I am going on a Disney cruise in November. I have researched the wine issue a bit.
Disney is one of the few lines which permit BYOB. Apparently they charge $15 corkage. They also have a regular wine list and a reserve wine list. You can find copies of the regular list on the Internet. I haven't been able to find a copy of the reserve list.
They also have a special program that you can buy bottles from a select list off the regular wine list for the duration of the cruise, at a discount. In other words, you get to select 3 bottles for a 3 night cruise or 7 bottles for a 7 night cruise, from their list at a discount. However, the wines on the list are not impressive.
From what I have seen, the markups on the low-end stuff are high compared to the mark-ups for the high-end wines.
If you are going on the Disney cruise and want some good food and wine you have a great option. There is a restaurant on the top floor for adults only. You make reservations when you got on the boat for as many night as you like. The food is still free, but the wine is not. Highly recommend letting the kids have some fun with the other kids for a night or 2 while the adults head out to a nice dinner.
We returned from a 7 day cruise on the Disney Magic a week ago. It was my in-law's 55th wedding anniversary and there were 27 of us, ranging in age from 1 to 79 - probably 18 of us were regularly drinking.
Some comments -
I took a case of wine on board with me - 4 93 Spottswoode cabs, 4 02 August West Pinots, and 4 Mount Eden chardonnays. Corkage was $15 a bottle, and in spite of letting our two servers and the head server taste the wines, it was charged for every bottle.
I was responsible for ordering wine for the group, so I didn't pay much attention to the wine lists, as I was "buying in bulk". Instead, we took advantage of the programs Rothko mentioned. The 7 bottle plan is about $250 for any seven bottles off of a list of about 20 wines. We mainly ordered '02 Conundrum and '01 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee cab off of this list. I recall the Conundrum was about $50 on the individual bottle wine list, and it worked out to about $36 using the wine program. Not a great deal - I just paid $18 at retail - but it was one of the better priced less expensive wines.
While the program was designed for those who want a bottle a night, it worked out well for us, as our server kept track of our drinking and charged us $250 each 7 bottle increment (which wasn't quite once a night). There is also a less expensive 7 day plan - around $180, I think, but since the group enjoyed the Conundrum so much, we stuck with the higher priced plan.
My wife and I tried to get reservations at Palo's, the adult only restaurant on board (where there's a $10/person surcharge). We arrived on board about 2:30 pm, after taking a shuttle bus from Disney World, and immediately went to get a reservation. The only times remaining didn't work for us, as we would be on shore excursions. We had hoped to get seats on one of our "at sea" days, but these were the first to be booked up. It turns out these were bad nights for us anyway, as one was the "formal night" and we wanted family photos or everyone in tuxs and gowns, and the other was lobster night. The latter was incredible - the 3 regular restaurants served baked lobster tail - all you could eat. I think I had 6 tails - I'm not sure because the servers just kept bringing them - and about 2 pounds of melted butter. The Mount Eden chard was great with this dinner ! We never did get to try Palo's, but, in spite of our initial disappointment, it wasn't that big of a deal.
Rothko: If you are interested in dining at Paolo's, as mentioned above, you have to book early. I assume that you will be arriving at the dock from home. If so, plan to arrive before the hoard of Disney boats show up. As soon as the buses arrive, people make a bee line for Paolo's and snap up the dinner reservations. Use your proximity to Port Canaveral as an asset, and beat them to the punch.
As I said, I didn't spend a lot of time with the wine lists. I know, I should have brought one of each home, so I could post them for everyone's use
The first link you posted, Disneycruiser looks close, but there have been some changes, such as the addition of the Chappellet wines. I do recognize a lot of the wines as still on the current list. The second link is more out of date.
I recommend bringing some of your own wines on board. I had them packed in my "wine suitcase", a beat up old American Tourister that holds a 2x6 styrofoam shipper perfectly. I wouldn't bring anything particularly old. If you don't carry the wine on yourself and pack it in some luggage, it gets handled pretty roughly. If you do carry it on, it will still get jostled pretty good as you board. The ship's motion itself is not a problem. During our cruise, it was barely perceptable, although the seas were amazingly smooth throughout the trip.
Since you're in a Category 2 room, I think you can ignore all the advice about boarding early and rushing to book Palo's. My in-laws were in a Category 3 room, and had a concierge that took care of things like that. After I mentioned that my wife and I were unable to get reservations, my mother-in-law contacted the concierge, and we were asked what night we wanted to go. As I mentioned, our choices of nights turned out to be bad - it was the concierge who pointed out we probably didn't want to go on "lobster night". I'd contact your concierge when you board, and figure out what nights work best for you, depending on shore excursions, special events, etc, and let her handle the reservations.
I'd also use your "high roller" status, and request current wine lists from DCL a week or so before you go. That way, you can be sure what your options are, and you can decide how much of your own wine to bring.
One important aspect that I overlooked was seasickness. I brought on five bottles plus a bottle of port for the week, and ended up drinking only three bottles and no port because I was so queasy much of the time. All the over-the-counter seasickness medicines are antihistamines, so you will be knocked out if you consume wine and Bonine together. Unless you are sure you won't get nauseated, I would be conservative in you BYOBing.
The reserve wine list had 1999 Sassicaia for $150 I think, although it is not extensive (thirty selections, maybe?). I recall that it is only available at Palo. I haven't found the reserve list online either. They also have Inniskillin Vidal Icewine by the glass.
I was worried the food would be bad, but it wasn't. It wasn't great, and the lobster was not especially firm-fleshed, but it was good. The souffle at Palo is wonderful.
[This message was edited by wnissen on Aug 19, 2004 at 11:57 AM.]
My grandmother used to swear by "taping a silver dollar over your bellybutton" as a preventative for seasickness. I'm sure this uses the same principle as suspending a silver spoon in a champagne bottle to keep the wine from going flat.
"Screw him. This is MY show."--Diana Krall, Ch. Ste. Michelle 7/24/04
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