I have cruised with Disney once before, and that experience was a 10 out of 10. But now, 5 years later its a very different experience.
We took our cruise during an interesting time, during our trip DCL was hosting some Disney bloggers and those bloggers soured this trip for us.
My fiance and I wouldn't normally take a Disney cruise as a solo get away, but due to inheriting some DVC points after a family members pass we were in a use them or lose this situation so the DVC agent noted our soon to expire points would cover a Disney Cruise, we booked and this was the only one available.
I want to start with our embarkation, we left from Miami. I know the common complaint about DCL is the staff during embarkation and disembarkation. For us, our embarkation process was pleasant.. I am originally from Miami so I didn't need to explore the area. We ended up being in boarding group 3, so at that point the staff were all in pretty good moods. The check in process on the other hand is a whole other story. Upon checking it our room wasn't ready yet (1:30pm is the time rooms are usually ready), which was fine, aside from the fact the only way to kill time was to eat, we were told we to come back to the check in desk around 1:00 for our room assignment as there was some system errors.
This is where the big issue came, at 1:00 we went for our room assignment. We booked for a Veranda room, well apparently thats what Disney PR had put the bloggers in and they had actually overbooked our room, therefore because it was a corporate room we lost the right to stay. We were placed in an interior instead. Look, I am not trying to complain, AT ALL, but when you pay and reserve a room and then get moved and placed in a substantially cheaper one because the bloggers come first, you're bound to be angry. Needless to say this didn't go over well with us and I was heated. After speaking with a manager I was told that they could move us to an Oceanview and comp us for a meal at Palo. I was fine with that as aside from the balcony the rooms are similar.
After our debacle we attempted to settle in to our room, unfortunately we didn't end up getting our luggage until 9pm. One of the biggest drawbacks is on this ship almost all the dinner spots were character dining, which isn't always what you want to do. According to some staff the Tangled dining experience is more of a show and is more enjoyable. The food is a grade above Walt Disney World food but not as good as Disneyland food. The flavors are bland and the food is just unmemorable.
During our first full day we were at sea, and this was the highlight of the whole cruise, the spa. We purchased the the Couples Choice package and we are still raving about it. Its the perfect escapism on this cruise. If you do this you will be pleased. I have learned that I can receive similar treatments at the spa in Grand Floridian.
Now for the part of this review that showcases why this is my final Disney Cruise. I understand its Disney, but there NEEDS to be more adult only options. On our final night we dined at Palo. Palo is wonderful, the staff is lovely and the food was the best on the ship. But the atmosphere is what killed it for us. Upon reserving a table we were told through the Disney travel agent it was upscale where "elevated business casual is required", obviously that isn't the case anymore. My fiance was in slacks, a button down and dress shoes, and I was in a maxi dress and heels. The table next to us were in shorts and sweatshirts. I just think that is ridiculous. This also shows why I was desperate for some more adult only activities because Palo had screaming children and rambunctious kids.
For the size and capacity of the ship the pools are just so small and the lounge areas are tightly packed. Normal events and experiences on the ship where either closed or limited as the blogger hosting took precedent. At one point the ship advertised a show in the theatre but when we arrived we were told "the show was cancelled due to the blogger event as they were having an education seminar. I wish DCL would really promote some child free activities.
As for the day at Grand Cayman, its not the best destination to be honest, we went to seven mile beach which was great but getting from the ship to the island is about 45 minutes long. The excursions were pretty standard offerings. Nothing new or innovative. Castaway Cay is a great little thing, for us, the adults only beach made it great.
As for the staff and service, there is reason these cast member don't work directly in the parks. That's all I have to say.
Its Miami, our arrival time was scheduled for early
On adult only activity really offered