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View Full Version : Our WONDERful Cruise 3/9


shaycamp21
03-15-2006, 03:39 PM
:sunny: The cast of this adventure was dh, myself and dd's ages 6 & 7. This was our first DCL cruise and after reading many, many posts and trip reports I can say that this cruise, on many levels met, didn't quite meet and often exceeded our expectations so overall it was a wonderful cruise. Now that said, this was our first cruise (unless you count a 24 hr cruise I did to the Bahamas one spring break 15+ years ago) I had nothing to compare it to.
Here are some thoughts:

The Ship & Stateroom
I thought the ship was beautiful. Although I saw a few ships (Carnival and RCCL) in port I thought the Wonder (in outward appearance) was much classier. The inside decor I thought was lovely and the ship seemed to be well-maintained. :wizard: Each time we walked around the ship I studied the tasteful attention to Disney details and continued to be wowed. Our stateroom was very nice and (we had a cat 11) was actually larger than I had expected, though it did get to be pain with all our luggage. I guess I'll have a better idea next time what to pack.


The Food and Service:
Overall, I would say the food was good. This being our first cruise ever I don't have anything to compare it to but other restaurant meals. I think it depended on what you ordered and some meals/courses were better than others. The initial lunch onboard at Parrot Cay was quite good as were the buffet breakfasts (we never made it to Beach Blanket nor did we get a chance to try room service-- we were too full) some items were tastier than others. My girls loved the food at Plutos and Pinocchio's (however I wish there was a larger selection of healthier items available--like say a nice size salad/fruit buffet available at all times). Dh thoroughly enjoyed his meal at Tritons he had the fried cambert, mixed greens, beef tenderloin and apple tart with ice cream. My meal had some hits and misses. Escargot (very good), the mixed greens with walnut and blue cheese (also very good), the duck was good the sauce was just ok but the sides of braised cabbage, dressing and almond potatoes were delicious.The domes dessert was just OK I was sorry I didn't order the cherries jubilee.

Animators Palate was a little disappointing. My dd's really enjoyed it which to me is the most important thing and it is an interesting concept don't get me wrong (I'm sure more than other cruise lines) but I suppose from reading all of the posts my expections were set quite high (like the Fantasmic of the dining experience) and guess I expected to be more wowed by the color light show. It was good just not the amazing Disney experience I was expecting. The service seemed more rushed than Tritons and the food for Dh this time was a little bland he had the butternut squash soup which he kept comparing to Boma's (didn't measure up), stuffed tomato which he enjoyed and the chicken entree which he said was just ok. I had the seafood wrap (just ok), Caesar Salad which dd's helped me devour (very good) and the salmon which was very good. We shared the cheesecake for dessert since we were all trying to save room for the pirate night buffet which was good but we were still too full to enjoy.

We never had dinner at Parrot Cay (my Dh thought this menu looked more interesting than Animators) because we had booked dinner at Palo. I had hemmed and hawed over this one debating if we should skip one of the restaurants for this and in the end decided to go. I was not disappointed, if anything Palo exceeded my expectations in terms of service and the exquisite food. Now our fine dining experiences over the past few years have been limited since we have had our children (usually doing the chain type family restaurant thing) so this may be why it was so special to us. Our server really went out of his way to make our evening special and not once did we feel rushed. When we couldn't decide on appetizers he brought us a number of items to share: calamari, portebello mushroom antipasto and warm shrimp and asparagus salad. We are not big drinkers and I never felt that snooty air I 've sometimes have felt in finer restauarants when we just go for the glass of wine instead of the bottle. For an entree my Dh had the spicy penne and scampi and I had the crab stuffed tortellini and for dessert Dh had the panecotta and I had a specialty coffee and the chocolate souffle, all wonderful. :goodvibes

Now it was after the Palo experience I began to question the service in the regular restaurants. Now not to put down our servers they were better than the average restaurant, quite attentive (we had to ask for things a few times) and friendly but from reading all the posts about the fabulous servers going out of their way I really didn't feel that they went over and above and perhaps I am just being too critical. From the posts I expected the Palo level of service to be what we received in all of the dining rooms from our servers. For example after Palo I started thinking about how on the first night when we really could not decide on appetizers I thought maybe the server should have suggested ordering more than one thing (I forgot you could do this) or at Animator's when they saw how my dd's were attacking my caesar they could have even brought them one to share. I didn't think of these things at the time only after Palo. Though there was one moment on the first night when the dining room manager came over to introduce himself and my younger dd was being a whiny and miserable pill because she was cold. He came back with a table cloth for her to warm up in which cheered her up and made our dinner more pleasant.

On Board Activities and Entertainment:
The entertainment in the WD theatre was fabulous. We all enjoyed each one of the shows. The entertainers were really professional, now I can't compare to other cruise lines but from years of vacationing at all-inclusive resorts with their cheesy Las Vegas style shows with limited talent only Disney does this type of entertainment best very reminicent of their excellent Broadway shows The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast.

The kids clubs were truly top notch and my dd's really enjoyed the activities not wanting to leave. It was nice to have some free time to be alone (if you know what I mean ... ;) ;) wink wink). We never really had time to enjoy many of onboard the activities I guess that is why we need to take a longer cruise next time.

Pirate Night was lots of fun though sadly we went all out and were the most dressed up family on board. When I'd read posts about how little people dress up on the 3 day--I was surprised HOW little. It didn't matter though because we enjoyed ourselves and received tons of compliments.

The pools especially the family one are WAY too small and I was surprised at how small for such a big ship.

What bothered me was that there was so much conflicting times of activities with lots going on at the same time, especially with the character greetings and I can't understand why there would not have been characters in the dining room (I know there is one on the 7 day but I think there should be more ). At WDW I found this to be a far more relaxing alternative than waiting in long lines. I also felt the character times were quite limited especially when certain characters were out only at certain times and if it was during your dinner seating, like us, you were out of luck.


The Ports
We did Black Beard's Cay Stingray excursion on Nassau. We had beautiful weather (actually our whole trip) 80's :sunny: . The water was that lovely aquamarine but I was surprised how cold it was and the sand was white and powdery. My dd's enjoyed feeding and petting the stingrays but did not really like the snorkeling part of it and prefered to be above the water. Lunch was the standard burgers and dogs on the island and I couldn't help but wonder what we were missing on board the ship. Overall we had a good time on this excursion and we glad we went. We planned to drop the girls and the kids club and go back and do some shopping in Nassau but we got distracted by our own onboard activities and never made it off the ship ( ;) ;) wink, wink). :love:

Castaway Cay was absolutely breathtaking (even more than Black Beards Cay) more, of that lovely aquamarine water but alas it was cold again but not unbearable and beautiful white sand. We just bought sand toys for the girls and relaxed while they splashed and played. Cookie's BBQ was good but we were still pretty full from breafast that we did not indulge too much. Then we put dd's in Scuttles Cove for the water games and headed to Serenity Bay which I was surprised was not as nice as the family beach--very weedy. I was also surprised that there was the BBQ there too and I had checked the Navigator and it didn't mention that there was one so I just assumed it was only on the longer cruises--bummer because I wanted to try the lobster burgers. After we picked the girls up we let them have one last swim while I sipped a pina colada----ahhhh heaven.


Overall it was a wonderful cruise but the time slipped away far too quickly and I definitely would recommend a longer cruise to get more of that Disney magic. I am glad we rented someone's points and spent another few days at Disney's Vero Beach (which is a very lovely, relaxing resort--and I was surprised that the Beach water which is the Atlantic was warmer than the Caribbean Sea in the Bahamas). Now I can't wait to sail again.
:yay:

:wizard: DCL Wonder/ Vero Beach March '06
POFQ August '05
Plus numerous trips to Disneyland 1972-1992

scottishwee35
03-15-2006, 04:59 PM
Hi Shaycamp21

I would like to saying many thanks for your writing and tell us about your Wonderful Cruise. :thumbsup2

Sound that you had a great time. :thumbsup2

We are looking forward to our first times Wonder Disney Cruise on 6th April 2006. :Pinkbounc :Pinkbounc :Pinkbounc

Cheer
Scottishwee35

Lindy Loo
03-15-2006, 05:04 PM
Wow thank you for taking the time to share all this info, its really interesting for me. We sail on 15th Oct for 4 night on the Wonder. Did you pre book your DDs in the club? Our DD will be 4, and she is keen to go to the club some of the time.... then we can to enjoy adult time (wink wink) :love: We are dressing up for pirate night pirate: pirate: we dont care, we are on holiday and we aree going to have fun fun fun :cheer2:
Did you tip for the childrens club, with candy or phone cards?
What were the adult ht tubs like, were they always full ??
Was the dress very formal on dress up night?

Thanks again, great info
Linda

shaycamp21
03-15-2006, 05:23 PM
We did prebook the kids online but still had to go on the boarding day and get their wristbands and our pager. You know I did remember about tipping the kids club counsellors I know that they are not allowed to accept cash ( I forgot all about the candy and phone cards----oops I feel bad now--I thought that would be more for the longer cruises because then they would develop a relationship--but I guess maybe we still should have--oh no I'll know better for next time) because each time they (3x's in total including once on Castaway Cay) went there were different counsellors. The cruise went by so fast that we didn't have time use the adult pool or the hot tubs.
I was also surprised for Formal night (though it was called dress up night) people also did not dress up like pirate night. I was surprised because on pirate night I saw a few couples dressed to the nines (the women had obviously had their hair done at the spa too) so I thought the next night you'd see more of that. We dressed semi-formal, dh wore a suit and tie and I wore a beaded sleeveless black top and a long flowy black skirt but not too many men I saw were weraing ties never mind suits most wore short sleeved dress type shirts rather than long sleeve, the women were a little more formal but I still saw many not that dressed up. Oh well, we enjoyed ourselves.

:wizard: DCL Wonder/ Vero Beach March '06
POFQ August '05
Plus numerous trips to Disneyland 1972-1992

BrianD
03-15-2006, 05:24 PM
Glad to hear it was a great cruise! We were on the 3 night one the week before you, and we have pretty much the exact same opinions as you, especially as it concerns the main restaurant's food and servers. The food quality varied course to course. Triton's - overall I liked everything we ate, especially my wife's tenderloin. I had the lamb and it was just so-so. I remember the desserts there being really good. Animator's Palate - a little underwhelmed by the "show", felt like they made to big of a deal out of it. I would have probably liked it more if the colorization was more subtle & gradual. The appetizers there were great, but the entrees we so-so. Didn't do Parrot Cay, due to Palo :) (like you guys). Our server was fine, nothing special, but our assisstant server was great! We interacted much more with her than our server. Palo was wonderful in everyway.

We just really enjoyed the overall experience and it is a very refreshing change of pace compared to the parks.

Anyway, glad you liked the cruise as much as we did and we can't wait to go back!

TheDisneyTraveler06
03-19-2006, 09:09 PM
Thanks for telling us about your cruise! We are taking our first Disney cruise on the Wonder soon. :-)

lbgraves
03-19-2006, 10:09 PM
So, did you rebook that 7 day? If so, you will enjoy Goofy's Galley which has fruit, salad, & panini sandwiches most of the day. :) The Wonder will be updated with this in dry dock in October. Glad that you had a great cruise!

4Jays
03-21-2006, 08:44 AM
ShayCamp21-
We were on the same cruise and it was also our first. We did the Land and Sea Cruise since we had never been to WDW either. I agree with your dining critiques except that we had the two best servers that I observed during our stay. Evandro and Fortune were attentive and made every night a dining experience. My dd15 and ds18(who is very hard to impress) were totally taken by their infectious personalities.
Our stateroom had been upgraded to a Cat 5 from the original Cat 9 that we had booked and it was fantastic, we slept with the verandah doors open each night for fresh air and ocean breezes.
At Nassau, we snorkeled on the Caribbean Queen. The water was chilly but when you live in northern Michigan the water is that temp in August! Nassau was a real experience--my dd and ds commented about being inundated with people wanting to sell you things and wanting to take you on tours right off the ship--but I reminded them that these would be the experiences that they would remember.
Castaway Cay was wonderful. We stayed to the far end of the family beach until our dd went on a banana boat ride with the teen group then we headed over to Serenity Bay. We were really excited about it not being crowded and being quieter than the other beaches. It is more natural than the other beaches, but I swam while dh and ds beachcombed and found starfish and other sea creatures.
I wanted to try activities and food choices on the ship, but was either too busy or way too full. We had the late seating and the next time we take a trip (looking at a 7 day with 2 days at Castaway Cay still this year) I'll request the earlier dining.
Had a great time--I'm having Cruise withdrawal.

jlowejd5
03-22-2006, 10:38 PM
We were on this cruise. The weather was better than I could have imagined, even if the seas were a little choppy on Thursday evening. I'm about 3/4 of the way through my Land/Sea trip report. Actually, I'm up to breakfast at Ohana before the bus leaves for the port, so it's coming nicely. I'm going to be posting it here probably over the weekend (assuming I don't get busy and actually have to do some work at work, and can do the more important things, like Disney trip reports).

And they hooked us while we were on board. Look out, December 2007, we're on the Magic's western swing. Whoo!! :cool1: