Friday, August 25, 2006


Checking in for the Disney cruise was the opposite of checking in to the Pop Century hotel. It was so easy. We had filled in all our paperwork online in advance and all we had to do was hand in our paperwork and show our passports and we were set. The whole process took about five minutes.

We boarded the Disney Wonder at around noon on Thursday, Aug. 17. The rooms would not be ready until one, so we went straight to lunch, where we were handed antibacterial wipes before entering the restaurant. This process would be repeated for every meal thereafter. Nobody was allowed into the restaurants or buffets without cleaning their hands. Not only that, but there were wipes placed in locations all around the ship. The rooms were also unbelievably clean. Apparently, on one of the first Disney cruises, there was an epidemic, and now they don't want to take any chances. This was fine by me, I only wish that every cruise, hotel, and restaurant would do the same.

Disney recruits people from all over the world and they live on the ship for about five months out of the year and then live at home for the rest of the year. The staff onboard the ship, all 950 of them, were friendly and helpful. There was always somebody around to help. I have never felt so well treated and taken care of as I did on that ship. Disney recruits people from all over the world and they live on the ship for about five months out of the year and then live at home for the rest of the year.

Everything on the Disney Wonder was just as organized as the check-in process. Even the safety drill was quick and easy, unlike the safety drill on the only other cruise I've experienced, the Carnival. We had sheets of paper, personal navigators, in our room every night to tell us what activities were going on the next day and announcements were made periodically by the captain and program director. The sound to signal an announcement was "When You Wish Upon a Star," which was also the song used for the horn.

The Disney theme was extended to the music played in the halls, the decorations, and even the fact that it was not unusual to run into Disney characters. The reason my family chose to do this cruise was because it was Disney, and we were not disappointed by the extent to which the Disney characters were represented.

I only have one complaint about the whole experience and that is the nightlife. Most of the people on our ship were families with little kids. The adult nightclubs had '80s night, '70s night, karaoke, and other activities, but very few people showed up to them. I know Disney wants to make their cruises more appealing to singles and twenty-somethings, but so far this does not seem to be working.

I wouldn't have minded this as much if they had more activities aimed at families with older children. I am 23, my brother is 21, and my sister is 15, and we all love Disney. We wanted to participate in the family activities, especially the Disney trivia, but they only chose families with very young children to participate. Fortunately, my sister had more than enough to do with the teen activities, but it would have been nice to have things that my brother and I could do with her.

Not that I was at a loss for things to do with all the pools, restaurants, and shows. There are three pools on the Disney Wonder. Mickey's Pool is only for young children, Goofy's Pool is for families, and Quiet Cove is for adults only. We stuck to the family pool, although it was fairly small.

Goofy's Pool turned into a dance floor for the two deck parties. On the first night was the sail away deck party with dancing and a live band as we watched the ship leave Port Canaveral. On the second night was one of my favorite events, the Pirates of the Caribbean deck party were everyone dressed up like pirates. There was also a show with the Disney characters and pirates and fireworks.

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