Number of Cruises: 6 to 10 Cruises
Cruise Line: Disney
Ship: Disney Wonder
Sailing Date: September 7th,1999
Itinerary: Bahamas, Castaway Key
The Disney Wonder Royal Suite was spectacular
by: boardwalk (Wed May 17 '00)
Pros: The Royal Suite made the cruise very special.
Cons: The 3-night cruise was to short.
In May of 1998, I called Disney Cruise Line direct and made reservations for two adults in their category 1, seven-day vacation. The first four days were spent at the Grand Floridian Beach Hotel at Walt Disney World and than followed by three nights on the brand new Disney Wonder. I was fortunate to get a confirmation for the sailing in early September of 1999 just weeks after the Wonders inaugural cruise. Since I was taking a good friend with me, I wanted this vacation to be very special and one that we both would remember forever.
Day One, Two, Three and Four:
My friend lived in a different city and after flying there to pick her up, we flew first class to Orlando Florida and checked in at the Grand Floridian Beach Hotel for four nights. This is Walt Disney's flagship hotel and it was my third visit to Walt Disney World and my second visit to the Grand Floridian. We checked in to a large suite on the concierge level that overlooked the pool and the Seven Seas Lagoon. We ate dinner at Victoria and Albert's restaurant, played Mickey Mouse for four days, visited Epcot, Pleasure Island, (Adventures Club, my favorite) and of course the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. It was a wonderful way to start the vacation.
Day Five, The Cruise:
A Disney coach bus provided the mid morning trip from the Grand Floridian Hotel to the Disney Wonder. I must say, as we drove over the hill approaching the ship off in the distance we were very excited. After seeing some pictures of the Disney Magic, I new a little about what to expect but there's nothing like seeing the ship for the first time knowing you are about to be one of it's pampered passengers. We felt like little kids, fixing to go play in the tree house together.
After boarding we were escorted to the Roy Disney Royal Suite. Pictures of the Royal Suite can be found in my member profile. Just click on to my favorite URL. It was better than great with 1150 Sq. Ft. of luxury surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. There was a large living room with all the perks, a dining room, a library, two bedrooms and two massive bathrooms with a spa in each and a 35-foot private veranda that overlooked the ocean. As we walked in to the suite, we just looked at each other and smiled from ear to ear.
Soon after arriving, the head concierge and her assistance made there appearance to welcome us both and to answer questions and make our restaurant and spa reservations. That evening we had a wonderful dinner and show. Later we spent time together on our private veranda sipping champagne to a bright romantic moon and to the sight and sounds of the gentle ocean waves below.
The Disney Wonder is a beautiful ship that truly represents the high Disney standard and I highly recommend her for a romantic getaway. Our trip was the week school started back so we didn't really see that many children aboard. The kids had there own play level so they provided no distraction to us what so ever. The food was very good and plentiful, the restaurants beautiful and the service was excellent. My favorite restaurant was Palo. I recommend making your Palo reservations as soon as you get on the ship because it fills up fast. If you are in category 1,2,or 3 there is no need to wait in line because the concierge will come to your room and make them for you.
The second day on board was in Nassau. After a brief walk downtown Nassau to purchase some wine, champagne and souvenirs, we choose to go back aboard and enjoy the ship and ourselves. There is plenty to do aboard the ship except there is no gambling for the adults. You can go to the large Hotels in Nassau to gamble.
There was an open party held on the top deck at 10:00 PM. Disney provided a great band and it seemed like everyone aboard was there. At midnight there was a fireworks display and everyone was dancing and having a wonderful time. The Fantasy Cruise ship was docked next to the Wonder and a lot of their passengers were enjoying the music and ambience of the Wonders party. Our cruise director made an announcement about the Fantasy being docked next to us and that all the passengers aboard the Fantasy were dreaming about being aboard the Wonder. Everybody laughed and I felt he was right. We were very happy to be aboard the Wonder instead of the Fantasy. For passengers that decided to take in the sights and sounds of Nassau that evening, they had until the wee hours of the morning to make it back to the ship before departure. Since this was my third trip to Nassau, I elected to enjoy the ships party instead of going a shore. My second visit to Nassau was aboard the Nordic Empress. On that voyage I stayed in their Royal Suite (stateroom 8006) and soon I'll post a review and make some pictures available of our suite.
Day Seven: Castaway Cay
The next day we woke up in paradise, Disney's own 1,000-acre Bahamian island Castaway Cay. This private sanctuary is a must on your things to do list with your family or special love one. It was a nice warm day to spend at the beach and we did just that. We walked hand and hand along the beach talking to others and collecting seashells. We enjoyed barbecued salmon and barbecued steaks galore. I think the only thing better than going to Castaway Cay once is going back a second time, which I hope to do some day soon. The only negative thing about this day is that you have to pack that night and leave your bags outside your stateroom to be picked up by the porters. This was a harsh reminder that our Disney vacation was coming to an end.
After getting up early the morning of departure we spent some time taking some pictures around the ship. We waited until the very last minute to disembarked the ship and start our bus trip back to the Orlando Airport and than to fly back home. The sea were calm and the weather was great the entire voyage. Neither of us experienced any seasickness or discomfort. We were very fortunate. Just as we were leaving the ship, it started to rain very hard and there was a hurricane brewing not far behind. All good thing must come to an end and we didn't want this trip to end.
Beginning August 12, 2000, Disney Cruise Line will offer
a new, seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise vacation that
combines a Disney cruise experience with the ports of St.
Maarten and St. Thomas, and with excursions to St. John. I
guess I better start saving my money again.
The Disney Magic will depart on its new seven-day itinerary each Saturday from Port Canaveral, Fla. The itinerary is as follows:
Saturday Depart from Port Canaveral
Sunday At Sea
Monday At Sea
Tuesday St. Maarten
Wednesday St. Thomas, with excursions to St. John
Thursday At Sea
Friday Castaway Cay
Saturday Return to Port Canaveral
Disney Cruise Line also will include Freeport in the Disney Wonder four-day itinerary, effective August 2000. Freeport will take the place of a day at sea every other week.
To book a Disney Cruise Line vacation, you can call Disney Cruise Line at (407) 566-7000 or (800) WDW-CRUISE.
Recommendations and notes:
1. Take as little baggage as possible.
2. If you can afford it, try to book the concierge level (category one, two and three) aboard the Wonder. It's worth every penny of it.
3. Take a lot of pictures and keep a daily journal of your trip. You will be glad you did.
4. When you board the ship have flowers or fruit waiting in the stateroom for your love ones. You can order them threw Disney.
5. The only small negative thing about the whole trip was room service. I called the first morning from our suite to order some breakfast and I was told it would take 45 minutes to one hour before it would arrive. We were invited to a small private cocktail reception with the Captain and the (ships) Hotel Manager. I passed this piece of information on to the Hotel Manager and he agreed with me that this was an area that needed improvement and would be improved on.
6. The two Royal Suites are the same reverse layouts but they have different wall interiors. The Walt Disney Royal Suite has a piano in it and is reminiscent of the Art Deco glamour of the 1920's. It's beige carved wood paneled walls provide a sleek backdrop for the etched acrylic panel doors and softly upholstered furnishings. The Roy Disney Royal Suite doesn't have a piano but has a rich burled wood wall and etched acrylic panel doors throughout. I recommend the Roy Disney Royal Suite by far.
7. Sleeping accommodations in the Roy Disney Royal Suite. There is a master queen bedroom for two. In the library there is a queen size wall pull down bed. In the second bedroom there are two single beds with two more pull down beds above then for a total of four beds. There is a closet off the second bedroom with another small flip down bed in it. This could be used for a small child. There is also a pull out bed in the sofa in the living room. There is full size bar, plenty of storage space and a safe for valuables.
8. Don't forget to take travelers checks. I didn't. I put two one hundred-dollar bills in my wallet just in case I lost my cash and guess what I lost my wallet with ID and credit cards. Fortunately I still had my passport but as of today's date my wallet still hasn't been returned to me. Get travelers checks and leave extra cash, credit cards and ID at home.
9. Important: If Disney is handling your flight arrangements, you will have to pay a surcharge to guarantee that your families airline seats are next to each other. I took care of the changes to first class directly with the airline after Disney booked our air reservations. I also used air miles to pay for the cost to upgrade to first class.
10. To help you with your cruise plans, I have provided links to my photographs of the Roy Disney Royal Suite and two additional very helpful sites.(1) "The Ultimate Cruise Packing List". (2)"The Magical Disney Cruise Guide". This guide provides everything you need to know to get the most out of your Disney Magic or Wonder cruise. First click on to my member profile and than click on my favorite URL. Another excellent Disney Cruise source is by fellow Epinion reviewer Inkkognito. His website is at (www.disneycruiser.com). Inkkognito is the webmaster there and has been on over 11 Disney cruises.
11. The Disney Cruise line motor coach provides complimentary transportation from the airport to your hotel, from your hotel to the ship as well as the ship back to the airport. I found the coaches to be on time, clean and very comfortable to travel in.
12. Disney takes care of your luggage from start to finish. When you arrive at the Orlando airport, you will find Disney staff everywhere and they are eager to answer your questions and direct you to the baggage area and on to the Disney coach station. SPECIAL NOTE: If you need your bags as soon as you arrived at your Disney Resort, don't turn them over to Disney. If you do this the bags will be put on a separate truck and it could take two, three, or even four hours for them to arrive at your room. I had to wait about 3 hours for my luggage after I arrived at the Grand Floridian. If you need your bags as soon as you get to your resort, I recommend you to tell the Disney staff at the airport that you want to take your bags with you on the same.Disney coach that takes you to your resort.