Solo On The 4-night Wonder
May 25th -29th 2003
I will skip the typical tourist viewpoint of this, my sixth Disney Wonder cruise in less than seventeen months. There are enough trip reports one can find online that will detail the ins-and-outs of sailing, sightseeing, and excursions. I do not cruise on Disney for the destinations, but for the WONDERful ship and her crew.
I boarded the Wonder and headed straight for Guest Services to find out my Server's name. It turned out to be someone totally unfamiliar to me. Since I was sailing as a solo guest, this was of great importance to me. I went to Wavebands to request a change. Since I was not making a Palo reservation, they let me in ahead of everyone. I first asked to be assigned to Dean (a server from Croatia) or to Sasa K. (assistant server, also from Croatia), but both were on a different rotation that began with Animator's Palate. I was starting at Triton's, as usual. I then requested Marijo (Mario) Margan (another Croatian, of course). He was scheduled for a group at tables one and two. I was at table 40. After a brief discussion, they decided to switch Mario to my table.
At the Sail-Away Party I saw Desiree (my favorite dancer from prior cruises) in civilian clothing. When I saw her dance on the sidelines a little, I recognized her. I followed her all the way up to the bow on Deck 10 where she took pictures as we left the port. I introduced myself, told her about my MagicalDisney.com website and that she is on it, and asked if she was working. It turned out that her contract ended and this was a sort of "farewell" cruise for her with her family. She hopes to get work in Toronto, rather than going all the way home to South Africa, but if not, she may come back to the Wonder in September or so. She said she'll let me know if she does. I told her she is such a talented dancer and so energetic, she will be greatly missed.
When I arrived at Triton's that evening, Mario escorted me to my seat. There was a couple from Florida, along with the mother of one of them. Their sons were not dining with us, as one was ill and the other decided to stay with him. I believe the couple said the sons were 18 and 19(?). The elderly woman seemed hard of hearing and said very little. The couple noticed my Disney Cruise Line "Disney Fan" pin, after which the man remarked, "I am not a Disney fan." It made me wonder what they were doing onboard. Supposedly they "just wanted to see what it was like." From there, things went downhill. The man asked me where I live. I told him Spruce Creek Fly-In. He asked if I have a "hanger home" and when I said "no," he didn't say much more. He and his wife seemed very particular about the food they were eating. They commented that everything was either too salty or too buttery, and even pushed a dish or two away after one taste.
Perhaps I am the exception, but although I expect good food while cruising, I keep in mind that it is not an easy task to please 2,500 people. Massive amounts of food are prepared and it is not possible to cater to every individual. If my server is pleasant, attractive, attentive and doing his best, I will never complain simply because I might have preferred more or less seasoning or something is only slightly more or less cooked than I usually eat.
What seemed to appall my tablemates most was that I never looked at a menu. I explained that I had such trust in Mario's ability and knowledge of my preferences that I was letting him select everything I would have for dinner throughout the cruise. They could not understand why anyone would do that. In hindsight, I must say that Mario made ALL the right selections for me and the meals were the best I have experienced on the Wonder. The only downside of this was that I did not get to listen to his beautiful Croatian accent or enjoy his presence as much as in the past, since he had no need to take time to explain the menu to me or take my order. Would I do this again? Yes, but next time I would have him "present" the menu complete with explanations, and then I would ask him to make the selections!
MEMORY: Most of us repeat guests on DCL are amazed at the memory of the servers and other Cast Members. In prior cruise journals I have documented a few of these incidents - as with someone who served me once at lunch, then 5 months later not only remembered me, but exactly what I ate! But this time, Mario told my tablemates he had known me for two years. It had actually been only 7 months (and 4 cruises, since I did not meet him until my 3rd cruise). Was that a good thing? Only time would tell . . . . .