CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews


Disney Cruise Line Disney Wonder Bahamas September 25, 2005 Day 1

This was our first Disney Cruise, but my fourth cruise overall. I took our youngest daughter, age 12, on this cruise as a reward for outstanding academic grades.

We booked this cruise online in July. This was the first time I booked online and it worked out well. The price was outstanding for this kind of cruise.

This was a four-night cruise with stops in Nassau, Castaway Cay, and one sea day. We live in southwest Florida and my husband drove us to Port Canaveral. We left around 6 a.m. and arrived at 10 a.m. Boarding was to take place at 10:30 a.m. This was my first time in Port Canaveral, and I was impressed how calm and organized everything was. Soon we said goodbye to my husband and walked into the terminal. We had packed light, and only had two bags that we carried on board. They had plenty of seating inside the terminal, friendly and bright colors everywhere. TV monitors played Disney movies and showed Castaway Cay Island.

Check-in was painless, and to our surprise we received an upgrade! It was the same inside cabin, but we moved to Deck 5 from Deck 2. This worked out very well for us. They would not let anyone on the ship until 11:30 a.m. so we sat down, checked out the crowds and the mini-ship in the middle of the terminal that showed all the decks (including the chairs)!

At 11:30 a.m. they let people on the ship and right away it was "Magical." When we stepped on the ship, they asked our names, and the crew gave everyone a standing ovation and said the name of the family with lots of clapping of hands. Nice touch! Next came something different: No one was allowed in their cabins until 1:30 p.m. There was no way to drop off our luggage or check out the cabin.

Again, it was very organized and no chaos. We were directed to the Parrot Cay restaurant, which had vibrant colors -- and you could hear birds singing. We sat down and treated ourselves to a nice buffet lunch. The food was good but I can't remember what I had. The staff was very friendly and this continued through out the cruise -- always a hello, always trying to help.

The Cabin

After lunch we went to Deck 5 and waited. When they let us in our cabin, I was surprised how spacious it was. The cabin was very clean and we had enough space for our clothes. The large bathroom had a tub/shower. We met our cabin steward and he was a nice fellow. My main concern was our assigned dinner time of 8:30 p.m., which was way too late for me to eat. We had to be at a lounge by a specific time to change the seating assignment and we headed there to get it changed. They took our name and told us they would call us to let us know if we could switch.

We also visited the Spa on Deck 9 and took a tour. There was no pressure to buy anything, which I thought was nice. I liked the Tropical Rainforest -- a room that has a sauna, steam room and aromatherapy -- and I booked it for the entire cruise at a cost of $45, which I thought was reasonable. At the time of booking I had asked if it was just for woman or coed and the sales lady assured me it was for females only (otherwise I would not have booked it). But I later found out it was for both genders (more on that to follow).

We went back to our cabin, which was an aft location, and put on our swimming suits. Disney Wonder has three pools: a Mickey pool with a slide, a family pool, and an adults-only pool. They all have hot tubs. The pool is kind of small but it was okay. We had to be back in our cabin because the lifeboat drill was at 4 p.m. This went fairly smoothly, and after that I went back to the cabin and called to find out about our dinner time. We did get early seating which was at 6:15 p.m.

We changed and went to the Parrot Cafe again. At Disney you change restaurants, but you rotate with your dining companions and the same waiters. We sat at a table of eight and there was just another couple. The lady was ill and wasn't talking, and I was disappointed to sit there with no one to talk to. At that time the ship was moving and we hit some rough waters. It felt like the ship was going very fast. I was starting to feel sick myself! I don't remember what we ate and I know we skipped dessert.

Seasickness

The Disney production "Hercules the Musical" started at 8:30 p.m. and the theater was very nice. The ship continued to rock a lot and I kept feeling sicker and sicker. As we sat there we started talking to a woman sitting next to us with her daughter, age 11. We ended up spending time together on the entire cruise. They have a Christian background as well and we got along great. The funny thing was they had the same last name as us. The show was okay but I wasn't impressed. I was disappointed, since I always had seen good Disney productions.

On our back to the cabin, we stopped at the Internet cafe on Deck 3 and I wrote a quick e-mail to my husband. When we finally made it to the cabin I was ready for bed! The ship was rocking terribly and I made a quick dash for the bathroom where all my food came back out. I was so seasick! For the next hour or so I rotated between sink and toilet. I finally felt better and crawled into my bed. My daughter was sleeping and before she went to sleep she had filled out the breakfast card for room service the next morning. Next day..Nassau!

Day 2 - Nassau

Room service woke us up at 7 a.m. and brought the breakfast my daughter had ordered. It was your typical stuff like fruit, bread and jelly. Coffee was okay but nothing exciting. I had recovered from the previous night and the ship's movement was a lot better now. The ship was supposed to dock at 8 a.m. I had planned a trip to the Blue Lagoon Island, but my daughter didn't want to go. We headed to the pursers desk but they told us we could only change it to another excursion, which we didn't do.

A side note to those who are concerned about all the kids on a Disney cruise: The ship was full and had a lot of kids, but we never saw a lot of them. The only time we noticed a "large amount" was at the scheduled character appearances and even then we could have avoided those places. My daughter's new friend was still into the taking pictures and getting autographs with all the Disney characters, and we bumped into them at the "Princess gathering" in the Atrium Lobby. It was cute to see little girls dressed up as Cinderella, Snow White etc.

I talked to my newfound friend and found out they did not have anything planned for the day except to get her daughters hair braided. She had the same dinner time, but was not happy with her table either, since all the guests where older and had no kids at the table for her daughter. So we decided to see if we could dine together. She said she would call and see if we could do it. This is where we found out we had the same last name! We went back into our cabin to gather what we needed for our excursion. At Disney you have a scheduled meeting time on the ship for all the specific excursions and I found this to be nice. There you showed your tickets, made sure you had ID, got towels, etc. Again, it was very well organized! They walked us off the ship and we met the guide who would bring us to the ferry. The walk was a bit long but I saw a Starbucks and told my daughter on the way back we would have to stop there. The ferry ride was very nice and a band played Caribbean tunes. It was very hot and the sun was beating on us but we did not mind.

The Blue Lagoon

Here I would like to thank Donna and Michelle for the great idea to go to the Blue Lagoon. My daughter loved it and so did I. The water was crystal-clear; we spent our entire time in the water except for lunch. The Blue Lagoon has a Dolphin Encounter and we saw the dolphins when the ferry docked. I had just been to Discovery Cove so I did not want to do the dolphins again. The Blue Lagoon has a few stores and some water toys you can rent. We never made it to the stores. Michelle was right, the food was very expensive but it was included in the price of the excursion. However, the food was not good at all and I kept peeking over to the other side where Norwegian Cruise line had a buffet set up and the food looked wonderful: Fresh fruit, desserts, fresh grilled meats etc. We talked to someone there, and they told us the food was very good. Ours wasn't, and I do wish Disney would change this. They had given us some drink coupons but it was only good for rum punch or a sugary drink. We only drink water, so we had to pay for the bottled water.

We left the island at 2 p.m. On our way back, we stopped at Starbucks and some refreshments. We stopped at the indoor market and picked up some hot sauce for my husband as a gift. Back on the ship, we ended up getting a late lunch to make up for the slim pickings at the island. My daughter wanted to rest, so I did some e-mails and called the desk to change my e-mail service. A flat fee was $39 or 75 cents per minute. The first time I logged on, I spent over $17 and I needed to switch to the flat fee. This was no problem and they credited me the $17. I had not heard from my new friend and wasn't sure if I would see them at dinner time.

To our surprise, they sat at our table; the other couple from the previous night was there also and looked pretty perky too. She felt better and the conversation was nice. This was great for the two girls, who enjoyed talking to one another. Again, I forgot what we ate. I do remember Disney does not know how to cook a steak medium rare. The first one I sent back, the second one was almost as bad. I enjoyed the Caesar salad and had it every night.

Entertainment

That night was the production of "The Golden Mickeys," and we almost did not go because of the night before. But I am glad I saw it; the rest of the productions were awesome also. They had the red carpet rolled out in front of the theater and the crew posed as reporters and took flash photos of everyone. I am sure it was awesome for the kids!

Afterwards the girls wanted to go to Studio Sea to participate in "Who wants to be a Mouseketeer?" and we went there. It was set up just like “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” and the girls had loads of fun. I was getting tired so we headed back to our cabin and my daughter ordered chocolate chip cookies, chocolate milk and ice water. The room service was very efficient and fast. But we never ordered anything else besides that every night. The TV always had some Disney stuff on. The TV was a bit of a problem, as we could pull it out but not swivel it around. We had to sit on the sofa or bend our necks from the bed. The ship was moving again and next day was Castaway Cay.

Day 3 - Castaway Cay, Bahamas

I forgot to mention that the night before, our new friends told us they booked a Catamaran snorkeling excursion on the Island. My daughter wanted to this also but it conflicted with my Cabana massage at 9 a.m. I had booked the massage online and was looking forward to it. But this cruise was mainly for my daughter and we tried to get the massage re scheduled.

My daughter and I went to the Beach Blanket Buffet for breakfast. It was the usual stuff, plus an omelet station. Scoops made fresh hot chocolate and plain waffles in the form of Mickey ears. Scoops also had ice cream throughout the day with all sorts of toppings. It was very good and they did not charge for it!

I did not care for the scrambled eggs, very watery. But the bacon was very crispy. Afterwards we made our way to the Spa to see what I could do about my massage. They told me there wasn't another time available and they would charge me half ($70) if I canceled it. I wasn't too happy, but this was my fault, not theirs!

We got off the ship, went to the shore excursion desk on the island, and booked the catamaran/snorkeling trip. We waited by the catamaran for about half an hour and then our friends came off the ship. The catamaran was beautiful and the ride to the snorkeling spot refreshing. The snorkeling went well. I can't put that rubber piece in my mouth, but I still saw many fish. We had one hour to snorkel, and the time flew by.

Afterwards they gave out free chips, pretzels, water and juice. What is nice at the Disney Island is that they have a shuttle take you to the main areas so we did not have to walk with our bag, towels etc. We checked out the shops and bought nothing. We proceeded to the lunch area and ate lunch. Again, it was just okay. We both had a cheeseburger and salad. I had booked a banana boat ride since my daughter wanted to do it, and we walked to the beach. They had a cooler there where you could store your stuff and off we went.

Bouncy Banana Boat

This was the worse ride of my life. The boat pulling us went very fast and I kept bouncing up and down. I had a very hard time holding onto the little rope in front of me. Finally the boat stopped and I told them to slow down but I don't think anyone listened. They told us to stretch our fingers and off we went again. I could hardly hold on and then I saw a Barracuda in the water! I was so afraid I closed my eyes, prayed to God and held on. It's a miracle I did not fall off. When the banana boat ride finally stopped I could barely move. My daughter got me a cup of water and I was not able to hold the cup.

After I caught my breath we stopped at the beach and my daughter wanted to go in the water. I put myself on a lounge chair to relax. I wasn't able to move my arms or my fingers without great pain. I finally managed to get up and join my daughter. The water was very murky at this spot and something kept stinging us. We both decided it was time to leave. We made it back to the ship by around 1:30 p.m. We both took a shower and fell asleep with the TV on!

When I woke up I remembered my daughter was to meet her new friend at the Oceaneer Club at 5 p.m. to make a Disney animation cell. We had to hurry but I could barely move and was very concerned about my arms. I had pulled a few muscles and it took a few days to recover. I had to sleep with a pillow under my arm so it was elevated.

After I dropped off my daughter my new friend and I went to the adults-only coffee shop. I stopped in there before and had my iced coffee (for a fee), which was very good. The Cove Cafe was a quiet spot behind the adults-only pool; it had magazines, headsets for the big-screen TV and was just a nice spot to relax.

Soon it was time to go to dinner. The menu wasn't anything to write home about but the company made up for the food. That night they had "Hilarious Comedy & Ventriloquism at the theater and I had no interest. My daughter tagged along with her new friend and Mom, and we agreed to meet upstairs for the big “Pirates in the Caribbean Party" from 9:45-11:30 p.m. Rumor had it there would be fireworks too. While my daughter was at the theater, I wrote some e-mails and just checked out the ship.

The show later was wonderful and the kids had a lot of fun. We saw Mickey, Minnie and of course Captain Hook. Someone flew through the air and after that there were fireworks! I don't know of any other cruise line that does fireworks in the middle of the ocean! Afterwards they had a small buffet. Then we went back to our cabin. I was still in a lot of pain with my arms but the right one was very bad as I could not straighten it. I took some Tylenol and hoped for the best! Next day: Sea day!

Day 4 - Sea Day

My daughter slept in but I got up early and headed upstairs to see it was raining. This just added to my sadness knowing this cruise was coming to an end! I ate breakfast at the Beach Blanket Buffet and afterwards I headed down to the desk to straighten out my spa charge.

Remember the tropical rainforest at the spa? I explained why I had not gone and why I would like to have my $45 refunded. He said he would look into it and give me a call later on. When I went into my cabin he did leave me a message and the charge was removed. I also went to the spa and treated myself to a haircut. The price was high but it was fun and I enjoyed it.

After a quick visit to the Internet I woke up my daughter so she could get some breakfast. My daughter and I had not shopped yet and as I laid on Deck 4 on a wooden lounge chair with extra-thick padding, she went shopping. To my surprise she came back with a gift for me, a Disney mug that said "I love you, Mom." She also bought two charm bracelets. I went there later and made some purchases also.

The chair was very comfortable and I felt like going to sleep. Unfortunately some smokers came out on the deck and I had to leave. It was very rare to see smokers. On Disney, many places are smoke-free, including all the inside cabins.

My daughter wanted to see the Magic & Ventriloquism guy again; he was giving a demonstration, so off we went. I enjoyed it but he pushed his products too much. I had not had a chance to play Bingo at all so we went to the early one with our new friends and I won $49! We went again later that night for the Jackpot but we did not win anything.

Animator's Restaurant

That night was the big dinner at "The Animator's Palate." I heard many great things about this room as it goes from black & white to color throughout dinner. We checked out the menu and it disappointed both of us. So we decided to go on the pool deck and eat some fries at Pluto's Dog house. This wasn't the first time we ate there, and the fries came out hot and crunchy. The cart had all the trimmings including tons of potato chip bags. I tried the chicken sandwich one time and it was good but spicy.

On Deck 9 there was a Pinocchio's Pizzeria but we never made it there. The only surcharge restaurant, Palo's, was for adults only ($10 each), and I never went there. Our table mates tried to but it was booked throughout the entire cruise! As we ate some fries the two girls went to play ping pong. Again, we had great conversation and time flew by.

The restaurant was indeed a nice experience but dinner wasn't great. The couple ordered a steak medium well; I told him considering how mine was done at medium rare, his must be a leather shoe. Unfortunately, I was right! What surprised us was that they did not serve any lobster on the cruise!

This was also the night to give out tip envelopes. Our assistant water was very nice and I handed her something extra when I shook her hand. Our waiter was fine but nothing to write home about. The evening was "enhanced" by four accidents in our area – waiters dropping plates, glasses, food, etc., including something on a guest.

Afterwards we went to the theater and watched "Dreams." It says on the flyer, “Fly through the air with Peter Pan and your imagination as many classic Disney characters spring to life. With a little Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust you'll see that your dreams can come true!

The show was fantastic, but some little girls behind me totally screamed when a new Disney character showed up. On the other hand it was nice to experience their excitement -- it was so cute and innocent. Afterwards the girls went to the Oceaneer Lab to pick up a graduation hat and the animation cell they had made. It was time to retire to our cabin and start packing! We checked our e-mail and of course my daughter ordered chocolate chip cookies and we watched a movie on TV. We had wanted to go to the Disney Cinema but just never had time.

Arrival in Port Canaveral

The last morning I had received a paper in our stateroom stating I had to be at the Walt Disney Theater by 6 a.m. to clear immigration. This was very efficient, organized and swift. Every previous time I cruised, no one was there on time. Not on the Wonder! Disney set up a little cart with coffee, tea and breakfast pastries -- very thoughtful. The line moved fast and in no time I was in front of an immigration officer.

After breakfast we went back to our cabin, got our bags and left the ship in very slow motion. In front was the free Raddison shuttle that took us to the hotel, where I had booked one night. We arrived at the hotel around 9 a.m., checked in, went to sleep until 4 p.m. The hotel was okay and the pool area was very nice and the burger by the tiki bar was excellent. The rate had a free breakfast buffet. We checked out later the next day.

Conclusion

The Disney Wonder service was excellent and the crew very friendly. The food wasn't great but we did not starve. Room service was very fast and the inside cabin was spacious. There was plenty to do and always something for just “adults.” I think it's a nice touch to get free soda. I never saw any drunks or females in string bikinis. I would say this is a very family oriented cruise which I like very much. I was a little worried about taking a Disney cruise and only took it because my 12 year old wanted to. I did not regret the cruise and I am already looking forward to booking another one for the beginning of next year. We did not have annoying announcements in our cabin and never anyone trying to sell something to us. We "missed" the formal night, meaning I did not notice a formal night. I always dressed in black pants and a fancy shirt. I did not notice anyone -- including kids -- in shorts at any time. The theater productions were class A+. All in all a great cruise and we will cruise Disney again!

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