I went on Disney’s Western Caribbean seven night sailing that left from Port Canaveral on the Disney Fantasy (their “newest” ship, even though now it’s four years old).
Why did I go with the Western Caribbean itinerary over the Eastern? Simple. It stopped in more places. Although I’m not at all opposed to cruise travel like some people are, I still want to see as many places as possible when I do. The Western Caribbean itinerary allowed me to visit three new places versus only two on the Eastern one.
-I’ve now been on all four of Disney’s ships and I have to say the Magic is still my favorite. The smaller a cruise ship, the better.
-I finally made it INTO the Caribbean. Although I had previously been to the Bahamas four times on Disney’s three night sailings, that was it for my Caribbean experience. So I’m happy now that I can say I’ve visited (albeit short visits) Jamaica and the Cayman Islands for new countries and Cozumel for a new destination since obviously I’ve been to Mexico numerous times. It also renewed my interest in actually going to a Caribbean island and vacationing, although not to a Sandals/Couples resort.
-Jamaica. I’ll be honest, Jamaica was never really at the top of my travel radar. My stop in Cozumel was phenomenal due to the awesome food tour I went on (to read that post, click here), but Cozumel itself was “meh” (I prefer interior Mexico). Grand Cayman was just a bit too sterile and developed for my taste (I think I would probably have a different opinion if I was actually staying there). But Jamaica seemed more fresh and authentic (once you left behind the overly developed cruise terminal area). I absolutely loved the scenery (mountains make anything better, especially on an island) and the port excursion we went on allowed my inner history nerd to come out. I’ll have a full post on that soon! So in short, I wouldn’t be opposed to returning there in the future for a proper stay. I would just want to be at a boutique style hotel, I think.
-Killer sunset. On the night we dined at Remy, Disney’s adults-only French restaurant, we grabbed pre-dinner drinks at Meridien. The timing couldn’t have been better as we got to see an utterly stunning sunset take place. Sunsets are always beautiful but even more so when at sea.
-Palo brunch. As I’ve mentioned above, this was my sixth Disney cruise but the first time I got to partake in Palo’s brunch. Everyone I know has always raved about it and unfortunately it’s only offered on cruises that are longer than three nights. We weren’t able to secure a reservation for it on our Norway cruise last year so when reservations became available for this sailing, I jumped at the first possible chance. Palo brunch definitely lived up to all the hype, so much so that (naturally) a full post is coming on that.
-We sailed during the “Halloween season” so the decorations were lovely, just like those on our Christmas themed cruise last year.
-My biggest critique of Disney cruises is that in the five years I’ve been faithfully taking them, they have NEVER changed the menus in their main dining rooms. (Thankfully they do change them more frequently at their adults-only restaurants Palo and Remy.) It’s not that the food isn’t good because it is. I’m simply surprised that they have never have changed the menu once considering I can’t imagine it would really cost much of anything (you buy ingredients for each sailing regardless). Featuring the same menus year after year just doesn’t seem to mesh with the Disney brand, which I generally consider to be synonymous with innovative and cutting edge.
-While overall I do feel that Disney does a good job at marketing to its adult demographic, I was really disappointed that kids are allowed in Europa, the bar/venue district on board, until 9PM. The whole ship is essentially a kid zone and I don’t think youngsters should be allowed in the adult zone too even if they’re with their parents. One night we were in the La Piazza bar listening to a pianist do Billy Joel and Elton John covers and I have to say the ambiance was ruined by the fact that kids were noisily sitting in booths next to us, while others were running around and acting obnoxious.
-Our final day of the cruise was spent at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. This was obviously not Disney’s fault but the weather there was less than ideal (our last two visits have now been marred by mediocre to dismal weather). I always prefer hanging out at Serenity Bay, the adults-only section of the island, but at one point, the water levels got too high you weren’t allowed to swim anymore.
-Not enough time. Well, I’m only half-serious here. While seven night cruises are infinitely better than the fleetingly short three night ones, they still seem too quick. One of the things I wanted to do the most was sit on deck four (it’s so peaceful and deserted there) and just read a book. Well, I never got around to doing that as I literally ran out of time. I guess there is merit then in the Eastern Caribbean itinerary since it gives you an additional day at sea. On my bucket list is one day is doing one of their much longer cruises, either the Panama Canal or a trans-Atlantic sailing , since both have a lot of days at sea.
This trip was drastically different from the one I went on the previous month but that’s why I love the type of traveler I am-open to all types of experiences and truly in love with anything of a contrasting nature (old world Europe versus Caribbean cruising).
And naturally I anxiously await my next Disney cruise. Any guesses where it is?