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View Full Version : 7/28 trip report... very long and detailed


steph8564
08-12-2001, 09:30 PM
Our trip was great. Everything we hoped for and more. We've been home a while so I hope I don't forget anything.

My group included myself 37, husband 39, daughters 8 and 11.
We traveled with my husbands twin brother, his wife and their two boys 11 and 12.

We stayed in adjoined staterooms on deck 6 forward. It was incredibly quiet. Only thing missing was a way to keep the adjoining doors open. Our steward was quick to help us out with a cardboard tube that fit into the track. Unfortunatly it didnt last the whole week. The room was comfortable for 4. The porthole was more than expected. Having two bathrooms worked well. We seemed to be in a rush to get dressed most of the time.

Sat.-- we had to get up very early but made it to the airport, plane and into Orlando before 10:00. This made me happy. We booked transfers with Disney and life was very easy because of it. The lady was waiting with her sign and we soon followed her down to the bus. The ride over was full of anticipation and by 11 or so we were in the terminal with only about 3 people in front of us at check in. My daughter was very smart and got a place in line to board the boat. Check in was a breeze. Sad to say we didnt get the dining rotation we wanted. At around noon time "Tom" a friendly Disney person came around to the entrance and announced if we yelled loud enough and the captain heard us he would give the okay to let us on board early. Well we yelled pretty loud and the doors swung open. boarded began.. I was starved and the first thing we did was go up to Deck 9 and eat lunch at Topsiders. Its was a hot day, but we couldnt resist eating outside on the back deck. We spent plenty of time out there throughout the week.

We then started exploring. Making our way forward, we happened upon the Spa reservations table and I made my appointment for a facial. then we went down to our rooms. I can't remember now if our bags were there already, but if not, they were there a short time later. Palo was next, while the husbands took the kids to the club to get them signed up. It took them about 10 minutes. Palo was quick too, We booked dinner for Sun and brunch for Mon. Next time I would make dinner later in the week. But picking a time was very hard. I didnt want to miss anything in the regular rotation. At the beginning of the cruise I felt I was eating alot and I think Palo had a lot to do with it. But the food was excellent and I enjoyed it alot. I also thought I would see a sunset by going early in the week and that didnt happen either, But everything can't be perfect.

Okay back to Sat. We were up at the pools before 3 I bet. The kids were in the goofy pool and the adults at Quiet Cove. It was great. We got a drink and relaxed. We sailed at 5 and everything was going smoothly. Then we heard the captain make an announcment. someone had gotten hurt and the boat had to turn around and go back north to Port Canaveral. I never actually saw us go all the way back to port but we did go back and we did stop for a while. Maybe a boat came out to meet us? No one seemed to know. It didn't delay our trip at all, that's what mattered.
Dinner was next. Our first night was Lumieres. Our servers, Oliver and assistant Nicu, were great. They made dinner, everynight, fun for the kids. (And the adults) I wish I could remember what I ate every night but I'm not that good. Surfice to say, I liked the food.
We skipped the show the first night. We unpacked and went up to the hot tubs. We were very tired from getting up at 4:15. Everyone slept okay.

Sun.--The weather was beautiful and after a breakfast at Topsiders, we hit the pools. I relaxed until 10 then went for my facial. the girl was very nice. It was my first facial so I didnt know what to expect. The face neck and shoulder massage felt great. the rest I was a little dissapointed with looking back. She recommended about $200 dollars worth of products. I just couldn't. I was very dissapointed the kids were not able to keep themselves more occupied. they seemed to be struggling to find something to do. Especially my little one who was not in the older ones age group. I found myself suggesting the club about 10 times a day, and they almost always said no. But I tried not to let this get to me. it was my vacation, too.
We went to the captains welcome aboard cocktail reception this night and had a few drinks on the house. that was nice. We had some pictures taken but I didnt like them. The photographers were nice but they need to work with you a little more to get you to look more natural. I hated most of my pictures.

We went to Palo for the dinner that night. It was excellent. The server was so great. His name was Zouhaier. Pronounced Zoo-air.
Then we went to see Hercules. It was entertaining. A little hard to understand but the kids loved it. We got our second trading card here. Mom was more into it than the kids. I started looking in the navigator for the card symbols so I could find out how to get more. The theater was freezing. Bring a sweatshirt and pants. After the show we just walked around, enjoyed the quiet decks then hit the sack.

Mon.-- This day turned out to be our worst weather day. The seas got very rough and the sky was grey, all day. None wanted to be by the pools. I ended up playing bingo. I didnt win but it was fun. Francine and Raymond were in charge. I saw them all over the ship. They do their jobs well. Oh yeah, today was our character breakfast. I had to talk the kids into this. But they had fun. It was the only day we went to the restaurant for breakfast. And the adults didnt even eat because we were going to Palos for brunch. We saw Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy. No Mickey. He was very busy.
Brunch at Palo was EXCELLENT. Do not miss it. and make sure you are very hungry. I'm not kidding.
WE hung around on deck and saw a snorkle demonstation. This was good for the kids. The rest of the day is a blur. We had dinner at Parrot Cay. Saw Cest Magique ( which we liked) and walked around the ship. We went to Shutters everyday. And by Mon we smartened up and started putting all the pictures we may want to buy in one place and tossed the rest.
The kids decided to stay out very late this evening. We went large and let them stay out until 1 at the club. Boy, were they tired the next morning. We went to a club and played a game similar to Family Feud, We had a good time.

Tue.- St Maarten. My choice of the Golden Eagle Catamaran was the best choice I made on the entire trip. Everyone loved it. The kids had so much fun sitting up in the front and getting soaked by the waves. It was so exciting not knowing when the next wave was going to crash over the front of the boat. I was the only adult to sit up front with the kids for the ride out. My husband joined us about 3/4 of the way there. We anchored, snorkled (not that great), had drinks on the beach, which included rum punch, sodas and water. There were some nude sun bathers, but only my 8 year old made a comment. "DADDY, ARE THOSE PEOPLE NAKED?" The crew put out trays of chips and doritos and other snacks while we were anchored. On the ride back we had sandwiches and they offered champagne. As much as you wanted. They crew was so nice. Although previous postings warned us about getting seasick, no one to my knowledge did. I would highly recommend this excursion.
We were back to the ship around 1:30 and had something to eat at Topsiders then headed back to do some shopping. The kids stayed on the boat. We were looking for liquor. specifically Tanqueray Gin. We shopped around and got the best price. It was SO HOT!!!! We were melting. After buying 10 bottles between the 4 of us the men took a break and sat down in the shade while we walked around a little more. Of course now we found the nicer stores, Liz, Tommy, and Polo I think. The del sol shop was nice, but I was so hot I just wanted to get back to the boat to go swiiming. I didnt like the guave berry but I think my mind was just on leaving there.
Dinner was tropical night. The kids had pictures taken with Minnie that came out cute. Dinner was fun, too. They showed Atlantis, the Lost Empire that night. But only 3 of us ended up seeing the whole thing, The rest started falling asleep we were so tired. We did have to be ready for the excursion at 7:45. And we wanted to eat a full breakfast so we wouldnt get seasick. so anyway, we were very tired. Most of us crashed after or before the movie was over.

Wed.- We were docking in St Thomas when I woke up. Which was early. I seemed to be waking up early every day. But the walks on deck at sunrise was peaceful. We were able to eat breakfast and get off the boat by around 9-9:30. We were able to get a taxi very easy. There were many many waiting at the dock. We took an open air one to Megan's Bay. The ride was $24 dollars each way for the 4 of us. $7 to get on the beach. $5 to rent a chair. But I still think this was good. The excursions are very expensive and we had spent over $200 on the St. Maarten excursion. We brought a soft sided cooler with us and packed, turkey sandwiches, chips, and choc chip cookies from room service, chicken fingers from plutos, and water bottles we had bought on St. Maarten. but the water got warm. We brought zip lock baggies and packed ice. But we ate lunch early becasue the ice was melted by 11:30. But the food worked out well. The driver asked us what time we wanted to be picked up. WE snorkled and went to the gift shop. It was a great day trip. We went back to the ship around 1:30-2 and then left the kids on the boat again and went walking around the shopping mall right off the boat. We bougth some souveniers then decided to take a tram up to an overlook. It was nice. Quiet and peaceful. We were back on the ship by 3:30.
Tonights dinner was at Animators Palate. It was really fun. Then Who wants to be a Mousketeer. We all loved this. It was a blast. A little boy won a cruise. It was kind of given to him becuase they let people yell out the answers from the audience. All but the last answer because no one knew that answer.

Thur.- We relaxed most of the day. the only excitement we had was tour of the ships galleys between Lumieres and Parrot Cay. It was fascinating and fun. Dinner was at Parrot Cay. And then Disney Dreams. This show was excellent. We all enjoyed it. We did lots of shopping this night. Earlier in the day I caught the captain signing things at the store. We didnt want the model ship but had him sign a navigator for us.

Friday- I was so anxious to get to Castaway Cay. We ate and went to down to deck 2 forward to wait to get off. We had a very early reservation for a Banana boat ride and I was worried we would not have enough time to find a chair before our scheduled time at 10. But I worried for nothing, as usual. Before the ride my 8 year old hit her head on something and I found them walking down the beach with a lifeguard. Lovely way to start the day. I must admit it was very crowded. the Banana boat ride was fun. Then my older daughter and I hit the snorkle trail. She liked it but kept kicking me. She didnt mean to. Then it was lunch time already. WE ate then went back to the beach. WE also went shopping and then I wanted to go to the adult beach to check out the snorkleing. I had heard it was better there. It was. I wish I could have spent more time there. It took us so long to get a tram over that I didnt have alot of time. I was nervous about leaving the kids by themselves at the family beach. By the time we got back to the family beach it was 3:30 and everyone had to get out of the water. I could not believe it was time to go back to the boat already. I rushed to pack up everything and realized I couldnt find my disposable camera I had just started that morning taking beautiful pictures pulling into Cast. Cay. I was upset. I wanted more time there.

Dinner was at Lumiers that night. We said our goodbyes, handed our our tips, and took pictures with our waiters. They brought our cakes for my husbands and brother in laws 40th birthday. The kids loved it. we had to get packed so we headed back to the room. We went up to Shutters and made our final decisions about our pictures. It was very crowded in there.

Sat- We had breakfast promptly at 6:45. First we had to go to customs to take care of the liquor because we thought bought too much. We made out okay,but my brother in law had to pay for some reason. We were done with breakfast and waiting to get off the boat by 8. We had a porter find our bags and we brought them to the buses and trucks waiting to take them and us to the airport. We were there by 9 and our plane was not until 12. We had lots of time to kill. We walked around the airport, there are lots of stores. Then we got lunch at Burger King. Finally we boarded the plane and were on our way home.

So that was my trip in a nut shell. Hope I didnt write too much.

I do have a few things I plan to write to Disney about. Two things that jump to mind that really bothered be about our trip.

1. The pools. My children would not go in the pools after the first day because they said they were "dirty". I must agree, they looked gross. They need to clear them a few times a day and clean them. the water was grey, but other than that they need to clean the muck out of them. they were very crowded most of the time. I think a better filter system is needed.

2. Our table (18) was in the back of the restaurant. Now this would have been okay in one rest. But not all 3. If they can rotate you around to 3 rest. why cant they rotate the table numbers so you are not in the back or in the front all 7 nights. BEacuse of the shows they put on I feel this is very unfair to the children that get stuck in the back every night.

Those are my only complaints. I would highly recomment this cruise. I would go again and may plan the Western Caribbean next. I hope you go, too.

catsaway
08-13-2001, 07:24 AM
I was probably one of those you passed on your early morning walks. I too was up early on deck while the rest of the family was sleeping. I was glad DH could sleep - he's an insomniac at home, but with the slight rocking of the ship he slept like a baby.
My husband said he would go on another Disney cruise - put a smile on my face! This time I'll leave my teens at home!

mmouse37
08-13-2001, 01:13 PM
I agree with you about the pools. We did happen to see them change the water in the Mickey and Goofy pools quite often. Sometimes more than once a day! They should look into a better filtration system.

Glad you had a great trip!!! Can't wait until we go back in July 2003!!!!!

MJ

MinnieMart
08-16-2001, 08:39 PM
we are going back in july 2003!western carribean. don't leave the teens at home . my dd 13 and 16 had such a great tiome. we just went june 30. The teens have their own beach on castaway cay and we went to serenity bay all day. I agree that the family pool needed to be cleaner. Palo's is sooo great isn't it. happy 40th!! what a nice memory!

AnnaS
08-17-2001, 06:29 AM
Wow, we have the same plan. We just came back from our 7/21 cruise and are already planning on booking next year ('02) for our July '03 western carib cruise. We did go with another family with three kids the same age as ours. I do tell everyone that if you cruise you should try to go with someone else who has kids about same age - it helps, especially at the beginning - my kids also felt first two days that they did not know or had nothing to do. Once they got the hang of it (like ourselves) - they loved it and can't wait to go back - my oldest son will be 17 then (one 15) and daughter 10. I doubt my oldest might cruise again with us after that in a disney cruise. Our friends are doing the same thing since the kids got along so well - they were not buddy buddies either before we went. What disappointed me was that my odest son (15 now) who looks like he is 19 did not want to go in the family pool - for obvious reasons - and was afraid to go in the adult pool - so he had no way of cooling off. I am looking forward to hearing reports from western carib. cruise.:)

MinnieMart
08-17-2001, 07:34 PM
I agree with the boy who was afraid to go into the adult pool and did not want to go to the family one either. the DCL should creat a teen swim time at aleast one hour per day.My DD 16 met boys who were 18 and 19.

happylady
08-17-2001, 07:45 PM
Thanks for taking the time to do this great report.