Last week me, the wife, Logan and Lukas packed up and sailed away on the Disney Wonder, a new Disney cruise ship out of Long Beach, CA port to the Mexican Riviera.
Prior to our sail date we were informed that we would not be stopping in Mazatlan since there is some issues there with drug lords and civil unrest (silly 3rd world problems). Instead we were given two port days in Cabo San Lucas. But lets not get ahead of ourselves...
FOR THE "TLDR" FOLKS
Sunday - sailed away
Monday - continued to sail
Tuesday - did some more sailing
Wednesday - docked at Puerto Vallarta - or what I like to call the armpit of ports. Really nothing says welcome to Mexico like a 9-foot fence topped with barbed wire, but hey at least there was a bull fighting ring across the street.
Thursday - Cabo San Lucas day 1 - family stayed on the ship I spent 4 hours walking around town.
Friday - Cabo San Lucas day 2 - family dolphin excursion walked around town for a couple of hours then back to the ship
Saturday - Sailing home
Sunday - Home
FOR THOSE WHO CARE TO KNOW MORE DETAILS
INTRO - First off let me say if you love sailing stick with Royal Caribbean. If you have kids and want the "Disney" experience then try out a Disney Cruise line. But I emphasize the "kids" portion. Sure they offer some amenities for adults but they are few and far between. Any adults sailing on Disney without kids needs to get their sanity checked.
SUNDAY - Welcome Aboard party. Characters everywhere, kids everywhere, screaming everywhere. But at least everyone's happy to be on vacation. Cool viewings for the Academy Awards in their theaters and on their outdoor big screen. Too bad that bores the hell out of kids so onto the Oceaneer's Club - or what I like to call daycare. Seriously day 1 is all about getting unpacked and settled in. We did all of our exploring with our wide eyed kids as they marveled at this massive ship. Spent the most time hanging out in the Oceaneer's Club which is where parents abandon their kids.
Okay I really need to get this out of the way. I just don't understand parents who go on a Disney cruise and just abandon their kids at some day care facility so they can go to the Adult quiet pool, bars and/or spa. You are on the Disney cruise to be a part of Disney, so yes that means interacting with the characters, taking pictures, joining the party fun on the deck. My wife and I hung out with our kids in the Oceaneer's club and did family activities with them.
MONDAY - Their big show Monday night was the Golden Mickey's. Pretty decent show celebrating the music of Disney and their classic films. Outside of that just your typical sailing day:
Oceaneer Club, Pool, Movies/Shows, Pictures with Characters
Oceaneer Club, Movies/Shows, Pictures with Characters
Oceaneer Club, Movies/Shows, Pictures with Characters
You get the idea.
TUESDAY - The big show was Comedy and Hypnosis of Ricky Kalmon, but seriously you've seen one comedian hypnosis you've seen them all. So we did more of the same from Monday.
WEDNESDAY - Welcome to Puerto Vallarta! We were excited to get off the boat and hit the land for some shopping and beach fun. The first thing I realized as I disembarked was the 9-foot fence that surrounded the dock topped with your prison style barbed wire. Nothing says welcome to Mexico like barbed wire (I should know I'm from Chula Vista). We thought, meh can't be that bad. Then we found out to go anywhere you had to hope in a Taxi, shuttle bus, etc. You pretty much couldn't walk anywhere accept some flea market retailers there at the dock. We pretty much turned around and wen back onto the ship.
The big show Wednesday night was Toy Story Musical. My boys loved it. It got mixed reviews from adults., all in all it was decent, I'll give it a C+ I have seen much better Disney shows (like Lion King and the Aladin show at California Adventures). I snuck away in the evening to watch Tron Legacy 3d which I hadn't seen yet (decent flick I'll go B-).
THURSDAY - Welcome to Cabo San Lucas. The theme on the ship was Pirate Night. Thursday was a blast everyone (well most everyone) dressed up like pirates. The entire theme for the day was pirates so all the staff and characters were dressed up like pirates. It was pretty darned cool (I happen to like pirates). Spent most of the day doing activities with the kids and lots of pool time. The kids were exhausted and while they layed down for naps I snuck off to Cabo to walk the town.
CABO Day 1 - Even though Cabo was 100 times better than Puerto Vallarta it still didn't knock my socks off. every single flea market retailer was selling the same cheesy t-shirts and ponchos. Every restaurant was serving the same over priced lobster and shrimp taco. I walked inland a little to try and get some ethnicity but sadly it reminded me a lot of San Diego. I bought some souvenir trinkets, mapped out the stores to show the family on Friday and headed back to the ship.
Thursday night was Disney's big Pirate Party which was put together very well. It was topped off with a wonderful firework show out in the middle of the ocean.
FRIDAY - Cabo day 2 - kids were very excited for Friday. We would be playing with the Dolphins! At first I was kind of pissed that each child HAD to be accompanied by a parent but in the end I had a blast interacting with my kids and the dolphins. All in all it was a great experience to share with the whole family. We spent a couple of hours after the Dolphin excursion walking around Cabo (and by walking I mean the wife and I carrying my kids). Bought a couple of trinkets and back to the ship we went.
Friday night was Disney's "Dreams an Enchanted Classic" show. This show has numerous awards and is very good. It did a great job mixing in many elements of other Disney movies and wrapping them all up in it's own storyline of kids and their dreams. One staff member explained it best when she said "It reminds you what Disney is all about." I gave it a solid A. The entire family loved the show and I heard no negative complaints (compared to the Toy Story Musical).
SATURDAY - Final day at sea. Let the boys have their pick at what activities they wanted to finish off the journey with so we were all about the ship, from the Oceaneer's Club to the Movie Theater. Their final show was called "Remember the Magic" it was more of a recap of the Disney Cruise. The kids opted to stay in the Oceaneer's club for this one so just the wife and I went. Good thing the show would have bored my kids. It was meh, I'll give it a C for effort.
All in all it was a fun family vacation. Great to interact with the boys and see their dreams and imagination flourish. Which as I prefaced above is the reason you go on a Disney Cruise.
Activities (kids): A
Activities (adults): C
Movies: B (I would have liked more adult movies in the evening hours)
Food: B- (Food on Royal Caribbean was outstanding compared to Disney Cruise)
PICTURES - click on thumbnails to enlarge
Here are some images I turned into desktop backgrounds if anyone cares:
And this one for fun:
And here are some iPhone backgrounds:
- Staff has little to no knowledge of Hidden Mickeys so do your research ahead of time.
- There is no exclusive Disney Cruise Vinylmation for sale.
- There are limited series of Vinylmations for sale (no Star Wars).