By way of background, this is the 3rd cruise my wife and I have been on and second with my 11 year old son (my wife and I took a short Carnival cruise nearly 15 years ago, and our family sailed on RC's Enchantment of the Seas this past summer). We had a good time on this cruise, but have come to the conclusion that the extra money you pay for the Disney name probably isn't worth it for us. Cruise was a 5 night Mexican Riviera cruise with stops in Cabo and Ensenada. I should probably also mention that as Southern California residents we've grown up with Disneyland and have made a few trips to Disneyworld, which we love. I wouldn't say we're Disney fanatics, but Disneyworld is definitely our favorite vacation spot.
Ship: We liked the layout of the ship, particularly the fact that it was a manageable size. It rarely felt overly crowded. A few parts of the ship (like the main theater) look a little dated, but the renovated areas like the kids' clubs and adult clubs (the pub, the Azure theater) look good as new. I liked the decor of the lounge areas, particularly the Crown and Fin pub.
Dining: Eating in 3 different dining rooms was cool. The changes of scenery were nice. The food was underwhelming. A few dishes were really good (like the sea bass at Tiana's), but in general the dishes weren't as good as they looked in the menu descriptions. Service was fine, not exceptional. One thing that would frustrate me was their insistence that the main server present you with the dishes, which often meant food would be brought to the service station and sit there getting colder while the main server was attending to another table. This would happen despite the fact that the head waiter or assistant server were available to serve the food. I was tempted at times to just go and get my own food from the station while it was still warm. Cabanas buffet had decent options and we didn't have too much trouble getting a table. I was more impressed by the service in some of the lounges, where the servers quickly learned what you liked to drink even if you weren't a very regular customer. We ate brunch at Palo, and while the food was very good the service was surprisingly slow. Maybe it was just our server. If I sailed with Disney again I would probably dine there again.
Entertainment: We went to most of the major shows. "Frozen" is an excellent show. Matt Baker (juggler/stunt performer/comedian) was great in both his family and "adult" shows. Golden Mickeys had a weak story line and some odd song choices (being on this cruise would make you think "Princess and the Frog" was the most successful film in Disney history. I've never seen it.) We walked out of the magician's show, we just weren't into it. We missed the Enchanted, um, whatever it was. But we heard it was pretty similar to the Golden Mickeys so I don't think we missed out. Trivia and the game shows were definitely highlights. The cruise activities staff were funny and entertaining throughout, and the games were fun.
Kids Stuff: Our son spent a fair amount of time at the Edge, and I think he enjoyed it? It was hard to tell. He had no complaints about it, and said he enjoyed the activities. But often when given the choice between doing something at Edge or playing an "adult" trivia game with us (note- they don't seem to enforce the "adult" part at all during the day) he would usually choose to stay with us. He said he liked the counselors. Maybe it's just part of being 11, but it was hard to get much information out of him about the kids' club. He was technically also allowed to go to the Oceaneer Lab, but only went once (he liked the activity, which was science-based). He liked the water slide.
Spa/Fitness Center: This was the first time I tried going to a fitness center on a ship. It seemed a bit small (maybe they all are?) but pretty well equipped. My wife and I got a couple's massage at the spa which was nice. The only weird thing was that at one point we tried to go into the massage room from our verandah and found we had been locked outside with no way to communicate with the staff. Good thing neither of us had fallen overboard... I also got the Rain Room pass which had some nice amenities but seemed a bit expensive for what it was.
Excursions: We didn't go through the cruise line for either of our excursions. In Cabo we took a snorkeling trip on the Buccaneer Queen, which was cool. It got a little racy at the end when they started pouring shots into people, but for the most part it was a fun trip and the emcee/snorkeling leader was cool. The port at Cabo was fun to walk around once you got past the 5 million people offering you a tour or water taxi. In Ensenada we took a taxi out to Las Canadas Campamento for ziplining and ATV riding, which was my son's favorite part of the whole trip. We practically had the place to ourselves. The zipline/rope bridge course was a blast, and the guides (who were fully bilingual) were nice, very focused on safety and took tons of great pictures with my phone while my son and I did the course. I highly recommend it.
Cabin: See review below.
All things considered we had a good time, but we came to the conclusion that for our particular family we probably won't sail with Disney in the future. If the cruises were similarly priced then sure, we would do Disney again. But for our family it doesn't make sense to pay a premium for the Disney aspect of the cruise. We don't take pictures with the princesses (which seemed to be happening all hours of the day). If my son was younger then we'd probably consider it, because the atmosphere on the ship is a bit more family-friendly and there are a lot of kid activities. (The flip side of that is that there are a LOT more kids- they are EVERYWHERE on that ship.) But now that my son is more interested in trivia games then taking his picture with Mickey I'd rather save some money and sail with a less expensive line (hopefully with better food) going forward.
Cabin was small, but that's to be expected on a ship. Bed was comfortable. Split bathroom was nice, though both sides were crowded (again, probably to be expected on a ship). In this particular room there was some sort of loud whirring noise that occurred at all hours of the day and night. It wouldn't wake me up from sleep, but made it hard to fall asleep and nearly impossible to fall back asleep on the mornings where I was half-awake. At least it got me out of bed to hit the gym...
This was a snorkeling tour on a replica pirate ship. The staff were friendly and fun. We first sailed to see the arch (from a distance), then we were supposed to sail to Chileno Bay but couldn't because of swell conditions (they weren't letting anyone head over there for snorkeling, it wasn't just our ship). So instead we sailed to Pelican Rock. You had the option of snorkeling near the boat (anchored a bit of a ways from the rock) or swimming to the rock if you were a bit more experienced swimmer. My son and I chose the latter, and we saw tons of beautiful fish. On the way back one of the guides found a puffer fish, and our leader found a HUGE sea urchin. Once back we had lunch (just-ok burritos, chips and salsa, and a terrible pasta salad) and there was an open bar for those so inclined. They did a mini show at the end to promote their sunset pirate show cruise, and that was pretty cool. Towards the end they were bringing up people with birthdays/anniversaries/etc. and started pouring liquor into them, but otherwise it was pretty family-friendly. They had an aggressive photographer who would try to get you to pose for a bunch of photos which they naturally tried to sell you towards the end. (I bought them, some of them were pretty good.)View All 74 Snorkeling Reviews
Favorite part of the trip. Las Canadas is about 40 minutes south of Ensenada by taxi. That's the only thing about it that I didn't like- they don't have their own transportation, so you have to figure out a way to get down there. We took an Uber down and found out that Uber won't come back there to pick you up, so they had to call us a taxi to take us back. But once we were there we had a fantastic time. The canopy tour is 5 rope bridges and 5 ziplines over a beautiful canyon (the time of year probably helped, it was beautifully green while we were there). The bilingual guides were friendly and explained the safety procedures well. The rope bridges were challenging for us (my son is only 11 and I'm not really an athlete), but we managed to get through them all without too much trouble. And the ziplines were so much fun! After we ziplined we went over the ATV course where I think we were the only people out there. We rented the ATVs for an hour and had a guide take us through the trails (we didn't even have to pay for the guide, I just gave him a generous tip at the end). Again, probably because of the time of year it was beautiful, with lots of wildflowers and poppies growing alongside the trails. Everyone at the campground was friendly and helpful, and I highly recommend checking it out if you're going to Ensenada.View All undefined undefined Reviews