My family and I went on our first Disney cruise a week or so ago. It was our 20th anniversary and we decided to live large. We booked a four day cruise to start with and then finished our vacation at WDW. I want to first say that we had a wonderful time and the disaster parts of the trip had nothing to do with Disney, you will have to read on to see what I mean.
We (me, my husband and our two boys, seven and eleven) flew into Orlando Saturday and stayed at the Radison at Port Canaveral. The Radison is a nice hotel with a fun pool. They let you park your car in their lot for free and offer a free shuttle to and from the cruise port. What a deal.
We entered the cruise check in around 10:30AM. I did all the paperwork at home, so all we had to do is check in. They let people on board starting at 11:45AM and we were in group 3 to board.
We had the whole boat to ourselves, at least it seemed that way. I wanted to get our picture taken in front of this incredible Ariel statue before the crowds came in. (Later, for our anniversary, my husband bought a replica of this statue at the gift shop.)
After announcing your name as you enter the ship, they send you off to begin your non-stop eating. They directed us to Parrot Cay for a lunch buffet. I'm telling you, the food never stops! Every evening you eat at a different restaurant, but keep the same waitstaff. Each restaurant was wonderful. You get an appetiser, a soup or salad, your main entree and then dessert. If for any reason you get hungry while on board, there is always sandwiches, pizza, fruit, dessers and usually a breakfast and lunch buffet that lasts for hours.
The Parrot Cay
The Animator's Palet
Our rooms would not be ready until after 1:30PM. We brought along our swimsuits, but we decided to explore the ship while it was empty. The Walt Disney Theater is in the front of the ship, and we came across this lovely mural.
When it's time to sailaway, there is a party on the top deck. Lots of singing and dancing and of course, characters. Here is a shop of all the people.
After getting familure with our home for the next four days, we checked the time and saw that our room was ready. We were on deck 7, with a balcony. Very nice room, sorry no pictures though. The bed was queen sized and one boy slept on the couch that turned into a bed, and the other boy slept on the bed that folded down from the ceiling. That worked out great for us since they do not like to sleep together. The bathrooms were great in that one room had a sink and toilet and the other room had a sink and shower, so both my husband and I could get ready at the same time.
Dinner time for us was at 5:45PM. Our waiters were great. About 90% of the CMs were from a foreign country. The pay is not that great on cruise ships, but with the exchange rate and tips, they can make a decent wage (but you better not mind being gone from home for eight months).
Now this is when the "disaster" part of the story comes into play. We started our meal out fine, but when we ended it and started to walk away, we noticed the boat was really tipping from side to side. I figured this is how it was going to be and tried not to notice it. We headed toward the front of the ship to take a look at the gift shop and to be close to the theater, the entertainment that night being a magic show. We ran into Captain Jack Sparrow and got our picture taken.
People in front of us were taking Dramamine because of the rocking. I asked my husband to get me some as well. Sitting down seemed like a good idea as well. The crew had placed "barf bags" everywhere, never a good sign. At this point I new that this could not be your normal sailing weather. I had better get back to the room quick. My husband, being a pilot, had no ill effects, either did the kids, thank goodness. But me on the otherhand, was turning a fine shade of green. We made it back to the cabin and I urged them to go and see the show. I kept telling myself, "I'm not going to be sick. I'm not going to throw up." But I didn't listen to myself and revisited my dinner not to much later. (Thankfully, no pictures of that.) I felt better after that, like you always do, but that was going to be the end of the evening for me. Later, my husband told me that the captain talked before the magic show and explained that we were in the middle of a tropical storm and we should be out by 11:00PM. Sure enough, by 11 it was smooth sailing. At breakfast we found out that have the crew were in their cabins revisiting their dinners as well.
The next disaster happened to my seven year old. We decided that we would not use the elevators while on board and just use the stairs, maybe burn a few calories that way. Well, that morning, he jumped down some stairs on our way to a day in Nassau and twisted his ankle. We spend the next few hours in our cabin with an ice pack on his ankle. We weren't too keen on Nassau anyway, so it was not big deal that we missed it. The older one got some homework done, then we rested pooldside. My son was real good about it and didn't complain too much. We put a ace bandage around his ankle and borrowed a stroller from the ship for the rest of the cruise. We ended up taking the elevator from that moment on, whether we liked it or not.
The shows were great. This photo is from the "Dream" show. It was cute and featured a lot of the classics and new movies. It had a Peter Pan type theme.
Golden Mickey was another show. Not my favorite, but the singing and dancing were good.
Our favorite show was the Hercules show. The Hades character was so funny that our stomachs hurt after watching it. We could hardly breathe! And once again, the singing and dancing were great.
The third day saw us at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. First I had to stop and have a visit with Captain Jack. The family didn't want to wait in line to say hi, but I will wait, no matter what the line!
I do not have any photos to show you of the island. I took a disposable, waterproof camera with me that day. I didn't want my digital to get anywhere near the sand. I also used that camera for shots around the deck, so I can't show you any pool shots either. Anyway, back to the island, Disney knows how to rule their own island. The sand was beautiful, plenty of chairs and since there were only cruise people there, plenty of room as well. We hung out at the family beach, but there is also a teen only beach and an adult only beach. The lunch that day was a BBQ buffet, again it was all you can eat and it was very tasty.
The highlight for my eleven year old was snorkeling for the first time. My husband took him and they discovered a Mickey statue underwater and a ride vehicle from 20,000 leagues under the sea ride. I discovered a sunburn! My husband picked out a yellow umbrella to sit under because he liked the color. I put sunscreen on the boys and on him, but not on me because I was going to sit in the shade. Aparently, shade in the Bahamas and shade in your own backyard are two differant things. Ouch!
That night was Pirate night with a party and fireworks on deck 9.
We actually didn't stay long since the boys were tired from their day in the sun, but I heard it was fun.
The next day was a day at sea. Time for some shuffleboard.
A photoshot with the captain.
A movie at the movie theater, Ratatouille.
We just relaxed the whole day, read a bit and drank lots of fruity type drinks. It was pretty hot though, 98 degrees with high humidity. We stuck to the shady side of the boat. The boys complained that the pool was like a hot tub.
I had to have my picture taken with Alice. She was great!
That night was our anniversary, and we dinned at Palo, without the kids. They went to the Oceaneers Lab and had a great time. Our meal was absolutly incredible. I wish we could have eaten there every night. The meal was mostly seafood or Italian. I had the lobster ravioli and my husband had broccoli/pumpkin gnocchi. For dessert I had a chocolate soufle and he had some sort of dark chocolate cake. So delicious!
That was our last night. We had to put our luggage out in the hall where they could collect it and it would be waiting for us after we disembarked (which it was). One last wonderful breakfast and we simply walked off the boat.
It was so wonderful. It was everything we hoped for. The CMs were so nice and pleasant. Everyone we ran into always made eye contact and said hi. Anything you needed, they got for you. The woman taking care of our stateroom was top notch. The towel animals were fun to look forward to, and she was super sweet. Our waiters were excellent, the entertain thrilling and the overall condition of the ship was first class. We all agreed that we will be doing this again. Next time it will be for a seven day cruise.
The morning of our disembarkment was not the end of our vacation. We were to spend the next four days at WDW. But that trip report is for another thread. Thanks for reading.