This post is a continuation of my comprehensive review of our latest Disney Cruise. Part 1 can be found here if you care to read.
I will continue reviewing each of the main categories and at the end of the post, I'll write about whatever wasn't "perfect", because even Disney makes mistakes...
* The Staterooms: We stayed in an ocean view family suite, big enough for the 5 of us and pretty spacious by cruise ship standards. The room had a queen size bed, a bunk and a wall bed and it fit all of us pretty comfortably. There was a large porthole window (pictured below) and a double sink bathroom divided into a shower-sink and a toilet-sink combos; this was genius because it allowed for more comfort as well. Our stateroom was located on deck 7. It was perfect.
* Castaway Cay: Our cruise had two stops, one at Nassau, Bahamas (which I won't even address) and another one at Disney's private island "Castaway Cay". This private island is located in the Bahamas and is basically paradise; it is such a beautiful place with crystalline blue waters and tons to do. We had such a great time at this place and the girls even went snorkeling. The beach experience is much more enjoyable when it's done Disney style; there are tons of beach chairs and umbrellas, bars, restaurants, characters, sailboats, water slides... you name, it's there. I would probably make this the only stop for a 3 day cruise and make it longer as well. Such a great time!
* The Overall Experience: If you're a Disney lover, this is definitely the cruise for you. It is slightly more expensive than other cruises (we paid $3000 for a family of 5) but it is so worth it. The customer service is beyond compare and (almost) everything is done right. The overall experience is incredible and we will be sure to cruise with them again! I am so thankful for a great time and feel so blessed to be able to take my kids on these fun vacations.
What wasn't "perfect" about the Disney cruise?
Even though the list of "issues" is short, it is worth noting in order to be objective:
- Halloween Activities were poorly planned: There was a trick or treat event through the ship and it was very poorly organized. There were tons of kids asking for candy and only a few stations with very few staff passing it out. The activity was scheduled to last 30 minutes and it was so chaotic that people were starting to become hostile. I would suggest either scrapping the activity all together or having at least 5 times as much candy.
- The constant "up selling" was a buzz killer: I get it, Disney is in the business of making money but the up selling throughout the cruise is a bit extreme. I feel like people pay enough money to go on these cruises so I don't see the need to constantly pressure people to spend even more.
- Some Youth Counselors are not cut out for that job: I had a couple of run ins with youth counselors who didn't seem to like kids. They had issues with the fact that Oliver needed to be escorted to the bathroom and many seemed annoyed at the amount of children at the clubs. I believe that type of job should go to people who genuinely love kids and crowds.
- Family Karaoke Night was a bomb: Some of the members in our party attempted to sing at karaoke night only to be told there was not enough time. The event is scheduled to last 30 minutes but it is not properly organized; they let everyone sign up to sing without regards for time and when the 30 minutes run out... too bad! I think there should be someone "policing" the sign ups a bit better so that everyone gets a chance or at least is told that they likely won't have time to sing their song. I sat through excruciatingly painful singing voices (some sang more than one song) only to be disappointed when members of my party didn't get to have a turn. Terrible planning.
- Pool deck floors: the pool deck floors are horrible quality; they got scorchingly hot and were extremely slippery, both which are safety hazards. I know there are paving materials that are much better for this type of setting; ones that don't get hot and are anti slippery. I think Disney ships should feature better pool decks to avoid people slipping and falling or getting their feet burned.
- Safety protocol for some events is not up to code: speaking of safety.. one of the members of our party was a firefighter and she couldn't help but notice the fact that during some events like the firework show, there were several code violations such as emergency exits being blocked and not enough entry/exit points for such large crowds. Considering the Disney Dream has a capacity for 4000 people, these things should be looked at seriously to avoid any tragedies.
With all that said, we still enjoyed cruising with Disney and will most definitely do it again. Reserving your cruise 12-18 months ahead of time will represent significant savings and will also make planning much easier. I cannot wait to do it again!