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View Full Version : Feb 5, 2006 Wonder - My Thoughts - Long


southjerseymom
02-20-2006, 12:50 PM
Hi! I always enjoyed reading the trip reports in this forum so I thought I would add my 2 cents worth.
Cast: me, DH, DS5, DD3 (who decided to be stubborn and not be PT'd by cruise day) and my 79yo Mom in her own cabin. I have cruised Carnival, RCCL and Norwegian. This was DH's first cruise.
We had Cat 6 7562 / Mom had cat 11 7623
Due to my husbands schedule we had to fly in from Atlantic City to Orlando on cruise day. If there is any way possible to not do this I would reccomend it. But it was our only option. We arrived at 9am and were on the DCL transport bus by 9:20. The bus was extremely crowded and I we had to split up. Not easy with young ones. Had I known I would have waited for the next bus and kept us all together.
Arrived at port and got number 3. Kids were very anxious to get onboard. My husband didn't get home until 2 am the night before so he was running on empty. We had a delicious buffet at Parrot Cay and went to our cabins at 1:30 pm.The plan was DH and DD would take naps while DS and I explored the ship. Unfortunately, the intercoms are on all afternoon with and sleep wasn't really possible. The cabin was clean and the verandah was nice. I grew up on boats so I now the limited space that is available. The cabin is an ok size - I just wish something could be done with the queen bed configuration so that there is more room to get past it. The way it is laid out you have to squeeze by the bed to get to the rest of the cabin.
Fire Drill was ok for our family. Just a short walk up the stairs. Unfortunately, for my mom it was a real hike up the stairs to her drill area. I had asked that she be able to stay with us but was denied. I guess we should have asked for special assistance.
Dining:
Our rotation was APPT. When we arrived at our table it was for 4. Even after calling numerous times to make sure my mother was "linked" to us - she was not. Moved to another table after some initial confusion. Our servers were very nice - however I had a lot of difficulty understanding one of them. It didn't seem to stop her from telling me her life story. I assume most people love the interaction with the servers so I am not criticizing their "act" I just prefer less interaction. Don't get me wrong they were great and my kids loved them. It was just by the 4th night our head server was telling us how much she wanted off the ship - I think she was feeling my husband out about a position in his place. (The crew all work incredibly hard and keep smiling while they do it. They deserve all the credit in the world for putting up with an endless round of people looking for the perfect vacation!) My husband and I have worked in all aspects of the fine dining restaurant industry for over 25 years. We both know our wines and food - but we are not "snobs". I thought the food on the cruise was ok. Nothing spectacular. Adequate and plentiful. We did brunch at Palo and that was excellent. I really loved the king crab legs and shrimp with the brandy sauce. The caviar was of ok quality and was plentiful. My eggs florentine were good but I really loved the cold display choices the most. I also loved the lunch buffets - lots of choices and very good. I think the problem Disney runs into with their sit down dinners is feeding so many people at once. Logistically it must be a nightmare. Nothing I tried was even close to being hot. Don't take my criticism's the wrong way. The food was good - just in my opinion it was not up to the hype I read about pre cruise. One of the problems may be with my family. I think we would do better with food service like Norwegians which has free style dining. That way we could pick the time and place according to what we want that night. I would love it if Disney did a dinner buffet as an alternative to the sit downs.
Kids Clubs and Character Interaction
As noted DD decided to be stubborn and NOT use the potty before the cruise. We had her excited about going to be with the "babies" because she loves babies. 20 minutes after dropping her off the first time I got the dreaded beep. She told me she was so "sad" and that none of the babies talked. As noted in this board before - there is a real need for some type of child care for the in betweens of this age. It's bad enough they can't go swimming - but there is really nothing for them to do. She did agree to go to Flounders for our brunch - but that was it. DS loved the kids clubs - but really stayed with us most of the time. He and I did do the kite decorationg activity together which was nice. Character interaction was plentiful and great. I have a priceless picture of me, my mother and Goofy.
Castaway Cay
We had PERFECT weather. Did the Stingray Adventure with DS. Pricey for what you get - but that's Disney. DD got her hair braided and looked beautiful! Beach was crowded because we wanted to stay close to the tram for Mom. She actually sat under an umbrella on the beach and read a book. Water was chilly but doable. Had a ball.
Nassau
Very crowded city. We are not bid shoppers so just went through a few shops. Did the pirate museum. The dark entry scared DD. Museum itself was ok. Nassau is a tough town to manuever if you have trouble walking so it was hard for my mom. I think next time I would either just stay on board or do an excursion.
Thing I read about that I Used
clothespins to hold curtains closed
pillow cases signed by characters (just adorable)
I packed light so we didn't have too much stuff.
Never did really figure out how to use shoe hanger.
Conclusion
We went to WDW after the cruise had awesome room at Poly. Memorable dinner at the California Grill.The cruise was all and all very nice. Not the dream vacation I had hoped for - but we had a good time. I think I need to step back from the whole Disney thing for a while. Just like some restauants that have raised their prices so much that dinner out has become a major investment I am starting to feel like Disney has reached my threshold of pain with prices. It is just too much. Bottom line - beautiful ship, ok food, good staff, Castaway Cay is the best! Have fun!!!!

Jillykp
02-20-2006, 03:21 PM
We leave Sat to go on the Magic Western and it was so nice to read what you had thought. We will be arriving at 9:25 that morning and will try not to be seperated (there are 8 in our party, 4 kids ages 5 and under). :blush: Interesting about the door rack- I was going to get one today! Did you go swimming the first day on the boat- is it worth it to have bathing suits in carry-ons? And did you have lots of swimmy diapers for your DD? My DS is 21 mos. My DD also 3 (potty trained) but I'm wondering how she'll do with the kids club. DS are 4 and 5- I think they'll be fine. I wasn't going to bring pillowcases because my kids are so young, but do you think it was worth it? So happy to hear about Palo's brunch- that's the one thing I really want to do. Did your kids see any of the shows? Did they "get" it? Thank you, thank you!!!
Jill

yachtsea
02-20-2006, 04:01 PM
I can only be a limited help to you since I do not have small children anymore. We just got off the Eastern two weeks ago. The over the door shoe hanger was handy. I got a really inexpensive one at a store called Ross. We put it on the inside of the door and was able to pull the shower curtian back and get things inside the holder with the door open. It was great for us.

Our Palo brunch was divine. I loved doing the brunch as I was able to get what I really wanted. The Key Lime pie was great. (If you get a chance at Topsiders toward the end of the week there was a fabulous German choc. cake.)

If you are at all interested in taking the galley tour, which was fun, stop by the shore excursion desk when you first get on to get your ticket. They have the tour on Thursday and have hot choc. chip cookies for you.

I know that the weather was a bit iffy for swimming on our first day, but you never know. Better to be safe than sorry and take the suits for the kids.

Also, I recommend going to the Cove Cafe sometime when you are without your kids just to have a quiet moment.

Have a great time. I am already booking our next trip.

Debi

msaseifert
02-20-2006, 05:08 PM
I wasn't going to bring pillowcases because my kids are so young, but do you think it was worth it?


Please bring pillowcases, you won't regret it! My kids are older. M DS is almost 11, but he loves his new pillowcase with the character signatures on it. We were just cruising two weeks ago (seems like forever ago already). I took two pillowcases, put them in a ziploc with some sharpies and dropped them at Guest Services the first night. I also put a picture frame mat in there. When we came back from dinner on friday night the stuff was lying in our stateroom. My kids were so excited, they are kind of beyond the asking for character autographs but these really made them smile. Definitely take some pillowcases and if possible get your kids names on them so they each have their own.....its a great take home memory of your trip - an its inexpensive! Have fun, Sue

southjerseymom
02-20-2006, 08:08 PM
The pillow cases are great - well worth it - easy to pack and a great keepsake! The Mickey ear pool is small - but should be perfect for your little one. I heard you can bring small toys in there so one of those water toys or a small bucket would be great. My DD loved the kids club and would have been happy to stay there if she was allowed. I took her to "visit" and I never saw her again! Had it not been for the potty training thing she would have had a ball. (She knows how to go potty...she just won't...the little bugger!) We did swim in Port Canaveral (well my DS did) - I would bring the little ones suits becuase I know when I was little I would have gone in no matter what. It is also the last time the pool crowds were reasonable. I did have a chance to spend an hour reading by the adults pool. It was a beautiful thing! You will have a great time! Enjoy Palo - it rocks!
PS we did the magician and Disney Dreams. Do Not by any means miss Disney Dreams - your kids will LOVE it!

Jillykp
02-21-2006, 02:06 PM
:love: It's so helpful to read your suggestions. I am so excited and ready for this trip! I plan on getting sharpies and pillowcases tomorrow for the kids- thank you :thumbsup2
We're traveling with my parents, both brothers and their families. I've talked up pirate night so hopefully everyone will be decked out pirate: and the DIS board group is also bringing along beads to celebrate mardi gras. This will be one amazing trip. I appreciate so much all of the comments, good, bad and ugly about what to expect. Western caribbean, here we come!!
Jill :banana: