You’ve seen this part of the movie a million times. A ship full of sea weary men spots a beach and as they come ashore they throw themselves atop the sand, thrilled to be on land again.
On Day 14 of our family vacation that is the exact opposite picture of what we felt when we finally, mercifully boarded the Disney Wonder in Vancouver, British Columbia. After all the trials and tribulations of the past week our cruise aboard the Disney Wonder represents rest, recovery and new adventures.
Welcome Aboard, Disney-style!
First impressions are so important and that’s why you’ve got to hand it to Disney: they “get” this principle in spades. Immediately upon entering the ship our family was welcomed aboard by last name with cheers and greetings from five uniformed crewmembers. We would have thought Disney did this especially for us because they made us feel special but it turns out this type of welcome is standard practice for Disney.
A Spectacular Cabin with a Great View
Our first stop on the ship was the place we most wanted to see: our cabin.
Our nautical-themed cabin is located on the eight deck of the ship and is roomy and extremely comfortable with a queen bed, bunks for the kids and a large balcony that is perfect for viewing the landscapes that we will be sailing by over the next seven days.
The cabin has more than 19 cabinets and several closets, which is perfect for us because we packed heavier than most families cruising with us. Our suite has a toilet and sink bathroom and a shower and sink bathroom, which is also well suited for larger family groups of five like ours.
Our room also brings a small plasma TV that has dozens of free movies, news, sports and other channels. One of the channels features a 24/7 live camera view from the bow of our ship, a channel we find particularly useful to determine where we are and what vistas might be coming up.
Farewell to Vancouver and to our Kids
To kick things off we attended the Adventures Away launch countdown that was led by Mickey Mouse and friends poolside. The party featured upbeat dancing and confetti that the kids and my wife enjoyed while I saw the ship sail away from Vancouver, a beautiful city with a gorgeous suspension bridge that is considered the green sibling of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Every time the Disney Wonder sets sail for Alaska and on every return back to Vancouver, the ship travels underneath this majestic bridge.
As soon as the cruise launched our kids and us got our first break from each other in two weeks as our 11-year-old son Jonathan bolted for his Disney tween club called the Edge and our seven year old daughter Elena harried off to The Oceaneer’s Club. Briani joined other toddlers at the Flounder’s Reef Nursery.
Even though it’s tempting and it’s actually common for some families, we have no intention to keep the kids away from us. For us this cruise is about making memories together as a family so our plan is for the kids to attend almost all of the onboard meals, musicals, movies and offshore excursions with us during the coming week.
Be Sure to Plan Ahead
During the next couple days we will be traveling through some of the most beautiful, sparsely populated places in the planet. Angela and I have planned very well for this part of our trip but it seems that even though we have pre-booked a train ride, a lumberjack show and other cool excursions, we may not be able to do one of the things everybody raves about: a helicopter ride to the top of a glacier.
When you plan your Disney cruise be sure to thoroughly research the activities you want to do months in advance because all of the major excursions get booked weeks or even months ahead. Disney has excellent resort and cruise-planning tools online but regrettably, somehow, we overlooked the helicopter tour we so desperately wanted to take. We’re on a waiting line and will know tomorrow if any spots open up for us.