Wonder Reviews

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4.3
from 26 reviews

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26 User Reviews of Wonder Cruise Ship

Bahamas
Publication Date: April 26, 2007

Overall it was a great experience and one we will definitely consider doing again.

We took the 3 day cruise to Nassau and Disney's private island Castaway Cay. Our party included 6 kids--ages 20 mos.-8 years old and 7 adults. All of us were extremely satisfied with the overall experience even with a few disappointments.

We arrived at the Port around 12:30 and check-in and boarding were a snap. We had done the online checkin and that saved time, but they had many available stations. We got on the ship just after 1pm and sat down and had a nice buffet lunch. Part of our group didn't arrive until about 2:30 and they took much longer to check in so I would advise arriving around noon-1.

Before we left we had to perform the mandatory evacuation drill was went smoothly. After that we headed up to the top deck for the sail away party--which was nice--and the kids seemed to love it.

We had a 5:45 dinner seating b/c we had so many young kids. The dinners were all great and the servers went out of their way to make sure everyone was

having fun and enjoyed their meals.

On Friday we did the beach trip at Atlantis--this was our only hiccup of the day. Our transfer driver was clueless and eventually we just made him stop the bus and let us out as we could see the resort. Once there, we had issues with where we could and couldn't go at the resort. We eventually paid more $$ to upgrade to use the pools and slides, but other folks onboard said they were allowed to use everything---keep in mind this was an Atlantis issue, not Disney. Though it would be nice in this package just to buy access to everything even if it would cost more. It was a nice day trip.

On Saturday, we spent the day on Castaway Cay--the private island. It was great--beautiful island and water. Our little guy loved playing in the water. My wife got a massage and loved it. I didn't make it to the private beach, but she said it was great and was very quiet--the family beach was obviously crowded. The best place was at the far end of the family beach--almost at the teen beach as that appeared to be the least crowded place. Lunch on the island is included and was very good.

We didn't get to take advantage of the shows at night because our guy needed to go to bed, but we heard good things. They also have good movies running on your TV the entire time if you get stuck in your room.

We had a deluxe family stateroom which was very nice. It had an open verandah with 2 chairs and a small table.

My only other complaint would be that the characters didn't just walk around as much as I thought they would--instead they mostly made appearances at planned times for photo shoots. I'd like to just see them interacting more if possible--perhaps though that would create too many logjams.

Overall, great experience and would definitely do it again.

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Disney Wonder
Publication Date: January 7, 2007

This was our first cruise. Once a year we would go to Orlando and stay there for a week, going to Disney World and spending a day at the beach. We would all be so exhausted by the end of the day walking and fighting the crowds at the theme parks. This time we went Disney cruising. We returned our Budget rental car and took the free shuttle ride to Port Canaveral. Embarkation was smooth. We were there in time for lunch. My children were so thrilled to be able to order their food from the food bar for free by themselves.

Our room was great. We had the deluxe family room with a verandah. We had our children -- Jace 11, Justin 7, and Jaden 5. There's always activities for everyone. In the morning while the children are still sleeping, my husband and I will do our jog/walk around the deck, then get our coffee. We had a lot of well-deserved alone time together. Our children couldn't wait to go to the kids' club activities.

At night, we would all go and see the shows before our dinner at the restaurants.

That was our family time.

We had one night at Palo and it was romantic. We had the greatest time. Oh, and then at night we would sneak out when the kids were sleeping and hit the bars. We just made sure to keep the walkie talkie on, just in case the kids needed us. It was a worry-free/stress-free 4 days.

Our room was always nice and kept clean by the staff (no cleaning for me). Food was everywhere for free and very good (no cooking for me). Always a smiling and friendly staff.

Pirate night was a family party night with lots of yummies afterwards.

Castaway Cay was wonderful. The sting ray adventure in Nassau was memorable.

This was our best family vacation ever. We are already booked to go back in September '08. We can't wait. Our children are already counting the days.

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Bahamas
Publication Date: June 15, 2006

Embarkation was a breeze. We got at the port early, were able to register our daughter for the oceaneer club... Got a photo with Minnie and Pluto before boarding. We were on board by noon with the announcement, "Welcome to the McDerment Family!" Let the fun begin.

There was several staff awaiting our arrival in the main atrium of the boat, all eager to assist us. We headed to the buffet. After a full belly, we were off to explore. First stop, the oceaneer kids club. (Daycare). WOW... secure entrance and exit of the club, they have to buzz you in and out and you don't get out with your kid with out giving them a password. The club has a stage, a sitting area, and a large boat with a rope ladder, bridge, slide, and ship steering wheel. There is a separate dress up room and computer area for the kids as well. The room with the ship is kind of dim... . on the ceiling there are many fiber optic lights to resemble stars. Pretty awesome! Due to the tremendous amount of activities offered on board, I think my

daughter only spent a total of 4hrs in this play area during the whole cruise.

There is something to be said about the 3 pools. One pool and hot tub area for adults only! One Pool is for any one. The other pool is definitely the kid's area, especially for the little ones. This one has one main pool about 3 ft deep and two toddler pools. There is also a water slide which anyone ages 4yr old – 16yr can slide. My daughter loved this whole area. Next to this kiddie pool area there is ice cream, pizza, and hotdogs if you get hungry... .the buffet is close by too.

Next stop was our room. We got the basic room... .compared to carnival, dolphin, and Norwegian... this room seemed like a suite! Two bathroom areas, one with a tub/shower/sink, and the other with a toilet and sink. Convenient for getting ready.

There was a couch that changed into a twin size bed at night, and a queen size bed in the back. Very comfy.

The theater and shows were all Disney quality. Just awesome. My daughter and I were in awe as we were entertained nightly. The shows exceeding my expectations. There was even fireworks outside one night!

The Wonder has 3 main dinning rooms. Each was good. The waiters added some nice Disney touches; I don't want to give away. I wouldn't say the food in any of these exceeded my expectations... but it was consistently good... I have had better on the Norwegian. Also every dinning room was very noisy, hard to hear each other. Just a note... we did not dine in Palo (the pay restraint) , only because it was a short cruise and wanted to try all three main dinning rooms. I'm sure Palo would have been wonderful; there is always next time to try! One other food fact, the soft serve ice cream is a controlled situation. They have people operating this area to serve you. The hours are limited too... like 11am-9pm. This is good and bad. Good, because kids cant make a big mess of this area and cause a lot of waste. Bad because if you want an extra large ice cream, you have to go back 3 times to get the amount you want. Also, if you are craving ice cream anytime after 9pm, you are out of luck! Oh yea, Unlimited soda too for free, any time.

On to the islands... Nassau... .. We did discover Atlantis. A tour of the main floor and aquarium of the resort Atlantis. Had to walk a little bit to get to our bus, then the bus doesn't even drop you off at the resort... .they drop you off at a area for you to walk some more. Just a ploy to walk you through shops before you get to the resort. It was very hot that day... was ready to get to some air-conditioned room! Once we arrived to the resort, it was very fast paced. They had different saltwater fish, and fake Atlantis artifacts. Over all, I'm glad I got to see the resort... now I know I would never spend the kind of money they are asking a night to stay there! I really didn't think it was anything spectacular. Save your money and stay on the boat that day!

As far as castaway cay... .they should really do away with Nassau and make it 2days at castaway! SOOO much fun! This is Disney's private island. From the boat, it is a short tram ride or a 5 min walk to the beach. Before arriving at the beach they have 3 different areas for photos with characters. We saw Minnie, Goofy's son, and Pluto. We missed chip and dale. The beaches... .There is a family beach, with plenty of hammocks and chairs, there is a children's area, scuttle cove, with sand and water activities, a bone dig area, a 18yr old and older area (more later!) , a boat rental area with seados, sailboats, rafts., parasailing ... snorkel area with a reef... also shops, a lunch buffet that has hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, chicken, cold salads, sodas, and soft serve ice-cream ... that day it was chocolate chip cookie dough mmmmm.

We took our daughter to the family beach first and played together for a while... then she wanted to try the play area. So while I floated in the water, my husband dropped her off at scuttles cove. After a bit of floating bumping in to kids and families, we decided to try the adult beach. We took a short tram ride to serenity beach... .OH MY GOD! It was like the corona commercial! No music, no yelling, just the sound of the wind whispering by your ear. There were maybe 15 other adults there when we arrived. We pulled up a chair, stuck it in the water , instant relaxation. They offered cabana messages there too... .no need for a message for me, as soon as I saw that beach, every muscle in my body went limp! White sand and crystal clear water. There was even a buffet set up for the adults.

Back to the ship... sooooooo much to do for families with kids. I hate to say this, almost too much! I was beginning to feel stressed out to do everything. But remember we did a 3night. So many opportunities for photos with characters. They do give you a navigator that tells you which characters will be out at what times.

The ship also offers two main stores, one geared more to kids, and the other more towards adults. There is one another store I never checked out, something to do with route 66.

Disembarkation was smooth as silk. They started letting everyone off at 8am. ANYONE can get off at that time... which I thought that was great. No lines or waiting to get off the ship. The captain was at the exit door to tell you goodbye and thank you. Nice touch.

Overall I would say this was an excellent cruise. I recommend this to people of any age. (Remember the adult areas... pool, beach, also a coffee café Palo restraint all 18yr and older).

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Bahamas
Publication Date: January 29, 2006

Our cruise group included five people (two adults, three kids) in two inside cabins on the Disney Wonder. We sailed from Port Canaveral on January 29 for a four-night cruise.

Early Arrival We arrived in Orlando on Saturday and took a shuttle to Port Canaveral. We paid $240, including tip, for a round trip shuttle (from Orlando to our Cocoa Beach hotel, and then from the cruise terminal to Disney Resort for a post-cruise stay). The shuttle service was extremely prompt at the airport, and she was very friendly. I found her online through a Google search; Busy Traveler is the name of the shuttle company. The hotel in Cocoa Beach was wonderful - we stayed at the Hilton on the beach. The beach was not a swimming beach, but very beautiful for taking pictures. The waves were incredible, and the kids saw a jellyfish on the beach. We were all exhausted from the flights, so we had a relaxing lunch and just hung out at the hotel. The kids swam in the heated outdoor pool. We had drinks at the pool bar. Very nice.

Sunday morning, we called for a

taxi to the port. We ended up having a private shuttle (Art's Shuttle) come and get us and our seven pieces of luggage plus five carry-on bags for $20 plus tip. I gave him a $12 tip since we had so much luggage.

Embarkation This was our first Disney Cruise. We have been on four previous cruises, all on Carnival. Embarkation was a snap, the best ever. This is one of the pluses for spending the extra money on a Disney cruise. We arrived at 11 a.m. at the port. There were about 20 other people there. We went through security, showed our ID's, birth certificates, and got checked in with in 30 minutes - for both cabins. Once you check in, you can purchase bottled water, snacks, soda, and coffee in the terminal with your "Key to the World Card."

The kids were watching Disney cartoons on TV in the waiting area - a very nice, comfortable waiting area. We were in Group 4, and were invited to board the ship around noon. We were very excited to walk through those giant Mickey ears!! We got on board and were directed to the Parrot Restaurant for lunch. We were not ready for lunch, so we decided to explore the ship. Wonderful - everything is very clean and well kept. My kids found the Quartermasters arcade, so we purchased a $30 game card and they played a few games (we bought another game card later, so we spent a total of $60 on game cards for three kids for this cruise). We got into our room at 1:30 p.m. The rooms are very nice and clean. The beds were very comfy, although my son slept on the sofa bed, and that was a little hard - but that was expected.

Dining The kids put their suits on and went swimming after a quick buffet lunch at the Beach Blanket Buffet. This buffet had some good choices, but the same choices were served every day. My kids preferred the Pluto's Doghouse hot dogs, chicken strips, burgers, fries, nachos, bratwurst, etc., - excellent choices. Although the Mickey Mouse waffles at the buffet were yummy, and the kids loved them...so we had breakfast there every day (except debarkation morning).

After swimming came the muster drill, and then a sail-away party that puts Carnival's to shame -characters dancing, and the staff all dancing on the deck with the kids. It was great, and everyone was involved and having fun. After the sail-away party, we went back to the room to get ready for dinner.

Dinner was wonderful. We had a PTTA rotation, so we started in the Parrot Cay Restaurant, then Tritons for two nights, then Animators Palate the last night. We purchased a wine package for $89 (it came to $105 with tip). This gave us a bottle of wine each night, and we were able to share with the other people at our table. I enjoyed all of the dining on board, but the food is definitely better on Carnival. The service on Disney, however, couldn't have been better. Our assistant waiter knew the children's names before she even came to the table to meet us. I don't know how she did that...but it was a nice touch. She impressed them immediately with that magic.

Beach Day We paid $65 per adult for the Atlantis beach day and $47 for each child. This shore excursion was worth it. They took very good care of us; we were loaded onto buses and driven to the Atlantis resort. Return buses started at 1 p.m. and continued every 30 minutes until 5 p.m. We were led to a quiet beach, where we enjoyed the sun and ocean. The kids got to swim and we got some sun and relaxation. We had vouchers for lunch at the Shark Bites restaurant at the resort. We decided not to use them, and we got lunch after we were back on the ship. However, we did take advantage of the resort -- we toured the aquarium and the rope bridge over the shark pool. We wandered through the casino, and we could have used the water slide and pools too, but we were tired so we decided to go back to the ship around 2 p.m. for lunch and a nap.

That night was formal night. I felt very overdressed in my cocktail dress and sequined shoes and bag. We had the 6 p.m. dinner seating, and it seemed like I was the only person dressed in formal attire. I even saw people wearing jeans and t-shirts. I guess the later seating dressed up more, but very few did so at the early seating. I saw a few ties, that's it - definitely different from Carnival. I don't like dressing up much, so I would have preferred to know this in advance. I could have just worn my casual dining attire and no one would have noticed.

At Night I missed the casino on this ship; they don't have one on Disney cruises, and the night life is pretty lame. The kids liked going to the kids' club after dinner every night...and we didn't have much to do while they were there. I should have spent more time in the adults-only pool area, or at the spa, as these areas were both wonderful! I wish every ship had this; you would never know you were on a Disney cruise while you are in the adult pool area. They enforce the age restriction. I loved it.

Castaway Cay We ended up spending two days there because of rain, so our 'at sea' day was changed to another day at Castaway Cay. The Cookies barbecue was great, and we had a lot of fun - a beautiful beach, tube rentals for $6, lots of activities for the kids. I just wished the tram came all the way up to the ship...we walked a lot.

Debarkation We woke up very early and had breakfast at 7 a.m. in the Animators Palette. It was a wonderful debarkation process. Almost immediately after we finished eating, they announced that anyone who had finished breakfast could leave the ship. I couldn't believe it, and I thought that was a mistake, but it was real. Wonderful. As a final touch, the Luggage was arranged by deck! Not only that, but a crew member was ready to help you find your luggage and gather it!

After we left the Wonder, we surprised the kids with an extra three days at Disney World. The same shuttle service picked us up as promised and drove us to our hotel -- the New Orleans Riverside Resort. The scenery of this resort is wonderful, but the rooms are just OK - it had an outside entrance, and felt like a Holiday Inn at best. However the scenery surrounding the main dining area and gift shop, and the ferry boat ride to downtown Disney, were all worth it. We spent the rest of the day lazing by the pool and napping. We spent Friday and Saturday at the Magic Kingdom, MGM Studios and Animal Kingdom. (If you get the chance, go on the Rock 'n' Roll Roller Coaster at MGM; it is an awesome coaster.) We flew home Sunday.

Overall, this was a wonderful trip aboard a great ship. However, to do it all over again, I would go to Disney World first, then get on the ship and relax. We did it backwards. But it was still worth every penny spent.

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Bahamas
Publication Date: September 25, 2005

I went on a Disney cruise with my mom.{im 12} I had a lot of fun and a great time.

This is my third cruise and I think this one is my favorite so far. When I went on the other cruises { rccl & princess) It took a while to get your paperwork and everything, but it didnT take long at all. We even got an upgrade!!! Yay. We had to wait until 11:00 to get on, so we sat down and waited. There were Disney movies playing, and a model of the cruise ship that showed chairs, beds, and everything. When we got on the ship they asked us what our name was, and then they welcomed 'The Evans Family' onboard and were all clapping.

****Pools**** *There are three pools. The Mickey pool with a slide, which is more for the younger kids. *The goofy pool, which isn't very big, but its fine, is the family pool. This is the one we went in. we only went in once, we didnT really have any time to go in! Lol *Then the adults only pool which looked nice {I

cant go in :( to young}. *There were also two hot tubs at the adult pool and the goofy pool. I never went in them though.

****Room**** This time we had an inside cabin. I am use to a balcony which I just love, but we only had two people so It made sense to get an inside. But it was still very nice. Comfy beds, couch, lots of drawers and space to put your stuff in, and a TV. The TV was so frustrating because you could pull it out, but not around. so to watch it you had to sit on the couch. But Thats fine. I only watched TV at night or in the morning if I slept in. Every night we would have a different towel animal on our bed with chocolates. I think we had a dog, a monkey, and a lobster. They were awesome. So all in all the room was fine.

****Nassau****

On the second night we arrived on Nassau. We booked the Blue lagoon Island. We all met in a room to get our tickets and to meet our guide to the ship. We walked a bit to the docks where the ferry was to take us to blue lagoon. It took about 35 min. to get there. It was amazing! I didnT really want to go at first. But I am glad I did. The water was crystal clear, they had water rides and snorkeling but we never got there! It was amazing! We went to get our free food. which wasnt that great. We also had free drinks, but only fruit punch which I had. But my Mom only drinks water so she had to buy a bottled water. We had to leave :( we got back on the ferry. there were two times you could leave, 2:00 and 4:00, but since we had early dining we had to leave earlier. We stopped at Starbucks on the way back and we also bought hot sauce for my dad. If you go on a Disney cruise, you just HAVE TO go to blue lagoon. It was the best part of the whole cruise!! (Hint: wear sun tan lotion. I didnT. I was a lobster for 2 weeks!!!}

****castaway cay**** The next day we arrived at castaway cay. My Mom had originally booked a cabana massage, but while on the cruise we met someone. A nice lady named Deb and her daughter mallery{11}. They are very nice and even have the same last name as us!!! Well, they were doing the snorkeling excursion. And I also wanted to do this. So my Mom canceled her massage and we went snorkeling with them. They take you on a boat for about 10-15 min. to the reef. When you get there they tell you to put on your fins and goggles. You got an hour to snorkel and then we all went back. It was fun. We even saw a turtle swim buy! When we got back to the island we had the banana boat ride. Now my Mom HATED it!! But I enjoyed it very much. It was fun and exciting. But then you see the barracudas and you hope the ride ends. I am kidding. After that we went to the beach but the water was muggy and something kept stinging us. so we decided to go. We left the island very very tired.

****Restuarants**** *The first restaurant we went to was parrot cay. Which had parrots all over the room {fake} and also bird sounds. In the morning its a buffet. But at dinner its a regular restaurant. We sat at a huge table with an older couple and a few other people. But some of them saw there friends and asked to sit with them. so it was just us and the couple. The wife didnT feel well, because the ship was rocking a lot so they left a little bit earlier. My Mom doesnt remember what she had, but I had roast beef and mashed potatoes. It was good, but not great. We were so tired and getting sick that we decided to leave. I fell asleep right away but unfortunately my Mom was seasick.

*Then there was tritons. It was the theme of The little Mermaid. The lights would go from light to blue to a little red. It was very nice. I think I had chicken fingers. This time we got our friends to sit with us so we were talking to them the whole time. my Mom got a steak but it was way overcooked so she sent it back. Then second one wasnt as bad but still over cooked. Mallery got a pizza which she loved!!! We also got a Caesar salad {all of us} every night because they were so good! We got dessert sorry I cant remember what it was.

*Then there was Animators palette. Which I was really looking forward to. We got there and there was pictures on the wall all in black & white. But as the songs changed in the background, different pictures would light up. Our picture was Cruella devil. And when dessert was out all of the pictures lit up along with the rest of the room. The waiters all changed into colored outfits!

*Then there was pirate day in Tritons. They all dressed up as pirated and I bought eye patches for me and Mallory. The menu was like a treasure map which they let us keep! The dessert was delicious! It was a 'Walk of the plank triple layered chocolate cake and land in chocolate fudge' which sounded so good and tasted great! I had mozzarella sticks for dinner which was very good.

****Shows**** The shows were amazing, what do you expect, there Disney!

*The first show was Hercules The Musical. It was fine, but also kinda boring. Lets just say it wasnt the best one.

*The second show was The Golden Mickeys. This show was very excellent. It showed clips from Disney movies and was great to watch.

*Then I saw A comedian/tranquilatrist. I forgot exactly who it was, but my Mom didnT want to go so I went with friends that we met. It was hilarious! My Mom probaly should have gone!

*Then Disney Dreams. This was the best show of them all, and I am glad I didn't miss it! If you go on a Disney cruise you have to see this show.

There was also a Pirates Party after dinner on the third day. There was pirate style dancing, lots of characters and fireworks. Then there was a small buffet afterwards. It was fun, and tiring!

****The Kids club**** I went to the Oceaneer lab once. It was fun and a lot to do. When I went on the princess cruise they just had us sit down in front of a TV and play video games all day. But here it was way different. They played movies, had bead sections, drawing sections, movies, and video gams. There were also special things. One thing I did was the animation cell, were you drew and painted a Disney animation cell. There was also a day to make flubber but it was during the Pirates Party so I didn't go. The Oceaneer lab had things to do for everyone.

All in all the Disney Cruise was a blast. They had lots to do, sometimes to much to do. My favorite was DEFINATELY, no-question about it, The blue lagoon Island. The food wasnt the best, but wasn't bad. The entertainment was topnotch, and the shows a must-see. The kids clubs were fun for all and not just somewhere to drop of your kids. Both castaways cays and Nassau were fun. This was definitely my favorite cruise of them all! And would recommend it to anyone.

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Bahamas
Publication Date: September 25, 2005

This was our first Disney Cruise, but my fourth cruise overall. I took our youngest daughter, age 12, on this cruise as a reward for outstanding academic grades.

We booked this cruise online in July. This was the first time I booked online and it worked out well. The price was outstanding for this kind of cruise.

This was a four-night cruise with stops in Nassau, Castaway Cay, and one sea day. We live in southwest Florida and my husband drove us to Port Canaveral. We left around 6 a.m. and arrived at 10 a.m. Boarding was to take place at 10:30 a.m. This was my first time in Port Canaveral, and I was impressed how calm and organized everything was. Soon we said goodbye to my husband and walked into the terminal. We had packed light, and only had two bags that we carried on board. They had plenty of seating inside the terminal, friendly and bright colors everywhere. TV monitors played Disney movies and showed Castaway Cay Island.

Check-in was painless, and to our surprise we received an upgrade! It was the same inside cabin, but we moved to Deck

5 from Deck 2. This worked out very well for us. They would not let anyone on the ship until 11:30 a.m. so we sat down, checked out the crowds and the mini-ship in the middle of the terminal that showed all the decks (including the chairs)!

At 11:30 a.m. they let people on the ship and right away it was "Magical." When we stepped on the ship, they asked our names, and the crew gave everyone a standing ovation and said the name of the family with lots of clapping of hands. Nice touch! Next came something different: No one was allowed in their cabins until 1:30 p.m. There was no way to drop off our luggage or check out the cabin.

Again, it was very organized and no chaos. We were directed to the Parrot Cay restaurant, which had vibrant colors -- and you could hear birds singing. We sat down and treated ourselves to a nice buffet lunch. The food was good but I can't remember what I had. The staff was very friendly and this continued through out the cruise -- always a hello, always trying to help.

The Cabin

After lunch we went to Deck 5 and waited. When they let us in our cabin, I was surprised how spacious it was. The cabin was very clean and we had enough space for our clothes. The large bathroom had a tub/shower. We met our cabin steward and he was a nice fellow. My main concern was our assigned dinner time of 8:30 p.m., which was way too late for me to eat. We had to be at a lounge by a specific time to change the seating assignment and we headed there to get it changed. They took our name and told us they would call us to let us know if we could switch.

We also visited the Spa on Deck 9 and took a tour. There was no pressure to buy anything, which I thought was nice. I liked the Tropical Rainforest -- a room that has a sauna, steam room and aromatherapy -- and I booked it for the entire cruise at a cost of $45, which I thought was reasonable. At the time of booking I had asked if it was just for woman or coed and the sales lady assured me it was for females only (otherwise I would not have booked it). But I later found out it was for both genders (more on that to follow).

We went back to our cabin, which was an aft location, and put on our swimming suits. Disney Wonder has three pools: a Mickey pool with a slide, a family pool, and an adults-only pool. They all have hot tubs. The pool is kind of small but it was okay. We had to be back in our cabin because the lifeboat drill was at 4 p.m. This went fairly smoothly, and after that I went back to the cabin and called to find out about our dinner time. We did get early seating which was at 6:15 p.m.

We changed and went to the Parrot Cafe again. At Disney you change restaurants, but you rotate with your dining companions and the same waiters. We sat at a table of eight and there was just another couple. The lady was ill and wasn't talking, and I was disappointed to sit there with no one to talk to. At that time the ship was moving and we hit some rough waters. It felt like the ship was going very fast. I was starting to feel sick myself! I don't remember what we ate and I know we skipped dessert.

Seasickness

The Disney production "Hercules the Musical" started at 8:30 p.m. and the theater was very nice. The ship continued to rock a lot and I kept feeling sicker and sicker. As we sat there we started talking to a woman sitting next to us with her daughter, age 11. We ended up spending time together on the entire cruise. They have a Christian background as well and we got along great. The funny thing was they had the same last name as us. The show was okay but I wasn't impressed. I was disappointed, since I always had seen good Disney productions.

On our back to the cabin, we stopped at the Internet cafe on Deck 3 and I wrote a quick e-mail to my husband. When we finally made it to the cabin I was ready for bed! The ship was rocking terribly and I made a quick dash for the bathroom where all my food came back out. I was so seasick! For the next hour or so I rotated between sink and toilet. I finally felt better and crawled into my bed. My daughter was sleeping and before she went to sleep she had filled out the breakfast card for room service the next morning. Next day..Nassau!

Day 2 - Nassau

Room service woke us up at 7 a.m. and brought the breakfast my daughter had ordered. It was your typical stuff like fruit, bread and jelly. Coffee was okay but nothing exciting. I had recovered from the previous night and the ship's movement was a lot better now. The ship was supposed to dock at 8 a.m. I had planned a trip to the Blue Lagoon Island, but my daughter didn't want to go. We headed to the pursers desk but they told us we could only change it to another excursion, which we didn't do.

A side note to those who are concerned about all the kids on a Disney cruise: The ship was full and had a lot of kids, but we never saw a lot of them. The only time we noticed a "large amount" was at the scheduled character appearances and even then we could have avoided those places. My daughter's new friend was still into the taking pictures and getting autographs with all the Disney characters, and we bumped into them at the "Princess gathering" in the Atrium Lobby. It was cute to see little girls dressed up as Cinderella, Snow White etc.

I talked to my newfound friend and found out they did not have anything planned for the day except to get her daughters hair braided. She had the same dinner time, but was not happy with her table either, since all the guests where older and had no kids at the table for her daughter. So we decided to see if we could dine together. She said she would call and see if we could do it. This is where we found out we had the same last name! We went back into our cabin to gather what we needed for our excursion. At Disney you have a scheduled meeting time on the ship for all the specific excursions and I found this to be nice. There you showed your tickets, made sure you had ID, got towels, etc. Again, it was very well organized! They walked us off the ship and we met the guide who would bring us to the ferry. The walk was a bit long but I saw a Starbucks and told my daughter on the way back we would have to stop there. The ferry ride was very nice and a band played Caribbean tunes. It was very hot and the sun was beating on us but we did not mind.

The Blue Lagoon

Here I would like to thank Donna and Michelle for the great idea to go to the Blue Lagoon. My daughter loved it and so did I. The water was crystal-clear; we spent our entire time in the water except for lunch. The Blue Lagoon has a Dolphin Encounter and we saw the dolphins when the ferry docked. I had just been to Discovery Cove so I did not want to do the dolphins again. The Blue Lagoon has a few stores and some water toys you can rent. We never made it to the stores. Michelle was right, the food was very expensive but it was included in the price of the excursion. However, the food was not good at all and I kept peeking over to the other side where Norwegian Cruise line had a buffet set up and the food looked wonderful: Fresh fruit, desserts, fresh grilled meats etc. We talked to someone there, and they told us the food was very good. Ours wasn't, and I do wish Disney would change this. They had given us some drink coupons but it was only good for rum punch or a sugary drink. We only drink water, so we had to pay for the bottled water.

We left the island at 2 p.m. On our way back, we stopped at Starbucks and some refreshments. We stopped at the indoor market and picked up some hot sauce for my husband as a gift. Back on the ship, we ended up getting a late lunch to make up for the slim pickings at the island. My daughter wanted to rest, so I did some e-mails and called the desk to change my e-mail service. A flat fee was $39 or 75 cents per minute. The first time I logged on, I spent over $17 and I needed to switch to the flat fee. This was no problem and they credited me the $17. I had not heard from my new friend and wasn't sure if I would see them at dinner time.

To our surprise, they sat at our table; the other couple from the previous night was there also and looked pretty perky too. She felt better and the conversation was nice. This was great for the two girls, who enjoyed talking to one another. Again, I forgot what we ate. I do remember Disney does not know how to cook a steak medium rare. The first one I sent back, the second one was almost as bad. I enjoyed the Caesar salad and had it every night.

Entertainment

That night was the production of "The Golden Mickeys," and we almost did not go because of the night before. But I am glad I saw it; the rest of the productions were awesome also. They had the red carpet rolled out in front of the theater and the crew posed as reporters and took flash photos of everyone. I am sure it was awesome for the kids!

Afterwards the girls wanted to go to Studio Sea to participate in "Who wants to be a Mouseketeer?" and we went there. It was set up just like “Who wants to be a Millionaire?†and the girls had loads of fun. I was getting tired so we headed back to our cabin and my daughter ordered chocolate chip cookies, chocolate milk and ice water. The room service was very efficient and fast. But we never ordered anything else besides that every night. The TV always had some Disney stuff on. The TV was a bit of a problem, as we could pull it out but not swivel it around. We had to sit on the sofa or bend our necks from the bed. The ship was moving again and next day was Castaway Cay.

Day 3 - Castaway Cay, Bahamas

I forgot to mention that the night before, our new friends told us they booked a Catamaran snorkeling excursion on the Island. My daughter wanted to this also but it conflicted with my Cabana massage at 9 a.m. I had booked the massage online and was looking forward to it. But this cruise was mainly for my daughter and we tried to get the massage re scheduled.

My daughter and I went to the Beach Blanket Buffet for breakfast. It was the usual stuff, plus an omelet station. Scoops made fresh hot chocolate and plain waffles in the form of Mickey ears. Scoops also had ice cream throughout the day with all sorts of toppings. It was very good and they did not charge for it!

I did not care for the scrambled eggs, very watery. But the bacon was very crispy. Afterwards we made our way to the Spa to see what I could do about my massage. They told me there wasn't another time available and they would charge me half ($70) if I canceled it. I wasn't too happy, but this was my fault, not theirs!

We got off the ship, went to the shore excursion desk on the island, and booked the catamaran/snorkeling trip. We waited by the catamaran for about half an hour and then our friends came off the ship. The catamaran was beautiful and the ride to the snorkeling spot refreshing. The snorkeling went well. I can't put that rubber piece in my mouth, but I still saw many fish. We had one hour to snorkel, and the time flew by.

Afterwards they gave out free chips, pretzels, water and juice. What is nice at the Disney Island is that they have a shuttle take you to the main areas so we did not have to walk with our bag, towels etc. We checked out the shops and bought nothing. We proceeded to the lunch area and ate lunch. Again, it was just okay. We both had a cheeseburger and salad. I had booked a banana boat ride since my daughter wanted to do it, and we walked to the beach. They had a cooler there where you could store your stuff and off we went.

Bouncy Banana Boat

This was the worse ride of my life. The boat pulling us went very fast and I kept bouncing up and down. I had a very hard time holding onto the little rope in front of me. Finally the boat stopped and I told them to slow down but I don't think anyone listened. They told us to stretch our fingers and off we went again. I could hardly hold on and then I saw a Barracuda in the water! I was so afraid I closed my eyes, prayed to God and held on. It's a miracle I did not fall off. When the banana boat ride finally stopped I could barely move. My daughter got me a cup of water and I was not able to hold the cup.

After I caught my breath we stopped at the beach and my daughter wanted to go in the water. I put myself on a lounge chair to relax. I wasn't able to move my arms or my fingers without great pain. I finally managed to get up and join my daughter. The water was very murky at this spot and something kept stinging us. We both decided it was time to leave. We made it back to the ship by around 1:30 p.m. We both took a shower and fell asleep with the TV on!

When I woke up I remembered my daughter was to meet her new friend at the Oceaneer Club at 5 p.m. to make a Disney animation cell. We had to hurry but I could barely move and was very concerned about my arms. I had pulled a few muscles and it took a few days to recover. I had to sleep with a pillow under my arm so it was elevated.

After I dropped off my daughter my new friend and I went to the adults-only coffee shop. I stopped in there before and had my iced coffee (for a fee), which was very good. The Cove Cafe was a quiet spot behind the adults-only pool; it had magazines, headsets for the big-screen TV and was just a nice spot to relax.

Soon it was time to go to dinner. The menu wasn't anything to write home about but the company made up for the food. That night they had "Hilarious Comedy & Ventriloquism at the theater and I had no interest. My daughter tagged along with her new friend and Mom, and we agreed to meet upstairs for the big “Pirates in the Caribbean Party" from 9:45-11:30 p.m. Rumor had it there would be fireworks too. While my daughter was at the theater, I wrote some e-mails and just checked out the ship.

The show later was wonderful and the kids had a lot of fun. We saw Mickey, Minnie and of course Captain Hook. Someone flew through the air and after that there were fireworks! I don't know of any other cruise line that does fireworks in the middle of the ocean! Afterwards they had a small buffet. Then we went back to our cabin. I was still in a lot of pain with my arms but the right one was very bad as I could not straighten it. I took some Tylenol and hoped for the best! Next day: Sea day!

Day 4 - Sea Day

My daughter slept in but I got up early and headed upstairs to see it was raining. This just added to my sadness knowing this cruise was coming to an end! I ate breakfast at the Beach Blanket Buffet and afterwards I headed down to the desk to straighten out my spa charge.

Remember the tropical rainforest at the spa? I explained why I had not gone and why I would like to have my $45 refunded. He said he would look into it and give me a call later on. When I went into my cabin he did leave me a message and the charge was removed. I also went to the spa and treated myself to a haircut. The price was high but it was fun and I enjoyed it.

After a quick visit to the Internet I woke up my daughter so she could get some breakfast. My daughter and I had not shopped yet and as I laid on Deck 4 on a wooden lounge chair with extra-thick padding, she went shopping. To my surprise she came back with a gift for me, a Disney mug that said "I love you, Mom." She also bought two charm bracelets. I went there later and made some purchases also.

The chair was very comfortable and I felt like going to sleep. Unfortunately some smokers came out on the deck and I had to leave. It was very rare to see smokers. On Disney, many places are smoke-free, including all the inside cabins.

My daughter wanted to see the Magic & Ventriloquism guy again; he was giving a demonstration, so off we went. I enjoyed it but he pushed his products too much. I had not had a chance to play Bingo at all so we went to the early one with our new friends and I won $49! We went again later that night for the Jackpot but we did not win anything.

Animator's Restaurant

That night was the big dinner at "The Animator's Palate." I heard many great things about this room as it goes from black & white to color throughout dinner. We checked out the menu and it disappointed both of us. So we decided to go on the pool deck and eat some fries at Pluto's Dog house. This wasn't the first time we ate there, and the fries came out hot and crunchy. The cart had all the trimmings including tons of potato chip bags. I tried the chicken sandwich one time and it was good but spicy.

On Deck 9 there was a Pinocchio's Pizzeria but we never made it there. The only surcharge restaurant, Palo's, was for adults only ($10 each), and I never went there. Our table mates tried to but it was booked throughout the entire cruise! As we ate some fries the two girls went to play ping pong. Again, we had great conversation and time flew by.

The restaurant was indeed a nice experience but dinner wasn't great. The couple ordered a steak medium well; I told him considering how mine was done at medium rare, his must be a leather shoe. Unfortunately, I was right! What surprised us was that they did not serve any lobster on the cruise!

This was also the night to give out tip envelopes. Our assistant water was very nice and I handed her something extra when I shook her hand. Our waiter was fine but nothing to write home about. The evening was "enhanced" by four accidents in our area – waiters dropping plates, glasses, food, etc., including something on a guest.

Afterwards we went to the theater and watched "Dreams." It says on the flyer, “Fly through the air with Peter Pan and your imagination as many classic Disney characters spring to life. With a little Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust you'll see that your dreams can come true!

The show was fantastic, but some little girls behind me totally screamed when a new Disney character showed up. On the other hand it was nice to experience their excitement -- it was so cute and innocent. Afterwards the girls went to the Oceaneer Lab to pick up a graduation hat and the animation cell they had made. It was time to retire to our cabin and start packing! We checked our e-mail and of course my daughter ordered chocolate chip cookies and we watched a movie on TV. We had wanted to go to the Disney Cinema but just never had time.

Arrival in Port Canaveral

The last morning I had received a paper in our stateroom stating I had to be at the Walt Disney Theater by 6 a.m. to clear immigration. This was very efficient, organized and swift. Every previous time I cruised, no one was there on time. Not on the Wonder! Disney set up a little cart with coffee, tea and breakfast pastries -- very thoughtful. The line moved fast and in no time I was in front of an immigration officer.

After breakfast we went back to our cabin, got our bags and left the ship in very slow motion. In front was the free Raddison shuttle that took us to the hotel, where I had booked one night. We arrived at the hotel around 9 a.m., checked in, went to sleep until 4 p.m. The hotel was okay and the pool area was very nice and the burger by the tiki bar was excellent. The rate had a free breakfast buffet. We checked out later the next day.

Conclusion

The Disney Wonder service was excellent and the crew very friendly. The food wasn't great but we did not starve. Room service was very fast and the inside cabin was spacious. There was plenty to do and always something for just “adults.†I think it's a nice touch to get free soda. I never saw any drunks or females in string bikinis. I would say this is a very family oriented cruise which I like very much. I was a little worried about taking a Disney cruise and only took it because my 12 year old wanted to. I did not regret the cruise and I am already looking forward to booking another one for the beginning of next year. We did not have annoying announcements in our cabin and never anyone trying to sell something to us. We "missed" the formal night, meaning I did not notice a formal night. I always dressed in black pants and a fancy shirt. I did not notice anyone -- including kids -- in shorts at any time. The theater productions were class A+. All in all a great cruise and we will cruise Disney again!

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Bahamas
Publication Date: February 12, 2004

Our family,,,Chris 50, Paul 50, PJ age 15 and Tyler age 13.

We (especially me Chris) are addicted to cruising..this makes #15 for Chris, 12 for Paul and 10 for the boys. We have cruised on Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, Princess, Norwegian and this is our first Disney cruise.

Booking: made the booking for this trip with our favorite cruise agent Kim Chunning at kimskruises. She has been great with prices and excellent service. Thanks KIM. As always things went smoothly from the initial deposit to the final disembarkation. Booked this trip in May 2003 after finding out the boys would have 2 - ½ days along with Friday off school in Feb 2004. Had some free tickets on Airtran that we were able to book without restrictions after a battle with their customer service. A Disney cruise was always hard for me to justify with their higher than other cruise lines price tag. Not having to pay airfare and doing a short cruise made it a reasonable option. We also booked category 11 quad cabin to keep the costs down. Disney deposit of $200 pp was more than the usual bite

for a short cruise. Made the final payment less hefty to pay near Christmas which was a blessing!

Surprise!! Didn't tell our boys PJ and Tyler about the cruise. On Christmas day they had a treasure hunt around the house and found clues, when they would go to the location found by clue they discovered a piece of a puzzle.. at the last location they got the last puzzle piece, a countdown calendar and also the passporter guide to Disney Cruise line along with gold foil chocolate coins inside a treasure chest. The puzzle pieces together would form a picture of the Disney Wonder and said "Surprise, you're going on a Disney Cruise 2/12/04!!!!"

Wednesday Feb 11, 2004

Luckily the weather gods were cooperating and we were able to escape this horrible winter in Maryland with our scheduled flight on Airtran. Arrived in Orlando 11:30 AM, picked up our van (free upgrade!) from Avis and were headed down to our 1 night stay at Pop Century by noon. Stopped by the Albertson's grocery, lunch at Chick-fil-a and then on to the newest Disney resort. Pop Century only opened mid Dec so we were looking forward to the experience. Check in went very smoothly, we were also impressed that the Disney Quest tickets that we had ordered from Ticket Mania just 3 days before were tagged to our reservation and waiting for us along with a few local Orlando discount brochures. We had requested to be in either the 70's or 50's buildings. we were given 1st floor in the 50's section, 'lake view' room not too far from the bowling pin swimming pool. Headed to the pools for a nice swim after getting our luggage inside our new 'home'. Pools were heated but just barely enough to be comfortable, clouds and sunshine were playing tag with each other all afternoon. Still so nice to be outside and warm after months of the miserable cold weather in Maryland. Back to room for a change and then we were off to the food court for an early dinner. Decent food at the food court, had the shrimp lo mein ($6.99), and Mom's night out tv dinner ($8.99) -turkey and mashed potatoes, brought soda from our room to drink. Hopped on the bus to Magic Kingdom afterward. Wanted to do some resort hopping and get a bit of Disney magic before our cruise the next day. Great statues of Mickey all decorated in different styles at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom. It was already 6PM and the park would be closing in an hour. It killed the boys to be that close to the park and all the rides and not go inside. We decided to head over to Fort Wilderness and went to the landing to get on the larger boat there going across the bay. Nice evening for a boat ride, sun was setting, we could see Wilderness Lodge, Discovery Island and soon arrived at Fort Wilderness. Nice beach area there, toured the gift shop and then it was time to see the Wishes fireworks. Joined the crowd gathering on the beach, had a good view of the Ariel fireworks but not the ground displays. I had thought they would pipe in the music soundtrack from the Magic Kingdom but unfortunately not. Still impressive fireworks, many unusual shaped ones and colors. Afterwards we boarded the small boat launch that headed to the Contemporary resort. Short ride, Peter Pan was on the pier there waiting for us to arrive. Inside the Contemporary we head up to get on the monorail. Quick wait and we are riding the short distance to the ticket center. The Monorail cars look ok but smell HORRIBLE. Urine, BO, I don't know what but these cars were nasty! Transferred to the monorail going to Epcot (also stinky) and enjoyed the mini-overview of the park there. Walked to the bus depot and soon we were headed back on the bus to Pop Century. Disney transport is efficient and not too frustrating. PJ had to stop by the food court to try the tied dyed cheesecake, yummy!, Tyler opted for ice cream and I had a frozen coke. (good deal for those with refillable mugs) Then off to our room, pretty comfortable beds, fluffy pillows - a bit cozy for 4 but manageable. need to rest up cuz tomorrow is the day we will sail on the DISNEY WONDER!! Best of Day: fireworks over Magic Kingdom Worst of Day: waking up at 5:30AM to head to airport

Thursday February 12, 2004 Embarkation Day!!!

Up early, cloudy day outside. We head out and find the $3.99 breakfast buffet at the Ponderosa West of Disney World on 192. Decent breakfast choices, more food than we needed. Took a detour to the Animal Kingdom lodge on our way back. WOW, this is a great resort. We enjoyed the lobby area, walked around the pool grounds and out to the Savannah overlooks. Not much animal life in sight tho, we did see a few pelicans and also zebras in the distance. Nice gift shop too. Would be our first choice for a deluxe resort stay ($275 per night value season Savannah view, ouch!) Back to Pop Century we pack up and since we have express checkout no need to stop by front desk. Back on the road we are headed east to Port Canaveral. many toll booths later (probably about $5 total) we can see our first glimpse of the ship from one of the high bridges before you reach the coast. Ya Hoo! What a wonder to see for real!!! Have to go a few miles down A1A to the Avis office to drop off. Smooth process, the shuttle driver takes our luggage and we are soon on the way back towards the ship. Arrive in the Disney drop off parking lot at 11:30 or so, hand over our checked bags (make sure you have them tagged for the ship) -sun is peeking out now, we are really skipping over the short walkway to the terminal. Usual security checks getting in to the terminal we go up the escalator and are now inside the beautiful check in terminal. Impressive, nice facility that Disney has built for their ships. No check in line, takes about 10 min to get our Key to the World Cards. Meanwhile Captain Mickey has arrived next to the large model of the Disney Magic. Boys get in line for their first of many photos for the weekend. We head over to the ears embarkation portal, short wait later we have our welcome aboard photo done, walk on the ship and have them announce "Please join us in welcoming the Mitchell family" with applause from cast members. Nice touch! We are sent down the hallway to Parrot Cay but before we get there they have us exit to the left and head to the elevators going upstairs. I was a bit disappointed after reading the embarkation buffet is nicer in Parrot Cay.but we were fine with the food upstairs. Up on Deck 9, we join the 'cafeteria' lines getting food from the beach blanket buffet. 1st impression about this buffet is not good. Much more congested and less appealing than just about every lido deck restaurant we have been on. Seating crowded, lines resemble a high school cafeteria. Disney could have planned this area much better. (like their nice food courts at the value resorts Disney World) Food was good tho, enjoyed the peel and eat shrimp! Cream puffs and had a nice table on the aft deck in the sunshine overlooking the port. Ice tea, fruit punch and water are the options for drinks. Ah, sunshine, good food and no worries. Life is GOOD! Do a quick walk around the top decks, no big crowds in the pools yet. We head down the elevator to deck 7 and find our home away from home for the week, stateroom 7035. (inside category 11) Like the layout of the stateroom with the large bed, sofa and table with a pull down bunk above for our youngest son. We have been spoiled on the last few family cruises having the boys in an adjoining stateroom so having a quad was a bit too cozy.overall we managed fine. Luggage has not arrived yet. We sit on the beds, declare them comfortable and discover the little disney touches. Like the bedside table lamps with mickey ear design on the shade. Nice propeller alarm clock, Table can rise up and down to adjust height. Safe in the closet nearest the vanity desk that you can operate with any magnetic strip card. We put our passports and $$ inside. Use the bathroom and discover we have a 'too efficient' flushing mechanism on our toilet. If you happen to just lean back slightly on the seat cover it will engage the push button for the flush! I warned everyone about the 'surprise' Not sure if this was unusual for the fixtures in the staterooms on the Wonder,but we hadn't had this problem before. Kinda scary!!!!! Like the bathroom tub with handheld shower, nice design. Decide to do a walkabout on decks 3 and 4, find all of the restaurants and show lounge locations. Nice big show lounge for the evening shows. Stop by wavebands and check on our table for dinner since we had only received 3 tickets in our room instead of the 4 for our family. Everything ok, have a table for 4, Early seating, and rotation TAP as expected. Head to cabin and wait til we hear the signal for the muster drill. Usual hike down the stairs to deck 4 and off to our station. Lucky to be in the shade, fairly painless we muddle together in our orange vests waiting to be released. Back up to the cabin we have 3 out of 4 suitcases and begin the putting away process. Not much shelf/drawer space, I was wishing I had brought a lot more things on hangers to get things put away easier. We manage to get it all stuffed away, (remember next time not to pack so much stuff!!) head up to deck 10 for the sailaway party. Get the boys some virgin colada drinks in the Disney souvenir glasses. ($14.95 for 2) Most of the action is next to the family pool on Deck 9 but we prefer our less crowded view from above on deck 10. Have the cameras out , bubbles to blow. The energized activity staff has music playing and dancing on deck. The crowd is pumped up for our sailway. Mickey and friends join in and soon we hear the 'when we wish upon a star' signal from the ship's horn. Off we slide into the channel out to sea. Sun is shinning brightly and seas look calm. Hard to believe after almost a year of planning this long anticipated cruise is on it's way! We stay for awhile then return to our cabin to get dressed up for our first dinner in Triton's. Would have preferred not to have to dress up this evening and had a more relaxed evening for our 1st night aboard. The boys and hubby in their dress shirts and ties, I have on my dressy top and pants and off we head to Tritons. Easy to find midship on deck 3. We are escorted to our table #68 bout dead center in middle of dining room. Our servers Cheddormar and assistant Banjong introduce themselves and bring us the menu for the evening. Nice formal atmosphere in room, I can view the large mosaic of Triton and the ocean life in front of me. We quickly order and have an enjoyable meal. (I had garlic beef tenderloin, crème brulee, excellent!) Cheddormar (who asked us to just call him Cheddar) was great with the boys, he brought Tyler's dessert under a covered platter and made him wait for a few minutes til he was able to uncover his 'surprise' a Mickey ice cream bar and sprinkles! He loved the special treatment! Sun was setting as we had our meal. Back to cabin for a change to more comfortable wear and then off to see the 1st show, Hercules the Museical in the big theater on Deck 4 forward. Drinks, snacks ect. Are available outside for a reasonable fee. We find seats in an aisle row and wait for the fun to begin. The cruise director Jackie in her dress whites introduces the show. She's a bit more formal than the other CD's we have had before..guess Disney likes that image. We preferred the other cruise activity staff with 'regular clothes' and less stiffness. (party animals!) What a great show,, we laughed and enjoyed every minute. My son PJ a true disney fan was so impressed with the show. Afterward we sent them to Common Grounds to participate in the teen activities... unfortunately my boys are not ones to mix in with new cruise friends. Their loss I am sure, we did see lots of teens on the ship and the activities we saw listed in their teen navigator seemed creative and fun. Paul and I head to wavebands and watch a bit of the 70's show, do a quick run around the top deck watching the stars and enjoy our first night at sea. Back to cabin 7035 all are in bed around midnight. Our cabin steward Gusti has our bed turned down, lights on low and chocolate treats on the pillow. A towel animal , sorry can't remember this nights treasure but we did photograph it! was waiting on our bed when we returned from dinner. Like the privacy curtain between our bed and the bunk for the boys. (bring a clothes pin/clip if you want to no break between curtains.) Gentle rocking of the waves sends us off into dreamland- Best of Day: Welcome from the disney cast members when we board the Wonder Worst of Day: Muster Drill, necessary but not magical.

Friday Febuary 13, 2004

(Yikes, I just discovered it was Friday the 13th writing this review, luckily we had a GREAT day no bad luck for us) Paul and I up early around 6:30AM or so and head up to get some coffee from Deck 9 near the beach blanket buffet. Supposedly a 24 hr drink station here. Nice insulated foam cups with lids you can put on to carry the beverages around deck. We walk a bit on deck 10 but my flip flops are slipping on the damp plastic decking and we decide to play it safe..go on deck 4 (teak wooden promenade deck) and enjoy some nice quiet sea time before we head to cabin to wake up the boys. Amazing very calm waters out there can barely see a ripple in the waves, have rarely seen it this calm. We leave the boys in bed and go off to Triton's for breakfast. Nice full service menu, we have a table with a big window, another couple from Fla/Illinois joins us for the meal. I have a denver omelet, just ok, I am guessing they use either some form of liquid egg mixture or powdered eggs from the texture. Bring toast, delicious pastries etc along with the ever filled to the brim coffee cup..just what we need to start our day. Decide to wait to head into Nassau after we go to see the movie "Miracle" in the big theatre lounge. Boys head up to the beach blanket buffet and get their fill up for the day with the eat all you want offerings on deck 9. Head to the theater and am slightly disappointed the preludes store is not open to sell my hoped for popcorn. Only 10AM but movies and popcorn are a must for me. Theater only fills about ½ of the seats and soon our movie is on the screen. Love Kurt Russell, always my favorite actor from back in teen age days! He sure has aged in this film, hope it is just cosmetic aging.. he's my age so can't look THAT old! Great movie, I am not a sports fan but this one is a very intense inside view of the Olympic sports world, especially during those years of the 'cold war' between US and Russia. Stop by cabin to pick up our beach bags before going to the 'all American buffet' on deck 9 beach blanket buffet. Good food offerings, mashed potatoes and turkey which are Tyler's #1 favorite foods. Have pasta selections and taco buffet as well, Good deserts. We enjoy a nice lunch overlooking the bridge to Paradise Island. Great sunny day and probably mid to upper 70's.wow, I had searched weather reports prior to our cruise and all of them had forecast rotten rain, wind and clouds for our entire trip. Glad that they were 'off course" We grab towels from the pool area and take the elevator to deck 1 gangway. Off the ship and head down the pier. We are instantly grabbed by one of the taxi drivers in the information building. We have plans to go to the paradise island beach and then hope to visit most of the Atlantis resort. Our family joins another group and we all fit inside the 15 passenger van, a quick ride over the paradise island bridge. The driver drops off most of the passengers near the Atlantis casino, he takes us past the Sheraton to the path for the beach access there. We take the path over the sand dune and are soon on the soft sandy beach in front of the Sheraton. We head up to the Atlantis beach and it is a mass of bodies. having been to the resort before I have a bit of knowledge of where to go. We head up the stairs and over the resort area along the beach. Cross over a bridge where an Atlantis employee asks for our room key. I had been at the Comfort Suites a year ago and just happened to save the room plastic key from our trip, I flashed that at the employee and we were nodded on. I had also saved the atlantis bracelets from our prior trip, had hoped we might be able to recycle them and use them for a few unauthorized trips on the water slides..but unfortunately the colors we had saved did not include the black bracelets that we discovered were the color of the day when we arrived. Oh, well. We went past the large Mayan Slide and over to 'cove beach' this is a small beach cove with less activity, lots of chairs. As expected we were not hassled here and enjoyed a little beach time. Water was a bit chilly but fine once you ventured in. Relaxed in the sun and just treasured the beautiful beach time, warmth and break from winter. Packed up, showered off the sand and headed back towards the main casino building. Came to the entrance to the 'dig' aquarium, there were 3 employees waiting outside there and we anticipated them asking for some type of key or bracelet. We just walked past them and no one said a thing. Beautiful aquariums and lots of fish displayed, always an impressive tour. We passed several tour guides and groups coming from the lobby area. Took our time walking thru, then exited to the lobby, visited the impressive bathrooms there- went thru the front entrance and a van headed to the port was waiting. I had the 'shotgun' seat and was glad I managed to buckle the seat belt before we took our wild ride back to the port. Insane traffic and instant lane changes made me a bit scared, the woman driver asked me if I would like to have to drive in Nassau..NO WAY JOSE! We were happy to exit the van at the port. Short line checking id's heading out on the pier. Back on the ship.shower and grab a slice of pizza, relax with a rum and coke (brought along our own sodas and rum for in cabin use) LIFE IS GOOD! Dinner tonite is at Animator's Palate. We find the restaurant on deck 4 aft and arrive to see the original black and white creations. The boys are very excited when they detect any changes in color or pictures during our meal. I guess I was expecting something different, maybe 1 color changing all over the restaurant at a time?? I enjoy the maple glazed salmon and Paul begs our head server Michelle to bring us the recipe. (which she graciously does the next evening) Strawberry cheesecake or strawberry shortcake for dessert are excellent as well. Another great meal and good service, thank you Cheddar and Banjong. Change attire again and relax a bit before heading off to Buena Vista Theater for the Golden Mickey's show. We all enjoy the red carpet interviews of passengers on their way inside the theater. Excellent characters and story lines give us another great evening of entertainment. It is nice that even having teenagers they can be excited to see the shows and get photos with some of the characters on the ship. Stop by the game show Mickey Mania afterward, too bad PJ didn't get picked, he knew most of the answers. One duo won by a landslide and was awarded the treasured winner medal on a ribbon. Paul and I decide to try to get a bit of bubble time in the hot tub post show. Up on deck the tropical deck party is in full swing by the family pool. We are at the adults pool and only a few passengers are sharing the evening there with us. A musical duo is playing some Jimmy Buffet music, we can hear the crowd partying in the distance but prefer our more subdued hideaway. Jump into the hot tub and a half dozen teens decide to join in. I question them about their being over 18 to be there and they act like they don't hear me. A few minutes later a Disney cast member comes by and gives them the heave ho out of the adult's tub. I was glad that they had it under control. Still some grumbling from the teens but they all managed to exit in a few minutes. Hot HOT HOT!!! Almost too hot, bubbled til our skin was feeling boiled in oil, dried off and then went over to catch the dance crowd partying with Mickey. Great action from the disney activity crew. Wish I had their energy. Ate a bowl of ice cream from scoops and checked out the display for the midnight tropical buffet-decided to just grab a burger from Pluto's instead. Stuffed again, we did a late night watch from the Promenade deck before heading for bed to get a good night's sleep before our day on Castaway Cay. A towel animal elephant wearing MY sunglasses is reading a book on the bed, more chocolates on the pillow. Sad to have another day gone of our wonderful cruise..but looking forward to the long awaited day on the island tomorrow. Good night, life is GOOD!

Best of Day: soaking in the hot tubs under the stars of Nassau Worst of Day: traffic scares returning from Paradise Island.

February 14, 2004 Valentine's Day on Castaway Cay

Up early again around 6:30AM and head up hoping for some sunrise photos over Castaway Cay. Ship is still a few miles out from island. We grab coffee and head down to deck7 aft over look to watch them dock the ship. I am so happy the sun is shining and the waves are just a gentle ripple on the surface. Having missed the private island of Coco Cay on the Sovereign 2 yrs earlier I had worried that the weather might prevent our day on CC. The wonder gently slips into the channel next to the dock, you can see all the trams on their journey to pick up supplies etc. for the day. Get the boys up and moving and we all head to Parrot's Cay for breakfast. Very tropical atmosphere in PC , perfect for our day ahead. Think I like this restaurant the best of the 3, cute portholes with palm tree accents, light fixtures with parrots and bananas, comfortable chairs with palm trees carved into the seatbacks. We have a nice table for 4, order our drinks and head to the nicely displayed buffet of foods, Omelet man available for special orders, great jelly donuts, YUM! This is a great place to start your day! Back to cabin we lather on the sunscreen, grab our snorkel gear ,put on our matching Cruisin' with Mickey tshirts I had made and head down to the gangway. No lines getting off ship, get our beach towels for the day, (too bad they only have the small white pool towels instead of the large excursion towels we have had on the other cruiselines, probably worried about theft??) jump on the tram waiting to take us to the family beach. Head down beach past the playground in the water and grab a couple lounges, chairs and an umbrella for our family home in the sand. Paul takes a dip and decides to check out the snorkel area. Boys go in and Tyler swims out to go on the rope hanging part of the playground. Water is a bit nippy going in but clear, that beautiful aqua can't believe it is real color. I am on the chair soaking it all in.the beauty of the island, the ship off in the distance, the reality of this day at last on Castaway Cay. Even better than I had imagined for so many months ahead of time. I wished I could just stay here forever. Take the boys up the beach and get them tubes ($6 each) for the day. These were very well used and it was great to see these overgrown kids play in the water together as they have done since toddler days. LIFE IS VERY GOOD! Paul drags me in the water and we swim up to the snorkel trail, it is a LONG ways out there but we see the underwater Mickey, treasure chest, schools of fish and enough sealife to keep it interesting. Take the swim under the ropes and surprise the boys from behind the water playground on our way back. Almost noon, we send the boys over to the Cookie's BBQ for lunch, tell them we will be back by 3PM-stay together and be safe-Paul and I wait for the tram to take us to Serenity Bay. It is a wonderful memory on the tram, listening to the disney music take us away to our slice of paradise. Feel a bit guilty about leaving boys behind, but with their many cruises experiences and being level headed young guys we are comfortable with their being on their own for a couple hours. Lifeguard is on the beach a few yards from where we were staked out for the day. Both boys are excellent swimmers. On to Serenity bay. We decide to have lunch and enjoy the small picnic area. Good steak and salmon sandwiches. Salads adequate, enjoy the cookie dough frozen yogurt, fruit. Just enough. Walk over to the beach and grab a couple lounges under an umbrella. Someone had nicely deserted their foam mat in front of us so we take that 'freebie' into the water and take turns soaking in the wonderful bay. Bit of seaweed and rocks on bottom, Perfect perfect perfect, it is almost too beautiful to believe. This is probably my favorite cruise port/beach/place on planet earth that I have had the privilege to visit in my 50 yrs of life. Paul orders me a Konk Kooler in the cute coconut cup to sip on the chair when we are drying off. We see a couple crew members in the distance swimming on their adjacent beach, nice that Disney provides that piece of paradise for their hardworking crew. Want to savor each minute, it all passes way too quickly. About 2:30 or so we are back on the tram to the family beach. Find the boys lounging in the shade, they had snorkeled, eaten, swam and explored. We go past the bike rental and take some more photos looking back towards the ship. So pretty, I want to find a place to hide on the island and stay for a month, year, century?? Or so!!! Pack up our gear and stop by the sea shell's shop for a couple Castaway Cay souvenirs. Jump on the tram, get some stamps for the postcards. (need cash 55 cents each, post office closes at 4PM, beach closes at 3:30, all aboard at 4:30) take a photo of the welcome to Castaway Cay sign, and the cute pole high mailbox. I don't want to have to leave but we join in the crowd heading back aboard the ship. Castaway Cay, a dream come true!!! Tyler grabs pizza and brings it back to the cabin for all of us. We take turns getting in the shower to wash away all the sand that has come back on the ship with us. Next bummer is having to pack. Get out the suitcases and start stuffing it all back inside. Have a large trash bag in the boys duffle for all of the dirty clothes, have to leave out the shoes, clothes etc for the next morning. Prepare the tip envelopes and also the small boxes of valentine hearts for our servers, and room steward. Head to dinner for our last one on the Wonder. Tonite in Parrot's Cay. Steel band playing island music. Our servers greet us and give us the menus for the night. I have little Valentine gifts for the boys. It is another great meal, favorite choices makes it hard to decide what to choose. Crab Nuremberg is the choice for all 4 of us as appetizer. YUM! Michelle brings us our requested recipe for Maple glazed Salmon. I choose Prime rib and then the crème brulee cheesecake for dessert. All too soon we are saying goodbye to our servers, rewarding them for their great service with the tips (had prepaid with vouchers from the purser's desk, very reasonable for the quality of service we received). They danced for us and we exited the restaurant, very sad this Valentine's day was almost over. Stopped by the atrium and bought the Disney Cruise Line limited edition Valentine's cruise 2004 pin. ($10.50) cute and will decorate our scrapbook page. Change into clothes for tomorrow and finish packing the luggage, put the Mickey tags on the handles and put them in the hallway for delivery. Off to the theater for the Disney Dreams show. Very touching show , an absolutely magical experience that brought tears to my eyes. Great Job dancers and performers on this ship. We were seated in a row with some preschoolers and they were screaming at every character entrance during the performance. Really the only time we felt the numerous kids on the cruise was waiting for the shows. Packed to the limit in the evening, you have to get there about 20 min ahead to get a decent seat. Lots of row saving by individuals not disney friendly!! PJ goes to atrium afterward and takes the photographs of the many characters at the farewell greeting. We stop by the internet terminals trying to get our boarding passes for airtran the next day. Unfortunately the server was down, we had to wait for the internet manager to come and clear our account. She was nice enough to phone our cabin that evening to let us know they had restored the connection. We were able to log on and get that taken care of on Sunday morning before we disembarked from the Wonder. Paul and I head to the wavebands lounge for the 'match your mate game' Have seen this many times on prior cruises, Disney wins for the best stage props, cute lattice white benches and flowers. 3 couples with newlywed, 5-10 yrs, and 10+ yrs marriage are chosen. Liked the disney question ''where was the most unsual place you and wife 'discovered the magic' One couple claimed to have become 'magical' at the Disney World parking LOT;, mid day!! Brave ones!!!!! We stopped by the hallway outside the Cadillac lounge and have a couple appetizers from the table there. Listen to a song inside the Barrel of Laughs club by the piano duo.not that funny to us. Wish Disney would have some adult comedians?? Instead. Dance to a song by the Seabands (Seawaves?? Have to check my navigator) group. The activity guide Teeshia is hosting the 80's party. What a HOOT.she has this huge afro wig on and is a great party starter for the small crowd. Enjoyed the boa dancing girls, the John Travolta 'body floss' with white jackets. It was a most memorable Valentine's Day!!! We walked out on promenade deck for a last night view of the ocean and stars. I am feeling sad to be almost finished with the cruise. I spend so much time (thank you disboards) researching the trip, I have mentally planned each minute ahead of time and I still have a hard time accepting the cruise is something that has to end!!! Back to the cabin, we are welcomed by the 2 swan towel animals that make a heart shape. Boys are bouncing around. PJ chattering about all the characters he has seen and taken photographs of. They are excited to be going to Disney Quest tomorrow. Lights out, I drift off to sleep, a bit of rocking and rolling on the ship tonight. Good night. Best of Day: floating on a mat at Serenity Bay Worst of Day: Packing up the suitcases

Sunday February 15, 2004 Disembarkation Day

Alarm off at 6:15 along with last wake up from Mickey. Quick shower, pack up all the carryon's and head to our last meal on the Wonder. Breakfast is in Parrot Cay again. Welcome Home menu. PJ's whining about not wanting to leave the ship. I agree!!! Good food and service, it is nice to be able to thank our servers and give them the goodbye hugs for all they have done to make this a memorable cruise. Thank you Cheddar and Banjong, service ranks tops of the 15 cruises I have been on. We stop by shutters and get the photo of the boys with Captain Mickey and Mate Minnie with the Wonder in the background. Also buy the one of the family together on Castaway Cay wearing the Cruisin' with Mickey T'shirts I had crafted ahead of time. Go to the internet café and log on to get our seats on airtran along with boarding passes. It's only 8am and part of me just wants to linger on the ship til they MAKE us get off,,,but we decide to head up the deck and join in the short line exiting from the Wonder. No holdups with customs, they grab our declaration form and glance at the passports. In the terminal I am amazed at the orderly easy luggage display. This is the easiest, best, most organized and hassle free disembarkation ever. Disney wins hands down by a mile!!! It was a painless experience, (besides the PAIN of having to get off at all) We roll the suitcases over to the tent in the adjacent parking lot and all too soon the Avis shuttle is there to pick us up. We gaze at the few early passengers coming to the terminal with envy.wish we could turn the clock back 4 days and have it be our turn to be getting ON instead of OFF. Smooth check in with Avis, no upgrade this time, We squeeze everything into the compact Oldsmobile Alero and drive west to Downtown Disney. More tolls later we are at Disney Quest around 10AM. PJ checks to see if they are opening earlier but finds the ticket office won't open til 11:30AM. We drive to the Marketplace, spend some time and $$ in the world of Disney store. Take the boys back to Disney Quest with their tickets around 11:15. Say we will meet them at 2:15 in the giftshop of Disney Quest, stay together!! Paul and I go back to the marketplace. I drag him into the Once upon a toy store and have a lot of fun filling the box with the Mr Potato head parts. The nice castmember repacks my purchase and tells me to head back for more things to include. I have that box bowed out and the top barely closes-- can't wait to play with MY new toy! We walk thru most of the shops and then stop at the Wolfgang Puck's to share a pizza and soda. Circle around and then get a great hot fudge Sundae at the Giradelli's (spelling??) ice cream shop. Diet starts tomorrow!!!!!! Drive back to Disney Quest and wait for boys to show up, they are right on schedule at 2:15. Back in car, fill up gas tank, prices for gas have gone UP this week! And drive off to I- 4 to the tollroad to the airport. Circle around terminal A 1 time before finding the rental car drop off. Quick return to Avis. Short line checking in with airtran. We are at the gate about 3:30 for our expected 5PM flight. They then announce our flight is delayed due to storms out of Atlanta. Expect to depart at 6PM. We wait at the gate and then decide to buy diner around 4:45 PM Order a pizza-I head back to check at the gate and now they tell me they will be boarding soon and leaving at 5:30! Our pizza comes out of oven at 5:10, we carry it to the gate and wolf down a piece just before our row gets called for the plane. Pack up the remaining pizza to eat on the plane and we join in the crowd. Uneventful flight home, we wait for about a 1/2hr at the baggage claim for luggage. Just delayed enough to meet up with my sister returning from her cruise on the Carnival Inspiration. Nice to have a rendezvous in the terminal with her. Welcome home, it's 26 degrees outside. We open up the suitcases and pull on the sweatshirts and windbreakers we had brought along for the cruise but never needed. PJ is still in shorts, I try to get him to change into pants but he isn't ready to make the change. Outside we freeze for 10 min til the shuttle arrives to take us to the car. Home sweet home, thermostat at 60 takes a bit of time to warm up..I make everyone hot chocolate with marshmallows for comfort. BOO HOO! Don't wanna be home. have a mountain of laundry, groceries to buy and a pile of bills on the counter to pay. I huddle under a blanket and wade thru the hundreds of emails in my acct. Log on to the disboards to get my post cruise fix. No nice rocking of the ship to lull me to sleep tonight. Good night.

Best of Day: waking up and still being on the Wonder Worst of Day: going to sleep in a cold not on the Wonder anymore bed! Life is NOT GOOD!!!!

But still, I am a lucky one. Have been on many cruise adventures, have many more planned and hoped for in the future. Thank you Disney Cruise line for this memorable cruise. A WONDER-ous adventure, a quickie with Mickey. OK, really--Life is GOOD.

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Bahamas
Publication Date: December 14, 2003

My family of four booked the Disney Land/Sea Vacation in April. We chose the option with three days in Disney World and four on the ship. After speaking to my travel agent, I found that guests usually spend the first day of their Disney World parks pass flying in -- which means that unless you live close to Florida, you'll lose a whole day of paid vacation on a plane. So we flew in two days early and booked an additional two nights in an off-site hotel. My husband and I have cruised once before with Princess, but my daughters have never been on a cruise nor seen the ocean (we're from Colorado).

We visited Sea World on Wednesday, and then on Thursday we checked out and drove to Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort (CBR) for our first long day at the Magic Kingdom. Anyone is welcome to check in to the Disney Resort after 6 a.m. and leave their bags with the bell captain or in their rental car until later in the day when their room is ready. Leave plenty of time for check-in because you are also checking in

for your cruise, and they will go through all the cruise documentation.

Have all of your cruise docs completely filled out (there's a checklist inside the little treasure chest packing envelope that your documents come in). An Extra Hour of Magic is available to resort guests only -- one park per day opens an hour early. We used the bus from the CBR to get to the Magic Kingdom and weren't particularly impressed with the service, maybe because our resort is the farthest from the Magic Kingdom, or because they weren't running as many buses during the off season. It was better just to drive the rental car -- as an onsite guest you receive free parking. We had a great time at Disney World; the timing couldn't have been better, we never a line, had beautiful weather and loved the rides and activities.

We left Orlando early Sunday morning to drive to Port Canaveral; we didn't purchase transfers and wanted to board the ship as early as possible. We took the extra morning time to visit the Kennedy Space Center, which is just a hop, skip and jump from the cruise terminal.

At about 12:30 we pulled up to Disney's Terminal 8. The ship is enormous and magnificent. It was raining, so we checked in at the gate for passenger drop-off, and left the luggage and everyone but my husband out front. He parked the car in the lot across from the ship. The porter took our tagged luggage, and because we already had our cruise cards from the resort, we were able to go through the metal detector and walk directly onto the ship. They announced our names in the atrium and various staff applauded us, then one crew member escorted us on a quick tour of Deck 3.

Because none of the cabins were ready, we made our reservation for Palo (the specialty restaurant) and an appointment for a beach massage at Castaway Cay. They also ask that you check your children into the Oceaneers Program that first afternoon. You'll have to fill out a questionnaire, including whether your child will be allowed to check themselves in and out, then meet with one of the counselors for questions and to receive your parental pager.

We had the lifeboat drill at 4 p.m., and the ship embarked at 5:30. Our cabin was wonderful; we initially booked an outside cabin, category 8, on Deck 6, but were upgraded to a veranda cabin on Deck 7, category 5. It was a little tight for a family of four, but thanks to Disney's larger-than-industry-standard cabins and split bathrooms, it worked out just fine.

Our dining rotation was Triton's, Animator's Palate, Parrot Cay, and Triton's again. The rotation is listed on your dining tickets, which are in your cabin when you arrive. Unfortunately, we didn't have that information earlier when we booked a reservation for Palo, but if you reserve Palo for your last night on the ship, you'll get the duplicate dining room night (on a four- night cruise). Be warned that the last-evening reservations are at a premium and you'll need to go to WaveBands that first afternoon to get them. In all dining rooms, we had the best serving team -- Nikola from Serbia and Steph from the U.K. They knew the kids' names before we arrived and treated us like royalty.

The shows were all terrific; I especially enjoyed Hercules. We didn't do much of the nightlife -- our days were just too full and we were tired. We really liked the dueling pianos show in Barrel of Laughs; they included children and it was fun. My 13-year-old enjoyed the teen group at Common Grounds. She did both of the teen-only shore excursions and found friends, but spent the majority of time with us. My 8-year-old liked the kids' program at Oceaneers' Lab but would get uncomfortable if left for long stretches of time. I was surprised because I expected both kids to spend most of their time away from the family. I bought walkie-talkies at the recommendation of some folks on the DisBoards and it was a great suggestion. We used them quite a bit, from dividing the family on certain rides at Disney World to finding each other in the morning when we woke at different times on the ship.

On Nassau, we didn't book a shore excursion, so we ran the gamut of hair braiders and taxi drivers to walk into town and do some shopping. We found some nice things at decent prices. Then we found a water ferry to Paradise Island to see the Atlantis resort and find a beach. The water taxi was $4 apiece; it provided a man who gave a running commentary with tourist information, and he asked to be tipped on the way off of the boat. We toured the Atlantis casino, which looked like any other casino, but the impressive resort has its own aquarium and lagoon/swimming area. However, they allow only their own guests into most of the resort; we got run off of the back patio when we were trying to find our way out.

We walked a block or so and entered the public beach area just past the Sheraton. The surf was pretty high and almost scary; my youngest got knocked down and had a hard time getting back up. We used the Sheraton showers to clean off most of the sand and sea water, then caught a taxi back to the ship from the front of the hotel. My 13-year-old wanted to add the evening shore excursion, the Teen Junkaroo, and we were able to sign her up at Common Grounds. They met and left the ship at 7 p.m. to take a party boat on a sail around Paradise Island, and she had a blast.

The next day was in Freeport. I'd read some reviewers who said they wished Disney had treated Freeport as an "at sea" day instead of getting off of the ship. So we just stayed on ship with a quick trip to the Straw Market on the dock. The port area is very industrial, with huge petroleum tanks and cargo docks. The cruise director Teresa recommended not allowing first impressions to keep you on the ship; she said the island was wonderful. The family at the next table took a taxi to the other side of the island and had a great day on the beach. We lounged by the pool, had the girls in their programs and caught one of the movies in the Buena Vista Theater. I was surprised, and shouldn't have been, that they had brand new Disney movies just barely out in the theater, like Brother Bear and the Haunted Mansion.

The last stop was our favorite, Castaway Cay. What a terrific island! I'd booked a cabana massage on the beach first thing that morning, and what a treat! The adults-only beach is on the other side of the island; you can catch a tram to get over or just walk. The cabanas have most of the ocean side propped open to get the full effect of the view. They sit a little above the beach so they are private; it was the best part of the whole cruise.

My husband took our youngest right to the family beach; they were the first in the water and were able to see a ray and a couple of hermit crabs before the crowds formed. He had one of the hammocks staked out, but because he put his gear on the sand beside the hammock and not "in" the hammock, someone else took over while he was in the water. Oh well; there were plenty of lounge chairs.

Our oldest daughter did the teen excursion "Wild Side" with bicycling, sea kayaking and snorkeling. She befriended another girl from Guatemala and had a great time. Lunch at Cookies BBQ was fabulous. Disney does a great job of staffing the island from the ship and it was well done. Our afternoon shore excursion was canceled because the wind came up, which wasn't good for the catamaran "Sea Horse Snorkel." I heard that the morning snorkel adventure was great.

We got back on the ship at about 2 p.m. and sat by the pool. A few rain showers came in and it got a little stormy about 4 p.m. The captain decided to delay our departure because of the squall. Hubby and I had reservations for Palo that night, so the girls chose to go to the dining room without us, since they liked our wait staff so much and the servers promised to take good care of them. Palo is magnificent; the food is tremendous and the service is impeccable. Once we embarked, the seas were a little rough, but in a fun way. No one got sick or was bothered, but we bounced around pretty good all night.

We got a late start from Castaway Cay, so debarkation was delayed the next morning at Port Canaveral. We ate breakfast in our designated dining room and carried our hand luggage. It was the first time that we had breakfast anywhere other than the Beach Blanket Buffet. Then we found a table in the Promenade Lounge to wait. The Promenade Lounge is on Deck 3, just past the atrium and close to the exit from the ship. A crew member entertained us with trivia and gave out trading pins for the answers to some tough questions. Then the people in the lounge were released to exit the ship; the rest went really smoothly. There weren't enough porters but we were able to gather and cart our luggage. We had our own car and were on our way to the airport within minutes. I was glad that our 1:15 p.m. flight wasn't any earlier because with the ship getting in late, it would've been really difficult to catch an earlier flight.

I loved the Disney vacation and the ship was so beautiful. I wouldn't choose this line for a vacation without kids, and was glad that my youngest was 8 years old. We witnessed many, many toddler meltdowns in the theaters, dining rooms and pool areas just because the poor little things were exhausted and overwhelmed. And quite honestly, even with my older, self-sufficient children, I still spent a great deal of time mothering so it was less of a vacation for me. I look forward to another cruise with only me and my husband on a different line, and possibly a Disney seven-day with my kids again in a couple of years.

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Bahamas
Publication Date: September 19, 2002

I wrote a review on this ship in January so why do it again in September? A $99 coupon. We really weren't interested in another cruise in Wonder but who could pass us a weekend in the Bahamas in a balcony stateroom for less than $250.

Magic is a real seven day cruise to the Caribbean. Wonder is part of a seven day theme park/cruise package for most embarked. Therein lies the problem.

There is no cruise ship aura or mystic on Wonder. People do not enter with the feeling that they are going to sea to share a unique adventure. To them it is another place to be herded. The ship is just another attraction, and after four exhausting days in Disney World, they admit to being a bit jaded. This was confirmed by the staff who rotate between the ships. Magic is a normal cruise with a Disney flavor.

You don't have to pack much for a three night, two day cruise. Nevertheless, what I lay out to be packed and what actually goes into the suitcase never seems to be the same. I pack light, she says what if

I spill. Couldn't get in the mood. Packed late with what was hanging in the closet. There is no such thing as formal on Wonder. I was overdressed in a sport coat and Miami Vice tee shirt. One suitcase held it all for both of us.

Planned to sleep late, have breakfast, then a leisurely two hour drive to Port Canaveral, by far the easiest port from which to start a cruise.

Was informed the cruise started when the alarm went off. Breakfast would be on the road, which brings us to lesson one: While St Augustine might be a great place to spend the night if driving from the northeast, it can be expensive.

We stopped at the St Augustine Outlet complex Cracker Barrel on I-95 and noticed several fellow diners filling out their cruise documents! Seems those motels are always available and reasonably priced, and that's where several had been booked. Actually they were headed for Ft Lauderdale and Miami, five hours down the road.

We still weren't in a cruise mood. "Did you bring the documents?" "Yes" "Are your sure?" "YES" "Did you turn off the ceiling fans?" "Yes" "Are your sure?" "YES"

Disney has streamlined their check in procedure since January. Still have to show documents to get into the complex. Told we had a two category upgrade. Mood improved. Dropped off bag and wife, drove across the road to parking, found a spot close to the walkway. The Port Canaveral terminal complexes are very compact and the walk back to the building is short. Do have your documents with you to get back in.

Donald still quacks welcome. Personal luggage and body search is now done at the door so that once you are in, you can go directly aboard without holding everyone up while you explain you will not hijack the ship with your knitting needles. You have already done that.

Upon boarding you are supposed to go to the embarkation buffet with your bags in tow. Rooms aren't ready until nearly 2:00. Disney has two options for boarding lunch; Parrot Cay, an enjoyable laid back experience or Beach Blanket Buffet, an indoor/outdoor feeding trough. Last time we played by the rules and waited until our room was ready. Parrot Cay was closed Lesson two: This time I left wife holding a table in decent restaurant, took bags to room, pretipped steward who probably would have let us left them anyway, and returned for an enjoyable lunch.

The dining experience on Disney is unique in setting, certainly not the food. Meals are long on presentation, short on quality and preparation. We shared our table with a couple who made them take it back untill it was done right. Didn't take long before the meals improved, for us at least. We didn't have the best servers, they spent most of their time doting over children and young mothers. Hope the tip they received from them made up for what they got from us. Speaking to the head waiter didn't help.

We received a welcome basket with two splits of wine. Took them to dinner and was faced with a $15 corkage fee. Solved that by pouring wine in our room, taking it into the restaurant with us. Worked twice. Ran out of wine. Probably couldn't get away with it three times anyway.

Last cruise I raved about the children's programs and how much they enjoyed them and how we hardly saw loose children and how happy parents were to be free of them and how the kids would be returned exhausted which made for fairly quiet evenings. The crowd on this trip was absolutely marsupial. They wouldn't let their kids out of their sight. It was a mad house. All the wonderful facilities were ignored. The counselers couldn't believe it. I won't get regional or ethnic. Why go on a Disney cruise if you don't let your children take advantage of the great programs available?

In Nassau we had four megaships and one monster ship. Voyager of the Seas literally dwarfed us. That makes for a lot of people in town. We decided to go tourist this time and took an island tour. Big mistake. Will continue to do what we always do, negotiate with a cab driver and get what we want. Lesson three; nice touch while on your varandah watching other ships and their passengers leave port is to have your butler stand in the background. We were out snooted by the ships next door.

Made the effort this time to see all the shows. Disney does put on quite a production. Very well done with genuine talent. There is a lot going on at the same time, take a hi lighter.

We enjoy people watching. Most cruises are made up of like people. Not Disney Wonder! Enjoyed watching the kids take in what was available. The look on NYC secretarie's faces when they learned this was not what they had in mind. Parents who are totally lost but have to be the last word. Kids who are way ahead of them and masters at having the last word.

Our room was much larger than we needed. My distress over the balcony is addressed in Cruise Complaints. Two parents and four kids would have been comfortable. Maybe not happy, but comfortable.

Repeating the same cruise on a Disney ship in the same year is not a particularly stirring experience, unless you really like cruising and really like Disney. I was reminded I had already done it everytime I tried to take a picture. What I saw in the viewfinder was already in an album. But, our house had been flooded and we needed a break. Besides, a three day cruise for less than $250 remember?

Strongly recommend Magic. With Wonder you get what you signed up for.

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Bahamas
Publication Date: August 29, 2002

we sailed the disney wonder on aug. 29th 2002 for a 3 day cruise. my husband , and i and our two teenage sons age 15, and 16. we also took along a friend of our son also age 15 , we traveled with another family and there teenage son age 17, this was there third cruise. the ship is beautiful , the frist day getting on , and settled in our room took no time at all , very easy , and stress free. the kids had the time of there lifes, we never saw them, we had check in times , and we asked that we all be together for dinner , other then that they spent there time with other teens they meet , hanging out at common grounds the teen spot for ages 13 thru 17 ,they were busy ever second ,we took it easy walking the deck , laying in the sun , eating, at night we went to the disney shows ,disney dreams was great , and we checked out the clube , something was always going on our children joined us

one night and we all saw a movie in the disney theater. we were going to try out the spa , but never ended up doind so, next time we will. there were deck partys with live music and dancing , bingo , and karaoke to name a few .

we had second seating dinner , we like that , this way we didn't have to rush to get ready for dinner after a day of play at port , or on board doing this or that. also there is plenty of food around all day so you wont go hungry. being it was onlyu a 3 day cruise we only went to 2 ports , one being castaway cay , this place it beautiful , the kids went to the teen beach , and we wnt to the adult beach. everyone had a great day . word of warning be carful in the water , i took a chair in to a few feet of water and sat there in the sun , and a big ugly looking fish came towards me , it turned out to be a barracdda, ummm i spent the rest of the day on the beach , but everyone stayed in the water and there were no problems. they will tell you to not wear any jewerly in the water , i guess the fish can see it , and go towards it to check it out . anyway i would still ggo in the water just be on the look out thats all. all and all the trip was great , the kids loved it , we loved seeing the kids happy , and we felt like our money was well spent , we had a nice time relaxing and , eating and seeing shows , if your traveling with kids this cruise is a must , if your not it is still very nice , but it does not have a casino, and you might want to check out what other cruises may have to offer , if kids are not part of it , we will be going again soon

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