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Old 01-25-2013, 09:39 PM   #1
SirGoofy's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: 4 stop lights from WDW
Posts: 31

January 19, 2013 Wonder, 5-night (Cozumel and Castaway Cay)

Subject: Overview

We (DW and I) enjoyed this itinerary and would (will) definitely do it again.

The Basics: 5-Night, Itinerary A
- Embarkation, Port of Miami, Terminal F (Saturday)
- Sea Day (Sunday)
- Cozumel (Monday)
- Sea Day (Tuesday)
- Castaway Cay (Wednesday)
- Debarkation, Port of Miami (Thursday)

Subject: Getting to the Port and Terminal

We drove from the Orlando area and used the old fashioned method -- maps and written directions from the DCL website.

The directions to the port provided on the DCL website were accurate and simple to follow. (FYI, the directions on the DCL website are different from those on the Port of Miami website.)

Our cruise started on a Saturday, so traffic wasnt too bad. But, if you are traveling on a typical work day, we recommend you allow extra time for sitting in traffic. (When we were leaving Miami on Thursday after the cruise, I-95 south from Sun Life Stadium to the end of the express lanes was very slow and, in some places, at a complete stand still.)

The other thing to keep in mind is availability of gas stations. The closest gas station to the port we found along our Florida Turnpike/I-95 route was the southernmost Turnpike Service Plaza (Pompano Beach Service Plaza, mile marker 65), which is about 38 miles away from the port. Next time, Ill get gas on the way to Miami -- maybe we will exit at mile maker 152 (Fort Pierce exit), as there are several gas stations and fast food restaurants available.

Subject: Getting to the Terminal

After crossing the bridge at the port, the trick is to watch for and follow the signs to the correct terminal: The Disney Wonder was at Terminal F. The sign for our turn said Parking for Terminals F and G, but it didnt indicate that was also the way to go to drop off guests. So, if you miss it, just keep going and youll drive around the entire length of the passenger port.

Dropping DW and our luggage off at Terminal F was easy. The parking structure is opposite Terminal G, which was less than a 10 minute walk back to F.

If you drop folks off, be sure the you keep some document that proves you are going on the cruise. My DW had our cruise documents and passports, so all I had was my drivers license, which would have been sufficient at Port Canaveral. But, the security person at the Terminal F entrance didnt want to let me through, because they expected me to have the Disney Cruise booklet with documents inside. I got in, but it was a bit of a hassle.

Subject: Parking

We opted to park at the port and pay the hefty $20 a day. There certainly were cheaper options, but all of the off-port parking locations we investigated or saw (except one) were merely fenced in lots and we werent comfortable leaving our vehicle in a fenced in lot. The one location that had interior parking didnt start its free shuttle to the port until 11:00 am, and we wanted to checked in by 11:00. So, for us, parking at Terminal G met our needs.

Subject: Checking in at the terminal and boarding

Check in was easy and relatively quick. (My wife was checked in by 10:45 and I was checked in by 11:15.)

The terminal waiting area is a long and relatively narrow area. The check in line for the youth activities was after the cruise check in area. And, beyond that was a character meet and greet area and the boarding area.

Disney started boarding the Wonder at 11:30 and the process was very smooth and easy. We entered on Deck 4, mid-ship and proceeded to our favorite restaurant, Parrot Cay.

Subject: Access to our stateroom

We were told that staterooms would be ready no later than 2:00 pm. But, for our cruise, they were accessible at 1:30. We also received all of our luggage in early afternoon, which was quicker than on any of our previous cruises.

Subject: The cruise itself

We have previously sailed during a kids sail free promotion and, in the past we have found the children to be a pleasant contribution to the overall Disney atmosphere. But, this cruise had so many children sailing due to the kids sail free promotion that it was a bit overwhelming. (The children really werent the problem. The real annoyances were the large number of double wide strollers being used as battering rams by parents and unattended children being allowed to literally swing from the porthole drapes on Deck 3.)

Nonetheless, we had a wonderful time for several reasons, such as we found the pacing more comfortable and less rushed than a 4-night. It was fun seeing Captain Fabian again, as he is very personable and interested in guest comments. We thoroughly appreciated our dining room team as they were amazing: Kerry Sean from Jamica (Head Server), Quacey from Jamica (Server) and Theo from South Africa (Assistant Server). Kerry seems to have a sixth sense about everything happening in the dinning room and is able to make sure all is running smoothly. Quacey and Theo were always in sync with each other and consistently demonstrated collaborative teamwork.

We also enjoyed the shows in the Walt Disney Theater, as they were excellent. (There were a lot of first time Disney cruisers on our voyage and the early show [for second seating diners] was jam packed every night. It was somewhat frustrating that people kept arriving for almost the first half of each show and since it was so crowded, finding a place to sit was very difficult. As a consequence, they would wander up and down the aisles in search of open seats. Here too the kids were basically behaving, but some parents were inconsiderate and annoying -- like the father who attempted to reserve an entire center row for the people traveling with him.)

Another highlight of our cruise was our fun interaction with the characters. And, certainly our day at Castaway Cay was another high spot of our experience even though it was a bit chilly (high of 71 degrees and winds of 15-20 knots).

Unfortunately, the cruise was over before we knew it.

Subject: Debarkation, Thursday

In Miami, you cannot gain access to your luggage until after your luggage group (e.g., Ariel, Daisy Duck, Minnie Mouse, etc.) has been called. So, if you want an early departure, check with Guest Services to get the correct luggage tags. We were in the Goofy group and were the last group to be called for departing, which was okay as we were driving.

We quickly found our baggage claim area (there are three) and a porter. The bags were all on a very long conveyor belt, so we just waited until ours came along. Getting through immigration and customs was also easy.

The porter took our bags to the parking structure at Terminal G, I went up to the second level, brought our car back downstairs, the porter helped us load the bags, and we departed (after giving him a decent tip).

There was sufficient signage to get us back to I-95. And, north bound I-95 traffic flowed smoothly. (As already noted, the southbound I-95 traffic was a different story.)

We departed the ship at 9:00 and were driving away from the parking structure by 9:50. So, we were very pleased with the process.

I'll be glad to try to answer any questions you might have.


Last edited by SirGoofy; 01-25-2013 at 10:01 PM.
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5-night, disney wonder, miami

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