[Hopefully some nuggets of useful information for cruisers before their 1st cruise -- and simple entertainment for the rest of us (LOL, I'm not a cruise afficianado by any means but I've been therefore I am).] Oh my goodness. Where do I start? Travel reports before we left for Orlando claimed a couple of days rain would mar our experience. Fortunately, the rain never showed up and the weather was great throughout. Disney transfers might not be the most economical devices but for the money, not seeing my luggage from check-in at my home airport until I arrived in my stateroom made it worth the trouble for my family. Exploring the ship before the stateroom is ready was much more enjoyable when we minimized our number of carry-on pieces. (Forgot to pack a bathing suit in the carry-on - oops)...From the DISboard I found a great list of items to pack for the trip and many tips that helped smooth the way for this first-time cruising family. The over-the-door shoe holder is absolutely the best. It clears the clutter and still keeps everything within easy reach. My cruise family consisted of the DH, DS - 18, DD - 4, my nephew (DN) - 18 and myself. One of the first things we realized after boarding the ship was they try to overwhelm you with food. All of it is included...meals, snacks, room service. Our server explained you don't order one appetizer for the table - EVERYBODY gets one of his or her very own. The buffets have to be seen in order to be believed. Wow! I had more than 130 pics developed. And the DS and DN haven't done theirs yet. If you can, ALWAYS gets a room with a verandah (balcony)...I am soooo spoiled. Coffee, tea, even a meal is a wonderful thing when you have that kind of view. After the Blackbeard Cay Stingray shore excursion and a few hours on the beach the DD thinks she is a swimmer. I'd better find her lessons and quick! We left the Disney Wonder in Nassau only to find ourselves aboard another much smaller and less grand vessel. A short trip later and we arrived at Blackbeard Cay. We were invited to walk and snorkel among the stingrays upon our arrival. Our DD screamed and immediately left the water at her first glimpse of these beautiful and graceful creatures. I stayed to check them out and the DH took the DD to return her snorkel and vest. Proceeding to the family side of the beach, the DD refused to enter the water until we assured her there were no stingrays in the area. Lunch was provided as part of the excursion and a lot of sun and a few souvenirs later we were returned to Nassau. The DD was cleaned and clothed for the kids club and her mom and dad returned to shore for a little shopping. Shopping is always better is Nassau. Between 4 and 5 pm (the shops close at 5) you can barter for the best rates. Dont save your souvenir buying for the last day on the ship. The best prices and selection are definitely found on shore. Hmmm. Did I mention the food? Beef, chicken, seafood...soups, salads and pasta galore. And the servers and service are unbelievable. This was quite possibly one of the best restaurants we had ever had the pleasure to dine in. Cedomir and Ria helped us find our way through the elegant menus and made the entire dining experience more enjoyable. I had requested the early seating to accommodate our 4-year old DD. After the excitement of the day and the long exposure to wind and sun, this turned out best for all of us. We were more careful with the sunscreen and hats after this. At Castaway Cay, the morning was spent doing family beach time with our DD. The water was cold - but it was January. We tried to convince ourselves that we would get used to it. That didnt happen and after lunch the DD went to Scuttles Cove and the DH and I went for a bicycle ride. The DS and DN enjoyed snorkeling and kayaking along with some time on the bikes. On a Disney cruise, no money is accepted. You have a room card that opens your door and electronically "signs" for everything that you want from the gift shops to photos to alcohol. Gratuities for the four tipped positions can be taken care of at the beginning or end of your trip. Those are absolutely the only things not included in the cruise price. The bill can be settled up by credit card after (which you provide the number at the beginning of the cruise) or by cash any time during the trip through the guest services desk. If using the credit card, you never have to do anything. The tab automatically gets charged to your card after you are gone. Don't worry, an itemized bill is provided to you the evening before your day to disembark. The suite was absolutely the best. The bedroom had its own separate bathing area with both a tub and a shower. A double bowl sink, dressing area with a walk-in closet, large television, and its own balcony entrance. The main living area had comfy chairs, full size couch, 30-something-inch television with DVD and VHS, a table with four chairs, and bar area with refrigerator and glassware. It also had its own bathroom with a shower, full-size closet with built-in shelves, and a separate balcony entrance. My pictures of the towel animals got lots of attention at work. Everyone asked "How did they do that?" FYI...there is a towel-animal folding class on the sea day. Did I mention the food? Breakfast and lunch were buffet style in a couple of different locations. One restaurant had a sit-down breakfast, but who had time? Any of the meals could be taken back to your room for some quiet time on the balcony. There were rotational dining room assignments so each of the themed restaurants could be experienced without having to make reservations or wait in any lines. There was an adults-only restaurant, very black-tie, that we didn't attempt. On board was a very diverse group of activities for all ages. Some for families, just as many not. There was an adult pool, children's pool, and a family pool to choose from. There was a fitness center that I never saw (smile) and basketball and soccer courts that we checked out on the first day. Family clubs with game show style festivities, dance clubs for the different age groups, and a beautiful piano bar. There were many quiet lounge type areas scattered throughout the ship, including the Cove Cafe', for adults only, near the adult pool and hot tubs (yes, there was more than one hot tub). A movie theatre that played movies almost all night long and a full-size stage theatre for live Disney productions. Again, there were scheduled seating times for the Disney theatre so there was no waiting in line and a different play or entertainer was scheduled for each evening. If you didn't want to go, they showed them on one of the 20+ cable channels available in your room. All of these things are included in the cruise price. Walk through the lounge and pick up a drink of some kind, stop by the show candy store, and walk on in and pick a seat. (Alcohol was available for an extra charge. The candy cost a little extra, but remember no cash so it only took a swipe of the room card, and well worth it if you needed the extra sugar). Childcare was available from 8 am until 1 am. DD never stayed more than a couple of hours each day and she loved every minute...once she realized we weren't leaving her behind and she wouldn't be missing anything. The little squirt was always concerned we would go to the beach or the pool without her. The children's club would take the kids to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Special times were set up for them to go before the restaurants opened to everyone else and hallways for crewmembers were used so the kids couldn't wander off. Disney characters would visit the club throughout the day; arts and crafts were popular, as was dress-up (they had an entire room of costumes just for the smaller children!) and movies in the movie theatre. The DD worried about not meeting Mickey or Minnie the first day. By the second, she tripped over them every time she turned around (literally). She was walking down the hallway and walked right out of her shoe. When the DD turned around to get it, Mickey was there to hand it to her. Boy, was she surprised. More than once we would turn the corner onto the balcony overlooking the Atrium, heading towards the elevator or kids club, and find a Disney character heading downstairs for autographs and pictures. Everyone in the family established a routine pretty quickly. DS and DN showed up for dinner. This worked well to ensure they made it back on-board before the ship's scheduled departure (smile).That was all we saw of them. After the deck parties in the evening, I think they would wander in about 1 or 2 am...order room service and watch movies provided by the concierge. The DH, DD and myself usually had breakfast at the buffet and then left to go ashore. On the sea day, the morning was spent in the pool. We went to our one and only Disney production, Disney Dreams (a Disney Wonder must see, Im not sure if the Disney Magic has this one or not), right after lunch. We had scheduled seating for the 830p show but the matinee was available and the time worked better for us. It left the evening free to get character pictures and do other fun stuff. After the show, DD went to the kids club and the DH and I had some down time. We were (almost) at a loss; there was sooo much to do and we didn't have anything 'planned.' It ended up being a quiet couple of hours until dinner exploring the ship and checking out the adult areas. Did I mention the food? The DN ordered escargot for an appetizer on our night in Tritons. It tasted like cheese with the consistency of a mushroom. It wasn't bad but wasn't great either. If I could have lived on sweets, I might have considered ordering nothing but desserts for every meal. Ever tried Crème Brulee? Not bad, but as a cheesecake it is absolutely divine. One evening meal was a Pirate Night. Turned out it was the evening of our day at Castaway Cay. I had learned of this "themed" night before we left by reading the DISboards, and wouldn't you know DD had been a pirate last Halloween and her costume still fit. She was very excited to be dressing up as a pirate for dinner. There was a HUGE pirate party with fireworks on deck later that evening. DH took the DD to the room after a little of the party and before the fireworks. It was probably 10pm or so. I joined them after the sparklies at around 1030pm. We didnt see the two boys again that evening and DD slept in until almost 8am the next morning! The final day, we arrived back in Port Canaveral around 530am. We were having coffee and waiting anxiously for room service to come for our luggage. One simple direction the night before and I went to bed early. "Get the luggage outside the stateroom before 11pm." At 5 am, with the wake-up call, I discovered that no one had gotten it out. We waited until room service came about 615am and picked it up before going on to breakfast. If they hadn't shown up, we would have had to cart our luggage off the ship ourselves, I think. Didn't happen thank goodness. We left with a few more bags than we came with, of course. Room service got a HUGE tip that last morning. A quick breakfast and ride to the airport and we were on our flight back home. There was a very nice tram/train that took us from check-in to the terminal where the plane was. I was selected for the extra security check in at the Orlando airport. I would recommend the extra security check for everyone but it would probably spoil my experience (smile) I made it through security with no hassle and about half an hour before the rest of the family did! Both to and from were non-stop flights and lasted only about two hours a piece - very quiet and very short. Everyone, including DD, slept the entire flight home. Yippee! Turned out that we traveled by ship, bus, train, plane, and car on January 12, 2006. It was quite the adventure -- for all of us. Luv2Cruise Disney!