Arrival: ship is docked away from Old San Juan. Did not like that you could not just jump off and tour the town like other cruise lines. Needed a taxi for sure! Computers were slow and lines were long. Glad we went snorkeling and beached it before we arrived at 1:30PM. They did not announce our family as we entered. Not a big deal but my kids were looking forward to that part because they heard it from friends. Once we got on board there was no staff to help direct us. On carnival, there were lots of people directing us. Being our first time cruising, we didn't know if we went up or down to find our levels. Eventually by trying one, we figured it out.
The food for the buffet upon entering was great. Really pay attention to the times though. Things are way different on Disney than other lines, Short window for lunch buffet. Missed it next day and had to eat other things. Not as good as buffet; king crab legs, jumbo shrimp, tenderloins, etc. Really really good. The soft pretzels were cold. When they say Cheese or Salt, it is cream cheese by the way. Hard and not good. The pizza is not good either. So much better on Carnival. Loved the sodas are included! and hot chocolates. Did not really like Tritans dining. It was nothing special. Teens not happy with food choices; duck, seafood, lamb, etc. We told the waiter we would just go to the buffet. He said "it is closed by now." (buffet window for dinner very short too) Waiter brought them a burger and buffalo wings! So nice of them. There was not any entertainment or anything to make that dining fun! Loved the other two rooms. No one really dresses up so don't fee like you have to!
We had plenty of room in our ocean view. Def much bigger than other cruise lines. Shows were very very good! Liked that all three nights had one. Not used to going to an early show before dinner. PIcked late dinner thinking we would see a show after dinner. Still had to get ready the same time as everyone else on ship.
The 3D movies were really only offered during shows or dinner. You had to give up a show or dinner to see most. We did see a very late 11:00PM show but that was really really late for us.
Castaway Cay was pretty. Weird how everyone goes back to the ship after 2:00 buffet shut down. Deserted! Didn't like the adult beach area. Water shallow and signs said "No swimming area" Confused, we left. We liked the food. Ribs were good. Saw turtles, rays, huge fish and sunken things while snorkeling. Water very cold. Had a wet suit top that did help hold heat. Bahama weather very iffy in Jan/Feb. cloudy day means it feels much colder!
Kids liked the ice cream but disappointed that Disney's actual site says Eye Scream has toppings for the ice cream. We asked about it and they said no. It is wrong on site. Also read about fruit smoothies, found them but they were extra. Small disappointments didn't ruin the trip though. Also, the pools are fresh water and heated! Even the kids slide!
We kept our bags so we could go to the buffet early and get off early. We were off the ship by 7:30 so we could get our rental car at Port Canaveral at 8:00. Got our car and off by 8:20. Got to Disney by 9:20 :)
It was weird having the mandatory drill just as soon as you get on board and sit down with your food. It took so long to get on and then had to go to drill; pretty much everyone felt like they lost the first day of vacation. We wanted sun and had to stand in line and muster drill with the last remaining drops of precious sunshine (from snowy PA residents). Could not watch pulling out because you would have to give up show if you ate second or dinner if you ate first. Never had that happen before on other lines. Didn't like that!
We spent one afternoon (arrived day before) at Condado Beach. Loved the waves and clear water!
Next day we went to the beginning of Condado Beach beside Hilton, great calm water area for snorkeling!
Beautiful. It was cold to us in January for swimming. 73 degree water and air. When sunny it felt good but most of day was heavy clouds. Easy to walk around. All things close to each other. Snorkeling great. Bring wetsuit type top.