I was stunned into paralysis.
“You’re on vacation, man,” Singh said, looking up from the steak with a smile. “We’ve got this.”
I didn’t have to ask. Scratch that: It had never occurred to me to ask.
If you’re a parent, you know what this moment means: We all sat down to a nice, stress-free dinner — and ate at the same time. That’s how to start a vacation.
Since a limitless bacchanalia is such a part of cruising, I can say that Disney’s offerings were elegant and diverse. Although Disney does provide bottomless plates of burgers, hot dogs, fries and pizza that are available 24 hours a day, you can find dishes such as the lightly fried crisp crab cakes, conch chowder and braised short ribs in reduction over mashed potatoes, which I chose for my meal one night.
It’s that attention to detail that calls to a variety of passengers, which were not limited to young families. There were parents with teenage children — there is an entire teen club with tailored activities — and empty-nesters.
One couple in their late 40s, who sat near us for our dinner seating, came for a getaway without their college-aged kids. They live in Orlando and have taken the cruise out of Port Canaveral, which now features Disney’s new, 4,000-seat cruise ships, the Fantasy and the Dream. Yet, they had always been interested in taking a Caribbean vacation with the kind of service you get at Disney.
“The level of service you get with Disney, you don’t get anywhere else,” he told me.
For those used to touring on Royal Caribbean or Carnival, this must be said before going any further: There is no gambling on the ship. The Wonder did make a stop in Nassau, Bahamas, where folks could gamble from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Atlantis before the ship called all-aboard.
And this is no Hedonism on the High Seas. There are plenty of adult-only activities — including a pool area for guests 18 and older and a romantic restaurant for adults only at the top of the ship, as well as mixers at the music lounge every night.
But if you enjoy gambling or singles cruises, this is probably not the cruise for you.
What Disney does — and arguably does best — is PG-rated family entertainment.
Trading on the fame of their Magic Kingdom ride Pirates of the Caribbean and the subsequent movies’ unbridled box-office and marketing success, the crew of the Wonder encouraged all aboard to dress like a pirate for a Caribbean-themed dinner one night, followed by dancing on the top deck of the ship, culminated by fireworks.
On another night, it was time for the Captain’s dinner and show. But when Mickey Mouse is the official captain, and the show designed by Disney, you know it’s going to be an over-the-top event with attention to all the details.
For this event, it was a Golden-Globes-inspired theme to put everyone in the mood.
Men in jackets and ties and women in glimmering evening gowns strutted down the red carpet leading to the 977-seat auditorium inside the Disney Wonder. Paparazzi leaped onto the edges of the runway, flashes snapping.
At the end of the hall, a woman who calls herself Rona Rivers, resplendent in a golden evening gown, awaited guests headed to the Golden Mickeys with a microphone and camera. The interviews flashed on the pair of screens next to the stage in the theater on the other side of the doors. Who are you wearing, she wants to know. Are you feeling just fabulous tonight?