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Disney Wonder, Bahamas, October 11, 2001 - October 14, 2001
We are big Disney fans. So when Disney announced their own cruise line, we watched closely and knew we would have to try it. It was only a matter of time.
We make a pilgrimage to Walt Disney World in Florida about once every five years. This normally takes the form of a grand vacation, where we stay in a nice hotel, eat in the finest restaurants, go to all of the theme parks, buy a lot of souvenirs, etc.
This year we decided to tack on a 3-night cruise on Disney Cruise Line's ship Disney Wonder. The cruise visited Nassau (yawn, we've been there several times) and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. Interestingly, 3-night cruises from Port Canaveral leave Thursday and return Sunday, which worked out perfectly for us since we flew home Sunday and were back at work on Monday. On the west coast, 3-night cruises leave on Friday and return Monday, which is less convenient.
The ultimate question: can a childless couple find happiness on Disney Cruise Line? A resounding yes! We had an excellent cruise on the Disney Wonder. Disney has many adults-only areas on the ship and on their private island, Castaway Cay. On the ship there is an adults-only pool and on Deck 3 forward is Route 66, an adults-only night club area. We regret we didn't have enough time to spend at Route 66. Palo is an adults-only restaurant. And Castaway Cay has an adults-only beach. Unlike some cruise lines, Disney really seems to enforce the adults-only areas.
Castaway Cay is staggeringly beautiful and far surpasses Royal Caribbean's private island, Coco Cay. Serenity Bay, the adults only beach on Castaway Cay, is truly paradise. It was quiet and peaceful, and the water was warm and clear. We floated on mats staring up at the sky. Allyn could have stayed there for hours.
We found the ship very nice (though not quite as fabulous as Radiance of the Seas), and full of the Disney quality and touches we are used to from our time spent at Disney World (our favorite hotel there is Wilderness Lodge). The food and service on Disney Cruise Line were top-notch. So don't think Disney cuts corners or delivers a sub-standard cruise experience in any way. Overall it is an excellent cruise experience.
It helps to like or at least tolerate All Things Disney, however. The characters show up everywhere, from pool parties to photo ops in the main atrium. (You'd be surprised how many adult couples were lining up for photos with the characters, including us).
The major drawback to Disney Cruise Line is price. We paid 50% more for our 3-night Disney Cruise than we paid for our 4-night cruise on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas in April. And October shouldn't exactly be high season since school is in session. So there was a bit of sticker shock to get over.
We will cruise again on Disney Cruise Line. We'd like to try a 7-night cruise on Disney Magic since we didn't feel like we had enough time to do everything we wanted to do. And we'd like to bring our niece and nephew in a few years when they are old enough since any kid would have a ball on Disney.
We highly recommend Disney Cruise Line for families and adults who like or tolerate Disney.
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Copyright © 2001 Teri & Allyn Fratkin, All Rights Reserved.