June 15, 2006
Embarkation was a breeze. We got at the port early, were able to register our daughter for the oceaneer club... Got a photo with Minnie and Pluto before boarding. We were on board by noon with the announcement, "Welcome to the McDerment Family!" Let the fun begin.
There was several staff awaiting our arrival in the main atrium of the boat, all eager to assist us. We headed to the buffet. After a full belly, we were off to explore. First stop, the oceaneer kids club. (Daycare). WOW... secure entrance and exit of the club, they have to buzz you in and out and you don't get out with your kid with out giving them a password. The club has a stage, a sitting area, and a large boat with a rope ladder, bridge, slide, and ship steering wheel. There is a separate dress up room and computer area for the kids as well. The room with the ship is kind of dim... . on the ceiling there are many fiber optic lights to resemble stars. Pretty awesome! Due to the tremendous amount of activities offered on board, I think my daughter only spent a total of 4hrs in this play area during the whole cruise.
There is something to be said about the 3 pools. One pool and hot tub area for adults only! One Pool is for any one. The other pool is definitely the kid's area, especially for the little ones. This one has one main pool about 3 ft deep and two toddler pools. There is also a water slide which anyone ages 4yr old – 16yr can slide. My daughter loved this whole area. Next to this kiddie pool area there is ice cream, pizza, and hotdogs if you get hungry... .the buffet is close by too.
Next stop was our room. We got the basic room... .compared to carnival, dolphin, and Norwegian... this room seemed like a suite! Two bathroom areas, one with a tub/shower/sink, and the other with a toilet and sink. Convenient for getting ready.
There was a couch that changed into a twin size bed at night, and a queen size bed in the back. Very comfy.
The theater and shows were all Disney quality. Just awesome. My daughter and I were in awe as we were entertained nightly. The shows exceeding my expectations. There was even fireworks outside one night!
The Wonder has 3 main dinning rooms. Each was good. The waiters added some nice Disney touches; I don't want to give away. I wouldn't say the food in any of these exceeded my expectations... but it was consistently good... I have had better on the Norwegian. Also every dinning room was very noisy, hard to hear each other. Just a note... we did not dine in Palo (the pay restraint) , only because it was a short cruise and wanted to try all three main dinning rooms. I'm sure Palo would have been wonderful; there is always next time to try! One other food fact, the soft serve ice cream is a controlled situation. They have people operating this area to serve you. The hours are limited too... like 11am-9pm. This is good and bad. Good, because kids cant make a big mess of this area and cause a lot of waste. Bad because if you want an extra large ice cream, you have to go back 3 times to get the amount you want. Also, if you are craving ice cream anytime after 9pm, you are out of luck! Oh yea, Unlimited soda too for free, any time.
On to the islands... Nassau... .. We did discover Atlantis. A tour of the main floor and aquarium of the resort Atlantis. Had to walk a little bit to get to our bus, then the bus doesn't even drop you off at the resort... .they drop you off at a area for you to walk some more. Just a ploy to walk you through shops before you get to the resort. It was very hot that day... was ready to get to some air-conditioned room! Once we arrived to the resort, it was very fast paced. They had different saltwater fish, and fake Atlantis artifacts. Over all, I'm glad I got to see the resort... now I know I would never spend the kind of money they are asking a night to stay there! I really didn't think it was anything spectacular. Save your money and stay on the boat that day!
As far as castaway cay... .they should really do away with Nassau and make it 2days at castaway! SOOO much fun! This is Disney's private island. From the boat, it is a short tram ride or a 5 min walk to the beach. Before arriving at the beach they have 3 different areas for photos with characters. We saw Minnie, Goofy's son, and Pluto. We missed chip and dale. The beaches... .There is a family beach, with plenty of hammocks and chairs, there is a children's area, scuttle cove, with sand and water activities, a bone dig area, a 18yr old and older area (more later!) , a boat rental area with seados, sailboats, rafts., parasailing ... snorkel area with a reef... also shops, a lunch buffet that has hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, chicken, cold salads, sodas, and soft serve ice-cream ... that day it was chocolate chip cookie dough mmmmm.
We took our daughter to the family beach first and played together for a while... then she wanted to try the play area. So while I floated in the water, my husband dropped her off at scuttles cove. After a bit of floating bumping in to kids and families, we decided to try the adult beach. We took a short tram ride to serenity beach... .OH MY GOD! It was like the corona commercial! No music, no yelling, just the sound of the wind whispering by your ear. There were maybe 15 other adults there when we arrived. We pulled up a chair, stuck it in the water , instant relaxation. They offered cabana messages there too... .no need for a message for me, as soon as I saw that beach, every muscle in my body went limp! White sand and crystal clear water. There was even a buffet set up for the adults.
Back to the ship... sooooooo much to do for families with kids. I hate to say this, almost too much! I was beginning to feel stressed out to do everything. But remember we did a 3night. So many opportunities for photos with characters. They do give you a navigator that tells you which characters will be out at what times.
The ship also offers two main stores, one geared more to kids, and the other more towards adults. There is one another store I never checked out, something to do with route 66.
Disembarkation was smooth as silk. They started letting everyone off at 8am. ANYONE can get off at that time... which I thought that was great. No lines or waiting to get off the ship. The captain was at the exit door to tell you goodbye and thank you. Nice touch.
Overall I would say this was an excellent cruise. I recommend this to people of any age. (Remember the adult areas... pool, beach, also a coffee café Palo restraint all 18yr and older).