Sunday, March 31, 2013

Disney Cruise (Part 1)

We recently enjoyed our first Disney Cruise (first ever cruise too!), and it was one of the most amazing experiences I've had in my life.. This trip has completely transformed the way I see vacations and I'd like to share my observations with my readers (and whoever would like to know about it)...
Since there are so many details about this whole cruise experience, I have decided to write my review in several parts.  In this first post, I will review a number of aspects of the cruise and will keep doing that until I am done..

The Check-In process: this might be different depending on the port you sail out of, but I must say that things were incredibly smooth at the Miami port.  Several days prior to our sail date, I received a personalized booklet in the mail with specific details about the process; including luggage tags, arrival times, etc.  It took us less than 10 min to check in and be on our way to the ship. This fast check-in process was definitely a great way to start our cruise...

The Ship: We traveled on the famous "Disney Wonder", which is a 10-deck ship that features amazing amenities and variety of sections including three pools, a state of the art gym, multiple restaurants and theaters and a beautiful lobby atrium, which is considered the "heart" of the ship. The ship is amazingly well kept, clean and just plain beautiful.  It is just the right size and one of the most appealing sights in the sea... I can only hope I get to visit the "Wonder" again in my life...
I was also very impressed with the hygiene measures throughout the ship; there were wet wipes at the entrance of every restaurant, health warnings everywhere and a very health conscious staff. 
The atrium

Staterooms: cruise ships aren't necessarily famous for having spacious staterooms, after all most of the time is spent outside the room since cruises are so much fun. I won't say the Disney Wonder offers HUGE rooms because that isn't true, but I will say that the staterooms are incredibly comfortable and spacious enough.  The room features a king size bed in the main area, and bunk beds in an alternate section, which is divided by a curtain; this way both the kids and parents can enjoy some privacy in the room.  The shower area is comfortably separated from the toilet and main washroom.  The room is just the right size for a family of four and I must say the beds and linens were awesome! (soft blankets, anyone?)

Restaurants/Food: Our ship featured three main restaurants (Triton's, Animator's Palate and Parrot Cay), which you alternate on different nights so that everyone can enjoy a variety of foods.  It also features several other food spots for more informal eating, snacks, sweets, etc.  I could probably spend several days talking about the food because it was that amazing; there were tons of varieties including meat, pasta, fish, salads.. you name it, they had it.. and it was all so delicious.... 
Desserts were also scrumptious and every restaurant had a great variety of cocktails and liquors all very reasonably priced (alcoholic beverages are NOT included in the price of the cruise).  My favorite restaurant was Triton's only because the ambience was slightly better, but they were all so good.. 

Destinations:  During our cruise, we had two main destinations; Grand Cayman and Cozumel.  If I had anything negative to say about the cruise, it would be the places where we stopped. 
Our first port of call was Grand Cayman, which probably qualifies as the ugliest place I've visited in a while, not much to see there and the weather for the day certainly didn't help (it was cloudy and chilly).  Additionally, Grand Cayman doesn't have a place for ships to dock, so we had to board tender boats and then take buses to the main part of the island, which was a tedious and terrible process...definitely nor worth our time. I do have to say, though that it was nice to get online for a few minutes and take advantage of the free wifi on the island. ;)

The second port of call was Cozumel, Mexico, which was slightly better than Grand Cayman and definitely more picturesque.  There is a dock in Cozumel so that helped to make our visit a little better. Cozumel offers nice Mexican shops, fun restaurants and lots of picture spots. 
I did hear that the cruise destinations are better when you book separate excursions, but we didn't do that because most of them had age restrictions which didn't work out for us...
It was still nice to visit different places and get off the ship for a few hours and obviously Disney has no control over how nice (or un-nice) cruise destinations are.  We still enjoyed our days..

This concludes Part 1 of my Disney Cruise review.  In my next post, I will review:
- Character Spotting
- Events & Entertainment
- Service & Staff
- Amenities
I look forward to writing more about this fun cruise and all of the different categories that deserve a review. 
I hope you have enjoyed this first part and go on to read the next ones. 
Happy Blogging! ;)

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