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Age: 34

Occupation:Electrical Contractor

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Disney

Ship: Disney Wonder

Sailing Date: January 4th, 2004

Itinerary: Bahamas

This was our first cruise, so we don’t have any other ships or cruise companies to compare it to. We began our vacation with a stay at the Animal Kingdom Resort for 6 nights then we began our 4 night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Wonder on January 4th. Just a quick note on our stay at the Animal Kingdom Resort….it was beautiful and we really enjoyed our time there.

On the morning of the 4th we transferred from the resort to the Disney Wonder. The cruise representatives at the resort were very helpful and assisted me in correcting a mistake the Disney Travel agency made with our transfers. This was a minor setback. The trip to the cruise ship took approximately 1 ½ hours. It was nice drive. There were continuous cartoons playing for the kids, which really helped them pass the time.
We booked our resort stay and cruise separately. We are from Canada and at the time of booking, Canadians paid an “at par” rate for the cruise portion of their Walt Disney vacation. We ended up saving a considerable amount of money because of this offer. The only inconvenience was that we ended up with two separate itineraries for our vacation and it wasn’t as seamless as if the cruise and resort stay were booked as one. That is where the problem with the transfers came into play, but again, the cruise reps took care of that very quickly.

Our first impression was what a beautiful ship the Wonder is. It isn’t as big as some of the other cruise ships that I’ve seen or that were docked in Port Canaveral, but wow, she is classy. When we entered the ship we knew we were in for a special time. The crewmembers meet you with a big hello and announce your arrival with a round of applause. They have a grand piano in the main lobby with a piano player. We found our room right away and went in for a look around. We were on deck 7, Class 5, Room 7576. We were on the starboard side of the ship, just aft of the midship elevators. Our room was beautiful! We had a veranda that was a really nice addition to our stay. Our children (4 and 7) really enjoyed the view. I thought I would be a bit nervous having a veranda that was roughly 7 stories up from sea level and 2 small kids, but I wasn’t at all. The veranda is Plexiglas up to the handrail. There was no chance that the kids would slip through and fall. I was happy. We had 2 single beds that were pushed together to make one king (?) size bed for my wife and I and the kids had bunk beds. The kids were delighted with the bunk beds. The cabin has a full bath with shower and sink in one room and a toilet and sink in another room. This was great for our family of 4. The bathrooms were nicely decorated with ceramic tile, silver taps and sinks, and glass shelving. We found that there was plenty of room for the 4 of us in our cabin.

Our room steward was Christopher, and he was very attentive and made our room up every evening with the greatest detail. Our kids loved the towel animals he made for them and the chocolates he left on their beds each evening. He would take the time out of his obviously busy schedule to teach our kids how to make the towel animals. It’s little things like this that can really make the difference between a nice vacation and a fabulous vacation.

We ate at all the restaurants on board, with the exception of Palo’s. We really enjoyed them all. The food was amazing in each one. My wife and I have a difference of opinion as to which one was best visually. She really liked Parrot Cay. It was nice, and very colorful. I liked Animator’s Palate. It is completely black and white when you are seated, but then becomes more colorful throughout your meal. Typical Disney! Our servers at the restaurants were very good. I can’t say enough about them. They were Daniel (Uruguay) and Balwon (India ?). They knew our names almost instantly and saw to our every need during our dinners. There were a couple of mistakes made with drinks and such, but they made up for that in their overall level of service. Daniel would take the time to recommend what he thought was the best selection from the menu. He would then spend time speaking with our kids to find out what they wanted to eat. Then at the end of the meal he would, at our request, recommend things to do during our visits to port or our day at sea. We spoke to some of the restaurant staff and they work long hard hours, by North American standards. They sign 6-month contracts, and work 7 days a week. Their day usually begins at 8 am and they don’t finish until 11:30 pm. I truly believe they earn their tips, in general.

The shows were very nice. We saw the Mickey Awards, Hercules and there was another one but I can’t remember the name just now. Very nicely done. Our kids loved the shows. They were literally on the edge of their seat the whole time. We saw the early shows because we had the late dinner seating at 8:30 pm.

We also went to the Dueling Pianos Family Show that was entertaining. We saw the 70’s and the 80’s show in Waveband’s. They were both fun. The ‘70’s show was the best. We laughed till our sides nearly split. The host was the best! She could really think on her feet and kept the audience laughing the whole time.

My son and I went to the Buena Vista Theatre and saw The Haunted Mansion, which was fun. The offered other first run movies, but this was the only one we caught.
The entertainment crew onboard did a great job. There were Disney characters at every turn of the hall. Our kids enjoyed walking down the hall and there in front of them would be Snow White. Then we would move onto another deck and Cinderella would be there.

Our day in Nassau was fun. We chose to do the Discover Atlantis tour. Lots of walking, but fun for the kids and interesting for us. The underwater aquarium and shark displays were really nice. We did some shopping and which was an enjoyable experience. We didn’t have any difficulties with pushy vendors and nobody tried to sell us any “questionable” merchandise. The ferry trip to Paradise Island was relaxing.

Our day in Castaway Cay was probably the highlight of our trip. It’s beautiful. The beach is endless. The water is crystal clear. There is abundant sea life to experience, including sting rays. The kids had a wonderful time here also. Lots of lifeguards on duty. The buffet was nice. The weather was in the 90’s the day we were there. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The weather was in the 80’s and 90’s our whole trip, except the last day on the ship. It was probably 60-65 degrees, overcast and windy. The seas were 8’ – 13’. It made for some rough sailing, but nothing exceptional. I actually enjoyed the slow rocking of the ship. I slept like a baby. The waves were breaking across our port side for most of the day, which caused a rolling sensation when walking down the length of the ship. It was fun. I saw a few people with those seasickness patches on. I guess it bothered a few people.

We arrived back into port right on time and debarkation was smooth and painless. We ate at the Beach Blanket Buffet and were off the ship by 7:30 am. Again, we have no previous experience with cruises, but we had a wonderful time. I would classify this cruise as a 9.5 out of 10. I spoke with several other families that have been on other cruises, and they had the same impression.

I don’t think I would do this cruise if it were just my wife and myself. I think I would choose another cruise line just because of the fact that most of the things onboard are geared for kids, and families. This is what makes this ship so great though. If you are looking for a true family vacation, this is the way to go. I’m sure we will be boarding another Disney cruise within the next few years.

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