This was my first Disney cruise, but fourth overall. I have also cruised with NCL twice, and Royal Caribbean. This cruise was overpriced, when you compare it with similar styled cruise lines
The food quality was substandard at best. Most of our meals came out lukewarm, heavily sauced, and over salted. This was consistent throughout the cruise. It's almost as Disney felt that since they were creating the Disney "magical" experience with the characters, that the adults and children wouldn't notice the lack of variety in food, fresh fruit or appetizing meals. I know that children's palates aren't as developed as adults, but please, there is just some much mac n' cheese (made with what seemed like velveeta), pizza and chicken fingers that a child can eat over the duration of a 7 day cruise. The orange and apple juice was only available during meal hours, so if you didn't plan ahead and bottle some for your stateroom, your child was drinking milk or from the soda station
We had a family deluxe oceanview. Our stateroom attendant was polite and did a great job of keeping our room clean, tidy, and well stocked with fresh towels, etc.
The Disney meet and greets were fantastic for the children. You have alot of opportunities during the cruise to meet with the different characters. If your little ones are looking at getting some autographs and pictures, you will want to get the majority of them as early on in the cruise as possible. Disney runs their ship lean, which means closer to the end of the cruise, you have less opportunity to meet the characters as many of them double for the evening entertainment. Also, for those families that didn't get their quota of photos earlier on in the cruise, they are now scrambling to get as many photos as they can before the end of the cruise. Picture taking is scheduled, and random all at the same time. Since there always seems to be a character(s) walking around on the ship, you often end up taking unplanned pictures causing you to miss other onboard activities. Due to the lineups sometimes taking a 1/2hr or more for photo taking, kids often end up getting cranky. If you can take turns with lineup duties, and have your little ones join you just before their photo is to be taken, you will make your life alot easier.
All three swimming pool areas for the younger babies, children and adults were extremely small and insufficient for the number of people onboard.
The evening (Broadway type) entertainment was also fantastic, and is definitely a higher calibre to what I've seen on other ships. The shows were done "Disney" style, and they didn't disappoint. The pirate party was also fantastic, with the fireworks show at the end - Awesome!
We did our own excursions and we were quite happy with the price and activities we were able to do on our own. I've always found that the excursions offered by cruise lines were higher than what you can get if you plan it yourself, but make sure you do your research beforehand, so you're not wasting time at port. If planning ahead isn't for you, then go with a pre-packaged excursion since there's bound to be at least one which, will interest you and your family.
If you want to see as many Disney characters as possible - than this is the cruise for you. If you are looking for the best quality cruise experience for your dollar, I would recommend a similar styled cruise which offers some character events and children programs.
Reading this review you might think that this cruise wasn't that bad, but please take into account that this itinerary only goes to 3 ports of call. Leaving alot of time spent using the amenities and onboard activities. Overall, this cruise was disappointing due to the cost, poor amenities, and the lack of quality food.