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166 Disney Miami Cruise Reviews

The Disney Wonder sailed from Miami Florida to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal on Monday, May 6, 2013 . This repositioning cruise was our first cruise on Disney. Overall we had an excellent cruising experience on the Wonder and would ... Read More
The Disney Wonder sailed from Miami Florida to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal on Monday, May 6, 2013 . This repositioning cruise was our first cruise on Disney. Overall we had an excellent cruising experience on the Wonder and would cruise with Disney again. I am hopeful this review has usable information for first time Disney cruisers. We paid (GTY VGT) rates. This meant that we paid a lower rate and that our rate had restrictions. For example we paid in full at the time of booking, no room assigned until one week prior to departure, no refund, etc. However, we gave our agent with Vacations to Go our preferences and we were extremely pleased with our room assignment. As our cruise was a repositioning cruise that was a 14 day cruise there was less than 250 children on board. With the adult only pool, coffee lounge, bar and entertainment venues, we saw few children. I think they hid them in Vibe. The ship was spotless and well maintained. DCL is fanatical about hand washing. You wash hands prior to boarding and upon entering each restaurant each time you dine. They provide hand lotion in your stateroom along with shampoo and conditioner so your skin does not dry out from al that hand washing. No nora virus on DCL. Our stateroom was cleaned at various times. Sort of annoying not knowing when the room was to be cleaned. Disney allows you to bring on your own alcohol on board. However you must consume it in your stateroom. You may also bring your own sodas an bottled water. The ship does have a self service soda fountain and coffee/tea/hot chocolate station. They do not sell soda cards, soda is included in the price. They have Coke products. They use the Nutra sweet brand of Splenda. Same chemical, just not Splenda. The teas are Twinning brand except for Palo and Triton restaurants. The organic Tealeaves brand is served in those restaurants. I do not know the brand of coffee served. We were in stateroom 7526 located starboard towards the bow with a veranda. It is close to the forward elevators. The veranda railings are covered with glass so air movement was restricted and we could not rest our feet up on the railing. The room was spotless, very comfortable bedding, with a tiny sitting area. The stateroom can sleep 4. Bring an extension cord if you want to read using an electronic device while sitting on the sofa or bed. There are few outlets. The staterooms are equipped with portable "wave" phones which allow you to stay in contact with each other if desired while in different parts of the ship. They do not work off the ship. On deck seven starboard side there is a laundry. The machines are stacked with washer on the bottom and dryer on top. It is a dollar to wash and a dollar to dry. There is a vending machine for detergents. There are also two ironing boards and irons for guest use. There is no library on the ship with reference materials. You may want to bring or download an atlas. The food is very very good. Dishes ranged from pheasant, to duck, to bass, conch, crab lobster, scallops, steak, chicken, snapper, shrimp, burgers, and the popular Mickey bars (ice cream bars). You wont go hungry but you will have to search out the snacks. Offered at certain times in certain lounges such as Diversions. The crew were very personable and extremely pleasant. Never a harsh word between crew members. Very respectful of each other and the guests. If you have an issue they will work at a solution. For example our dinner companions complained about a noisy stateroom, they were given a second stateroom to use. They ended up with two staterooms. My husband had new silk socks missing from luggage, they reimbursed him for socks. He had a steamer they confiscated (after telling him it was okay to bring) , however, their laundry service steamed his clothes with no charge. We were happy with guest services. We mailed postcards from Cartagena and Panama. We have been home 4 days and no postcards yet. Not a DCL issue, it is a host country issue. Mail service speed may be of interest. The entertainment was very very professional. However after 14 days we were pretty Disneyed out. The adult entertainment started at 10:30 p.m. We would prefer a 9:30 start time. Also a little jazzier entertainment. We did not like Buckets and Boards, not witty enough, too much bathroom caliber humor. We liked very much the band, Higher Ground, and duo Sonic Groove. We loved our dance lessons with Chris and Natalie. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Not knowing at all what to expect we were pleasantly surprised. The flight from Austin to Miami was delayed so we were very rushed in getting there. We learned to travel to the port the day before in order to avoid this hassle. Once ... Read More
Not knowing at all what to expect we were pleasantly surprised. The flight from Austin to Miami was delayed so we were very rushed in getting there. We learned to travel to the port the day before in order to avoid this hassle. Once Disney took over though we were treated like royalty. From the bus ride to the ship and back our trip could not have been better. Our stateroom was adequate for our needs. Loved the split bathroom. That made getting dressed for dinner much easier with the two of us getting ready at the same time. We loved the pool area. Only used the Quiet Cove since we did not have our kids along, but it was a lot of fun. Every dinner was delicious and our servers were spectacular. I loved how everyone knew our names with in the first day and if we saw them any where else on the ship they would stop and talk to us and make sure we were enjoying ourselves. Our stateroom hostess, Christine was so nice. I think she cleaned our room every time we left. The boat was a lot of fun. Plenty to do at all times. We only saw one show, Toy Story the musical. It was a broadway style production. Very well done and entertaining. We chose to carry our own luggage off the ship on the day of disembarkation, we walked right through Customs and made it to the airport in plenty of time. We are looking forward to returning on another Disney Cruise, this time with our kids. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Cruising with Disney was a big dream for my family. We took advantage of a great deal they had offer that allowed kids to sail for free. So we went in the month of April of 2013 from the port of Miami. Check-in was easy and fast. we got on ... Read More
Cruising with Disney was a big dream for my family. We took advantage of a great deal they had offer that allowed kids to sail for free. So we went in the month of April of 2013 from the port of Miami. Check-in was easy and fast. we got on we didn't have to wait very long to get our room. We had an inside cabin and it was just fine. We were 2 adults and 2 children of age 10 and 6 years. My kids enjoyed every minute in the kids club. They also loved the pools and we were able to let them go around from pool to pool back and forth and it was safe. it was also easy to watch them with out having to follow them. Breakfast was great but we didn't like the fact that the time was very limited. Over all we didn't like the food and there was not many choices but fast foods. Ice cream machines were closed very early and didn't give us a chance to for an ice cream at night. The shows were all very amazing. There was an area just for adults and it was the best because my husband and I were able to relax. Shops had very expensive things. Entertainment was great everywhere we went. Unfortunately our kids didn't get to enjoy the Disney characters unless we got in lines that sometimes we had to stand on for more then 1 hour. We were in line to get a picture with captain Hook and so by the time we had our turn, they had changed to Peter Pan. Don't waist your time on those lines unless you absolutely need to or an opportunity comes up. Disney's private island was the most amazing place. Everything was organized and they had the most delicious fruits. Ice cream machines were available everywhere and tour were awesome. We all loved the ship because it's not so big and it's very safe and family friendly. I just hope they offer kids to sail for free again so we can have another chance to cruise with Disney. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
My husband and I (30s) and our 2 children (1 and 4) just returned from a great vacation on the Disney Wonder. This was the 6th cruise for DH & I but only the second since kids, and the first on Disney. As others have done, I will ... Read More
My husband and I (30s) and our 2 children (1 and 4) just returned from a great vacation on the Disney Wonder. This was the 6th cruise for DH & I but only the second since kids, and the first on Disney. As others have done, I will break down my review by category. Embarkation at Miami: A breeze. After the horror stories I'd heard from folks who sailed on other lines, we were prepared for the worst. However, embarkation was nothing but pleasant. I wish we had not had to pay the money to park at the pier, but from my research, I was unable to arrive at an off-site location I felt was safe. Stateroom: We had an oceanview cabin on Deck 5 forward, and this was a great location, as it was the same floor as the kids' clubs and also you could easily view the mid-ship lobby to see if anything as going on (such as character greets) We loved the cabin, and to our surprise, it had a bunk bed that pulled down out of the ceiling and a full curtain to separate the room! There was plenty of storage space; our largest suitcase easily fit under the bed. Flounder's Reef Nursery: Our baby, who will be 2 in June, went in the nursery on two different occasions for two hours, and although he has a lot of separation anxiety, he did really well in the nursery. (we wished we'd used it more!) There are lots of toys, they have Mickey Mouse Clubhouse playing on TV, and they have snacks. The counselors are very involved in playing on the floor with the kids. Oceaneer's Club/Lab: Our 4 year old enjoyed such things as Pluto's Pajama Party and Storytime with Belle in the kids' club, and she also went there for free play and several other activities. The band they require the kids to wear is bulky and annoying, but she got used to it after a day or so. Pools: Our baby enjoyed the splash zone, and our 4 year old loved Mickey's pool, which is shallow enough to where it was never over her head. Disney staff had to constantly tell people to take their babies with swim diapers out of it, as babies are only allowed in the splash zone. This is true of any cruise line, not sure why many seemed to have trouble understanding this. The Mickey slide seemed fun and again our daughter enjoyed it. Every day at naptime while hubby and the kids slept, I went to the Quiet cove pool. I only found an empty lounge chair once in that area, but had no trouble finding one on Deck 10. We did not go in the Goofy pool. Entertainment/Activities: Do not miss Disney Dreams. This is a wonderful show and it is no wonder it won a big award amongst cruise shows. Toy Story was good, but a bit long. It seemed like there were far less activities going on on this ship than on other cruises we have been on. If we had not had perfect weather, we would have had large pockets of time with nothing to do, although it's possible they add extras in the case of inclement weather. I appreciated the fact that everything was truly family-friendly. (and for the adults-only activities, they don't even allow children if they're asleep from what I understand) Staff: Wonderful. All smiles, very courteous, just great! Characters: There were plenty of character greeting times, but be prepared to stay in line, much like at the parks. We found lines shortest on the first 2 days, before people really got a feel for what was going on. Characters that had meet & greets include: Cinderella, Snow White, Tiana, Ariel, Belle, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Pinocchio, Stitch and Chip & Dale. I'm sure I've left out some! Many of them could be seen at some point each day. Dining: Disney has a unique setup where you rotate eating in the different dining rooms. This seems like it would be confusing, but it really wasn't. On the pool deck there is Pluto's Dog House, which has hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers and fries, Pinocchio's Pizzeria, Goofy's Galley, which has a selection of deli sandwiches, wraps and fruit, and Beach Blanket Buffet, which is the breakfast/lunch buffet. We thought the food was very tasty, and the desserts were much better than those on the other cruise lines. We originally had late dining put requested to change to early seating, and on Day 2 we were surprised this had been done, even though there had been a waiting list the day before. The late buffet on Pirate Night was very good, with tacos, ice cream sundaes, turkey legs, ham and more. It was wonderful for us to have the soda included at no extra charge, and milk, coffee, hot chocolate and possibly more are available 24/7. However, despite these positives, I believe this is the area where Disney needs the most improvement. The Dining Flaw: The various eating venues are open only certain hours, and it varies from day to day. Even the pizzeria is closed for several periods throughout the day and it's hard to keep up with. Breakfast at the buffet ends at 10:30, which is a problem for late risers such as us. The main problem, however, is that Disney offers very little in alternative dining in the evenings. On our other 5 cruises, we often ate in the dining room for only 1-2 of the meals, preferring the variety and come-and-go-as-you-wish aspect of the buffet. There is no such option on the Wonder. Some nights, the buffet venue acts as an a-la-carte restaurant, but there is very little variety. One night, both kids were in programs and after our dinner alone we picked them up and there was literally nothing open. If you like eating at set times in the dining room, this is a non-issue but this aspect really took away from our cruise. General: The ship is lovely, and has a great open layout. It is very easy to learn, and although older, is in excellent condition. Some of the amenities on board that we took advantage of were the use of the Diaper Genie, 2 extension cords, and a nice stroller. All of these were free of charge, as long as you return them. The wave phones are wonderful, and extremely useful for peace of mind when the kids are in their areas, as well as just general communication when you're in 2 different places. One improvement that I feel is needed is to have automatic doors on Deck 9 forward and mid ship. With a stroller or wheelchair, it is difficult to be opening these frequently-used doors all the time. The Disney magic permeated all aspects of the voyage. Disney music could be heard in nearly all public areas, a classical pianist played Disney tunes in the lobby, and from the moment you step on the ship, you know it's going to be a magical experience. They start by announcing each family by name and applauding upon your entrance, which is a neat touch. The ship's horn is the tune of "When You Wish Upon a Star," as is the alert tone that comes on before the captain or cruise director speaks throughout the ship. You really feel like a VIP, and everything feels special and magical. Only a few hours removed from our trip, I think with some, "faith, trust and pixie dust," perhaps I, too, can fly. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Embarkation/Check In process We drove to the port (and others in the party were transferred). We experienced some confusion on the part of the staff when we were checking in since we had some members of the party with us, and others ... Read More
Embarkation/Check In process We drove to the port (and others in the party were transferred). We experienced some confusion on the part of the staff when we were checking in since we had some members of the party with us, and others checking in at a different time. They were unable to process check-ins for partial rooms without a lot of grief. It took a while, but we eventually got it straightened out, and we got onto the ship. We proceeded to the ship to check the kids into the kids club, since there was a very long line to do this at the port. Still a very long line onboard the ship (over 30 minutes). Up to the Beach Blanket Buffet for a very nice lunch.- the food was always excellent Meals: We had dinner at Palo the first night (At least most of the adults in the Party did). It is an Italian themed restaurant and was excellent. Highly recommended. I had a fillet mignon that practically melted in my mouth. Per Disney's plan, we rotated between the three regular dining rooms onboard, and they were all very nice. The food was consistently good for dinner, and we had lots of tasty meals. There seemed to almost always be a filet or tenderloin and a fish entree offered. I liked that there are always sugar free desert options for those in our party who had sugar restrictions. Our dining room waiter and assistant waiter were awesome with magic tricks, and quick service. Lunches for us were experienced in a number of venues, and each was good. Breakfast for us was at Beach Blanket every day, except departure, when we had breakfast at the Parrot Cay Restaurant. Travelling with a Disabled Traveller: We travelled with my dad in a wheelchair, and two caregivers- one for daytime, and one for night time. The stateroom he stayed in was very large and spacious. The bathroom was excellent, and had a fantastic roll-in shower. (Cabin 7638, and his caregiver was in 7636 which also was handicapped, and had a roll in shower). Our only nit was that the rooms did not interconnect, so she had to go out to the hall in the middle of the night, if she wanted to go to her room. The ship is generally very accessible, and we experienced no difficulties there. My father's stateroom steward was very helpful, and went above and beyond. We found that they really made it easy to travel with someone who can be quite needy. Staterooms: Most of our party stayed in 6592, 6596, and 6598. The cabins were adequately sized with balconies. There is very little space at the end of the beds to get around , but it is manueverable. The bathrooms are a split layout- with toilet and sink on one side, and sink and shower on the other. There are two separate doors. I'm rather larger in size, so I found it somewhat difficult to actually enter the toilet part of the bathroom, because there was a stopper that stopped the door from opening fully. This necessitated a great deal of contortions. Also, the cabin steward we had was not as good as we've had on other cruises, or on other cruise lines. I generally have the expectation that they'll service the room while we're out for the morning, and do the evening turn-down while we're at dinner. That didn't necessarily happen. We had a couple of evenings when it got to be very late, and I had to tell him to please come and do his thing, since I was headed to bed. The first day, he didn't manage to get into our stateroom, despite our being gone from 8:00 AM until almost 1:00 PM. Then he came knocking at 2:00 when we were down for a nap. Shore Excursions: Cozumel: Is very pretty. We did a couple of different dolphin tours. the one my daughters and au-pair ended up on was better than ours(They went to Dolphinaris). We had dolphin discovery. We had to wait for almost an hour and a half in the sun, despite being on time. My son ended up getting a bit sick from being in the heat and sun during that time. He was crying and unhappy (and I can't say I blame him) at being left to stand there for so long. I did address it with them, and their response was just to let us get into the water with the manatees to pet them for a couple of minutes. IMO- too little- too late. Castaway Cay: Stunning, and a real highlight of the trip. We fed the stingrays, and snorkeled with them. That was a lot of fun, and a great deal for the money. On Castaway, lunch is brought to the Cookies/Cookies too restaurants, and they serve a lovely Barbecue. There are also kids club activities, and many, many things to do. A lot of them are included in the cost. Very nice. I could honestly just go there a couple of times during a cruise, and be quite happy. Kids Club: We had 6 kids, ranging in age from 6 to 14 with us, and they all had a good time. The two 14 year olds were almost aged out of the camp, so they spent more time with the adults, but the younger kids practically lived in the kids clubs. Spa: Beautiful Spa. Great time. I had the seaweed wrap, a stone massage, facial, manicure and pedicure. The rest of the family visited as well. The teen/Tween girls in the party were very disappointed to find out that they could only get a mini nail 'do, and a mini facial. Not a full mani/pedi, and not a full facial. We've gotten those on other cruises, and routinely get them at home. (My Oldest gets facials regularly to help treat acne) Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Like many others on our cruise, we were expecting a beautiful run of the Caribbean. However, much to our surprise, we ran into a powerful cold front that threatened our cruising adventure. When we booked our five night Caribbean Disney ... Read More
Like many others on our cruise, we were expecting a beautiful run of the Caribbean. However, much to our surprise, we ran into a powerful cold front that threatened our cruising adventure. When we booked our five night Caribbean Disney cruise we wanted an escape from the cold drab winter we had in Maryland. Upon our arrival at the Port of Miami we were greeted by very friendly port employees that were all hopeful that the passengers were heading for warmer weather. Well, I am still waiting for that to come...8 days later. Our arrival and check in at the port went very quickly and smoothly. The port did not seem over crowded like I had feared and the staff were excellent with dealing with masses of children. I am very happy that I had completed the online check prior to my arrival. I do believe this sped up our check in. My only regret was standing in the long line to register my son for the Oceaneer Club. Even though you can preregister children online, you still need to confirm their password and have a special band placed on them. Just FYI: Save yourself the hassle and board the ship and go to open registration being held a few places on board with no wait. My first food experienced on the ship was not very good. We were all directed to the Beach Blanket Buffet upon arrival. The food selection was little random and the place was very crowded. I wish I had noticed that Goofy's Galley was open, which I came to discover later in the cruise. This became my favorite lunch destination as it had tasty offerings of sandwiches, wraps, salads and fresh fruit. My son preferred Pinocchio's pizza which I also thought was very good. On the main outside deck there was also a bar and a place to grab some average fried food items(Pluto's Dog House). This was just your average theme park food and tasted just okay. Our go to breakfast spot ended up being the Beach Blanket Buffet due to it's variety of it items that we really enjoyed. We did have Triton's on our morning of departure and we actually thought Beach Blanket was much better. Dinners on the cruise were a much better experience. You rotate through to all three of them and you will repeat them as assigned. We enjoyed the best tasting food at Parrot Cay but the best performance was certainly Animator's Palate. My husband and I had dinner at Palo and the $20 cover charge was well worth it. So I really do have to write about our little mishap with the first room. Our first room was way down on the second floor but still had a porthole. The first day at sea we faced a wicked cold front and very rough seas. To make a long story short, my in laws in the room next to us saw dirty water coming out of the drain in the bathroom. Once it was brought to the staff's attention someone came and checked it out but nothing was addressed. A few hours later, we experienced the same problem. This time both of us called and were upset nothing had really been done earlier. Maintenance came and worked on something then our host came to clean up the mess. The problem persisted but the cruise line was nice enough to assign us both different rooms. Even though this process was disorganized at first, they more than compensated for our inconvenience. The second rooms were a little nicer with newer tiles in the bathrooms and maybe a few more square feet. It really could not have happened at a worse point on the cruise. I was seasick and we were all freezing outside with the high winds. Eventually the weather got a little better the next day. I can not say enough good things about all the staff we encountered. I know you would expect Disney to have the best staff for kids but some staff really went above and beyond. This was the Disney experience I was looking for. I can certainly say that certain staff members made a difference in our vacation. Of course our servers were great but also many others from the staff at the store to the kids club and many in between. My son was having such a great time at the kids club that he didn't even want to come with me when I went to sign him out. The kids programs were wonderful. Often I would check in a see Disney characters in the club putting on a program or the little kids having a glow dance party. This was a little break when my husband and I could slip over to the sports pub for some trivia or have a few drinks. The drinks were very reasonably priced. By far the best part of the cruise was Castaway Cay. My description does not do the island justice. It is a little piece of Disney paradise. All of the excursions were cancelled for the day and I didn't even care. My family had a beautiful beach day despite the wind. My husband and I rented bikes and explored the island which is pretty large. There was also a full tram on the island to transport people to different areas. The adults only area was very quiet and scenic and contained its own facilities. Overall: Yes I would do a Disney Cruise again but probably not this time of year when the weather is so unpredictable. If it had not been for the wonderful staff, our vacation would not have been as enjoyable due to the pluming issue and the weather. This is what I appreciate about Disney in general. I appreciate that most of the staff (even at the resort) will go above and beyond and so many are great with kids. Disney Cruises are a little more expensive but I can understand why and it is worth the extra for families with small children. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
The Disney Wonder 5 night cruise from Miami to Mexico is fabulous. Disney does it right. There was a long line when we pulled up to drop off our luggage, however as we got closer we realized that it was not our ship with the line. In ... Read More
The Disney Wonder 5 night cruise from Miami to Mexico is fabulous. Disney does it right. There was a long line when we pulled up to drop off our luggage, however as we got closer we realized that it was not our ship with the line. In fact, our ship had no line. Imagine the company that runs the theme parks running a ship. Yes, it works, and it works well. A company with incredible customer service at it's standard? Yes, it works and it works well. Boarding was fast and easy. Entertaining kids, while adults have alone time....you guessed it, Disney, yes, it works and it works well. We booked the cruise with another family member, during the week of spring break out of the port of Miami, with a Florida residents rate, 5 night cruise. It was our first cruise as a family and it was out of this world wonderful. Disney dreamed it, and did it. ONce on board, we had lunch on deck at the buffet and enjoyed the skyline of Miami as we left port. We took a bag each as hand baggage with bathing suits and sunscreen so we could change and enjoy the pool as bags were taken to room. By the time we were done with the sun, it was late afternoon and we arrived at our state room (on a lower deck) with our luggage and a welcome note from the cruiseline awaiting. For our party of seven, we were introduced our first evening to our crew. On the Disney cruises, guests rotate restaurants with the staff, so you really get a chance to know your team, and they treat you like family from day one. Pierre, Pierre, Pierre, what can we say other than you run an amazing crew in your restaurants, you are truly the James Bond of cruise ship dining. We saw you each and every night of our cruise no matter what seating or location, and you were always kind, and made the kids feel incredibly special. Thank you. Mahmet, the same. Always working and always with a smile and time for everyone. Vishal and Gerta, the kids LOVED you too. Vishal, I do not believe we have ever been taken care of at a restaurant in the manner in which you took care of us. Our favorite family dining restaurant was the Animators palace. Menu options were perfect. Adult only spots of note, Cadillac lounge and the sports bar Diversions. The entire crew at Cadillac is amazing as well as the entertainment. Being remembered by first name by day two is quite a task, and the staff at Cadillac is amazing. Highly recommend the tastings on board. We were introduced to the Cadillac lounge due to the tequila tasting, and found it a great place to hang out late night or after dinner for some great live music with Clara at the piano taking requests. Early afternoon on a rainy day, look for Vedran in the Diversions. A quick snack of chips and salsa, wings or a hot dog, and great service and conversation with Vedran. Pools are clean and deck is very well kept throughout the day. There are photographers on board however, we didn't take advantage of them as we could have, so the dvd photo purchase wasn't for us, as we only had photos from arrival and meals. There is ample opportunity to have your photo taken at Castaway Cay, and on board at the various meet and greets with characters throughout the voyage. As always, photo cd's are expensive, but even though I only had 10 photos, I regret not purchasing them, as the photographers are amazing. The dolphin discovery excursion on Cozumel is highly recommended! Staff is bilingual friendly and well informed. We did the "push and pull" dolphin experience. I had been to a dolphin swim in Orlando at a theme park, but this was much more than that. This was incredible. The park and natural setting, staff and beach, snorkeling, swimming etc. Highly recommended. Our only glitch on board was a cancellation of an excursion we booked at Castaway Cay. The catamaran snorkel. This was the 2nd Disney cruise for our co-travelers and the same excursion was cancelled on their cruise the last time, coincidence? We were told "I'm sorry, this was an outside company and there is nothing we can do" What? Was I at the customer service desk on a Disney Cruise, or lost in a time warp.....My only complaint was how this was handled when I asked. I would expect Disney to say "I'm sorry for the cancellation. It is an third party company that we cannot control. Let me see if there is another excursion that we might find for you." That was easy....and would have made us feel better taken care of and not ....this was the "customer service" desk.....It did leave a bad impression. Phrasing is everything. There wasn't even a line of customers waiting. The best part was that we were able to spend time on the beach at Castaway Cay, so we enjoyed the day at this beautiful spot. The water was cloudy and snorkeling just less than okay, but it was fun to swim out and see the sunken mickey and minnie. The Jet Ski adventure on Castaway was also great. Full throttle over jolly rancher blue water was so much fun, it left a lasting impression. We were the only ship on the island, and the island never seemed crowded. At night, the kids ages 9, 10 and 11 would spend the entire night in the kids club. We had two days at sea, one with bad weather. Disney added two screenings of OZ, their newest in cinema film. All in all, this was an amazing experience and I can't wait to find the time to do it again!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We have cruised on Norweigian and Royal Caribbean several times. But, everyone (including travel agents) told us that DCL was the "best" and the "premiere" cruise line for families. We are a family of four (two adults ... Read More
We have cruised on Norweigian and Royal Caribbean several times. But, everyone (including travel agents) told us that DCL was the "best" and the "premiere" cruise line for families. We are a family of four (two adults in 30s and two children, ages 2.5 and 4). We also had grandparents in their 60s join us. So when we saw that DCL offered a "kids cruise free" deal out of Miami, we decided to skip Orlando and the long lines at Disneyworld and try the DCL cruise instead. The Disney Wonder was mostly a good experience, but there were some disappointements, as well. The biggest disappointment for all of us was the quality of the food onboard. We just cruised on Royal Caribbean in December and the DCL food was just terrible by comparison. Disney cruises are for kids and families. Period. Anyone who tells you that it's a great experience for an "adults only" cruise is lying. Everything is catered to children, from service at restaurants, food options (or lackthereof), shows, pools, entertainment, etc. This was specifically glaring in the restaurants and with food options and quailty of food. Be prepared to wait in lots of lines and be prepared to be "Disneyed-Out." Also be prepared to be surrounded by throngs of overstimulated and overtired rugrats. That is what a Disney Cruise is. Instead of waiting in lines at DisneyWorld, we waited in lines at sea. Pros: (1)Embarkation. Pretty easy. We took the Disney transportation shuttle from Miami airport to the cruise terminal, and it was a relatively seamless experience and convenient. Since we didn't have car seats for our 2 year old and 4 year old, the shuttle bus was a must. No regrets on utilizing and paying for it. (2) Room: We were in room 7106, which was a balcony stateroom. It was a lovely room, and we would book it again. The room was spacious by cruise standards, and easily fit two adults and two children. Much bigger than Royal Caribbean. Our 4 year old was in the sofa that converts to a twin sized bed. 2 year old in pack n play. Love the dual bathroom set up and especially the tub, which made it so easy to bathe the kids after a day on the beach. better than Royals shower-in-toilet set up. Be careful because the drawers roll in and out without guards, so we had two incidents with crying over pinched fingers. Water pressure was so-so. In the sink/toilet room the hot water was scalding and was difficult to adjust. Love that we got shampoo, conditioner, and lotion (Royal gave nothing at all). All good sized bottles. Lots of storage in the room, including ample room for a stroller. Would be nice if they had a step for kids to use to access the sink for tooth brushing, etc. we overturned a trash can and used that. Beds were very comfortable, so were pillows. (Better than Royal). Nice that there was a privacy screen to separate where kids were from where adults were, so we could read at night. (3) Entertainment We found the shows to be quite wonderful for Disney themed shows. You aren't going to see variety shows or comedians or anything like that. On a Disney Cruise you get Disney Disney and more Disney. It's all for kids, and the Disney shows were amazing. Special effects, costumes, production, were all incredible. One thing we did notice that was interesting is that a lot of the time, the performers were singing to a pre-recorded track, so the chorus you hear isn't just the performers on the stage, but a large chorus of performers that is recorded, as well. On Royal, everything was "live" as far as vocals, as compared to Disney. Sure, the solos are live, but the vast majority of the music and singing was obviously pre-recorded. The Golden Mickey's show was adorable, and we loved the way they incorporated the audience and certain members into the performance. Same with Toy STory the musical. During our performance there was a technical problem with making the character of Buzz Lightyear "fly." You could see the wires attached to him, but for some reason there was a malfunction. When the stage went dark, there was a moment of panic and then a bunch of dancers came running in to entertain the crowd while the technicians tried to fix things behind the stage. It was a great cover! Our favorite performance was the final night "Disney Dreams" which included reenactments of several princess-themed musical spots. My 2 year old son was transfixed the entire time. Also neat was the confetti and bubbles and other crowd-entertaining experiences. Aside from the shows in the theater, there was also a variety of entertainment available for the kids. The Bon Voyage party included dancing and interactive activities for the kids, including these cute sparkle things the kids could wave and shake. And, of course, there was the famous pirate night and fireworks. Be forewarned, that the pirate party and fireworks are LATE at night, e.g., 10:30 PM / 10:45 PM, so the littlest pirates will not be able to make the show. Kind of sad. It would be nice to do the fireworks a little bit earlier, perhaps, so the under age 7 set can enjoy them. (4) Activities - lots for kids to do on board. Especially neat were the character experiences. But be prepared to wait in LONG lines. We had to wait for 45 minutes to meet the Disney Princesses. It's not Disney World, but be prepared for lots of lines. (5)Castaway Cay - this was amazing. Beautiful. Clean. Good food. Wonderful Beaches. And so nice to not have to take a tender into the island. The ship pulls right up and you can walk off. I would live there if I could! My daughter enjoyed playing in the rented inner tube. And there is also a water slide that is available for children who are over 38" tall. My 4 year old went down the water slide with a life jacket on. (6) Nassau - Blue Lagoon Island. In Nassau we went to Blue Lagoon Island, which was terrific and worth the extra price for the beach. The island is gorgeous with warm blue water, an inflatable water park, and on-land bounce park, dolphin and sealion encounters, and a really yummy BBQ lunch included in the price. Just the ferry ride to the island is an adventure, as you get to ride past the gorgeous Nassau estate of Oprah! ONE major CON for this shore excurion -- What did surprise me though is that Disney Cruise Line charged $55 for my two-year-old to participate in this shore excursion. On Royal Caribbean we did the same shore excursion two months ago and he was FREE. What's that about? My four year old daughter was half priced on Royal, and Disney charged her a full price ticket. Same excursion. Same ferry. Same BBQ Food. But DCL charged a lot more! (7) BYOB - Nice that DCL allowed us to carry on two bottles of wine, so we could enjoy a good glass of wine at half the price. Alcoholic beverages on DCL were also comparatively inexpensive at $5.75 for most mixed drinks vs. $9 on RCL. CONS: (1) Food - Pretty bad. Disappointingly bad, considering the premium price for the cruise. The menu options were varied and promising, but the execution of the meals and the flavors were bland and sometimes awful. Buffet food was also sub-par. The "fast food" on the cruise (pizza, sandwiches, chicken nuggets, burgers, etc.) all around the pool area were tasty. But the sit down restaurants food was very disappointing. Fish was way overcooked and flavorless. Same with steak. Instead of a whole cut of tenderloin steak, they serve you a few pre-cut strips of a dry and tough meat. More surprising Lobster was not offered at all. In fact, I don't think there was any lobster on the cruise at all. This is clearly a cruise where food is geared toward children, and not anyone with a gourmet palate. On Royal Caribbean we felt like we were eating at a fine dining restaurant every night because the caliber of the food was so great. Steaks, lobster, all kinds of seafood. On Disney everything was just bland and some dishes were down right ruined. It was a shame because the Disney Dining rotation was a neat concept. We ate in three different restaurants on three different nights, all with different themes. But the menus were all similar and the food was all equally disappointing. We had one decent dinner in Tritons on the second night. The sea bass. Steaks were not actual steaks, but strips of pre-cut steak badly cooked. An "avocado citrus salad" was two tiny chips of avocado sitting on a bunch of iceburg lettuce with some minute made condensed OJ drizzled on top. I tried a tuna-tatar appetizer with wasabi, but it just tasted bad. The restaurants were clearly for kids. Which was nice because our kids could act out, make noise, etc., and no one would care. But if I was not part of a family and wanted to go on a relaxing adult cruise, this would not be it. Just because of the restaurants. Noise. Clanging. Crying. Screaming. Great for kids. Not so great for adults. But that's a Disney Cruise. CONS - (2) Kids Club - This was another, surprising, disappointment for us. The kids club facilities were impressive...amazing, actually. Both the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab were gorgeous, taking up half an entire deck of the ship. But, facilities aside, we found the kids clubs to be disorganized, chaotic, and even a bit dangerous. There seemed to be no organized activities for the kids while our daughter was there. Just a huge mob of children running every which way. The kids scanned in and out with a special RFID bracelet. But there were no name tags for the children. No individual attention. No personalized attention. No organized activities from what we could see. There were groups of kids running here and there exploring and playing, but I did not see an organized group doing a craft. The only thing I did see was a halphazard "dance class" in the Oceaneer Lab. It felt like you drop off your child in this massive room with all this overstimulation, and then they fend for themselves. This wasn't very confidence-building for parents with younger children in the 3-6 age range, who require more structure. I could easily see a situation where a younger child gets hurt or injured due to the lack of ratio with adult care-givers and individualized attention. when we used the kids club on Royal Caribbean, it was a smaller program (and filled up quickly), but the children had name tags and there was much more structure, organization, planned activities and themes, and very strict ratios with adult caregivers. I had much more confidence leaving my 4 year old child in the Royal Caribbean staff care than Disney. The Disney kids club truly reminded me of "Neverland" and all the kids were "lost boys" running about, doing whatever they wanted, without any adult orgnization. Perhaps the club facility itself is enough. But if you have a child who is shy or easily bullied, there could be trouble. Another example of the lack of attention - My daughter spent 2 hours in the Kids Club on Castaway Cay while I went to the spa. When I checked her in, I specified that she had dietary restrictions (we do not eat red meat or pork). When I picked her up after lunch, she proudly explained how she "ate all kinds of different foods" (including a hot dog and a hamburger). She ended up with a bad tummy for most of the afternoon because she normally doesn't eat that stuff. While I realize this wasn't a big deal... it was a burger. It would be concerning to me if my daughter had much stricter food allergies or food intolerances. Just something for parents to note. (3) CONS Pirate Night Be forewarned, that the pirate party and fireworks are LATE at night, e.g., 10:30 PM / 10:45 PM, so the littlest pirates will not be able to make the show. Kind of sad. It would be nice to do the fireworks a little bit earlier, perhaps, so the under age 7 set can enjoy them. (4) CON - Disembarkation Disembarkation - there is no buffet or room service available on the morning of disembarkation. This was hugely inconvenient for us. We were assigned a breakfast time of 6:45 AM at one of the restaurants, and if we missed it, we wouldn't eat breakfast. Imagine trying to wake two overtired kids up at 6am, so they can get dressed and get to the restaurant by 6:45 AM on vacation. Not good. (5) CON - Service charges. Our cruise was four nights and we had close to $300 in gratuities and service charges added to our bill. On top of these "fixed" gratuities, it's expected that you give an additional tip to each of the head waiter, main waiter, assistant waiter, and cabin steward. DCL provides the envelopes and you feel bad if you don't give them more. My 2-year-old had the equivalent of $75 in tips prefixed for four days. Methinks excessive. All in all we had an enjoyable time, and would probably go again. But we found the food to be sooooo disappointing for the price we paid for the cruise. I don't think that DCL lived up to the hype in our book. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
I went on this 4 night cruise with my husband and 2 kids (ages 7 and 9). This was our 2nd Disney cruise and it was as great as the first one, though too short! As repeat cruisers, it took us less time to get acclimated and we immediately ... Read More
I went on this 4 night cruise with my husband and 2 kids (ages 7 and 9). This was our 2nd Disney cruise and it was as great as the first one, though too short! As repeat cruisers, it took us less time to get acclimated and we immediately started taking advantage of the evening shows and other special events. The cabin size (outward-facing with balcony) was comfortable for 4 people and stateroom service was great. We again enjoyed Castaway Cay and really liked the day excursion to the Atlantis water park, as well. But my highest praise comes around the food, which is the main reason we sail Disney. My daughter was multiple severe food allergies (egg, dairy, peanut, tree nut, sesame) and the dining staff is fabulous. We felt confident that her food was safe, and they went out of their way to offer alternative desserts. We'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Mid 30's, married almost 10 years, fairly well traveled, 2 ½ year old son. 1st time taking a big trip with just the 3 of us. 1st time cruisers. Got a very nice work bonus and went for the "blow out vacation" and spent $4100 ... Read More
Mid 30's, married almost 10 years, fairly well traveled, 2 ½ year old son. 1st time taking a big trip with just the 3 of us. 1st time cruisers. Got a very nice work bonus and went for the "blow out vacation" and spent $4100 on the 1 bedroom suite. Went to Cozumel and Castaway Cay. These are the good and bad things that I had not seen mentioned in other reviews. Goods: - Staff and service- fantastic, friendly, multinational, all excellent english. Engaging w. the children. Servers are cordial sweet and funny with the kids and efficient in their duties. the custodial staff were kind, nice and unobtrusive. - Concierge staff (extra service as part of the 1 bedroom suite)- accessible, informative, answered questions, provided any 3 of 3000+ DVDs for the room. Allowed for priority embarkation (however no priority disembarkation). Were there to book activites for you. Invitation only reception w. Captain Mickey (super cool) - Ship- clean, nice amenities, things in good repair. Amazing suite! Huge. awesome view and veranda. - Nursery- has one for kids under 3 yo who cannot go to the other kid programs. Staff seemed friendly. Only used this service once. - Food/restaurants- large portions, fairly expansive menus, 4 different sit down restaurants and 3 grab and go options. Unlimited except for alcohol, specialty options (coffees, etc) and Palo. Quick and 24/7 room service (limited menus for non-concierge cabins) - Palo- excellent fine dinning experience and worth the $20 per person. Internet- WiFi throughout the ship for a fee, spotty and slow buts its satellite. - Shows- fun, engaging, well paced, 2 per night. 3D movies look great (however 2 year olds don't wear glasses for 3d!) Spa services were amazing (but pricey and try to up sell a lot) and the gym area and free classes were a great addition. Bads: - Fair amount of hidden/excessive costs- $20 wine most fine dining was $40, 16oz Budweiser was $7+, they include 15% gratuity on ALL alcohol, as concierge cabin there was $12 per day per quest gratuity included for wait staff (2), chamber maid (who is the same daily) for all guests (even 2 ½ year olds). For our 5 days it was over $200 for the five days plus the additional 15% on alcohol. Also there is a expected (but not included) tip for the concierge - Food- over all the the quality is poor at best. All frozen, and tasted every bit of it. fish/seafood was horrible, kid options had no green veggies unless explicitly requested (1 entree option for kids was deep fried mozzarella sticks with french fries for dinner) - Kid options- website showed lots of free play area in the Oceaneer club/lab. However the vast majority of the times its open is drop off day care time with limited allowance of kids 3yo-12yo and no parent supervised play time was allowed. "open house" (general admission of all ages, parent supervised) times were early am or late PM. Great facilities and a lot of fun when it was open to us, but that was only twice as our son goes to bed @ 8-9pm. However was probably tons of fun for kid 4-5+, as the age range is quite broad. - Nursery- nice they have one, but its 0-3 yo, all integrated ages in a fairly small room. Was mainly just watching TV, no structured activities (that we could see) only used for 2 hrs as it seemed a little depressing. Fine for babies, but boring for 2 1/2 yo kid. Also no-one tells you to return the tracker bracelet (I assumed you left it in the room) was immediate charged to our bill $50. - Concierge- was a little surprised by the pre-printed, fill in the #'s tip form that came along with the invoice. Very reticent to discuss anything other than Disney day trips @ the ports-o-call. - Privacy- the room service folks/cleaning staff just come in. will knot/buzz once and enter. While it may seem there are a fair amount of negatives, we had a wonderful family vacation. Lots of fun and laughter, great memories and photos. Its just that the additional costs added up very quickly. Was an extra $1000 on top of the cruise and airfare, granted ½ of this was a wine package (7 bottles total, hey we're on vacation!) and a massage. We spent a large amount of money on what was supposed to be the best vacation ever and felt a little disappointed with the amenities/extras we thought we paid for once it was all done. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Saturday-Embarkation on board the Disney Wonder was fast and smooth. No problems were encountered. It was exciting to hear Disney Cruise staff call our last name as we walked on board. We felt like celebrities and we had only been inside ... Read More
Saturday-Embarkation on board the Disney Wonder was fast and smooth. No problems were encountered. It was exciting to hear Disney Cruise staff call our last name as we walked on board. We felt like celebrities and we had only been inside the ship less than 1 minute. Sunday- DAY AT SEA- It was a relaxing day. The weather was beautiful. There was no rain. This day and the remainder of the cruise was great because we never got any rain! Wherever we went, you saw Walt Disney's pictures, pictures of animated drawings, famous movies, and you would also hear music playing from Classic Disney Movies such as Mary Poppins and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The staff was professional. The service was "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"! We met a waiter from the Dominican Republic near the adult pool area. He was very friendly and helpful. He told us of a "cafe" where other fancy desserts and additional snacks could be found free of charge and were super delicious. By the way, the Toy Store musical was amazing and I would recommend it to both children and adults! Today and every day we saw different princesses and Disney Characters roaming around the ship and taking pictures with both young and old. I felt like a little girl reliving my childhood Disney years. Monday-Our day in Cozumel was amazing! We arrived at a port we had never been before. This was our 4th time in Cozumel. It was clean and bigger. There was an indoor mall. We were lucky to find a gentleman who took us on a horse and carriage. The gentleman took us on a tour of the place which included: A Catholic Cathedral, a nice neighborhood, and nearby stores. The gentleman even allowed us to go inside the church and take pictures while he waited for us. The weather was perfect at Cozumel. We did a little bit of shopping. We thought the prices were reasonable. We ate some home- made tacos at a local restaurant and had dessert at a "Mc Donalds". The dessert tasted different and was delicious! We will love to go back. No complaints whatsoever! The Disney show that evening again, was great! Again, it was nice seeing princesses and characters all over the ship. We also had an upper deck party with Disney's Characters. Mickey even went across a zip line! How professional everything looked! We also saw fire works. What a wonderful surprise it was! Tuesday-Day at Sea-We enjoyed doing some more shopping and this time, inside the ship. We spent some time relaxing and getting to know the ship. We relaxed and went to another show. It was great to be able to celebrate my husband's birthday inside the Disney Wonder. While at Palo's Restaurant, a staff member wrote on one of their restaurant plates "happy birthday" with my husband's name in chocolate. It was so classy. While inside this beautiful restaurant, we met the chef who cooked our lovely meal on that day. Our chef was nice enough to even interview a couple and friend of ours who are Vegan and asked them what they "did not like". The food was to die for. If you ever go on board the Disney Wonder, you need to select at least one day and visit PALO restaurant. You will not regret it! The only problem you will encounter is that you will not be able to eat for the remainder of the evening after indulging a five course meal. Our server, Eve, was fantastic. Thank you!!! Wednesday-Disney's Castaway Cay-Today we visited Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. What a beautiful island and place it was to spend the entire day! We laid out near one of the Cabana's at the beach and stayed there for a few hours in the shaded area. It was nice to just be able to relax on the sun, read a book, and just enjoy some quiet time. One of the highlights of been at Castaway Cay was several crew members, including our waiter on board the ship went to the island and cooked for us. We even had a long selection of desserts, ice cream, and fruits enough to feed an army. It was again, over the top! It was nice to see all of Disney's Characters late that evening in the lobby greeting their guests one last time and allowing everyone one last opportunity to take pictures with them! What a beautiful day it was! That day will stay with us for an eternity! Disembarkation-Today we left to go home, but we left the Disney Wonder very happy and with beautiful memories. The trip was a great success. Leaving the ship was such a smooth process. We can honestly say we will be back on another Disney Cruise. Disney Cruises are not just for kids. Disney Cruises are for both young and old. 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
This is my third cruise with DCL. We took 2 cruises on the Disney Dream in 2012 before trying out the Disney Wonder for the first time. First, even though I will share the good, bad and everythign in between, let me say that I still think ... Read More
This is my third cruise with DCL. We took 2 cruises on the Disney Dream in 2012 before trying out the Disney Wonder for the first time. First, even though I will share the good, bad and everythign in between, let me say that I still think Disney is the premiere cruise line for families with children, and for adults w/o children for that matter who seek out the magical Disney experience. We were uncertain about the older Wonder ship, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that the service quality, staff friendliness, shows, kids activities, and ship cleanliness were all superb on this ship just like it was on the newer Dream. I will quickly go through the list of things I think Disney can and should improve about the Wonder experience to make it even better, but all in all still a great cruise experience. This is out of Disney's control, but the Port of Miami check-in procedures seemed more hectic and chaotic than checking in at Port Canaveral. We arrived at 11:00 for early check-in (that was our scheduled time to arrive), but they didn't clear the ship until 12:15 for those already checked-in to enter the ship. That was a frustrating full hour to just sit around with absolutely nothing to do, no snacks, no nothing in that tiny waiting area. We never had an experience like that at Port Canaveral. Those ships at that Port cleared by 11:00 on both occasions for us. The food was very good overall, but we did find that the food quality was not quite as good on the Wonder compared to the Dream. Animator's Palate was spectacular as far as the dining room experience. What a neat place to eat dinner! We really liked the atmosphere and food at Triton's too. Parrot Cay was just okay, and unfortunately we got assigned to eat there 2 out of the 4 nights. Our waiters were friendly, but they seemed overworked and stressed out part of the time. The ship was packed (full), so that might have explained why we felt the waiters were so slammed and assigned too many tables. Not their fault. We never once felt this way about the wait staff on the Dream. The shows were great as always, with the exception of the Toy Story musical. That show was a little bothersome for us and we think other families with children felt similar. They way overplayed the "evil" kid in that musical, so the show took on too dark of an experience for Disney if you ask me. The music in it was just plain weird when the evil kid played his parts. The "Dreams" show was absolutely incredible and easily the best Disney show we've ever seen. Incredible acting and music in that show...they need to take this one to Broadway! We had already seen the Golden Mickey's. It's a good show, but it's probably time for Disney to retire it soon since all of us who cruise regularly are going to tire out from that same show. The kids activities were great as always. One of our kids just became a tween, so he enjoyed the Edge a lot. Heck, we all enjoyed it during Open House and my wife, myself and his 7 year old sister enjoyed about an hour playing games in there one day. Bingo, always fun. Disney trivia, always fun. Pools were great on this ship. Thank you for keeping the Goofy pool heated, in January! That made all the difference. I have to admit our kids and I really missed the Aqua Duck that is only on the Dream and Fantasy, and the Mickey slide on the wonder was way too slow and no thrills for our 7 and 11 year olds. The ship needs to upgrade and put in some type of new slide or water attraction beyond what's there (2 small pools for kids and a dinky slide). The b-ball and soccer courts were great, as was the ping pong and fusball tables at the front of the ship. We hung out there a few times and loved that part of the ship! This was better than the Dream's sports deck if you ask me. Our interior cabin on Deck 2 was very clean and we loved our cabin steward. He was very nice and always asking about our experience with the room and with the cruise in general. We did miss staying in a room with a veranda this time, so if you can spend a little more to stay in a room with a balcony on DCL I highly encourage it. It makes a big difference to experience that natural sunlight and ocean breeze right from your room. All in all, a fantastic cruise and ship. We have our sights on the Fantasy next time, and can't wait to enjoy the longer 7 nt. cruise experience on DCL. Also, I'm SO ready to return to Port Canaveral. I'm just not a fan of Miami or the Port there. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
A few hints about a Disney cruise. Photos: If you are traveling with a group and have multiple cabins use one cabin for ALL photos. Disney sells photos the traditional way with printed pics that you can buy for $20. However, they also ... Read More
A few hints about a Disney cruise. Photos: If you are traveling with a group and have multiple cabins use one cabin for ALL photos. Disney sells photos the traditional way with printed pics that you can buy for $20. However, they also sell cds allowing you take home digital files. Whenever Disney takes a photo, even the coming on board photo, you will be asked for your room key. Disney stores the photos all cruise long. A kiosk allows you see all the photos taken at the end of the cruise. The trick is the files are stored by cabin number. We had three cabins and by pure luck had 90% of all our photos on one room key. Meaning we only had to buy one cd to get our photos. If the best pictures were spread out amongst three cabins we would have had to buy three cabins. Disney won't allow picking files from multiple cabins. The cost was $149 for ten digital files, $199 for fifteen digital files or $249 for all the files. Characters: We were disappointed in our opportunity to visit characters. The lines were longer than at the Disney World theme parks and the number of characters was quite limited. There was Mickey, Minnie and friends. Snow White, Ariel and Tiana made two visits in our five day cruise but no Cinderella or Belle. Captain Jack showed up for The Pirates ON the Caribbean party. And Pinocchio was available one night. No Pooh and friends. No recent movies. If you're kids want to see characters and you'll also be at the parks, you'll save time seeing the characters there. Entertainment: Hands down best on the water. The production values were breathtaking. Though the story line bored the kids somewhat. The kids preferred the magician and the ventriloquist. Food: We were quite pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. Past cruises on other cruise lines have left us assuming no money is spent on food. But Disney surpassed our expectations -except on dessert. Like all other cruise lines they forgot to put sugar in the dessert. I was left eating the Mickey Bar with the kids!! Kids Programs: We were totally caught off guard when we found out the kids programs were free!! How could anything on a cruise be free. Our six year old boy loved the kids program. Our eight year old girl, not so much. The kids program allowed the six year old to get out of a long dinner on the last night. It was getting hard for him to sit still for that long. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Having sailed years ago on the Magic, the Wonder is pratically identical. After sailing on innumerable cruises, I find that the size of the Wonder and Magic are perfect. The Wonder is immaculately cared for and did not show her age in ... Read More
Having sailed years ago on the Magic, the Wonder is pratically identical. After sailing on innumerable cruises, I find that the size of the Wonder and Magic are perfect. The Wonder is immaculately cared for and did not show her age in the least. Cabin: Cabin 2140 is a 9C oceanview stateroom that is 214 sq feet. It has a treasure chest for additional storage. Cabin noise is minimal except when the ship is docking as you do hear the engines and the vibration of the vessel. I prefer the aft cabins because there is less motion in the rear as opposed to the front. The Cabin attendant, Filip, was one of the best we have ever had. Food: The food on the Wonder is much better than it was years ago on the Magic. Dinner at Triton's (French Restaurant) was very good and even included souffle for dessert. We ate 3 nights at Palo and highly recommend it. The Maitre D at Palo is Antonio who was fantastic. Our Palo waiter, Alvaro, was outstanding. Among the top choices ar e the portobello/polenta appetizer, the lobster ravioli, the filet mignon and the chocolate souffle. Breakfast service is my only complaint. Triton's has the best breakfast but closes at 9:30 am. After that, the only choices are Parrot Cay or the buffet on the pool deck-- both are buffets. The pool buffet is better than the one ate Parrot Cay. Disney should have 1 buffet and an a la carte breakfast restaurant like most cruise lines do. Never had a chance to have great breakfast on the Wonder. The last morning, there is no room service snd the 9th floor buffet was extraordinarily crowded. Again, Disney could have had a limited room service menu on the last morning to ease disembarkation. Kids Clubs: Our kids, 8 and 9, loved the Oceaneer Lab and Club. The activities and terrific staff will keep the kids entertained for hours. This is the best kids program at sea. Entertainment: The shows were spectacular. We saw the Golden Mickey's and Disney Dreams, which were both top-notch. The first and last show were good but not as great. Movies in the theater on board are terrific and included Lincoln as well as Wreck it Ralph, the Avengers, and Brave. Ports: Cozumel was great. Highly recommend paying more to go to Palancar Beach. They have free beach loungers, clear water, and shady spots. Downside of beach is there are too many rocks as you enter the water. Castaway Cay was not as good because of the cold and cloudy weather. We did not have beach day. Otherwise, it would have been great as Disney's island and Holland America's island are the 2 best at sea. All in all, Disney is one of the best cruise lines especially if you have small kids. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This was our fourth cruise, second with DCL. Our first was on the Disney Magic last year out of Port Canaveral. We drove into Miami the morning of embarkation; it took 3.5 hours with a stop for breakfast. We parked at Premier Cruise ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise, second with DCL. Our first was on the Disney Magic last year out of Port Canaveral. We drove into Miami the morning of embarkation; it took 3.5 hours with a stop for breakfast. We parked at Premier Cruise Parking, booked through Global Airport Parking. Not to be confused with Premier Parking Ventures! This parking facility was a garage with gate. We parked on the top floor and our car was intact, albeit a little dirty upon our return. The shuttle service was top notch. We didn't have to wait long for a shuttle in either direction. Check-in went very smoothly and is set-up similar to that in Port Canaveral. The main differences being the size of the terminal. In Miami, they are currently using terminal F. It is long and narrow in the check-in area. There may have been more room further on, but we didn't have time to check things out. The shuttle dropped us of at 11am exactly. We gave our bags to the porters and there was no wait to check-in once we got inside and we received boarding group #3. We had just enough time for a bathroom break, organize our lanyards, and take a peek at the Personal Navigator. By 11:35, they were announcing the family of the day to board and regular boarding commenced immediately after they got on. We were boarding the ship at 11:45a! We attended the Welcome Buffet in Parrot Cay, the main dining room which is set up as a buffet for breakfast and lunch. We had a nice leisurely lunch while we waited for the rooms to be ready. After, we brought our 2 year old to the nursery and club, for open house, to check out what was there for her to play with. She enjoyed both areas very much and made another reservation for her to stay in the nursery while we were there because we had booked a Tequila Tasting for the first sea day at guest services. A little before 1:30 we decided to head to deck 7, where our staterooms were located. A rope was across the hallway that stated 2:00pm was the official time rooms are to be opened. We knew from past experience that it could be as early as 1:30pm. We were in our rooms before 1:40! We had stateroom 7102 and our family was in the connecting stateroom of 7100. The staterooms were in a good location, close to the AFT elevators and therefore close to 90% of the dining options. It's a long walk back to the room from the shows at night, especially with a sleeping toddler in your arms. I posted a small review of the stateroom for more info. We visited two ports, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The tender process in Grand Cayman was efficient. We got to the Buena Vista Theater early to get our tender tickets. We were doing the Turtle Farm on our own and didn't have the priority boarding that the excursions get. We made it onto the first tender, easily. It was an early arrival (7:30am), so there weren't as many people waiting for the first tender as I expected. We were able to get to the port quickly and had time to shop a little before we had to meet the bus at 8:30 to the turtle farm. I have posted a review of the turtle farm as well, here on cruise critic. In Cozumel, we docked at Punta Langosta which is near downtown. We took a taxi to Mr Sanchos Beach Club for $25 each way. I posted a review of that too. The ship is in good condition, considering it is over 14 years old. Nothing was bad enough to put me off. Everything we encountered was in good working condition. The lounges we went to for the entertainment were very nice. I especially liked the events put on by our cruise staff. I feel they were better than what we encountered on the Magic last year. The shows, in my opinion, weren't as good as the Magic. Golden Mickey's were OK, but I felt it was lacking some positive energy? I cant quite put my finger on it. Toy Story was good, but basically just a condensed version of the first movie. I saw Dreams on our last cruise, so I skipped it this time to pack and watch my daughter in the room. I do regret doing that, I should have seen how this set of performers did the show... maybe it's just a case of lackluster performance on our cruise. Golden Mickey's is fairly highly rated by most cruisers and I was surprised when I was slightly disappointed in most of it. The dining on this cruise was top notch. Everything I had was delicious this time around. I can't say the same for the Disney Magic. The chefs must be better on the Wonder! Our dining staff was fantastic. Our daughters food came out quickly after the first night. They brought her milk and the fruit appetizer as soon as food service started each night without us having to tell them. Our meals were quick to follow and we were done before the mini dining room shows each night! Some nights this was a real blessing because our daughter started to melt down. One night I had to leave dinner early. They covered my food and my family was able to bring it to me in the room when they finished their meals. We didn't do PALO dinner on this cruise because we wanted to enjoy all the menus in the main dining rooms. DH and I now know for certain that Parrot Cay's signature menu is not for us and in the future we will book PALO for that night. We did do PALO brunch again. It is so worth the $20 add on! So much good food, so little time and stomach space to eat it all!!! Our daughter is an early riser so we had to eat at either Goofy's Galley or the buffet every morning, as soon as they opened. I love the omelet station in the buffet and Goofy's Galley has really good yogurt smoothies and fresh warmed croissants. For lunch, we did the welcome buffet, PALO brunch (sea day), Pluto's Dog House (after Grand Cayman), Mr Sanchos All Inclusive (in Cozumel), and Pluto's/Pinocchio/Goofy (sea day). Everything was very very good! I left my running shoes at home, oops! Really, I forgot. I brought my running clothes and everything, just forgot to grab the shoes on the way out. Too much craziness that morning in our house. I was hoping to make use of the gym and running track this cruise, but alas, it will have to wait again. I didn't set foot in the spa either, not even a tour. I organized all our shore excursions myself, so I cannot comment on the DCL port adventures. I recommend the tasting seminars. Go to guest services when you board and inquire about them. I only did the Tequila and Margarita tasting, but it was a lot of fun and we learned a lot about how Tequila is made. I also recommend Who Wants to be a Mouseketeer, Wonder Quest, Mickey Mania, and Bingo. Two of those are heavily dependent upon your knowledge and love of everything Disney. Wonder Quest was SO much fun, it's like a scavenger hunt but you have to stay in the room and have it on you already or find it nearby. We didn't pay to play BINGO, but the cruise staff puts on quite a show and it was fun to watch while we ate a snack indoors. I also attended the drawing class for Donald Duck. I wanted to do more of them, but the times didn't line up. The teacher takes you through line by line, its a lot of fun! I thought all of the activities I was able to attend were very well put together and the cruise staff made them all super fun. The only non-Disney entertainment I went to was a ventriloquist. I am not a big variety act kind of person, in general. I thought it was OK and convinced myself that I just need to stay away from those types of acts on cruise ships. They are never quite as good as I expect them to be! This worked out well because the other adults wanted to see those shows and I watched after my daughter while they went. The rates in general, for the Wonder out of Miami are much more reasonable than the sailings on the new ships Dream and Fantasy. We booked this cruise on a FL resident deal, because of that we got a very good value for our money. We were able to get a balcony stateroom for the first time. We didn't use it as much as I would have liked, if I paid full fare for it. For that reason, we will stick to interiors or oceanview in the future. Like any cruise, the photos are outrageously priced! I wish they would put together smaller packages so you can get a little break on prices. The smallest photo package was for 10 photos and we didn't even have that many good photos to choose from between the two cabins! Which reminds me, I was disappointed in the character meet and greets. It seemed like there weren't as many times that characters were out for portraits. For that reason, the lines were CRAZY long and the times were always right before dinner seating. We didn't want to be late for dinner, but we also would have liked to be dressed up for some of the character opportunities. Last but not least, the service on this ship was excellent! We did not encounter one cast member that could even be considered a 4 out of 5. They were all 5+. Maybe we were lucky, but I think if you don't get that service, it must be incredible bad luck. A cruise like we had this week on the Wonder makes me want to sail DCL over and over again. If only we could afford to all the time! :) Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
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