We are frequent cruisers who have been on all ranges of ships, from the NCL weekend booze cruises to Regent luxury cruises and we weren't sure what to expect on our Disney cruise. We took our very first cruise ever on the Disney Wonder 15 years ago. So, we were excited to revisit the perennial reader's favorite. We took advantage of the Disney check-in from home, as well as the Disney transport. It was nice to not to have to worry about our bags (which always magically appear onboard in our cabin, after checking in at the airport upon departure). When we landed in Orlando, though, we did not enjoy having to wait at the airport to board our bus for the Port for almost an hour. Not a great way to start our vacation. I think the reason Disney does this, is to manage crowds at the Port, but I think I would rather be waiting at the Port, instead of the airport. This part was not managed well. Once on board the ship, we were simply blown away with all of the design and decor. Each and every space on the ship was designed with thoughtful details (including music in each zone of the ship to create the mood). The selection of colors, textures, tiles, carpets and more was simply exquisite (and even the bathrooms are all specifically designed to fit in each area of the ship - be sure to check out the ones in Tatooine, with their round sliding doors). Activities abounded while on board, but here's what you need to know. Disney has all of their different activities segmented by age. So, if you are traveling with a child who is 18 and a friend who is 17, they will have a hard time trying to do much together on the ship, as Disney is very strict about the age cut-offs for everything. The older kids club goes from 14-17, and my 18 year old was not allowed to participate in their activities. And the "adult-only" areas on the ship, including many of the night-time activities (where drinking age is still 21) is strictly limited to those 18 and older (and this includes the 2 adult-only restaurants). When we asked if our daughter and friend could join us for dinner, we were told no, that the 17-year old would be unable to join (and they assign reservations to each guest, whose age is on file in the computer). So, that was sort of a bummer, because almost ALL of the activities are age-segmented. The onboard shows were amazing!! The two nights of fireworks onboard were pretty spectacular. We were there for the Star Wars Day at Sea. Think more people got into the Pirate night than the Star Wars theme. Think they could have done a better job of enhancing the offerings throughout the day for Star Wars day. We did have a great guest lecturer from Lucasfilms, who oversees all of the design and merchandising for all of the Star Wars films. The food was average, but the service throughout the ship was incredible. They had a ton of staff onboard and their attention to detail was fabulous. There are a couple of pools onboard. Total sensory overload at the main pool during the day with not one, but two pools filled with kids, and really loud movies playing all day long everyday. The adult pool area was better, but not as much ability to be in the sun near the pool. There is an adult-only deck on the top deck, which would be nice, but we had high winds at sea, and the area was not fun to be in. Great bar service at the adult pool area, and there is an additional bar up one deck (Currents), where they have live music (and is the best area on the ship to watch fireworks, if you don't care about seeing the accompanying stage show). Our room, which was an enlarged aft balcony suite, featured a 40' long balcony, which was awesome to have to escape the crowded pool areas. However, the trade-off was the severe vibration from the engines that we experienced a couple nights on our 7-night journey. The furnishings in the room are tired. Time for an update. Overall, it was a fun family trip, but for the money we paid, I would be hard pressed to not want to go back to Regent (we have been spoiled). We will probably wait until we have grandchildren to return back to the Disney ships.
We requested an aft balcony when we made our reservations, almost 9 months out. We lucked out, as we received one of the handicapped-accessible rooms on the rear of the ship, that was probably twice as large as your average cabin, including a 40' long balcony. We had 2 lounge chairs in addition to 2 chairs and a small table. It was really nice having all of the extra space, but we did have some significant vibration during 2 of our 7 nights at sea. We also did not have the typical Disney bathroom setup, as it was a single,handicapped-accessible bathroom, with an open shower (but interestingly, there was not a grab bar of any sort, which made shaving in the bathroom a challenge, with nothing to put a leg on, and nothing to grab onto when lifting my leg up). Overall, to have the extra space and the beautiful balcony, it was worth it. Plus, it was one of the best views of Castaway Cay anywhere on the ship!
It is one of the nicest ports.
We enjoyed a catamaran ride right from the pier, which was great. Sometimes you have to take a taxi over to the other side of the island, which takes a ton of time and isn't the most scenic trip. So, was good to have more time on the water. Headed to shipwreck cove. The only complaint was, there were 150 of us booked for this excursion, so even though there were 3 catamarans, it was too many people in the water all at one time in such a small area. The crew on the boat were awesome, though.View All 369 Snorkeling Reviews
The Flying Dutchman is a new attraction on St. Maarten. It is a zip line - the world's steepest! So much fun and an incredible view of the entire island at the top of the chair lift (which you can ride, even if you aren't doing the zip line). There is a lovely restaurant at the bottom, which was such an unexpected surprise (Emilio's).View All undefined undefined Reviews
They have done such a nice job making this island a special place for everyone. It was our first time over at the adult-only beach, and that was even more awesome. Especially to get away from the crowds and to have a much more relaxing atmosphere, including an acoustic guitar player on the beach. It was heaven! We also went back over to the snorkeling bay, which was fun.