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girl scout troop 37
06-12-2001, 01:51 PM
Before starting this report, I think it is important that you know the characters involved and how this trip evolved. I am a troop leader for a group of Cadette/Senior Girl Scouts. We were working on a travel badge last year and at that time we were planning on going to Savannah, GA to the US Girl Scout World Center. One of the girls brought in the Disney Cruise video and after the girls watched it they said they wanted to take the cruise. I told them it would be very expensive. When I went back to the travel agent to drop off the video, she gave me some prices and I went back to the girls and low and behold, fundraising began. As you experienced cruisers know, the more cabins you are able to book, the better the price became and also more amenities. So, I opened it up to all families who wanted to go and also brought it up at our Girl Scout Service Unit meeting. I was able to recruit family members and other Girl Scouts leaders with their families. All total, we had 37 people go. There were 13 teenage girl scouts from my troop ranging in age from 13-17, 4 & 5 yr. old boys, 10 yr. old boys, 8 & 9 year old girls; 12 year old girls and 16 male and female adults ranging in age from 32-75.

We live in a small rural area of Central, PA and most of the girls in my troop are from low income families and have never traveled (except our camping trips, etc.). We do not even have shopping malls in our town. I, however, grew up in suburban New Jersey. They had never flown on a plane or been on a ship. Imagine the excitement of this trip to a girl who comes from a home where it is a struggle for their families to place food on the table. They worked really, really hard and now know that dreams can come true if you work hard enough.

I have been on several cruises when I was single (18 years ago) and knew that you do not spend much time in your rooms so we opted for a category 11 inside stateroom. This worked great on a 4 day cruise and I must say Disney’s rooms are much, much larger than most cruise lines. A porthole would have been nice because we never knew if it was day or night. But, if you are trying to save money as we were, you will certainly not be disappointed with an inside category 11 stateroom. Be sure to bring an over the door shoe hanger if you have teenagers in your room. This was a lifesaver.

Because I needed an adult in every room with my girls, I added the cost of all the rooms together, divided by 37 and came up with the same price for everyone. All people going felt this was a fair way to go. For $973.25 per person, we got round trip airfare from Pittsburgh to Orlando, 10 inside staterooms, all transfers, 2 nights lodging at Disney’s All Star Movies, 1 night at Holiday Inn Express at airport, all tips for servers, and 2 day park tickets for Disney World. We also had gift baskets in each stateroom. Each girl in my troop was able to fundraise the entire amount for the trip plus they each had $250 in spending money. Our troop funds paid for their meals at Disneyworld. Basically, they had $250 to blow on souvenirs as everything else was paid for. It was a tremendous amount of work and I swore I would never work this hard again, but now that the trip is over, I would do it again in a heartbeat. We had a blast!! The ship was very, very safe and would be perfect for any scout troops who were looking for a different kind of experience.

The only downside as you have all heard before is that you do not see very much of the people you came with as they are all off doing their own thing. I did require that all of the girls eat dinner at night together and this worked out well (except for teenage junkanoo night). I was able to catch up on their comings and goings. So glad we had such a large party so we did not have to sit with others at dinner. This was our time of the day to talk and I would not have liked others at our table when we had so little time together.

I shall now go day by day and relive our WONDERful trip again:



Day 1, Saturday – June 2nd

We had a motor coach bus transport us to the Pittsburgh Airport which is a 3 hour drive from our home. After the bus was all loaded, my first tears began. The girls surprised me with a wonderful engraved plaque mounted on a wood frame. It said: To Pam,” Who Made Wishes Come True,” from Girl Scout Troop 37 and all of the girls names were engraved on the plaque along with the year 2001. After my tears dried, we were off. I shall treasure this plaque forever.

We arrived at the airport and had a non-stop flight to Orlando. I was concerned about some of the girls because they were quite afraid to fly. Also, our flight did not leave until 9:00 p.m. so it was dark outside. They all did quite well and I can report that they are now over their fear of flying. We arrived in Orlando at 11:30 p.m. and we had ressies at the Holiday Inn Express. They have a free shuttle bus so we just used the courtesy phone and called for them to come and get us. We were all in our rooms and asleep by 1:00 a.m. (at least my room was).

Day 2, Sunday – June 3rd - Embarkation--

Our TA had booked Transtar to do all of our transporting via motor coach to the port, port to WDW, WDW to airport. They really have nice, nice buses and were always on time. They were to pick us up at 9:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn. They arrived right on time.

Now, for the big, big surprise. As a gift from the TA to my Girl Scouts, she hired 2 white stretch limos from Tiffany Town Cars to transport the girls and leaders to the port. I can still hear the girls screaming (and I do mean screaming) with delight as they got into these beautiful cars (some of them have never seen a limo in person). There was soda on ice and they immediately poured soda into the wine glasses and were toasting each other. I was in one car and my assistant leader in the other. My only complaint with Tiffany is this: the girls in my assistant’s car were opening their soda and pouring their soda into the wine glasses when the phone rang in the back of the car. My assistant leader picked up the phone and it was the driver. He asked them please not to use the wine glasses as he had to pick up another customer after he dropped us off. My assistant leader was appalled that he would ask such a thing based on what was paid for the cars and told the driver so. They ended up using the glasses but I cannot believe that he asked this in the first place. Of course, we said nothing to the girls and let them enjoy their moment.

She had made arrangements with one of the cars to stop at a 7-Eleven so we could purchase beverages to bring on board. We had 2 wheeling luggage racks and wheeled our beverages on board. No one said anything about it nor did we get any strange looks as I had expected. We brought on 8 cases of soda and some wine coolers. 6 cases of soda were taken by one of the bellhops at our arrival and he assured us it would arrive in our stateroom and it did, unharmed and intact. I had to wheel around the wine coolers for the other adults as they were in glass bottles and the bellhop did not want to break them. This was not a problem or inconvenient.

We arrived at the port at about 11:00 a.m. Be aware that the immigration form in the books you receive are no longer good. You will be asked to fill out another one at the port. We were about the 5th people in line to board. I think boarding began at about 12:15 p.m. We were not announced but it really was not a big deal. Who would hear it anyway except us and a few cast members. We went directly to Parrot Cay for the embarkation buffet. Again, the faces on the girls when they looked at all the food brought tears to my eyes. They had no idea what to eat and what to stay away from, so they just started putting things on their plate. After finishing lunch, we all went to our various staterooms and I never saw some of the girls again until our excursions or dinner. I did go into Common Grounds and check it out and some of the girls had already been there and signed up. Their names were already on a list and they simply had to sign in. I was able to sign up my almost 13 year olds.

We all attended the sail away party and had a wonderful time dancing. It seems I was the only one who did not hear the infamous horn when we left port.

The girls did very little at Common Grounds and only a few of the activities there. It was simply a place they went to meet new people. They thought the programs were a little boring but did use Common Grounds to hook up with their new friends (mostly boys, I must say). They did go to all the dances that were offered as the girls do love dancing. They also hung out at the basketball court quite a bit. Other than that, I have no idea what they did until 3:00 a.m. in the morning. All I know is that they had a fantastic time and they were together most of the time (with no adults). I think they loved the freedom I gave them. They are now bragging at home to their friends how late they stayed up every night.

No one in our party ran around to get ressies anywhere. I had explained the whole process to all the adults and they all felt that we were on vacation and wanted no stress. If they had small children with them, they waited until their child wanted to go to a program and then they signed them up. A few of the adults did go to Palo’s but just called to see when they could squeeze them in. They all reported they loved Palo’s. I personally did not go as I was on a trip with my Girl Scouts and wanted to spend my dinner time with them. My husband and I travel quite extensively and I did not feel the need to dine at Palo’s. I wanted to watch the girls faces as they tried new things. That would be my souvenir from the trip.

The one bad decision I made (and the other parents agree also, now), was placing the girls in the room with one of their parents. Their parent forgot how hard the girl worked to go on the trip and how much she wanted to be with the other girls and do what the other girls were doing. They were made to come in early, etc. I did not place my daughter in my room for this reason and I now wish I had done this for the other girls. All did have a good time, though.

We had the 8:30 dinner seating which worked great. I can’t imagine trying to get to dinner by 6:00 p.m. The show tonight was Hercules which was enjoyed by everyone in our party, including some of the teenagers. Certainly not a Broadway production but quite good, fun entertainment for the whole family. Not all of the Girl Scouts went as they were too busy meeting the boys.

Dinner was at Parrot Cay and everyone enjoyed their meals. Of the 37 of us, I am the only one who has cruised before and I can honestly say that other cruise lines offer better food selections but there was certainly nothing wrong with the quality of food at DCL. Remember, this is a cruise ship for families and other ships cater mostly to adults. Most children only eat pizza, etc. and DCL certainly has this covered. I have heard complaints that the children’s menu is limited but, let’s face it, all the kids will eat no matter how extensive the menu is hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, fries, etc. Yes, other cruise lines offer 7 course meals and DCL only a 3 course meal, but I am a hearty eater and I never left any meal feeling hungry and neither did anyone in our party. So, those of you about ready to cruise, relax as the food is fine. If you order an item and it is not to your liking, your server will gladly get you something else.

Our servers were Kerry from Jamaica & Melanie from Germany. The girls had so much fun with Kerry as he was so entertaining and loved to dance. He did a flipper dance which they absolutely loved. The head server stopped by our table every night to chat with the girls. In fact, many of the servers in the dining room stopped by to chat with the girls each night. They definitely received more attention when they had their sashes on. Many of the female servers were from foreign countries and were Girl Guides as young girls and were very interested in what our badges meant.


The girls ran off after dinner to a dance party and some of the adults attended the 50-60’s party in Wavebands. It was a lot of fun. You do not have to be a party type person or drinker to enjoy these shows in the nightclubs. I did not see anyone drinking heavily and most of the people at our table only had soda and we had a wonderful time.

I think that a few people from our party also went to one of the game shows in Studio Sea and said it was great and fun.

After leaving Wavebands, I made my nightly trip up to deck 9 to sit and watch the people walk by. I went to bed about 1-1:30 each night. Of course, I was unable to fall completely asleep until all girls were back in my room. Usually they got in between 2-3 a.m.

When I arrived back at our room, our cabin steward had left a nice stuffed Minnie Mouse.

Day 2 – June 4th – Castaway Cay

We awoke to a beautiful, hot sunny day at Castaway Cay. It is a beautiful island. DCL has done a nice job decorating it. I can tell you that the girls loved it but it was not what they had pictured in their mind. They expected it to be more like Gilligan’s Island in the rough and not so much civilization. None of them did any of the activities at the teen beach but rather stuck at the family beach. They were careful putting on sunscreen as I had told them to and only one girl got burnt. I have read numerous times about rushing off the boat early to get chairs, umbrellas, etc. I don’t understand this as even late in the day there were plenty of umbrellas and chairs around and our ship was sailing at full capacity.

One of the girls had been looking forward to having her hair braided and she was the first one in line. She had her whole head done in cornrows (took 2 hours) and it cost $110. She was happy as this was the souvenir she wanted most. She did bring a sunscreen stick so she could cover her scalp so it would not burn. I wish she had waited but more on that later.

Now a surprise for me. They girls put their money together and treated me to a cabana massage. They apparently made reservations on embarkation. It was heavenly. As these boards have said before, I did not like being asked to purchase products. I was upfront with the girl and asked her if she got a commission on the products she sold. She told me yes and I told her I would rather give her an extra tip than buy something I would never use. Let’s face it, we go to a massage parlor to be massaged and how many of us would really use all those oils at home. If we did, what’s the point of going to the massage parlor in the first place. She was happy with that and did not try to push the products any further.

We brought our own snorkeling equipment which the girls shared. They went quite far out but said there was not much to see. I am so glad that we did not rent this equipment as the girls said it would not have been worth it. I suggest you go to Walmart, K-Mart and buy your own for about $8.00. You never know if your child will like snorkeling and it would be a shame to waste the money.

My 10 year old son and his friend tried it and hated it. They were afraid everytime the fish came near them. I think they lasted about 15 minutes and they were done. They had more fun playing in the water.

My teens were also disappointed that there are no waves at Castaway Cay. It is more like a salty lake. Again, they had a picture in their mind of what an ocean island should be. I believe DCL bought this island because of the reefs which block the waves from coming in to protect the young children. A few of them did the banana boat ride and said it was just o.k. They did have a wonderful day at this beach and would go back again.

The barbeque lunch at Cookies was very good and tasty.

Some of the girls went to the Voyage of the Ghost Ship show and walked out halfway through it as they thought it was quite lame. I sat through it and enjoyed the music but the plot was really silly and the props corny. The little kids did seem to enjoy this show though.

I think some of the girls also went to one of the movies on this night.

Dinner was at Triton’s and, again the food was fine. Everyone in our party enjoyed their meal. I had a wonderful picture taken of all the girls outside Triton’s in their finest attire (something I don’t see often) and it is now adorning a shelf in my dining room.

Some of the adults went to the 70’s party at Wavebands and loved it. Some went to dueling pianos and there were mixed reviews. They all agreed they were fabulous piano players but some thought it was funny and others thought it was just piano playing. Guess it depends on your sense of humor. My husband loved it.

I do not know what the girls did this night as I did not see them until 3:00 a.m. I do know that while sitting up on deck around 12:30 a.m. they met the pop group “Dream” and had a long conversation with them about being teenagers, etc. This was one of the highlights of their trip. Who would ever think that sitting on the deck of a Disney ship you would meet one of the top female pop groups and actually sit and chat with them. I will not reveal what their conversations were about as I believe this is privileged information and was shared with the girls in confidence. Dream performed on the Wonder at Nassau and some of my girls were in the clips. Their performance was televised on ABC on June 10th.

Again, I went up to deck 9 with some of the adults in our party and people watched. I tucked in about 1:30 a.m. Whoever said a cruise is relaxing never went with teenagers. By this time I am quite exhausted. I arrived at the room to find a nice towel animal. I think it was a chicken but the girls think it was a rabbit.

Day 3 – June 5th – Nassau

This day was perhaps my favorite of the trip. Originally we were going to Atlantis (free of charge) to use their facilities. However, a few months back I was able to locate a Girl Scout troop in Nassau. We contacted them and told them we would be in Nassau and was wondering if they would give us a tour of their island. They met us at the boat and boy did we get a tour which I can tell you is not on the tour map. It was so, so interesting and just what I had hoped for the girls. Many people go to Nassau hoping for bargain shopping and an island paradise. I wanted the girls to learn what it was like to live somewhere else and what the culture was. We learned this and more. They took us to spots that tourists rarely see, we went into some of their homes, etc. School is in session still but the girls were able to get out to give us the tour. They arranged for the taxis but we paid the fares. It was so, so interesting. Total cost for the day was $75.00 and well worth every single penny.

Some facts you might like to know about living in Nassau. The average income is $19,000 a year. Two adults work 2 full-time jobs to make this kind of money. A loaf of bread is $2.58, a gallon of milk is $5.76, a gallon of gas is $2.98. Virtually everything is imported. Maybe you can now appreciate why they try to sell you everything when you get off the ship. They need the money to eat.

The girls and adults that gave us the tour all knew how to braid and braided each girls hair who wanted it braided free of charge. We did not take advantage of their kindness and each girl only had about 2-3 braids each.

After saying goodbye, some girls went shopping and others got back on the ship (with an adult at all times). All of the girls (a few did not go) really enjoyed this day.

We were back on the ship in time to see “Dream” perform for the television show which was broadcast on June 10th. If you have ever attended a filming for t.v., you will be very disappointed. They came out and photographed the crowd first. Then the group came out and lip synced the words. They apparently then dub the two parts together with the t.v. program. It was very long and boring but because the girls had talked to the group the night before, they stayed for the whole long production.

Tonights show was a Las Vegas style comedian. Don’t recall his name but he was excellent and the whole audience was laughing. Only a few of the girls attended but they really enjoyed it.

6 of the girls attended the teenage junkanoo cruise around Nassau and had a blast! Cost for this was $25.00 and it comes highly recommended. I guess it was a dance party on a rocky boat ride.

Dinner tonight was at Animators Palate. Again, food was very good. Light show was good also. I was disappointed that some of the girls missed the show because of the junkanoo cruise. The head waiter came to our table and asked where all the girls were. When I told him, he said he would be glad to run the show privately for them at 11:00 on our last night. Well, he just earned an extra tip.

We all attended the deck party by Plutos. It was great and there was a wonderful dessert buffet set up with ice sculptures and all. I again tucked in about 1:30 a.m. I am starting to get really tired. I don’t know how the girls stayed up so late and got up so early. I think maybe they snuck in for naps during the day which I did not know about. In fact, I am sure that they did as everytime I went back to my room it was obvious that someone had ordered room service. Upon arriving back at our room, we were greeted by yet another towel animal, this time a dog with sunglasses.

Day 4 – June 6th – Freeport

Awoke rather late (9:00 a.m.) and went to Beach Blanket Buffet for breakfast with all the girls. Today we had planned the dolphin encounter in Freeport. We did not book this excursion through the ship but rather booked privately on our own before we left to save $$$. The ship excursion is $75.00 and we paid $45.00 plus $8.00 for cab fare, or a total of $53.00. Weather was absolutely gorgeous and we were excited for this event. Went into Freeport immediately after breakfast and did some shopping. The environment in Freeport is much different than Nassau. It is more picturesque and cleaner than Nassau. I believe the main difference is that Nassau is where the people live and Freeport was built specifically for the tourist industry. More tropical than Nassau and probably what most people picture in their minds. However, I did enjoy Nassau more as it was more real. I am into real culture but for those who like cleanliness, Freeport is definitely much nicer.

Anyway, our dolphin excursion was from 1:00-3:00. We all boarded a boat and we had the most beautiful ride to Sanctuary Bay. The boat ride over and back was just as nice as the dolphin encounter itself and was well worth our $45.00 fee. 20 of us did this excursion and everyone in our party loved it. We spoke with people who did the actual swim which is 4 times the price and other than the fact that they were in the water with the dolphins a little longer than us and held onto their fins, I think we had the exact same experience. This encounter comes highly recommended to everyone and if you can do it, don’t miss it. We took our own waterproof cameras and never felt like we were in a photo shoot. They have one photographer there but he never once asked us to pose for a picture which we loved. It was a top quality day and the ride back to Freeport was delightful. They had a motor boat and were taking the dolphins for a walk and it was fabulous to see them in the wild swimming and jumping. A great educational time was had by all.

The people who did not go on the excursion with us stayed on the ship and saw the movie Pearl Harbor which they said was terrific.

We went directly back to the ship. We packed up our suitcases so they would be ready for the 11:00 p.m. pickup. We then went to Shutters and purchased photos and paid off our room cards in order to avoid the last minute rush. We then showered and got ready for our last evening aboard this fabulous ship. It was so very, very sad. We all went to see Disney Dreams which was absolutely great. Even the picky teenagers who aren’t crazy about sitting in shows loved it. Dinner was at Animator’s and it was again great. We gave all our servers extra tips as we felt they had certainly earned them. We also gave out Girl Scout cookies to the staff and phone cards. As promised, we returned at 11:00 p.m. for another private showing of the light show as some girls missed it the night before.

After dinner the girls took off in all directions and the adults hit all the night spots for last minute fun. I was off to bed at 2:00 a.m.

Day 5 – Debarkation & WDW

Because we had late dinner seating, our breakfast was at 8:00 a.m. After breakfast we left the ship together and picked up our luggage. DCL definitely has the smoothest debarkation of any ship I have ever been on. Our bus was waiting for us for our trek to WDW.

We arrived at Disney’s All Star Movies resort and check-in was a nightmare. Our rooms were not ready and it took over 2 hours to get the paperwork done at the front desk and get our rooms. We all went to MGM in groups of 4. It was very, very hot and the lines were very, very long, even with fast passes. After coming off the DCL ship, most of the girls did not like the park at all. They all agreed they would have rather taken the 7 day cruise and skipped the parks altogether. I was shocked as I absolutely love WDW. We stayed at MGM until the park closed. Teenagers like high paced thrill rides and Disney offers very little of this.

Day 6 – Magic Kingdom

We spent the day at Magic Kingdom from opening to closing. Again, lines were very, very long and it was hot. The entire day I did not see one character in the park other than our character dinner at Crystal Palace. The girls have no desire to return to WDW. The cruise was more to their liking.

Day 7 – Back to reality

We went to the airport at 10:00 a.m. and flew home. We are all still having post-cruise depression. We will be getting together in a couple of weeks to exchange photos, etc.

This concludes my trip report and I am listing some pointers. A few of the teenagers will be getting together and writing another trip report from their perspective.

Definite Must Do’s

1. If you are on a tight budget, inside category 11 stateroom is fine.

2. Book your own airfare and your own transfers to save a lot of money.

3. Do not take excursions off the ship. Do it on your own to save money.

4. Do the dolphin encounter as you will not be disappointed.

5. Have a cabana massage.

6. Attend all the shows.

7. Try some new food that you have never eaten before. You might be surprised how much you like it.

8. Take the 7 day instead of the 3 or 4 day. It seemed as though we just got on the ship and it was time to get off.

9. Don’t rush around to get ressies. You are on vacation so relax and enjoy. There is so much to do on the ship that it is not necessary to stress yourself out. Our cabin steward said it best to me one day. I was in our cabin picking up after the girls and she yelled at me. She said, “Maam, please don’t pick up after the children, you are on vacation. That is my job.” Yup, this earned her an extra tip.

10. Be sure to bring a collapsible cooler. For the day at Castaway Cay we loaded it up with sodas (that we brought on board). We also had ziplock baggies and took fruit, etc. from the breakfast buffet to snack on.

11. Take your own snorkeling equipment.

12. We had bonine for seasickness but we had 37 people in our group and not one person got seasick.

13. I also brought benzocaine sticks for jelly fish bites. Get these at your local pharmacy. Fortunately I did not have to use these.

14. Go expecting nothing and you will not be disappointed. I am sure the cruise will exceed all your expectations. Hakuna Matta!!


My absolute favorite part of the entire trip was watching the children’s faces each time they experienced something new. This alone made all the fundraising efforts worthwhile. We loved this cruise and would recommend it to any family.

If you want gourmet type food, another cruise line is probably the way to go. This is definitely a family boat. Very safe, fun and secure. Single adults would also enjoy this cruise and honeymooners.

Have fun!! We’ll be thinking of all of you as you embark on your magical or wonderful journey. Any questions, ask away.

Pam

TravelMom
06-12-2001, 04:22 PM
Pam,
You brought tears to my eyes with your trip report. What an exhausting undertaking - and what a fantastic opportunity for all the girls!
TravelMom

akasleepingbeauty
06-12-2001, 04:43 PM
Pam,

I remember when I first corresponded with you concerning an ebay item and learned about your trip. I was so impressed with the hard work on the part of you and your scouts.

It is so nice to now hear that all turned out well. What a great experience for everyone. Kudos to all of you for creating your own magic!

Good luck in your fundraising for the 7-day cruise in 2 years. I'll keep an eye out on ebay!!

JanMa
06-12-2001, 11:01 PM
Pam,
I can't tell you how wonderful and brave you are
to organize this trip!! Those are some very lucky
Girl Scouts. As a Cub Scout leader, I find it difficult
to plan an overnight at the Children's Museum!
It was very inspiring to read your report, and I'm
glad that it went so smoothly. The girls will have
some really special memories thanks to you.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful adventure
with us! Jan

Denise W
06-13-2001, 07:36 AM
Pam,

That report was one of the most moving I have ever read. I am so impressed with the way you designed this trip - meeting the girl scouts in Nassau and showing your girls the way others live. Although you said that some of your girls came from low income families, I am sure it was still an eyeopener to them. I wish I had been able to do something like that with my daughters. I am so glad that everything worked out well and that you all had a great time. Thanks for allowing us to share in this experience.

Denise:sunny: :wave:

CarolAnnC
06-13-2001, 10:58 AM
What a wonderful trip report! These girl scouts shall never forget that cruise! Thank you so much for sharing it with us here. :)

Beth11
06-13-2001, 11:53 AM
Pam, what a beautiful report and what a beautiful person you are to give these girls such an awesome experience!!

I vote you as GIRL SCOUT LEADER OF THE DECADE!! :D

These girls will hold these memories forever in their hearts and will last a lifetime!! They will be talking and sharing their experiences for many, many years!

Congratulations on a job well done!! You should consider being a travel agent!!!

Beth11
:D :D :D

Lswilmot@aol.com
06-14-2001, 08:48 AM
Glad you had such a great trip. Our Girl Scout Troop just returned from the Royal Caribbean-Sovereign of the Seas cruise to Nassau too. Had 33 in our group. Basically the same plan as yours. Ours was awesome too.

TigH
06-14-2001, 02:07 PM
I love the Girl Scouts!!!! What a wonderful troop you have. I loved reading your trip report!!!!!!!!!! It was very motivational! :)

DLihte
06-15-2001, 12:37 AM
Hi Pam. I guess I was always looking for tons of Girlscouts selling brownies. I read your report and loved it. You sacrificed alot to go. I hope one of these days you can go with just your family so there will be a bit more solitude and less responsibilities on a holiday. Though I guess you have the personality that flourishes with all that activity. Thanks for the note on my report. I bought the poster of the Wonder with Cinderellas Castle next to it with pixie dust making a bridge. We put it in a frame and it sits above the computer. With fort Lauderdale, five days at the Polynesian and the cruise we went through about 10.000 dollars. Fortunetly we had it saved so no credit card debts. We cant afford to do this kind of activity too often but the memories for Nathan and Jeremy and thier parents will never fade Love Dennis

jdm
06-17-2001, 12:56 AM
I really enjoyed reading your remarkable report! Lucky girls to have you for a leader! I was very interested in the details of your dolphin encounter. I was planning on doing the dolphin swim in Nassua but am considering the encounter now in Freeport. Perhaps you could post or email me the details of exactly what your did during the encounter? Thanks, Jenn

girl scout troop 37
06-17-2001, 11:20 AM
First I must tell you that many years ago I personally did the dolphin encounter in Nassau and the one in Freeport, in my opinion, is much, much nicer and more colorful scenery. In Freeport they do not have you pose continually for photographs so your focus was always on the dolphins. You are encouraged to bring your own waterproof camera to take your own photos. They will take only one photo of you when you are in the water and it will be available for purchase when you get back to the office. 20 people from our group did the encounter and it was loved by all, no complaints.

We booked privately before we left on the cruise. Our cost was $45.00. You can call Unexso Educational Corp. at 1-800-992-3483 to make your own arrangements. Taxi fare from the ship to the encounter was $8.00 per person round trip. All total it was $53.00. If you book the excursion through the ship, it will cost $75.00. Our encounter was from 1-3 p.m.

They put you in a boat and you have the most beautiful ride (about 15-20 minutes) to Sanctuary Bay where the dolphins are. Once you arrive you are told about different types of dolphins and how to recognize them. Then you sit on a dock with your feet in the water and there were 3 dolphins inside the enclosed area. Mama, Papa & baby. The trainer taught all kinds of information about the dolphins and during this time the dolphins are jumping at you, rubbing your legs, splashing, etc. Then you will get in the water for about 5 minutes with one dolphin and you are able to touch them. Remember, dolphin's are mammals just like us and they have minds of their own. They may let you rub their belly and they may not.

I don't want to tell you all the details to ruin your fun but in our party we had the 13 girl scouts and 2 boys 10 years old and an adult that was 75 years old. Every single one of us loved this experience.

The actual dolphin swim is a lot more pricey and they can only accomodate 6 people at a time. There is also a minimum age requirement of 12 I believe. Basically the only difference I saw was that you were in the water with the dolphins longer and got to hold onto their fins and they pulled you across the bay. Otherwise, it was the same experience we got. Very, very educational.

Good luck on whatever you decide.

jdm
06-18-2001, 02:11 AM
Thank you so much for your reply. I think we'll probably go with this one. Although I was seriously thinking about the dolphin swim, I'm not a good swimmer and not very comfortable in the water. While I wanted to share this experience with my 8 year old daughter... I was not exactly looking forward to being pushed across the water! Also, so expensive for the three of us! I think she'll enjoy this just fine. Thanks again! Jenn

kiddisney
06-22-2001, 01:22 PM
hi pam - like the others said - your report brought tears to my eyes - from the very beginning to the trip back home - i know that all girl scout leaders are special - but you are so ever more so - best wishes on your next endeavor.

girl scout troop 37
06-24-2001, 03:03 PM
Well, we just started fundraising again. Selling hoagies to our local businesses. We are either going to a Dude Ranch in upstate New York or a whitewater rafting trip in West Viriginia next summer. This way there is no airfare and we can save for the 7 day western cruise in 2003. I prefer the ports of call in the western as opposed to the eastern. The girls really don't care which ports we go to as long as they get to go again. Probably will have some new additions next time. So glad DCL added this itinerary. Maybe they will even have some new shows when we go in 2003.

Thanks so much for all your kind words. I do feel blessed that I am able to touch the hearts of some very needy children. Just got back from a national G.S. event in PA. Over 1600 Girl Scouts from around the U.S. attended. In fact, 48 states (none from RI & Mass.). The Alaska girls were so hot they were dumping ice cubes all over their bodies. We talked to them about the DCL cruise and they would love to go. Don't know if they could stand the heat though. Anway, we are going to try to coordinate a time with them and another troop from Nebraska and see if we might all go together.

Boy, I wish we were still on that ship now. To all of you about to set sail, have a blast and be sure to write a trip report. Still trying to get my teenagers to write their report. They are busy on summer swim teams but keep checking back, I am sure their report will eventually show up.

Pam

Familyof6
06-25-2001, 12:10 AM
Pam,
Just a couple of questions...about the dolphin encounter, did you say the age limit was 12 or was that for the swim? We have a family of 6...kids range from 2-10. Would we all be able to do this? If the baby couldn't have a floatation device, would they let us go with our family and just watch or is that not allowed? I had pretty much decided not to do any excursions and just enjoy the ship, but your report has got me thinking again.

Another question...just curious...from what part of NE is the troop that is considering going with you in 2003? We lived in NE for 3 yrs. and my daughter was in a Brownie troop in Bellevue. Can you move to NH now and be her girl scout leader? She's only in third grade(in the fall), so that gives you a few yrs. to get here! ;)
You are a "wonder"fully caring person to do so much for these young women! You may not realize how much you have impacted their lives. Hopefully, one of these girls will write you a letter 20 yrs from now telling how you made her life different. (I recently did this with a lady who had no idea of what effect she had on my life. She was so touched.) And even if they don't tell you yrs from now, know that you have effected there lives for the better!):D

Lisa:smooth:

girl scout troop 37
06-25-2001, 09:52 AM
I graduated from N.H. College in Manchester in 1980 and almost stayed in NH. Marriage brought me to PA. I do not know what town in NE the troop is from as the girls only have their email address and because we just got back they have not corresponded yet. Also, thanks so much for your flattery. I am sure your daughter will find a nice Girl Scout leader someday.

Definitely do the dolphin encounter. Although your young daughter (2) would probably not be able to get in the water, she will thoroughly enjoy the encounter just sitting on the dock watching the dolphins. The trainers may let you hold her in the water. When in the water, it is only waist high so they do not have flotation devices. If it is not over your daughter's head, she would certainly be permitted to get in. I highly recommend this excursion but book it on your own to save your family a lot of money. Stay on the boat in Nassau as I do not believe with young children that they will enjoy Nassau at all. However, Freeport is quite lovely and they will just adore the dolphin encounter, I promise. Good luck on your decision and thanks for your high compliments.

Pam

Familyof6
06-25-2001, 02:29 PM
Pam,
This is such a coincidence, I went to NHC in '81-'83. I transfered with an AS in Mgt to go to Radford U. in VA to be closer to my then boyfriend...now my dh of 14yrs this Wed.! I was a cheerleader at NHC.
Now my dh's nephew has decided to go there this Fall. It is now called Southern NH University, in case you haven't kept up!;)
Thank you for the advice about the encounter. Since I've been reading the reports I've flip-flopped a couple times about excusions. The report from the 8 yr old made me think that perhaps I should try to get my kids to Atlantis. Then rereading yours convinced me to try the dolphin encounter in Freeport. (I was wondering what things there were to do in Freeport.) It's a tough decision, and I basically have to make it alone. My dh only sees dollar signs from this trip, when I see once in a lifetime opportunities for our kids! I was just worried about an age limit or anything that would make us unable to do the encounter.
I think I saw the phone number to book this excursion somewhere in this post. Didn't I? And how did you handle the cab? Were they just there waiting when you got off the ship? Can we fit 6 people in a cab? How long is the trip over to the encounter...how much time should we allow and at what time should we book our encounter ? (I think you've already covered most of this...I'll need to go back and print off your trip report.)

Thanks so much for your help!

Lisa:)

girl scout troop 37
06-25-2001, 04:10 PM
First, you simply get off the ship and there are taxis waiting there. They are very, very clean and you can fit 6 people into one of their vans. It only takes about 20 minutes in the cab to get to the encounter. In Freeport there are a lot of quaint little shops similar to Nassau only cleaner.

Atlantis is very, very beautiful having vacationed at that resort a few years ago. However, as you are probably aware, it is very expensive and in order to use their facilities you will have to book a room at the Comfort Suites which can get quite pricey. Because you are only on the 4 day cruise, I would stay on the ship in Nassau and enjoy the pools with your children. By the ages of your children, that is probably what they will spend most of their time doing anyway.

No, I did not know that the College had changed its name. Went back for a reunion about 20 years ago and haven't been back since. Planning a road trip with my kids in the Fall and we hope to stop in NH to visit my old haunts. Thanks for the info.

Pam

Familyof6
07-09-2001, 01:34 PM
Pam,
Thanks so much for your help. Perhaps if you do make your trip to NH we could do lunch or something. Email me if you decide to come...LLLisaT@aol.com.

My dh just said the other day (when I was yet again talking about this trip that's 4 months away) "I don't care, I just want to swim with the dolphins." I was so excited! It was the first thing he's shown any interest in about this trip!:bounce: I decided then and there that I needed to get those reservations taken care of so that we aren't disappointed.

A couple more questions...If my 2yo can't take part, you said you thought she would enjoy just watching from the dock. Does that mean that I should not pay for myself to do this..or will she be right there next to me and I can get in the water as long as I keep an eye on her?
Also, when you get in the taxi, where do you tell them you want to go? Do they know where to take you if you just say the Dolphin Encounter?
Sorry I'm so full of questions...I just don't know what to expect and I don't want anything to go wrong and miss this opportunity.
Thanks again for all your help...I finally got my dh excited about one thing about this trip!!!

Lisa :cool:

girl scout troop 37
07-09-2001, 11:52 PM
You will probably have to pay for your 2 year to go as she will be sitting right with you. Hopefully she will be tall enough to get in the water. Yes, you simply get off the boat and there will be vans waiting there. Tell them you are going to the dolphin encounter and they will know where to go. I am sure your husband will love it. We had a few men in our party who were not crazy about doing this but were glad they did and really enjoyed it (my dh was one of them). Good luck!

Girls Scout Leader
11-11-2001, 09:09 PM
Thank you so much all the valuable info!! I am a Cadette leader who is considering the 7 day Land & Sea Cruise in 2 - 3 years. My girls will be 10th and 11th grades. 7 girls, 5 adults. I first found this site when planning a trip for my family 2 years ago for 5 day park hoppers. I have not been on this site since we came back. I remembered it when my girls first started considering this trip. Thank God I found the site and the Cruise boards. I had a couple of questions and a nice gentleman allerted me to your story and even included a link! Yesterday, one day after logging on for the first time in two years. So, that said, here are some questions i really hope you find and have time to answer!!
1. According to Safety Wise (Do you follow this in your area?) we have to have lifeguards. The Disney web site says they are provided at our resort (Carribean Beach Resort) and I remember them from Typhoon Lagoon. But what about the ship itself and Castaway Cay?
2. How did you handle on-board spending money? How do you tell how much you have added up to on the account? Does each person have thier own account? What about minors? Not all will have their own mom going.
3. I understand what you said about the crowded parks. I went with my family durring the middle if June. It was hot but seemed early enough that many schools were not out so that the crowds were not bad. They are looking foreward tothe parks part of the trip. Our tickets will include for 4 days all parks, including thewater parks, Downtown Disney, etc. But we would be doing the parks first, monday - thursday, then the cruise. Perhaps the fact that it will be during the week helped. But how did you manage to include meals inside the parks? I'm sure everyone was scattered in different directions, so did you have meeting times and places with prepaid reservations or just an alloted amount of cash foreach meal?
Thank you sooo much for taking the time to write all this down. It will be a tremendous help. I already printed off your trip report ( I hope that's ok?!!) And would like to have a girl and chaperone meeting with all the plans the grils have so far....nothing in stone yet, but I have the video of both the cruise and the WDW. I will be including copies of your report in their packets. Many of your suggestions I will deffinatly be using. I had it in my mind already to require vests, and now I know why I'm glad. The drinks taken on board was a great idea. Sure no static? Amazing.
Thanks and hopeto hearfrom you!!!!!

girl scout troop 37
11-12-2001, 12:16 AM
Hi Girl Scout Leader. I will be glad to answer all your questions but I need your email address. Don't want to cloud up the boards with Girl Scout information which is basically what you are seeking. Keep on planning. Your girls will love the cruise. My girls would tell your girls to skip the parks and do the 7 day cruise instead of the land/sea package. They, too, were excited about doing the parks but after doing the cruise they all agreed that it was more fun than the parks. I was shocked but all (except 2) were in agreement that the cruise was far superior to the parks. Our email address is gstroop37@hotmail.com.

Pam

Tluvs2talk
11-12-2001, 01:48 PM
I enjoyed reading your trip report. I remember reading on the board when you were planning this trip. It sounds like all of yoy had a great time. You and your girls should be PROUD of a job well done .

Teri

friskylady
11-16-2001, 12:02 PM
What a splendid trip report! You have created some wonderful memories for your Girl Scouts. I am so impressed by their fund raising skills. If you don't mind, could you share some of the most successful methods?

girl scout troop 37
11-16-2001, 01:14 PM
Our most successful fundraiser was selling used children's clothing on ebay. Unfortunately GSUSA has now instituted a policy that you are no longer allowed to sell items on ebay. Our troop is challenging this decision and hope the outcome is good to pave the way for future troops.

We also made a ton of money selling boxes of Hershey candy bars. Each box holds 52 bars and you make $25 every box you sell. We also had a soup/sandwich sale at our local Mall which did well. These were our best 3 fundraisers.

mickeyfan0705
02-01-2002, 08:49 PM
What a great report! I have to say that I am very impressed!!! I am a Junior Girl Scout leader and we went to Boston and Cape Cod last June for 4 days (from central NY). I know how much work it was just raising the money for that --- I can only imagine all of the hard work you and the girls put into it.

Thanks for the great trip report. My family and I are going on our first cruise in April and you've just made me that much more excited about it!

Credit Man
02-05-2002, 11:18 AM
What a great report. Thanks for posting.