Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Disney
Ship: Disney Wonder
Sailing Date: September 25th, 2005
Disney knows the meaning of “VACATION”.
I can not say enough about our cruise, the ship, the people, and the ports of call.
We went on the 5 day / 4 night cruise on the Disney wonder and it was fantastic from the beginning. We got to the terminal about 11:30, we did not have to stand in any very long lines. There were employees of Disney to make sure all of your paper work was filled out correctly, and that you had all of your things in order before you stepped in line to get your key to the world card. Everyone was friendly and fast! Security and boarding lines took all of 30 minutes tops. While we were in line to get our key to the world card, Mickey showed up to have pictures made with people who were getting on the boat. We had our picture made with Mickey right in front of the model of the ship and that picture is actually the picture that we are using for our Christmas cards this year.
We were allowed to board the boat immediately; they announced our name as we boarded the boat, which was kind of neat. Our state room was not going to be ready until 1:30, so the staff was directing people up stairs to the buffet if you wanted to eat, or you were free to roam the ship if you so desired. One thing that we noticed right away was the hand cleaning sanitary stations that were set up everywhere. At every entrance to almost every restaurant or kid’s place was a hand cleaning station. These things are motion activated and they squirt sanitizer onto your hand that kills germs and evaporates so you don’t need a towel or water. Disney keeps the chances of you or your children getting sick or spreading germs by being able to clean your hands just about anywhere on the boat. We went and ate lunch, which was very good, and we toured around the boat. The staff was friendly and helpful every where we went. People were already in the pool playing and having a good time. If you want to get in the pool quick before everyone else descends upon it, make sure you put your suit in your carry on bag. Your luggage will not show up for while at your stateroom. Also, we only have one child and she is 3 so we were a little concerned about how much she would have to do. We went to the Oceaneer’s Lab to sign her up for the children’s events and to check the place out. The staff again were just superb! We had a one on one session with one of the Lab’s staff and they explained the different events for the children and that we the parents would be given a pager that would work on the boat, and if our child wanted to be picked up they would page us and we could come get her. We were a little skeptical as to how much our child would use the Lab but as I will explain later we were very surprised.
The ship rocked pretty good once we left the port. My wife took Dramamine but the rocking of the boat still made her sick, but once she got used to it she was o.k. Our stateroom host (ThieChei) was full of information about the ship and what to see and where to go. He also told us that during the Hurricane season the sea seems to rock the boat more than any other time of the year. The captain told us later on during the cruise that the Gulf Stream causes the seas to be unsettled for the first 8 hours of the trip.
We ate at Triton’s the first night and the food was GREAT! Very fresh and cooked to perfection! It was fantastic! I could not choose between the sirloin or the pasta and our server suggested that I try both. GIGI and DAS were our servers and they were terrific!
We took our daughter up to the oceaneer’s lab after dinner to see if she wanted to check it out or not. The lab has a huge slide and play area, along with a projection t.v. that the children can watch one of their favorite Disney films on. To our surprise she went right in and turned around waved and went inside to play. She never paged us one time on the trip. In fact the second night I had to go get her at midnight, and when I showed up to get her, she was playing in the Captain’s closet, where the kids can dress up like characters and she was upset that she had to leave to go to bed. She did not eat dinner with us two nights on the trip because she wanted to “eat with HER friends.”
We got off the boat in Nassau, and we had heard that the area was nasty and that people harassed you in the market. We got off the boat and while there are dumpsters on the pier where you get off the boat you have to remember that all that trash that everyone is making on the boat has to go somewhere. So those who complain about getting off the boat by the dumpsters just need to realize why they are there. (They are not a big deal)
The area was very attractive, as we neared the station where the cabs, horse drawn carriages, and “tour guides” are we encountered a lady who looked very official with a photo i.d. around her neck and some credentials on it. Don’t be fooled, she was nothing more than a “tour guide.” We went inside the building where the true “officials” are. You will know them by the shiny shoes, uniform, hat and radio. They told us to stand to the side and they would get a legitimate cab driver for us. They did so, and we took a cab along with 9 other people to the Atlantis Hotel/Resort/Casino. It was only $4 per person. Now realize, the area was not dirty in Nassau, it was poor. Nassau is a poor British Colony but I must say that it looked as though things were coming around and we saw many buildings being worked on, painted and kept up. We never once felt unsafe, or like anything was out of place. Atlantis is your typical Hotel\Casino. Very similar to Caesar’s Palace if you have been to Vegas. We walked around, gambled a little bit, did some shopping and returned to the boat via taxi service again, with no problems. Stay with a crowd, use the officials, don’t try to do it on your own, there are plenty of people around to help.
The Disney Private Island was our next stop, it was AWESOME! Our daughter wanted to do the Oceaneer’s Lab that they have on the island so we had a lot of beach time to ourselves. The pager also works here so if your child needs you they will page you. We snorkeled off the beach, we did not take the snorkeling tour. Disney has a designated area for snorkeling off the beach; we went out and saw sting rays, all kinds of tropical fish, and some small barracudas. I had so much fun, I went out a second time and I was just amazed. Truly worth the snorkel rental.
All in all it was well worth the money. We are going back next year on a 7 day cruise next summer. If you forget anything, they have it. Alcohol is not free but soft drinks are. We hardly ever saw very many children or people for that matter. The characters seemed to be everywhere for pictures and autographs. Sometimes they would just be hanging out, no formal pictures just hugging kids, taking pictures for your personal camera and just making the trip excellent! We ate at Triton’s, Animators Palate and Parrot Cay, all of these restaurants were great and the Animator’s Palate show during dinner was great!
No doubt Disney knows how to give you a true relaxing vacation! Football was also in abundance on Sunday and Monday night in the sports bar on the boat, so don’t worry about missing the game dads!