Disney Wonder Cruise Review by inakiyaki
- Sail Date: September 2017
- Destination: Mexican Riviera
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Inside Stateroom
I usually travel with my immediate family of four and my extended family members in total of 10. We have previously traveled together on the Disney Fantasy for a New Year’s cruise experience in 2016-2017 out of Port Canaveral to the Eastern Caribbean and that was such a memorable experience with no complaints. We even decided we loved it so much that we would try to make it at least a yearly vacation experience together and possibly with additional family members in the future. We have even booked two future cruises together.
We recently traveled together on the Disney Wonder from September 15-17,2017 out of San Diego and we experienced numerous issues during our cruise experience that we felt should be addressed.
Having traveled with Disney before we were so excited to make more memorable moments only to find these moments was nothing like our previous experience.
This time my wife had health concerns that required her to have vegan dietary concerns. We were glad to find out that we were able to pre-select online prior to our cruise well in advance. I was also able to pre-order online for my 6 year-old sons birthday celebration by ordering a “Birthday celebration package“ to be available upon arrival to our stateroom. In addition, I was able to pre-order online for my wife a “Romance non-alcoholic package” of a rose, apple-cider, box of chocolates and two Disney bathrobes. My wife and I were so excited to see our sons face the minute we opened our stateroom door to video tape his expression the second he would see his birthday celebration. My son was so excited to be celebrating his birthday while on a Disney cruise. I was also excited to surprise my wife with the “Romance package.”
Our traveling party was also excited to be able to pre-check-in early online in order to obtain a good boarding time so we could experience the ship earlier prior to sailing.
Upon arrival our traveling party immediately saw the difference from our previous cruise experience in Port Canaveral, Florida. This time we noticed that EVERYONE was already occupying all the seats and standing room only at the Port lobby. No one was able to board per check in times and we literally looked like cattle awaiting instructions. The boarding for everyone began around 1:15 pm. Granted it was in boarding numbers but it was in a continuous order so by the time we entered the ship we were being quickly herded to ONLY eat at Tritons restaurant. When my cousin asked if we could eat at the Cabanas area we were told no and were forced to eat at Tritons.
My first lunch experience with Tritons was not a good experience. First, my wife asked for the vegan menu options and the staff looked at her, as they had no idea what she was talking about, calling her “the vegan lady.” She was forced to request the vegetarian option but had to eliminate most of the items that would not comply with vegan options. I had ordered the Chicken Caesar salad and after an hour of waiting when it arrived I tasted it and it was no Caesar salad I have ever tasted. The dressing was Italian and it just was not what I ordered and the lettuce was so wilted it looked as though it was just taken out of a freezer. I made staff aware and they said I could order something else but by that time an hour had passed and I just was not ready to wait any longer. The rest of my party had numerous complaints of their food quality too so I knew it wasn’t just not me.
After our lunch we walked up to the 9th deck to see that Cabanas had been opened the whole time and we even asked the staff and they said we should have went there.
By this time our staterooms were ready and I told my wife to get the video camera ready for me so I could film my sons expression for his birthday room celebration. She opened the door and to my surprise the room had not been decorated and I was so upset because I knew I was charged already from my credit card. I immediately looked for the “Romance package” and only saw the chocolates, rose, and cider. I was so upset not to find the bathrobes and I called guest service to express my concerns. I could not understand the staff and when I hung up I was unsure if my message was received. In the meantime my cousin who we had in the stateroom next to us showed us the Silver Castaway member gift in his stateroom and I began to look for ours with negative results. My sister who was down the hall came to say hello and she found out that she too did not have any Silver Castaway member gift. We were able to flag one of the stateroom hosts in the hallway and told them what had happened and they said they would see what they could do.
After our safety drill the stateroom host walked to my stateroom and as I was in front with the door opened she handed me my two robes with my wife next to me and said here are your robes, which I was very concerned because the surprise was NOT what I had paid a lot of money for. The host also told me that if I still wanted the “Birthday celebration” she could do it after dinner. She said this while my son had been standing right next to me hearing all that was said. So much for my surprise for my son!
During dinner we found out that what we had clicked on online with the Disney site was worthless for a Vegan option as NO restaurant to sit down or quick-service had any vegan options and again my wife had to make her own selections from a very limited number of food items. I will say that the dining staff did make do with what they had to make a somewhat vegan option. It was definitely not a meal that was well thought out.
One of our experiences with the quick-service meal was a very bad experience that literally took my wife at least 40 minutes to get somewhat resolved. She asked the staff for a veggie burger and asked if it had any animal products. None of the staff had a clue and we waited for a chef to come solve the problem. He finally arrived and he needed to look at some cookbook and said there were no issues. The staff provided my wife with what we thought was a veggie burger and she took a bite only to find out it was a fish sandwich! Man they were lucky my wife did not have an allergic reaction!
Our children were so excited to also celebrate “Halloween at Sea” but again we experienced a very unorganized event. The game and candy lines were so unorganized that there were so many people not knowing where a line ended or began. It was so bad that our kids did not want to participate because they felt they would be trampled upon. We began to get so frustrated because it could have been a very easy fix by not having all the games only in the main lobby and allow them to have various stations within the three levels of the atrium. You know something is bad when a child does not want any candy or games.
Somewhere we had heard that Disney only allows the best staff to work on the best ships and I think this trip we began to find this to be true. During our cruise we noticed that the staff were NOTHING like the staff we experienced on the Fantasy. After talking with other travelers we ALL had the same findings and like concerns in regards to food quality and food staff. One first time traveller actually told me he was not impressed with the quick-service meals and I told him I knew exactly what he spoke of. All of my traveling party spoke of how the quality of the quick-service meals was just very bad. We only ate at the quick-service once and that was after our experience with my wife, an order of hamburger, chicken strips, chicken burger with fry’s experience. I will say that the sit down dinner service was very good, but then again there was the issue of my wife and her vegan options not up to Disney’s so-called pre-selected online request.
As our cruise began to come to a close my traveling party and us sat only to realize that our cruise was nothing like our Fantasy experience and we hoped that this was only a fluke experience because we have two future cruises booked and hoped of many others to come. We began to question if we should cancel our future cruises, but we still had on our mind the Fantasy experience.
Our concern is that we paid a lot of money for our cruise and would expect what we know Disney is famous for. I especially did not appreciate that I was charged for services that I frankly did not receive. That is from the pre-ordered packages to my wife’s designated vegan dietary needs. My question to Disney is, why have a pre-selected online dietary option that you are unable to accommodate and mislead us to believe it would be honored? Had we known of this I would have never had placed my wife in a situation where she had to be very selective in what she ate. I recommend that Disney immediately implement on ALL their food menus whether its quick-service or dining an actual “Vegan” menu item so that future guests do not have to be stressed the task of ensuring their meals meet those vegan requirements. My wife left the ship so exhausted and stressed of having to speak to ANY food staff of what she could and could not have in order to eat. Something as small as the popcorn she was unable to eat because she was told it had butter. So for her it was so much not a vacation but rather an exhausting experience. To put it in terms of money, in no way did she get her fair share of dining experiences.
This cruise was nothing what I know Disney would expect if they were traveling on their very own ship. No one on their vacation wishes to have any concerns while vacationing. I felt as though this experience lacked the organization that I know and have experienced from Disney. I truly believe Disney needs to ensure ALL staff is well trained when dealing with dietary concerns.