This was our third Disney Cruise, our second with our boys. We booked the cruise well over a year in advance and had a lot of fun planning. We looked at this as one of our big trips, one of only a few we may have while the kids live with us.
Finding affordable hotels with a family of five was difficult in San Juan. We stayed at the Embassy Suites which is very close to the airport. The hotel was nice, we liked our room, and the breakfast was also good. The pool was nice and the boys enjoyed that. The managers reception was disappointing, so plan on finding some food for an evening meal. While it was a nice place, I'm not used to spending $300/night on hotels.
This was our first time on the Wonder. Our favorite is the Magic and the Wonder did not disappoint in the least.
This was a long trip so I'll summarize the best I can:
Embarkation: Super organized, very fast. After we got in, we were chosen as Family of the Day! Very exciting and we got to board first and take some fun photos.
Buffets: really amazing, great selection, not hard to find seating.
Main Dining: also really great, loved the selection, food was excellent, service was excellent.
Palo: our first time there, while it was great we felt completely out of place and very awkward the entire time. Definitely don't understand why people spend the $ to go here when the main dining food is so great. It felt pretentious.
Rainforest Room: a favorite of ours. I prefer the smaller ships with the interior rainforest room, very relaxing. 1-2 days of passes are plenty for us. Spa personnel friendlier than some other times we've gone.
Evening Adult Entertainment: really fun. games were short enough that you could go, have fun, and leave. Crew was great.
Bingo: Not sure why I still go. It's fun but not worth the price and I always buy more cards than I really need. Never won anything before but it is fun to go.
Shows: Not a fan of the toy story show but the others were great. The magicians were ok, that kind of show isn't my favorite to begin with though.
Lost and Found: My son lost a phone and I lost my wallet (with my drivers license and $150 cash) and both times they were very friendly and helpful and both items were found. Very pleased with that.
Kids Clubs: I prefer the magic where the clubs are connected. The 11 year old loved edge and the other two loved their clubs. I wasn't as impressed with the space but they enjoyed themselves and had a great time, so what does it matter if I like the ones on the other ships better?
Grenada River Tubing: Our favorite of the entire trip. Loved this trip, loved our guides, very enjoyable and worth the money. If you get car sick do not do this the trip to the river is harrowing.
Barbados Turtles: Everyone else I talked to loved this one but our trip saw NO turtles. I get it, the turtles aren't on contract :) but it was disappointing and I wish we'd done a tour of some sort. There were no flippers, which made it hard for my kids and for me to swim.
Martinique: I wish we had done an excursion, there wasn't much to see near the port and I was underwhelmed. I learned that some sort of tour is the most fun trip for me and this was a bit of a waste of a day for us. We went back to the ship and enjoyed our day there.
Antigua Kayak and Snorkel: Really fun. The boys were starting to get tired and were a little crabby. I'm not sure they could have kept up if they were any younger. Two were in a kayak together without me or dad to help paddle. The guides were GREAT. We got stuck in a huge downpour and they did a great job keeping everyone happy.
St Kitts Dolphins: This was expensive to begin with. It was fun, I'm glad we did it but we'll never do it again. The guide was really good. We got back to the office and I was concerned the photos would be expensive but it was $260 for our family. That's CRAZY. But I felt rushed so I just bought them at the encouragement of DH and went outside to wait for the bus. It was over an hour late. We were disappointed that was what we did our last day and again wished we'd done something with a tour element (live and learn). Again, good for "once in a lifetime" but prepare yourself for the photo cost.
Cabin: the cabins are lovely. We were in the secret porthole rooms and they were great. Deck 5 is our favorite. The rooms are large, we'd have to get a jr suite on RC to get that much space. Our steward was great, we hardly ever saw him and when we did he was very nice. Having a connecting room for the kids was fantastic.
Disembarkation was a breeze. We've only had one slow experience and this was great. We stayed at the Hyatt Place by the Pan American pier before going home and it was really nice, but again I wonder if it really needed to be $300. We also went to Raices for lunch which I'd heard good things about but two appetizers and one meal that we all five shared for lunch came to $70 with tip. I'm so glad I went to San Juan to see it but I don't know if I would go again due to the prices. Maybe as a stop on another cruise.
Final: This was definitely "magical". DCL does things right. We left thinking this would be our last DCL trip because of the price, but two days in DH was saying "go book the next one on board for the discount". Next time we won't do fish extender gifts, and I won't pack all the extra nicer clothes. I really want to just go and relax if we go again. Very special memories with our boys.
We had connecting secret porthole rooms on the Wonder. These rooms had a large porthole window (no seat). The blocked view wasn't that bad, and it was nice to see all the islands when we woke up in the morning. The TVs don't have on demand movies yet, but there were a lot of shows to choose from for late-night snack time. The closets were large, lots of storage, bathrooms were nice, split bathrooms. Regular tubs in the bath. Deck 5 is my favorite near the movie theatre and the clubs and very few rooms compared to other decks, so fewer passengers.
Really loved San Juan. We took the free trolley all around Old San Juan and walked around a bit. Felt very safe even with the kids. Food and lodging are expensive in San Juan. Lunch at Raices, two apps and one meal shared between five of us was $70 with tip. Hotels were consistently at least $300/night. Friendly though and very beautiful city.
The staff did a great job but we were unfortunate to see no turtles. That's no one's fault. I was also disappointed we did not get any fins, which made it hard for my boys and I to swim while it was very windy out.
My absolute favorite of the trip! The guides were great, our bus driver was also fantastic. The boys loved tubing and so did I. Very fun. The trip up the mountain is very curvy and tight, so if you get car sick easily I wouldn't recommend it.
I wish we had taken an excursion. To walk out on our own there wasn't much to see. Beautiful place but I didn't see much of it. I would recommend a tour of some sort.
Also one of our favorites of our trip. The guides were great, made sure our boys 10, 11 who were in a boat together stayed with the group. Showed everyone neat points of interest. The hike was a little scary (very short hike, but up a steep hill and I'm afraid of heights), but I'm SO glad I went up the hill, the view was amazing. Even with the downpour we got caught in it was wonderful.
For the cost of this excursion I would have expected a little better customer service. The staff rushed us at the end, and the bus was very late to get us (about an hour). The photos were $260 for five of us, which was ridiculous, and I went in assuming it would be high. The experience itself was fun, although short. Good to do once but won't go again.