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6,393 Bahamas Cruise Reviews

This was the 1st cruise for my 2 sons (10 & 13) and myself. We had a great time. I think 5 nights would have been better. We booked transportation from Boca Raton FL to Miami through RCL. The bus was on time and overall a good ... Read More
This was the 1st cruise for my 2 sons (10 & 13) and myself. We had a great time. I think 5 nights would have been better. We booked transportation from Boca Raton FL to Miami through RCL. The bus was on time and overall a good experience. Cheaper than a limo. We ate in the dining room each night. Food was good, boys got to try things that they had never eaten like escargot. Order your steak rarer than you would normally. Our waiters were great. Dinners ay our table rated the cornbread A++. We ate breakfast in the Windjammer- no complaints. The ship was at full capacity but it never seemed crowded. My sons spent a lot of time on the basketball courts and in the kids program. They had a great time and I felt fine leaving them there. We went to two comedy shows which were terrific and the love and marriage show. Took the Rainbow Reef Snorkeling excursion in Nassau. They sell baggies of fish food for $1 on the excursion boat. The boys loved feeding the fish right from their hands. I would do this again. I wish we had taken the jet ski excursion at Cococay...met some people who did and they had a blast. Be prepared to go FAST. I did have the "drink of the day" each day and loved them all. Seemed to go though a lot of clothes - the boys wore those pants with zip off legs for dinner and immediately unzipped them afterwards and took off to the kids area. The room was small but cozy and clean. The shower had amazing water pressure. The staff was friendly and helpful - even came out ahead in the casino! Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
My wife and I celebrated our 30th Wedding Anniversary on the Dawn the W/O 4/18. We had an excellent time. I read far too many reviews and was quite upset that I may have booked the cruise from Hell based on what I had read. HAVE NO FEARS! ... Read More
My wife and I celebrated our 30th Wedding Anniversary on the Dawn the W/O 4/18. We had an excellent time. I read far too many reviews and was quite upset that I may have booked the cruise from Hell based on what I had read. HAVE NO FEARS! This was a marvelous cruise at a reasonable price. We had a very clean room with a balcony. In spite of hearing that the help on board wasn't happy or helpful because of the auto gratuity charge. We found the help to be friendly and very accommodating. We did not run into a language barrier as was stated in many comments and reviews. We ate in the Venetian, Aqua, Impressions, and Le Bistro. Each meal we had was beyond our expectations. We tried the Garden Buffet and this wasn't something for us. I guess if this was a place you ate at regularly because of families and not wanting to eat in a formal setting you might understand why people have said there was cafeteria food on board. The chocolate buffet was stupendous! The Casino was small but fine with us we're not big gamblers. Spent $50.00 won $25.00 and ran off grateful to have lost only $25.00. The ports of call were just what we expected. We went to Kennedy Space center and Miami Beach. Here's a tip...Don't buy the bus pass in Miami for $18.00 a piece. You can take a taxi to the Bayshore Mall 5 minutes away and spend the day there...there was enough to do there, I had wanted to experience Cuban food so we went to South Beach and ate at Gloria Esteban's Cubano restaurant. We found out we could experience a similar taste of Cuba at the Mall. However it was fun in South Beach and we did enjoy the food we had, dining on the sidewalk in an outdoor cafe was well worth the time and money for us. The private island was fun, the weather was sunny and warm. It was quite a surprise to have the water as cold as it was. Too cold for me to enjoy. Nassau was a good time. There were 800 children on board the ship. They did not get in our way. One reason for this was that we didn't go to the pool too often 'cause there was so much else to do. We also ate late each evening at 9 o'clock or later...we usually don't eat at home most nights until 8 anyway. We saw most every show and thought it to be of Broadway caliber, (we've seen many Broadway shows). GO ON THIS CRUISE, YOU'LL HAVE A GOOD TIME. YES WE ARE GOING BACK AGAIN SOON. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
Just returned from our first cruise on the Carnival Fantasy. I can assure you I read EVERY review out there on this ship, so I was fully prepared for anything and everything. My husband and I traveled with our 12 year old son and my ... Read More
Just returned from our first cruise on the Carnival Fantasy. I can assure you I read EVERY review out there on this ship, so I was fully prepared for anything and everything. My husband and I traveled with our 12 year old son and my parents. While it is true we have nothing else to compare this cruise to since it was our first, we all left the ship completely thrilled with the experience. My parents drove over to Port Canaveral the day before from the Gulf Coast, where they spend the winter. They stayed at the Comfort Inn & Suites where they have a "cruise package" that lets them leave their car parked at the hotel and they shuttle them to and from the port for free. My family and I flew to Orlando the morning of departure. We arranged our own transportation from the airport to the port from Art's Shuttle. I highly recommend this service, as they were waiting for us in the baggage claim area, helped us with our luggage and transported us straight to the port. No waiting! We had completed all of our pre-registration online, so the registration process went very smoothly. There were lines but they were very organized and moved quickly. We were on the ship by 12:30 p.m. and headed to the Lido deck to sit and relax and have a bite to eat since we couldn't have access to our rooms until after 1:00 p.m. I randomly chose our rooms on the Empress Deck (E173 and E179). For us, these were perfect, as they were one deck directly below the Jubilee Dining Room, where we had our dinner every evening. We just climbed one flight of stairs and the dining room was right there! Nice not having to use the elevators, which were adequate, but often busy. All of the food was above par. All of the food stations and restaurants were kept very clean. Our room was adequate and clean. I swear there must be a little mouse in every room that tells housekeeping when you have left so they can make your bed in the morning and turn down your covers in the evening. You could be gone ten minutes and come back to a clean room! All of the cruise staff were friendly and helpful, from housekeeping, the bartenders, to the wait staff in the restaurants. I think our ship was at capacity, so there were crowds, but always ample chairs to relax on deck or by the pool. The busiest day on deck was the full day on the sea back to the port, since you had a captive audience of every passenger trying to find a space to sit and relax. Security was visible, which kept the 'spring breakers' in line. Bought the 'Sea Bands' for sea sickness - didn't need them. Motion on the ship was ever so slight. Most confusing was the debarkation. They staged you in areas on the ship according to your color tag. Our staging area was the Universe Lounge at the other end of the ship and one floor up from where you leave the ship. Crowds were huge on the stairwells and in the elevators of passengers dragging their luggage up the stairs to the staging areas. Then when they called our color (1 1/2 hours into the process), we had to drag our luggage back down the crowded stairs to leave the ship. I highly recommend you leave your luggage outside your cabin the night before so you don't have to lug it around in the crowds. You are given the option, next time we will. All in all, a very nice trip. The Fantasy, I believe, it the third oldest in Carnival's fleet of 20 ships, but it is very well maintained. There is absolutely no reason not to have fun on this ship! Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
Our 2nd Dawn cruise within a year, our 3rd overall, and this time including first time cruisers, two daughters and two young grandkids. We had an easy embarkation, from arriving early with no traffic, parking at the pier, and using our ... Read More
Our 2nd Dawn cruise within a year, our 3rd overall, and this time including first time cruisers, two daughters and two young grandkids. We had an easy embarkation, from arriving early with no traffic, parking at the pier, and using our Latitudes card for quick access. The major difference for us this time was a very nice experience with Kid's Krew. Though we picked and chose times to let the kids partake in the activities, they enjoyed it very much, and want to go again. As we had experienced in June/02, the freestyle dining is a great way to go, as we liked the opportunity to choose our dining preferences based on what we were doing that particular day, and that goes for the type of food, and the time of dining. We also are not interested in formal attire. Le Bistro and Cagney's were outstanding, as was Venetian for the inclusive restaurants. Entertainment is very high quality, especially the Jean Ryan Productions, and the musical performances were excellent, and of a nice variety. We did not take any NCL excursions other than the south Beach shuttle, as we were content with 3 simple beach days and a trip to Disney's Animal Kingdom by rental car. Our only complaint of the cruise was the shortened day at Nassau, as the scheduled 7 - 2 day was in actuality, less than 4 hours, as we were not cleared off the ship until after 10. They need a full day there, and a half-day at the island. The staff and service throughout the ship were outstanding, and that includes the personal contact we had with some of the operational managers, made available through the Latitudes meeting. Our cabins were spotless, and our stewards outstanding, and friendly. Same goes for the restaurant staff. No truth to the claims that freestyle results in no incentive to provide such quality service. We ended the cruise with our smoothest debarkation, and look forward to another cruise on the Dawn one day, maybe a winter cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
The Norwegian Dawn cruise from NYC to the Bahamas April 25, 2004 was as great a cruise as I've been on. The weather was a challenge the first few days with some light rain but that didn't dampen the spirits of the guests onboard. ... Read More
The Norwegian Dawn cruise from NYC to the Bahamas April 25, 2004 was as great a cruise as I've been on. The weather was a challenge the first few days with some light rain but that didn't dampen the spirits of the guests onboard. Plenty of onboard activities to keep busy. The ship itself is a grand one, very clean throughout. We had a super cabin steward who took care of our every need. Food was exceptional. We tended to dine in the Venetian Dining Room more often, although the other venues we tried were excellent as well. Staff were all very upbeat and friendly. The freestyle cruise experience is very accommodating and we enjoyed it more than the other cruise lines we've used. Entertainment for our taste was fair but most people we spoke with enjoyed most everything. The shore excursions in the ports of call were varied and seemed to have something for just about everyone. This was our first time in a cabin with a balcony and I'd have to say we probably won't sail without one in the future. It's spectacular to be able to see things from your own cabin. Especially the Statue of Liberty and New York City skyline as you leave NY. Embarkation went fairly quickly although once disembarked back in NY it was very confusing and frustrating trying to get to our car and leave. Driving in was great.....plenty of parking at a rate of $22.00/day. We drove in with friends so that cut the driving/parking expense in half. Overall I would highly recommend this cruise and intend on using the NCL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
We went on the April 18th- 22nd sailing of the Wonder. We arrived at the Disney terminal on Sunday at 12:00. There were many cast members there to help us complete the paperwork and get our "Keys to the world" cards. Boarding ... Read More
We went on the April 18th- 22nd sailing of the Wonder. We arrived at the Disney terminal on Sunday at 12:00. There were many cast members there to help us complete the paperwork and get our "Keys to the world" cards. Boarding began about 12:30 and although there was a long line ahead of us, it went really quickly. Here's a summary of our trip: Food - Dinners were really good and there was a nice variety to choose from. Fancy shrimp, fish and lamb. You could always get steak or chicken if you didn't like the fancy offerings. We had the buffet for lunch and there was a lot of seafood and really good entrees. Breakfast was more than your usual eggs, toast and bacon. Breakfast had mickey shaped belgian waffles and people making you custom omelettes. Food at the pool areas was hamburgers, hot dogs, wraps, etc. Pool area food was pretty good except the pizza was kind of like the frozen cardboard crust grocery store kind. We got the cheese tray and some cookies from room service and they were great. Shows - we saw three shows - Hercules, the golden mickeys and disney dreams. These shows were really well done and entertaining for adults and kids. Each show lasted about 1 hour. Nightlife - The bars were nice but not that many people attended them. With this cruise being family oriented, a lot of people must spend their evenings with their kids, who are not allowed in the bars. Nassau - We went out to the Blue Lagoon island. This was our third and last trip there. It took 1 and a half hours just to get on the ferry boat out there. Once there, we were not allowed in any of the snorkeling areas. The food was cafeteria grade. It was nice, but not worth the $130. In the future, we will just take a cab to a nearby beach and save $100. Castaway Cay - Disney's private island was the greatest. The day at CC was one of the most fun days ever. We snorkeled and sat out on the beach while the kids played in the water and sand. There were great strawberry daiquiris and a barbecue lunch. The kids played in the free game room while I wrote out the post cards. The day flew by so fast, it was time to get back on the boat way too soon. Kids - Kids from 4 to 12 would love this trip the most. My daughter who is 11 got to check herself into the kids clubs whenever she wanted. We let her do whatever she wanted to do. Our son who is 6 enjoyed the clubs also, but was kind of reluctant to go there. Once he was there, though, it was hard to get him to leave. Kids age 13 and up don't have the preplanned structured fun that the clubs have though. Many teens just wandered the halls with little that really interested them. It might be that teens would act that way on any cruise though. Debarkation - we had breakfast and got off the ship. Our luggage was waiting and ready. We will remember our fun forever. Budget - Our cat 11 room cost $1820. Airfare was $900 for four from cleveland to MCO. We rented a Budget rental car and dropped it off in Cocoa beach for $40 each way. Our shipboard account was $600 - $130 for the Blue Lagoon excursion, $180 for tips, $30 photos, $40 drinks, $15 arcade, and for $205 souvenirs. Total cost $3,400 (less $800 credit from my MBNA cruise credit card). Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
We just returned from a 7 day Bahamas cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. First let me give you a little history on the ships I have sailed in the past 3 years. Last year we sailed on Celebrity Summit. A year prior to that we sailed on RCI ... Read More
We just returned from a 7 day Bahamas cruise on the Norwegian Dawn. First let me give you a little history on the ships I have sailed in the past 3 years. Last year we sailed on Celebrity Summit. A year prior to that we sailed on RCI Splendor of the seas. I have sailed other ships but they were smaller and so I will not compare this ship to those smaller ones. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the pier at about 12:30 and on the Dawn a little after 1:00. We breezed thought the lines and the staff was very friendly and efficient at check in. We were a family of 7 staying in 3 staterooms. One inside deck 10, one Mini suite on deck 11 and the opal penthouse on deck 11. I was a bit worried that we would have a hard time staying together during embarking especially considering we were traveling with ages from 4 to 91. To my delight it went very smoothly. We all had are luggage by 5 pm which was the earliest I have ever gotten our luggage. STATEROOMS: My mother in-law had an inside cabin # 10585 the cabin was very clean. Having sailed with inside cabins on the Summit and Splendor, we found the Dawns inside to be a little tighter. However the bathroom with the separate shower made up for the size of the cabin. Our 2 kids stayed in this cabin with my mother in-law and she remarked how it was nice that 1 could be in the shower, 1 using the toilet and she could use the sink to get ready. One other complaint was she heard noises from above which was a crew only area. It wasn't horrible but certainly noticeable. Wife and I had the mini suite cabin # 11100. It was certainly a nice cabin. Again the cabin was small compared to the balconies on Summit and Splendor. Having the tub and toilet and sink separated was enjoyable for the wife and me as well. The sofa bed is not what I had expected. It wasn't like the kind of sofa beds that we have at home that folds out to reveal the mattress. Instead of removing cushions, you simply pulled it out and the back of the sofa became the other half of the bed. I will warn you that it is a pretty firm bed. It was fine for our girls when they stayed with us but as an adult I could not do 7 days on it. Our bed, 2 twins put together, was very comfortable. Best I have slept in on any ship! We had plenty of pillows and blankets. Another small complaint one of our blankets had 2 cigarette burns on it. A little unsettling. The balcony had to chairs that also reclined but not to a full lounger. We enjoyed the balcony immensely. My mother and grand mother had a penthouse. Cabin # 11530 the opal suite. It was really nice. Having never sailed in a real suite we have nothing to compare it to. I enjoyed the whirlpool tub that overlooked the ocean with a plasma TV. The separate shower had 4 shower heads that could blow every hair off your body. It was awesome. The toilet was kind of cramped considering the size of the cabin. The bathroom also had 2 large sinks and even a digital scale. The master cabin was very nice with a 25" TV with DVD. A privacy curtain to partition it off from the bathroom. In the main sitting room we had another 25" TV with DVD. 2 nice arm chairs with a nice oval coffee table and a small love seat. In the corner was a table with 4 chairs. Plenty of glasses were supplied in cabinets in the wall. Between the sleeping quarters and the sitting room was pocket doors with frosted glass. In the back was the 2nd bedroom with no windows with a fold down bed and a pull out couch. It had a small 15" TV and a phone. It had its own bathroom. For a family it would be great. However for my 65 year old mother it was extremely uncomfortable to sleep on the pull out sofa in the back room. By the third night I decided to call Lani her butler and asked her to bring up a mattress cover to make it more comfortable. She did and it made it better but still nothing like the regular beds on the ship. The balcony was nice with a small white table and 2 teak lounge chairs with a nice blue padding. 2 small complaints, 1 the love seat was a little uncomfortable and I think they should have a sink in the bar area of the sitting room. All cabins had a small fridge which was nice to bring snacks down for latter. STAFF: I must admit this was a big concern of mine. I had read many bad reviews about the staff. In the 7 days on board I don't think I passed any staff with out getting a big smile and a good morning or what have you. The staff was as good as RCI and better then Celebrity and Princess. They were always ready to accommodate any request. Our cabin stewards were great. The staff in all the restaurants that we ate in were also very nice. The cruise director Rick was awesome even though we know he does the same shtick every week he made you feel as though it was his first. A truly fun cruise director. Far superior to the cruise director on the Summit who acted as though he was at work and did not like his job. Every staff member made a point to give special attention to our kids. The kids crew staff was better then the Summit. I thought maybe RCI was tad better in the kid's area but then again our cruise on the Dawn had over 400 kids so they had their hands full. Again they did a great job. I had read reviews that mentioned people were not happy with Amanda the concierge for the penthouses. She never introduced herself or even made an effort to make you feel comfortable. Not a big deal but more of a waste for the cruise line. Restaurants: I had no interests in all the restaurants. Again heard quite a few bad reports and I had always enjoyed eating in the main restaurants with the same waiter at the same time. What was I thinking? I will have a hard time going back to another cruise line where I have to go through the "cattle call" line into the dinning room. We enjoyed eating where and when we wanted to. And also wearing what we wanted to. What a great concept. The food varied from very good to awesome. LA BISTRO was really nice. It was neat eating next to 48 million dollars worth of art. Never ate a meal while looking at an original Van Gogh. Favorite food here was the escargot. Very intimate place to have dinner. There is a service charge to eat here. Well worth it. CAGNEYS steak house was also awesome. Enjoyed it so much went back a second time. Favorite was crab cakes for appetizer porter steak and Banana flambE. The surf and turf was also good but the size of the lobster was a small tail and a claw. BAMBOO sushi bar was good. The selection of sushi for all you can eat was limited but I enjoyed it. Probably my least favorite meal. $10.00 service charge. Teppenyaki was a lot of fun. It's kind of like Benyhanna where they cook on your table and put a little show on. The kids liked it as well as the food. The soup was so so but I loved the sea scallops. Ate here twice. Service was great here we were even serenaded by a waitress. She sang "I only have eyes for you" it was neat. Also a service charge. SALSA awesome!! Loved the fajitas and onion blossom. Service again quick and enjoyable. This restaurants has the best views from the windows. VENETIAN was good. We ate there for the captains farewell dinner. The oysters were really good but the lobster tail was Very small. Smallest I have ever seen so I just ordered a few extra with no problems. A little line to get in but nothing like I am use to on other ships going into the main dinning room. No charge GARDEN CAFÉ was good to very good. Ate breakfast here once and most lunches. I thought it was as good as Celebrity Summits buffet and better then RCI's buffet. The kids had fun serving themselves at the miniature kids buffet. No charge. NY DELI which was in the back of the CAFÉ was very good. Enjoyed having BLT's which I must say they (NCL) has the best bacon around. No charge POOL SIDE BBQ ribs and burgers by the pool for lunch was also fun and good. No charge. BLUE LAGOON was a good place to get a snack like chips chicken wings and French fries with cheese and bacon. No charge. ROOM SERVICE most mornings I had breakfast in my mom's penthouse and got eggs benedict. Very good always arrived warm not cold. The butler would ring us to let us know she was on her way with our food. She would set the table for us with a table cloth and silver ware. I will certainly miss my eggs benedict. No charge. Restaurants I did not get to try: AQUA, IMPRESSIONS, LA TRATTORIA. So many choices and so little time. BARS AND LOUNGES: My drink of choice is 7&7 and my mom Gin and tonic. They were the strongest then any other ship. I felt that I got my moneys worth. The pina coladas and other frozen drink specials were average probably could use a little more liquor. When we did have one of the frozen drink specials I would just order an extra shot. STAR BAR was good and small nice view of the pool area. The sound here made it a little hard to have a conversation when it got crowded. A good Place for a martini. TOPSIDERS BAR by the pool was good. I liked the fact that it had a long bar so it was always easy to walk up and get a drink. On the summit I always had to wait to get a spot close enough to the bar to order. SPINAKER LOUNGE was a nice place to have a drink. I liked going to the front corner where it over hung the ship so you could see the side of the ship as it sailed through the water. You can really get a feel of how big the Dawn is. This corner over hang is directly above where the captain is when he is docking her. A really nice view. The art decoish chairs in this lounge were fun too. You must lay on the big red couch as you first enter the lounge on the right. Very comfortable and nice to snuggle with your loved one. SALSA BAR was a nice place to have a drink before you eat at salsa's. THE PEARLY KINGS PUB was nice. Some days they had fish and chips here. The chairs were a little uncomfortable for some one my size 6'1". The back of the chair hit my back in an uncomfortable spot. JAVA CAFÉ was a good spot to people watch. It's located in the atrium. They made a very good Irish Coffee. Strong! You have to try the raspberry tart! Awesome. DAZZLES LOUNGE was a nice place. Nothing special but nice. This is where the art auction was held. Free champagne. At night they had a guitarist that was enjoyable to listen to. GATSBYS CHAMPAGNE lounge located outside of La Bistro was nice too. They would have a piano player at night. Through out the cruise you could always find a place with an entertainer almost to fault. We found it a little hard to find a quite bar to have a conversation. The other problem with the bars and lounges is that there wasn't a bar that had windows that looked directly out to the water. They were either in side with no windows or you had to look out a window over some decking and through the railings. On RCI I enjoyed the views you could get from their signature Viking crown lounges. This would not hinder me from booking with NCL but worth mentioning. I guess the lack of views is something you give up for having so many outside cabins which keeps the price down for those cabins. PUBLIC AREAS: Deck space was abundant if you ventured towards the front on the upper deck they have a nice Jacuzzi all they way forward that was a good place to get away. OASIS POOL was a good place to hang if you didn't have kids. There are 4 Jacuzzis here and 2 pools. I wasn't crazy about the stadium style seating but it grew on me. It gives more room for lounge chairs and so I think it was a bit easier then other ships to find a space to lay out. T-REX CENTER was average. The kid's ball pit looked fun. The kids loved it. T-REX POOL was a real plus. We could be with our kids and not bother others who were not traveling with kids. 2 water slides a pool and a Jacuzzi. Being at the back of the ship it seemed a bit less windy then the main pool during sea days. The Dawn had the hottest Jacuzzi's of any ship I have been on. Usually, on other ships I felt that they could be hotter. Not on the Dawn. They also allowed you to have a drink in the Jacuzzi which was nice. Another plus.. Pools were open late! On RCI and Celebrity they closed at 6. ELDORADO SPA fitness CENTER. I was pleasantly surprised with this area. It has 2 Jacuzzi's and a heated lap pool. I still prefer the inside pools on Celebrity and RCI. The Dawn did have a nice sauna and steam room. STARDUST THEATER is well laid out. The balcony seats were a great place to watch the shows. You get a nice unobstructed view of the stage. Chairs were comfortable. cinema was nice and comfortable too. They have 3 showings a day. VIDEO ZONE had lots of video games and you could use cash which was nicer then Summit where the kids use the room card and charged $30.00 worth of games! LIBRARY had some good books. Nice seating and very quite. SHUFFLES CARD ROOM had the regular games. Nice views of the ocean from in here. INTERNET CAFÉ had plenty of computers however I chose to stay away from my email and internet addiction. GALLERIA SHOPS is more like a little department store rather then a cluster of small shops. I kind of prefer this way because wife and I and kids all did our shopping and only had to sign for our purchases once instead of going in and out of different shops. DAWN CLUB CASINO was spacious more so then other ships. Wife tossed $20.00 away in about 2.5 minutes. THE promenade DECK was by far better then my past cruises. It rapped all the way around the ship. Nice place to sit and walk. Pretty cool looking off the back as we were steaming our way back to NY. What a wake! Entertainment: I am not one for shows on a ship. They all have the same cheesy feel. However Bollywood was great. It is nothing like anything I have seen on any cruise ship. It isn't Vegas but for a ship WOW! NEGATIVES: The programming on the stateroom TV a bit weak. They did have CNN so at least I could keep up on the daily events. My main complaint which I heard over and over again from fellow passengers is the ship lay out. At time you would end up at a dead end. I think the design is the best they could do with out having to loose a few restaurants or bars. So I will take the poor lay out before I would give up all the dining choices. Positives: The food, service, drinks, dinning options, sailing out of NY and all the other things that I have mentioned through out this review. SIDE NOTE: I think the space that the Garden Villa takes up would be better served as a lounge/bar. I was told that they sail frequently empty. Maybe they should have a 20-50 dollar raffle on the first day and if you win you get free use of the villa. I thoroughly enjoyed my cruise on the Dawn and I look forward to sailing her again. So much I wanted to do but didn't have time. This is the first ship where I got off and would consider doing again. After a week on other ships you have the feeling of "seen and done that". Not on the Dawn. So maybe come Feb 05 I will return to this ship and line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
We flew from Philadelphia on Monday morning and arrived in JAX at around 10am. We left the baggage claim and boarded a van on the sidewalk right outside to take us to the ship. It was $20 per person one way. The van driver took us on a 15 ... Read More
We flew from Philadelphia on Monday morning and arrived in JAX at around 10am. We left the baggage claim and boarded a van on the sidewalk right outside to take us to the ship. It was $20 per person one way. The van driver took us on a 15 minute drive to the Miracle and dropped us off right in front of the cruise terminal. A porter took our bags right from the van and when given his tip, told us not to worry, we would next see our luggage in our cabin. We proceeded into the terminal and were checked in and given our sign and sail cards within 10 minutes. We were directed to a sitting area and told they would begin boarding around noon. We only waited about 25 minutes and they started boarding by zones. As we had gotten through the check in so quickly, we were able to board with the zone one passengers. We were told that since the boarding was taking place early to feel free to walk around the ship, but to please not go to the cabins as they were still being cleaned. We did however stop by the cabin to see if we could drop off our carry on bags and our steward Jamie was in the room and happily left us drop off whatever we needed to. The Miracle is a beautiful ship. It is obviously very well kept because it is brand new. Some of the decor can boarder on the verge of what some people would consider tacky, but I thought overall it was quite nice. Let me put it this way, I would not decorate my house like some of the rooms I saw on the ship. But, I would not take a 5 day cruise in my livingroom either. Some passengers were complaining and making comments on the diningroom lighting, ect. But, Mike and I viewed things like this, we left snowy Philadelphia and our 4 children and were headed to Key West and Nassau on a brand new cruise ship. What could we possibly complain about? The lighting in the Diningroom was hot pink, yeah, so what! Speaking of the diningroom, the meals were wonderful and the service was great. We did not have one meal that we did not enjoy very much. If we had trouble making up our minds our waiter let us try more than one thing. He was excellent! The food on the Lido deck was not as good as the food in the diningroom, but it was still good. The one thing that is a must do is book a night at Nick and Nora's Supper Club. We think it was the best meal we have ever experienced. For a nominal charge of $25 each (plus tip) we dined on the best Filet Mignon we ever had. It was a romantic and wonderful experience. It was a 5 course meal that we probably would have paid $250 or more for back home. In the morning we ordered room service so that we would have coffee when we were showering and getting dressed for the day. We would leave the card on our door the night before letting them know what we wanted and at what time. They were always right on time and everything was fresh and hot. As for our ports of call. We went to Key West and Nassau. We did not book any shore excursions as we have been to Nassau three times and we had read that it was fun just to walk around Key West. We just shopped and hit the beach in both ports and had a relaxing week. The shows on the ship were excellent. We really enjoyed the juggler and the comedian Tony Esposito was hysterical. We went to his midnight show in the Mad Hatter lounge too. Todd was our cruise director and he did a fantastic job keeping everyone entertained and getting people to participate in the various activities planned around the ship every day. We also each had a spa treatment our last morning at sea and enjoyed the services very much. The gym on the Miracle is very nice and there were never any lines our crowds to the point that you could not do a good workout. Our fellow passengers were a very friendly group of people. They ranged in age from 6 months to 90 years with every age in between represented. There were a lot of college students on Spring Break and a large number of families with children on school vacation. The only small complaint that I had is that there were some children that were not put in the Camp Carnival program that were all over the ship running around and playing tag on the elevators, etc. They at one point even asked us for money for the gameroom. Who knows where their parents were all week. Because we saw these boys a dozen times a day, but never saw a parent with them. But, I must say that Todd told us that there were over 600 children on the ship that week and if these small group of 10 preteen boys were causing all of the ruckus, then camp carnival did a great job keeping the other 590 children entertained. We must have been struck by mother luck the minute we got on the ship because we hit at Bingo the second night for $600. Then on Thursday night we put a $20 in one of the slots and hit for $250. Then on Friday morning we played bingo one more time to win the free cruise and I don't know how it happened, but we won that too! I am so sure we will never have a winning streak like the one we had on the Miracle again. But, we did enjoy it while it lasted. usually I go to bingo with my mother-in-law at home and I don't even win the 50/50 raffle for $44! I know this is a rather long review, but I also know that there are a lot of people waiting anxiously for some kind of word about the Miracle. Believe me, I checked all the messages boards I could find for information before we left and I could hardly find anything. If anyone has any questions please feel free to email me at annshep87@msn.com. I will be happy to answer any questions that I can. Bottom line though........this was our first cruise on Carnival and we have cruised before (RCCL). Would I take Carnival again....obviously yes, I won a free cruise, but that aside, yes, we enjoyed the ship, the service, and our fellow passengers very much. Even if we hadn't won anything, we would have had a very nice time on our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
This was a great ship, the embarkation took 1 hour, and we had our picture taken on the way onto the ship. The service was wonderful, the rooms are exceptionally clean. We had cool windy weather, but there was enough to entertain ... Read More
This was a great ship, the embarkation took 1 hour, and we had our picture taken on the way onto the ship. The service was wonderful, the rooms are exceptionally clean. We had cool windy weather, but there was enough to entertain yourself. The entertainment was super. They had an american idol contest on board, and we were hooked. We followed 3 nights in a row, and the passengers were really, really talented. We had a balcony, and had our breakfast delivered every morning on time. They gave us plush bathrobes to wear while we were aboard, they had blowdryers, and lovely welcome aboard baskets, with razors and rolaids, shampoo, and bath gel. The food was excellent, and so were the waiters. The decor was done in a crazy carnivale theme, a little overdone, but, our money was well spent. They had great deli sandwiches at the pool, and the grilled rubens were the best ever. They also had sushi bars. It was a wonderful trip. This was our first cruise on carnival, and we usually use the Royal Caribbean line. This was our 5th cruise and it was everything we could have asked for. The ship was a little rocky, but with all the fun we had we hardly felt the rocking. The ports of call were great too. Cozumel, Costa Maya, Freeport. Get your pool chairs early because they go fast, and plan to have the time of your life. On the way out, you could use the express method, if you could carry all your own bags, and you can get off the ship right away. This saves much time for the disembarkation process, which can be timely. I rate this ship a definite 10. If I could go again tomorrow, it would be on the Carnivla Miracle. We loved everything about it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
This was our first cruise and I must say it was the most relaxing vacation we've had. This is truly an easy vacation, even with children. Our children are 9 and 13 and they had so much fun. My son was in the supervised program of ... Read More
This was our first cruise and I must say it was the most relaxing vacation we've had. This is truly an easy vacation, even with children. Our children are 9 and 13 and they had so much fun. My son was in the supervised program of 10-12 year olds and they had things going on throughout the day and my daughter started in the teen center and ending up making lots of friends and just doing things with them. My husband and I got to go to dinner, see shows and sunbathe without having to worry about the kids. If we were together, great, if not - oh well, its their vacation too! The casino was fun too. I didn't realize that iced tea was free so I wouldn't have bought a soda card for my son, I didn't want him drinking too much soda anyway. I did, however, buy my daughter the teen passport because you get the 20 free drinks for the 30.00 or whatever it was, better deal than buying them. The ship was beautiful - very grand. I felt like I was in a 5 star resort every day. I thought our stateroom was very nice. We had two beds, a trundle that pulled out in the center of the two beds and one that folded out from the wall over one of the beds. My son slept in that bed - he loved it. Housekeeping comes in and sets it all up in the evening and cleans it all up in the morning - that was so nice - they do an excellent job. Closet space was plenty and draws also - we all had one or two. The bathroom is big - not tiny - a nice size shower to the left-a separate sink area in the middle and a toilet with a sliding door to your right. Technically 3 people could be in the bathroom at the same time. The only time it got tight is when we were all trying to get ready. One has to sit and get out of the way. Our favorite restaurant was the Venetian. The garden buffet was good but we like to sit and get served. Breakfast in the Venetian was yummy. Reservations for some of the surcharge restaurants was fairly simple - just make them a day in advance to be sure and get one, although we got into Cagney's within 2 hours (maybe just luck). Make sure to bring sweats and sweatshirts - you get chilly after sunning all day - especially if you get sunburn - bring aloe or afterburn - they ran out on the ship and we had to buy it elsewhere the next day. Also ladies don't get stuck without your feminine products - they are expensive on the ship and they don't sell tampons. If you get seasick, they have meds at the reception. We hit some wind which caused rough seas. We were unable to go to the private island and alot of people got seasick - it was a really rough ride that day. The meds they gave us worked wonderfully and was back to normal soon after, saw alot of people wearing the patches behind their ear - guess thats good for people who get seasick really bad. I never get sick but did this time. The crew were great, all the servers and bar people great. Getting on the ship was a breeze. We got to NY at 11 am and was on the ship eating lunch by 12:30 - no lie - easy as pie. We had our luggage before dinner. We carried our bathing suits in our carry on so we could be in the Jacuzzi sailing out of NY. Getting off at all the ports was painless and quick. didn't get to go to the private island because the seas were too rough but my neighbor went the week before us and he said it was just too packed - said everyone got off the boat which took a long time because they have to shuttle you to shore and then you couldn't move once everyone had their chairs etc set up on the beach. Said we didn't miss anything, but we were still sad because we wanted to snorkel. don't bring a blow dryer - they have one. They said don't do the pontoon boat excursion - said it sucked. If you want any other info, just email, will be glad to give you some insight. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
I'm 25 and this was my first time on a cruise and it was awesome! The service exceeded our expectations! All staff were very friendly and made us feel so welcome. At the seated dinners, the personalized attention was great. Since it ... Read More
I'm 25 and this was my first time on a cruise and it was awesome! The service exceeded our expectations! All staff were very friendly and made us feel so welcome. At the seated dinners, the personalized attention was great. Since it was only a 3 day cruise, we never felt bored and had plenty to do at all times. The trip to Nassau on Saturday was fun but one day on an island goes by so quick. One advantage of this cruise vs. other cruises is that we had 24 hours on the island were as most cruises only give you a portion of the day on the island. So we were able to experience the night life on the island as well. You should definitely decide what you really want to do on the island because there are many choices. We wanted to go snorkeling but ended up going to Paradise Island and seeing the Atlantis resort and then chilling on beach for a few hours. The beach was beautiful--white sand, aqua-turquoise water but the tide was too high for me to go swimming and the water was freezing although some people were out there. Afterwards we went shopping at the straw market for souvenir and headed back to the ship for dinner. After dinner we went back out on the island to Senor Frogs to party although it was very "spring break" so we didn't stay very long. Sunday was the day on the ship and it was relaxing. We spent some time in the casino and engaging in other activities on board. But time just flew by and before we knew it--it was time to go back. The best part of the cruise was the food and service. They even upgraded our room! There is just so much food at all times and the quality of food is very good. We couldn't believe how big the lobster and steak portions were! And the best part is you can eat as much as you want! The part that I liked least would be the shows--they weren't all that great. The other thing that put a slight damper on my great vacation was that it was chilly. I suggest if you are going to take a cruise--go between April-Sept. Although it was mid-March, it was windy and chilly. I brought all summer clothes and one sweater and I wished I had brought more long-sleeved clothing and pants. The ocean was really cold as well and it was partly cloudy so you didn't feel the sun too much. Also, we didn't swim in the swimming pools on the deck of the ship because it felt too cold and we hung out in the jacuzzi instead. On the ship and on the island it was quite windy. Bottom line--if you've never been and want a quick getaway--you should definitely check out Carnival's 3 and 4 night cruises! Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Have cruised 9 times, 8 of which was with NCL, and although the Dawn was a beautiful ship, and the food was fantastic...I doubt if I would ever leave from NYC again... The seas were extremely rough for almost two days, and even some of ... Read More
Have cruised 9 times, 8 of which was with NCL, and although the Dawn was a beautiful ship, and the food was fantastic...I doubt if I would ever leave from NYC again... The seas were extremely rough for almost two days, and even some of the crew was experiencing mal-de-mer. Fortunately for my husband and I, we were fine in that department, but...we were awake for two nights due to the tossing of the ship which at times was so bad, you almost sat up in bed!! The restaurants were lovely, the food excellent!! Venetian (main restaurant) was at the very back of the boat, and had gorgeous ceiling to floor glass windows which afforded an indescribable view, also, Cagney's Steak House was spectacular!! Amazing from start to finish! I had the Filet Mignon, while Steve feasted on Lobster. It was so fantastic, we did it twice that week....! We also ate at Salsa, the mexican restaurant, which is lovely, and overlooks the atrium. It also had the added bonus of live, but quiet, dinner music which really added to the charm. The public spaces were very tasteful, and although it is a fairly big ship, they managed to make all the areas cosy and inviting. I found the Java Cafe to be quite the magnet, as I was there approximately 3 times a day for a latte and biscotti! The Casino was a good size, with a nice mix of slots and tables, and we were pretty lucky!! At the end of the week, we had broke even, and that is considered lucky in my book. We had an inside cabin, which was smallish, but very well planned out, and the shower was great, with plenty of room. A plus!!! (Warning!! Lift your feet HIGH, before stepping in or out of the shower, as I broke a toe on the extremely high ledge, and limped around after day 2!!! In closing, I would recommend the Dawn highly, but if possible, try not to leave NYC in the winter months, as the Atlantic seems to be at its worst. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Our cruise was great. This was my third cruise, and the first for my husband. We decided to cruise for our anniversary. The embarkation and debarkation seemed to go a lot quicker and smoother than I remember from the past. Our service ... Read More
Our cruise was great. This was my third cruise, and the first for my husband. We decided to cruise for our anniversary. The embarkation and debarkation seemed to go a lot quicker and smoother than I remember from the past. Our service was great, our room steward seemed a little too eager, but I guess I would be if I lived off of tips also. All of my past cruises were also with Carnival and I must say that I saw some improvements since my last cruise with them in '99. First of all, our dining room servers only had our table and one other, so the service was much better. The entire staff also seemed more friendly and hospitable this time as well. The comedians they had booked for the cruise were great, they were actually funny! The only complaints I had are that when we first boarded the ship and went to our cabin, the whole room smelled like sweat. It was like a giant locker room, just disgusting smelling. I walked around almost every inch of the room using body spray and I didn't notice it any more. Despite the smell, the room seemed to be quite clean. My only other complaint is that the menu on this cruise was EXACTLY the same as it was 3 years ago. You're doing something wrong if you remember the same food after 3 years. Don't get me wrong, it's good and all, but needless to say I expected something different! Overall a great experience and we'll be doing it again as soon as possible :-) Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Well, we just got back from the Fantasy tonight. All I can say is WOW! We had a *fantastic* time. This was our first cruise and will definitely not be our last. It started out in Port Canaveral when we checked in. Once we got on board we ... Read More
Well, we just got back from the Fantasy tonight. All I can say is WOW! We had a *fantastic* time. This was our first cruise and will definitely not be our last. It started out in Port Canaveral when we checked in. Once we got on board we grabbed some lunch and explored the ship. Our room was a lot different than we expected. Roomier even. The comforters were so soft and bed was just awesome! Even with the split down the middle. We were in E241 however, I think next time, we'll try to be more in the front of the ship. The food in the dining room (Jubilee) was great! Our head waiter was wonderful. Everything just went so smoothly. It seemed at night, after dinner, the pool was the place to be. The calypso band was awesome! After they quit playing, everyone headed down the Cats Lounge or the Disco. Both of those places were great. During the day, the Lido deck was really busy. I didn't get in the pool because there were way too many people in already, but I did lounge by the pool most of the day. The shops on board were so-so. Good prices on liquors and watches though. We stopped in the casino but sadly, we walked away with nothing won! Our day in Nassau was pretty nice. The weather was great however, the water was a little on the chilly side and it was pretty choppy. We ended up going to Paradise Island and visiting Atlantis, then hanging out at the beach at Atlantis all day. It was a blast! We took the water taxi both ways however, next time I might take a land taxi or just rent a scooter for part of the day. Inside Nassau, it was okay, but just a little too shady for me to feel comfortable. The people were pretty pushy and some of the shops/neighborhoods seemed pretty sketchy. Especially after 6/7pm when the shops closed. The party they had on board that night was so much fun! I met some really fun people from Idaho, Vegas, NY, MA, and Italy. One of the officers from onboard even hung out with us one night. It was really a lot more fun than I was expecting. Our "day at sea" was pretty fun. They had lots of activities planned and everyone seemed to keep busy. Our cruise director was Risa. She seemed nice but she was kinda high strung. Actually, the whole staff on the ship was great! I was really impressed. Today, when we returned, things went a lot more smoothly than I thought they would. We had a 11:45am flight and thought for sure we would miss it. We were off the ship by 8:30 and at the airport an hour later. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
I have to say that this was an excellent cruise and I would recommend it to anyone. I've been on 5 different cruises, 3 different cruise lines and NCL beats them all by a mile. This was a honeymoon cruise and my husband was a first ... Read More
I have to say that this was an excellent cruise and I would recommend it to anyone. I've been on 5 different cruises, 3 different cruise lines and NCL beats them all by a mile. This was a honeymoon cruise and my husband was a first time cruiser. Neither of us had ever been to NYC so that alone was a great treat. Flying in from Utah we were at the dock several hours early, in fact the ship hadn't even pulled in from its previous embarkation. The crew at the dock was amazing! They took our bags and stored them for us so that we could catch some sightseeing before boarding the ship. They were extremely helpful. The whole process of getting on and off the ship was painless. The food was wonderful, the freestyle cruising is certainly the way to cruise. We did miss the private island port due to rough water but we didn't mind. We found plenty to do onboard to keep us busy. Both stops in Florida were great, in Miami take the bar-hoping tour, the tour guide is a blast. We had an inside-cabin which was small but the bathroom was huge compared to other cruise lines. The stewards were excellent, very friendly and eager to help. It's a beautiful ship, it will be hard to top! Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
This was our second cruise and first on Disney. We are a family of four with two boys ages 8 and 5. Our other cruise was on Princess. Precruise We flew out to Orlando 6 days early and stayed at the Embassy Suites near Lake Buena Vista. ... Read More
This was our second cruise and first on Disney. We are a family of four with two boys ages 8 and 5. Our other cruise was on Princess. Precruise We flew out to Orlando 6 days early and stayed at the Embassy Suites near Lake Buena Vista. This hotel was well kept and the pool area is large enough to accommodate everyone who wanted to use the pool. Breakfast is provided but if you get there after 8:00 be prepared to wait in line at the omlete station. We stay in various Embassy suites 3 -4 times a year and this one was very convenient to all the parks. We like Embassy because it has a separate bedroom and livingroom area and includes a full breakfast. Before the cruise we went to the Universal Parks and the family enjoyed our experience at both parks. Embarkation Day: We drove our rental car to the port (remembering to bring lots of quarters for the beeline). The drive is easy and clearly marked. When entering the port area just follow the signs to Disney and very helpful workers will direct you where to drop off your party and luggage. Then the next person will direct the driver where to park and how to meet up with the rest of your party. We arrived about 11:30 and there were no Lines waiting to get your key to the world card. They have a desk set up to help you get your papers in order before going over to the check in desk. Once we had our keys we entered a short line waiting to board the Wonder. The Line opened soon and we were quickly aboard the ship. Day 1: After they announced our arrival we headed up to the pool deck. We were not very hungry yet so we skipped the sit down lunch and buffet. The rooms are not ready until 1:30. We went to Goofies pool and had a small lunch from the grill. Then the boys put on their suits in the bathroom and headed for the pool. My husband watched the boys play and soon they opened up the slide. While they were enjoying the pool I went to make reservations for Palo's. and sign the boys up for the Children's program. Be sure to bring your children with you because younger ones get a wrist band that they must wear throughout the cruise. By 1:30 I was back so we headed to our cabin 6002, this is an inside cabin on the outside of the ship in the forward on deck 6. The cabin was quite roomy for an inside cabin. Not enough drawer space but we managed. this was our first inside cabin and without a window it is quite dark with the lights off. Our luggage was delivered right away and as I unpacked one bag another arrived. (We left three suitcases in the trunk of the car). After unpacking we explored the ship and indulged in some snakes from the buffet. Dinner We had early seating and our first dinner was in the Parrot Cay. Our wait staff was excellent and we really liked our assistant waiter he had an energetic personality. My fish was great but the rest of my family only eat a little because it takes them some time to get used to the ship. They all take dramamine the first day until they get used to the movement. We only wish many more passengers did the same. I couldn't believe all the children running out of the dinner seasick. Yuck, what a mess in the hallways that night. Evening: dear husband was tired from the meds so he went to the cabin to sleep after dinner. I took the boys to their respective centers where they enjoyed the rest of the evening. They weren't interested in the shows, they enjoy the freedom of playing in the oceaner's club and lab. With a unexpected free night to myself I headed to the spa to see if they had any openings. What luck they had an hour time slot available. I booked a massage and facial. Ahhh, what a way to start a cruise. By the time I was done I was so relaxed. I picked up the kids and called it a night. Day 2: Nassau--We booked the stingray excursion so we were up early to eat and meet the rest of the group. Once everyone had the all the forms filled out our group headed off the ship. Disney provide the towels and walked the group to the boat that would take us to blue lagoon island. the 40 min ride was uneventful until the last few minutes due to rough surf we slowly made our way to the dock. Once docked we were led to the stingway area and this is were the disappointment began. After taking all his way they announced that the the current was too strong and they don't recommend doing this excursion unless your a very strong swimmer and that the visibility was poor. We were given the option of not doing this part of the excursion and getting a refund of this portion from Disney. We took this option and walked back to the beach to play in the lagoon. We played in the beach ate our mediocre lunch that was provided and took the first boat back to the ship. I feel that they should of informed us of this before we left the ship because we would not have done this excursion without the stingray option. Once on board the ship we cleaned up and the children went to their perspective children's center's. They love all the activities. We left the ship to do some shopping and didn't find any great deals. Except for a couple of Cuban Cigars. We went back to the ship to enjoy the activities on the ship. Dinner: We went to pick up the children for dinner but they didn't want to go so we let them eat with the other children to the centers. Wow it sure is nice to have a peaceful dinner for two. We had dinner at Tritions and enjoyed our peaceful meal. The food was very good. Late night: We wondered the ship and had drinks in the Sports area until the 11:30 buffet and deck party.. Yumm, what great desserts again the children wanted to stay in the clubs and choose not to go to the deck party. When we went to pick up the kids the youngest was stretched out on a mat watching lion king. Day 3: castaway Cay--What can I say, this was the best day of the cruise. We slept in and enjoyed breakfast in the buffet. Around 10:00 am we left the ship with our snorkel gear and hit the beach. Still a little chilly in the water so we just played on the beach. After lunch the children spent a couple hours doing activities with the oceaner's club and lab. So we checked out the adult side of the island. Way to quiet for our taste and the water was very shallow. We didn't stay long and headed back to the active side to pick up the kids and snorkel more. This time it was warm and we brought some fish food. The kids loved snorkeling. They loved seeing all the things Disney placed on the lagoon floor. We stayed and played until they closed the lagoon. Palo's Tonight was our big dinner at Palo's. We had appetizers while the children ate dinner at the Animator's Palate. the changing background was great and the kids enjoyed it more then the meal itself. After roping them off at the clubs we headed to our dinner. They restraint to very nice and the food is excellent. The only problem was the pager went off right before the main course. My youngest was exhausted and wanted and became quite grumpy. I left my husband to enjoy the rest of his meal and picked up the children. No sooner had I put them to bed then the phone rang. Palo's wanted to know if it was okay to bring me my dinner now. Wow! They brought me my main course and the best tiramasu I have every had. They went the extra mile in service. Disembarkation: The last day we went to breakfast in the buffet since our breakfast time was 6:45 and we didn't want to leave that early. Right after we finished our breakfast they announced that the ship cleared immigration. We grabbed our overnight bag and walked off the ship. All the luggage was neatly arranged and someone was there to help you find your bags. We quickly made it though customs. We all have passports and headed for the parking lot to find our car and head for the airport. Overall: The ship was well equipped but they closed off parts of the pool areas at night to do maintenance. The food was good. the children's program's were excellent. We didn't see any shows. Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
Disney was amazing at handling luggage and getting you on the ship. Beyond that there isn't much to brag about concerning the cruise. Do you like eating in a fine restaurant and them bring out imitation Jello type cheese cake with ... Read More
Disney was amazing at handling luggage and getting you on the ship. Beyond that there isn't much to brag about concerning the cruise. Do you like eating in a fine restaurant and them bring out imitation Jello type cheese cake with those frozen mushy strawberries? How bout lukewarm entrees with that imitation powdered brown gravy mix on your beef? Mmmmm..... Service was pretty terrible too. When you sit down they're on you like flies with their regimented service schedule which progressively fizzles out as the night goes on. The further you go the more your waiters are engaging in other works unrelated to your coffee being warmed up. The "show" in animators palate comes about long after half of the eaters are gone. Every single night your dinner crawls to an end seemingly at an undefined moment among the hustle and bustle of busy staff walking around with piles of clanking dishes while half the place is empty as you enjoy yet another prefab dessert along with your cold low budget coffee. Mmmm..... The Mango soup(cold) is usually made with cream or half n half which results in a very creamy smooth dish. But on Disney they just blend up a bunch of mangoes resulting in an overly frothy smoothie. Just a mouth full of foam. Everything you put in your mouth on the Wonder is just as above described. The carved beef and the shrimp were pretty good on the buffet. Food aside, the activities for your kids are akin to just about anything else that they've been exposed to at school/daycare/sunday school etc. Same old stuff beefed up. Its just daycare plain and simple except you're on a boat. The ship isn't as clean as people would have you believe. The exact same people cleaning and running the ship are the same foreigners that are on a zillion other ships. The Wonder isn't a speck cleaner than any other cruise ship of the same age. Thermostat? I guess this is what they call this box on your stateroom wall. Turn it to any position and in doesn't make it any cooler or warmer. Air barely trickles out the vent. Adult options are really poor on the Wonder. As with any cruise line there is almost nothing in the way of activities on the ship that are engaging if you are at a port during the day. Shuffleboard matches with a couple of kids or bingo are but a couple of options. Ho Hum... That leaves the evening. You eat with your kids and usually watch the main Disney stage show (adults liked it better than the kids). So after you put the kids to bed do you think that theres a midnight buffet? No! Do you think that theres a standup comedian in the lounge after hours? No! Do you think theres a casino? No! The adult action on the Disney boils down to a guy singing in the lounge with about 12 people sitting around, most of which are there because its the only place to smoke. You might say that this is a "family cruise" and shouldn't expect Adult entertainment on the ship. I don't really drink and I don't smoke and I love "Cosby" clean humor and a midnight buffet would be great. In short this cruise ain't that great for kids or adults. Why is it so great for kids? Do they like the ship daycare laced with Disney characters inside a room without a view of the ocean? Do they like the 1 1/2 hour long dinners being served macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets while you eat beef Wellington? Does your kid eat snails or onion soup? Kids could care less about some big fancy dinner. Folks, take a few hundred bucks and go on a day or two and drive to the next big city and go to their local theme park, eat at the fancy steakhouse and give the kids 50 bucks apiece to spend at the mall and get some gourmet ice cream. No fuss no muss and everybody's happy and you'll spend FAR less without the plains, trains and automobiles and passports. Then later that year, leave the kids with aunt Tilly and go on your adult cruise where theres action, fun and food until the wee hours. And lastly, the ship layout is really lousy. On modern cruise ships the common areas are usually placed together on a couple of decks creating eye popping open areas and thoroughfares with neon/brass/glass and chrome. but on the Disney its all cut up with lots of the "action" being on much lower decks shared with staterooms. Sorry about my lousy spelling. Have a good day. I wished I had my money back. Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
Background information: I'm Robin, my husband Bruce and I are from New York, we are married 26 years and this was our third cruise. We were bringing our 17-year-old Andrew son on his first cruise. Also joining us were our friends from ... Read More
Background information: I'm Robin, my husband Bruce and I are from New York, we are married 26 years and this was our third cruise. We were bringing our 17-year-old Andrew son on his first cruise. Also joining us were our friends from Debbie and Benny from Boston and their 17-year-old son Jason. Pre Cruise: Flew down on American Airlines two days early to see my in-laws who winter in Delray Beach, they drove down to Miami to see us. We did not rent a car, used cabs to and from airport and port, and either walked or used free Metromover in Miami to travel. My friend Debbie and I had booked rooms at the Downtown Hyatt Regency on Priceline some months prior for $57 per night. This is a bit high by Priceline standards but bear in mind it was Presidents' Week and there was a boat show in Downtown Miami. Turned out to be a great bargain. We got rooms on the 22nd floor, city view, the rooms were lovely, no problem getting two double beds to accommodate us and our son. No mention of Priceline whatsoever. Nice dressing area, great hairdryer and lighted makeup mirror, towels and amenities. My sole complaint was that the bathroom (toilet/tub area) is very dark; could use more lighting. Ate a late night dinner at hotel when our friends arrived from Boston, food was good, not badly priced. Went with the in-laws in their car to South Beach Sunday and wandered around, ate dinner with them at Bubba Gump's in Bayside Marketplace. Went at 5:00 on a Saturday night, no problem getting in, great food, good time had by all. Many stores in Downtown Miami within walking distance, and Bayside is only about 10 blocks away by foot. Cruise Check in: Snagged two cabs from Hyatt at about 10:30 and went to port. Checked in very quickly, no problems or lines, we were on the ship by 11:30 at the latest. It was a real breeze, no waiting at all! Found our cabins and ran to Windjammer for lunch before the crowds arrived. Did a tour of the ship, drank my first of numerous BBCs and did some relaxing by the pool before Muster Drill, which was typically boring but necessary, especially given two weeks ago they called it out on this ship at 5am due to a small kitchen fire. Cabins: We had three inside cabins and knew they would be small, which is why we put the 17-year-old boys in their own. Cost me exactly $25 extra by booking me in one cabin, hubby in other, and using two C&A coupons. We just got extra key cards coded for my son and he and I flipped them. Easy as cake. Our travel agent surprised us with $25 credits for the two adult cabins (he had previously sent us wine, which was nice also). This was on top of the $100 in cabin credits I had gotten for booking the two cabins on my Serenade cruise! Nice to have "free" money to play with. Our cabins were three of the 8 inside cabins on deck 7; most of the insides are on Decks 6 and down. I don't know if it was because we were on deck 7, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a safe in the closet! The other advantage to deck 7 was that it was the promenade deck—even though I was in an inside, we were steps away from the fresh air and chairs outside without any stairs to contend with. Cabins were quite small but functional, OK for two people; I cannot imagine 4 in one of those insides. The cabin was a bit run down, torn wallpaper in one spot, bathroom door slightly rusted—I learned how THAT happened after my first shower, which totally ran out of the shower area onto the floor. After two cruises with the nice glass sliding shower door, the shower curtain was a riot! I'm fairly small and it stuck to me every move! We had a hairdryer, worked fine. Our cabin attendant was Murado(?), I don't remember where he was from, he was pleasant, nothing spectacular but did his job and props to him: he managed to keep up with the whirlwind the two 17 year old boys called their home for four days, including making them some hysterical towel animals using their caps, glasses, etc. He got extra tip from us just for pulling THAT off! Appearance of ship: I was truly pleasantly surprised by this, as was my husband, who was convinced we were taking a step into hell after cruising on Voyager and Radiance classes. Everything sparkling clean, obvious fresh carpeting in many areas, no dirty dishes lying around, always someone at work cleaning or fixing something. The ship is getting a total refurbishment in a year, and I hear the cabins will be totally redone, and they will freshen up the rest of the common areas. I also liked the shopping area on Majesty, which was nice and spread out. Nothing beats Explorer's promenade, but I thought Serenade's store area was cramped. Food: The endless Cruise Critic board discussions about "bad food" always surprise me. Considering the ship is feeding over 2,000 people, I think they do a darned good job. The Windjammer is a bit more congested than on the larger ships but it worked fine, and blissfully, it was open post-Galley fire! Food quality was good there although some of the breakfast food (pancakes, French toast) was sometimes cold, and as usual, as on every one of my Royal cruises, I have not been able to get a good piece of melon! Oh well....Also at breakfast, lox (known as smoked salmon for you non New Yorkers!) was missing after the first meal, and I do enjoy that. My one other issue: for the entire trip, the soft serve ice cream machines only had strawberry ice cream, no vanilla or chocolate, and I HATE strawberry! All in all, however, I enjoyed Windjammer. It is divided into two sections; don't stop at the front area, the area further aft is prettier and you have the option of going up a level to find tables. We ate every breakfast and lunch at Windjammer except for one of each meal in the dining room, dinner always was in the Dining Room. The upstairs area of Windjammer also served as the Mast Bar. Pizza and frankfurters and often some sort of sweet are available here into the wee hours, and they had great sandwiches out during sail away. Dining Room: We were assigned to the Mikado on Deck 4, had requested a table for 6 late seating and got it with no problems. Our table was in a nice location, and although the dining area is not as spectacular as on the newer ships, it was still beautiful. Our waiter was Yavuz from Turkey. Suffice it to say he was a little on the odd side. Barely saw him during the meal, although our food arrived promptly with no problems. Then after dinner he would stop by to chat and went on and on, and half the time we had no idea what he was talking about. Just a strange dude. In contrast, our assistant waiter, Carina from Argentina, was truly spectacular. She knew what everyone liked to drink after the first night (anyone who remembered Earl Grey tea for me and English Breakfast tea for my son is amazing), was constantly in attendance, and took care of all sorts of stuff for us. Saw the boys' soda cards the first night and from that point on the Cokes and Sprites kept appearing without asking. Told us all sorts of stories about her family and heritage (Italian/Argentinean) and was quite entertaining. She also got a nice tip from us! Our headwaiter was Wellington from India and he is the best headwaiter I've had. Attentive, friendly, and actually visible; came over and chatted at length with us every night. Our friends were blown away (as was my son) when he took the shrimp scampi out of the shell! As for the food, in general it was great. The RCI menus were exactly the same as on my four night Serenade cruise and I knew what I did and did not like. The first night, however, they had the infamous ranch steak (albeit in a special marinade) and I was in a steak mood, so I cracked and tried it. Not the best. Kudos to the prime rib, the duck (which I asked for nice and crispy and got!), shrimp scampi, shrimp cocktail, escargots, Key Lime Pie, and lots of other goodies. We had one breakfast there (the day we disembarked, as we were in no hurry) which was pleasant, and one lunch, on what turned out to be our sea day, since we did not make Coco Cay. More on that later, but the lunch was excellent. I have to add here that the 2 17-year-old boys went to town at meals. The funniest night was when my son Andrew was eating shrimp scampi with one hand and Fettuccini Alfredo with the other. They also LOVED room service nachos. There were two buffets, a midnight one as we sailed away from Nassau (which was nice) and a midnight chocolate buffet that the adults missed due to total exhaustion but the boys raided. They pronounced it to be outrageous. Ports: We unfortunately had crummy weather, more or less, our entire trip. There was a cold front across Florida and the Bahamas and we landed right in the middle of it. Our two days pre-cruise were OK but not pool weather. Boarding day in Miami was fairly nice and my husband managed a suntan. The day in the Bahamas was overcast. We went in the morning into town and did some shopping, my son got a Casio watch, I got a Skaagen, and he bought sunglasses. We ran back to the ship, had a little snack and were picked up by Stuart Cove snorkeling for their excursion. We took a half hour bus ride to their boat, got to see some local sights (since we had stayed at the Atlantic for three nights a few years ago, we had already seen a lot of Nassau). The water was a bit rocky, it was gloomy and raining on and off and I was a bit dizzy, bear in mind you ARE snorkeling off a boat in the middle of the water! The rocking prompted me to jump into the ocean and try snorkeling for the first time very quickly. I had a ball in the water, and felt much better there. Our friends chickened out, but my husband, the boys and I had a ball. Alas, the weather and 10' swells also cancelled Coco Cay. It was very disappointing but I'm sure the captain was concerned with safety. We actually met with Captain Per in a corridor later that day and he was very pleasant, explained at length why we could not get there, especially with tenders involved. We had been looking forward to this, especially my son, as they have beach volleyball there and he was raring to go (he plays varsity in HS). The ship of course increased activities and did hand out free Screwdrivers and Bloody Marys from 10am-noon by the pool, not that you could sit there without being blown off your chair and into the water! It felt like my Canada cruise....in any event, we compensated, the boys caught up on sleep, had a nice leisurely lunch in dining room, played some games, visited the casino (no luck there), shopped, etc. We arrived in Key West to lovely, 70-degree weather. The ship now has to go through immigration since we were back in the United States, and although it went smoothly, we sat in port until 10:30 until it was completed, which was a bit annoying looking at the beauty outside. We were going to take the Trolley tour but opted for walking. Did the tour of Ernest Hemmingway's house (as I wanted to see the cats!) and walked to the southernmost point. We walked back toward the pier on Duval Street, lost Debbie & Benny to the stores, and the boys went right back to the ship for "lunch, sun, virgin pina coladas and basketball. Bruce and I went in search of the Kino sandal store; if you don't know about them they have a very inexpensive sandal factory and make great flip-flops. Other family members have brought them to me so I reciprocated and bought some for them, and we made our way back to the ship for lunch at the Windjammer. "Our" Carina was working there that day and kept bringing us goodies! After that Bruce went in search of a lounge chair and I went off ship again for some solo shopping time; I didn't buy much but enjoyed people watching and strolling around. I joined Bruce for some sun, bought some photographs, and we showered and got ready for dinner before sailway from Key West. Don't miss that sunset, but watch it outside (Bruce and I watched from the Viking Crown Lounge and apparently the polarization on the windows cut out some of the coloration of the skies). Entertainment: The two production shows were "Wild Wild West" and "The Beat Goes On." Honestly, I had heard the former was not too good, and I agreed, we walked out. "The Beat Goes On" was pretty good and I enjoyed reminiscing with some of the music. Comedian on cruise was Greg Otto. He was hilarious; he did the first night cruise and also a late night comedy act the last night. My son was rolling in the aisles. The first night show also featured "Cowboy Dario El Gaucho," who does a comedy/music/everything else act and is a treat. Also entertaining was Hal Frazier, who did a comedy/singing act beyond explanation. If he's on board, make sure you see him. We also went to Quest (funny, although a bit repetitive the third time around: I really think RCI should consider something new) some game called Liars Club on our at sea day, and Love and Marriage game, which is always funny. My husband loves watching Karaoke and we spent some time watching this. Worth is just for the antics of Bar Waiter Desmond, who becomes part of the act and is hysterical. We didn't do rock wall, much of the dancing scene, bingo, art auctions, spa, not enough time to do everything (hey, I need to sleep, I'm not 22 years old!). Bruce, who likes to exercise, was disappointed by the Gym and pronounced it horrible compare to our two other ships. I assume this will be part of the refurbishment next year. The Cruise Director is Tim, who I thought did a great job. Young, dynamic, funny and truly seemed like he was enjoying himself, as did the assistant cruise directors and other staff. Disembarkation: Alas, it was already Friday morning and time to leave. Since we were in no hurry we had aforementioned breakfast in Mikado, retrieved our luggage, went quickly through customs (remember immigration had already taken place) and were off the ship by 9:00 am. Were at our "Priceline booked $42 a night room" at Embassy Suites hotel at MIA (since we all had morning flights Saturday, we opted to stay by the airport) by 9:30. Rooms were not ready yet (not unexpected) and although this hotel is a great value for the buck (free Managers' Reception at night with drinks, free cooked to order breakfast and free shuttle bus to the airport) there was NOTHING to do around here (it's truly an airport hotel) so we laid by the pool and vegetated until we could get into rooms. Ended up eating both lunch and dinner at the hotel as my son was feeling lightheaded (which we thought was post-motion but found out later was not, as he came down with some sort of bug); there IS a Bennigans fairly close by but aside from that you're really stranded without a car. Got up the next AM and went to airport for our flight back to New York but that's a horror story that I won't go into here, as it isn't cruise related! Final impressions: We knew this wasn't going to be the same sort of experience as cruising on the larger and newer ships, but a vacation is what you make of it and we had great fun with our friends. They got hooked and booked another cruise; the Loyalty Ambassador, Kim, was really nice. There's more action on the larger ships but this one did have a great crew and plenty to keep you busy. I do understand they miss the Coco Cay port often due to tendering problems; keep that in mind. Any questions, please ask me! Robin Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
I had heard so much about Carnival's ships before sailing and most of it was not good. I want to say that I found Carnival Fantasy a wonderful ship. After comparing my pictures with others I have seen, it appears that the Fantasy ... Read More
I had heard so much about Carnival's ships before sailing and most of it was not good. I want to say that I found Carnival Fantasy a wonderful ship. After comparing my pictures with others I have seen, it appears that the Fantasy has gone through some updating. There was less neon. Carpets were fresh and new in our stateroom. The ship was in wonderful condition. We sailed on a Sunday. Our embarkation was smooth. The entire process took less than 30 minutes. The people we worked with were very nice. Once onboard we went to our room. The room was bigger than I expected. I heard about "indirect lighting" in the cabins. We have nice, strong direct lighting. Our room was an inside cabin so it was nice to have it completely dark at night. The Lido deck food was great. The burgers and fries were as good as any restaurant. We just enjoyed exploring the ship before sailing. Once we sailed, we were all surprised at how rough it was. The wind was strong and the sea was rough. Many people on board got seasick including my wife and I. Unfortunately we did not take our medicine until after the sea got rough. By the next day we were better. Thoughts: Service- I had read about poor service on Carnival. Our service was well beyond expectations. Our room was kept in perfect condition. Room service was prompt. We had the late seating. We loved it. We could do all we wanted during the day and not have to worry about rushing back to the ship for dinner. Our table staff was amazing. We never lacked for anything at any time. We ordered two entrees almost every night. It was easy to trade out for something if your first choice was not what you wanted. Our staff was friendly. Occasionally you found someone around the ship who was a little grumpy but almost ever Food- The food quality was better than expected. Breakfast from the Lido restaurant lacked variety but was still good. We had lunch in the main restaurant as well as Windows on the Sea. Both offered good choices. The pizza and deli were nice surprises. Dinners were excellent. The portions were not big, but we found that as the cruise went one we were less hungry. I tried a few things and had some old favorites. The prime rib, lobster and NY strip were excellent. Desserts were beautiful but not very rich. We loved the food. We really liked the late seating because it was more laid back. We took our time and rarely left the dining room until after 10 PM. We spent a lot of time with our waiters and they were great. Also, our table mates could not have been better. Rooms- As I said, we had an inside room on the Verandah deck. The hall was quiet. Our room was plenty big. It was bright. There were several good choices on the TV. The bathroom was great. The vanity was bright. The shower was also great. Plenty of hot water. The room had just enough storage space. There is not much room for empty suitcases in the room. Activities- We did not participate in many activities. We found some quiet places around the ship. We enjoyed the music and just hanging out on deck. There was plenty to do. Excursions- Okay- we enjoyed what we did but admittedly it was a rip. Our bus ride around Freeport was informative but not worth $35 per person. Our snorkel was cancelled due to rough water. In Nassau, we went to Atlantis and it was interesting. It was probably worth the $35 charge. Freeport was okay but we loved Nassau. We had more fun just walking the streets of Nassau and meeting the people. Overall- We cannot wait to cruise again. Don't be afraid to sail on one of Carnival's older ships. The cost is much lower and the level of service is great. Some of the older reviews may reflect how things were but it appears that Carnival has worked hard to get the Fantasy to where it needs to be. If you have cruised with other lines, especially with the newer ships, don't miss out on the charm of this older ship. She is great and we can't wait to sail on her again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
I can't say enough wonderful things about the 4-day cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Wonder (except that I wish it were longer). The service is outstanding. I enjoyed the variety of the restaurants. The food was good in most, but ... Read More
I can't say enough wonderful things about the 4-day cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Wonder (except that I wish it were longer). The service is outstanding. I enjoyed the variety of the restaurants. The food was good in most, but was EXCELLENT in Palo. The breakfast buffets had a nice selection. Delicious fruit! The pools were fairly small and crowded, specifically the Mickey Pool, but we didn't mind and the kids loved them. The lounge chairs in the sun go fast! There were many activities planned throughout the day and the Personal Navigator clearly identified these. The children's programs were great. The staff was extremely professional, it was clean and the kids had really fun things to do. Many characters were available throughout the ship and the photographers were close behind. We really enjoyed identifying and purchasing the pictures that were displayed daily at Shutters. The shows are very enjoyable both for the adults and children. The staterooms were a bit small but this was our first cruise so we had nothing to compare it to, but I must say, there is ample space for you to unpack your belongings. Disney movies as well as grown-up movies played continuously. We stayed on the ship on the Nassau day because that worked out best for our family with 3 small children. We enjoyed the entire day at the pools. Castaway Cay could be a vacation of it's own. It's beautiful, there are many, many things to do and the barbecue was great. I wish we could have stayed there longer. I can't wait for my next Disney vacation. I only wish this one was longer. Next time I will definitely opt for the 7-day Caribbean. It is the ultimate perfect vacation for families with young children. Please e-mail me with any specific questions. I would love to share my wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
Quickie with Mickey - Disney Wonder 2/11-2/15, 2004 Back to the cold and home routine, still dreaming of being on the Disney Wonder last week. Memories keep the dreams alive! Our family, Chris 50, Paul 50, PJ age 15 and Tyler age 13. ... Read More
Quickie with Mickey - Disney Wonder 2/11-2/15, 2004 Back to the cold and home routine, still dreaming of being on the Disney Wonder last week. Memories keep the dreams alive! Our family, Chris 50, Paul 50, PJ age 15 and Tyler age 13. We (especially me Chris) are addicted to cruising..this makes #15 for Chris, 12 for Paul and 10 for the boys. We have cruised on Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, Princess, Norwegian and this is our first Disney cruise. Booking: made the booking for this trip with our favorite cruise agent. As always things went smoothly from the initial deposit to the final disembarkation. Booked this trip in May 2003 after finding out the boys would have 2 - ½ days along with Friday off school in Feb 2004. Had some free tickets on Airtran that we were able to book without restrictions after a battle with their customer service. A Disney cruise was always hard for me to justify with their higher than other cruise lines price tag. Not having to pay airfare and doing a short cruise made it a reasonable option. We also booked category 11 quad cabin to keep the costs down. Disney deposit of $200 pp was more than the usual bite for a short cruise. Made the final payment less hefty to pay near Christmas which was a blessing! Surprise!! Didn't tell our boys PJ and Tyler about the cruise. On Christmas day they had a treasure hunt around the house and found clues, when they would go to the location found by clue they discovered a piece of a puzzle.. at the last location they got the last puzzle piece, a countdown calendar and also the passporter guide to Disney Cruise line along with gold foil chocolate coins inside a treasure chest. The puzzle pieces together would form a picture of the Disney Wonder and said "Surprise, you're going on a Disney Cruise 2/12/04!!!!" Wednesday Feb 11, 2004 -- Luckily the weather gods were cooperating and we were able to escape this horrible winter in Maryland with our scheduled flight on Airtran. Arrived in Orlando 11:30 AM, picked up our van (free upgrade!) from Avis and were headed down to our 1 night stay at Pop Century by noon. Stopped by the Albertson's grocery, lunch at Chick-fil-a and then on to the newest Disney resort. Pop Century only opened mid Dec so we were looking forward to the experience. Check in went very smoothly, we were also impressed that the Disney Quest tickets that we had ordered from Ticket Mania just 3 days before were tagged to our reservation and waiting for us along with a few local Orlando discount brochures. We had requested to be in either the 70's or 50's buildings... we were given 1st floor in the 50's section, 'lake view' room not too far from the bowling pin swimming pool. Headed to the pools for a nice swim after getting our luggage inside our new 'home'. Pools were heated but just barely enough to be comfortable, clouds and sunshine were playing tag with each other all afternoon. Still so nice to be outside and warm after months of the miserable cold weather in Maryland. Back to room for a change and then we were off to the food court for an early dinner. Decent food at the food court, had the shrimp lo mein ($6.99), and Mom's night out tv dinner ($8.99) -turkey and mashed potatoes, brought soda from our room to drink. Hopped on the bus to Magic Kingdom afterward. Wanted to do some resort hopping and get a bit of Disney magic before our cruise the next day. Great statues of Mickey all decorated in different styles at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom. It was already 6PM and the park would be closing in an hour. It killed the boys to be that close to the park and all the rides and not go inside. We decided to head over to Fort Wilderness and went to the landing to get on the larger boat there going across the bay. Nice evening for a boat ride, sun was setting, we could see Wilderness Lodge, Discovery Island and soon arrived at Fort Wilderness. Nice beach area there, toured the gift shop and then it was time to see the Wishes fireworks. Joined the crowd gathering on the beach, had a good view of the Ariel fireworks but not the ground displays. I had thought they would pipe in the music soundtrack from the Magic Kingdom but unfortunately not. Still impressive fireworks, many unusual shaped ones and colors. Afterwards we boarded the small boat launch that headed to the Contemporary resort. Short ride, Peter Pan was on the pier there waiting for us to arrive. Inside the Contemporary we head up to get on the monorail. Quick wait and we are riding the short distance to the ticket center. The Monorail cars look ok but smell HORRIBLE. Urine, BO, I don't know what but these cars were nasty! Transferred to the monorail going to Epcot (also stinky) and enjoyed the mini-overview of the park there. Walked to the bus depot and soon we were headed back on the bus to Pop Century. Disney transport is efficient and not too frustrating. PJ had to stop by the food court to try the tied dyed cheesecake, yummy!, Tyler opted for ice cream and I had a frozen coke (good deal for those with refillable mugs). Then off to our room, pretty comfortable beds, fluffy pillows - a bit cozy for 4 but manageable... need to rest up cuz tomorrow is the day we will sail on the DISNEY WONDER!! Best of Day: fireworks over Magic Kingdom Worst of Day: waking up at 5:30AM to head to airport Thursday February 12, 2004 Embarkation Day!!! Up early, cloudy day outside. We head out and find the $3.99 breakfast buffet at the Ponderosa West of Disney World on 192. Decent breakfast choices, more food than we needed. Took a detour to the Animal Kingdom lodge on our way back. WOW, this is a great resort. We enjoyed the lobby area, walked around the pool grounds and out to the Savannah overlooks. Not much animal life in sight tho, we did see a few pelicans and also zebras in the distance. Nice gift shop too. Would be our first choice for a deluxe resort stay ($275 per night value season Savannah view, ouch!) Back to Pop Century we pack up and since we have express checkout no need to stop by front desk. Back on the road we are headed east to Port Canaveral... many toll booths later (probably about $5 total) we can see our first glimpse of the ship from one of the high bridges before you reach the coast. Ya Hoo! What a wonder to see for real!!! Have to go a few miles down A1A to the Avis office to drop off. Smooth process, the shuttle driver takes our luggage and we are soon on the way back towards the ship. Arrive in the Disney drop off parking lot at 11:30 or so, hand over our checked bags (make sure you have them tagged for the ship) —sun is peeking out now, we are really skipping over the short walkway to the terminal. Usual security checks getting in to the terminal we go up the escalator and are now inside the beautiful check in terminal. Impressive, nice facility that Disney has built for their ships. No check in line, takes about 10 min to get our Key to the World Cards. Meanwhile Captain Mickey has arrived next to the large model of the Disney Magic. Boys get in line for their first of many photos for the weekend. We head over to the ears embarkation portal, short wait later we have our welcome aboard photo done, walk on the ship and have them announce "Please join us in welcoming the Mitchell family" with applause from cast members. Nice touch! We are sent down the hallway to Parrot Cay but before we get there they have us exit to the left and head to the elevators going upstairs. I was a bit disappointed after reading the embarkation buffet is nicer in Parrot Cay...but we were fine with the food upstairs. Up on Deck 9, we join the 'cafeteria' lines getting food from the beach blanket buffet. 1st impression about this buffet is not good. Much more congested and less appealing than just about every lido deck restaurant we have been on. Seating crowded, lines resemble a high school cafeteria. Disney could have planned this area much better. (like their nice food courts at the value resorts Disney World). Food was good tho, enjoyed the peel and eat shrimp! Cream puffs and had a nice table on the aft deck in the sunshine overlooking the port. Ice tea, fruit punch and water are the options for drinks. Ah, sunshine, good food and no worries. Life is GOOD! Do a quick walk around the top decks, no big crowds in the pools yet. We head down the elevator to deck 7 and find our home away from home for the week, stateroom 7035. (inside category 11) Like the layout of the stateroom with the large bed, sofa and table with a pull down bunk above for our youngest son. We have been spoiled on the last few family cruises having the boys in an adjoining stateroom so having a quad was a bit too cozy...overall we managed fine. Luggage has not arrived yet. We sit on the beds, declare them comfortable and discover the little Disney touches. Like the bedside table lamps with mickey ear design on the shade. Nice propeller alarm clock, Table can rise up and down to adjust height. Safe in the closet nearest the vanity desk that you can operate with any magnetic strip card. We put our passports and $$ inside. Use the bathroom and discover we have a 'too efficient' flushing mechanism on our toilet. If you happen to just lean back slightly on the seat cover it will engage the push button for the flush! I warned everyone about the 'surprise' Not sure if this was unusual for the fixtures in the staterooms on the Wonder, but we hadn't had this problem before. Kinda scary!!!!! Like the bathroom tub with handheld shower, nice design. Decide to do a walkabout on decks 3 and 4, find all of the restaurants and show lounge locations. Nice big show lounge for the evening shows. Stop by wavebands and check on our table for dinner since we had only received 3 tickets in our room instead of the 4 for our family. Everything ok, have a table for 4, Early seating, and rotation TAP as expected. Head to cabin and wait til we hear the signal for the muster drill. Usual hike down the stairs to deck 4 and off to our station. Lucky to be in the shade, fairly painless we muddle together in our orange vests waiting to be released. Back up to the cabin we have 3 out of 4 suitcases and begin the putting away process. Not much shelf/drawer space, I was wishing I had brought a lot more things on hangers to get things put away easier. We manage to get it all stuffed away, (remember next time not to pack so much stuff!!) head up to deck 10 for the sailaway party. Get the boys some virgin colada drinks in the Disney souvenir glasses. ($14.95 for 2) Most of the action is next to the family pool on Deck 9 but we prefer our less crowded view from above on deck 10. Have the cameras out, bubbles to blow. The energized activity staff has music playing and dancing on deck. The crowd is pumped up for our sailaway. Mickey and friends join in and soon we hear the 'when we wish upon a star' signal from the ship's horn. Off we slide into the channel out to sea. Sun is shinning brightly and seas look calm. Hard to believe after almost a year of planning this long anticipated cruise is on it's way! We stay for awhile then return to our cabin to get dressed up for our first dinner in Triton's. Would have preferred not to have to dress up this evening and had a more relaxed evening for our 1st night aboard. The boys and hubby in their dress shirts and ties, I have on my dressy top and pants and off we head to Tritons. Easy to find midship on deck 3. We are escorted to our table #68 bout dead center in middle of dining room. Our servers Cheddormar and assistant Banjong introduce themselves and bring us the menu for the evening. Nice formal atmosphere in room, I can view the large mosaic of Triton and the ocean life in front of me. We quickly order and have an enjoyable meal. (I had garlic beef tenderloin, crème brulee, excellent!) Cheddormar (who asked us to just call him Cheddar) was great with the boys, he brought Tyler's dessert under a covered platter and made him wait for a few minutes til he was able to uncover his 'surprise' a Mickey ice cream bar and sprinkles! He loved the special treatment! Sun was setting as we had our meal. Back to cabin for a change to more comfortable wear and then off to see the 1st show, Hercules the Museical in the big theater on Deck 4 forward. Drinks, snacks etc. Are available outside for a reasonable fee. We find seats in an aisle row and wait for the fun to begin. The cruise director Jackie in her dress whites introduces the show. She's a bit more formal than the other CD's we have had before..guess Disney likes that image. We preferred the other cruise activity staff with 'regular clothes' and less stiffness. (party animals!) What a great show,, we laughed and enjoyed every minute. My son PJ a true Disney fan was so impressed with the show. Afterward we sent them to Common Grounds to participate in the teen activities... unfortunately my boys are not ones to mix in with new cruise friends. Their loss I am sure, we did see lots of teens on the ship and the activities we saw listed in their teen navigator seemed creative and fun. Paul and I head to wavebands and watch a bit of the 70's show, do a quick run around the top deck watching the stars and enjoy our first night at sea. Back to cabin 7035 all are in bed around midnight. Our cabin steward Gusti has our bed turned down, lights on low and chocolate treats on the pillow. A towel animal , sorry can't remember this night's treasure but we did photograph it! was waiting on our bed when we returned from dinner. Like the privacy curtain between our bed and the bunk for the boys. (bring a clothes pin/clip if you want to no break between curtains.) Gentle rocking of the waves sends us off into dreamland- Best of Day: Welcome from the Disney cast members when we board the Wonder. Worst of Day: Muster Drill, necessary but not magical. Friday February 13, 2004 (Yikes, I just discovered it was Friday the 13th writing this review, luckily we had a GREAT day no bad luck for us). Paul and I up early around 6:30AM or so and head up to get some coffee from Deck 9 near the beach blanket buffet. Supposedly a 24 hr drink station here. Nice insulated foam cups with lids you can put on to carry the beverages around deck. We walk a bit on deck 10 but my flip flops are slipping on the damp plastic decking and we decide to play it safe..go on deck 4 (teak wooden promenade deck) and enjoy some nice quiet sea time before we head to cabin to wake up the boys. Amazing very calm waters out there can barely see a ripple in the waves, have rarely seen it this calm. We leave the boys in bed and go off to Triton's for breakfast. Nice full service menu, we have a table with a big window, another couple from Fla/Illinois joins us for the meal. I have a Denver omelet, just ok, I am guessing they use either some form of liquid egg mixture or powdered eggs from the texture. Bring toast, delicious pastries etc. along with the ever filled to the brim coffee cup..just what we need to start our day. Decide to wait to head into Nassau after we go to see the movie "Miracle" in the big theatre lounge. Boys head up to the beach blanket buffet and get their fill up for the day with the eat all you want offerings on deck 9. Head to the theater and am slightly disappointed the preludes store is not open to sell my hoped for popcorn. Only 10AM but movies and popcorn are a must for me. Theater only fills about ½ of the seats and soon our movie is on the screen. Love Kurt Russell, always my favorite actor from back in teen age days! He sure has aged in this film, hope it is just cosmetic aging.. he's my age so can't look THAT old! Great movie, I am not a sports fan but this one is a very intense inside view of the Olympic sports world, especially during those years of the 'cold war' between US and Russia. Stop by cabin to pick up our beach bags before going to the 'all American buffet' on deck 9 beach blanket buffet. Good food offerings, mashed potatoes and turkey which are Tyler's #1 favorite foods. Have pasta selections and taco buffet as well, Good desserts. We enjoy a nice lunch overlooking the bridge to Paradise Island. Great sunny day and probably mid to upper 70's...wow, I had searched weather reports prior to our cruise and all of them had forecast rotten rain, wind and clouds for our entire trip... Glad that they were "off course" We grab towels from the pool area and take the elevator to deck 1 gangway. Off the ship and head down the pier. We are instantly grabbed by one of the taxi drivers in the information building. We have plans to go to the Paradise Island beach and then hope to visit most of the Atlantis resort. Our family joins another group and we all fit inside the 15 passenger van, a quick ride over the Paradise Island bridge. The driver drops off most of the passengers near the Atlantis casino, he takes us past the Sheraton to the path for the beach access there. We take the path over the sand dune and are soon on the soft sandy beach in front of the Sheraton. We head up to the Atlantis beach and it is a mass of bodies... having been to the resort before I have a bit of knowledge of where to go. We head up the stairs and over the resort area along the beach. Cross over a bridge where an Atlantis employee asks for our room key. I had been at the Comfort Suites a year ago and just happened to save the room plastic key from our trip, I flashed that at the employee and we were nodded on. I had also saved the Atlantis bracelets from our prior trip, had hoped we might be able to recycle them and use them for a few unauthorized trips on the water slides....but unfortunately the colors we had saved did not include the black bracelets that we discovered were the color of the day when we arrived. Oh, well. We went past the large Mayan Slide and over to 'Cove Beach' this is a small beach cove with less activity, lots of chairs. As expected we were not hassled here and enjoyed a little beach time. Water was a bit chilly but fine once you ventured in. Relaxed in the sun and just treasured the beautiful beach time, warmth and break from winter. Packed up, showered off the sand and headed back towards the main casino building. Came to the entrance to the 'dig' aquarium, there were 3 employees waiting outside there and we anticipated them asking for some type of key or bracelet. We just walked past them and no one said a thing. Beautiful aquariums and lots of fish displayed, always an impressive tour. We passed several tour guides and groups coming from the lobby area. Took our time walking thru, then exited to the lobby, visited the impressive bathrooms there- went thru the front entrance and a van headed to the port was waiting. I had the 'shotgun' seat and was glad I managed to buckle the seat belt before we took our wild ride back to the port. Insane traffic and instant lane changes made me a bit scared, the woman driver asked me if I would like to have to drive in Nassau..NO WAY JOSE! We were happy to exit the van at the port. Short line checking id's heading out on the pier. Back on the ship...shower and grab a slice of pizza, relax with a rum and coke (brought along our own sodas and rum for in cabin use) LIFE IS GOOD! Dinner tonite is at Animator's Palate. We find the restaurant on deck 4 aft and arrive to see the original black and white creations. The boys are very excited when they detect any changes in color or pictures during our meal. I guess I was expecting something different, maybe 1 color changing all over the restaurant at a time?? I enjoy the maple glazed salmon and Paul begs our head server Michelle to bring us the recipe. (which she graciously does the next evening) Strawberry cheesecake or strawberry shortcake for dessert are excellent as well. Another great meal and good service, thank you Cheddar and Banjong. Change attire again and relax a bit before heading off to Buena Vista Theater for the Golden Mickey's show. We all enjoy the red carpet interviews of passengers on their way inside the theater. Excellent characters and story lines give us another great evening of entertainment. It is nice that even having teenagers they can be excited to see the shows and get photos with some of the characters on the ship. Stop by the game show Mickey Mania afterward, too bad PJ didn't get picked, he knew most of the answers. One duo won by a landslide and was awarded the treasured winner medal on a ribbon. Paul and I decide to try to get a bit of bubble time in the hot tub post show. Up on deck the tropical deck party is in full swing by the family pool. We are at the adults pool and only a few passengers are sharing the evening there with us. A musical duo is playing some Jimmy Buffet music, we can hear the crowd partying in the distance but prefer our more subdued hideaway. Jump into the hot tub and a half dozen teens decide to join in. I question them about their being over 18 to be there and they act like they don't hear me. A few minutes later a Disney cast member comes by and gives them the heave ho out of the adult's tub. I was glad that they had it under control. Still some grumbling from the teens but they all managed to exit in a few minutes. Hot HOT HOT!!! Almost too hot, bubbled til our skin was feeling boiled in oil, dried off and then went over to catch the dance crowd partying with Mickey. Great action from the Disney activity crew. Wish I had their energy. Ate a bowl of ice cream from Scoops and checked out the display for the midnight tropical buffet—decided to just grab a burger from Pluto's instead. Stuffed again, we did a late night watch from the Promenade deck before heading for bed to get a good night's sleep before our day on Castaway Cay. A towel animal elephant wearing MY sunglasses is reading a book on the bed, more chocolates on the pillow. Sad to have another day gone of our wonderful cruise..but looking forward to the long awaited day on the island tomorrow. Good night, life is GOOD! Best of Day: soaking in the hot tubs under the stars of Nassau. Worst of Day: traffic scares returning from Paradise Island. February 14, 2004 Valentine's Day on Castaway Cay Up early again around 6:30AM and head up hoping for some sunrise photos over Castaway Cay. Ship is still a few miles out from island. We grab coffee and head down to deck 7 aft over look to watch them dock the ship. I am so happy the sun is shining and the waves are just a gentle ripple on the surface. Having missed the private island of Coco Cay on the Sovereign 2 yrs earlier I had worried that the weather might prevent our day on CC. The wonder gently slips into the channel next to the dock, you can see all the trams on their journey to pick up supplies etc. for the day. Get the boys up and moving and we all head to Parrot's Cay for breakfast. Very tropical atmosphere in PC , perfect for our day ahead. Think I like this restaurant the best of the 3, cute portholes with palm tree accents, light fixtures with parrots and bananas, comfortable chairs with palm trees carved into the seatbacks. We have a nice table for 4, order our drinks and head to the nicely displayed buffet of foods, Omelet man available for special orders, great jelly donuts, YUM! This is a great place to start your day! Back to cabin we lather on the sunscreen, grab our snorkel gear, put on our matching Cruisin' with Mickey T-shirts I had made and head down to the gangway. No lines getting off ship, get our beach towels for the day, (too bad they only have the small white pool towels instead of the large excursion towels we have had on the other cruiselines, probably worried about theft??) jump on the tram waiting to take us to the family beach. Head down beach past the playground in the water and grab a couple lounges, chairs and an umbrella for our family home in the sand. Paul takes a dip and decides to check out the snorkel area. Boys go in and Tyler swims out to go on the rope hanging part of the playground. Water is a bit nippy going in but clear, that beautiful aqua can't believe it is real color. I am on the chair soaking it all in...the beauty of the island, the ship off in the distance, the reality of this day at last on Castaway Cay. Even better than I had imagined for so many months ahead of time. I wished I could just stay here forever. Take the boys up the beach and get them tubes ($6 each) for the day. These were very well used and it was great to see these overgrown kids play in the water together as they have done since toddler days. LIFE IS VERY GOOD! Paul drags me in the water and we swim up to the snorkel trail, it is a LONG ways out there but we see the underwater Mickey, treasure chest, schools of fish and enough sealife to keep it interesting. Take the swim under the ropes and surprise the boys from behind the water playground on our way back. Almost noon, we send the boys over to the Cookie's BBQ for lunch, tell them we will be back by 3PM—stay together and be safe—Paul and I wait for the tram to take us to Serenity Bay. It is a wonderful memory on the tram, listening to the disney music take us away to our slice of paradise. Feel a bit guilty about leaving boys behind, but with their many cruises experiences and being level headed young guys we are comfortable with their being on their own for a couple hours. Lifeguard is on the beach a few yards from where we were staked out for the day. Both boys are excellent swimmers. On to Serenity bay. We decide to have lunch and enjoy the small picnic area. Good steak and salmon sandwiches. Salads adequate, enjoy the cookie dough frozen yogurt, fruit. Just enough. Walk over to the beach and grab a couple lounges under an umbrella. Someone had nicely deserted their foam mat in front of us so we take that 'freebie' into the water and take turns soaking in the wonderful bay. Bit of seaweed and rocks on bottom. Perfect perfect perfect, it is almost too beautiful to believe. This is probably my favorite cruise port/beach/place on planet earth that I have had the privilege to visit in my 50 yrs of life. Paul orders me a Konk Kooler in the cute coconut cup to sip on the chair when we are drying off. We see a couple crew members in the distance swimming on their adjacent beach, nice that Disney provides that piece of paradise for their hardworking crew. Want to savor each minute, it all passes way too quickly. About 2:30 or so we are back on the tram to the family beach. Find the boys lounging in the shade, they had snorkeled, eaten, swam and explored. We go past the bike rental and take some more photos looking back towards the ship. So pretty, I want to find a place to hide on the island and stay for a month, year, century?? Or so!!! Pack up our gear and stop by the sea shell's shop for a couple Castaway Cay souvenirs. Jump on the tram, get some stamps for the postcards. (need cash 55 cents each, post office closes at 4PM, beach closes at 3:30, all aboard at 4:30) take a photo of the welcome to Castaway Cay sign, and the cute pole high mailbox. I don't want to have to leave but we join in the crowd heading back aboard the ship. Castaway Cay, a dream come true!!! Tyler grabs pizza and brings it back to the cabin for all of us. We take turns getting in the shower to wash away all the sand that has come back on the ship with us. Next bummer is having to pack. Get out the suitcases and start stuffing it all back inside. Have a large trash bag in the boys duffle for all of the dirty clothes, have to leave out the shoes, clothes etc for the next morning. Prepare the tip envelopes and also the small boxes of valentine hearts for our servers, and room steward. Head to dinner for our last one on the Wonder. Tonite in Parrot's Cay. Steel band playing island music. Our servers greet us and give us the menus for the night. I have little Valentine gifts for the boys. It is another great meal, favorite choices makes it hard to decide what to choose. Crab Nuremberg is the choice for all 4 of us as appetizer. YUM! Michelle brings us our requested recipe for Maple glazed Salmon. I choose Prime rib and then the crème brulee cheesecake for dessert. All too soon we are saying goodbye to our servers, rewarding them for their great service with the tips (had prepaid with vouchers from the purser's desk, very reasonable for the quality of service we received). They danced for us and we exited the restaurant, very sad this Valentine's day was almost over. Stopped by the atrium and bought the Disney Cruise Line limited edition Valentine's cruise 2004 pin. ($10.50) cute and will decorate our scrapbook page. Change into clothes for tomorrow and finish packing the luggage, put the Mickey tags on the handles and put them in the hallway for delivery. Off to the theater for the Disney Dreams show. Very touching show, an absolutely magical experience that brought tears to my eyes. Great Job dancers and performers on this ship. We were seated in a row with some preschoolers and they were screaming at every character entrance during the performance. Really the only time we felt the numerous kids on the cruise was waiting for the shows. Packed to the limit in the evening, you have to get there about 20 min ahead to get a decent seat. Lots of row saving by individuals not Disney friendly!! PJ goes to atrium afterward and takes the photographs of the many characters at the farewell greeting. We stop by the internet terminals trying to get our boarding passes for airtran the next day. Unfortunately the server was down, we had to wait for the internet manager to come and clear our account. She was nice enough to phone our cabin that evening to let us know they had restored the connection. We were able to log on and get that taken care of on Sunday morning before we disembarked from the Wonder. Paul and I head to the wavebands lounge for the 'match your mate game' Have seen this many times on prior cruises, Disney wins for the best stage props, cute lattice white benches and flowers. 3 couples with newlywed, 5-10 yrs, and 10+ yrs marriage are chosen. Liked the Disney question ''where was the most unusual place you and wife 'discovered the magic.' One couple claimed to have become 'magical' at the Disney World parking LOT, mid day!! Brave ones!!!!! We stopped by the hallway outside the Cadillac lounge and have a couple appetizers from the table there. Listen to a song inside the Barrel of Laughs club by the piano duo...not that funny to us. Wish Disney would have some adult comedians?? Instead. Dance to a song by the Seabands (Seawaves?? Have to check my navigator) group. The activity guide Teeshia is hosting the 80's party. What a HOOT...she has this huge afro wig on and is a great party starter for the small crowd. Enjoyed the boa dancing girls, the John Travolta 'body floss' with white jackets. It was a most memorable Valentine's Day!!! We walked out on promenade deck for a last night view of the ocean and stars. I am feeling sad to be almost finished with the cruise. I spend so much time (thank you disboards) researching the trip, I have mentally planned each minute ahead of time and I still have a hard time accepting the cruise is something that has to end!!! Back to the cabin, we are welcomed by the 2 swan towel animals that make a heart shape. Boys are bouncing around. PJ chattering about all the characters he has seen and taken photographs of. They are excited to be going to Disney Quest tomorrow. Lights out, I drift off to sleep, a bit of rocking and rolling on the ship tonight. Good night. Best of Day: floating on a mat at Serenity Bay. Worst of Day: Packing up the suitcases. Sunday February 15, 2004 -- Disembarkation Day Alarm off at 6:15 along with last wake up from Mickey. Quick shower, pack up all the carryon's and head to our last meal on the Wonder. Breakfast is in Parrot Cay again. Welcome Home menu. PJ's whining about not wanting to leave the ship. I agree!!! Good food and service, it is nice to be able to thank our servers and give them the goodbye hugs for all they have done to make this a memorable cruise. Thank you Cheddar and Banjong, service ranks tops of the 15 cruises I have been on. We stop by shutters and get the photo of the boys with Captain Mickey and Mate Minnie with the Wonder in the background. Also buy the one of the family together on Castaway Cay wearing the Cruisin' with Mickey T-shirts I had crafted ahead of time. Go to the internet cafe and log on to get our seats on airtran along with boarding passes. It's only 8am and part of me just wants to linger on the ship til they MAKE us get off, but we decide to head up the deck and join in the short line exiting from the Wonder. No holdups with customs, they grab our declaration form and glance at the passports. In the terminal I am amazed at the orderly easy luggage display. This is the easiest, best, most organized and hassle free disembarkation ever. Disney wins hands down by a mile!!! It was a painless experience, (besides the PAIN of having to get off at all). We roll the suitcases over to the tent in the adjacent parking lot and all too soon the Avis shuttle is there to pick us up. We gaze at the few early passengers coming to the terminal with envy...wish we could turn the clock back 4 days and have it be our turn to be getting ON instead of OFF. Smooth check in with Avis, no upgrade this time. We squeeze everything into the compact Oldsmobile Alero and drive west to Downtown Disney. More tolls later we are at Disney Quest around 10AM. PJ checks to see if they are opening earlier but finds the ticket office won't open til 11:30AM. We drive to the Marketplace, spend some time and $$ in the world of Disney store. Take the boys back to Disney Quest with their tickets around 11:15. Say we will meet them at 2:15 in the giftshop of Disney Quest, stay together!! Paul and I go back to the marketplace. I drag him into the Once upon a toy store and have a lot of fun filling the box with the Mr Potato head parts. The nice castmember repacks my purchase and tells me to head back for more things to include. I have that box bowed out and the top barely closes-- can't wait to play with MY new toy! We walk thru most of the shops and then stop at the Wolfgang Puck's to share a pizza and soda. Circle around and then get a great hot fudge Sundae at the Giradelli's (spelling??) ice cream shop. Diet starts tomorrow!!!!!! Drive back to Disney Quest and wait for boys to show up, they are right on schedule at 2:15. Back in car, fill up gas tank, prices for gas have gone UP this week! And drive off to I- 4 to the tollroad to the airport. Circle around terminal A 1 time before finding the rental car drop off. Quick return to Avis. Short line checking in with Airtran. We are at the gate about 3:30 for our expected 5PM flight. They then announce our flight is delayed due to storms out of Atlanta. Expect to depart at 6PM. We wait at the gate and then decide to buy diner around 4:45 PM. Order a pizza—I head back to check at the gate and now they tell me they will be boarding soon and leaving at 5:30! Our pizza comes out of oven at 5:10, we carry it to the gate and wolf down a piece just before our row gets called for the plane. Pack up the remaining pizza to eat on the plane and we join in the crowd. Uneventful flight home, we wait for about a 1/2 hr at the baggage claim for luggage. Just delayed enough to meet up with my sister returning from her cruise on the Carnival Inspiration. Nice to have a rendezvous in the terminal with her. Welcome home, it's 26 degrees outside. We open up the suitcases and pull on the sweatshirts and windbreakers we had brought along for the cruise but never needed. PJ is still in shorts, I try to get him to change into pants but he isn't ready to make the change. Outside we freeze for 10 min til the shuttle arrives to take us to the car. Home sweet home, thermostat at 60 takes a bit of time to warm up..I make everyone hot chocolate with marshmallows for comfort. BOO HOO! Don't wanna be home... have a mountain of laundry, groceries to buy and a pile of bills on the counter to pay. I huddle under a blanket and wade thru the hundreds of emails in my acct. Log on to the disboards to get my post cruise fix. No nice rocking of the ship to lull me to sleep tonight. Good night. Best of Day: waking up and still being on the Wonder. Worst of Day: going to sleep in a cold not on the Wonder anymore bed! Life is NOT GOOD!!!! But still, I am a lucky one. Have been on many cruise adventures, have many more planned and hoped for in the future. Thank you Disney Cruise line for this memorable cruise. A WONDER-ous adventure, a quickie with Mickey. OK, really--Life is GOOD. Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
Embarkation: We knew from the message boards here on CruiseCritic that the Dawn would be late coming into NYC. So we arrived accordingly at 4 pm (normally sailing time) and found no lines. We were assigned a boarding number and were on the ... Read More
Embarkation: We knew from the message boards here on CruiseCritic that the Dawn would be late coming into NYC. So we arrived accordingly at 4 pm (normally sailing time) and found no lines. We were assigned a boarding number and were on the ship in less than an hour. Our balcony stateroom was beautiful - well worth the $75 per person upgrade we'd been offered from obst. oceanview! Plenty of room for all our things, and a nice place to spend some quiet, private time whenever we wanted. We explored the ship - the biggest we've been on, but easy to get around. Dinner at Impressions, one of the main dining restaurants, was wonderful - our favorite restaurant by the end. The Dawn didn't leave until almost 10 pm, as it took longer to refuel than thought. Got hungry at about 11 pm but there was no place to grab a snack (the 24-hour Blue Lagoon was overrun) so called room service. Estimate of a 45 minute wait happily turned into 15. Sea Day #1: Unfortunately muster drill was set for 10 am, same time as our cruisecritic get-together, so didn't meet everyone we'd hoped to. Plenty of activities to choose from throughout the day, although admittedly not as many appealed to us as on our trip last year on the Carnival Inspiration. Since it was still only the first day of March, the weather wasn't quite warm enough to spend time around the pool. Chocoholic Buffet - surprisingly, nothing appealed there either! I was expecting more actual chocolate and pastries and less cake. Desserts overall on this cruise were not as good as I'd hoped. Petit fours after one dinner were made with Rice Krispies! Rest of the food was excellent. Exercise: I opted for the $5 yoga class (also a charge for spinning classes) and found the small studio to be too crowded, with no sight line to the instructor. Other classes (kickboxing, zumba) were not nearly as full; Pilates was full but no charge. This was the only formal night, so in our respective long black dress and collared-shirt with tie (no jacket) we went to dinner at the reservations-only but no cover charge Salsa's. Excellent tortilla chips, too-spicy fajitas. Service was a bit slow, and we had to ask for our bill (we'd ordered sangrias) twice, so we were late for the Jean Ann Ryan Co. Webber production show. The show itself was good, but if you're not a fan of Andrew Lloyd, it can get monotonous. "Who Wants to be a Bazzillionaire?" game after the show also got monotonous, as the contestant was getting too many hints at correct answers and wasn't very entertaining. John, the asstistant cruise director, should have picked a new contestant. Casino was open, so won a little at the slots and retired. Cape Canaveral: As we left NYC late, we got in to Canaveral at 11 am, about 2 hours late, which caused problems for some with theme park plans. The Captain did, however, extend our stay in port for an hour that night. Breakfast earlier at the main dining Venetian was crowded, as everyone was killing time onboard; service a little slow. We opted to stay on the ship and eat lunch rather than stand in the LONG line to get off, and instead left at about 1:30 pm for Kennedy Space Center. The shuttle van fare there and back (Art's Transportation) was $50 for two people - almost as much as the admission to KSC, more if you count the tip!! Internet research pre-trip hadn't revealed any cheaper way to get there, though. After about a 20-min drive (you can see KSC from the ship, but it's across the water and a roundabout way by car) we were dropped at KSC with an arrangement of pick-up at 5:30 (altho the sign at KSC said they closed at 6 pm, the driver said they closed at 5:30. Still don't know which was right...). We hadn't been to Kennedy in a long time, so there was a lot of new things to see and do - especially on the bus tour, which took about 2-1/2 hours. That left us with an hour to spend at the "main" center, enough time, though, to see the Space Shuttle exhibit, the memorial, rocket garden, and both the past and future in space exhibits. No time for the IMAX movies, which are included in admission. Maybe we should have stood in the long line? Saw enough, though, and were back on board at 6 pm, so beat the Disney crowd to dinner at the Venetian, another main dining restaurant. It was Italian night, so the dinner fit the decor, and the food was good overall. Chocolate souffle was one of the few desserts I finished. The night's entertainment was seeing the movie "Chicago" on the big screen in the Stardust Theatre, and then relaxing in the adults-only whirlpool at the spa. Miami: The ship got in on time at 9 am, but we opted again to stay onboard a while and relax by the pool. Not too much planned by way of onboard activities, anyway. We had booked the 2:30 South Beach Segway tour and so took the Hopper bus down to South Beach (included in the $45 per person excursion) and found the Segway tour guide (no help from the bus driver or NCL - our group of five on the tour had to wander around a little to find him at the bus pick-up stop). We followed the tour guide to the rental shop (a block and a half from the beach) and had our lesson and practice before we set off back to Ocean Drive. We mostly went along the "boardwalk", a little away from the art-deco buildings of Ocean Drive, but the Segways were a good way to save our feet and see the architecture. We'd wished we'd booked an earlier tour, though, as the last bus left at 4:30 and we only had enough time on the beach to touch the water and trudge back to the bus. We opted to have dinner at the Garden Cafe buffet, where we breakfasted and lunched most days also. I heard some complaints, but I found the buffet food to be better overall than most buffets at home (one exception: salad bar much better on the Inspiration). We found seats early for the JAR Co. production show South Beach Rave, which was the closest we got to Miami at night, as the ship left at 6 pm. Good show. Great Stirrup Cay: The weather was again, perfect, as we sailed in to Great Stirrup Cay at 8 am. We waited until about 10 to take the tender over to the private island, and set up camp on the right-hand side of the beach, near the boat rentals, but far from the crowds. The water was much colder than we'd expected, so we didn't snorkel or swim. After our requisite time in the sun, and an $8 Bahama Mama in a souvenir cup, we walked to the island's little Straw Market, made no purchases, and then had some of the BBQ lunch. The BBQ is permanent, a flat grill on concrete, under a pavilion, rather than the charcoal-type grills we'd expected. Also found seats under another pavilion at picnic tables, out of the sun. Not a lot of choices for health-conscious or vegetarians (compared to onboard, there's a veggie buffet at lunch every day). After a little more exploring we headed back to the ship, and spent the afternoon at the spa pool, which was definitely warmer than the water around the ship. Floor to ceiling windows gave us a view out the back of the ship of the private island until sailing time. Another fitness class, Kardio Kick Boxing, proved much less crowded (only 4 people) and definitely challenging. I earned dessert! Caribbean dinner at the third main dining restaurant, Aqua, was very tasty and unique. For once, the Cooking Light option (Carib chicken stew) was good! Didn't see any desserts I liked, so the kickboxing was even more effective. Again, great service (considering you never see the same server twice with Freestyle) but we did have to wait a bit to be seated at this peak time. We didn't stay long after the Artistry of Dominique began - a violinist and then, we heard later, her husband, a comedian. We did go to the Not so Newlywed Game, which was pretty tame compared to other cruises. Nassau, Bahamas: We docked early at Nassau and were the first of what ended up being five cruise ships there that day. The famous hair-braiding ladies must not have been in full swing yet, as we weren't really approached. Our first stop was a horse-drawn carriage ride, with photos taken by a man who I thought was going to steal our camera, but then only asked for a tip (we gave $2, one for each photo taken). Our guide, Molly, gave us a polite but cynical tour of downtown ("Bahamas is for making booze and babies"). The horse, Showtime, was a pro. Fare was $10 each. Next stop, Atlantis, on Paradise Island, for a $4 each van ride. We made our donation at the casino, then wandered around the nearly-empty grounds (still pretty early) and wandered into the Dig, the Atlantis Aquarium. It took us until we hit the gift shop to realize that this was actually the PAID guided tour, and we were doing it backward at no charge. We didn't see the other half of the Aquarium, with the predator tunnel, though. So we came out at the lobby cafe, and walked around the rest of Atlantis, where security was now in place and we weren't able to get back into the beach area we'd stumbled into before. Water taxi back was $3 one-way and not a long wait. A very friendly guide gave us a talk on Nassau and Paradise (formerly Hog) Island as we made our way back to Nassau (again, tips encouraged). Ah, the hair ladies awaited, but weren't overly pushy. A quick stop at the Del Sol shop for our free NCL color-changing tote bag and ring, and then on to the Straw Market, where overfed cruisers tried to squeeze past each other to look at "local" souvenirs. Some of the wood carvings were nice, but we mostly saw T-shirts and cheap-looking straw bags. Again, I was surprised that the vendors weren't more pushy. Our last stop was at the Pirate Museum, where we had a coupon for $2 off admission (making it $10 each) and a free rum punch. After the first "Pirates of the Caribbean"-like room (which they'll let you peek at to decide if you want the tour) there was mostly dioramas and a few artifacts at the end. The rum punch made it better! We made it back on board in plenty of time for the 2 pm sail-off (the Disney Wonder was staying til 11 pm - we were jealous), with very good feelings about Nassau. Despite what we'd heard, the natives were friendly (friendlier than on Aruba) and we had had a very good time in the Bahamas. The ship pulled away at 2:10 pm, then surprisingly, went back to the pier to pick up an unhappy couple who'd missed the boat! Incredible! So kudos to Captain Hoydal, but we hope you haven't set a precedent. The Wonder's onlookers cheered as the couple hopped aboard. We were having lunch at the 24-hour Blue Lagoon, the menu items not to my taste, but passable. They tend to forget the diners out on the deck, though. The rest of the day was at sea, headed back to NY. Our second time at Bingo (this was the "cheap" game, although Bingo onboard the Dawn has been the most expensive so far of our four cruises). While Bingo was finishing up, I headed to a Zumba class (pretty easy and uncrowded), then did a mile around the Promenade, then barely made the Pilates matwork class (some moves were difficult, even after I've been doing Winsor at home). Again, I earned my dessert. It was Lobster night, so we dined for the second time at Impressions, where we turned a 75 minute wait into immediate seating by agreeing to dine with strangers, who turned out to be a single friendly woman from Connecticut whose husband only ate at the Blue Lagoon. We enjoyed our dinner, and out of four desserts ordered, found the best was the crepes souffle. Good souffles on the Dawn! The rice krispie petit fours were very disappointing. The best show on the cruise was Bollywood, mostly for the Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics. They should make more of the fact that Lance Ringnald, a two-time US Olympic gymnast, is part of the show (he had his own show the next night). Afterward was the requisite, but well-deserved tribute to the staff, crew and officers of the Dawn. Sea Day #2: The air was surprisingly warm as we woke up at sea and brought breakfast to our balcony. I opted for another Pilates class (9:30 am) as Bingo card sales began, but made it in time for the first game a half hour later anyway. Double the price, and lost again. They did give away a free cruise (any length, anywhere) to those who had gotten raffle tickets from this and past Bingo game participation. Pastry demonstration at 11:30 am was less than exciting - marzipan. A relatively well-informed nutrition lecture at 11:30 (Candi needs to brush up on her knowledge of fats, though), along with the other 5 classes and the 6 miles around the Promenade, qualified me to pick up my free (earned!) Sports Afloat T-shirt later in the day. Another BBQ lunch on the pool deck (all told, I think there were four), then relaxing at the bow whirlpool and lying in the sun for as long as possible. The weather showed we were going North at about 3:30 pm or so - the sun disappeared, and the wind started to get a little chilly, driving us finally inside and into warmer clothes. Our last dinner onboard was at the cover-charge Bamboo (we booked an early 6:30 reservation, which qualified us for 50% off the $10 cover). Maybe it pays to pay - the food was excellent (best ahi I've ever had), the service even a little more attentive than in the dining rooms. Ginger creme brulee was too sweet, though, with no taste of ginger. Last pro show onboard - a variety show, with a 25-minute segment devoted to Lance Ringnald's gymnastic skills (thoroughly enjoyed) and the singing of Eric Reid, one of the Jean Ann Ryan cast members. I didn't care for Reid, good voice, but way over-theatrical! Others around us seemed to like him, though. Next stop was the Liars' Club game, which I think one had to be drinking to enjoy (so I enjoyed) and then the guest Talent Show, which had some "gong-show" caliber and some very good talent. The winner was from Montreal, singing a very pro-sounding "Angels". We weren't tired, but there wasn't much else to do but go to bed. Disembarkation: We were sailing past the Statue of Liberty at 7 am, just as predicted, and were at the dock by 8. The best part of Freestyle is being able to stay in your stateroom until your luggage tag color is called, so we brought breakfast down and relaxed as we waited for our color. We were called at about 10:40 and quickly passed through the lines, and were on the way home before 11 am. OVERALL: A great cruise. Some things above I'm nitpicking - really, the Dawn gave us one of our best cruise experiences (the other being our first cruise on the Celebrity Century for our honeymoon). The weather was perfect, the staff attentive and polite, the food was excellent considering the mass production, and we enjoyed ourselves at every port of call, especially Nassau. We definitely like Freestyle Cruising! We'd love to go again on the Dawn, maybe the 10-day down to the southern Caribbean, next year! Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
Majesty of the Seas January 16- 19th 2004 Pre-cruise Planning Like any good sequel, the roots for our cruise planning started the day we returned home from our seven day western Caribbean cruise on Voyager of the Seas. This planning was ... Read More
Majesty of the Seas January 16- 19th 2004 Pre-cruise Planning Like any good sequel, the roots for our cruise planning started the day we returned home from our seven day western Caribbean cruise on Voyager of the Seas. This planning was aided by getting "bumped" from our flight home to a later flight giving us free airfare and cutting the cruise cost in half. In the middle of summer we thought about the depths of winter and a three day holiday. Martin Luther King Day was the first that came to mind for us. This review will cover in depth our cruise on Majesty of the Seas January 16- 19th 2004 departing out of Miami with stops in Coco Cay and Nassau, Bahamas. Before we start I wanted to take some time to tell you a little about ourselves and the perspective that we would be using for our review. I am 34 years old and a Computer network administrator for a local school district. My wife is 33 and a Dental hygienist who works in a very modern office. We also have a four year old daughter. We had made a decision not to take our daughter with us on Voyager due to her age and at the prompting of both sets of grandparents who took care of her half the week each much to her over indulged delight. Six months out when we booked, we hemmed and hawed about taking her on this cruise and in the end felt like this cruise would be a "quickie" and decided that she would have more fun at home. To that end, we tried to streamline the process of getting to the ship, activities on the ship and getting back as well planned as possible. One of the main sources of information I had used for our Voyager cruise was the Cruise Critic boards, which had been very helpful. I found with the exception of one or two helpful Majesty veterans there was not a wealth of information to be found on this particular ship or its destinations. That is why I am writing this review. As we approached our departure date our plans for our daughter started to unravel. My wife's mother, an avid cruiser, passed away suddenly in early December making for a difficult and sad time for our family. My stepmother was also having some surgery and medical problems and with this added pressure, communication between us became strained. To our relief my brother and sister in-law who had accompanied us on our Voyager cruise, were happy to take care of our daughter. She would also spend the day with both grandfathers. We did explore taking her with us on the cruise. At this late date, the cruise would have been almost $900 cruise and airfare. I left the airport mumbling about her just being four and said "What? For that kind of money she should be able to fly the plane." We had decided up front to forgo any hard sided luggage and go all carry on (official real carry on luggage, one bag each). We skipped any formal clothes and just brought smart causal, our only worry would be our table mates and we brought a bottle of wine to smooth over any problems. We also brought our own snorkels and masks, the first two Harry Potter books and books for my wife. All in all I felt we had packed all that we would need and not a stitch more. Our plan was to Snorkel and sit on the beach in Coco Cay and shop and do Atlantis "The Dig" in the Bahamas. Day One - "Holy Cow it's cold" The first day of out trip seems to always start the night before. Having cleaned the house, packed, contacted every one with "in case the ship sinks" information and planned everything out for the morning, we headed over to a local restaurant with my brother and sister in-law to treat them to dinner. After dinner we headed to the market pick up some travel snacks and treats for our daughter when I noticed the van was not quite driving correctly. We stopped to get some gas and discovered the front driver's side tire has deflated and had come off its rim. We called a tow truck and sat and waited for help to arrive. (Now before you get the wrong idea I am pretty handy and although have never changed a tire on the van and when I looked for the spare it was not where I expected it to be but I would not have let that stop me. What stopped me was the fact it was -8 degrees out with a wind chill of -25). When the tow truck driver arrived he also had no interest in changing the tire either so we just towed it. In the end you can add picking up the van and putting gas in it to my brother in-law's list of good deeds for the weekend. January 16, 2004 -Weather Albany -10° with a wind chill of -35 to -55 Miami 70° light clouds Four thirty in the morning came really early after the night's excitement. We watched as school after school closed due to the cold. Then we headed off to the airport. Since we only had carry on we skipped the line and did the self check in. We had no problems getting through airport security except they did look twice at the bottle of wine. We didn't use any locks or zip ties, I did not have to take off my shoes. We boarded and we were off to Charlotte then Miami. Once in Miami we scooted past the luggage carrousel and right into a waiting cab. Once at the ship we filled out our Bahamas immigration forms and went right to check in with no line. We were cheerfully greeted and quickly processed. Then we boarded and started searching for our cabin (4565) on deck four the same level as our dining room and boarding area. The cabin we found and once we got over the initial shock of sleeping in a closet (These cabins are small, that is no secret 117sq ft to compare them with other ships of the line would be unfair, just be aware) we also were surprised to find no safe or mini fridge. The soda and water were just stacked on the desk. The bathroom was equally small and we finally found one of the infamous shower curtains that people mention on the Cruise Critic boards. All that being said we found the cabin to be fine for sleeping and getting ready for dinner. I could see if you had to spend a lot of time in there because of the weather it could be too small. After changing we went off to explore the ship. We also meet our Cabin attendant Ivan from St. Vincent. We quickly discovered the only way to traverse large areas of the ship would be by the stairs (Which thankfully went both up and down, Thanks Rico) we went to the Centrum where we purchase soda cards $18 per person and checked on our dinner table and menu. Then off to the Windjammer for some lunch. We didn't see anything that varied from the traditional RCI fare, but everything was good. We shot up to the pool deck and took in the sun; there are two large pools with kid pools attached and two hot tubs (which were closed). Wondering why no one was swimming yet, I dipped a foot in a discovered that they were a wee bit on the cold side. That would be the theme for water on the boat and on the islands; I would do some swimming but not today. We then sought out the gym, Schooner bar and theater. My first overall impression of this ship is that it is showing it's age, stained & ripped carpet, dents in the walls, tape hanging from the ceilings and an overall out dated theme that is right out the early 90's. Did that ruin my vacation? No, it did not; we took the ship on face value. It's smaller than many and a little out dated which also means less people on the cruise and a sense of the history of RCI and its fleet. The shops and casino were closed while we were in port, something to remember because you are usually in port during the days on the trip. Before dinner we had the compulsory muster drill. I found it strange how many people were taken completely by surprise when the drill started, though RCI had made three announcements and left detailed instructions on the bed. We mustered in area 10 which happened to be the bar, so we got to sit down and relax while the rest of the ship sweated outside. We met our neighbors there and found out it was her birthday and first cruise. After the drill we went up to the bow of the boat to watch the ship pull out, only to be thwarted by Captain Kristofferson announcing that the pilot was stuck in traffic and we would be running late. After taking time to explaining to a fellow cruiser that it was not the pilot that flew her plane here but the harbor pilot that was running late. We got ready for dinner and headed off for the Mikado dinning room where we met our dining companions. I think this was the only trepidation that my wife had on the trip. It would turn out that we were seated with some wonderful people. Our tablemates would be Bob and his wife Jill from Wisconsin; they were on their 7th cruise, the other couple was Dave and his wife Connie from Pennsylvania they were on their 3rd cruise. It was also Connie's 40th Birthday on Saturday the formal night. Our waiter was Mustafa from Turkey and our assistant waiter was Jose from Argentina. We will rate the service on a one through six scale; everyone will start at three and move up and down from there. We feel very strongly about tipping and dining in the dining room. I was anxious to see if the reports of Tip night flu would come to pass. I will also say that the staff works very hard and unless I run across a total lack of caring, they will get the full tip they deserve and usually more. We quickly discovered that Jose was in training and we just hoped that the glasses that he broke every other night don't come out of his pay. The first night of the cruise was Venetian night at dinner I had Strawberry bisque, a Caesar salad, and the Ranch steak. I also had Chocolate cake for dessert. I enjoyed the soup, bread and salad. The Ranch steak was my choice because I am having some problems with red sauces. I found this steak to be some what chewy (I have had a very good Ranch steak on Voyager; it may have just been this piece of meat.) The biggest disappointment was the Warm Chocolate cake; it was dry and flavorless I could not even eat enough of it to get to the chocolate center. My wife had the Roasted Garlic soup (very good) the Caesar salad (typical), the Shrimp Scampi (excellent and much anticipated) and the Warm Chocolate Cake (see above). We used our soda cards in the dinning room so Jose brought us a couple of cokes. (Jose had to be prompted to bring soda and refills.) During this night we also endured the photo with the pirate, and a song from the wait staff, the song would have been fine if not for the music that was too loud to hear any singing. We finished the dinner with a discussion of the next day's plans and went off to explore. First day ratings: Waiter - 2 (Mustafa was harried and stressed, mostly with working with Jose). Assistant Waiter - 3 (Broken glasses and all he is just trying to learn). Head waiter -3 (Introduced himself). Cabin Attendant -3 (Solid job keeping things clean). We moved on to the welcome aboard show. This is where we met Rico the cruise director who was very high energy. We also were treated to "The beat goes on" a song and dance show covering music from the 1950's to 1990's Main stream pop. The show consisted of four singers two girls, two guys and a troupe of dancers. It was not Broadway, but it was entertaining and a comfortable theater. We enjoyed the show & drinks from the Schooner bar. After the show we went up for a walk on deck and retired to our cabin for some much needed sleep. We found our cabin clean and with a stingray on the bed for those of you not in the know that means "welcome home, from RCI." Day Two - "This champagne tastes ...." January 17, 2004 - Weather Albany 24° Cloudy Coco Cay 79° Sunny Six fifteen in the morning is too soon also, now before you get all "hey you're on vacation sleep in for heaven sakes." My wife and I are a little over weight, we were not going to let vacationing get in the way of getting back down to a more comfortable weight. Our first stop: the gym and two treadmills. If I was a fitness expert I might give the fitness center a rating but for our purpose it worked just fine. After ½ hour we moved through the crowd of skinny people who were waiting for the fat people to get done with the treadmill (In the next installment I will let you in on how the treadmill people docked the ship in Nassau.) We did a couple cool down laps and headed right for Windjammer where we enjoyed a moderate breakfast out on the top deck. We watched the sunrise over Coco Cay. After breakfast we took the stairs down to the cabin to get changed. Let Ivan know about the toilet (When it refilled it came right up to the top of the bowl so when sat down it was more like a bidet, No Rico we did not get a feel for if it was fresh or salt water). We shot down the stairs to deck one and on to the first tender. The tender went over to Coco Cay with mostly the crew, staff and us. We made a right turn on the island and went right into the shops where we managed to surprise the shop keepers and hair braiders. We picked out a dress for our daughter and left with a new found respect for Caribbean shop keepers (SO, much different than Jamaica where we will never shop again). We then moved down to the beach and staked out two chairs tested the water (cold) and read for a while. After a 1/2 hour of that I wanted to go out snorkeling so I braved the cold water and was rewarded by crystal clear water and reefs teeming with life. It also helped that I was the only person in the water. Being the only person in the water I did get a little concerned when I saw what I believe was a barracuda swimming along. I looked at him and him at me and we just kept on swimming. Finally reaching the raft and wreck of an airplane, where one of the singers from the show/ lifeguard offered to feed the fish for me. A school of fish moved in and out of the airplane and all can say is it was well worth the trip. Returning to the beach my wife and I decided to explore the island. Using our soda cards for some refreshment, we followed the path around the island. We went past a couple of nice beaches and a hammock area. Then as we moved to pass another group one of the girls squealed out "Of my god, he's naked" Well we had found the naked beach or to be more precise one naked sun bather a gentleman about my size sunning it all. All I can say is dude, unlike the airplane reef "It" wasn't worth the trip. We reversed course and decided to join the buffet line. The food was plentiful and the lines were short. Again we didn't see anything that varied from the traditional RCI fare, but everything was good. We were intrigued by the roosters and chickens pecking around the picnic grounds. Around one o'clock we packed up and headed back to the ship. If you're a fan of just the ship, this crossing provides for the best pictures I think you can get of Majesty. We changed and showered and ran into our neighbors. We mentioned we were going to check out the art auction and they came along. We went to the preview and tagged a couple of things we liked. Jason the auctioneer gave us a preview of the prices of the pieces we had picked out. As we waited for the champagne to come we moved some tags over to some other hopefully less expensive paintings. As the champagne was passed out our neighbor was heard to say "This champagne taste like ^$$." Well it may not have been all that good, but it was free. We did not bid on anything mainly because the one time a piece of art work came up for bid in the range we could afford and I liked it, my wife had already left to get ready for dinner. Without her help I could not lift that heavy bid card by myself. The art auction was informative and exciting, plus you walk away with a little piece of art work which I think looks good. Our neighbors bid on a couple blind bids and won a necklace from the shopping supervisor. They went back to the cabin to celebrate her birthday. Speaking of which we found that there were a lot of anniversary, birthdays and family reunions groups on this ship, I would think at those cruise prices that would be a great get together. After quickly showering we went off for dinner with our wine in hand. Formal night I wore a polo shirt with khaki pants and sandals. I am unsure as to what elicited more stares my attire or the bottle of wine (I have purchased wine on RCI before a solid but unremarkable white zinfandel. We did not mind paying for it. We decided to bring the wine which at the last minute and were very happy with our choice which was more our speed). Arriving at the table we made comments on how nice everyone looked, and right away Dave loosened then removed his tie, we poured the wine and everyone was off telling the stories of their day. We notice that Jose had made some strides and was feeling more comfortable, which in turn allowed Mustafa to be able to spend more time with each of his tables and allow his charm to shine through. Tonight having eaten in the afternoon I skipped the appetizers, had a Caesar salad (good) and the NY strip steak (Very good) and I tried the Cheese Cake for dessert. (There were other entrEe choices that I could have had I was just in a beef mood all weekend). My wife had the Lobster Bisque (excellent) Caesar salad (typical), the New York Strip steak (a solid choice) and skipped dessert (nothing appealed to her). We talked for awhile and then went our separate ways. My wife and I, after shopping in the Centrum, where she got her inch of gold anklet from Voyager repaired/replaced, moved on to the casino. The casino on Majesty is very busy and seems to have its fair share of winners. For a while we played nickel slots; we were just not destined to win that night. Second day ratings: Waiter - 4 (Spent time at every table and even scraped the table for us). Assistant Waiter - 4 (This would be his best effort). Head waiter -2 (Did not see him). Cabin Attendant -4 (The toilet was fixed and the room was clean). We went to the cabin to relax and nap until the midnight buffet. The buffet which was on the pool deck was a good assortment of food. If you are expecting that creativity and amount that is available on the bigger ships you will be disappointed. The crowd seemed to be excited and happy with the choices. We can not speak to the food though because we left without eating; food that late would keep us up and we wanted to get an early start. I would also like to address the "trash" problem on the ship; we would run into bottles and glasses and food plates all over the ship, I never saw enough staff members cleaning up and on the flip side I think we should make an effort to move "trash" to where it can be found not to the smallest nook and cranny of the ship. You carried it down there bring it back up. We found our cabin clean and with a Lobster on the bed and went to sleep. Day Three - "I just got propositioned by a lady on a hover round" January 18, 2004 - Weather Albany 31° Cloudy Nassau, Bahamas 81° Sunny Up at six fifteen, again, in the morning and off to the gym. On to the treadmills, we were soon joined by a couple of other people we were treated to a rare view as the gym looks out over the back of the ship and we were backing into the dock in Nassau. As the lady next to me started to falter I hit upon the idea that we six on the treadmills were pushing the ship in to the dock and we had to finish. This seemed to perk everyone's spirits up. We finished docking the ship and moved down to the Windjammer and ate breakfast on the deck. After a quick shower we shot down to deck one and into Nassau. Our first stop was the Straw market where not only did we take most of the vendors by surprise; we were treated to a church service in the front of the market; after all it was Sunday. We took advantage after the service to tour (Most vendors were eating breakfast). We treated the vendors and their merchandise with respect and were able to get not only the early bird special also the first customer of the day discount. We picked up a couple t-shirts, straw hats and dresses for my daughter. After exiting we walked down to the Parliament Square stopping at shops along the way. Then around 10 o'clock we walked to Atlantis, Yes you heard correctly, Walked. It took a while but what a beautiful day and challenging walk. We did get some great photos of the harbor from the top of the bridge. We reached Atlantis and went in marveling at the beauty of the building. We passed through the casino and looked around for the dig. I had read that they were tightening up the areas you could get into if you were not a guest. The dig was $25 per person. We passed on the dig: I know it is most likely worth every penny but we wanted to spend the money on other things, like lunch. We flagged down a cab, you're crazy if you thought we would be walking back, and headed to the Green Shutters pub. Finding the pub closed (it's Sunday) we moved down to Senor Frogs where my wife and I had some Tex-Mex food and watched the festivities. The food was good and the views and people were just a riot to watch. After lunch we decided to go back to the boat and rest by the pool. We collected up our books and headed to the pool. I took a quick dip in the pool and then off to the hot tubs. (Just a note on the only two hot tubs they were not open in or out of the port of Miami, or at night after dinner. I found that very disappointing.) My wife and I were just sitting down to read when a woman on a hover round rolled up and gave us her cards and asked us if we wanted to make more money. It was some kind of scheme I am sure I will be seeing on Dateline (NBC) soon. She moved on but not without giving my wife and me a bad taste in our mouths, which we promptly washed out with strawberry daiquiris. After resting for a while on deck we went down to the Schooner bar to watch the Colts vs. Pats playoff game. An informed and likeable crowd ( With the exception of one over indulgent girl who not only was drinking too much, she let us all know about her 36c's which in the event of the ship sinking could be used as a flotation devices. You know I'm all for being friendly with people but her friends really needed to reel her in) formed and sat and watched undeterred by the drink waiters trying to move anyone who was not drinking along. RCI did provide small cups of goldfish crackers, but like many there I would have drank more if I had some food to go along with it. After a heart breaking Colts loss we dressed and went to dinner. Tonight for the appetizer I had Ox tail soup (Very good), I also had a Caesar salad (good) and the prime rib (Good). I really thought about the turkey dinner. I wanted to try it to have in my review but I just could not bring myself to order Thanksgiving. I had the Brownie Sunday for dessert (good). My wife passed on the appetizer, the Caesar salad (typical), the Prime Rib (excellent) and the Baked Alaska (average; not quite as good as I had hoped). We said good bye to our table mates for the last time after taking some pictures. Final ratings: Waiter - 6 (Spent time at every table and did something special for us with the chef). Assistant Waiter - 3 (Went back to hurried & forgetful, still in training though). Head waiter -1 (Stopped by for his tip) (On Voyager Asif our head waiter was attentive and informed, also willing to help in the main dinning and any other dining space). Cabin Attendant -5 (The room was clean & we asked for red departure tags and he came through). We then spent some time shopping and picking up our pictures. (The photo area is a mad house as they are extremely unprepared for the onslaught of people. I think it has more to do with the space than the staff who was patient beyond belief.) We then went to the final show which was "Ralph" Jeff the Juggler. Jeff Harris "is a uniquely talented performer whose original juggling and comedy show has dazzled audiences around the globe." That is what his website says. I am ashamed to say I heckled the juggler. At the start of his act our cruise director Rico misspoke and called Jeff -Ralph Harris, which threw him off slightly giving the audience an opportunity to get into to his style of act, he took it all in stride and performed a show that I very much enjoyed, and "Ralph if you ever read this review sorry about the flash photo". You had to be there. We finished up the evening with a walk on the top deck. Off to bed. Day Four - "I'll just let them wand me" January 19, 2004 - Weather Albany 10° Snow Showers Miami 75° Overcast We didn't get up to the gym on the last day due to it being closed, but we were up at six fifteen as were a fair amount of guests. We finished packing and showered, headed to the Mikado for breakfast. We had never been to the main dinning room for breakfast, and now we know why. It takes forever for breakfast; the ordering, waiting and with ten at a table it just is so slow. They called four colors while we were waiting including red. We did sit with some nice people from Texas and Atlanta but we should have just gone to Windjammer. After breakfast we picked up our luggage, checked the room one last time and left the ship. We waited for a while in line, then hopped into a cab and sped off to the airport. At the airport we got our tickets and got in line for security. In front of me in line was a girl who had a significant jewelry collection on. She asked the TSA agent if she needed to remove it all and he replied "I'd just let them wand me you'll be okay". The last I saw of her after I got through was a large female TSA agent walking her into a private room with no shoes; no jewelry, in only her under shirt, her pockets turned out and a bewildered look on her face. We moved down to our gate and waited for the plane and a possible bump. We did get bumped again but this time only up to first class for half of the trip home. I never thought I would be disappointed flying first class. We will have to save up for airfare and a cruise some time in 2005-6. My final thoughts on Majesty of the Sea, which is scheduled for an overhaul this spring would be: I believe a cruise is what you make of it and Majesty gives you the chance to make it special. I think the crew could use a boost in the "go out of your way for the guest" column (With the exception of Mustafa). The ship is a little on the tired side but you are only there for three days and you can keep so busy you won't notice. The crowd was diverse with 20 something's mingling with 60 something's with everyone having fun. I am happy to report that the dinning room was full and there was no outbreak of "no tip" flu, the water in the cabin was not brown and no one fell off of the boat. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
Since we live in Key Largo, Fl. we drove to the pier on Friday. We arrived around 1:30pm and parked in the parking garage which is very safe and easy to access. We then checked our baggage in and proceeded to terminal. There was little ... Read More
Since we live in Key Largo, Fl. we drove to the pier on Friday. We arrived around 1:30pm and parked in the parking garage which is very safe and easy to access. We then checked our baggage in and proceeded to terminal. There was little line and we went thru security in a matter of a few minutes and then proceeded to our check in. They have really come far on this as before it took forever. They check you in by decks now so the line is very short. We went right over to the counter for our deck which was 8. The check in process was very well done and we were handed our sea passes and proceeded to boarding. We got our picture taken and then got on board. The boat was very clean and the crew very helpful. They immediately came over and directed us to the children's program booth where our two boys age 4 and 6 got their muster station bands and papers on what activities were offered. We decided to go eat some lunch in the Windjammer which was pretty good for buffet style. After that we walked around the ship and got ourselves familiar with the areas. The muster drill was not bad this time as our muster station required us to sit in lounge. Dinner that night was great. We had the early seating and no other guests at our table. The wait staff was great with the kids and dinner moved quickly for us instead of the usual hour and half or more. We took the kids to the children's program and headed to the casino where of course we lost. Next day was Cococay but was cancelled due to all of the rain so headed to Nassau. Went to Atlantis on Sunday and the kids as well as us enjoyed it. Overall I think it was a great experience and we had a great time. The only negative was the stateroom. Pretty tight for 4 people and you feel like you are closed in with the beads over your head. Also, they need to do something about the shower curtain as it is very friendly. Definitely will go again for the weekend as it was well worth it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
When I first thought of going on a weekend cruise Disney was not my first thought! We have no kids and the ship should be full of them, but when I saw a great price pop up on an Interline website I thought what the heck I will give it a ... Read More
When I first thought of going on a weekend cruise Disney was not my first thought! We have no kids and the ship should be full of them, but when I saw a great price pop up on an Interline website I thought what the heck I will give it a try, I live near Port Canaveral so it is convenient as well. Embarkation: When we got to the Gate of entry we where directed to park and unload our bags, as soon as we pulled up a porter was waiting to take our bags and then we moved to the building entrance to an escalator that brought you up stairs to the terminal. There we filled out forms for our travel (there where people there to help you with the forms) and moved to a short line where we waited about 15 min. before we where at a representative. After getting our keys we went through security and the Mouse ears to enter the ship, total time 45 min. to get on the ship it was the fastest time I have spent getting on a ship! The Ship: The ship was very well maintained and clean everything had a new look to it even though the Wonder is 5 years old. Even through the cruise people worked on the wood to refinish to a new clean look. The Public rooms where very nice a movie theater and lounges through out the ship. The three pools keep pretty busy, one for kids another for family's and the forward pool for adults only! They have fresh water and hot tubs around them. Our cabin was very large for industry standard's with the best two bathroom system. Food: I thought the food was very good and had a complement of everything that other cruise lines have today, there buffet had all you can eat Shrimp and Crab with stations for personal omelet's in the morning. Palo's restaurant by reservation only! We got to eat there the first night only because we got on the ship late and it was already booked every night but the first night. It was the best food, presentation and service we had on the ship! 6 out of 6 stars. The next night we ate at Animators Pallet where we got a video show during dinner, our service there was very good and the food was good to very good. The third night we at a Parrot Cay restaurant where our servers from the night before follow us to a new restaurant, We didn't eat at Titans because of being at Palo's the first night. Service: I must give the crew a very good rating! Never did anyone have a un willing attitude and smile on there face much better than on RCCL and Princess. Entertainment: I didn't think the shows where bad I just don't like to many Disney cartoon show of Hercules and other's. Over All: A great ship that has big rooms and great service I will definitely go on a Disney cruise again even though we do not have kids it is still a great over all cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004

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