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Old 02-18-2005, 07:40 AM   #1
fkfad
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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2/13-2/17 Wonder Cruise

Given the fact that I did not keep a diary during this cruise, I will do my best to recall the good and the bad...

The Good:

-- The weather was outstanding! The ocean was the calmest we have EVER experienced! I felt like we were cruising on a local lake! The swells stayed around 3 to 4 feet the entire cruise! We never experienced rocking and rolling...NEVER!!! The winds were calm, the sun was warm, and the water was EXTREMELY calm!!! My DH and I couldn't believe it! We took our DS on this short 4-night cruise, just to make sure he wouldn't get seasick (before we book our next 7-night cruise and take him along). We figured that if he got sick on a 4-night cruise, we wouldn't put him through the misery of being sick on a 7-night cruise. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) we never got to test our theory!!!

-- Our DS (11 yo) LOVED the Oceaneer Lab!! We had to pull him away at the end of every day. In fact, we forced him to join us for dinner and for the Pirate Party! The CMs responsible for keeping these kids entertained did an outstanding job! Our DS came to us every day sharing new information he learned at the Lab. In fact, he taught me a thing or two about the ship itself...how it functions, etc. He had a GREAT experience and is already asking us when we're going again (soon, I hope)!

-- The dining staff was outstanding! Our servers, Egi and Dorianne, did an excellent job keeping us full and happy! Our DS requested that we give Egi an additional tip...he was extremely impressed with Egi!! Egi's recommendations were always right on... Dorianne kept us well-supplied with beverages! Our dining experience was excellent...mainly due to Egi and Dorianne!

-- Our port visits were also excellent! Our DS went to the Lab the morning we visited Nassau while my DH and I took a ferry over to Atlantis. We did a little gambling and enjoyed lunch at Atlantis. We then went back to the ship to take our DS into the city of Nassau. He went along kicking and screaming, but he went along nonetheless! We bought a coupon book on the ship for $20...which turned out to be a huge waste of $20! They presented it as if the entire coupon book was for Nassau. Unfortunately, when I got back to my stateroom to come up with my shopping plan, I found that there were only approx. 10 pages of coupons for Nassau (out of a 2 inch thick book). The remainder of the coupons were for other cities in the Caribbean...all of which expire in November, 2005. Regardless, I took those few coupons I could use into Nassau and accumulated all of my "free" stuff...worthless, but free!

-- Castaway Cay was awesome! The snorkeling left a lot to be desired. We had our own equipment, and borrowed vests from the snorkel hut. We ran into too many jelly fish so we got out of the water out of lack of desire to tangle with a jelly fish (mainly due to the fact that we didn't know which would sting and which would leave us alone)! We didn't see the colorful fish we were expecting! The snorkel beach is predominantly sandy, therefore, not a lot of fish around. We snorkeled for about 30 minutes and quickly decided it was a waste of time. The water was very cold! It took my breath away when I finally got up the nerve to jump in!!!! The food at Castaway Cay was so-so... By the time we got in line to eat everything was luke warm! We went to the game pavilion and played table tennis, pool, foosball, and basketball. Our DS enjoyed himself! We stayed on the family beach...it was clean and the sand was soft. We found a hammock and took it over rather quickly! There were many hammocks sprinkled throughout the beach.

-- The ship was awesome! It was beautiful and clean! We found it very easy to navigate! I played bingo during the day at sea and actually won the first game! I've played bingo on many cruises and this was the first time every I had the good fortune of winning.

-- The entertainment was nice. Keeping in mind that this was a Disney cruise, the entertainment is definitely aimed at children! We made it to the end of Hercules...which sounded like it would have been fun to watch the whole show (lots of jokes containing adult humor that kids laughed at simply because of the character telling the joke). We went to see Dreams (the last show of the cruise). It was cute...it was a children's show IMHO. Regardless, we were on a Disney cruise which is definitely a cruise for children!

-- We watched several movies during the cruise... Some were playing on our stateroom TV and some were playing in the Movie Theater. We saw: Shall we Dance, Sharktales, Mr. 3000, and National Treasure. The one movie I wanted to watch but couldn't (because it started too late in the evening and was rated "R" so we couldn't take our DS along with us) was Life Aquatic. It showed once, the last night of the cruise, starting at 10:45 PM. The Lab closed at the midnight and the movie would not have been over in time (it was a 2-hour movie) for us to pick our son up at the Lab.

The mediocre:

-- Our food was OK. We didn't have the surf 'n turf dinner that I read about on these boards. We have definitely had better dinners on NCL and RCCL! The servers made the dinners worthwhile! I even considered skipping dinner in the main restaurants, opting for the chicken fingers at the pool. BTW, the chicken fingers were as good as everyone on this board said they were!

The bad:

-- We had the worst stateroom service we have ever had on a cruise! Either our stateroom host was new and in training, or on the last leg of his contract and just didn't care!! He brought us ice in an ice bucket with no lid. He used a plate as the lid. The ice bucket started to sweat and drip water into the drawers where we had placed some of our folded clothing. All of our clothing got soaked! Iwas SOOOOOO mad!! We never had shampoo in our stateroom...I always had to call to get some delivered. From past cruising experience, we expected a shampoo dispenser in the shower so we didn't take shampoo from home. Why was this so bothersome? Mainly because all activities on the ship are scheduled down to the minute and we made our schedules based on the ship's schedules. Unfortunately, we missed some activities as we were waiting for shampoo in order to get showered and ready to go! Ugh!!! In addition, the stateroom was not cleaned as well as we were accustomed to! We had a Category 11, standard inside stateroom. I started to think that we were given the bottom of the barrel as far as the host goes due to the low category of our stateroom. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper!!!

Overall, the cruise was fun. Would we go on Disney again? Maybe...if we are taking our DS with us! By the end of the cruise I was ready for some quiet adult time! The ship was FULL of cute, little kids...many of whom were tired and cranky by the end of the cruise. Most of the parents responsible for these children were also growing tired and cranky! I'm sure they were all ready to go home by Thursday morning.

This was supposed to be a short note on our trip... Oh well, my DH always tells me I have a lot to say!!!
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Old 02-18-2005, 03:14 PM   #2
alexandrew
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you missed activities because of no shampoo?
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Old 02-18-2005, 05:18 PM   #3
JennMcPherson
Earning My Ears
 
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We were also on your cruise and had a WONDERFUL time! We went ahead and booked for next year on the 7 night Western. What really made the trip for my family (DH, DD-4, DD6), was the incredible service. WE, too, had outstanding dinner servers. My girls just fell in love with them. They were given so much attention with little tricks and napkin animals/hats, as well as hugs and anything their hearts desired. One morning at breakfast in Tritons, the girls asked for mickey waffles when only regular waffles were on the menu...well, the servers went upstairs to the buffet and brought them a huge platefull of Mickey waffles! And returned about 3 times to add more whipped cream! On another night my DD was tired and not feeling too well, so my DH went back to the stateroom with her while my other DD and I went to dinner. I ordered something for my DH and one of our servers took the meal right then to our stateroom for him! He was very surprised! I agree on the food....some meals were really good, and others were just OK. It depended on what you ordered. But the servers are what kept us going back. Sorry to hear about you stateroom host!! That sounded terrible! I hope you complained to guest services about it!! Our host was great and our room was alway VERY clean. He even took the bunk bed mattress off and put it on the floor each night for my younger daughter (we didn't feel compfortable with them sleeping in the bunk...my 6 year old is a sleepwalker!).

I could have stayed on the boat the whole time at Nassau. It was OK, but not great. We took the Blue Lagoon excursion. You meet at 9:15am and don't actually get to the beach until 11am. Yes, the beach was pretty and it was not crowded at ALL so that was nice. I think I was just expecting it to be even nicer. I didn't care much for the lunch that was provided and I wasn't impressed with the ride over to the island. Somehow I had invisioned a real "party" boat. It was just a three level ferry that went very slow! If I ever went back, I would take the bus or taxi to a local beach, that way you could get there quick and return whenever you want.

Castaway Cay was great. A lot more crowded, but it was so beautiful, relaxing and fun!! We actually had a good meal at Cookies BBQ (ithought better than some of the meals on board!) But we ate around 12:30, so maybe you are right about it sitting around for awhile. A tip for those with young girls: many girls got their hair braided in Nassau for around $2 a braid. If you can wait until Castaway Cay, it is only $1 a braid.....which can really add up if you they are getting their whole head braided (which many did!!).

My kids both enjoyed the club, but it seems like they didn't spend too much time there until the last day. All the counselors seemed very nice. When my older DD went into the lab for the first time, she was very unsure about things, so I brought her over to a counselor and they immediately just "took" her away from me and got her into an activity...my DD didn't even look back. On the day my younger DD wasn't feeling so great, the club let me borrow markers and gave me several coloring pictures of all the princesses for her. This was our day at sea and we just sat around a table by the goofy pool and relaxed while she colored for about 2 hours! (I washed off the markers before we gave them back!)

I found it hard to see all the characters that my girls wanted to see. You really had to pay attention to the schedule, but it seemed like we were always doing something else when the characters that they wanted to see were out. One time we actually "planned" to see pirate Minnie. She was supposed to be in the Atrium lobby until 6:15. We got there somewhere between 6:05 and 6:10, and she was leaving!! According to the host working the photo op, she was only suppose to be there until 6:05 and there was a typo in the Navigator! But the host took down the names of my girls and who their favorite character was.....on the last night of our trip there were two autographed photos for the girls in our stateroom, one to Ellen from Pluto, and one to Carleen from Minnie, so that made up for it some!

Overall, we had a wonderful time. I'm a little worried that our next cruise won't be as good because I'll be comparing it to this one!!! I was very surprised about the calmness of the seas and the beautiful, warm weather (I think we got a little lucky!!)

JM
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Old 02-26-2005, 02:40 PM   #4
Macnjac87
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Great trip report, thanks for sharing!
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