This is our first Disney experience and first cruise with your 3 year old daughter. It was a 5 day Bahamian cruise with one Marvel day at sea.
CHECK IN: we were picked up easily in baggage check by a Disney agent holding a sign with our name. She quickly got our bags and whisked us away to the Four Seasons Miami in a very comfortable SUV. The transportation (Disney) to the cruise ship was not so easy. We were in a huge bus and had to wait for everyone to get on. When we got to the port, it was very crowded and we were not sure where to go. There was a very long line although we were in concierge level. We are not familiar with cruising so we expected a private check in. But, maybe that's not how concierge cruises go?
ROOM: Our room was absolutely gorgeous with a long balcony (not deep though). It was a one bedroom suite with two bathrooms and two showers. The bed and pillows were very comfortable. The rocking of the ship made it very easy to sleep. Our room was kept tidy and we had special treats every night by Ferdie. He was great and very friendly and eager to please. The mini bar was convenient as we always had sparkling water and other drinks available. Concierge made sure we had the drinks we specifically wanted. We put the baby in a crib and she fit nicely next to our room and we still had our own space.
CONCIERGE: I cannot imagine what this first experience would have been like without the concierge team: Emanuela, Kamesha and Amanda and help from staff, Hikmet, Nicholas and Jermain. We needed a lot of "hand holding" as we had not had any cruise experience on a ship this big. I expressed my concerns to Emanuela the first day and although I was a bit tired and frustrated after a long day of travel and some confusion, she was very, very patient and understanding and put me at ease and guided me through everything I needed to know. Every day, one of the team members would go through the itinerary with me and I greatly appreciated it. Kamesha and Amanda made Jacqueline my 3 year old feel very welcome and comfortable. They were able to get her the non dairy milk that I had requested and also the sparkling mineral water. We were able to get a last minute reservation at Palo which was absolutely incredible.
FOOD: We ate at Lumiere's, Animator's Palate, and Rapunzel's Table. Our servers were Munir, Steve and Gerardo. Gerardo is very good at magic tricks and kept Jacqueline entertained. The dinner was great and food was very good with lots of choices. I only eat seafood but always found something I liked. On the Disney Magic, dinner is not just food, it's a show, a whole production. This was the first time, 5 days in a row our daughter sat at dinner and did not want to watch the ipad. The first night, she was very tired and crying though..Munir was so sympathetic and ran to get her a stuffed puppy. It cheered her up right away. Steve was always there to help us make great choices on dishes and he quickly learned our likes and dislikes.
PALO: Palo is the adults only italian restaurant. It is a must do. Mehmet was our server and he had me almost in tears laughing. Dinner was so great. We had the Osso Bucco and the Dover Sole.
CABANAS: this is the buffet option which we chose for breakfast and most lunches. It is excellent with a wide variety of choices and something different every day. The staff is excellent. Alexandru was so caring one morning when my daughter insisted on strawberry ice cream. He went out of his way to get it for her. Bee was so helpful and helped me carry my plate as I had my daughter in both arms.
CASTAWAY CAY: This is Disney's private island and it is absolutely spectacular. It is so beautiful and serene. We stayed in cabana 14 and this is a perfect location right across from the washrooms. The beach was calm with no waves and white sand. the water was crystal clear. It is almost like a dream. The only place more beautiful than this was our trip to Bora Bora. I do have to mention that some of the staff i.e. the driver of the train and one of the golf cart drivers were not representative of Disney standard. not friendly. not helpful. short. gruff.
SHOWS: We were only able to stay up for one show which was Dreams. This was the first time she ever watched a show from beginning to end with no coaxing. She was completely enthralled with her eyes glued to the stage.
CHARACTERS: The character meet and greets come with long lines but I realized that this is going to be unavoidable on a cruise..lines....lines to get out...lines to get on the ship, lines to see characters, lines to go to eat. lines. but, it was worth the wait for the memories. Jacqueline had several unforgettable memories. On two separate occasions, she ran into Ariel and Sophia. They were both so endearing and played with her and held her hand and walked around the ship with her for quite a while. It really made her trip. These are memories she will keep with her. We took videos.
OCEANEER'S CLUB: This is the part I was the most disappointed in. Although, it turned out well on the last try. We tried 3 times to get our daughter to go to the club, but she just would not go the first two times. The first time was not a good first impression. When we walked in, the girl at the check in was not very friendly or welcoming and seemed like she just didn't want to be there and had already had too long of a day and just wanted us to go away. I asked if I could walk my daughter in and this was not allowed. I came by 20 minutes after i dropped her off and she was wandering around by herself. The second time we tried, she cried again. The third time, luckily, we met Sophy. She was very helpful, patient and understanding. She let me walk Jacqueline around and get her acquainted. She requested for someone to come to her to help her get comfortable and we got Nic. She asked Jacqueline if she wanted to do face painting and she quickly went to her. That's all it took. I wish we had met Sophy and Nic on the first day. Other friends have said that their kids did not want to leave kids club, but our experience was totally the opposite. I did not see the big hype here. Hopefully, we have a better experience on our next cruise.
CHECK OUT: We had to get on a big bus again. I sat in the back because they fill the bus up so that there are absolutely no seats empty. I had motion sickness. My only suggestion would be to have an option for private transportation. I really enjoyed the bags checked through from ship to destination. That was very helpful.
We will definitely try this again. We will stick to the one bedroom suite. It is a perfect location in midship room 8022. It is one floor below all the action at the pool and just below concierge lounge.
two rooms. bedroom and living room. when you walk in there is a bathroom to the right and a living room and mini bar and balcony. the bedroom has a walk in closet, a mini desk/office and another bigger bathroom. definitely enough space for us to have our own time. there are only 4 of these rooms.