Great 1st Cruise for Skeptics

Disney Wonder Cruise Review

Cruises: 1 cruise (first)
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 10

Overall rating:

4.1 out of 5
Disney Wonder

6 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston Roundtrip)

Sail date: January 03, 2020

Ship: Disney Wonder

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 5632

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Good first cruise with a few hiccups.

Embarkation

4 out of 5
Everything worked as expected, with no major issues, delays, or annoyances. After seeing many YouTube videos of the Florida Cape Canaveral terminals, I think we were expecting more Disney at the terminal than we saw in Galveston. There was a bit of confusion once onboard about where to go to try to get Palo brunch reservations. They were having computer problems and a long queue began to form, but it eventually worked out. We did get the reservations for 10am the following morning. We chose Triton’s for lunch, which was just okay. Next time, we’ll do Cabanas and have more choices.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Overall, the food was good, but there were some misses in the Main Dining Rooms (MDRs) and some excellence in the Cabanas buffet and fast-casual take-away windows. Brunch at Palo was lovely, with excellent service. Most buffet dishes were delicious, but skip the king crab leg pieces which are pre-split, dried out, and tasteless. We also found the highly rated pizza to be undercooked & soggy. For rotational dining, we had some items that were phenomenal and others that were just not that great. Beef wellington and other tenderloin-based cuts - great. Any other beef - terrible. Most shrimp dishes - great. Any white fish - overcooked & dry, even in broth. Most soups and salads - excellent. Most desserts - excellent. Our service team, who traveled with us in the rotation, were wonderfully attentive and eager to please, but we found all of the fawning a bit intrusive. Animator’s Palate on the 1st night was a difficult experience, with lots of engine vibration and rocking of the ship. Many people were seasick. Tiana’s Place was probably our favorite of the 3 for the Creole/Cajun influenced menus. The cast member Tiana was fantastic and we also loved the New Orleans jazz band. Triton’s didn’t really stand out except that we were free from the drawn out shows of the other 2 places and could focus on the meal. We actually preferred the buffet at Cabanas served during breakfast and lunch for the freshness and variety of options, as well as the ease of self portion control. I love crab meat and was able to indulge on a couple occasions at Cabanas while dining al fresco with an ocean view — way better to me than being trapped inside at one of the rotational dining events. Finally, we really enjoyed Daisy’s deLites for the healthier fare that we could get quickly and head off to enjoy at our leisure without interruption. A big plate of crispy fries from Pete’s was pretty great, too. Oh, and the pastries in the case at Cove Cafe were fantastic.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
We enjoyed morning runs on Deck 4 and using the fitness center with windows overlooking the forward bow. As a family, we enjoyed watching (but not volunteering for) some of the game shows in the D Lounge. My husband played one set of bingo with the electronic card machine and enjoyed the action but did not win anything. He was surprised at how packed the room got for this - it was standing room only in Azure. I did a couple of the pub quizzes in Crown & Fin, and the host was great.

Entertainment

4 out of 5
We watched a couple first-run films (Frozen 2 and Star Wars Rise of Skywalker), which was a nice treat. The Sail-a-Wave Party on embarkation day was an exciting send-off for our first cruise, but something we’d not repeat. Pirate Night’s Deck Party was similar and some we could have skipped except we didn’t want to miss the fireworks. Of the 3 major live shows in the Walt Disney Theatre, I was most impressed by the overall quality of the Frozen show. If you like Broadway-style musicals, this one is not to be missed. Performers & effects are wonderful, and every song is iconic. The other 2 (Golden Mickeys and Disney Dreams) are great for Disney super fans, but otherwise not worth the 2 hours you might spend enjoying the seabreeze outside or some whirlpool time in Quiet Cove. Hot tip: you can watch these shows broadcast in your stateroom’s TV on the Walt Disney Theatre channel (one of the highest channels in the list).

Children's Programs

5 out of 5
Our mature 13 year-old son loved the teen club Vibe and spent as much time there as he could. He was under the 14 year-old age cutoff, but we were able to sign a waiver to allow him to participate and they put a sticker on his card to show he was allowed in. His favorites were the video gaming systems and meeting friends there to play games like Guitar Hero, Star Wars Battlefront II, and Superhot VR. The ice cream social with scoopable (non-softserve) cookies & cream was a big hit!

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
This is the main reason we paid the premium price for DCL. The staff, crew, and cast members are fantastic on this ship, as they are at every Disney property. Everyone is working nonstop to keep the ship in pristine condition and ensure that everyone is safe and entertained. If anything negative can be said (and this is almost silly to mention), the waiter service during the rotational dining is a bit over-the-top. We found it difficult to have a conversation at times because someone was always sidling up to see if we needed something or to keep a water glass filled. It was a relief sometimes to go to the buffet or walk-up windows where I could get some peace.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Everything was kept spotless, attractive, and in working order throughout our cruise. We loved the ship’s layout, which was organized in such a way that we were never more than a 5 minute walk away from anything we wanted to do.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
We loved this cabin for the most part. It was very clean, with comfy beds & linens, plenty of storage space in the closets & under the bed, and nice features like the swivel arm TV, split-bathroom, and mini-fridge. The navigator vernandah was great for peaceful mornings with room service coffee or anytime we wanted some privacy outdoors with an ocean view. We liked the general location, a short walk to the stairs & elevators, but far enough that traffic noise was no issue. Our only downside was the vibration & noise from engines & thrusters, especially on the first night and during our approaches to ports. Good earplugs helped with this, but we mostly just had to get used to it. There were also some squeaks & creaks around the verandah door and ceiling panels that could use some lubrication. Next time I’ll bring some WD-40!

Ship tip

If you have 2nd seating for dinner (8:15 or later), make sure to visit Daisy’s de Lites or one of the fast-service counters before 5pm for a lite snack to avoid the “hangry” feelings. Our mature 13 year-old loved Vibe & was able to access it once we signed a waiver. Don’t miss the Drink of the Day and brunch cocktail deals at Signals.

Ports of call

George Town, Grand Cayman

4 out of 5
We didn’t do any DCL excursions because we prefer an independent experience around fewer cruise ship travelers. We took inexpensive public transportation to a great locals’ beach on the north end of the island where we knew we’d have great snorkeling with no crowds. It was wonderful but too short. Our ship had been unable to anchor at the originally planned location in Georgetown; we were several miles south in Spott’s Bay. This added an extra hour of RT transfer time that we’d otherwise have had in the water. We heard that a few of the planned DCL excursions (such as Stingray City) were cancelled due to choppy waters.

Cozumel, Mexico

3 out of 5
Cozumel is a wonderful place to visit outside of a cruise port-of-call if you are a diver or snorkel enthusiast. We were not so impressed as cruise visitors docked at Punta Langosta. They make you go through a gauntlet of hawkers and 2 floors of a mall before you can exit to the street to catch a taxi. We did our own excursion via $10 taxi 7km to Money Bar to have lunch, beers, & snorkel at Dzul-Ha Reef, which was great for strong swimmers, total cost for 3 people: $65.

Galveston, Texas

4 out of 5
Eh, we didn’t really do much in Galveston. As lifelong Texans born & raised in the Houston area, we’ve seen it all here. The area around the port is actually full of fun for tourists, we just weren’t there long enough to do any of it for this trip. We drove in, parked, and got onto the ship. Once we disembarked, it was the same in reverse. Parking at EZ Cruise was reasonably priced & hassle-free for us. Check their website for coupons.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
No complaints here. Everything went smoothly with our checked bags, last breakfast, and exiting the ship.

Traveler Photos

Punta Langosta trash can on the pier Spott's Beach, a short walk from the tender pier View of the ship in port, about halfway down the pier 6 nights, 6 towel buddies Entrance to Vibe Waiting to go through security checkpoint Anchored at Spott's Bay Hen and chicks on the beach Sofa to twin bed at turndown Decorated door with fish extender pockets Lounge space at Vibe Punta Langosta photo op with brand placement
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