Dennis H. Budziszewski
Age: 41 to 50
Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Disney
Ship: Disney Wonder
Sailing Date: June 29th, 2000
Itinerary: Nassau, Castaway Cay
On to the cruise. We got a category 7 stateroom, with a navigator's verandah, which I highly recommend. It's practically the same as a category 6, at hundreds less. The same size and dimensions, which were ample. We all thought the food at all the restaurants was exceptional, much better than we had anticipated, based on previous reviews we had read. We didn't realize until the last day, however, that room service was a totally free option, which we could have happily used for breakfast. The only glitch our cabin (#5634) had, which was annoying, was, for some inexplicable reason, our t.v. kept turning on at 4:30 every morning, like a wake up call too early, so I had to keep turning it off, and go back to bed. The pools were o.k., but far too small to accomodate all the guests; very crowded, and at one point, a fight almost broke out among some pre-teens, which led to an early exit for our 10 year old one day.
Our daughter enjoyed the Oceaneer's lab, and her only regret was that she didn't get to spend More time there. She did participate in a special kids only production at the theatre, which she enjoyed, and was rewarded with a cool t-shirt.
The Disney theatre productions were very good, very professional, and very much enjoyed by everyone, culminating in a standing ovation at the conclusion of the last show, " Disney Dreams "!
Our intention, once we got to Nassau, was to do the dolphin encounter shore excursion, which, we were told, was one of the best options available, and I went to guest services about an hour and a half after boarding to make arrangements only to discover it was already booked solid. We should have gone directly there, after boarding, and I suggest anyone wanting to do this, or any other shore excursion, to do that. So, instead, we decided to just " wing it ", and took a brief horse and buggy tour of Nassau, which really wasn't all that impressive, but our daughter enjoyed it. Then we did some serious souvenier shopping, and as we were heading back to the ship, we got talked into a hair braiding ny this very nice lady named Tasha, who wasn't pushy at all, but very informative and friendly, and I negotiated a full head braiding for our daughter, from $75, to $50, which seemed reasonable, after reading about other people who spent three times that amount. The whole process took about an hour and a half in 90-plus degree heat, and our daughter later told us it was painful at times, but she was very happy with the results, and has been receiving compliments ever since, aboard ship, and from family and friends back home.
The following day, at Castaway Cay, we frolicked in the water all morning, starting at 10 a.m., which we all enjoyed, but could never quite get used to the Very salty sea water, which we were not used to. The barbecue lunch was, again, better than expected. We skipped breakfast that day, because we knew they would be starting the buffet around 11:30. After lunch, our daughter had to go to her first rehearsal for the aforementioned production, which was supposed to last only a half hour, and when I went to pick her up, they were painting faux sea shells, and she didn't want to leave. So I rejoined my wife at the beach, only to watch a serious thunderstorm roll in, and once the lightning started, it was a mad dash back to the safety of the ship.
The Disney help aboard ship was outstanding, and from so many ( 54, we were told ) countries, we really got a kick from hearing so many different accents. Our cabin hostess was from Thailand; our main server at the meals was from Slovenia; the assistant server from Croatia; their boss, from Australia, and on and on. England, Poland, France, Italy, South Africa, etc., it was amazing. I thought the ride itself was as smooth as can be, but my wife complained, just a little, that her equilibrium was slightly affected, but not enough to warrant dramamine, or the like.
We agreed going in that we we purchase only 2 of the on-board professional photos thee Disney took, but they were so darn good, we ended up buying 6 at $10 a pop. They even took one of our daughter as we were building a sand castle on the beach at Castaway Cay, and it was so adorable, we simply couldn't resist.
All in all, it was the experience of a lifetime for us, and one I'm sure our daughter will tell her kids and grandchildren about some day. We totally recommend it for families, even tho we met several couples on board who were on their honeymoons, and seemed just as, if not more, happy as us. If we do it again, we'll probably opt for the 3 days in Disneyworld, followed by the 4-day cruise, simply because we pretty much accomplished what we wanted to at the theme parks, plus the three days aboard ship went by so fast, the extra day at sea would have been very welcome.
Overall, we give the entire experience 3 1/2 stars out of 4, which, coming from me, is a very good recommendation, because I'm not too easy to please. If you have any questions you'd like to ask me, feel free to e-mail me, and I'll do my best to help you out.
Sincerely, Dennis H. Budziszewski