OVERALL: It was really a fantastic experience. I will try my best to detail the things we were able to experience. The proof is in the pudding though. My brother-in-law actively dislikes Disney; movies, theme parks, resorts - so this was a difficult sell. I really was extremely worried during the planning process about how he and my sister would react not only to it being a Disney-based experience, but it was their first cruise so I was concerned with people being motion sick and all of that stuff. They booked another. They don't know when they'll sail, but they booked another. My brother in law got off the ship and said it was the best vacation ever. PORT ARRIVAL/BOARDING: It's a science. We had a port arrival time of 11:00 - 11:30. We arrive just before 11:00. Porters happily grabbed our luggage, and directed us to the entrance. TIP: Have all your ID (birth certificate/photo ID/passports etc.) out and KNOW your stateroom number when you get to the check point. Total check-in time, including queueing time was about 5 - 7 minutes. VERY simple. We then got in line to get wristbands for the kids club, but they started boarding. We were in group 3. We were on the ship, eating lunch in Cabanas by about 11:45. Extremely easy. The terminal was bustling, and there were a lot of people. But I wouldn't say it was crowded. No lines for the restrooms. The one area I think Disney really needs to work on is having people who are not able to board yet stand AWAY from the entrance to the gangway!!!!! That was very frustrating. I thought it was a line to board. It was a line to wait for your group to be called. It's exciting, I know. But there's lots of places to sit down! There was a brief line for the welcome photo, if you chose to do that. We did. It turned out beautifully! THE SHIP ITSELF: Huge. Opulent. Beautiful. Clean. Elegant. All adjectives I would use without hesitation to describe it. I still have a hard time recognizing if I'm walking towards Forward or Aft when I'm on deck 11. I REALLY like the maps in the hallways of stateroom corridors. They need a little something like that on the recreation decks. TIP: As I mentioned, in stateroom corridors, if you look at the rugs, there are maps. If you're walking south to north, you're moving towards the forward of the ship. If you're walking north to south, you're moving towards the aft. I've never had the opportunity to experience a new ship/resort from Disney, so I really felt like it was a special treat to see all those "inaugural sailings" signs and merchandise. The photos of the atrium chandelier do it no justice whatsoever. It's HUGE, but it sparkles so beautifully as you walk around it. It's like a huge diamond. I can't tell you how many cast members I saw cleaning various public spaces throughout the day. Everything was clean. I visited several public restrooms and each was cleaner than the last. Each time I'd use one, at least one of the dispensers with the paper towels to dry your hands had the towel creased into an arrow point. I don't know if that shows lack of use, or dedication to cleanliness - but either way, it was nice to see. I have only ever sailed on the Wonder. I was not prepared for how grand that shipped looked as you crested the hill just before the port. Have a camera ready to try and capture that memory. Truly wonderful. STATEROOM: We were in a category 4D, number 6586. If you're keeping track, this room will accommodate 5 guests as it does have the murphy bed. My daughter likes to change things up and our stateroom hostess (who I'll review in a moment) was gracious enough to make up BOTH beds, so she'd have her choice. She HATED the upper berth. She said it was uncomfortable and hard. Also, the ladder does NOT touch the floor. Our stateroom hostess said that engineering was aware of the problem, and because she's a little girl, it was still safe to use. I'm not entirely sure I'd believe that. It was very wobbly when she tried to get down, and it did make me nervous. It did function - but it was a little nerve-wracking. Anyway - the space inside the stateroom was really incredible. I was very shocked how much space there was. Space not just to move around, but also for unpacking and to put your belongings. We had a total of 4 suitcases (3 large ones, and one small carry on) and 2 backpacks. It all fit under the bed without a problem. I know there's plenty of shelf space in the bathroom, but I did miss the little corner unit on the the Magic/Wonder. That said, there was enough space in there for all of our stuff too. The round tub/rainforest shower was WONDERFUL!!!!! LOTS of space to be comfortable while taking a shower. Didn't use the tub, so I can't comment on kids taking a bath. We used the shower. TIP: I noticed on the DIS that some people had a problem figuring out how the shower works. The top knob adjusts temperature. The bottom knob adjusts pressure, and which valve the water comes out. If you pull the handle out, it turns the flow of water on. When you move it all the way to the left, the water comes out of the rainforest head. When it's center, it will come out of the tub faucet. When you move it all the way to the right, it will come out of the hand held shower head. Make sure you turn the water back to the tub faucet before turning off so you don't get a shower before you're ready for one. Also, be sure to take your bath mat off the rim of the tub. Had a few get soaked because it was over the tub faucet. The verandah was GREAT! Our room was between 2 lifeboats, so we were able to see right down to the water. We didn't see any sea life, though. But that's ALWAYS a highlight for me. A good book, a chair, and putting my feet up. I could do that for a long time! I also loved having my coffee out there in the morning. The one problem with the stateroom was that children RAN the halls at all hours. They were NOT quiet, slow, polite or PARENTED. In one case, they were knocking on doors as they ran down the hall. This was also not specific to stateroom corridors. There were children - of all ages - running around the ship with no parents in sight. I mean children from my daughter's age of about 6 - right up to teenagers. The teenagers I can see having some freedom. But a 6 year old? By the third sea day, it was like people got sick of their children and just turned them loose on the ship. Not only was this a nuisance to other guests, it's seems to me to be unsafe! Yes, it's a ship and yes it's a secure environment - but anybody could do anything to your kid while they're not being supervised! Certainly not Disney's fault, but definitely an issue. STATEROOM HOSTESS: Vangie. From Costa Rica. LOVED HER. She was attentive, thorough, pleasant, friendly, knowledgeable - everything you'd expect from a Disney cast member. If we needed our room while she was cleaning - she REFUSED to let us come back. She told us SHE would leave and come back. We thought our daughter's pillow case from the kid's club had been stripped with the bed linens, and she went to great lengths to find it. She did but she offered to replace it if she couldn't. It had been left on the pillow and was folded into the sofa when she made the bed. She left my wife and me a card with a beautiful note. We showed our appreciation by giving her the recommended amount and an additional 50% of the recommended amount and leaving the best feedback possible on our comment card. DINING: I don't like Cabanas. At all. My experience was with Topsiders, and I liked that. I think I read a lot of feedback about people liking the new set up of Cabanas, but it was confusing and chaotic to me. They kept shouting that there were multiple stations and no need for lines. But if I went to any other station, people were still in line to get whatever that station had. There were people lost, not knowing where to go, so they'd stop to turn around, which caused a few issues while carrying plates of food. And it's been said before, but it was bad having the elevators dump out into the restaurant. In addition to diners, people just trying to get to the pool were getting lost and bumping into people too. My issues with the logistics aside, the dining room is pretty cool with the beachy theme. The staff kept plates cleared quickly and were always willing to assist in getting a drink, carrying plates for you, etc. The food? Meh. Not spectacular. Not bad either. I will clarify that I only ever ate breakfast, other than the embarkation lunch. Nothing stood out in my mind as a wow, but I don't really remember disliking anything either. Main Dining rooms - Enchanted Garden is BEAUTIFUL! I was really looking forward to that most for some reason. The decor was beautiful, and I'd have given just about anything for one of those awesome booths as you walk in. (Which I hear are quite impractical, but I still love them!). The theatrical lighting, stone floor, floral lights that bloomed, and trellises worked together to make a magical experience for me. My one complaint with it is that there's just too many tables. The space was too small for all the tables they needed. It felt VERY tight. Animator's Palate is really neat! My brother in law got a headache from the lighting. (???) Not sure what that was about, but I didn't have a problem with it. It felt like there was more room to move. And I REALLY want the dinner ware, flat ware, linens, decorations, and chairs!!!! I really enjoyed that. We had Palo on the animation show evening (darn!), so I missed that. But Turtle Talk was REALLY neat!!!!!!!!! Royal Court - HATED this one. Our table was RIGHT on top of one of the server's stations. It was chaotic, hectic, tight and just not pleasant. We dreaded it. And as it turned out, our rotation had us there 4 times; 3 times for dinner and for disembarkation breakfast. In all cases, food experience was similar to Cabanas. We had nothing stellar, but nothing awful either. We all had some stuff we didn't like - but I think that was just taste preference and not so much bad food or bad preparation. The service was ATROCIOUS. It was absolutely awful for the most part. My wife and daughter both have allergies. And they're VERY quirky allergies. My daughter can't drink straight cow's milk, but she can eat dairy byproducts. So if it's a recipe with milk, it's fine. Ice cream and yogurt are also fine. My wife has a soy allergy. But her allergist told her as long as soy isn't one of the first three ingredients - it's fine. I never noticed this before her diagnosis, but EVERYTHING has soy. Absolutely everything! So when I noted these allergies, they told me I could discuss the intricacies of the allergies with the dining room staff. When we arrived, they had ALL allergies (including a gluten allergy, which nobody in my family has) listed for ME. We tried, unsuccessfully, several times, to explain who had which allergy and the quirks associated with them. They vehemently refused to serve my wife any food because their computer flagged all dishes as having soy. Our head waiter was Witt, our main server was Denis and out assistant was Jose. I think language was a HUGE obstacle. We had to speak to Borak - who was Witt's supervisor. And even then - he brought us out the food to show us it contained soy. My wife and I both got so angry we went to Guest Services. They were very apologetic and sympathetic, but referred us RIGHT back to the same people who couldn't help us initially. By the end of the meal, my wife had one course of a bland piece of beef and a baked potato. Everyone else had had 4 courses by that time. The second night, the Food & Beverage manager came out to address the allergy issues. He was from the UK. I really believe it had more to do with the fact that he spoke English as a native language than his position that our issues were immediately rectified. With the allergy issues cleared up, we thought we were good to go! But no. The service the second night was truly heinous. We left before ordering dessert. Families had already been served dessert and were leaving the dining room before we got our main course. Two people would receive their first course. Then 10 minutes later, another two people would get their first course. Then 10 minutes later, a second course would come out while some were still waiting for their first course. It was a MESS, and a huge headache. We stopped at Guest Services again. I asked to be reassigned to a different service team. But Guest Services referred my right back to the dining room team. I don't want people thinking my family is picky, either. We're really not! We're extremely easy to please. I can count on one hand the number of times I've ever complained at a restaurant. That's just how awful the service was. To be fair - the third night, we had Remy reservations. (Will get to that in a minute) But in speaking to some others on our cruise, they were actually retraining the wait staff on that third night. On the fourth night, when we went back, they had a fourth member on the service team. It was like night and day. It was BRILLIANT!!! But on the fifth night, that fourth server was gone and service went back to the subpar stuff we'd initially experienced. HUGE sticking point, and it DID ruin our dinners. We dreaded it. In hindsight, we should have just gone to Cabanas each night. Remy - WOW. Just wow. This was our third night. Perhpas our crummy service in the main dining rooms affected our opinion, but I don't think that's the case. I think the service was just that stellar, and we'd feel that way if we had the best main dining room servers in the world. The service was impeccable. There was a ratio of one waiter to one diner each time a course came out. The pacing was PERFECT, but it was LONG. It was a 3 hour experience. Which I don't mind at all - but be prepared if you decide to come here. We did get a page that my daughter wanted to be picked up from the club. My wife went down and took care of her, and came right back up. Each course was prepared perfectly. I'm not much of a foodie, so I can't write a dining review as eloquently as some do. But I found not a SINGLE flaw in anything. I didn't care for some of the cheeses we were served, but again - I chalk that up to taste. They were VERY strong cheeses. The meats, vegetables, sauces were all prepared to perfection. Was it worth the $75 plus gratuity per person? ABSOLUTELY. Budget not withstanding, I would do it again in a HEART BEAT. We did get a bit of grief from the sommelier. To avoid additional expense, we brought our own bottle of wine and paid the corkage fee. It wasn't the best wine - and I felt like the sommelier was offended we didn't take any of his wine. That's a gut feeling. He never did anything overt to make me think that, but his demeanor changed towards the end of the meal. But I didn't think anything of that. Because of her allergies, my wife got a customized menu to keep. It was printed on paper, but we had the chef sign it and it made a great souvenir! Palo - we did both brunch and dinner. We had Milos serve us both. Both were incredible. I should digress a bit to Remy and include with Palo - the allergies were NOT an issue in EITHER case. At Remy, the waiter was "debriefed". He told the chef, and that was the end of it. Same for Palo dinner. At Palo brunch, the chef came out and actually walked my wife through all the dishes and told her what she would want to avoid. Both experiences were AMAZING. Food was wonderfully prepared an the service was amazing. We had our picture taken with Milos after dinner. He was really shocked we'd want it! I will say that we tried to move our Palo dinner from Wednesday to Thursday, but they couldn't accommodate that request. I mention that not as an issue - but as a warning that you should prebook. If there's no availability, visit the restaurant as SOON as you board to try and get what you want. LOUNGES: We did a tour of the adult lounges on deck 4. Between the 5 adults in our party, we visited all of them but I didn't personally visit them all. I personally went to Ooh La La, The Tube, Skyline and Meridian. At Ooh La La, I had the Elderbubble and something with Rasberry. I don't remember the name of it. Both were wonderful, but I'd recommend the Elderbubble. REALLY tasty!!! I walked through La Piazza, but didn't drink there. My brother in law said the menu was nothing stellar and he didn't care for whoever was entertaining that evening. We visited O'Gills and had a bad experience. My brother in law wanted a beer, and he asked for a recommendation. She described the house beer as a red ale, so my brother in law ordered it. It came, and he said it was a pale ale, so he asked for something else. The waitress's demeanor IMMEDIATELY changed. She was rude and curt. We paid the bill and left. Skyline was by far everybody's favorite. I still have the glow cube from my Paris 75!!! If you go in and enjoy your drinks there, GET THE PASSPORT. It's like the card from Vista/Cove Cafe. Buy 6 drinks, get a 7th free. It's valid for your length of cruise. So you could have 1 drink per night, and your last one would be free. Dragana served and Novak mixed. They were GREAT!!!!!! It was relatively quiet and the LED skylines were really pretty impressive. Meridian - meh. It was nice, but it wasn't anything special to me. Just felt like another lounge with really cool seat backs. RAINFOREST ROOM: We bought a day pass, and I wasn't impressed. There was NOTHING wrong with it at all, I just chalk it up to personal taste. I'm extremely glad I didn't get a length of stay pass. My body didn't like the extreme heat to extreme cold of the showers. And saunas are just not my thing. I can only sit in that for so long before I start to feel sick. So the showers and saunas were wasted on me. The heated tile loungers were FABULOUS. I will say those, alone, were worth my non-refundable $16. (Not something I'd pay for again - but I did find value in those). I want one in my house!!!!!!!!! My brother in law and sister both LOVED it and spent two extremely long sessions on their day there. My sister was, actually, almost late to dinner because she lost track of time in the Rainforest Room. THE COVE: Covering all adult areas. Very nice! LOVED the little wading area in front of the bar. It was lovely to just take your shoes off and walk through the shallow water for a drink. The pool serves its purpose for relaxtion. If you have ANY intention of swimming on this cruise, you'll need to do it in the ocean. The ship pools are not for swimmin'. They're for dippin'. No room to do much else. The sitting area was too small. It filled up VERY quickly on sea days. I loved the cushy loungers in the adult area. VERY much! I visited Cove Cafe, but didn't order anything. The menu at Cove and Vista Cafes are identical. I didn't notice a huge issue, either, with children/families going through the adult areas because of the elevators to be a problem at all. Yes, they were in the area, but they walked through quickly. We also visited satellite falls. I wanted to love it, I really did. But I wasn't impressed. The bench in the middle was awkward for me because of the slope. I didn't really like sitting in the water. On a sea day, it was SO windy that I actually got cold. In the Caribbean. In August. With 80+ temperatures. Be advised, also, that the falls are turned off when sailing. I think the water would blow all over the place. OTHER PUBLIC AREAS: Pools - it's been said over and over and over. VERY poor planning on guest to pool ratios. I've heard the pools described as human soup, and that's a very deserved metaphor. They're just too small. Chairs were reserved, but we were always able to find one. Even on sea days. The AquaDuck is really a lot of fun. NOT something I'd wait more than 15 - 20 minutes for, and even that's pushing it. We rode one night - I want to say it was the night we visited St. Thomas. There was NO line. We got through about 12 times in succession before it was closed. If you've had too much to eat, it's FABULOUS exercise too. 60 some odd steps each time you go up. It's like a stairmaster workout with a cool down in between. Midship Detective agency: really a lot of fun!!! But we did it on a sea day and the it was NUTS. Long lines at each piece of artwork. I will say that while I knew about it in advance, I was not prepared for how AWESOME that animated art work is. I was really just expecting it to look like LED monitors. It doesn't. It actually LOOKS like art work. AND BE PREPARED TO WALK A LOT!!!! I let my daughter choose, and she chose the case of the missing artwork. From what I hear, the Muppets is even longer. And you have to walk all over the ship. Another great way to get in some exercise. We started out trying to get a game going on deck 2. But that station wasn't working for some reason. I don't know if it was a temporary glitch, or if it was broken and repaired, but it was working later in the cruise. Kid's Clubs were great. Our daughter took to them like a fish to water. We had one instance where she was just tired and wanted to leave - but that was our Remy night. My wife plopped her in a bean bag and told her to watch a movie and that we'd take her if she fell asleep. But she loved going. She's too young to get any kind of a detailed review - but my wife and I LOVED the counselors. Everyone was very friendly and worked really well with the children. In picking my daughter up one evening, I actually got to witness a counselor disciplining a child. I think he was special needs - but they were FANTASTIC! I'm not sure what he had done - but they were loving and gentle, but firm at the same time while correcting him. And the child responded so well to it, too. It made me very comfortable to know that they knew how to handle kids both while they were behaving, and while they were out of line. EXCURSIONS: St. Maarten we did the Under Two Flags tour. My wife did this instead of going with Bernard's because of the time issue. We wanted a brief tour, since our daugher tends to have a shorty attention span. Even with the shorter tour, she was antsy halfway through. If I had it to do again, I'd stay on the ship, or just wander around the shopping area. It's a beautiful island, but it's VERY poor. I felt so badly wandering around these ramshackle homes that were falling apart. And the bus drove right by them. They're unavoidable. There's NOTHING native to the island - they're completely dependent on tourism, and it shows. The French side is nicer than the Dutch side - but you can shop right on the pier or in other ports. I think St. Maarten offers the beach where the planes fly right overhead - which could be neat. But I wouldn't want to pay for a cab or a port adventure when Castaway Cay is a really awesome beach that's included with the cruise fare. Or when you could go to a beach on St. John. I'll get to that in a minute. My sister's family did the butterfly farm tour. She said the butterfly farm was neat, but felt the same way I did about the rest of the island. St. Thomas - we didn't do any excursions in St. Thomas, and we didn't really visit the island. We, instead, opted for a tour of St. John. SO BEAUTIFUL. It made me want to plan a visit to JUST St. John. The beaches are second to none. TIP: If you use AT&T, the US Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix) are ALL included as DOMESTIC coverage. You can use your phone without international data/roaming fees. But BE CAREFUL!!! We picked up signals from the British Virgin Islands at St. John. They wanted to charge us $20 per MEGAbyte. With an M. That's not a typo. I set the phone to airplane mode until we got back to St. Thomas. 2/3 of the island of St. John is US National Park, and it's just AMAZINGLY beautiful. I wish we had some beach time there. The only bad part is the ferry ride to and from the island after docking in St. Thomas. But I'd do it again in a MINUTE. My sister did a Turtle Cove snorkeling excursion. They LOVED it. Every minute and said it was worth every penny they paid for it. (Not sure of costs or specifics - they really did just rave about it) Castaway Cay - we fed the Stingrays. Neat experience, but overpriced and not something I'd do again. They let you snorkel with the rays, but they're bottom dwellers. You can see them swimming right around you when you feed them. So I wasn't overly impressed. There wasn't too much else to see when snorkeling either. I will say that the pre-feeding education was REALLY cool. Not worth the pricetag of the excursion, but still really cool! My sister's family did the getaway package including float, tube, bike and snorkel rentals for the day. They used them all except the bikes. They loaned me the snorkel gear so I could check out the lagoon. I was NOT impressed - but I was doing something wrong. TIP: When snorkeling, spit in your mask, wipe the saliva all over the plexiglass, then rinse in the ocean. I was not aware of this until AFTER I was done snorkeling. The mask kept fogging to the point I couldn't see. I'd rinse it, and salt would get in my eyes, and in my mouth. So I turned around and left the snorkleing lagoon. This was information my sister got from her Turtle Cove excursion. I'd definitely try again knowing that. The equipment is rinsed in chlorine and I'm sure it's more properly sterilized. BE CAREFUL ON THAT BEACH, TOO!!!!! My scalp got an AWFUL sunburn. I applied sunscreen about 5 times over the course of 5 hours. But I needed a hat. I'm still feeling the effects from that. Until yesterday, it hurt to put my head on my pillow to go to bed. Fortunately, that's the ONLY part of me that got burned. My wife and sister both got crisped BADLY on their backs. If you've made it this far, I owe you a drink at Skyline. Let me know if anyone has questions.