Okay, so theres no catchy title to this particular pre cruise, pre-trip report. I know, how very un-DIS of me.... Anyways So this is my first stab at writing a pre-trip report (well, actually my second but since I deleted my first one a day after I wrote it because I realized I didnt have time to write one, that doesnt count). So, first let me give you a little background information on my cruise travels (this may be helpful in deciding if you want to continue reading). My first cruise was on the Disney Magic in October 2010. My mother is in a wheelchair and I wanted to make sure we had sufficient space so I booked a verandah cabin (7636) which was right at the back of the ship (1 door down from the secret verandah on deck 7). The cabin was great but Im not a fan of aft cabins because I find the motion in them worse than anywhere else on the ship. We had an incredible balcony that stretched far and wide and lots of space in both the cabin and the bathroom for the wheelchair. I was very happy with the layout of the cabin and the layout of the cruise ship. I spent the first 1.5 days of the cruise sick as a dog from the motion. My parents thought about getting off the ship in Key West because they werent sure Id make it the full 7 nights without hurling myself off the deck just to escape the spinning, nausea inducing, up and down, side to side motion of the ship. By Sunday night, the Dramamine had kicked in and I was fine for the rest of the cruise (well, except for the stomach flu or something to that effect that hit me on Thursday). Despite the very rough start, I really did enjoy cruising everything is in one place, cabin, entertainment, pools, hot tubs, and food as yes, food. I loved spending my days by and in the adult pool. It was a great area on the Magic and my mother and I enjoyed many drinks of the day in the shade. We didnt end up seeing any of the shows in the main theatre (I watched one on tv while my mother was napping) but it wasnt really my cup of tea. We did love the movie theatre (my dad and I caught several movies) and my parents adored the shops (they are shopaholics me, I dont care if I ever set foot in a store shopping really isnt my thing sacrilege for a woman, I know! I love shopping online, comparing pricing and reading reviews though). We had a fabulous time but didnt rebook on board (only because I wasnt feeling well the last couple of days). We received a card in the mail post-cruise offering a 10% discount on our next cruise so I booked the brand new Dream for the following fall. After years of WDW vacations, it looked like Id found my new obsession cruising! When I came home, I did a food trip report on that cruise. It can be found here: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2602433. Surprisingly enough, my next cruise was not on Disney (shock, gasp, horror I know!!) but on Carnival. I did 2 back to back 7 night cruises with my 16 turning 17 year old god daughter Jenna in March 2011. I had priced out DCL but for the cost of a 4 night DCL, we could do a 7 night on Carnival and still have money left over. What really sold me was that for the cost of a 7 night on DCL, we could do 14 nights on Carnival, several excursions (including a cabana at Mahogany Beach), pay gratuities and pay for soda! We sailed in an interior cabin with 2 port holes. It was actually one of the least expensive cabins but one of the nicest. Plush bedding, natural light, front of the ship (which I found there was motion but it was different than the aft and it didnt make me sick), trivia games galore, great service and good food. I took gravel from day 1 and no real sea sickness to speak of. I really enjoyed those 2 weeks and it taught me something. I like cruising. Not necessarily cruising on DCL, just cruising. I love to cruise! My next cruise was also on Carnival since they sent me a heavily discounted cruise due to my time spent in the casino along with a few other perks. It was at the end of August 2011 and it left out of New York the day before Hurricane Irene closed down the city. It was a bit of a vomit inducing few days but then the seas calmed down and we had a great cruise. Spent way too much money in the casino and made me realize cruising on DCL had at least one advantage no need to bring gambling money! There was a welcome aboard cocktail party as part of this casino cruise - this is after 1 too many (or maybe 2 too many) Blue Margaritas! Following that it was back to DCL for a back to back 4 night / 3 night on the Disney Dream (again with my parents). We had another wheelchair accessible balcony cabin (5552) which was outstanding! Its large with plenty of room to maneuver my mothers wheelchair. The only 2 real issues with the cabin are 1. The bed is too high for my mother to comfortably transfer from her chair 2. There is a steep ramp up to the bathroom (makes for a bit of a tough uphill push). Our stateroom host was okay (she was a very nice lady and my parents loved her but she put back dirty towels that were on the floor in the bathroom onto the rack, fished our empty shampoo & conditioner bottles out of the garbage can and put them back on the shelf in the bathroom instead of leaving new ones and didnt do much other than make the beds, turn them down and make elaborate towel animals not that I told my parents about the dirty towels or empty bottles I try to preserve their magic as much as possible). Our dining room servers were worse than lackluster it was our assistants first cruise and she complained about being sick constantly, she would bring our cold drinks for dinner but refills werent often and getting coffee or tea with dessert was a hassle. On our first DCL cruise, our assistant server (Willy a true gem!), cut up my mothers food after the first night when he saw me doing it (she has the use of only 1 hand so needs help), but this time, there was no service like that no cutting up the food, mickey head ketchups, magic tricks or anything other than awhhh, I feel so bad, the boat moves so much. But, she did get us diet coke, and we felt sorry for her since she was feeling sick so we didnt push anything or complain about her service. Our main server forgot several items and one night I had no entrée because he outright refused to bring me the plain chicken! When our head server came by and asked if everything was okay, my dad mentioned the no entrée thing and got a blank stare and a shoulder shrug. He also mentioned that all of his meat was dry even if it was medium rare, it was dry. The head server told him it was for your own protection and then went on with a lecture about food service preparation and how they need to keep food safe so we dont get sick. Both my parents were in the food industry (my dad still is he sells wholesale bakery products like flour, shortening, and also prepared products like cakes, meat pies, sausage rolls, etc) so we knew that half of what he was saying was incorrect like e-coli in steak, ummm, no, there are very specific reasons why it may appear in ground beef and or on some vegetables he clearly was just making stuff up on the spot and wasnt interested in taking any issues seriously. On our 3 night, things got a little worse we skipped the dining room the first night (I wasnt feeling well my parents got room service and something from up on deck), and the second night we ate in Cabanas (fantastic!!) and when we got to the dining room the final night, they had given our table to someone else! There was a big problem getting us another table and long story short, my mother ended up in tears because some of the servers made a big deal about her wheelchair and of course, if she cries, I cry so it made for a very messy situation. It left a very negative taste in our mouth for DCL and my parents were more than willing to try out other cruise lines with me. Cabin 5552: On board I had booked 2 future cruises October 2012 and October 2013. I really wasnt happy with the price for the 2012 Halloween cruise so I changed that one to April 2012 for a 4 night cruise on the Magic (which was a very reasonable price for DCL since it was a cruise that was added only a few months in advance as it was just before the Magic went to NYC). And for October 2012, I booked us a Spa Cabin (wheelchair accessible) on the Carnival Dream. We enjoyed our 4 night cruise on the Magic very much. Again our cabin was spacious and our dining room servers were much better than on the Dream. Our room steward was a bit of an odd duck though he made up a broken bed. This was actually quite dangerous because it was the bed my mother laid down on; it was difficult to get her back up and into her chair we almost had a medical emergency. We called maintenance and it took a while but they did come up to take a look. The bed underneath was missing a piece which apparently the room steward had picked up but didnt know what it was for (it was a large metal spring thing) and didnt report the issue to maintenance. They ended up bring a new bed to the cabin so it turned out okay but we didnt see our room steward again basically for the rest of the trip I think he was either embarrassed or thinking that we wouldnt tip him after the one of the head maintenance people wrote him up for not reporting the broken bed (it was bit awkward since it was done in front of us). We also got our tip stuff and luggage tags 2 nights early (on night 2) but hey, he gave us fresh towels and emptied our garbage cans so he got the recommended tip. All in all, it was a good cruise. My parents in the adult area on the Magic: We sailed the Carnival Dream in October 2012 and again had a fabulous cruise. Maybe we spent a little too much time in the casino&..but it was a very good cruise. For the first time, we were seated with other people (another family of 3 adults, a male couple and a single lady). It was a great table and we had great service at dinner (plus really good food!). This cruise was affected by Hurricane Sandy and was cut from 7 days down to 6 but it was long enough for us to enjoy a lot of what the ship (and Carnival) had to offer. My parents enjoyed this cruise and are willing to sail Carnival again anytime. Our last cruise was on Royal Caribbean the Explorer of the Seas out of Bayonne NJ. The cruise port is very convenient since its a 10 hour drive and it was a 9 day cruise. We enjoyed the cruise but felt that it was very uneven some things were great, some were good and there was a lot of meh. We got a great price for the cruise ($2200 for the 3 of us for the 9 days) so for what we paid, we got our monies worth. We had great servers again (food and service are very important for us) but only an okay room steward (he had very limited hours which Ive never heard of before and wanted to make up our room at 7:30 even though we had late dinner at 8:15 so we were getting ready at that time). Anyways, still a good cruise but unless theres a fabulously low price, I dont think RCCL is our cruise line of choice its more for the active cruiser (ice skating, rock wall climbing, etc) than for those of us who like activities that leave us sitting on our behinds having loads of fun. My favourite picture from our RCCL cruise: So that brings us to the present and the Disney Fantasy October 26th to November 2nd 2013!