Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Disney
Ship: Disney Wonder
Sailing Date: May 15th, 2005
This was my family's first cruise on the Disney Wonder. I've been on two other
cruises before, and I have to say that Disney sets it apart.
The best advise is to fill out all of your paperwork before hand and have your luggage properly tagged with the luggage tags they provide you. Having done that, the entire process will take 10-15 minutes tops. When you're about to board, they take your picture and then they announce your family aboard with such enthusiasm. As soon as you get on board go and register your children in the Oceaneer's Club/Lab. Second, if you wish to dine at Palo (I highly recommend that you do) do that immediately as well. It takes about an hour to get your bags delivered to your stateroom, so you do have time to get the lay of the ship or get something to eat.
Beside the fact that the ship is absolutely breathtaking, it is emasculate was well. They went all out to make you feel like you are at a 5 star resort on the sea. The marble flooring, the golden handrails, the wooden paneling, etc. and the hints of Mickey everywhere is just one of many things to keep you visually stimulated throughout your cruise. They have those automatic hand soap dispensers at the entrance to the restaurants. They inform all of the guests of the importance of hand washing so everyone can enjoy their cruise without illness. They make the children wash their hands as soon as they enter the Oceaneer's Club/Lab. The crew is there in an instant to pick up food trays, empty drinks, trash, etc.
Our stateroom was very roomy. We had a balcony stateroom on deck 6. There was plenty of storage space for my family of 4. The split bathrooms worked well too. One had a sink with a shower/tub, the other, a sink and a toilet. The balcony was very spacious as well. The thing I liked the best was the curtain divider between my girls' bunk beds and our queen bed. Which was extremely comfortable by the way.
The service we received on the Wonder was beyond excellent. The entire crew was more than happy to cater to your wishes. From our waiters Ralph and Yordan, to our room steward Keyand, to the many who served us drinks; everyone of them had a smile and a thank you for us. We got especially good service in Palo from our server Hristo. It was our anniversary, and he made it so incredibly wonderful for the two of us. As far as service, Disney makes the difference.
I have read many reviews that the food on the Wonder is just so so. Well I am here to disagree. I found everything to be delicious. From the breakfast buffet to the fabulous gourmet dinners. The breakfast buffet had your everyday breakfast foods. Eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, fruit, muffins, Danish, etc. They also had lox and bagels, breakfast burritos, and an omelet station. For having to cook for over 2000 people, the food was pretty darn tasty. The dinners in the dining room were even better. At Palo, I had the best seafood rissoto I have ever put in my mouth. For dessert, I had a chocolate soufflé that was to die for. My husband's filet mignon melted in his mouth. Our other dinners included prime rib, seafood pasta, duck, and grouper. The kids meals consisted of pizza, chicken fingers, hamburgers, etc. You know the normal kid staples. Food is very subjective and everyone is a critic, some picker than others. But overall it all was very good to excellent in my opinion.
This is where Disney make a difference too. The shows were outstanding. The Hercules show was my favorite. It had both me and my husband laughing out loud. The kids really enjoyed it too. The Golden Mickeys was a treat for us, because our kids were part of the show. They had a wonderful magician one night and the Disney Dreams show was very entertaining as well. They had a Pirates IN the Caribbean party that was great. They shot fireworks right off the back of the ship. Captain Hook and Smead joined in the fun too. All of the characters were well represented on the ship. The daily Navigator always kept you informed of their appearances. You did have to wait in a line to get pictures and autographs, but with the characters being one of the ships most popular attractions, lines are to be expected. The only problem you will have is to find the time not to be entertained at one point or another.
This was my favorite part of the trip. The whole island is something else. They get you coming and going on the souvenirs, drinks and pictures, so be careful. The snorkeling was wonderful. We saw everything from the sunken Mickey to a giant treasure chest, a submarine, and more colorful fish than you can count. My seven year old loved it. The bike ride my family took was pleasurable as well. Again the service on the island was second to none. And they had more lifeguards than I have ever seen on any beach in my life. In my opinion, this is the highlight of the cruise.
Tipping is very much deserved for all of the folks that go out of their way to make sure your cruise is wonderful. They tack on a 15% tip for all bar drinks automatically. For your room steward, waiters and head waiter; they have it so you can put their gratuities on your shipboard account just in case you don't have cash. Everyone involved is very deservant of their tips.
Here's another Disney difference. They give you color coded tags for your luggage. They put the bags together by color but they also put them in order by your stateroom. It took my husband all of 20 seconds to find our luggage. The whole process of getting off the ship took 20 minutes from start to finish.
In closing, our vacation on the Disney Wonder was out best vacation yet. Memories were made and we are definitely going to take another Disney cruise. From the minute we got on board until we stepped off the ship, we totally enjoyed ourselves. We kept our minds open and just went with the flow. Disney has set themselves apart from all other cruise lines. You may pay a bit more, but you will get A LOT more in return.