had a really nice time, plus the island that it is on is lovely.
The food on this cruise was wonderful - the only thing was that when we came back from Nassau since it took so long to get back through customs ( and beware, you will be berated by people asking "braids for your princess?' and when I said no, they gave me nasty looks and called you names ) that we missed our dinner seating. So, we went back to Beach Blanket buffet and they had a wonderful menu for people who missed dinner and the restaurant was nice and quiet - it was nice to sit back and relax and watch the ship leave Nassau.
Castaway Cove was quite nice as well. I could tell that there were not a lot of early risers since we got on the island early and there was no one there. That changed around 11am though and it was pretty packed, BUT there were plenty of chairs and hammocks, etc. They had a BBQ at lunch which was good as well. They also had strollers you could borrow to push your child from one end of the island to theother which I thought was nice. The only thing I didn't like is that you go to a beach, a Disney beach none the less, and there are no sand toys! We had to pay $18 for sand toys and $6 pp for a tube rental. Seems a little nickel and dimey when you have spent all this money for a cruise but I guess it is what it is.
The shows were great, we really liked them - overall, this was a great first cruise. I was very sad to leave the ship and come home! We are looking forward to this again next year! Read Less