The Wonder of the Disney Wonder

Mom-Cruiser1

I love boating and I love my children. However going out on a boat (albeit a big one) without my kids didn’t really sound like much fun, particularly since it was a Disney Cruise. I mean, how can a mom possibly have fun on any type of Disney vacation without her children? Well I’m here to confess that I had, without a doubt, a great time.

My Disney Cruise adventure began with an invitation to join mom bloggers: Katja from Skimbaco Lifestyle, Melanie from Don’t Try This at home, Denene from My Brown Baby, Amy from Selfish Mom, Kim from Traveling Mom, Arianne from To Think Is To Create, Former Disney Mom Panelist now turned Disney Cast Member, Laura Spencer and Jonathan Fernando of Disney Cruise Public Relations. Of course I did what every 45-year-old mom of four would do as soon as she received an invitation to go to the Caribbean with 7 strangers; I went on a diet so that I could defy age, child-birth and gravity and wear a bikini.

The second step was explaining to my kids why couldn’t come on a cruise that they have been asking to take since they were 5 years old. It took a big promise to cruise on the Disney Wonder before they are 18 to gain their approval. I’d been on cruise ships in Europe but never in the US. I feared boredom without my children and being stuck on a floating vessel with no escape route if the boredom did set it.

The day of departure finally arrived. Parking, luggage drop-off and check- in was swift and easy. Even families with their hands full and kids in tow seemed happy throughout the process. Greeters welcomed me on to the ship and I was officially on-board.

My stateroom was beautiful. I could have lived there for weeks. Not only did it have a sizable living area but a balcony. An afternoon exploring the ship revealed several themed pools (including one for just adults), a fully equipped fitness center, an art gallery, several dining rooms, nursery, kids’ activity centers and even a movie theatre. If I was going to be bored on this ship, it would only be of my own doing.

pool

Disney show

I quickly realized that the spa and fitness center had my name all over it. Since I’d lost my taste buds, enjoying food was going to be challenge but every meal I saw looked absolutely delicious. It might have been a mixed blessing that I couldn’t eat on this cruise because the food was endless and all included in the price of the cruise. I couldn’t wait to tell my kids that they could eat endless chicken tenders, pizza, French fries and fruit. They would think they died and went to heaven.

It was the food that was endless, but the entertainment during the day and night followed suit. A poolside pirate party featured the only at-sea firework show, three different Broadway shows entertained audiences twice a night and adults could escape to three different lounges. Our group of adventurous mommy bloggers took the stage in a karaoke bar.I have NEVER gotten on stage to sing but somehow my newfound best friends talked me into a really horrible rendition of Girls Just Want to Have Fun. The best part of the evening, however, was Amy’s version of Hopelessly Devoted To You. She was awesome!

karaoke 1

karaoke 2

The second day of our cruise we enjoyed an excursion in Nassau where we learned to ride Segways.What an incredible experience to be off road with 7 adventure seekers. We celebrate our newfound abilities and Segway talents by introducing Arianne and Melanie to conch. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a Midwesterner’s idea of meat but Denene and I loved it.We departed Nassau as the sun was setting on the way forCastaway Cay, Disney’s private island.Before dinner we introduced Denene to the relaxing world of saunas.Katja and Arrienne, Kim and Melanie were pros and even I learned a thing or two about enjoying a spa from them. I now know that the small hoses that protrude from the wall provide a cool respite from the hot steam. Spa 101 at its finest.

segway

I was also able to take advantage of the incredible fitness center.After I learned to run forward on the treadmill as the ship and machine was swaying from side to side, it was great. I even did what no other woman would ever do on a cruise- I had a full body analysis done to measure my body fat and composition. I am happy to report that I passed with flying colors and thankfully, as there was a hard hitting bet that I would have had to pay on if I didn’t.

Our final night was spent at an upscale restaurant aboard the ship. We all dressed up and looked like a very glamorous bunch. The food was incredible or at least what I could taste of it. I ate fish every night since I could smell it which made it seem like I tasted it. The amazing thing about every dinner was that you could order two or even three entrees and taste each one. There were no difficult decisions on this cruise, Disney did it all for you.

Castaway Cay was spectacular. We fed live sting rays, rode bikes, snorkeled andv egged on lounge chairs on white sandy beaches.Of course, there was food too and lots of it, from barbecue to fresh fruit and steak.We enjoyed walking the sidewalks in the sun and stopping every five minutes for Denene and Katja to take another picture (which by the way were incredible shots). Visit their blogs to view them.

disney coconuts

stingray

Sunday morning came too fast and it was time to say good bye to friends that I felt I had known forever. The company, of course, was above and beyond my expectations but so was the Disney wonder. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my children how much fun it was and select a date to take them with me again. The biggest surprise to the whole experience is just how affordable it is. Even with a family of six, it’s a better value than a trip to the Keys or a weekend driving getaway. I had been completely wrong about having any apprehension that I wouldn’t enjoy being on a boat without my kids. The weekend experience ranks at the top of my list among visits to Greece, South Africa and camping trips in the mountains.

Ironically, however, the most impressive aspect of the Disney cruise came a week my experience whena customer service member called to say they were mailing me a pair of jogging shorts and my bikini which had been found in my stateroom. I sleep 300 nights a year in a hotel and believe me, I’ve left a few items behind. I have NEVER had a single item returned, nevertheless have someone call me to admit finding it. Only Disney would offer such a high level of customer service. It’s a touch of wonder I won’t soon forget.

ship

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