As we spend our final day aboard the Disney Wonder, it’s funny to note how many similarities there are between the classic TV show “The Love Boat” and our cruise experience. Yes, I was a casual Saturday night watcher of “The Love Boat” (Gopher was my favorite character) and as life would have it 12 years ago during a marketing gig I even had the pleasure to meet Capt. Stubing (Gavin MacLeod) in person. Capt. Stubing looked exactly as I had last seen him in TV Land and was also very personable.
In any case, I digress. The similarities between the show and our real cruise come to mind because one of the things that ALWAYS happened on the show was that passengers and crew were like family by the end of the trip.
Alas, this is the case with us as we prepare to bid adieu to the Disney Wonder and the many folks that behind the scene made it so special for us.
Hard to Say Goodbye
My daughter Elena for one is a bit on an emotional mess today because she absolutely adores (yes, ADORES is the right word) her Oceaneer’s Club counselor and friend Natalie. Every night she would come back to the cabin gushing about Natalie this and Natalie that.
Jonathan informed us he was planning to be AWOL today all day at his The Edge club, which was fine with us as long as he ate dinner with us. Jonathan’s brand new friend from California, Parker, and he played Mario Kart tournaments all day with a group of other friends. Parker and him have already exchanged information and will continue their Nintendo 3DS connection online.
The people my wife and I will miss most are Debby, our hostess from Jamaica, and our restaurant wait staff Chipri (from Romania), Tomas (from Czech Republic), and Julia (from Peru).
Debby always seemed to be around our cabin to help us with requests or cleaning and every day she provided us with evening turn down service.
Our restaurant wait team was equally excellent no matter which restaurant we ate breakfast, lunch or dinner at.
Our crew’s hospitality, passion for the job and attention to detail are surely the reasons why Conde Nast Traveler recently named this same crew team the industry’s best.
A Dominican crew member we befriended last night Manolo put it best when he casually told us that working for Disney Cruise Lines is considered the top assignment in the industry because the company is the best one to work for in terms of compensation and treatment of employees. “You will meet countless crew members here who worked at other cruise lines prior to Disney but you not find anyone that leaves Disney for other cruise lines,” Manolo told me.
Who Can Forget the Great Food
All the restaurants and meals of the Disney Wonder shined in their own way but we especially loved our meals at Triton’s and Animator’s Palate. My wife, son Jonathan and I had the most succulent lobster meal of our lives at the latter: a 10 oz. Lobster Tail special. Believe it or not, we got seconds!
The interesting thing about our meals was that no matter what restaurant we ate at we deliberately didn’t vary much on one thing. We wanted to eat seafood and we wanted to particularly focus on any of the various Salmon or Halibut-related dishes. When you have a cruise to Alaska, seafood capital of the world, you can’t help but try to eat anything and everything you can related to fish.
On our final full day aboard the cruise, my wife and I got a pedicure and a haircut respectively at the Vista Spa & Salon. We had a couple’s spa retreat yesterday that we feel has prepared us for the second and final leg of our epic family road trip.
Before disembarking for good my wife and I went shopping for some last minute gifts and souvenirs. The Disney Wonder offers a wide selection of shopping from Disney-related merchandise to upscale items, including several Alaska-themed books and gifts. We bought a souvenir book related to traveling by cruise to Alaska as well as a Disney Wonder throw blanket commemorating this year as the first one for the cruise line going to Alaska.
Advice for Booking a Disney Cruise
We won’t be plotting our next vacation for some time but on the ship we learned that if you book your next Disney cruise WHILE onboard you get the best price possible. That’s because Disney Cruise Line offers a discount to return cruisers and a shipboard credit. In order to get the best value, some travel pros advise rebooking onboard to get Disney’s discounts and promotions and then transferring the reservation to your travel agent to take advantage of the promotions.