This was our 3rd Disney Cruise. We love the family-oriented mindset of Disney and choose these cruises because we want a safe experience for our family. On this Merrytime Christmas Cruise we were onboard for the entire week of Christmas and it was a really fun time for all of us. Many of our expectations we met or exceeded and as always, the crew and service were exceptional. There were a few considerations that almost ruined the trip for us however.
First was the photography. It is a contracted service called "Shutters" and is nothing like the great photo experience offered in the parks. This group seems entirely concerned with making money although the fact that they print out every photo taken (pictures that nobody wants) seems to defeat their purpose. The photo opportunities are great but they do not allow families to link their room keys to compile all the photos. We had 4 staterooms so they wanted us to pay the $200 4 times! Even though we made sure that we used the same room card every time for every photo, they still found ways to prevent the photos from showing up in our album. We spent hours going through the photo banks trying to find some of our precious photos, only to find that there was really no reason that they hadn't been added to our collection. One of the reasons we booked the cruise was to get some great family photos of a rare moment when every family member was present. We were very disappointed with the outcome. Why can't Disney use the same photo plan on the ships that they use in the parks?
Second problem was communications. In this day and age we expect much more than old technology and non-intuitive equipment. The WAVE phones they provide are so hard to figure out that we didn't even use them on the first two cruises. This time my tech-savvy son took the time to figure them out (with several calls for help) and we tried to use them. We found them bulky, difficult to keep charged, and of course totally useless for communicating with out deaf kids. For that, we utilized the App which allows texting "chats" but limits how many people can be in a group and has the frustrating propensity to drop the people in your group. We hungered to be able to use simple WIFI communication but of course that is spotty and extremely expensive to use onboard. Without the ability to easily communicate, we were often upset and several times missed opportunities to do things together as a family. This is something that Disney should address.