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Sail Date: July 2003
3-day Bahamas Sailing Embarkation: We arrived at the pier very early! So early that we were the first passengers to arrive and passengers from the previous sailing were still collecting their luggage. We took a 6:30 AM flight from JFK to ... Read More
3-day Bahamas Sailing Embarkation: We arrived at the pier very early! So early that we were the first passengers to arrive and passengers from the previous sailing were still collecting their luggage. We took a 6:30 AM flight from JFK to MIA and landed 30 minutes early in Miami. So we tried to take our time, but still ended up at the pier a little after 10 AM. Soon after, other people began filing in. At 11 AM we were aloud to go through the security checkpoint and began the check-in process. There was no line and I had all of our documents ready and we had our sea pass card/room key in 5 minutes. We then had to wait in another line next to the escalator to board the ship until 11:30. We were on board by 11:35 after having our pictures taken and headed straight to our cabin. The Cabin: We were on the Tween Deck (6) Cabin 6074 and it was the smallest cabin we have ever been in! It was in ok shape...stains on the carpet, one of the drawers was busted in the desk / vanity. The closet was pretty big and had wire shelves to put clothes away on. But we lived out of our suitcases as it was only going to be 3 nights. The bathroom was tiny and definitely showed its age. The sink had several cracks in it and there was rust along the door. We were so early on the ship that the cabin steward was not done cleaning up the rooms and our bathroom still showed signs of the previous passengers. So we put our stuff down and headed up to the Windjammer for Lunch. The Windjammer: The lunch buffet at the Windjammer was nothing special. They had a few hot selections and a few salads along with the carving station. It was a little disappointing after being on the Radiance and having so many lunch choices. Lunch was served from 11:30 AM till 2:00 PM and then from 2PM to 5 PM they offered a "snack" selection, which consisted of Hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, pasta, asst sandwiches, Bratwurst, and one day was tacos and another was fajitas. There was also Pizza and hot dogs available from 2PM till 3AM at the Mast Bar. The Ship: After lunch we walked around to check out the rest of the ship. We were on the Monarch last August and it is the same exact layout and even the same carpeting. Only difference was everything had a different name. The pool deck looked great and the bars were all opened trying to serve you a drink the second you got outside. There are a few outside activities such as basketball and shuffleboard. Inside, the Centrum looked great, very clean, but the brass could use a lot of polishing. A lot of the carpet looked brand new and everything was in great shape for the ships age. The show lounge was a great layout and the Schooner Bar looks like the others. The stores were full with merchandise! The only negative comments about the ship are that some of the elevators were not working and the elevators that were working were very slow. As a result, the elevator waiting areas were always mobbed with lazy people waiting to take the elevator. I say lazy because several people would get on and take it only 1 floor. I can see not walking from deck 2 to 12 but 5 to 6????? The other negative was that on decks 9, 10 & 11 in the elevator areas on both ends of the ship, it smelt like vomit. It was very strong the first day and when we were in Nassau there were professional carpet cleaners on the ship cleaning the carpet on all the decks. There were also fans on the carpet, but it still had a smell the whole weekend. Dining Room: We had early seating dinner in the Maytime Dining room. We went down to the dining room before dinner the first night to speak to the Maitre'd because my husband is severly lactose intolerant and we have had problems in the past of the ship not being able to meet his dietary needs. I had faxed a letter to RCCL 3 weeks prior to sailing explaining his dietary needs and requesting a table for 2 as it was our anniversary. We were at a table for 10 and had the Maitre'd switch it to a table for 2. I reiterated my husband's dietary needs and explained that it had been a problem on past cruises and that I would seek higher authority if he was not accommodated. He assured me it would not be a problem. The first night at dinner we met our waiter and assistant waiter. They were on the slow side as we found out the other 2 nights. We were always in the dining room promptly at 6 and it would take 15 + minutes before we would see the waiter to even get a menu and it would be almost a quarter to 7 before we would receive our appetizer. We thought that with a table for two that we would be in and out quickly. Then on the last night, our waiter actually had the nerve to tell us to give him an excellent review on our review form because he would get in trouble if it was not positive. Let me tell you, just for that comment, he got a fair rating. Otherwise, the food was ok, nothing spectacular, but a lot better then the buffet at the Windjammer! Ports of Call: Nassau - The weather was great both days and Claudette never affected us. It was in the 90's in Nassau and we pretty much stayed on the ship. We only got off in the afternoon and walked around for 30 minutes or so. It was just so hot that we headed back to the ship to the pool! We were in Nassau 2 years ago on the Century, and since then, there was a new terminal where there were little shops, the taxi drivers to take you anywhere, and a shore excursions area where you could purchase all sorts of excursions, just like the ones on the ship, just cheaper!!! Coco Cay - This is RCL's private island and it was great! We were off the ship by 9 am and the sun was already hot! It must have been close to 100. We brought our own snorkel gear, but they also made us rent a vest. So once we got the vests we were off into the water. The water was really clear and there were tons of fish and reefs! Along with some stingrays and barracudas! After snorkeling we dried off and each got a Coco loco! They were great! Then we walked around the island and checked everything else out. The water park looked like it was for little kids and the parasailing and jet skis looked awesome! There were also a few little shops to buy souvenirs and the hair braiders were there also! They also had a BBQ on the island for lunch (the Windjammer was closed as a result). There were ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, mac & cheese, backed beans, fruit salad and a few other salads. My advice to everyone is get there as soon as they unwrap everything because there were flies everywhere and if you didn't get the food once it was unwrapped, odds are a fly landed on it first! After lunch, we headed back to the ship to enjoy the empty pool and hot tubs! Disembarkation: This was the worst part of the trip. We were done with breakfast at 7:50 AM and we sat in the elevator area of deck 5 until 9:45 when we finally cleared customs. No announcements were made as to what was taking so long and there were people everywhere. When they finally started to announce the color tags everyone ran to the exit and they had a hard time of keeping people in line and everyone was cutting. But we were off the ship by 10 with our luggage and at Miami International Airport by 10:15. Overall: This was a great cruise for a long weekend, however, I don't think I would have been happy if I was on the ship for a 7 day cruise. I found most of the staff to have an "I don't care" attitude, because they knew we would all be off in a few days and there would be a new group of people. It is a great cruise for a first time cruise who wants to get a taste of what a cruise is like. But for someone whose first cruise was on a larger vessel, they will be extremely disappointed. As for the rock climbing wall, it was not up and didn't even look like they were preparing to put it up anytime soon. The ship does need a little work, but people do need to consider how old she is compared to other ships in the RCL fleet! I give this ship: 3 out of 5 stars for appearance 2 out of 5 stars for dining 3 out of 5 stars for staff 5 out of 5 stars for value I hope this review helps any people considering this cruise and please feel free to ask me any questions! hardingk@optonline.net July 2003 Read Less
Sail Date: May 2003
Getting to the Pier -- This was the first time that we ever went to the NYC piers, so we used a car service for transportation. The ride from Long Island went rather smoothly (about 1 hour). Only those cars using the parking garage were ... Read More
Getting to the Pier -- This was the first time that we ever went to the NYC piers, so we used a car service for transportation. The ride from Long Island went rather smoothly (about 1 hour). Only those cars using the parking garage were allowed to enter the garage area so, due to drop-offs and pick-ups, traffic along 12th Ave was horrendous. It took about an additional 30 minutes to drive from W 59th down to W 52nd St. For our return home I called the limo company and had the car meet us on 11th Ave and W 52nd St, which was much easier. For those of you that are using a cab or car service, and don't mind carrying your luggage, I would suggest that you approach the pier from below W 52nd and get dropped off across the street from the ship. Just carry your luggage across 12th Ave at the traffic light. Embarkation -- We arrived at the pier at approx 11:15 AM, and were on the ship within 30 minutes of giving our luggage to the porters. There didn't appear to be a separate check-in for Lattitude members, however, if you identified yourself as a member to the NCL staff on hand, you were pulled out of line and sent directly to an available check-in rep. CC Meeting -- We missed it. After returning the life preservers to our cabin following the muster drill, we found that our luggage had already arrived. We took that opportunity to unpack everything. By the time we got to the top deck, the weather turned nasty. We're really sorry we weren't able to connect with all the folks we chatted with the past few months. Cabin -- My wife and I had absolutely no problem finding our cabin. We were on Deck 9 in cabin 9226 (starboard - aft). The cabin contained a queen size bed (which I believe was actually wider than our normal queen size at home) and a sofa that opened up into a 3rd bed. Since it was just the 2 of us, it stayed closed. The balcony had a small table and 2 chairs (1 that reclined). The luggage fit nicely under the bed and we had plenty of space for our clothing; · Closet · 3 drawers · 4 shelves in the closet · 2 shelves to the right and left of the closet. There's a mini fridge in the room that we kept stocked with a case of bottle water we brought on board. The electronic safe was easy to use. Plenty of room in the bathroom. The sliding doors that separated the shower, sink and toilet were a nice touch. We actually kept the balcony doors open most of the cruise and had the TV tuned to the music stations. This made for some peaceful times whenever we were relaxing in the sun. Freestyle Dining - Restaurants - Food Absolutely no complaints about the food or the restaurants. The only restaurants we missed were Cagney's and Bamboo. We ate in the Garden Cafe once and preferred to stay away from it because of the crowds. The Freestyle atmosphere really catered to my wife and me. We actually preferred to sit at a table for 2 each night and, with the exception of the last night on board, never had to wait for a table at all. We rarely ate dinner before 8 PM and had lunch on board only 2 times as I recall....one of which was on the 1st day we arrived. We used room service for a continental breakfast on the days we were in port to make it easier to get off the ship for the excursions. Speaking of room service, our orders were never late and consistently brought within 5 minutes of the times we requested. We always received a telephone call alerting us to the fact that the order was being delivered. We were very comfortable with the resort casual dress code for dinner. Monday evening was formal night and we did not feel out-of-place because we chose to remain casual. I did, however, wear a summer suit on Friday because it was my 50th birthday. Shore Excursions -- We booked all of our excursions ahead of time through the NCL website and found the tickets waiting for us in the cabin when we arrived on 5/25. Universal/Orlando was great (our 1st time there). I highly recommend the margaritas at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. We enjoyed Miami's Key Biscayne Heritage Bike Tour in addition to Nassau's Seaworld Explorer. We were a bit disappointed that we were unable to go ashore at Great Stirrup Cay. The water was rather rough which made it difficult and dangerous for the tenders to take on and drop off the passengers. Very understandable. Entertainment -- The Jean Ann Ryan Dance Company was all they were cracked up to be. Immensely talented and high energy. Too bad they performed for only 3 nights. The David Lucas show, and the show by his wife Ava, was equally entertaining. We missed the Crew Show on Friday night. The late night shows in the Spinnaker Lounge were a great way to end the evenings. We also had a blast at the poolside parties. We always took the time to sit in wherever there was a lounge performer, whether it be a piano player or a singer. The Dixieland Band that performed in the Pearly Kings Pub was neat. After Thought -- Our excitement going into the cruise was at a fever pitch, and we anticipated nothing short of a fabulous vacation. Our cruise far exceeded our expectations and we're already making plans to cruise the Dawn again when my wife turns 50 in 2 years. From time to time we did hear complaints. My opinion is that if you go on board looking for the negatives, you will find them. The complaint that sticks in my mind was uttered by a woman who said she could not get to the cabin door while the bathroom door was wide open. I haven't figured out if she was complaining about the cabin set-up, or the fact that she didn't have the foresight to close the bathroom door. Come to think of it, I couldn't step onto the balcony while the sliding glass door was closed (my sarcasm for the day). My point is, for those that are booked on the Dawn and those considering it, if you go on board anticipating a cruise that will be nothing short of fabulous..... that's exactly what you will leave the ship with. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2003
This was our first time on a Disney Cruise (13th cruise overall) and our first trip to Walt Disney World. We booked a 7 day land/sea package. After adding an extra night to start our vacation, we stayed 4 nights at the Caribbean Beach ... Read More
This was our first time on a Disney Cruise (13th cruise overall) and our first trip to Walt Disney World. We booked a 7 day land/sea package. After adding an extra night to start our vacation, we stayed 4 nights at the Caribbean Beach Resort and then spent 4 nights on the Disney Wonder. My husband and I are in our mid-thirties and were traveling with our 3 (almost 4) year old son. This review will focus primarily on the cruise portion of our trip. Getting There: We flew to Orlando on Wednesday, direct on USAirways from Pittsburgh. We were met at the airport by Cartier Towncar, who took us to the CBR. It was nice to arrive the evening before our package began which allowed us to take full advantage of the park passes included with the package by getting an early start on Thursday. As I had read was the case prior to our trip, we needed to check out and check back in Thursday morning to switch from the room only reservation for the first night to our 3 night land package which included admission to the parks. We had a wonderful time visiting the parks on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Then on Sunday morning, Cartier Towncar picked us up (in a complimentary stretch limo upgrade) at the CBR and took us to Port Canaveral where we walked right on to the ship. Since we booked the package, we completed our check-in for the cruise at CBR. This made for a seamless transition. My only comment concerning this process is that Disney advertises a one-time check-in for the entire trip. Although everything was completed at the resort, we did have to check-in at a separate DCL desk and they wanted us to do it no later than Saturday. The hours were limited, where two of the days the desk opened at 8:00 am and closed at 12 noon or 1:00 pm. Since we planned on taking advantage of early entry at the parks, we left the resort before the desk opened. Therefore, we had to come back mid-day one of the days, and make a trip to the Custom House at CBR to check-in for our cruise. I thought that it would have been more 'seamless' if we had been able to turn in our cruise documents at the front desk when we checked in for our package. Otherwise, if they would have one day that the DCL desk opens earlier to give guests a chance to check-in before leaving for early entry at the parks, it would eliminate the need to make a special trip back to the resort mid-day. Cabin: We were in cabin 2511, which we joked before going was a steerage cabin. It is a category 12 and lowest cabin that you can book. But to our surprise, aside from a couple veranda cabins we have had on other cruises, it was the nicest cabin we have had, with or without a window. There was plenty of room in the cabin, a decent amount of storage space and a curtain that could be drawn between the master bed and the couch/bed. The cabin hostess, Emy made the couch into a very nice bed for our son which he was very comfortable in. Emy was from the Philippines and she was great. She took good care of our cabin and treated us very well (not like steerage passengers ;-) One comment about the power outlets in the cabin... At the dressing table was the only useable one in the cabin. While I have read in the past about bringing a power strip, I have never done this since a hairdryer is the only thing that we plug in. The outlet was so close to the counter top of the dressing table, there wasn't any clearance and I couldn't plug in my hairdryer. My hairdryer has a bulky plug and it is polarized, so it could only be oriented with the cord coming down and there wasn't enough room. Fortunately there was a hairdryer in the bathroom. Unfortunately, it's one of the European style ones that almost looks like a vacuum cleaner hose and was not very powerful. The bottom line is either to take an extension cord or a hairdryer with a regular plug where the cord comes straight out from the wall. Dining: One of Disney's trademarks in the dining area is the rotational dining among three dining rooms. This allowed us to eat at a different dining room each night except for the last, when we ate in the same dining room as the first night. We had main seating (6:00 pm) and the APTA rotation— that's Animator's Palate, then Parrot Cay, followed by Tritons. We were first seated at a rectangular table for six. There was a family of four seated, leaving for us two chairs and a high chair on the end. Since at almost 4 years old, our son is too big for a high chair, it was replaced by a regular chair which left us with no leg room. After sitting there a few minutes, my husband went to talk to the maitre d' who responded that the seating arrangement is only suitable with a baby in a high chair and promptly reseated us at a round table for six with another family of three. This was a much roomier table and as it ended up the other family had a son just a few months younger than ours. We had a very enjoyable time dining with them and the boys enjoyed sharing trains and playing with them at the table while we dined. Our waiter was Mark from St. Vincent and assistant was Sandor from Hungary. They both were very accommodating and Mark made fabulous recommendations for dinner and desserts choices. For breakfast there were several options, on Deck 9 was a buffet in the Beach Blanket Buffet. Parrot Cay served a buffet style breakfast as well on Deck 3 and Tritons on Deck 3 of offered a sit-down breakfast including a menu choice of Eggs Benedict, my favorite! We managed to try one of the options on each day. On the last day of the cruise, there was a choice of continental breakfast at the Beach Blanket Buffet or sit-down menu breakfast in the dining room that you ate on the previous evening. If you choose the dining room, then is necessary to go at a scheduled time: 6:45 am for main seating and 8:00 am for late seating. The lunch options were plentiful too. For casual dining, there was the Beach Blanket Buffet (some days with an ethnic theme), Pinocchio's Pizzeria, Pluto's Dog House (hot dogs and hamburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, bratwurst, and veggie burgers), and at Scoops you could get wrap style sandwiches in addition to ice cream. Our son had a hamburger from Pluto's one day that had to be the nicest hamburger that I have ever seen on a ship. Tritons offered a sit down lunch but we did not make it there and enjoyed the casual lunches on Deck 9. I was impressed with the kid's only line at the Beach Blanket Buffet. They had all the items that our son enjoys (how did they know ;-), macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, corn, jello cubes, and the trays were especially designed for the kiddos with individual wells to eliminate cross-contamination of the food items on their plate! At night, the kids buffet was set-up for the Oceaneer's Club and Oceaneer's Lab to bring the kids up to eat. Our son did this one of the nights and seemed to really get a kick out of eating with the kids and without mom and dad. Fun Ship Activities: Jacqui was our cruise director. She was very friendly and personable. She always made it a point to say "hello" when we saw her out and about on the ship. There are three passenger pools on the Wonder. Well, actually there is a fourth according to Travel Channel Secrets, but it is for the crew! The Mickey Mouse pool, for the kids, is very thoughtfully designed. Mickey's ears are wading pools with just six inches or so of water and then the rest of his face is about 1-1/2 feet deep. Our son loved this pool! He started out in the ears but then got the courage to climb down into the deeper part. It seemed to give him confidence in the water, because then he wanted to try the Goofy pool which is about 4-5 feet deep. I took him in the Goofy pool and held him above water, but he seemed to be less clingy then I have previously experienced with him in the pool and I think it was from spending the time alone in the Mickey pool. The slide at the Mickey pool looked like fun (my husband wanted to do this, but only kids under a certain height are allowed), but our son wasn't feeling brave enough to give that a try. There is also Quiet Cove for guests 18 and older, but I didn't spend any time there. Towels were available on deck in lovely wooden cabinets. I couldn't find them at first since I was looking for a plastic bin of some sort. The fitness center was located in the spa on the forward section of deck 9. It was somewhat small, but adequate with a variety of machines and free weights, treadmills, steppers, and bikes. There were television sets with headsets available to listen too. From the treadmills you could see down into the ship's bridge, which was a neat perspective. We enjoyed the variety of live music offered in the Route 66, adult only section of the ship. Our favorite was the dueling pianos in Barrel of Laughs. Larry and Greg were very entertaining and played music requested by the audience. The Cadillac Lounge was lower key with easy listening piano music. And for those wishing to dance and listen to livelier music, Wavebands was the place to be. This was also the location for the 70's and 80's parties held on two different evenings during the cruise. And during our sailing, there was a magician/comedian onboard who performed in the Walt Disney Theatre for each dinner seating and then later that night offered an adult only show in Wavebands. Another spot we enjoyed in the evening was the ESPN Skybox. We got to watch some of the NCAA men's basketball tourney championship game on the big screen TV in the stadium seating. I really thought the dEcor there was quite clever. I was very disappointed to read that on the Magic it will be turned into a teen lounge during the fall 2003 dry dock! We did not see the Hercules show, but we did go to see Disney Dreams. It was as good as I had read! I wasn't sure if our son would enjoy it or not. But he really did seem to like it. Although, 45 minutes was about his limit to sit still - so the last 15 minutes he started squirming around. But I thought it was a wonderful show and truly different from anything that you will see on any other cruise line. Our son loved participating in activities at the Oceaneer's Club. He also enjoyed the activities that the kids program offered at Castaway Cay's Scuttle's Cove. Our son didn't even want to leave Scuttle's cove to come down to the water; he was having so much fun with the kids and counselors. The children's staff was wonderful; everyone I encountered seemed to really enjoy working with the kids. A couple activities that our son really enjoyed were "Do-Si-Do with Snow White" and "Swingin' with Tarzan" where they "trashed the camp" and played a memory game with the movie characters. The equipment in the Oceaneer's Club and Lab was very impressive too. Recently our son was playing a board game that he said he first played on the "big boat" and then he clarified the Disney World big boat. Since he had been on another cruise line too, I asked him which "big boat" he liked better and he said that he liked the Disney World big boat better. When I asked him why, he said "because there's Mickey Mouse" (but of course). Even though other lines have good kids programs too, I think his response says it all. He would enjoy many of the kid's programs on various lines, but at his age, the fact that the characters were on the ship made it magical! Ports of Call: Nassau: We decided to stay onboard at Nassau since we have visited this port before and figured that we might want a break after running around at the theme parks leading up to the cruise. We talked to people who went to Atlantis and really enjoyed that. We could see it from the ship and it looked like a very impressive resort. We had a relaxing day on the ship. It was a good opportunity to enjoy the pools while they weren't too crowded. Freeport: We chose to go to the beach at Our Lucaya resort area. DCL offers an excursion, but we did it on our own. This provided us with more flexibility on timing. Cabs were readily available when we got off the ship. It was $5 per person each way to the Port Lucaya area. There are some shops at this location, although we were told by our cab driver that there is better shopping and deals to be had in Nassau. We walked across the street to the beach area. Our son enjoyed playing in the sand and the water for a couple hours and then we returned to the ship. It was very nice white sand and the water was beautiful. There were locals asking to braid hair and selling various items, but they weren't too pushy as a polite 'no' was enough for them to continue walking by. Getting a cab back to the ship was a little trickier. The cabs are vans and they wait until they have a full load before they will head back. Fortunately we only had to wait about 5 or 10 minutes. Castaway Cay: In one word - Wonderful!! It was so obvious that Disney put a significant amount of planning and thought into this. The Scuttle's Cove kid's area was huge. The family beach was close by to Scuttle's Cove. We walked a little way down and had no problem getting beach chairs. We took a walk along the beach and at one point were called to by the lifeguard to let us know we weren't allowed to go any further down the beach because it was the teen beach. I thought that was great that they had their own area. We turned to walk inland and stumbled across the game area which was a pavilion with billiards tables, shuffle board, foosball and some other activities. We played a game of billiards and then made our way back to our beach chairs. We tried the infamous Konk Kooler. It was great! After we got home, I used one of the recipes I found posted and made them and they turned out just as good (well, almost - it's just not quite them same as drinking them with the Caribbean breeze blowing through your hair!) We did not make it to Serenity Bay (the adult only area) but there is always next time ;-) ! Return: We booked a USAirways flight direct from Orlando to Pittsburgh scheduled to depart at 12:20 pm. On other cruise lines, it would not be recommended to book a flight departing this early, but from what I read we wouldn't have a problem getting to the airport on time. We scheduled the Cartier Towncar to arrive at 8:30 am. By 8:00 we were off the ship and the towncar arrived at 8:15 am. The debarkation process was truly amazing. My husband commented that, that alone was worth paying extra to sail on Disney! Just as we had read, after eating breakfast, we just walked off the ship. No sitting around in a lounge waiting for an announcement to leave. No mad rush or being herded to get off the ship. We really did walk right off. The bags were organized and clearly labeled by cabin location. We got our bags, walked through customs and then to the waiting area for the towncars. Upon arrival at the Orlando Airport, the line to check-in and for security was not bad at all. We were at our concourse by 9:30 am. So we ended up having quite a wait for the plane (longer still with a preschooler!), especially after the plane got delayed for an hour. Our aircraft was delayed getting to Orlando after the escape slide was inadvertently deployed at the previous airport. Apparently it takes just about an hour to repack that slide. As a result we arrived home a little later than we hoped, but still reasonably early considering how much later you need to book flights when returning on other cruise lines! Overall: We had a fabulous vacation! For our son's age, the combination of the parks and cruise was perfect. I think a whole week at the parks would have been too much for him, but I hope to do that in a couple of years. In the meantime, we enjoyed the cruise so much and felt like 4 days wasn't quite enough. I was just starting to figure out where everything was on the ship when it was time to pack our bags to leave! So, we took advantage of the $200 onboard credit to rebook while we were sailing and we will be sailing the Western Caribbean on the Magic next January. I hope there is some helpful information for any of you planning to go soon! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2003
Disney Wonder 3/23/2003 I am still getting unpacked and caught up but thought I'd give a quick comparison of Disney verses the other cruises I've been on. I really hate posting anything negative on the boards as it upsets so many ... Read More
Disney Wonder 3/23/2003 I am still getting unpacked and caught up but thought I'd give a quick comparison of Disney verses the other cruises I've been on. I really hate posting anything negative on the boards as it upsets so many people and they take it to heart without realizing that one person's opinion really doesn't represent what they may experience and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt. Please don't think that the few negative comments that I have are anything more than simple observations that I noticed when comparing this cruise to other cruises I've been on. This cruise included me, my Husband (both mid-40's), Son (8) and my Parents (70's). In general, I loved Disney Wonder. As with anything Disney, they know how to do things right! Embarkation/debarkation were the best of any cruise we've been on (this was cruise #10 for me). I found the ship to be lovely but prefer a more open layout. I tend to feel shut in when I am on a ship that is compartmentalized like the Disney ships are (Norwegian Dawn and Carnival's newest ships; Pride, Legend, and Spirit are like this too but are very popular among most people). As time went on I became more comfortable with the layout though. I just like to have more wide open spaces (which I found on RCCL's Explorer of the Seas). Disney's food is much better than RCCL's and about the same as Carnival and Norwegian (whose food I loved!) Disney's desserts were top-notch!!! Better than any I've ever had! The cabins (category 9 on deck 2...#'s 2622 and 2624) were nicely appointed but felt smaller than others I've been in even though it was supposed to be larger. I liked the split bath, but you sacrifice some standing room in each area in order to have the extra sink. I got use to the tight squeeze though and thought it was a fair trade to have an extra sink ;-) I usually have a balcony but traded that in for the two connecting ocean-view cabins on this cruise. I think that probably the cabin just felt smaller due to the missing balcony! I do think that if we had only one ocean-view cabin with the three of us, I would have felt crowded (this goes back to that need for open space....my quirk, no reflection on Disney). The location (deck 2 aft) was terrific! Very convenient to dining and easy to get on and off the ship. We had no real noise issues although there were occasional noises, they were not anything that would keep me from recommending these cabins or booking them again myself. I enjoyed the rotation dining, but prefer traditional dining in one "grand" Dining Room. I found each of the three main Dining Rooms to be nicely decorated and comfortable (but again, too closed in...I like open spaces and lots of windows). We didn't go to Palo, so I have no comment on that. I enjoyed all the menus. Our Servers, Beata and Rea, were top notch! My main complaint with Dining on Disney was with the "casual" dining venues. I didn't like Beach Blanket Buffet at all. The food was very good, but the area itself was tight, small, congested, and very hard to navigate, in my opinion. I was very surprised since Disney is King when it comes to crowd control and spatial engineering! We opted to visit the buffet at Parrot Cay from then on and were much more comfortable (back to that open-space issue I have). I also noticed that there were times when it was hard to find food on the ship. Now, I certainly never was in danger of starving, but on all other cruise lines, food is always easy to come by (perhaps too easy!) We loved all the shows, games, family events, and deck parties! I think Disney wins in this department, hands down! My Son loved the kid's club too. We did the 4-day itinerary with Nassau, Freeport, and Castaway Cay. We spent our Nassau day at Atlantis (we booked a room at Comfort Suites for full privileges at Atlantis...total cost with taxes was $163). We had a wonderful day at Atlantis swimming in the pools and touring the aquariums. In Freeport we stayed on the ship and explored. Hubby and I did get off the ship briefly and visited the little "straw market" that was set up at the pier. It was nice and the people were very friendly and laid back. Castaway Cay is as nice as everyone says. We had a lovely beach day with a nice BBQ lunch. We did some snorkeling at the Family Beach but didn't see too many fish. The water was nice, but a bit on the chilly side. Castaway Cay compared favorably to Labadee (RCCL's private stop). I think Labadee is about the most beautiful place I've seen (however, the water is not as clear), but I thoroughly enjoyed my day at Castaway Cay too. Well, I don't know if I've covered everything or not. If anyone has any specific questions, feel free to ask. Again, I reiterate, do not take my negative comments as any bad reflection on Disney. I think Disney has an amazing product here! I would cruise on Disney again in a heartbeat and probably will return to the 7-day in the future. My Son and my Parents can't wait to go back on Disney! I will honestly say though, that Explorer of the Seas still beats out Disney for my number one slot. Disney is a very close second though and only for those issues that I addressed previously that are my own personal issues with spatial relationships. Next time I will just book the balcony and I will have the open space I need and I will be fine! Till then......may all your dreams be "Disney Dreams Read Less
Sail Date: September 2002
We have been on three cruises, our first being on the RCCL's Majesty of the Seas which was in Sept of 2002, one with Costa Cruises, and the third also with RCCL on Explorer. The Majesty stands out in my mind not only because of it ... Read More
We have been on three cruises, our first being on the RCCL's Majesty of the Seas which was in Sept of 2002, one with Costa Cruises, and the third also with RCCL on Explorer. The Majesty stands out in my mind not only because of it being my first cruise ever but by the beauty of this smaller ship. It is one of Royal Caribbean's older ships but you would never know it by her appearance. She certainly lives up to her name. The ship is very clean and shiny. The staff goes out of their way to help you in every way. Each evening we were greeted by a different towel animal on our bed. Our room steward always put my husband's sunglasses on them to liven them up. We had an ocean-view cabin which was a bit tight, but most of our time in the cabin was spent only sleeping or changing. We brought a collapsible cooler that we kept water and pop in and our steward always made sure there was fresh ice in it. The meals in the dining room were outstanding, but the service could of been a little faster. We had the late seating and missed most of the after-dinner shows. The shows we did see however were outstanding. There was a comedian one of the nights that left us laughing as we left the theater. If you are a first time cruiser I highly suggest trying out RCCL's Majesty of of the Seas. I personally like the smaller ships because you don't feel like you're a small fish in a giant fish bowl. Everything is easy access and there are plenty of activities on board from gambling in the casino, to belly flop contests at the pool. And the midnight buffet is to die for with Caribbean music and dancing the night away up by pool side finished by relaxing under the Caribbean starlit sky. I will definitely cruise on the Majesty again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2002
This was a first cruise for my husband and I. We had a wonderful time on the ship and the Carnival staff was excellent. Always something to do and they had something to fit pretty much any interests you have. The constant availability of ... Read More
This was a first cruise for my husband and I. We had a wonderful time on the ship and the Carnival staff was excellent. Always something to do and they had something to fit pretty much any interests you have. The constant availability of food and 24hr room service was awesome. Fantasy is one of the older/smaller ships so it actually made us first timers a little more at ease. It was easy to explore and learn your way around. Two things that I would change on my next cruise, would be to invest in a better room. We had an outside stateroom with a window/midship on the 6th floor (empress deck) and honestly the room was just too confined for our tastes. A balcony would have been the better way to go. We also sailed at the end of February which was cold most of the time on deck and soooo windy. Another valuable lesson learned was to take advantage of the shore excursions booked directly through Carnival. Being from Florida and used to tourist surroundings, we thought we would take charge of our own tours. Wrong. In the Bahamas, you have tenders all trying to take you somewhere at different prices. We tried in vain to find this place in Freeport that rented power boats, so we could explore on our own. We never found it. They wanted to sell us "package deals" to the beaches, etc., which they most likely make a profit from doing. I don't begrudge anyone trying to make an extra buck, but no one wanted to steer us in the direction "we" wanted to go. I realized later that had we set something up through the ship, we might have had a better time on land. I do highly recommend a visit to the Atlantis Hotel. This place is amazing! The in-ground aquarium is a one of a kind. A little hard to take pictures during the day, however. They are obviously used to the tourist traffic and we had no problems while there and were free to roam around. Lunch was very good at one of several restaurants within. Of course, a trip to either Freeport or Nassau would not be complete without a trip to the straw market. Interesting. I can see why Carnival has such a good reputation, as we encountered no problems, easy to check in, ship was pretty much immaculate and great/friendly service all around. Believe me when I say.....when you pass through the gulf stream and enter the Carribean Sea with its turquoise waters....you'll think you've died and gone to heaven! Hope you have as good a time as we did! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2016
Very friendly, helpful with special dietary needs, Good variety of activities. the last day they provided a tour of Miami and ride to airport. it was an interesting experience and they took care of our luggage and got us to the airport. It ... Read More
Very friendly, helpful with special dietary needs, Good variety of activities. the last day they provided a tour of Miami and ride to airport. it was an interesting experience and they took care of our luggage and got us to the airport. It was nice not to have to carry our bags around and we got in an extra activity which was tour our the art and history of Miami beach and a walking tour of Little Havana. The shore excursions were great. Nice variety A relaxing and fun vacation, staff fantastic, ship clean overall a top rate experience. Cabin was comfortable with plenty of storage and a wonderful balcony. Liked the walking deck where it was marked so you could walk a mile. There could have been more hot tubs. Also Sunday activities could have taken into consideration that some passengers may have wanted to attend mass or a church service. Overall it was wonderful and I plan to take another cruise. Read Less

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