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Old 05-28-2013, 01:41 PM   #1
donaldrees
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Panama Canal - May 6-20, 2013

Hey guys,

This was our 5th cruise with Disney - having sailed on 3 of the 4 ships and on sailings from 3 to 14 nights, we consider ourselves familiar fans.

Boarding in Miami was below expectations - if only for the fact that our previous departures have all set sail from Port Canaveral where the port and customer service is usually high quality. In Miami, the port services are overall contracted out and don't deliver the level of service and warmth one expects from Disney. At least that was the case for us. Our check-in agent took our picture without any warning and boarding started significantly later than scheduled. The terminal itself is crammed on a good day, the delayed boarding time turned into wall to wall standing room only. The unusual check-in continued onto the ship when I was surprised to not board through the atrium but instead through deck 4 then down the atrium stairs with our luggage.

I bet with a start like that you might think this is going to be a bad report. The truth is the opposite. The wait staff in our dining room were exceptional. We had the joy of being serviced every night by Zinzani and Zimik. Paulo, our MaitreD was a bit over the top and zany, but always took the time to make sure we were having a great time. The menu and quality of food ranged widely with some truly standout dishes as well as some unusual meals that did not feature the ingredients listed in the menu. The ship was quiet enough that not all three restaurants were in rotation for the second seating. The buffet quality was always top-notch and the BBQ featured as we crossed the canal was a real treat (though kudos to the poor cooks having to BBQ in that heat).

In terms of entertainment offerings, again - a mixed bag. On these longer cruises, it's always fun to enjoy the Art of Entertaining but while some of these classes were run by enthusiastic hosts, more than a few consisted of uninterrested dining room hosts reading printed Wikipedia information about the history of cheese or Balsamic Vinegar. On the other hand, the crew talent show and many of the special acts (Mike Super, Justin Flom & a ventrilloquist who's name I can't remember) were absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, in the second week the choice to bring on a 3rd magician (who proceeded to do many of the same tricks Mike Super and Justin Flom had amazed us with) and the decision to bring Buckets & Boards on seemed a bit questionable. Jimmy, our amazing and hilarious cruise director, had informed us all that there were very few children on board (200) - and with shows that are already skewed towards a younger audience (Toy Story, Disney Dreams) it seemed a bit unnecessary to bring on yet another act that may miss the mark of the audience. Don't get me wrong, great guys and very talented but it's something I've noticed on the longer cruises where most people are adults, that Disney doesn't venture far from their comfort zone with what they provide - which is too bad because more and more, Disney is a company that caters to adults in an incredible way (adults only adventures by Disney, europa, Tutto gusto, etc). The highlight for me was the Golden Mickeys and the crew talent show - both were highly entertaining and had that special magic that's hard to describe.

In terms of ports, the rainforest horesback riding in Puerto Vallarta was an absolute blast and the tendering procedure that the Disney team have put together is a testament to the high level of guest experience that the company continues to set the bar for. The transit through the Panama canal was a very exciting day. I only wish we could have stopped in the city of Panama. It looked exciting on the horizon. Finding out that Disney paid over 300,000$ for the cross was shocking.

I can't finish my report without mentioning Captain Fabian. He really took the time to make this trip special. From his talk about shipbuilding, to playing hide and seek in the atrium with the kids - he's magic personified and really amazed me with his commitment to making our cruise special.

I don't know if I can share a video, but I did chronicle my cruise ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbdiMZVLwL8

I'm also happy to answer any questions!
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:32 PM   #2
jegsnakkernorsk
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thanks for sharing your youtube video. That was great! Love the music. And it was so fun seeing all the things that you did that I didn't do - it was like you were on a totally different trip! And you did DLR after as well! What did you think of Disneyland? I was actually disappointed this time with DLR. But the trip was great.

Oh and thank you for sharing those images of the people in Panama City (?) that were cheering watching our ship. I heard about that but was on the other side of the ship watching from our verandah and saw the big container ship and their crew dance to our horn but not all those people and not the city sky line. That was something!
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:45 PM   #3
aan1701
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We must have either sat close to one another, or at separate dinning times. We had first seating with Zinzani and Zimik. We loved them. I so agree with you about Captain Fabian. Where else but in DCL would the captain play hide and seek. By the way, I loved that event. That was so cool. I hope they do that next year.

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DCL 14 Night Westbound Panama To my House. 5/14/05-5/28/05, DCL 11 Night Southern 9/17/06-9/28/06, 7 Night DCL Western 10/20/07, DCL 15 Night Westbound Panama to my house. 5/10/08-5/25/08, 7 Night to St. Croix for my Birthday 2/28/09, 7 night to the Western 10/17/09, Back to back on the Wonder 10/14/10 and 10/17/10, 15 night Panama Canal to Bring the Wonder to my home and her new Home 1/6/2011. 10/8/2011 Eastern on the Magic. 4/29/12 15 nights to Hawaii and back from my home in Los Angeles, 5/6/13 14 nights from Miami back to my home in Los Angeles via the Panama Canal, Premier Pass holder, DVC Member since 2008.

Last edited by aan1701; 05-28-2013 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:48 PM   #4
msbiscuit
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Loved your video! The folks greeting the ship in Panama brought tears to my eyes.
Your comments about your experience with the Port of Miami makes me even more glad that I switched my cruise to the Vancouver to San Diego repo for next year.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:54 PM   #5
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I personally did not find Miami that bad at all. My problem was my KTTW would not print. It took 30 min to get it. Everyone involved who helped get my KTTW was outstanding, even the contract worker who checked me in. I know the DCL system did go down for a very short time as well.

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DCL 14 Night Westbound Panama To my House. 5/14/05-5/28/05, DCL 11 Night Southern 9/17/06-9/28/06, 7 Night DCL Western 10/20/07, DCL 15 Night Westbound Panama to my house. 5/10/08-5/25/08, 7 Night to St. Croix for my Birthday 2/28/09, 7 night to the Western 10/17/09, Back to back on the Wonder 10/14/10 and 10/17/10, 15 night Panama Canal to Bring the Wonder to my home and her new Home 1/6/2011. 10/8/2011 Eastern on the Magic. 4/29/12 15 nights to Hawaii and back from my home in Los Angeles, 5/6/13 14 nights from Miami back to my home in Los Angeles via the Panama Canal, Premier Pass holder, DVC Member since 2008.
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Old 06-03-2013, 02:59 PM   #6
annichan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aan1701 View Post
We must have either sat close to one another, or at separate dinning times. We had first seating with Zinzani and Zimik. We loved them.
Funny, we had Zinzani and Zimik as well, and loved them! We were second seating so couldn't have seen you - but maybe the OP was on 2nd seating as well? If so, what table no. were you at? Maybe we were next to each other
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2005: It all started with DLP Disneyland Paris (3 nights) / 2009: Honeymoon at Wilderness Lodge (15 nights)
2010: Magic Western Caribbean, then BCV (11 nights) / 2011: Magic Mediterranean Cruise (Magic, 11 nights)
2011: Our return to Disneyland Resort Paris (4 nights) / August 2012: NYC to Castaway Cay and Canada (B2B, Magic, 13 nights)
2013: Westbound Panama Canal Cruise (Wonder, 14 nights) + 3 days at Disneyland / 2014: Westbound Transatlantic and Southern Caribbean (B2B, Magic, 21 nights)
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Old 06-03-2013, 03:37 PM   #7
aan1701
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annichan View Post

Funny, we had Zinzani and Zimik as well, and loved them! We were second seating so couldn't have seen you - but maybe the OP was on 2nd seating as well? If so, what table no. were you at? Maybe we were next to each other
We had first seating. Table 36. A four top we had to ourselves.

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DCL 14 Night Westbound Panama To my House. 5/14/05-5/28/05, DCL 11 Night Southern 9/17/06-9/28/06, 7 Night DCL Western 10/20/07, DCL 15 Night Westbound Panama to my house. 5/10/08-5/25/08, 7 Night to St. Croix for my Birthday 2/28/09, 7 night to the Western 10/17/09, Back to back on the Wonder 10/14/10 and 10/17/10, 15 night Panama Canal to Bring the Wonder to my home and her new Home 1/6/2011. 10/8/2011 Eastern on the Magic. 4/29/12 15 nights to Hawaii and back from my home in Los Angeles, 5/6/13 14 nights from Miami back to my home in Los Angeles via the Panama Canal, Premier Pass holder, DVC Member since 2008.
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:42 PM   #8
moomy-san
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We had Zimik back on our cruise in February- sweet girl but SO quiet. Maybe it was just who she was paired with- our server Minda was very funny, amazing at his job and we LOVED him Maybe they didn't compliment each other very well?
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Old 06-04-2013, 04:03 AM   #9
annichan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aan1701 View Post
We had first seating. Table 36. A four top we had to ourselves.

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Coool, we had table 36 to ourselves in the 2nd seating
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2011 Dining Report: Two Germans Dine Disney in Europe2010: Two Germans Dine Deluxe Again2009: Deluxe Dining from a German perspective

2005: It all started with DLP Disneyland Paris (3 nights) / 2009: Honeymoon at Wilderness Lodge (15 nights)
2010: Magic Western Caribbean, then BCV (11 nights) / 2011: Magic Mediterranean Cruise (Magic, 11 nights)
2011: Our return to Disneyland Resort Paris (4 nights) / August 2012: NYC to Castaway Cay and Canada (B2B, Magic, 13 nights)
2013: Westbound Panama Canal Cruise (Wonder, 14 nights) + 3 days at Disneyland / 2014: Westbound Transatlantic and Southern Caribbean (B2B, Magic, 21 nights)
2015: Eastbound Transatlantic (Magic, 15 nights)

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Old 06-04-2013, 04:05 AM   #10
annichan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moomy-san View Post
We had Zimik back on our cruise in February- sweet girl but SO quiet. Maybe it was just who she was paired with- our server Minda was very funny, amazing at his job and we LOVED him Maybe they didn't compliment each other very well?
Yes, she was rather quiet, but I kept talking to her so she got more talkative too
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2011 Dining Report: Two Germans Dine Disney in Europe2010: Two Germans Dine Deluxe Again2009: Deluxe Dining from a German perspective

2005: It all started with DLP Disneyland Paris (3 nights) / 2009: Honeymoon at Wilderness Lodge (15 nights)
2010: Magic Western Caribbean, then BCV (11 nights) / 2011: Magic Mediterranean Cruise (Magic, 11 nights)
2011: Our return to Disneyland Resort Paris (4 nights) / August 2012: NYC to Castaway Cay and Canada (B2B, Magic, 13 nights)
2013: Westbound Panama Canal Cruise (Wonder, 14 nights) + 3 days at Disneyland / 2014: Westbound Transatlantic and Southern Caribbean (B2B, Magic, 21 nights)
2015: Eastbound Transatlantic (Magic, 15 nights)

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Old 06-04-2013, 04:18 AM   #11
aan1701
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Originally Posted by annichan View Post

Coool, we had table 36 to ourselves in the 2nd seating
Talk about a small world. I thought after the first couple of nights I thought Zimik really became more talkative.

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DCL 14 Night Westbound Panama To my House. 5/14/05-5/28/05, DCL 11 Night Southern 9/17/06-9/28/06, 7 Night DCL Western 10/20/07, DCL 15 Night Westbound Panama to my house. 5/10/08-5/25/08, 7 Night to St. Croix for my Birthday 2/28/09, 7 night to the Western 10/17/09, Back to back on the Wonder 10/14/10 and 10/17/10, 15 night Panama Canal to Bring the Wonder to my home and her new Home 1/6/2011. 10/8/2011 Eastern on the Magic. 4/29/12 15 nights to Hawaii and back from my home in Los Angeles, 5/6/13 14 nights from Miami back to my home in Los Angeles via the Panama Canal, Premier Pass holder, DVC Member since 2008.
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Old 06-04-2013, 02:19 PM   #12
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Your video is brilliant and it had brought my memory back from our PC 2008. It was awesome and I love it your video make me smile

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Old 06-04-2013, 04:27 PM   #13
jstkpswimming
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I remember seeing you around the ship! It was a wonderful cruise
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