We recently embarked on an amazing adventure to Alaska on the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship.  When planning our vacation, we wanted to go somewhere we did not have to take a long plane ride, where it would be different from our everyday lives in Los Angeles, have activities that would keep our toddler engaged, but still be fun for my husband and me.  The Disney Cruise to Alaska seemed like a perfect choice; my husband is an executive at Disney in Burbank (and although the cruise is one of the things employees actually do not get a discount on), we had already done the Disney resorts in Anaheim, Orlando and Hawaii (where we do get discounts), the cruise left from Vancouver, a plane ride a little over two hours from Los Angeles, it got top notch ratings, and well, our toddler would be inundated with Disney.  We also chose a cruise because we had researched that a cruise was probably the best way to see Alaska.  Nonetheless, having done this for the first time, there were three things I learned which would be useful to know before embarking on a Disney Cruise.

1. There Is No Good Coffee-The Disney Cruise offers fine dining choices.  I was particularly pleased with the menu for our son.  Very healthy and diverse options if you have a kid like mine that doesn’t only eat chicken fingers and fries.  The adult menu was also very tasty, with creative dishes for foodies, and many healthier options.  However, what the cruise entirely lacked was a good ‘ol cup of joe.  My husband and I are avid coffee drinkers; we drink several cups a day, and we like it dark and we like it strong.  This the Disney Cruise fell short on.  When we inquired about the coffee from restaurant staff, they informed us it’s the same they get served in their mess hall and it’s instant.  Not a surprise as it tasted super watered down. Thus, we turned to ordering fancier options like espresso and lattes, which came at a premium, but even those options did not make the cut.  So be warned, if you need quality, well-brewed coffee to get your morning started, you might want to consider packing a French press and a bag of dark roast for your cruise. 

2.  Do Complain If Something Is Not Right-My husband and I are not angry complainers when something is not up to par on our vacation.  This time was no different.  When our bed was squeaky, we called customer service to inquire what might be causing it, but left it at that.  When we got locked out of our room for hours when the keycard entry on our cabin door was malfunctioning, we notified our host and went to an activity while it got taken care of even though it was during naptime.  When our neighbors came to their room drunk and noisy late at night, we called customer service once to handle the situation.  However, customer service did not let it go.  We got several calls a day after each incident inquiring whether the situation had been alleviated and if they could help in any way, and on top of that, they sent a gift to our room three times to accommodate us for the trouble; which included a bottle of booze, free plays at the arcade, and a basket with drinks and baked goodies.  The cruise in its entirety was all about super awesome customer service and making your time as pleasant as possible.  So, if something is not going right, do complain, they will try to do everything in their power to fix it and maybe throw in some free stuff while they’re at it.

3.  It’s Not Just For Families or People With Kids-Do not be misled, just because it’s Disney, the cruise is in no way geared only towards people with children.  Even after visiting several Disney resorts, I was still in awe of the number of adults that are Disney fanatics.  Disney knows this and the ship itself caters to this.  Many of the restaurants, bars, lounges, areas, and activities are restricted to adults.  So, unless you put your kid in the free daycare onboard, you will be restricted from those areas and activities too.  More importantly, there are adults on the ship who will get annoyed and frustrated when your kid disturbs them, misbehaves or runs around screaming at the top of his lungs.  Therefore, do not embark on this cruise with a sigh of relief that you will not get dirty looks (sort of like those you get on an airplane) when your kid is crying or throwing a tantrum.  Unfortunately, you will, and it might even be because that annoyed adult is making your impatient toddler even more anxious by spending way too long at the Mickey character meet and greet taking pictures.