View Full Version : Considering a Disney Cruise- input appreciated
My wife and I are (seriously) considering a Disney Cruise for ourselves, son (11), and daughter (16)- specifically 4-Days on the Wonder. I have seen a little bit of negative feedback, but I would assume that this is a matter of, "you can't please all of the people all of the time." Of course, there are also those that you can never please.
What I would really like is some honest input, especially with respect to what is available for kids of these ages, and whether or not these activities are really going to be something that they will remember fondly.
Also, nothing is ever perfect- what are their shortcomings, and where do they really excel?
I apologize for my ignorance, but this will not only be a first Disney cruise should we choose to take it, but our first cruise entirely. That said, what are the 'must do' things that we can not skip?
I have found this forum to be a wealth of information, and based on what I have read, people must be pretty impressed or they would not be booking third and fourth cruises!
02-04-2005, 05:25 PM
We did not have teenagers, so I can not speak to that. However, I can say that while the Disney experience is wonderful, I believe it is overpriced. The cabins are great - I am now hooked on having a veranda. However, I have been on cruises that had better food.
I would not go on a Disney Cruise again for awhile. I would try another cruise line for my next trip.
We were not disapointed, but we believe that for the price, we could have done more on another cruise line.
02-04-2005, 05:27 PM
I suggest you read some cruise reports, they helped me alot. Even with a couple bumps in the road it was an absolutley great time for our whole family (me, dh, dd-17, dd-7, dd-5 and DGM-61)
I think they excel at hospitality and entertainment, that is if you like Disney...the big shows focus on the Disney stories and we loved them.
My only question is...can I come :rotfl:
02-04-2005, 06:07 PM
Hi Ram, first of all before I jump in, understand that we are HUGE Disney fans and while no company or experience is perfect, we really enjoy most things Disney.
That being said, we have now been on 5 Disney cruises. Our first was a four night on the Wonder, which was also our first ever cruise experience. We have three children, who at the time were 4, 10, and 13. The last cruise they were on was this past September and they were 8, 14 and 17. Bottom line, we and they LOVE the Disney cruise experience.
Here's what we've experienced. While I disagree that DCL is over priced, it is considered a premium cruise line and genreally costs a bit more than some other lines and there are a number of reasons for that. We however consider it a great value and always feel like we got our money's worth and then some.
Some of the factors I would consider are these. A four night is a great choice for a first time experience. While we now feel like that's no where enough time on the ship, it really gives you the chance to see if cruising is for you without being stuck if you find you don't like it. Next thing for us are the intangibles. All of the cruise lines must do a pretty good job or the industry wouldn't be booming as it is. But each has it's own flavor, pros and cons. The biggest draw for us is the whole Disney experience. One of the things Walt Disney set out to do with his parks was to creat a toal imersion experience, putting the guests completely in the story or world he was creating. We think the cruise is the best example of that.
On the Disney ships you cruise with characters, the shows are all Disney themed and we think they are really excellent. You also have Disney touches everywhere.
Our kids have enjoyed all levels of the kids clubs. They weren't in them all of the time, we like spending time together, but they have really enjoyed the time. They also love the ship and the service, which is very classy but very family friendly.
We were on the 1/15 crusie just my wife and I and had a blast. Though our children are still a little miffed. We are planning now to sail again next February with all of us and they can't wait. They also do not allow us to entertain any talk of another crusie line. We all enjoy the cruise experience, but for us that means a Disney crusie experience.
As you said, nothing is perfect, but we have consistently enjoyed every aspect of the cruises. Each time our expectations have been met or exceeded. As for things like the food, we have always been more that satisfied with the quality and selections. I believe the menus are a little less fancy and family friendly than some other lines, but we've always found new things to try as well as enjoying favorite dishes. And shoot, if you don't like what you ordered, you get something else. My kids believe the chicken strips on board are the best in the world.
Okay, I guess I've gone on long enough. Please feel free to PM me with any questions.
I can not comment on the 4 day disney cruise, we are going on our first 4 day in sept 05. We have been on the 7 day western, it was the best family vacation ever. My ds9 at the time still talks about it to this day. We have been on rcc a 4 day trip that I won. It was okay. Our family are not big disney fans, so at first I was worried that it would be too much. It wasn't. We met wonderful people and felt "pampered". I could go on and on about what we liked and didn't like but, everyone is different and enjoy different things.
We are taking friends and family 14 total in sept. 05 and pondered the same question, since we could almost do 7 day to disney's 4 day. My Dh said "NO, I want them to experience a disney cruise first. (It will be the first cruise for everyone except the three of us.)
I know a lot of other people on this board have way more experience with disney than us. I have researched these boards endlessly before our first cruise and now everyday, probably until sept.
02-04-2005, 06:44 PM
We love all things Disney and loved our 4 Disney cruises more than anything. My 3 kids really, really love it and would love to go on another one tomorrow.
I really don't think that there is a perfect cruise line out there, they all have their pluses and their minus'. I do feel that DCL is alittle over priced, but that is my opinion. I've been very lucky to have traveled under the Florida resident discount so that has made it cheaper for us. We just took a Princess cruise and again, they both have their pros and cons.
I think that the Disney ships are the prettiest out there, they really are. They look so beautful next to the other ships. Of course my taste runs the traditional so that's probably why we like Disney better in this category. I found the cast member on Disney to be completely better than Princess and we really missed the friendliness of the bartenders and other staff when we were on our last cruise. I personally don't think that Disney offers enough entertainment (and I don't mean gambling as I don't do that) for the adults, but that's okay, we make our own fun! I liked having the option of 24 hour dining in the buffets on Princess better than Disney's hours of operation in their buffet. One place I think is lacking is dining options for dinner if you don't want to eat in the main dining rooms on Disney.
Overall, Disney is WONDERFUL and I wouldn't hesitate to go again or recommend them to anyone that I know and love.
Go for it, you kids will be thanking you for the longest time for an absolutely wonderful family vacation! :cheer2:
02-04-2005, 06:46 PM
My DH, our DS11 and I went on the eastern 7 day October 2001. We all had a great time! We allowed our DS to have run of the ship. We all carried walkie talkies to stay in touch with each other (we lost service when we were at opposite ends of the ship due to the metal). Our son checked out the kids club, but wasn't too thrilled...he's never been keen on summer or after school camps. He loved the video arcade and the secret veranda on deck 7. His favorite excursion was the Golden Catamaran on St. Maarten.
02-04-2005, 08:12 PM
We were kind of at the same place you were when we decided to do our first Disney cruise: We had never been on a cruise before and weren't sure if we would like it. We finally decided to do the 3-night Disney because a) if we found that we didn't like cruising or got seasick, we could tough it out for three nights, and b) we felt we could count on a certain quality level with Disney. It turned out great! We loved cruising, we loved Disney cruising, and a little Dramamine took care of first-night waves.
I was seriously considering several other cruise lines this time around, but ended up booking again on Disney. Price was in the other lines' favor, but I was willing to pay a little extra for Disney service, slightly bigger staterooms, overall look of the ship. I like rotating from one dining room to the next, and I love the "show" in Animator's. I'm truly looking forward to the wonderful food again; I know a lot of people complain, but we thought it was great, maybe because Disney food seems very fancy to us. Since you have a 16-year-old daughter, I'll point out that another deciding factor was the family atmosphere of the Disney ship. My daughter will be 17 this time around, and I feel like I don't need to worry about either what she's up to when I'm not around, or what might be happening around her that could be a bad influence.
Of course, I have only cruised on Disney. If I had gone on another line, perhaps I would be equally enamoured of that one. And, of course, some people find that they simply do not enjoy cruising.
Reading these boards is a good way to find out more. I would also suggest inkkognito's Platinum Castaway Club, ************************, where you'll find menus and Navigators (daily lists of things to do on board), including those for the children's groups.
02-04-2005, 09:41 PM
RC is a good and less expensive alternative with better food IMHO. Disney has lots of special touches and larger cabins. You can't go wrong with either but i do think that Disney is overpriced compared to other lines. If not for my (and my DMIL's) Disney dollars i'm not sure we would have taken this cruise. You are in for a treat no matter what you choose. Cruising is the ultimate vacation. :sunny:
02-04-2005, 10:21 PM
I don't have a frame of reference, as DCL is the only line we've ever been on. But we'll keep coming back. Neither DW or I are big drinkers or gamblers, and (rightly or wrongly) I get the feeling that those two things are big on some of the other lines.
We're also not "kid" people, and before we cruised the first time we were very apprehensive about spending the whole time with the little ankle-biters underfoot. But, knowing that the majority (probably) of DCL cruisers are cruising as a family, they paid special attention to the kids. Gave them a whole deck for the little ones and separate areas for teens.
For us, I guess it's just the little touches. The hidden Mickeys. The shows. The service. The CMs, hosts and servers.
To put it another way: We live in Ohio. We've been to Cedar Point (best amusement park in the midwest, imho) dozens of times. They've got better rides than WDW, they're closer than WDW, and they're a HECKuva lot cheaper. But at the end of the day, it's just a park.
It isn't Disney.
Hopefully somebody on here understands what I'm saying, and can say it in a better way. But there's just something different about Disney. I want to get off the plane, find the guy in the big poofy Mickey gloves, and stop thinking and caring.
Let the Mouse do the work...
02-05-2005, 04:11 AM
There is a lot of good advice here. Yes, a 3 or 4 night cruise is a good way to start, in case you find out cruising isn't your style. And the paradox is, if cruising is your style, your first cruise will be a bit of a let down because just about the time you figure out the routine its time to pack up.
For many cruisers, the casino is a big part of the evening's entertainment. Our first cruise was not DCL, it was RCCL and we spent the 4 nights going around the casino to avoid the smoke. So Disney was attractive in that we weren't avoiding a major focus of the ship. The staterooms on Disney aren't a little bigger--in many cases they are a lot bigger. It differs ship to ship, but our oceanview on the Empress of the Seas was 139 sq. feet, and our friends were stuck in a closet-like 108 sq. ft. oceanview--we all had obstructed views. A Disney Cat. 9 or 8 oceanview is 214 sq. ft. with the handy split bathroom, and that is much more comfortable. Some will say they just sleep and change in the room, but to each his own, andthe difference is more important on a longer, 7 nights or more, cruise anyway.
It helps to like Disney's stable of characters and story lines. It is really more of a feel. An earlier poster summed it up when he described another cruise--It wasn't Disney. I feel that everything else is just a cruise, but the Magic or the Wonder are DISNEY cruises. It is a great family environment. The talent level in the production shows is very high, as Disney is a larger entertainment company, not a cruise company with a showroom. The ships are classy and elegant with fanciful Disney touches, not garish environments (like the All Star resorts at WDW). A subtle moment sums it up for me--sitting in a comfortable chair w/ DS, waiting for DW for a few minutes, and the Muzak is Bippity Boppity Boo. Just try not to be happy and relaxed when that is playing all around you. Other ships do not have their own proprietary catalog of music. DCL does.
The food is fine, good, and you will read reviews by people from all walks of life. DCL is not gourmet or a 5 star restaurant in Manhattan or San Francisco--if that is what you seek look elsewhere to be happy. The food is fine and enjoyable, and the rotational dining and themed restaurants adds nice variety without losing the benefit of getting to know your servers and having them get to know your favorites and bringing you things without having to ask after a few days--I love that on a cruise. But when I read people rave that the food is the best they have ever had anywhere, I just think that on balance those reviews are likley from cruisers who might be from communities without many upscale restaurants or might simply be folks whose tastes dont ordinarily take them to fancier restaurants. But on the whole, most should be very well satisfied.
3 or 4 days on DCL means Nassau, Bahamas. Many on these boards, me included, will post that Nassau isn't our favorite port. I didn't bother getting off the ship last month in Nassau. The better variety of ports, and often better weather (Bahamas can be too cool to swim in winter)are on the longer cruises only for DCL.
Lots of research to be done for cruises, I like to read reviews from a variety of passnegers, to balance out the good and the bad--everyone can have a bad experience even on a good ship--to get a consensus, put certain things into perspective. Hope you will cruise, hope you will choose DCL if it is right for you
02-05-2005, 04:19 AM
I've been on 3 other cruise lines. Costa, Royal Caribbean and Norweigan Cruise Line. In my opinion, Disney beat them all. For me, the lack of a casino is the biggest difference. There is also less of a alcohol related party atmosphere. The biggest parties on the ship are all about family.
Then there are moments-like watching your DD meet Cinderella for the first time. Or seeing Mickey Mouse interact with a "special" child. You will remember moments like that the rest of your life. That's the Disney difference.
02-05-2005, 08:51 AM
..."To put it another way: We live in Ohio. We've been to Cedar Point (best amusement park in the midwest, imho) dozens of times. They've got better rides than WDW, they're closer than WDW, and they're a HECKuva lot cheaper. But at the end of the day, it's just a park.
It isn't Disney.
Hopefully somebody on here understands what I'm saying, and can say it in a better way. But there's just something different about Disney. I want to get off the plane, find the guy in the big poofy Mickey gloves, and stop thinking and caring."...
I know just what you mean. There is a Disney atmosphere, something you can't quite put into words or point out to all the reasons you feel this, but there is a difference. You feel it when you cross the thresholds of the parks and when you are greeting by the cruise rep at the air port.
..."Then there are moments-like watching your DD meet Cinderella for the first time. Or seeing Mickey Mouse interact with a "special" child. You will remember moments like that the rest of your life. That's the Disney difference."...
This is a huge thing for us. I will never forget in 2003, my DD, then 15 and my youngest son then 6 were dressed in Minnie's dress, with sequins and Mickey's tux (respectively) and the inteaction they had with the real deals. It was awesome. There are countless Disney memories like that, that are worth any acutal or perceived increase in the cost of the cruise. And my kids just don't want to consider another line. In September our cruise was delayed by nearly three days due to hurricane Jeanne. After spending the weekend in Orlando during the storm and traveling to Port Everglades, when we were finally able to board, my daughter then 17 nearly cried she was so happy to be back.
The bottom line is the extra cost of Disney versus another line is a non-issue since we know beyond a doubt we'll have an awesome time on what we now call "our" ship.
02-05-2005, 08:55 AM
We will be going on our third Disney cruise in April. The first time we cruised we did the 3 day cruise and it was a good way to see if we liked cruising. We loved it so much we took the 7 day cruise and it was the best family vacation we ever had. We went with another family who felt the same way. At the end of the trip, we had decided that we would definitely do a cruise every other year with the same family -- we asked the kids if the next time they would like to go on Royal Caribbean so they could do the rock climbing wall. All four kids said they wanted to do Disney again. The kids are now 15 and 11 -- The teenagers had a great time on the ship and still keep in touch with the friends they made there. That being said -- any teen 17 or over I don't think we get as much out of the trip. So, this may be our last Disney cruise and we'll try another one next time, but for you --- being your first cruise, and your kids are still under 17 -- defintely do it! You won't be disappointed. It is overpriced - but it is the same as staying on site in Disney World. You pay a little more -- but you get what you pay for! Enjoy!
Wow. Thank you all for your comments! As we all love Disney (just returned from DL a few months ago), and are not interested in a casino or more than maybe a nice evening cocktail on the veranda, it sounds like it would be an unforgettable vacation.
Any suggestion on room type or side (starboard / port)? We were looking at Cat. 6 with a veranda. And with the idea of morning coffee on the veranda, if one side of the ship would offer a better, more relaxing view of the islands then I would love to know.
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