Disney Wonder Cruise Review by DJKeithly
- Sail Date: June 2019
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah
SHIP - OVERALL
The Wonder is a beautiful ship. For her age, she is in exceptionally great shape. The crew keeps her spotless. She is instantly recognizable in port with her white and navy color scheme. The interior is what a Disney fan would expect. Disney characters and art can be found throughout the ship, but it isn't overdone. Also, plenty of familiar Disney tunes are played in the common areas. The Wonder is on the luxury side of things in appearance and atmosphere.
Embarkation was really pretty easy from Canada Place in Vancouver. We hired a car to drop us off. Once we got there, it was easy getting our luggage to the porters, checked in, and on the ship. It is a bit noisy in there, so just come with a little patience. Don't forget your passport!
As with any ship in Disney's fleet, rotational dining is featured and included in the cruise fare. We had two nights at Triton's, two nights at Tiana's Place, and three nights at Animator's Palate. Of the three, Tiana's Place was our favorite. The food was the best on average, and the Mardi Gras party on our last night was just a lot of fun. In addition, Tiana's Place featured the Crawfish Crooners, and they were a very fun band that put a jazz spin on plenty of Disney classics.
After Tiana's Place, we next enjoyed Animator's Palate the most. Our Frozen evening was there, and while that was fun, the night we got to create our own artwork that was animated as part of the evening's entertainment was the most fun we had during a dining experience. Triton's was fine, but we were seated in a corner near the kitchen. Our meals there were a little loud and it was on the warmer side.
As with any Disney cruise, your wait staff follows you from restaurant to restaurant. Our servers, Nyoman and Jack, were amazing. They got to know us and our preferences. They knew what kind of recommendations to make when it came to food and drink at every meal.
Typically, we had breakfast at Cabana's up on deck nine. This buffet style restaurant was wonderful. Each morning, everyone in my family was able to find plenty of options to choose from. I preferred the Mickey waffles with strawberry syrup, but my wife typically choose fresh fruit, oatmeal, and coffee. Our kids enjoyed the waffles, bacon, eggs, and other bakery items.
For snacks, we typically went to Pinocchio's Pizza for a slice after returning from our shore excursions. Also located on deck nine, it is near the pool. My wife enjoyed Daisy's Delites, and the kids frequently got self-serve, soft serve ice cream when I would get a Dole Whip from Eye Scream Treats (the ice cream was included in the fare, the Dole Whip was extra). Boiler Bites, located near Pinocchio's, has some good burgers if that is what you are in the mood for. In short, there is always plenty to eat and it is easily accessible and almost always no extra charge.
Even though the Disney Wonder is a family ship, it does cater to adults as well. After 5 p.m., the aft section of deck three becomes an adults only area. Many of the performers would have additional shows in this area that were a little more tailored for an adult audience. I typically hung out at Crown & Fin pub at the end of the evening. I'd usually buy a beer or cider, enjoy the complimentary nuts and mini-buffet, and watch Sports Center. A lot of others would gather there for cards and other games.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Cove Cafe. Although they serve alcohol there in the evenings, we enjoyed it for the coffee. You can, of course, get plenty of coffee for free on the ship. However, if you want a mocha, latte, or other concoction outside of your meal time, you will want to head to the Cove Cafe. The coffee drinks there are for an additional charge, but they are worth it. Plus, they have a machine that will make designs in the foam of your latte. They had everything from Disney to Marvel and Star Wars characters. I highly recommend it.
Our cabin was just right for us. We probably could have used the extra space with a Deluxe Family Verandah room as our kids are 12 and 15. But, it worked out for us. We spent plenty of time on the balcony. Honestly, a balcony is the way to go for Alaska. There is so much great scenery to see as you sail, and a balcony helps you get the most of it. Our first full day at sea featured plenty of time on the balcony just taking in the sights. Definitely worth it.
We appreciated that the bathroom in the cabin was split into two parts. The shower and tub were in one part. That room also had a sink. The other half of the bathroom had its own sink and the toilet. With two boys, and four people total needing to take showers, that was essential.
Our guestroom host was exceptional. He kept our room tidy and well supplied throughout the cruise. We didn't have too many occasions to make special requests, but he was on top of things.
STORAGE SPACE AND LAUNDRY
Storage space was plentiful. TIP: store your suitcases under the bed. The bed sits a little higher, and there is plenty of room. The closet had more than enough space to hang up our suits for formal night and my wife's dress. Around the desk and the closet there were plenty of drawers as well. We had enough room for all our clothes. I would mention that we brought about four days of clothes and we spent a few days in Vancouver prior to the cruise. So, we did do laundry a few times. It was fairly affordable, but there was a laundry service available. Also, the laundry machines will send a message to your phone through the Disney Cruise app when your laundry is done.
ENTERTAINMENT - THE MAIN STAGE
A number of productions were held in the main theater, which is known as the Walt Disney Theater. These were all included in the fare for your voyage. We didn't catch everything there, but we saw the production of Frozen and Disney Dreams. Both shows were innovative and fun. They are described as Broadway caliber shows, and for the most part that is true. The only real difference is the length of the shows (about an hour) and the understandable absence of an in-house orchestra.
The Walt Disney Theater also hosted performances by comedians and magicians. We saw one of the comedians, and he was entertaining, but not a can't miss. The magician, however, was a must do. Shawn Farquhar is a two time World Champion. We saw him in the Disney Theater one evening, and then we made sure to catch his performances in Azure later in the week.
ENTERTAINMENT - THE BUENA VISTA THEATER
The Wonder played several movies every day. Everything was under the Disney umbrella. For instance, the live action Aladdin was out recently, and that was available in the theater most days. So was Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel. Endgame was presented in 3D in a few instances as well. The theaters have a concession stand outside. The popcorn, candy, and drinks are for an extra charge. TIP: buy a popcorn bucket. You may not want to keep it, but the refills are only $1.50. Also, you can bring in food from any of the restaurants on deck nine. Nobody will stop you. We also attended a presentation on the bears of Alaska in the Buena Vista Theater, and that was informative and entertaining.
ENTERTAINMENT - OTHER
Beyond the theaters, the Wonder has plenty of other entertainment opportunities. The Disney characters have regular meet and greets throughout the day. Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Daisy, Pluto, Goofy, Stitch, and others are regularly available. Also, Spider-Man and Thor made appearances for the Marvel fans.
The D Lounge and the Promenade Lounger are also a good places for families to go for game shows. We regularly attended "The Wheel" (a take off on Wheel of Fortune), Who Wants to Be a Mousketeer?, and So You Think You Know Your Family? All were a good time and family appropriate. Plus, there were always servers available to bring drinks and refreshment if you so needed.
There are three kids clubs on the ship. My boys are more introverted, and they didn't really enjoy them. That said, I saw countless kids that did. The counselors we met were very friendly.
PORTS AND EXCURSIONS
The ports and excursions on this cruise were phenomenal. Alaska is just beautiful, and there aren't any real exceptions. Our first day was a sea day. Day two was to Dawes Glacier. We took the tour with Allen Marine Tours. They brought a boat up to the Wonder, and we boarded. They then explored the fjords and got us up close to berglets, cascades, and some of the wildlife. We got to within a mile of Dawes Glacier compared to the three miles the Wonder got.
The following day was Skagway. It is a small town. Our excursion was the White Pass & Yukon Route. This was a train ride from Skagway through the mountains into British Columbia. We then took the bus back. This is another great way to see some scenery and wildlife. Make sure to bring your passport!
The next port was Juneau. This was our favorite day of the cruise. We booked the excursion that took us whale watching and then to the Mendenhall Glacier. Again, this was with Allen Marine Tours. We saw plenty of whales and glaciers during the tour. The real highlight was Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls. The bus dropped us off near the visitor's center, and we walked the two mile round trip trail to get closer. Very worth it. The sights are breath taking.
The last port was Ketchikan. We took a canoe tour of a nearby lake. It was a fun alternative to our earlier tours. That was also the only port where it rained on us. It was good, but not a must do. Be prepared for physical exercise as you do the rowing on the canoe trip.
Alaska on the Disney Wonder is a fantastic experience. We would consider doing it again. Our kids really enjoyed it. There are plenty of options for dining and excursions that you could do this cruise more than once and have very different experiences. Of course, with Disney, you are paying for the brand. So, if Disney is not important to you, consider an alternate cruise line to save some money. Disney fans, however, should love this.
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