View Full Version : Another March 25- April 1 (Long as well)

04-04-2006, 04:45 PM
March 25, 2006- First time cruisers DH, DW, DS 12 and DS 7.

First of all, it was fun to meet many of you who responded to the cruise thread over the last few months as we sailed away on Saturday afternoon. Yes, it was cool and windy- but it beat the heck out of Wisconsin! It seems like we saw Ski Bum and Minnie 328 all over the ship! Now when we head North in the summer and go towards Three Lakes I won’t be surprised at all if we run into you. :goodvibes

We drove down taking a day and a half. We spent the night at the Radisson at the Port. We had a lovely room, much larger than I expected. It was too cool and a little late for swimming (10:00 by the time we arrived) so my boys were a little disappointed, but not too much. We got up early on Saturday and hit Ron Jon’s. They are open 24 hrs a day. Got the boys a couple of T-shirts- and now we can say we were there.

The shuttle over to the Radisson was great. Got us there in plenty of time to enjoy the terminal and chat with other cruisers. The people in the terminal were great in double checking that we had all the right papers and in order. I think I was one of the first folks checked in. Had boarding pass 2 and got the boys checked in right away.

Once we got onto the ship we headed up to grab some lunch and enjoy the sun. We thought the sail away party was exciting and got us into the mood for a great vacation. We were on deck 7 forward in a category 8. The cabin was very efficient and we had a wonderful stateroom hostess who still managed around our big mess the first night (boys luggage came almost right away, Mom and Dad- well we had to wait a little! We left a pretty big mess on our bed in the hurry to get dressed for dinner).

I can’t say enough about our Server, Asst. Server and even the Head Server (who seem to get a bad rap here on the boards). They made dinner very enjoyable each and every night and had excellent recommendations for us. Our Server and Head Server went above and beyond as well. DS 7 is very picky, we did worry about what he would eat being on a boat all week with a very limited menu. He discovered he liked the pizza at Pinocchio’s during lunch the day we sailed. He didn’t like the pizza in the dinning room, nor the PBJ, nor the mac and cheese (told you he was picky!). They were able to get him his pizza every night of the cruise, going out of their way to get it the first night. The head server delivered it himself each night.

In Key West we went to the aquarium (overpriced, but the boys enjoyed seeing a shark up close and personal), rented bikes and headed over to the southern most point and just looked around a little. The grown ups headed back into Key West for a drink and a bit of the night life after dinner, the boys headed to the youth programing. Windy and cold!

The weather continued to improve over the course of the trip. In Grand Cayman we rented a car- it started out with Budget and ended up with Avis. In short, don’t rent with Budget. After a two hour delay we were on our way. DH did pretty good with the driving. He only got on the wrong side of a roundabout once, but the boys are still laughing about all the times he turned on the windshield wipers when making a turn! We made a stop at the Turtle Farm. Holding the turtles were a highlight for me and the boys. If you go on your own, you don’t get any information. We ended up trailing a tour that was there and using the guides to learn more about the turtles . We went to Cemetery Beach for a few hours. DH and I saw a stingray, and many beautiful fish snorkeling off this remote beach on the far end of 7 mile beach. This was worth having the car, to get away from the rest of the crowds. We returned the car, had a little lunch. As this was the only port I was going to get some shopping in at, the boys went back to the boat and I took an hour or so to hit the shops. Many beautiful stores. There were 5 ships in that day, the next day there were to be 7. I can’t imagine how busy the area would have been with 7 ships.

In Costa Maya we did the DCL Chachoben Ruins tour. Our guide was very good and we learned on lot on the ride out. The boys took a much needed nap in bus. The ruins are interesting as well. This was a good tour for us as the 12 year old has just finished a lesson on the Mayans in school. This was the only port where we heard any names being called as we were preparing to leave. We all watched out our porthole as the tram took off down the pier to get a women running down the pier. Our lines were off and we were preparing to leave…I wonder what she would have done if we had been gone.

We all enjoyed the pirate night, from dinner to the Shaggy Dog movie to the party on deck. Having the fireworks was just an added treat.

Thursday was our character breakfast and our boys really took advantage of the youth programming during the day. They did the DCU graduation, and it was fun to see them on the stage. We also did Palo that evening celebrating our 20th anniversary. This was the only night that I felt that I ate way too much. We had a beautiful sunset to enjoy.

Friday was Castaway Cay. A perfect beach day. A little cooler, but the Bahamas are much further to the north. We really enjoyed Castaway Rays and learned so much about the stingrays. We picked a place to spend the day closer to Castaway Rays, which meant more walking- to get lunch and to check our DS7 into the two programs he wanted to do that day in the kids club. DS12 and I did lots of snorkeling. It did take us two times out to find Mickey. Yes, the fish weren’t as beautiful as at Grand Cayman, but the structures they have put in the lagoon to attract fish are interesting. We also saw much larger fish.

Word of warning. Try to get your family to pack on Thursday evening- at least a little. We only packed one little suitcase Thursday. That meant Friday evening was a little crazy. We wanted to see “Remember the Magic” and say good-bye to the characters. That meant things were stuffed into the suitcases. Maybe not too bad if you are getting home Saturday, but we really had no clue where anything was and we were driving home. Needless to say, as we didn’t get dirty in the car we wore the same clothes two days in a row. Wish I could say the drive home was as easy as the drive down the whole state of Georgia was a traffic jam. In all, we were in 7 traffic jams on the way home and our 21 hour drive became 26!

I guess it is a great vacation when your children tell you the last show “Remember the Magic” wasn’t helping and that there were many tears as we left her Saturday morning. Hopefully one day we will get the chance to sail on her again. It did show us that we are the cruise type, and maybe we will try another line. As much as we wanted to rebook, the deals weren’t good enough and the prices were much higher than we paid for this trip. I am glad we were able to give our family this trip at least once.

04-04-2006, 05:13 PM
Thanks for the report.

Where did you rent the bikes and what sizes were there. We leave Sat and I think DD and DH would love to ride a bike to the southern most point instead of walk or ride a trolley. Also, did they have rent helmets?

04-04-2006, 05:17 PM
This trip was sooooo good! We hope to see you again some time:)

04-04-2006, 05:42 PM
Geat trip report.. thanks.

I had looked for you after the sailaway to have our Boy Scout chat but we never did see you and your family.. oh well. Maybe you and the boys can join us the last week of March 2008 on the magic..


04-05-2006, 07:44 AM
Sounds like you had a magical trip.

04-05-2006, 09:14 AM
We rented some pretty beat up bikes not too far from the pier, we just walked to the chamber of commerce and they directed us. We did see better bikes with other people- oh well.

We rented one tandem for my DH and DS 7, my DS 12 had a bike and I did too. Helmets are required for children and they were provided free. For all 4 of us I think it was $40.

geffric- I know, we looked for you all as well. Must have been on different schedules because of the different dinner times (and ages in kids!).

04-06-2006, 02:02 AM
Word of warning. Try to get your family to pack on Thursday evening- at least a little. We only packed one little suitcase Thursday. That meant Friday evening was a little crazy. We wanted to see “Remember the Magic” and say good-bye to the characters. That meant things were stuffed into the suitcases.
Yes, yes, yes... DW & I came to similar conclusion. For us, we decided that if we did this again, one of us would volunteer to get back to the ship by at least 3PM friday and start the packing... hard to do at Castaway Cay, but beats our racing after dinner to pack.

04-06-2006, 08:44 PM
Hi and welcome back. Thanks for sharing your trip report. I think I will try your packing advice next time we sail because our 4 DCL cruises have all ended with the frantic packing night tearing around the stateroom and getting those bags out in the nick of time. It's very stressful. :headache:

It's nice hearing about your excursion experiences. When you say you picked a place to spend the day closer to Castaway Rays, I wondered where on CC this is. Is it near the Teen Beach? About the stingray experience, is there a boat that takes you out to the stingrays? How deep is the water you're in when you are petting the stingrays? Thanks again and I'm glad you had a wonderful time.


04-07-2006, 12:30 PM

Castaway Rays seems to be between the family beach and the teen beach. The rays are kept in an enclosure there and are trained to swim up onto a platform to be fed. Although we had to wear the life vests, the snorkel gear wasn't needed for the feeding part. After the encounter, you could swim out with the rays if you wanted to. The water depth at the platforms was only a foot or so deep. Even non-swimmers could do this. I would recommend this if you are interested in learning about the biology and habitat of the animals and enjoy talking with others. The families are sorted into groups of about 6 or so and you each get a platform and a "handler". Ours was great to talk with and told us about the different rays they have.

The biologist meets everyone out of the sun in a pavillion. He was very good (has a degree in fisheries from Virgina Tech- I just had to ask as I am in higher ed, these poor students always get "so where did you go to school?" from me). Very interesting presentation on all the different types of rays. If I knew how to post pictures I would, but I haven't had any success with that.

Our beach spot was located between the bar and the bathrooms on a little pennisula. It was close to the beach volley ball area. Plenty of umbrellas and chairs where we were, and hammocks too. We were close to one of the float rentals too. This was further away from the action and from lunch, but if you don't mind a little walk it was great to be away from the crowds.

04-07-2006, 01:02 PM
Thanks for the helpful information about Castaway Rays. I really appreciate it. My 7 yo DGS would be thrilled with this. He is very interested in sea creatures and loves stingrays. This excursion sounds neat. I'm familiar with the area by the bar. We have enjoyed using the telescopes over there and have relaxed on those hammocks. Ah, the memories. :)

If I knew how to post pictures I would, but I haven't had any success with that.

Not sure if this will help or if you even have time for this. If you have your pictures stored on your computer, you can upload them to a site like photobucket dot com. Once they are settled into a free picture hosting site like photobucket, the site will supply individual links for each of your photos. You can copy and paste the links for each photo you want to show, on to this board. I believe the link we use here is the Forum [IMG] tag. Actually, if you manage to get your pics uploaded to one of the free picture hosting sites and are unable to figure out how to post the pics on here, someone on the boards can probably get your pics up here for you if we knew where to find them. You would need a photo bucket account and user name for us to locate the photos. Just thought I'd mention it. :sunny:

Thanks again for the Castaway Ray info. I like that it's available on the 3 and 4 day cruises too. :)


04-07-2006, 01:23 PM
I just figured it out :) Here is the postcard we took of the Key West sunset:


04-07-2006, 01:25 PM
wonderful picture.. when did you take this? From the boat?

04-07-2006, 01:31 PM
Yes, taken from deck 4 on the Magic. My husband ran out with our boys during dinner to see it and get a few photos for me.

04-09-2006, 08:00 PM
myboysmom- :wave:

Thanks for your report. So sorry that we didn't get a chance to meet. Glad that you had such a wonderful time! It sounds like you really tried to make the most of every port. Did your DS7 end up with the 8-9 year olds in the lab? If so, I'm sure that he and my DS7 (Grant) spent time together. He was always in the lab since he loved it so much.

I hope that we both get a chance to get back on the Magic. As of right now, we intend to take the Mediterranean cruise on July 18, 2008 :thumbsup2

04-12-2006, 10:30 PM
myboysmom, thanks for the terrific report! :thumbsup2 It describes the trip very well and is chock-full of useful tips for other cruisers. We ended up skipping Friday's show to pack, although I think that turned out well for us (with only 3 of us to pack up). It is amazing, however, how long it takes to pack, even when almost all of the clothes are dirty. Also depressing, of course, because it means you're going home. :sad2:

Anyway, thanks again for the great report. I started writing a long one, but work keeps interfering with having the time to post it. This weekend for sure!