Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Disney Wonder Cruise Review Part Three

For those of you who are wondering, yes I did fall off the face of the earth for awhile!

I'm back!

Here is the final installment of my Disney Wonder Cruise Review.

Entertainment:  Of course the entertainment was spectacular! 

The Sail Away Party did not disappoint.  What a fun way to get the cruise started!  

Loved the evening shows.  My favorite was the Disney Dreams - Enchanted Classic. 

Pirates IN the Caribbean was a lot of fun.  The cruise director, Christian, and his staff did a great job.

I have to mention the Karaoke.  We were lucky enough to have talented fellow passengers that were a hoot to watch!  Whenever I hear Hey Jude, I will think of the couple of guys who sang it in Portuguese. Too funny!

Port Tour:  We chose to go on the Nassau Forts and Junkanoo Discovery in Nassau.  I really didn't expect much from this tour.  I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.  You go on a driving tour through Nassau and visit a couple of forts.  There are guides at the forts who give an informative tour.  The highlight of the tour was the Junkanoo Discovery.  When we pulled up to a small house and the driver told us that this was the Junkanoo musuem, we had 30 minutes there.  I thought, "How are we going to spend 30 minutes here?"  I had no idea what we were in for and had a great time!  The four of us highly recommend this excursion!

Castaway Cay:  Wow!  Loved it!  There is something for everyone.  We did try to snorkel.  Didn't stay in long.  The water was cold.  We ended up spending most of our time at Serenity Bay, the adult beach.  

The only disappointment I had was that the Flying Dutchman was being repaired so she was not in the water.  

Service:  We had great service.  We got off to a bit of a bumpy start with our cabin host.  The beds were arranged into a king bed.  I love my sister, but did not want to sleep in the king bed with her.  We asked our cabin host to arrange the beds in the two twin bed format.  He kept asking if we wanted the couch made up.  Not sure if it was a language barrier or him not wanting to pull the beds apart.  We did get our point through to him and tipped him a little extra.  From then on, service was great!

As I said before, our servers at dinner were fantastic!  They were extremely friendly and may just be the best servers I have ever had on a cruise.

Getting Off the Ship:  I cannot believe how fast we got off the ship.  I was in shock.  I have been on several cruises and never got off a ship that fast before.  We did have late seating for breakfast.  Not sure if that had something to do with it. 

Final Notes:

On the last day of your cruise, you go to the restaurant that you were at the night before.  Your servers are there to take care of you.  I liked that we got to see them one more time.  You are assigned a time.  This is different from other cruise lines I have been on.  Seating was open.  Not on Disney.

There were lots of families and kids but there were many adult travelers as well.  I was paying attention since we were on an adult trip.  Disney does a great job of catering to all travelers!

Suggestions to Disney:

A pocket size map of the ship to carry around with you would be nice. 

Early entry to the ship for Walt Disney World Resort guests.  I didn't like how late we got to the ship from our Disney resort.

Photo Pass on the ship.  You could purchase photos when you get home that way.

Was the cruise worth double the cost of other cruise lines?  Hmmmmm.  I think you should go on a Disney cruise and decide for yourself!!! 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Disney Wonder Cruise Review Part Two

On with the review!  Here's part two.


Over all I thought the food was quite good on the Disney Wonder.  Some meals were better than others.

We had late seating.  We had a table for 4, so it was just us at dinner.  I saw many big parties sitting together.  Disney does a fantastic job at putting groups at the same table for dinner.

Day One

Lunch:   Beach Blanket Buffet  - We chose to go up on the Lido deck to the buffet.  We got on the ship pretty late so we got there as they were finishing up lunch.

The food was just okay.  Did not like the selections to chose from.  I only had a couple of things and they were nothing to write home about.  

The restaurant was nicely decorated, showed some wear and was crowded!  They were so many tables crammed inside, it was uncomfortable.  There was seating outside, it was pretty full and just as crowded.

Desserts were pretty good.  I have found that desserts on cruise ships are like desserts at a Jersey diner, they look better than they taste!

This was our first and last visit to Beach Blanket Bingo.

Rating: On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 2.

Dinner:  Our first restaurant was Triton's.  Loved it!  This is when we met our waiters for the cruise.  They were awesome! 

The restaurant is beautiful. Nicely done.

The food.  YUM!  I started with the Chilled Jumbo Shrimp, then had "Chef Louis" French Onion Soup.  Delicious.

For the main course I had "Triton's" Seared Sea Bass with a Mushroom Herb Risotto, Sweet Onion Marmalade, and garnished with a Potato Crisp.  In the words of Rachael Ray - YUMMO!  It was excellent!

I ended with Triton's Sweet Temptations - A Trio of Crème Brûlée, Chocolate Mousse and Praline Petite Choux.  As far as cruise ship desserts go this was pretty good.  It was a chance to try several things that sounded good without ordering three desserts.  The bite size portions were perfect.

Rating:  I give Triton's a 5.

Day Two
Breakfast:  We went to Triton's for breakfast for a sit down meal.  

Food was good.  Service was a little lacking.  Took forever.  I feel like the wait staff did not come back often to check on us.  Not sure where they disappeared to.

Rating: I give breakfast at Triton's a 4.

Lunch:  Had lunch on the lido deck.  I went to both Goofy's Galley and Pinocchio's Pizzeria.

Goofy's Galley:  Had a panini and fruit.  Very good!

Rating: 4

Pinocchio's Pizzeria: I have to say in my defense for those who are wondering why I ate at two places for lunch, the pizza slices are small, we're talking bite size.  While trying to decide what I wanted for lunch I went up to Pinocchio's and got one slice, on a napkin.  Thought the pizza was pretty good, so decided to get another piece after my panini.  Hey, I was on vacation, plus I wanted to try as many of the restaurants as I could so I could come back and tell you all about them.  I did it for you!

Rating: 3.5

Dinner:  Animator's Palate.  Another great meal!

What can I say, the decor is unlike anything else.  Cool!

I started with Ahi Tuna Tartare with Caviar, Chives, and Wasabi Cream.  Excellent.  

Next I had Creamy Butternut Squash Soup which was quite good.

For the main course I had steak, filet I believe.  I don't know the name of it, sorry!  It was excellent though.

Finished the meal with Buckled Warm Apple Crumble.  Pretty good.

Rating: 5

Day Three

Breakfast:  Parrot Cay buffet.

Very nicely themed.  This is a Disney ship, so I wouldn't expect anything less!

Nice selection of foods for breakfast.  A made to order station for omelets.  Food was pretty good.

I have to complain a little about the service.  We had to ask a passing waitress for coffee, more than once.  No one came back to see if we needed more coffee.

Rating: 4

Lunch:  Cookies BBQ in the Serenity Bay area.  

I had a cheeseburger and tried the ribs.  Food was tasty!

I topped it off with a small ice cream cone from the soft serve area.

Rating:  3.5

Dinner:  Parrot Cay.

I started with Baked Crab Dip Martinique, a cheesy crab dip which was quite good.  

Next I had the West Indies Romaine Salad, which was basically a Caesar salad.

For my main course I had Pan–Seared Grouper with Baby Shrimp Lemon Butter served with a Saffron-Herb Basmati Rice and Snow Peas.  This was okay.  My least favorite meal.  I love Grouper, so I was a little disappointed.

Last I had Parrot Cay`s Sweet Temptations - A Trio of Crème Brûlée Cheesecake, Lemon Meringue Pie and Chocolate S`More Vanilla Cake.  A nice sample of the three desserts.

Rating: 3.5 
Last Morning
Breakfast:  On the last morning of your cruise you head to the restaurant that you were at the night before.  So we went to Parrot Cay.  There are two seating's, just like for dinner.

The thing I liked about this was your servers from dinner are there to serve you breakfast.

It was a sit down breakfast this time, not a buffet.  Food was good.  I ordered something simple - a bagel with cream cheese and lox. 

Rating: 4
Final Notes


Our servers at night were great.  They did an excellent job.  Very friendly and took time to talk with us every night.  I can't say enough good things about them.  Getting our food was little slow, but I feel the blame for that falls on the kitchen.

Whew!  I didn't realize I would have that much to say about the dining!

Part Three of my Disney Wonder Cruise review will be coming soon!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Disney Wonder Cruise Review Part One

We had a great time on our Disney Wonder cruise!
Pre-cruise:  We flew into Orlando the night before and stayed at Coronado Springs for one night.  We used the Magical Express bus.  I love using Magical Express.  You get off the plane, go down to the Magical Express area and before you know it you are on your way to your resort.  The Coronado Springs Resort is beautiful!  This was my third time staying at the resort.  First time since the rehab, love the new rooms!

We had dinner and breakfast at the Pepper Market.  I enjoyed both meals and thought the food was good.

Getting to the ship:  We used the Disney Cruise Line Transfers.  We had to have our luggage ready by 8 am.  Four women had to be ready by 8 am, no simple feat, but we did it!  We went to breakfast and went back to our room until the 11 am check out time.  We had to meet in the lobby at 12:15 pm  for our Disney Cruise Line bus.  The buses usually stop at more than one resort to pick up passengers.  Luckily we were the last resort pick up.  The bus arrived promptly and we were off by 12:30 pm.  It's about an hour and fifteen minute drive to the ship.  We arrived at the port about 1:45 pm.

Getting on the ship:  The process of getting on the ship was pretty quick.  We waited a little while, probably 20 minutes for people to go through security.  Once in the terminal, it was another 15 minutes to check in and get our pictures taken for our ID.  We did the on board check in for our return flights too.

We finally got onto the ship about 2:30 pm or so. They served lunch until 3 pm, so we went right to lunch.  

   Pros of using Disney Cruise Line Transfers:
  • It's easy!  No worries, luggage is taken care of for you.
   Cons of using Disney Cruise Line Transfers:
  • You get on the ship late.  Which has it's own sets of pros and cons.  Pro - no lines or waiting to get on the ship.  Con - You do not have any time to explore the ship after lunch.  You pretty much eat and then have to get ready for the muster drill.  I personally like to get on the ship early, so I was a little disappointed in how late we got there.
Ship: The ship is beautiful!  We did find it difficult to navigate around the ship.  Maps of the ship are located next to the elevators.  We would look at the map to find out how to get where we were going and every single time went the wrong way!  The way the maps face are backwards to the ship, at least to us.

Cabin:  Loved our cabin!  We booked deluxe inside cabins, 2573 and 2571.  They were connecting cabins and located mid-ship on Deck 2.  The location was great!  We never had far to go to get to anything.  This was the first time for two of the cruisers to have an inside cabin.  They both agreed that they did not miss the window at all.

A deluxe inside cabin means you have a split bathroom.  It was nice that one person could be showering, while the other used the "facilities".  The only drawback was having bathroom supplies in both bathrooms.  Sometimes it felt like I was going back and forth between the two bathrooms a lot.

I have to mention the hair dryer.  It was the weirdest hair dryer I have ever used!  It was like a vacuum hose and the end of it was unlike anything I have ever seen.  I should have taken a picture of it to show you, but didn't think of it.  The hose got kind of hot while drying my hair.

The cabin had plenty of storage.  We had more than enough room for our clothes for the 3 day cruise.  I would say you could easily fit enough clothes for four people for a longer cruise too.

The beds were comfortable, but I feel Disney could get better sheets/blankets.  By better, I mean more luxurious.  I have to say the bedding was more luxurious on my last Carnival cruise.  Disney cruises are at least twice the cost of Carnival.  Come on Disney, invest in some better bedding!

Cruise Casual Attire:  I saw the biggest mix of attire on this cruise.  Three day cruises tend to have less people dressed up on the formal night on any cruise line, but I would say it was even more so on the Disney Cruise.

The first night was casual.  I saw everything from t-shirts and jeans to people in khaki's/dress pants with a few people dressed up more.  Our first night was at Triton's, which is the dressier restaurant.

The formal night was the last night and our restaurant was Parrot Cay.  I saw some people dressed up, with men in suits/ties and women in dresses/pantsuits to t-shirts and jeans.

I have to say, it was a bit strange to be dressed formal and going to Parrot Cay, a restaurant that is very casual.  If I were going to this type of restaurant at home I wouldn't dress up.

I liked the rotational dining and going to a different restaurant every night, but think Disney should do away with the formal night.  The navigator did say formal attire optional.  I wouldn't bring anything formal for another three night Disney cruise or even a four night.  I probably would for a seven night cruise though.

Part two of my Disney Wonder Cruise Review coming soon!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Disney Wonder Cruise

I'm back from my Disney Wonder Cruise.  The good news is I didn't get seasick on my cruise.  We had rough seas a lot.  Rough seas, according to the TV on the Disney Wonder were 8 - 13 ft. seas.  The ship was a rocking!!  The last night was particularly bad.  I didn't sleep a wink with the rocking and creaking noises.  I turned the TV on several times during the night, I think they stop the report at 8 - 13 ft. seas because it seemed worse than that to me!

The bad news is, I am now seasick.  Apparently you can get seasick when you get back from a cruise.  I still have my "sea legs" according to my husband and google (had to check to make sure he was right!).  I am really happy I didn't get seasick on the ship, took Bonine and ginger pills.  I am not so happy that I am feeling the effects now.  Reading and typing on the computer makes me nauseous.  I thought I would be better by today, but no such luck.  I will type a full report in a few days, when hopefully this feeling subsides.  I know my loyal readers are sitting on the edge of their seats in anticipation of my review, I am sorry to tell you, you will have to wait a bit longer.

I took Bonine the last couple of days and today have tried a sinus pill along with ginger.  If anyone has a suggestion on how to make this go away, PLEEEEEEEASE leave me a message!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bon Voyage!

Setting sail tomorrow on my Disney Wonder Cruise!

Can't wait!  I will be posting a full review when I get back!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Making A List And Checking It Twice

No, this is not a post about Santa.  One week from today I will be in Lake Buena Vista, FL for one night at Coronado Springs Resort then off on my 3 night Disney Wonder Cruise!  With only one week to go I am in final preparation mode.  That means I am making a list and checking it twice.  Yes, I did get that idea from Santa, it works for vacations too!

In the next week lots of things will be happening.  Making lists of things to do helps keep me organized and helps me make sure not to forget anything.  My lists are hand written in a notebook, but will summarize them for you.

Clothes Packing List:  I write down everything I intend to wear and as I put it in the spare room on the bed, next to the suitcase, I check it off.  Notice I said next to the suitcase.  I do not put things into the suitcase until the day before (sometimes the night before) I am going to travel.  I do this for two reasons - 1.  I can see everything I intend on wearing and can change my mind or re-evaluate if necessary.  2.  Things won't be as wrinkled if I wait until the last minute to put them in the suitcase. 

Toiletries Packing List:  I do not want to forget any of these items!  It can be costly to have to purchase something I forget.  The frugal of side of me can't stand to pay $6.00 for a $2.00 item!  I always pack some just in case medicine.

Things To Put In My Carry On List:  This list has everything from travel documents to ID, Camera, etc.  This is the bag I cannot live without!

Things To Do Before I Go List:  This list has things I want to get done in my house before I leave.  I want to come back to a clean house right?  Okay I admit, this is the one list I never get to before I leave.  I have good intentions, I put it on a list!  Oh well, it will be there when I get back!  Since I am going away on a girls trip I will be adding things to do for my husband and daughter so they can survive without me.

I love looking forward to a trip.  It's so much fun!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How To Spend A Day Getting Character Autographs In Disney World

I was recently asked how to spend the day getting autographs from the characters.  Hmm, what an intriguing idea.  Spend a whole day just meeting characters and getting autographs.  The idea to do that never occurred to me.  Going to a Disney World park and not go on any attractions is almost sacrilegious to a Disney fan like myself!  

After giving it some thought, I decided it could be a great way to stop and smell the roses.  I have to admit, I have been known to cringe when I see the lines for characters and family members want to get an autograph.  I have even gone as far as talking them out of it.  Shhhh, keep that a secret.

Here are some tips I came up with on how to spend a day getting character autographs:

  • Pick A Park - Magic Kingdom and Epcot have the most opportunities to meet characters.  If you have a specific character you just have to meet, I found a great website to help you find him/her/it/animal (whatever it may be!).  The website is WDW Character Hunt.  Locations, times and characters can change often, nothing is set in stone!
  • Make Reservations For A Character Meal - A character meal is the best way to get some one on one time with a character.  The characters make their way around the restaurant and will stop at your table.  Sometimes you get to see the characters more than once, depending on how long it's taking you to eat.  Each theme park has a character meal for at least one meal a day, some have breakfast, lunch and dinner.  There are also character meals at some of the resorts.  You can find a list of character dining at WDW Character Hunt .
  • Get A Times Guide - When entering the park, make sure to pick up a times guide to find out the times and places of character greetings.  As I stated above - locations, times and characters can change!  You will have to take a few minutes and make a plan of where to go.  You will also find parade and show times.  You can't get an autograph, but you can see your favorite characters perform.
  • Get To The Park Of Choice Early - Most people do not want to get up early on vacation.  If you get to the park of your choice at rope drop you will be rewarded with shorter lines at Character Greets (and attractions too!).
  • Head To The Back Of The Park - If there are Character Greets at the back of the park, you may want to head there first.  Most people will stop at the first characters they see.
I hope these tips help you on your quest to get character autographs, even if you don't want to spend a whole day devoted to it.  I may incorporate a half day of just character meets on my next trip, I don't think I could skip attractions for a whole day!  I'll let you know how it goes.