When you tell your kids that you're taking them to Disney World, you know their eyes will light up and there could be some screaming and jumping around on furniture as well. As rewarding...
Adventures Aboard the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship
I was recently invited by Disney to go on a 3-day cruise. The ship was going through the Bahamas leaving from Port Canaveral with a stop at the private Disney island, Castaway Cay.
A 3-day cruise by myself, with no children sounded like the most heavenly thing imaginable. I couldn't sign up fast enough. Plus I had been wanting to go on a Disney cruise since that very first ship years ago.
Disney took care of all of the accommodations. All I had to do was show up at the airport, board a plane and arrive in Orlando.
A car was waiting to take me right to the boat and my bags were taken care of. Disney really does make it this easy for all of their passengers.
Getting on board and Checking in.
I felt like Kate Winslet as she was about to board the Titanic. Although, of course, this was all without that fateful ending and the trunks of luggage.
Ok not really but it really was magic. Just the place where you enter to be able to board the boat was huge and staffed with friendly employees to show you the way.
I could feel the energy in the room. Seasoned cruisers. Families on a first time cruise. Generations coming together to experience the magic of Disney. I was really getting excited and I hadn't set foot on the boat yet.
I entered the line and it moved quickly as there were at least 20 employees available to check in passengers. I was asked for a identification. They quickly brought up my reservation and made me a card which they explained would enable me to make charges throughout the cruise. It was also the card to get into my room onboard.
I was given a Verandah room with a patio. I had to take a picture of the view. I especially loved sitting on the patio at night when the ship was cruising. It was so incredibly peaceful. Just the darkness with a little light coming from my room and the sound of the waves.
The room was a decent size and honestly, I was not expecting that at all. My mother taught college on Navy ships for years and I had gone out with her several times. She had Officers accommodations and the rooms on the Disney ship were much larger.
I could easily see how a family fits. The closets were large and the sitting area was very comfortable.
The shows and entertainment.
They rivaled any Broadway show I have ever seen. And I have seen almost 100 Broadway shows.
We were given an exclusive backstage tour of the show set and I have to say that is was an awe inspiring experience. The sets are top notch. The props. The costumes. Everything is the best of the best. Disney spared no expense.
In fact, I learned that to be a performer on a Disney cruise ship is a highly coveted job. Many of the cruise ship performers are either coming from Broadway or going to Broadway.
This was evident in the nightly performances. The caliber of quality of actors. Phantom of The Opera or a Disney Cruise, these performers gave it their all.
I was actually looking forward to the show each night. I couldn't wait.
When booking a cruise, you are usually given the choice of a two different dinner seatings. Fortunately, we had the later seating which was great. This meant we could see the shows before dinner and then just relax for the rest of the evening.
The food was really wonderful. There is definitely something for everyone and every type of diet. I was trying to eat as healthy as possible so although I wanted the delicious looking Mickey pancakes, I had fresh fruit and yogurt every morning for breakfast. I was never hungry.
There were buffets. There was room service. There was actually never an opportunity to even be hungry!
My favorite meal was at the fine dining restaurant Palo. Northern Italian cuisine is definitely one of my favorites. I wouldn't have eaten there every night if they would have let me.
There were safety drills before we even set sail that put my mind at ease. These people had safety down to a science. They were organized, serious and ran the drills like the pros that they were.
The ship was just unbelievable. For detailed sip statistics, please see my previous post: Aboard the Disney Wonder.
We got to blow the captains horn which was quite an honor. In fact, we got to interview the captain and really learn a lot about his job.
Well let's just say that they had to drag me out of the spa. It was really quite fantastic. The steam room had built in chairs made out of tile that looked just like beach chairs complete with pillows.
The workout facilities was unlike any place I have ever seen. There is a walking path around the entire ship and the machines are well maintained with more than enough room for everyone.
The parties and activities.
We went to Mickey's Pirate Party the first night dressed in our finest pirate garb. Every night is a party and feels like New Years Eve combined with the 4th of July.
Bingo anyone? There are tons of family activities onboard throughout the day to keep everyone occupied and happy.
The ports of call.
While these vary from cruise to cruise and indeed ship to ship, there are ports available almost everywhere in the Caribbean.
My family stopover was the Disney owned private island Castaway Cay. Check out my post here to learn more about the island.
I have traveled the world. A lot. I have been around the world and had always avoided cruises. For some reason I thought that I would be bored. I wouldn't have enough to do.
I happy to report that I was wrong. This was one of the most memorable trips of my lifetime. And that says A LOT!
I am someone that spends long time planning vacations for my family. I have no problem spending money as long as I feel that I am getting value for that money. A large portion of our yearly expenses go to vacations and spending quality time together as a family.
In all honesty, I cannot wait to cruise again and I am not certain I would choose any other cruise line but Disney. We are hoping to sail on the new Alaska cruise coming next year.
There was an incident that I was involved in during an excursion on my cruise but it wasn't onboard the ship and the way Disney handled it was just amazing. I have never felt so taken care of or thankful to have the Disney people on my side. I also apologize for taking over three months to get this post up. I had a hard time dealing with the aftermath of the event.
Thanks to my onboard pals for making this an unforgettable experience. Colleen. Shameeka. Laura. Jonathan. Jonathan's brother whose name escapes me as I write this.