View Full Version : Yeah, we made it!!! 1/14-1/21 The good bad and really ugly!

01-24-2006, 02:40 PM
Day 1-

What's up? It was totally freezing on our departure! Brrrr. The good and bad with this trip will be outlined here. Some things our fault, some things weather, and unfortunately somethings Disney. I want to start with this disclaimer because although this may seem down at points our overall cruise was magical. But I want to give a review of everything so people know what to expect.

To start, our boarding process (we are castaway club members) took all of about 5 minutes to get through. We arrived at the port at 12:45 or so and we were in the ship within 20 minutes. That takes into account the time we had to use restrooms etc. My parents were with us as well and were also CCM's.

Next, because of the freezing cold wind that we experienced on this day, we went straight to our rooms with food from Topsiders. Our kids were prepared to do the pool thing with an empty mickey pool but...This was even too cold for them. We ate our meals in the room because the outside of topsiders closed and the inside was packed because of the temperatures. The buffet was okay but not great. I'll explain more about this later. For some reason, topsiders buffet seems to be going downhill lately.

Anyway, we finished lunch and sat out on our verandahs and watched the water for a couple of hours. Then we took the kids (dd7, ds4) to kids club. We took showers got ready for the show at 6:15 and headed to kids club to take them with us. The show was great as always. That being said...Can't they change their shows up a little more. The first night was Michael Harrison and Freddy Fusion. We saw Michael's exact routine last year. Almost word for word! I love the show, just wish they'd provide more variety for us repeaters!

Next we went to dinner. We were on the rotation LAP. Dinner has also stayed pretty close to the same for the last 7 years. It was okay but nothing great as far as cruising food goes. The desserts...mmm,mmm, good!

After this, we went and took the kids back to kids club and they had a great time there. My ds4 doesn't love kids club but will endure it and this time he had a better experience.

We then went to the cabaret shows for adults and then to bed to get ready for Key West!

One note on the ship and it's condition. Someone noted that the ship is starting to show it's wear and tear. I would have to agree and disagree. The effort that Disney makes to maintain their ship's appearance is extraordinary. That being said..the carpets are showing more and more stains, there are a few more dents and dings throughout and doesn't have that new feeling anymore. Overall though, the ship is in great condition for all it goes through. Also, seeing other ships in port is a good experience to appreciate disney more and more!

Day 2-

Oh how wonderful it is to wake up and eat! We did a lot of this throughout the trip. I don't know what it is about when you are on a cruise but...you don't skip a meal ever! We went to topsiders and had a few too many of the chocolate croissants and cheese croissants. They were so good!

Next, we got off the ship at Key West and went through the aquarium and the museum. These were okay but I probably wouldn't spend the money on them for a second time. The kids liked touching the shark at the aquarium.
Then we walked down duval street looking for something to eat. We ended up at a Mexican cafe about a mile or so down. It was okay but pretty pricey. We should have went to sloppy joes! Then we rented one of the golf cart cars and had a blast. We drove to hemingway's house, went to the butterfly museum, etc. It was a great day. Then we got back on the ship right in time for the show. Again, the shows are great, they're just always the same. With the exception of Twice Charmed, which we had not seen and thought was wonderful.

Day 3- Day at Sea
Today was good. A little too cold though. We just relaxed and read. We went to the Alice and Mad Hatter tea at 4:00 with the kids. This was not our favorite activity according to the kids. First, they don't like tea, second, unless you get a good seat you can't hear or understand the characters. My kids didn't even want to stay.

My mom did the kitchen classes the whole week and seemed to like them. They had dessert making, cake decorating, a kitchen tour, napkin folding, appetizer class, etc. She did one or two of them each day at sea.

My husband spent a lot of time in Diversions watching the games that were going on this week. He said it was a great time!

We went to the show again (3rd time seeing Golden Mickeys) and then for dinner we went to Topsiders. I have to say we brought our dress up clothes but my parents forgot to pack theirs. So...we decided to eat with them upstairs at Topsiders. This is where a little magic begins to leave. We arrived at topsiders was seated and a Joseph from the Phillipines was our server. I think he was new but we have never had such a horrible dining experience in our life. He was slow, brought the wrong food, forgot which table ordered which drinks and was even worse than this. I feel bad for him because I don't think anyone was helping to train him. We walked out after being there for 1 hr without one drink refill or any suggestion of a dessert or anything. I know we should have went to formal night but...we wanted to stay with my parents.

After this we played all night. It was great fun.

Day 4- Grand Cayman

Woke up a little late from all the playing. Sad because we weren't in port very long for this island and waking up late makes it even worse. We did the Atlantis submarines. We booked straight through atlantis instead of going through Disney and saved about 80.00. The ride itself was okay but you don't see a whole lot. We saw a few stingray and 4 turtles. It was good to do once but once was definitely enough.

By the time we got done with the sub, we only had 1 hr to get back on the ship so we didn't make it to Hell or anything else for that matter. My advice would be to get up really early at this port to be able to do fun things. It rained this day as well, so some of the beach goers we talked to were a little disappointed to say the least.

When we returned, we took it easy and relaxed. Then we went to the show and dinner again. Afterwards we went to bed pretty early because we wanted to be on time for the ruins at Costa Maya.

Day 5- Costa Maya

Yeah, we made it! It was a really horrible night with the weather but we didn't get sick and we were able to park our big tub! Rumor has it that the day before ships weren't able to make it because of the wind.

We got off the ship and took a bus taxi to Mauhaul the fishing village. This is where we were meeting for our excursion to the ruins. We went with a company called the Native Choice. David Villagomez was our guide. When we ended up at the ruins the Disney excursion was there as well. They stayed half as long as we did and were charged 40.00 more per person. So we saved 200.00 by booking ourselves. I can't say enough good about this excursion, it was our favorite. Our guide was from chachoben (sp?) and he took us through his village at the end and showed us everything. It was an amazing experience and my kids loved it as well!

We got back and did the dinner and show. Afterwards we went up on deck for awhile and then to the clubs.

Day 6- Day at Sea

Very relaxing because the weather was cloudy all day. We just messed around and did nothing all day! We read a lot and went to some of the workshops and that was about all.

Day 7- Castaway Cay

Perfect. Need I say anymore? The best weather, food, and fun. Did the jet ski excursion. It was great fun! Spent the day at the beach with the kids and we all got sunburned and had a blast.

We ate at Lumiere's and it was really yummy. Best of the whole trip. Our servers brought us every dessert. Got sick and puked that night. Flu going around.

Day 8- get off, get out! LOL!

The good....Our servers were incredible! WE had roland for asst. and Toney for main server

The good...Our stateroom host was great. Garry from Phillipines was great!

The bad... The treatment of us by guest services when they found out my husband was a cast member. They wouldn't let us make Palo reservations unless there wasn't anyone else who didn't want to go. We were at the bottom of the list because normally cast members get a discount when they cruise. Well, my husband's company got bought by disney in June. We had already booked and paid for cruise, so no discount. It didn't matter the key to the world card had him as a cast member so anytime we wanted to make a reservation it would put us last in line.

The bad... The food wasn't the greatest this time. Maybe we've grown to accustomed to DCL but it was just mediocre at best.

The bad...Some of the hand sanitizer passer outers were really rude.

The bad...Food at topsiders

The very ugly...The server at Topsiders and one of the rude workers in the merchandise store.

The very ugly...The final bill! LOL!

01-24-2006, 02:58 PM
I am glad that you had a great trip! As far as Topsiders at dinner goes - I think it is the training ground for the new server staff. I ate there one night when I missed our early dinner (DW and 3 DS went - I wanted to see the end of the canal) and was glad to have the option, but was disappointed in the service too. I asked the Head Waiter a question and he said he did not know the answer - he was only onboard for 2 weeks. The family we shared our table with went there another night and had similar comments.

01-24-2006, 03:54 PM
I agree with the training grounds. I just wish they would have a manager overseeing the process a little more. There was one there but he never checked on us or anything. We didn't say anything because we thought he was probably training but it wasn't the best experience but you still can't take the magic away from us!

01-24-2006, 03:59 PM
Love the report.....I too was VERY disappointed with topsiders on our 05 Thanksgiving Western. I AM NOT a breakfast eater but I do while we sail. The first morning I ordered an omlett and there was a long wait so they gave me a number and said they'd bring it t me....well I was LONG done before it got to me and the onions were burned on the outside and the cheeze was not melted on the inside. The french toast was undone and pancakes were bad........

01-24-2006, 04:00 PM
I have a question for you Tiggeroo13,
I have read that the policy for the first night for the kids clubs have changed. Its no longer a option to drop off, but a family open house, with the parents staying with the kids. How did that work for you? Was it a hassle the first night?
Sounds like you had a great cruise!!

01-24-2006, 07:07 PM
Hi, the kids club first night did change. It was a family night and at first I was disappointed with the idea of the family night. It actually worked out great for us because our son didn't like kids club last year, so this gave us the opportunity to go in with him and get him used to the club this year. He didn't love going the whole cruise but he did it and he had fun when he would go. But I think had we not gone in there the first night it would have been harder for him to go.

The downside is we really wanted to drop them off! LOL! Let me know if you have any other questions.


01-25-2006, 04:05 PM
Thank you for the info...I am going to prepare my DS(9) starting now, that we may be in the Lab with him the first night... :rotfl2:


01-25-2006, 06:18 PM
Shame on Disney...why should it matter if you are a CM? You are spending your money! I hope you send Customer Service a nasty gram about that policy.


<<< They wouldn't let us make Palo reservations unless there wasn't anyone else who didn't want to go. We were at the bottom of the list because normally cast members get a discount when they cruise. Well, my husband's company got bought by disney in June. We had already booked and paid for cruise, so no discount. It didn't matter the key to the world card had him as a cast member so anytime we wanted to make a reservation it would put us last in line.>>>

01-25-2006, 07:22 PM
That's what we thought, especially because we've cruised with them 4 prior times. We didn't get the bag, we didn't get the club invitation, couldn't make palo reservations, etc. I guess it wouldn't be too buggy except we spent 6k and felt we should have been treated like Castaway Club members.

All in all though, it was a great cruise and we love Disney. However, we've never cruised anywhere else.

The upside of the being a cast member we did get a discount on the sailor Mickey that we bought for my son! I guess you can't have everything, LOL!

01-26-2006, 06:22 AM
I am sorry that they treated you that way at guest services. I think they were incorrect. I believe that a CM should receive all CC benifits if they did not book through the availible space program. I am a CM and just book a 2nd cruise at the minimum discount and was told that I am a CC member. I even E-mailed DCL to make sure. I would definetly write the letter.

01-26-2006, 05:41 PM
Hi Michelle,
Do you know where I would write to? Our friends just booked (he is a CM as well) at the minimum discount (not throught the available space) but he isn't a repeater to get CC. It's just a bummer because if you get the minimum or no discount you can often times find this rate through travel agents and still be a CC member. I am glad that you double checked because it was just disappointing. Nothing really takes the magic away from the cruise but it deflates it a little.

On a side note, have you heard of anyone getting on the available sale dates? Everyone who has tried that we know, has never been able to . By the time they call they say everything is filled up. We are new to Disney so we don't know how hard it is to get on through this way. Anyway, hope you guys have a great time on your cruise!


01-26-2006, 07:32 PM
I will PM you

02-02-2006, 04:32 PM
Thanks to everyone for encouraging me to write DCL about the CM thing. I have done this and will let you know when I receive anything back. Again, we love DCL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!