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View Full Version : 1/22/2006 4-Night Wonder Report (long)


Super Goof
01-29-2006, 03:05 PM
All I can say is wow, what a phenomenal vacation! We absolutely loved sailing on the Wonder for our first-ever cruise. The check-in process for the cruise was nice. We were on the Land/Sea combination, so we checked in at the Poly, hopped on the bus, and walked right on the ship after arriving at the terminal. The welcome announcement as you enter the ship's Atrium was a nice touch. It made you feel special. Lots of smiles and applause from the crew as you step aboard. The kids enjoyed the very crowded Mickey pool for a bit on the first afternoon. The room was ready when we arrived, and we had our luggage within an hour after boarding. Half the fun the first day was exploring the ship and all it has to offer. We met new friends on the bus - Chuck, Maureen, and their daughter Molly. We spent quite a bit of time with them for the remainder of the cruise, and they made our trip even better.

We stayed in room 7064 on the port side. We were close to the midship elevators, but found that we had faster elevator trips by walking down to the aft or forward elevators. The room was nice. The verandah was wonderful in the mornings and evenings when the kids were still asleep. Foster, our room host, was very friendly. The kids loved the towel animals he left each night.

Our dining rotation was Triton's, Animator's Palate, Animator's Palate for Pirate Night, and Parrot Cay. The dress code was cruise casual, dress-up night, pirate (or tropical) night, and cruise casual. It was fun dressing for dinner, as it made it that much more of an event. Our DDs got into it as well, choosing special dresses and their favorite princess outfits to wear. We had a table for just the four of us each night. We ate at Palo on our Parrot Cay night. Our servers were Januar and Miguel, who both did a very nice job. Miguel remembered my special coffee request from the first night without any further reminders. Januar noticed us cutting DD6 and DD7's salad into smaller pieces the first night. He then did it on the subsequent nights. The service in the restaurants really makes you feel like royalty. The Head Waiter, Kapoor, stopped by each night to check on things and chat briefly. The Beach Blanket Buffet was also good, as well as convenient. We had breakfast there every day except on the final disembarkation morning at Parrot Cay. The food was really great. You definitely won't go hungry on a Disney cruise.

I noticed a few seasick people the first night, and one on the second night. The ocean was a little choppy heading out of Florida, and upon return to Florida. It was very smooth and calm around the Bahamas and Castaway Cay. Our daughters had no problems with motion, and neither did we. I really liked falling asleep to the ocean motion. We came prepared with Bonine and Dramamine, and luckily it was never used.

The kids (DD6 and DD7) liked the Oceaneer's Club. I was surprised at how many activities there were for the kids, which occurred at various places. They played sports at the outdoor gym on Deck 10, went on treasure hunts, met Disney characters, made new friends, and did lots of other things. We let them look over the D-Sea-U flyer each morning and they chose which activities they wanted to attend. We placed them in the Club for four events - our couples massage, Palo, a quick shopping trip in Nassau, and a few hours at Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay.

On Nassau, we went on the Dolphin Encounter. It was great. The mansions that we saw along the shore during the boat shuttle to the encounter were unbelievable. The pictures of the encounter are absolutely priceless. The only downside was that the water was very cold. Both DDs were shivering and very uncomfortable by the end of our time with the dolphin in the canopy-covered meeting area. But, after that, the sunshine was very warm. They did have wetsuits available to use, but I'm not sure if they would have kept the girls any warmer. We returned to the ship and took bridge tour. It was pretty interesting to us, but not exciting enough for our girls. We then checked the girls into the Club, and headed to Nassau. We're not much for shopping at places like that, so we zipped to a liquor store and bought a few pints of Bahamian rum. We then went to a T-shirt shop, and then back to the ship. We weren't in Nassau more than 45 minutes.

Castaway Cay was really great. We had perfect weather. Light clouds, mid- to upper 70s, very little wind. The kids chose to go to the Oceaneer's Club activities for a treasure hunt, lunch, and a dinosaur dig. We went to Serenity Bay. By all means, if you can - go to Serenity Bay! It was so quiet and peaceful. It felt like you were a million miles from anywhere civilized. The water was crystal clear with barely a wave. We waded out and saw tons of fish (who swam around you) and even a starfish. We pulled lounge chairs to the water's edge and just enjoyed the peace and ambience. It was the most relaxing 2 1/2 hours of our entire trip. After the kids' club time was up, we took them to the main beach. They had a great time swimming, splashing, and playing with their friend Molly. I had planned on taking them snorkeling. My friend and I rented equipment and headed out. It was very fun, although you had to travel a long way from shore to see the underwater goodies and fish. My DDs would not have made it that far before getting tired and/or cold. So I took lots of underwater pictures instead of taking them out on their own. I heard a lot of people commenting that they would trade the day at sea for another day at Castaway Cay.

Pirate night was fun. The waiters tied a little skull-and-crossbones bandana on everyone. The menu came wrapped up like a scroll. The Pirate night party was great. The kids loved all the dancing and characters on stage. The fireworks were great. We asked a CM where the best place to view them would be. He told us Deck 10 starboard above the Mickey pool. He was right.

The day at sea was ok. It had a more leisurely pace than any other day aboard, which was a good thing. The weather was a little cooler with pretty heavy wind. The kids enjoyed the pool anyway. We took a diversion to Freeport due to a medical emergency. The ship stopped near a large shipping facility and was met by a tugboat which picked up three people. The rumor on deck was that someone had been stung or bitten while swimming outside of the boundary area on Castaway Cay - but you know how rumors are. I watched everyone getting on the tugboat from a Deck 10 overlook and they were all moving on their own, no stretchers. The weather cleared up later in the day and was fairly pleasant. DW and I treated ourselves to a couples massage. It was very good - fastest 50 minutes I can remember in a long time. We could have done without the somewhat long sales pitch for various oils and lotions after the massage. Simply letting us know they were available on board for purchase would have sufficed. The Rainforest room in the Vista Spa was also very relaxing after the massage. We ate at Palo for our last night. They allowed me to do a last minute schedule change so we could enjoy a leisurely dinner and still have time to pick up the kids and see the show. Palo was really wonderful. Our server was Julie, who was recommended by our friends that we met on the cruise. They had dined with her the night before. She was very knowledgeable, pleasant, and attentive. She answered a lot of our questions about what life is like on board for the crew. We also picked up autographed pillow cases on the final night, which we had dropped off the first day. We carried them around WDW with us for three days getting more autographs after the cruise, so both DDs now have a pretty nice keepsake.

One thing we missed out on was the entertainment in the nightclubs. By the time shows started in places like WaveBands at 11pm, we were pretty tired. It would have been nice if some of those shows started a little earlier before we ran out of energy.

The final morning started awfully early. Our breakfast time was 6:45am - ouch. It was nice to see our regular servers again after dining at Palo the night before. We cleared customs without a hitch and were walking in to AKL by 10am.

The cruise was absolutely wonderful. We can't wait to go again. :banana:

http://www.wdwinfo.com/photopost/data/500/78188Dolphin1.jpg

num1tigerfan
01-29-2006, 05:06 PM
All I can say is wow, what a phenomenal vacation! We absolutely loved sailing on the Wonder for our first-ever cruise. The check-in process was nice. We were on the Land/Sea combination, so we checked in at the Poly, hopped on the bus, and walked right on the ship after arriving at the terminal. The welcome announcement as you enter the ship's Atrium was a nice touch. It made you feel special. Lots of smiles and applause from the crew as you step aboard. The kids enjoyed the very crowded Mickey pool for a bit on the first afternoon. The room was ready when we arrived, and we had our luggage within an hour after boarding. Half the fun the first day was exploring the ship and all it has to offer.

We stayed in room 7064 on the port side. We were close to the midship elevators, but found that we had faster elevator trips by walking down to the aft or forward elevators. The room was nice. The verandah was wonderful in the mornings and evenings when the kids were still asleep. Foster, our room host, was very friendly. The kids loved the towel animals he left each night.

Our dining rotation was Triton's, Animator's Palate, Animator's Palate for Pirate Night, and Parrot Cay. The dress code was cruise casual, dress-up night, pirate (or tropical) night, and cruise casual. It was fun dressing for dinner, as it made it that much more of an event. Our DDs got into it as well, choosing special dresses and their favorite princess outfits to wear. We had a table for just the four of us each night. We ate at Palo on our Parrot Cay night. Our servers were Januar and Miguel, who both did a very nice job. Miguel remembered my special coffee request from the first night without any further reminders. Januar noticed us cutting DD6 and DD7's salad into smaller pieces the first night. He then did it on the subsequent nights. The service in the restaurants really makes you feel like royalty. The Head Waiter, Kapoor, stopped by each night to check on things and chat briefly. The Beach Blanket Buffet was also good, as well as convenient. We had breakfast there every day except on the final disembarkation morning at Parrot Cay. The food was really great. You definitely won't go hungry on a Disney cruise.

I noticed a few seasick people the first night, and one on the second night. The ocean was a little choppy heading out of Florida, and upon return to Florida. It was very smooth and calm around the Bahamas and Castaway Cay. Our daughters had no problems with motion, and neither did we. I really liked falling asleep to the ocean motion. We came prepared with Bonine and Dramamine, and luckily it was never used.

The kids (DD6 and DD7) liked the Oceaneer's Club. I was surprised at how many activities there were for the kids, which occurred at various places. They played sports at the outdoor gym on Deck 10, went on treasure hunts, met Disney characters, made new friends, and did lots of other things. We let them look over the D-Sea-U flyer each morning and they chose which activities they wanted to attend. We placed them in the Club for four events - our couples massage, Palo, a quick shopping trip in Nassau, and a few hours at Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay.

On Nassau, we went on the Dolphin Encounter. It was great. The mansions that we saw along the shore during the boat shuttle to the encounter were unbelievable. The pictures of the encounter are absolutely priceless. The only downside was that the water was very cold. Both DDs were shivering and very uncomfortable by the end of our time with the dolphin in the canopy-covered meeting area. But, after that, the sunshine was very warm. They did have wetsuits available to use, but I'm not sure if they would have kept the girls any warmer. We returned to the ship and took bridge tour. It was pretty interesting to us, but not exciting enough for our girls. We then checked the girls into the Club, and headed to Nassau. We're not much for shopping at places like that, so we zipped to a liquor store and bought a few pints of Bahamian rum. We then went to a T-shirt shop, and then back to the ship. We weren't in Nassau more than 45 minutes.

Castaway Cay was really great. We had perfect weather. Light clouds, mid- to upper 70s, very little wind. The kids chose to go to the Oceaneer's Club activities for a treasure hunt, lunch, and a dinosaur dig. We went to Serenity Bay. By all means, if you can - go to Serenity Bay! It was so quiet and peaceful. It felt like you were a million miles from anywhere civilized. The water was crystal clear with barely a wave. We waded out and saw tons of fish (who swam around you) and even a starfish. We pulled lounge chairs to the water's edge and just enjoyed the peace and ambience. It was the most relaxing 2 1/2 hours of our entire trip. After the kids' club time was up, we took them to the main beach. They had a great time swimming, splashing, and playing with their friend Molly. I had planned on taking them snorkeling. My friend and I rented equipment and headed out. It was very fun, although you had to travel a long way from shore to see the underwater goodies and fish. My DDs would not have made it that far before getting tired and/or cold. So I took lots of underwater pictures instead of taking them out on their own. I heard a lot of people commenting that they would trade the day at sea for another day at Castaway Cay.

Pirate night was fun. The waiters tied a little skull-and-crossbones bandana on everyone. The menu came wrapped up like a scroll. The Pirate night party was great. The kids loved all the dancing and characters on stage. The fireworks were great. We asked a CM where the best place to view them would be. He told us Deck 10 starboard above the Mickey pool. He was right.

The day at sea was ok. It had a more leisurely pace than any other day aboard, which was a good thing. The weather was a little cooler with pretty heavy wind. The kids enjoyed the pool anyway. We took a diversion to Freeport due to a medical emergency. The ship stopped near a large shipping facility and was met by a tugboat which picked up three people. The rumor on deck was that someone had been stung or bitten while swimming outside of the boundary area on Castaway Cay - but you know how rumors are. I watched everyone getting on the tugboat from a Deck 10 overlook and they were all moving on their own, no stretchers. The weather cleared up later in the day and was fairly pleasant. DW and I treated ourselves to a couples massage. It was very good - fastest 50 minutes I can remember in a long time. We could have done without the somewhat long sales pitch for various oils and lotions after the massage. Simply letting us know they were available on board for purchase would have sufficed. The Rainforest room in the Vista Spa was also very relaxing after the massage. We ate at Palo for our last night. They allowed me to do a last minute schedule change so we could enjoy a leisurely dinner and still have time to pick up the kids and see the show. Palo was really wonderful. Our server was Julie, who was recommended by our friends that we met on the cruise. They had dined with her the night before. She was very knowledgeable, pleasant, and attentive. She answered a lot of our questions about what life is like on board for the crew. We also picked up autographed pillow cases on the final night, which we had dropped off the first day. We carried them around WDW with us for three days getting more autographs after the cruise, so both DDs now have a pretty nice keepsake.

One thing we missed out on was the entertainment in the nightclubs. By the time shows started in places like WaveBands at 11pm, we were pretty tired. It would have been nice if some of those shows started a little earlier before we ran out of energy.

The final morning started awfully early. Our breakfast time was 6:45am - ouch. It was nice to see our regular servers again after dining at Palo the night before. We cleared customs without a hitch and were walking in to AKL by 10am.

The cruise was absolutely wonderful. We can't wait to go again. :banana:

Wonderful trip report Supergoof! You had the same rotation as us excpet we had the late seating. I will have to agree the weather was beautiful and the kids loved the club.

WDWLVR
01-29-2006, 05:12 PM
Thanks for the great trip report. I'm glad you had a WONDERful time!

Jo-Anne
01-30-2006, 11:55 AM
Thanks for the report. We're on the Wonder in less than a week and it's great to read some reports that are very current! I had a feeling that the water temp would be a little on the cool side. I'd have like to book the Stingray excursion at CC, but don't want to waste $128 if the kids won't stay in the water for more than a few minutes!

When you were on the ship, were you mainly in shorts or does the wind make it more a capri/pants and sweaters affair? Glad you enjoyed! Jo

Super Goof
01-31-2006, 10:24 AM
When you were on the ship, were you mainly in shorts or does the wind make it more a capri/pants and sweaters affair? Glad you enjoyed! Jo

We mostly wore shorts during the day. In the mornings and evenings, it was not too cold unless there was a lot of wind, so we stayed pretty comfortable.

alikat99
01-31-2006, 10:14 PM
Thanks for the great trip report. We are leaving on 2/12, so it was nice to hear all about it!

Do you remember what movies were playing?

michelle9343
02-01-2006, 07:58 AM
I enjoyed reading your trip report. It sounds like your family had a WONDERful time!

num1tigerfan
02-01-2006, 10:04 PM
Thanks for the great trip report. We are leaving on 2/12, so it was nice to hear all about it!

Do you remember what movies were playing?


I can't remember the times, but I know Glory Road, Chronicles of Narnia, Flight Plan, and Chicken Little were some of the ones that we wanted to see. Unfortunately we only had time to take the kids to Chicken Little as we always had other things going on!

chuck2534
02-13-2006, 05:38 AM
After digging out of 18 inches of snow yesterday, it made me realize and appreciate more and more how awesome of a vacation we had. Andy, what an awesome report from your vacation. I tell people that the only reason why it was so great was because of the weather. Meeting you and the family was a bonus. The cruise was so relaxing that I didn’t even remember the 3 days in the parks prior, it seems as if those park days were about a year ago.

I am going to post a longer reply later – but you summed it up fabulously – what a great time!!

chuck

Can't wait to get out of work today!!!!!! :hourglass

disnlvr+3
02-14-2006, 12:52 PM
supergoof - how was AKL? We are staying there for 4 days prior to our cruise at the end of March! Everything I read about it and the pictures I've seen - it sounds incredible!

Would love to hear a little more about that too!

Thanks!

Super Goof
02-15-2006, 10:06 AM
supergoof - how was AKL? We are staying there for 4 days prior to our cruise at the end of March! Everything I read about it and the pictures I've seen - it sounds incredible!

Would love to hear a little more about that too!

Thanks!

AKL was beautiful. We stayed in room 5373 on the Kudu Trail overlooking the central savannah. AKL seems very relaxed compared to the other resorts we stayed at. Maybe it's the ambience, maybe it's the remote location from other places. It was very peaceful there. We enjoyed seeing the animals, especially the baby giraffe. There are lots of organized kids activities going on throughout the day. We didn't try Boma or Jiko due to ADRs at theme park restaurants. The food smelled delicious though. Bus transportation was ok - it was about a 15 minute ride from AKL to MK. I think the only downside to AKL is that it is somewhat isolated from MK/Epcot and other restaurants. It was a wonderful place to wind down after our cruise. Enjoy your stay!

Here's the 5-month-old giraffe:
http://www.wdwinfo.com/photopost/data/500/78188Baby_Giraffe_Zoom-med.jpg