The One About the Cruise

Remember that post way back in March when I told you I won a Disney Cruise?  We finally went last week, and we had a great time.

The we included: me, Calvin, Nevin, and Evangeline.  Mark and Charis held down the fort at home for a few days and then took a quick trip to the big D to visit Grandmommy and Granddaddy.  They also got to see the cousins (with the aunt and uncle, of course J).

The Food, the Food, the Food, the Food, the Food (Sing to the tune of “Hi, Ho, Hi Ho” from Snow White.)

Everything you have ever heard about food on cruises is true!  There is a lot of it, and it is really good (for the most part).  Every night we ate at the same time in one of the more “formal” restaurants.  We had a server and an assistant server who followed our rotation with us from one place to the next, so by the time the week ended, we were all buds.  At these meals, we were offered 4 courses—appetizer, soup or salad, main course, and dessert.  Each restaurant had a theme and each night there was a theme.  This was a Disney Cruise, so the themes were Disneyesque—Lumiere’s, Evangeline’s favorite with a Beauty and the Beast décor; Parot Cay, it had a Carribean flare and was the perfect setting for our “Pirates In the Caribbean” meal before the on-deck Pirate party; and Animator’s Palate, a bit more casual and a great place for our “Till We Meet Again” farewell dinner on the last night, complete with an international parade of the dining room crew to a hip, upbeat version of “It’s a Small World.”

The food in the restaurants was of great quality and really well prepared.  I only had one pasta dish where I think the pasta was a little dry on the edges, and Evangeline had a pastry dessert for lunch one day with a pretty flavorless outside shell.  Otherwise, it was all great.  I loved trying different things, and our servers were excellent, funny, and friendly.

In addition to the three main restaurants, you could order room service at any time, and it was included in the package.  There were also concession-type places with fast food on the deck with the pools.  I called this “kid heaven.”  Anyone could just walk up to any one of the counters at these places and order pizza, hot dogs, tacos, chicken strips, French fries, etc., and they didn’t even ask for your room number.  There was a 24-hour ice-cream and beverage station on that deck, too.  I tried to put some limits on these places for the kids, but it was pretty tough.  Lastly, there was a casual restaurant on the same deck as the pool that had a breakfast and lunch buffet, and it was open in the evenings for a full-course dinner if you didn’t want to or weren’t able to make your dinner assignment.  We ate several breakfasts there, one lunch, and one dinner.  The view from this place, Top Siders, was beautiful.  You could see the ocean going on forever from our table near the window.  We especially enjoyed our dinner there when the sun was setting over the water while we ate.

The Fun

There were activities scheduled from 8:00 – 1:00 am every day.  The kids were off doing something a lot of the time.  Calvin spent most of his time in the 11 – 13 year-old hangout called Ocean Quest.  It had a really cool simulator of the ship’s bridge where the kids could “steer the boat.”  It also had Wii and all the most popular Wii games, including the favorite, Guitar Hero.  He also played shuffle board, basketball, and a variety of other games with kids that hung out in this room.

Nevin and Evangeline were in another room called the Oceaneer’s Lab for 8 – 10 year-olds.  The programs for this age group were a lot more structured, so my kids didn’t choose to spend as much time there as Calvin spent with his group.  But they attended several craft and sports events, and they hung out there to watch movies on a big screen and play computer games from time to time.  Their big favorite activity of the week was the big on-deck pool with the giant projector screen.

There were lots of family events, too. There were short broadway-like productions 4 of the 7 nights.  They were really well-done, and we all enjoyed them. A popular activity was a game show called, “Who Wants to Be a Mouseketeer?” based on the Millionaire show.  Another game something like Jeopardy was Mickey Mania.  There were also several family dance parties, and family karaoke every night.  Evangeline was the karaoke queen.  I was the supportive mom, and now I will have the lyrics to every High School Musical (1 &2) floating around in my head for a very long time.

I only attended a few of the many adult events.  A memorable one was a martini tasting that was both educational and fun.  Mostly, I hung out with a book by the pool when the kids wanted to swim, and I hung out in our room or in some other comfortable spot on the ship with a book.  I finished only 2 books and half of a third, but  that’s pretty good for me.

The Ports

The ship sailed from LA to 3 ports in Mexico—Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta.  At first I planned not to get off the ship at all, but we ended up exploring and shopping at Puerto Vallarta for about a half a day.  It was a fun outing and it was nice to get off the boat for a bit.

So, What Did I Think?

To quote a song from High School Musical 2— FABULOUS!

The ship was super clean, the crew of the ship was friendly and accommodating, and it was everything you would expect from Disney if you have ever been to Disney World or Disney Land.  I would never have been able to go on a cruise like this on my own, so I was really grateful for the experience.