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Disney Wonder Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
592 Reviews

Disney Wonder for Adults; Meh!

Disney Wonder Cruise Review by jnicholasthomas

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2015
  • Destination: Pacific Coastal
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Navigator's Verandah

Disney Cruises appears to be trying to attract an "older crowd", meaning older than 6 maybe, not sure of the definition. So we thought we'd try it. We have about 10 cruises under our collective adult belts.

Let's start with the plusses.

Food - Remarkably good relative to other cruises. In fact, we felt the food was better than the food on any cruise we have taken after 1990 (before that, different in those days of glory). Even the buffet was pretty tasty. Palo was actually on a par with land designer restaurants. The service in Palo was impeccable, like Capitol Grill or Ruth's Chris. Didn't try room service. Even snack bars had pretty good fast food EXCEPT pizza kiosk. That was dreadful. Several of our party dined in Parrot Cay. Bad news. The music/noise was ear splitting (see my comments about Disney noise later). Other dining rooms much better. Main deck had 24 hour coffee and soft drinks. Nice touch.

Staff - excellent. Always friendly and generally efficient. Kudos to the staff in the Disney costumes, especially the Cinderella-types who are literally acting in front of the kids. They show remarkable restraint with recalcitrant children, and there were plenty of them.

(Cue rants and flames between people with small children who are "only expressing themselves" on airplanes, and people without)

The "averages":

Bars - Typical. Prices not unreasonable. Service okay. (See noise comment following). Modest selection of wine and cocktails.

"Adult" sections of boat - Not so good. So called adult pool area forward had two problems. Kids passing through all the time and hanging around the pool. At least I did not see any of them IN the pool. Other is entertainment racket. The area is small and semi-enclosed by the next deck up so the acoustics suck, but the entertainer felt he had to amp his "music" volume off the charts. Couldn't hear yourself think. Conversation impossible while he was strumming. Disney also felt that more is better so it piped the music through the area PA system, even one deck up, at much louder than reasonable volumes. Couldn't be escaped. Disney's idea of "attracting older crowds" is apparently millennials, but there were none of those to be seen, so the rest of us slightly older folks had to endure.

"Adult entertainment" was definitely of the Carnivale Cruise Line's beer-pong crowd genre, but the adult dance areas and adult entertainment areas were kid-free.

Cabins - Okay. Disney lauds its larger-than-average cabins. That's probably true except for the layout. They certainly are larger than average but also, for good or bad, have considerably more storage closets, effectively reducing all that "extra space" to closet extra space. It's understandable since some of the cabins must have housed 2 adults and 23 children judging by the incredible messes on some cabins' floors as I walked past. So there is probably less actual usable floor space than other cruise lines' cabins.

Bathrooms are split into 2 areas with 2 doors. Again, for families, probably great for privacy. But for just adult couples, not so much. The toilet was awkwardly angled and the room so small you had to step into the hallway to pull your pants up. But they were mostly clean, given wear and tear. Beds comfortable. Nothing exceptional but nothing to complain about either. Other posters have complained about cabin noise, but mine was whisper quiet all the time.

Oddity - The ship must have undergone a refit. My cabin was a "porthole balcony" and almost the last one aft on my 6 Deck. Just aft of my cabin door was a heavy bulkhead door. Behind that door the companionway continued with more cabins further aft, but, the carpet there was thinner and the walls plainer, as if this had been crew quarters and converted to passenger cabins without matching the carpet and walls to the forward cabin areas. More oddly, continuing further aft was another bulkhead door. Behind that, more passenger cabins but even cheaper carpet, steeper staircases, narrower hallways, even more plain walls. Bizarre. It was like walking from 1st class to 2nd class to steerage, all within a few feet and all on the same deck. The only bright spot was a dark and steep staircase aft of my cabin that led up directly into the buffet.

Note - If you book the Wonder, do not book cabins 6 Deck aft of the area where the deck begins to curl inward with the ship bow. You'll feel the Ritz cabin you paid for was actually at Motel 6.

Embarcation - Average. Long lines. That might have been because there were a lot of families trying to herd children, but the process took A LOT longer than ANY OTHER cruise we have been on.

Boat in general - clean. Only notable was that every time you passed a restroom the disinfectant smell was overwhelming. Chalk that up to virus paranoia probably, but a better ventilation system in those heads would eliminate that smell in the adjacent companionway.

Very small Internet cafe. Rarely anyone there. I never tried it. One amusing note though: On several occasions as I used the dark steep back staircase ("stair tower" if you want to be nautically correct), there were three pre-teen girls cloistered around an iPad watching porn and giggling. That's funny, not because they were watching porn (easy to see as I walked up the stairs past them), but funny because (1) Internet access on the boat is staggeringly expensive and their streaming porn video will eat up a lot of data and money, and (2) the Internet usage invoice will show their parents which sites they visited. Gonna be hell to pay!

And the bad...............

NOISE! Staggeringly loud NOISE! Everywhere!

One morning there was a kids' dance game in one of the bars. There were exactly 2 kids there. The 2 Disney DJ's were playing music at ear splitting levels through their amps on the stage AND through the entire bar's PA system! WHY? They did manage to chase way all the adults who just wanted to sit there with their morning coffee.

And that is the Disney problem. Noise! Disney believes that, if you are not within, say, 30 feet of the stage, then you MUST listen to music on the area's PA system, on the PA system in the nearby hallways, probably in the restrooms, and everywhere within a 5 minute walk of that stage. And if you think you can escape by walking to another area - forget it. Another "event" will pick up in the PA system as you escape the first event down the hall. NOISE everywhere, even when there wasn't a soul in sight! Entertainers entertaining NO ONE at ear-splitting volumes.

The buffet. As I mentioned, food was very good. Unfortunately as other posters mentioned, there are very few tables. During the daytime, with the adjacent pool full of kids, there can be literally nowhere to sit other than on the deck or in some hallway. The buffet seating area is WAY TOO SMALL. It's not that families hog the tables. Most are in and out fast, but there are just too few seats. Some retrofit!

Dis-embarcation - Bad news. More lines. (San Diego) Taxi wait was about an hour in the searing sun with little shade. We were miserable enough in the interminable lines but I really pitied the frazzled parents with kids. And the lines to actually get OFF the boat stretched the entire length of the companionways inside the boat, creeping forward astonishingly slowly. Score on Disney for crowd management out of 10, a bad 3.

We took the cruise to try Disney. It was end of September, middle of school year, so we expected few children. The boat did indeed have few North American children, but was packed with Asian kids. Might have been some sort of Asian school holiday. But it was not really the kids that were an issue, just the supposedly kids-oriented noise and racket.

For an adult on a Disney cruise - nope!

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