"We let them go and said 'O.K., text if you need anything," explains Wolf, an independent travel consultant who specializes in Disney. "They loved being free to roam on the ship. And I felt comfortable letting them go and being able to communicate with them."
And this being Disney, there is one other feature worth noting (that was particularly popular with the Wolf family and likely countless other Disney enthusiasts) - the app provides the whereabouts of characters on the ship, so you don't have to spend time hunting down Mickie Mouse or Minnie. Just look at the app and find out where they are at any hour of the day.
For the Wolfs, who had previously gone on a Disney cruise in January 2011 - a time when apps had not yet been launched - the two cruise experiences were very different.
"We went on the Disney Dream years ago and it was overwhelming to me in terms of where everything was," Wolf says. "This app would have come in handy."
Brothers Jan and Mike Jirout, meanwhile, started their own app in 2009, in order to assist with the family's biennial family reunion cruises, as a way to keep track of their herd.
A big Italian family, about 50 people in total, would take part in the family's regular cruise vacations.
"My brother put it together," Mike Jirout recalled during a recent phone call. "It had two main features - to list all of our cabins so we could remember where everyone was, and the other thing it did was provide deck maps, so we could see what we were close to at any given time."
That little experiment of a self-designed app turned into Ship Mate -- the industry's first and now one of its most popular apps. After using the app privately for a few years, Jan Jirout released it to the public in 2010. To date, it has been dowloaded more than 1 million times and has more than 500,000 active accounts, or users. It is available for virtually every cruise line out there - Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Crystal Cruises, Disney, Viking, the list goes on and on.
What's more, since it was initially developed, Ship Mate has become far more sophisticated.
Among its features these days is the ability to book excursions, to take a virtual tour of each level of the vessel, and search the ship's features in various categories of interest.