Disney Cruise 2012 Day 3 019
, on Flickr
Despite very frustrating dealings with all 4 legs of our trip with United Airlines we had a wonderful cruise and trip.
Can't emphasis enough how amazing a job Disney always seems to do. 1400 passengers and you feel like you are important and not just a number.
For those unfamiliar, my twin boys are 12 years old and my daughter is 7. The boys absolutely loved the ability to come and go from the Tweens club (Edge) as they pleased, not to mention the unrestrained access to the ice cream and soda bars. It really gave them a sense of freedom. Yet all the while we could reach them, and they us, via the included "wave phones". They were given specific times to be in the stateroom to get ready for dinner and to be back for bed, we had designated "family activities", but the rest of the time (probably 11 hours out of our 16 hour days) was theirs to do as they pleased.
Disney Cruise 2012 Day 3 013
, on Flickr
Our daughter had, obviously, a bit more restriction, but we were allowed to permit her to sign in and out of the Oceaneers Lab on her own, but she wasn't allowed to check out without calling us first (which only happened one or two times the whole time), but she was really able to explore and play with kids her age and older and really get a free and independent spirit.
The shows we attended were super well done. We saw John Carter in 3D (first week of release). And there were almost always more activities available than we could possibly attend. And the free time the kids enjoyed was also free time for mom & dad...some just spent napping in the room, some at the pool, some attending "adult only" activities. It was really nice to be able to partially abdicate responsibility for the kids yet knowing we could reach them on a moment's notice...or they could reach us if/when needed.
Disney Cruise 2012 118
, on Flickr
I read much about the sub-standard food on Disney...I worried that the good food that we remembered from our previous Disney cruise had somehow been let to become a lower priority. I have to say, if the food on other cruises is substantially better then those ships should all have Michellin stars. We absolutely loved the food. Particularly at the Adult-Only Palo which serves ala minute cuisine of a standard equal to many of the finest restaurants I've ever enjoyed. But the main dining room food was also exquisitely prepared to taste. I ordered rare steak, and despite probably 700 other people ordering a steak at the same time, it came out perfect. While the food is somewhat under seasoned for my taste, I think it must be to accommodate the large number of palates. Again, I can't express how much the kids all enjoyed ordering whatever they pleased off of a real adult menu. Often we have to make compromises when eating out as sometimes the $25 steak is just a bit more food and a bit more expense than we can justify with 3 kids. On the cruise everyone got to order not only whatever main dish they pleased, but an appetizer, salad/soup, and desert...and they Shirley Temples were loaded with marachino cherries! My 7 year old also chose to order off of the adult menu and made some really surpising choices (she has a pretty educated and experienced palate for her age, mind you) and found she has a passion for duck prepared several different ways!
Disney Cruise 2012 092
, on Flickr
We also took a non-Disney excursion in Cabo San Lucas and did a short but really nice sea kayak adventure in the Sea of Cortez along with some snorkeling. The ports of call were, frankly, a bit disappointing for us. Very touristy and really no opportunity to see the "real" Mexico. We're spoiled world travelers, so I think others might really find the experience interesting and fun if you've not traveled outside the US much or ever. But my kids even asked about doing a cruise with NO ports of call someday feeling that those days just cut into their cruise activities!
Ok when you've got some time, enjoy the rest of the photos: