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View Full Version : The Back-to-Back adventure! 11/23 - 12/1


BethC1952
12-13-2005, 10:01 PM
This thread will be the story of our "Wonder"ful back-to-back four-night cruises adventure. I will post all of the installments in this thread. I'm having a bit of a problem with my internet connection at home, but will post as much as I can before I lose my connection!

I'm also in the process of posting my pictures. During three days at Walt Disney World and eight nights on Wonder I took over 300 pictures. That's a lot of sorting and organizing! You can see the pictures from this trip (and my others) at my website. (http://www.bethc1952.us) It will be a couple of days before they're all posted!
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It was a dark and stormy night….

Really! It was! We had to leave home at 12:15 AM for our flight early in the AM. It was damp and cold. Before we arrived at the airport, it was pouring rain…enough rain that there was the possibility that our flight would be delayed. That’s why we always fly in at least one day before we sail!

However, the rain stopped sometime before dawn, and our very early flight arrived in beautiful, sunny (and slightly warmer) Orlando a few minutes early.

Disney’s Magical Express delivered us without incident to Pop Century, our home for the night before our cruise. Our room was ready—at 11 AM! We headed for some lunch at The Trail’s End Buffet at Fort Wilderness (always a first night stop), and then back to our room for a much needed nap. We made a quick night-time visit to Downtown Disney (after our three hour nap), had dinner at the Earl of Sandwich, and headed back once again for a good night’s sleep. In the time between our arrival in the morning and our return that evening, the lobby was decorated for Christmas—just like magic!

We had arranged for DCL transfers from the Beach Club to the port, and knew that we had to have our luggage at that resort by 10 AM. We were up early, went to Everything Pop for breakfast, leaving some time to spare so that we wouldn’t have to rush. We returned to our room to get our luggage and…our keys wouldn’t open the door! We tried everything we could think of, and then DH headed back to the front desk to see what the problem could be. Of course, the minute he was out of sight, the door opened without a problem! I called him on his cell phone, and we hurried out to get a taxi to the Beach Club. Our luggage made the last truck to the port, so we didn’t have to carry it with us on the bus!

It was a beautiful day, and we had more than an hour to wait until time to leave for the cruise, so we headed outside to sit on a bench and watch the people. DH called his office to tell them that we were sitting outside in shorts and tee shirts in the lovely, warm sun—it was cold and snowy at home! I thought about doing the same thing to my co-workers, but decide to wait until I could send them beautiful pictures instead.

The trip to the port was uneventful, until we were very close to the port. It seemed that we could see Wonder much sooner that the usual point at the top of the bridge. It wasn’t until we arrived at the port that I realized that Wonder was the only ship in port that day, so there was nothing to block the view.

Check-in was quick. We arrived late enough that we didn’t have to worry about getting a number, and we were the ONLY people in the Castaway Club line. The other lines still had a bit of a backup. We were through the ears, had our photo taken and were welcomed on board before I had time to think. Our room was ready, so we headed down to drop off our day bag and head up to Beach Blanket Buffet for lunch. Then back to unpack and get settled. After all, this room (2601) would be our home for eight nights!

We headed for our DIS meet, eager to meet the people I’d been corresponding with. We recognized The Gales by their colorful tee shirts, and while we were chatting slindamood and genmasjoy came along to join the fun. We saw each other frequently during the rest of the cruise. There was no sign of Imarcik…but we would meet later.

The lifeboat drill took a bit longer than we would have liked because, as sometimes happens, a few people thought that the words “mandatory for everyone” didn’t apply to them because they were on vacation. Oh, well…it didn’t ruin our sense of fun!

Sailway, and then time to get ready to see “Hercules, the Muse-ical”, a favorite of ours, and then to dinner at Parrot Cay to meet our table mates and servers. We were seated at a table for nine, but only one other family ever joined us, so we had lots of room for food. Our server was Sunil from India, our assistant server was Hannelei from South Africa, and our head server was Boola (we had met him last year). Their service was wonderful throughout the trip! Parrot Cay is our least-favorite restaurant, but we enjoyed our dinner anyway. Here’s what we ate:
DH: Island Spiced Wings
Cream of Sweet Onion Soup
Mixed Grill
French Toast Banana Bread Pudding with Coconut Ice Cream

Me: Baked Crab Martinique
Cream of Sweet Onion Soup
Caribbean Roast Chicken
Crème Brulee Cheesecake

Our original plan for the balance of the evening had been to listen to the piano player at the Cadillac Lounge. However (and this is our ONLY complaint for the whole cruise), the Cadillac Lounge was far too smoky for us even to sit in the doorway to listen. It seemed that there were even some cigar smokers in there, although we thought that cigar smoking was limited to outside areas only. We did not return to the Cadillac Lounge during the cruise. Instead, we closed out the evening at the Cove Café, which would become our favorite “hang out” spot on the ship.

Tomorrow…Nassau!

rjh8115
12-14-2005, 06:21 AM
Hi Beth,
We had cabin 2601 last Februrary on the Wonder. We loved the location so much that we book a cabin in the same area for our upcomming cruise on the Magic.

Can't wait for the rest of your report . . .

Rick

BethC1952
12-15-2005, 09:59 AM
Rick:

We loved the area too, and will probably request it again. It was great since there was so little foot traffic outside!

I'm trying to post the rest of my report, but I'm having some internet connection problems at home. As soon as I can get a reliable connection again, I'll post the rest of the report--hopefully by tomorrow!

BethC1952
12-15-2005, 08:25 PM
This would be our “down-time” day. Our plan was to do not much of anything except relax. We slept in a bit, and headed to Beach Blanket Buffet for a lovely breakfast overlooking Nassau. The weather was fabulous—a perfect start to Thanksgiving Day! Since the weather was so nice, we decided to head to the pool for a while, to soak up some sun and to sit in the hot tub. All in all, we considered it a very satisfactory morning. All of that relaxing worked up an appetite (again!) and we headed back to Beach Blanket for lunch.

A leisurely walk in Nassau occupied our afternoon. We headed for the Straw Market, doing some window shopping along the way. We decided not to buy anything, since we would be back in Nassau in less than a week! The Straw Market was hot and humid and crowded with shoppers looking for Christmas bargains, so we decided to walk a little farther, and then head back to the ship. Since the ship was still fairly empty, we did some laundry and indulged in one of the ultimate vacation luxuries—a pre-dinner nap! We also watched some of “Madagascar” (by the end of our second cruise we would actually manage to see the entire movie. It was great!) Our plan was to have dinner, relax for a while and then catch the 11 PM showing of “Chicken Little”.

Our assigned restaurant for this night was Triton’s, and it was dress up night, and it was Thanksgiving, too! Our tablemates were having dinner in Nassau, so it was just the two of us (still at our table for nine). A special Thanksgiving menu was offered, instead of the usual Triton’s menu. We did get to keep the menu, and I will be scanning it, along with all of the Navigators, and posting them as soon as I can.

There were just too many choices on the menu. I started with Baked Clams in Tomato-Garlic Butter, which was a great choice then, but I did regret the garlic later on in the evening. Then I tried the chilled tomato consommé, which was also quite good. For my main course, I chose the Baked Lobster Tail with lemon butter, sautéed asparagus and seasoned yellow rice. It was definitely better than eating a turkey cooked by my inlaws! Desert was a very nice pumpkin cheesecake.

Jim had the Grilled Vegetables with Beef Prociutto (very good), New England Clam Chowder, and then couldn’t decide between the Honey Glazed Virginia Ham or the Pan-Fried Halibut. In the end, he had both—and finished both! He also had the pumpkin cheesecake as desert.

We sat on Deck 4 for a while, watching the lights of Nassau, and then headed for the Cove Café for our nightly coffee. We got great seats in the theater for “Chicken Little”, and I think it’s probably a good movie, but we were SO tired that we fell asleep in the theater! We gave up when we realized that we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer, and headed back to our room to sleep.

slindamood
12-16-2005, 11:43 AM
I am enjoying your account of "our" cruise! I did not keep a journal, but think I will try to write an account this week-end. Doubt it will be of quality to post, though.

We had the same reaction to Cadillac Lounge - we had heard there was a great piano player and our group decided to head there - got as far as the door and DH and I could not make it in - too smokey. We went to the disco 70s show for a while, then headed up to deck 10 for fresh air.

I really appreciate the smoke free areas on the ship. There must have been cigar smoke - I have not seen smoke so thick for some time.

Suzanne

Dreamer04
12-17-2005, 11:54 AM
I loves me a good trip report!! LOL


Can't wait for more!

BethC1952
12-25-2005, 12:51 PM
Today would be the first of our two days at sea. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday switch of the three-night and four-night cruises, our third day would be at sea instead of at Castaway Cay.

We planned on relaxing for most of the morning, enjoying the ship and waiting for our first-ever meal at Palo. We had a light breakfast at Beach Blanket Buffet (just some pastries and fruit, since we wanted to save room for our Palo brunch. After lounging around on deck for a while, we headed back to our room to get ready for brunch. I turned on the TV to see what the outside temperature was, and caught a glimpse of the “View From The Bridge” channel. Far off in the distance, a tiny island appeared, straight ahead of us. As it grew a little larger, I could see that there was a ship docked at the island. As the ship and island grew closer, it was very obvious that what I was looking at was Castaway Cay, with Magic docked there! We finished getting dressed, grabbed the camera and headed outside to take some pictures of the rare occurrence of the two ships being within photograph distance of each other. I was lucky enough to find a place to stand all the way forward on Deck 10. I was involved in taking pictures when someone came up behind me and said “Are you Beth?” It was Immarcik (Hi, Marcie), who had missed our meet the first day of the cruise. Like everyone else, she didn’t recognize ME, she recognized DH (Jim) from the picture in my sig. That red beard makes it impossible for us to hide. We chatted for a while, and then headed to Palo so that we wouldn’t miss our meal. Of course, we took lots of pictures along the way!

We were seated immediately, and met our wonderful server, Agnes (from Romania). We would be served by her several more times before we left the ship, and she was wonderful. She took our drink order, showed us around the buffet, and then went to get our drinks. By this time we were as close as we would get to Magic. I was taking pictures through the window, when Agnes came back and offered to take a picture of the two of us, with Magic in the background. That’s the picture in my sig. The brunch at Palo was wonderful. Since we knew that we would be back for another brunch in a couple of days, we decided to concentrate on breakfast items this time (well, except for the champagne and caviar!). After we enjoyed everything that we wanted from the buffet, Jim ordered Eggs Florentine and I ordered Eggs Julia (like Eggs Benedict except with smoked salmon instead of the bacon). By the time we left, I thought I would never want to eat another bite of food again! Everything was wonderful, and the service was very attentive but unobtrusive.

Immediately after brunch, we headed for the Galley Tour. It’s something we’d never done before, and it was very interesting. The food service on the ship always amazes me. Not just the quality of the food, but the fact that it’s always served at the correct temperature, and it’s served quickly and without any kind of chaos. There was a couple ahead of us in line who were trying to rush the tour. They had been told before we entered the kitchen that the tour would surely be longer than the five minutes they were willing to spend there, since they wanted to see the next showing of “Chicken Little”. They kept trying to rush things along. We had a lot of questions, and really wanted to enjoy the experience of seeing the kitchens and food preparation and serving areas. Somewhere during the tour, they were escorted away, I guess to see the movie and to get away from us! During the course of the tour, we became acquainted with Chef Donovan, who is the head production chef and the chef in charge of food service. He was very friendly and very willing to answer lots of questions.

Once the tour was over, since the weather was still gorgeous, we spent some time at the pool, soaking up some warmth to carry us through the winter. (It didn’t work—today is Christmas day, and I’m not so warm anymore!).

Dinner was at Triton’s again, tonight was the regular menu. Since we had the special Thanksgiving menu the night before, there would be no pirate night menu on this cruise. It was hard to believe that either one of us could eat dinner after the huge brunch, but we managed to enjoy yet another wonderful meal in our favorite shipboard restaurant. Jim had the Pearls of Melon, the Cauliflower Soup, the Roasted Duck and the Grand Marnier Souffle. I started with Escargots in Herb and Garlic Butter (absolutely delicious!), the Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette, the Herb Crusted Cod and Crème Brulee for desert.

Even though there was no Pirate Menu, the Pirate Deck party went on as usual. It was the first one we’d been to, since Pirate Night started after our cruise last year. We really enjoyed it, and the fireworks display was a lot of fun. There were several cruise ships off in the distance, and they disappeared right after the fireworks were over. I hope they enjoyed our show!

We ended the evening with our regular stop at the Cove Café for a late night coffee before heading to bed, to rest up for the first of our two stops at Castaway Cay.

BethC1952
12-25-2005, 01:12 PM
Day 4 – Castaway Cay

There isn’t much too say about this day, except that it was spectacular. The weather was beautiful, warm, not a cloud in the sky! Even though the ship was full, hardly anyone found their way to Serenity Bay. We were able to find lounges, chairs and an umbrella just at the entrance to the beach, near the food and near the—well, the facilities that a middle-aged woman needs to use frequently!

The ONLY downside of the day is that there isn’t much sand under the water until you walk pretty far out. You are walking on bare coral, which is very sharp, and can give you some nasty cuts if you aren’t wearing water shoes. Until the tide started to come in, the water was never more than knee deep! It was crystal clear, though, and we saw lots of fish.

We headed back to the ship in time to shower and change to go to the Castaway Club reception. It was being held in Studio Sea this time. We heard Tom McAlpin talk about the changes that will be made to Wonder during the next dry-dock. He said that all of the modifications that were done to Magic this year will be done to Wonder. We chatted for a minute with our new friend Chef Donovan, and had a chat with Captain John. We told him that we would be on board for the next cruise too, and asked him to please provide us with another perfect day at Castaway Cay. He promised to do his best!

We returned to our room to find a letter from Guest Services telling us that they were “THRILLED” that we would be remaining on board for the next cruise, and that we should stop at Guest Services to make the necessary arrangements. It was very easy…Jerome went in the back and then came out and told us that we wouldn’t have to leave the ship, but asked that we stay out of the way of the activity which would be going on. He suggested that we check with Walter, our stateroom host, and arrange a time which would be convenient for us so that he could clean our room and get us already for the next sailing. He also told us that we should stop in at Guest Services between 11 and 11:30 AM to check in again, and get our new keys. It was all very easy!

We headed off to see “Disney Dreams”. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW! Even after all these cruises, I still get teary-eyed at the end.

Our final dinner for this cruise was at Animator’s Palate, which has our favorite menu item. Jim had the Baked Stuffed Tomato, the Confetti Tomato Salad, the Maple-Glazed Salmon (the favorite item), and Strawberry Shortcake for dessert. I had the Seafood and Avocado Wrapper, the Chilled Gazpacho, the Maple-Glazed Salmon and the Strawberry Shortcake. We tipped our stateroom host, server, assistant server and head server (all more than the suggested amount).

Since we didn’t have to pack and get our suitcases out, we headed back to the Cove Café for a final relaxing coffee drink. We were chatting with the bartender and asked her what time she would be open in the morning. She said that they wouldn’t be open before the next sailing. We explained that we would still be on board! She was very nice, and gave us new “Coffee Fanatic” card, and credited us for the two drinks we just had, so that we would get our free drinks earlier in the cruise.

We headed back to our room because we planned to go to the final breakfast the next morning.

You can read the story of our stay on board between cruises here. (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=970735)

Briege
12-25-2005, 04:40 PM
Beth,

I'm loving your report...can't wait for the rest. Am going now to check out your photo's. Merry Christmas.

Briege

*love*2*shop
12-25-2005, 05:09 PM
i HAVE seen a few poeple do the back to back wonder cruises and now you as well ,can i ask what is the reason doing 2 4 days VRS the 1 7 one?

BethC1952
12-26-2005, 02:57 PM
We run a family business which makes it very hard for us to be away for two full weekends in a row. Because of the way the two four-night cruises worked out, we were able to leave home very early on a Tuesday morning and return home on a Saturday night, meaning that we were away only one complete weekend, and were able to tuck a couple of days at WDW into our trip. We really don't care much about where we go, the idea is for us to be away. I think I would be happy if the ship sailed just out of cell phone range and sat there for three or four nights!

Also, by doing two four-night cruises, we got one extra night, and the first day of the second cruise, we surely were the first people on board! It was fun to wave at the people who were in the terminal waiting to board.

We're trying now to figure out how to fit a cruise into our spring-time schedule, but between work and our family business, it's hard to find time!

BethC1952
01-16-2006, 03:51 PM
OK, today is the day when most trip reports end. You know…we had breakfast, we said goodbye, etc.

BONUS of back-to-back cruises…you can linger over that last breakfast! We enjoyed it completely, knowing that we didn’t have to leave the ship. You can read the details of our morning on board as the only passengers at http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=970735 . It really was a lot of fun to wave to the people who were waiting to board!

The first day of the second half of our cruise was great, since we didn’t have to unpack and get organized. We enjoyed yet another wonderful lunch at Beach Blanket Buffet We were able to get some time in the empty hot tub while everyone else was busy boarding and getting settled. We attended the lifeboat drill again, and headed upstairs to watch the sailaway and take some more pictures. We saw “Hercules” again (we both LOVE that show!), and then headed back to our room to get ready for our first-ever dinner at Palo.

We had already arranged to have Agnes as our server again. We were greeted at the entrance like returning royalty! What a great feeling! This time, we didn’t have a window table, but since it was dark out anyway, we wouldn’t have seen anything. We decided to start with a cocktail (an unusual event for us). Jim had a Bellini and I had a Limoncello Martini. It was extremely hard to decide what to have as an appetizer, but Jim decided on Minestrone Soup, and I decided on the Buffalo Mozzarella and Plum Tomatoes. Agnes surprised us with HER favorite appetizer, the Carpacio of Eggplant. All three choices were great, and we ate every last bite of all three! For main courses, Jim chose Veal Scallopine and I chose Penne Arrabiata with Shrimp. Once again, Agnes brought us her favorite choice, which was Cod with Roasted Peppers. The food was really good, and once again, we ate every bite. Before we finished our meal, Agnes reminded us that, if either of us wanted to try the Chocolate Souffle, it had to be ordered. I decided to try it. While we waited, Agnes provided us with a wonderful sampling of deserts…maybe on our next cruise, we’ll start with the deserts so that we have more room for them! The Chocolate Souffle was good, but I won’t have it again. It’s really VERY chocolate, and gave me a migraine which sent me to bed. I’m glad I tried it, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who doesn’t get migraines from chocolate! Fortunately, we had dinner quite late and we had been up quite early, so heading back to the room wasn’t really a bad thing at all. Jim watched more of Madagascar, and some of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and I took my medication and drifted off to sleep so that I would be able to enjoy our planned excursion in Nassau the next day.
November 28, 2005 -- Nassau Day #2

This day started a bit later than usual for us, and we decided to skip breakfast and just have tea and a pastry, since we wanted to have an early lunch. We stopped on Deck 3 to chat with Chef Donovan about the decoration of the gingerbread house. The house itself had gone up over night, and the “bricks” smelled delicious! Each day more decorations were added, but the house wouldn’t be finished before the end of our cruise.

We had lunch at Beach Blanket Buffet again, and enjoyed yet another beautiful day in Nassau. This one would be different for us, however, since this would be the first time that we would be doing an excursion!

I’d been waiting 42 years for this excursion. Yes, you read that correctly! In 1963, when I visited the New York World’s Fair for the first time, I rode “If You Had Wings”. If any of you remember that one, either from the Fair or from its time at WDW, you will remember the segment on Nassau with the marching flamingoes. I have always loved flamingoes, and I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I promised myself that someday, if I ever got to Nassau, I would go to see them in person.

Well, it took me 42 years, but this cruise I finally decided to do it. We made reservations for the Historic City Tour and Ardastra Gardens visit. We met in the Cadillac Lounge, and headed out for our van transport. The tour of the city was very interesting, since we had never ventured more than a few blocks from the port. It took a bit of time to adjust to being on the “wrong” side of the road!

Our first stop of the trip was Ardastra Gardens. After 42 years, I was finally going to see those flamingoes! We stopped first at the lorry parrot feeding area, and enjoyed feeding the beautiful, colorful birds. Then, it was off to see the flamingoes. Before the show started, I took lots of pictures of them, planning to enlarge them and hang them on my office wall. However...there is only one picture with flamingoes on my wall. During the show, they invite audience members to get into the show ring with the birds and be a part of the show! Yes, I was one of the “chosen”! It was a wonderful experience. The birds are trained to flock around the people in the ring, so I stood in a crowd of flamingoes, and stood on one leg so that I would be like them. You can check my pictures in the link below.

After all the excitement of Ardastra Gardens, we headed for Fort Fincastle and the Queen’s Staircase. DH and I have visited many forts from the same time period, and enjoyed the tour of this one, also. However, the view from the top is spectacular, and I took lots of pictures.

We decided not to try to walk down the Queen’s Staircase. I have some balance issues, and decided that ending my vacation in a hospital in Nassau wouldn’t be a good thing! I took a few pictures at the top, and then hopped back on the van for the trip down the hill to meet those brave few souls who did walk down.

We continued to tour a bit more of the city, got caught in rush-hour traffic, and totally enjoyed ourselves. The driver mentioned that he would be heading next to Atlantis, and would take anyone who wanted to go for $5 per person. Since it was still fairly early, we decided to see a bit of Atlantis. We walked around for a while (the place is HUGE!!!), and I have to admit that I thought the casino was a bit smaller than the ones I’m used to – either Atlantic City or Las Vegas, but since I won a couple of dollars (OK, $3.00, but it was all in quarters!), I had a good time.

We took a taxi back to the port, and had a great chat with the driver. Among the many things he told us was that the price of gas had just come down a bit…to $4.89 a gallon! He also told us that he can always tell tourists by the way they drive. By the end of the trip, we understood exactly what he meant! As he said, “The correct side is the left side, the right side is suicide!” Well, at least in Nassau!

Dinner this night was in Animator’s Palate. We already knew that we would have the same servers as on our previous cruise, and we were greeted once again like returning royalty! This time, however, we had a table for four, but we were the only ones seated there. Our servers said that they knew we liked to try lots of different foods, and a table for four would give us room for all the “goodies”. And they certainly lived up to that promise! For dinner this night, we repeated the choices we had made last week at Animator’s Palate, since that’s just about our favorite menu.

A quick stroll around the deck, and we headed back to our room for the evening.

kath1210
01-27-2006, 11:17 AM
I am really enjoying your report. We are considering back-to-back cruises in the end of August.

BethC1952
01-30-2006, 09:52 AM
When we booked these cruises, we understood the risk that, because of conditions, we might not dock at CC either trip. We were prepared for that. However, we awoke on the morning of our second trip to CC to find….conditions even more perfect than last week!

We started the day with yet ANOTHER breakfast at Beach Blanket Buffet, but this time we were once again overlooking Castaway Cay on a beautiful, sunny morning. We relaxed over breakfast, not really in a hurry to get to the island this time.

We spent the day on the family beach and enjoyed the water (much warmer than last week). The bottom at Serenity Bay has lost much of its sand, and you’re walking on the bare coral, which is very hard and very sharp. The bottom at the family beach has a coating of thick sand, which made it a much more pleasant experience. The tide was out when we arrived, and we walked out past the play structure in water that still wasn’t quite waist deep. By the afternoon, the tide had come in, so the water was finally deep enough for swimming!

The lunch buffet at Cookie’s was great, and we sat in the little picnic area that’s off to the left of the building. There were very few people there, and lots of shade.

We took a walk past the family beach to the Heads Up bar, past Castaway Ray’s Stingray Experience, past the teen beach, to Grouper’s Game Pavilion. We also browsed a bit in the shops that sell the native Bahamian crafts, and then headed back to the ship to freshen up for the Castaway Club Reception.

This time, the reception was held in Wave Bands, and we were among the first people to arrive. It was a pleasant event, we ate a bit of food, enjoyed a drink or two, and chatted with Captain John, who remembered that last week he had promised us yet another perfect day at Castaway Cay. We congratulated him on sticking to his promise!

Tonight was Pirate Night, and dinner was in Animator’s Palate. We hadn’t experienced the Pirate Menu last week, because Pirate Night was also Thanksgiving, and the special Thanksgiving menu was offered instead. I was pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed the food. We both enjoyed Captain Hook’s Coconut Crusted Oven-Baked Snapper as our main course, and had an assortment of appetizers. The high point of this dinner for me, though, was the Shiver Me Timbers White Chocolate Cheesecake. It combines two of my favorite sweets—white chocolate and cheesecake! Our server, Sunil, somehow persuaded by usually reluctant husband to participate in the Pirate Parade in the dining room, fully outfitted in his lovely pirate bandana.

We attended the Pirate Night party, stood on Deck 10, right next to Goofy, Captain Hook and Mickey Mouse as they made their entrances into the show! If you were onboard, and took pictures that night, we’re probably in your photos! After the party, we sampled an item or two from the late night buffet, made our usual stop at Cove Café, and headed back to our room for the evening.

Just a comment—we saw NO ONE dressed in pirate outfits during the evening, except, of course, the CM’s!

BethC1952
01-31-2006, 05:32 PM
This would be our second day at sea. We slept in a bit, and then headed once more to Beach Blanket Buffet for a very light breakfast, since we would be having brunch at Palo again (a distinct advantage to back-to-back cruises). We spent some time on deck, enjoying the delightful warm weather.

Soon, it was time to head for yet another meal at Palo. We were greeted again like returning royalty, and once again, Agnes would be our server. We had agreed last week that, since we had tried all of the breakfast items last time, this time we would try all of the brunch-type items. We started once again with the buffet, Jim choosing fruit and cheese, while I decided to indulge once again in caviar. There are few things more delightful than a champagne and caviar brunch while gazing out at the empty sea! Once again, our love of seafood took over, and we both ordered the Tilapia with Asparagus Risotto. It was delicious! During the course of the meal, we chatted with Agnes about her home in Romania, and a little bit about her life on the ship. She told us that she and her husband are working on the ship to earn enough money to build a house fairly soon, so that they can start a family while they’re still young enough to enjoy it. Agnes also reminded us that we had promised to try the sweet pizza, and she placed the order for us so it would be ready when we were. Neither one of us was quite sure that we would like it, however, by the time we were finished we decided that it may have been the best desert we ever ate!

After brunch, we headed for the pool and hot tub to enjoy the last bits of warm weather that we will enjoy for quite a while! We met Briege entirely by coincidence while in the hot tub (yet another person who recognized us by recognizing Jim’s beard from our my sig picture). It turned out that we had almost encountered each other several times on the ship—we had found a cane on Deck 4 and turned it in on Wednesday evening—the cane belong to Briege’s friend Kathy, who was part of her traveling party. At the Pirate Night dinner the night before, we were seated at adjoining tables, Briege didn’t see us because her back was to our table! While we were sitting in the hot tub, a woman walked up to the pool, and Jim and I both commented on the terrible sunburn she had on her back! Then she tested the water in the pool with a toe and decided that it was a little chilly. We told her that the water in the hot tub was definitely QUITE a bit warmer, and she joined us, saying that she was afraid the other water would be too cold for her sunburn. We started chatting, and the usual “Where are you from?” question came up. When I said New Jersey, she said “Are you Beth? I recognized Jim’s beard!”. We had a nice chat after that, and ran into each other again at Disney Dreams.

Before getting ready for dinner, we went back to our room to pack (I don’t like to do that at the last minute). Then, I stopped for a moment to use the bathroom, and discovered that when I pushed the “magic button” there was no great “whoosh” sound…or any other sound! Jim called maintenance while I headed downstairs to take care of charging my tips to the room. Our plumbing problem was solved in less than five minutes, and we were ready to head out to see “Disney Dreams”. This is my favorite show on the ship, although Jim says it’s a bit hokey. We usually sit all the way in the back of the theater because he likes to get up and walk outside when the theater starts to get too warm. This time, we sat all the way down in the front (fourth or fifth row) on the left side of the theater, instead of the right where we usually sit. Of course, it was yet another great performance! And yes, just for the record, we both get teary-eyed every time we see it, even the week before when we knew it wasn’t our last night on the ship!

After the show, we headed to Parrot Cay for dinner, and then tried to take a walk on deck, but we were already far enough north that it was getting very chilly and windy. So we headed to the Cove Café for something hot to drink, and then back to the shops for some last minute souvenirs, and off to bed, because in the morning we would finally have to leave the ship!

BethC1952
01-31-2006, 05:45 PM
This was a "Wonder"ful vacation. After eight nights aboard Wonder, we went back to Walt Disney World to Coronado Springs for two days of doing nothing but relaxing and taking some pictures.

Would we do back-to-back again? Yes, definitely. The CM's made the entire experience great. It was nice not having to decide between two activities, since one time we could choose one, and the second time we could choose the other.

We were both very surprised at the number of CM's who remembered us as the trip progressed, and how many of them asked if we were enjoying ourselves.

It was a lot of fun watching the holiday decorations going up. Previously, we've cruised later in December, and the entire ship has already been decorated.

This was the first time we had tried Palo. We thought that, since we would be eating so many meals on board, we might as well try it! Brunch was, by far, the best meal we've eaten aboard Wonder. Because we were able to eat there twice, we were able to try a lot more of the foods than we ever could have in just one meal! Brunch at Palo has become a "must do" for us. Dinner was good. Was it the best meal we've ever eaten? No. But the service was probably the best service we've ever had. Agnes was attentive without being annoying. I get really annoyed when a server comes to ask if you need anything else when it's very obvious that you can't answer because your mouth is full! Agnes just seemed to know when to come over, and what to offer. We tipped her well after each of the three meals.

Our servers in the dining room were great, too. We received excellent service, and by the end of the second part of the cruise, we hardly even had to order anything--Sunil and Hannelei could look at the menu and know what we would order!

Being on board the ship with no other passengers was a very different experience. We were talking to Kiely (I think that's her name), the bar tender at the Cove Cafe, and mentioned that no one seemed to think it was odd that there were two people just sitting on Deck 9 on that Sunday morning. She told us that it's not unusual for vendors to bring their family members, and occasionally even the crew will have guests, so two people sitting outside the Cove Cafe (especially since I was obviously working at my computer) aren't really very unusual.

Please feel free to post questions here, or to send me a PM. I'll be glad to answer anything that I can remember!

Briege
01-31-2006, 07:33 PM
Beth,

I just loved your trip report, you and Jim really seemed to have had an awesome time on your back to back adventure. Your trip report brought back nice memories for me also of my cruise. I think it was my friend Kathy who lost her cane, which you so graciously returned. Also, do you recall that you were at Guest Services in line with our friends who celbrated their 20th anniversary by renewing their vows onboard. Surprisingly, my sunburn healed quickly. It was just strange to come back to the wintery weather in Pittsburgh and be complaining of sunburn. Thankfully, we have had a milder winter so far this year and with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superbowl this weekend, we'll not be complaining about the weather when the Steelers win. I'm being very confident about this.........it's my way of willing it to happen lol

I really enjoyed my cruise and I think we will sail again with DCL but probably not until late 2007 or early 2008. What about you Beth, have you any more Disney Cruises planned?

Briege :banana: :banana: :banana:

BethC1952
01-31-2006, 09:18 PM
Briege:

We don't have any cruises planned right now. We're considering going to England and Ireland next fall for a couple of weeks. My niece lives in London and has invited us to stay with her, and we have a friend who lives "somewhere in Ireland" (Jim didn't find out exactly where) who has also invited us to visit. Maybe we'll visit Disneyland Paris!

Our winter here in New Jersey has been very mild, too. Yesterday, it was almost 70 degrees here, and there were actually people on the beach!

Go Steelers!

Briege
02-03-2006, 08:39 PM
Beth,

Your proposed trip to England and Ireland sounds like fun. Of course, I can give you some insider tips on the Irish part when you find out what part you're going to! London is nice to visit as a tourist, lots to see. However the exchange rate for both the English Pound and the Irish/French Euro has not been good for US travellers in the past few years. However, sounds like a fun trip all the same. You should be able to get some good prices for flights at that time of the year from Newark to London/Paris/Dublin/Shannon or whatever way you plan to go. Continental has a hub in Newark so they usually have good deals. It's only a 1 hr flight between London & Dublin. I think the flight time between Dublin & Paris is about 2 hrs, I must ask some of my family who have traveled there recently. You can also take a Ferry from England or Ireland to France and vice versa. Also I believe there are hovercraft trips between England & France and of course the Channel Tunnel.

I need to schedule a trip home to Ireland myself in the next year or so. I'm trying to persuade my family to do a Disney Cruise though.

Briege :banana:

BethC1952
02-04-2006, 02:38 PM
We live less than an hour south of Newark Airport, so we always fly out of there. It's a direct train ride from my front door to the airport! While the exchange rate isn't good, the price of the flights and the fact that we can probably stay with my niece in London will make the trip a lot less expensive than a Disney Cruise. Jim was the one who decided that maybe this year we'd skip the cruise and do something else. Then, just this morning, he asked if I've booked our annual cruise yet! I booked our recent adventure just a year ago today, so maybe he's thinking about cruising again anyway. Of course, the weather's so nasty today, I think he'd go anywhere that isn't damp!

I'll let you know what we decide to do. We'd appreciate some "insider tips" for Ireland!

Sue316
02-27-2006, 04:26 PM
Thank you so much for a wonderful, detailed report. After my first Disney cruise last September I too wanted to go back and will do so next sunday for a back to back. My husbnad will join me on the later one since he can't take that much time off right now and he will bring along his laptop, blackberry etc.I was wondering about 2 things: Do you have 2 seperate bills?One at the end of the first cruise the other at the end of the 2nd one?
Also I was not able to go the adult only beach last time but will this time.Is there any food there also? If so what is it and do they have a large offering of fruits too? Do they still show the Hercules show? That is the only one I did not care for. Thanks for any answers and again, Thank you for a wonderful review! :)

BethC1952
03-01-2006, 02:14 PM
I'm glad you enjoyed my report! It was fun writing it--I had taken detailed notes during the trip, so it was easy to put it together.

Yes, you get two separate bills. On the last day of the first cruise, stop at Guest Services and ask them whether you will be able to stay on board. If you can, then you won't have to do anything (unless you plan to pay your bill with cash) about that first bill. They will charge it to whatever card you put down, and then start your second bill when you check in for the second cruise. We had to check in around 11 AM, but all we did was go to Guest Services and tell them we were still there. We showed our ID again, and got our new Key to the World cards, and were good to go.

There's a full meal served at the adult beach, including some fresh fruit, although I don't remember that there was as much as at the family beach.

Hercules is our favorite show! Yes, it was still there when we cruised.

Enjoy your trip! I can't wait to read your report!

Beth

MrsJobba1
03-03-2006, 08:52 AM
Hi Beth,

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your trip reports. :goodvibes

If you decide on coming over here (UK) next year give me a message and I can help you. I live in the North East of England! As well as visiting London - you really should consider visiting some of our national parks like the lake district - it is beautiful!

I've never been to DLP, Somehow despite being only an hour and a half away by plane, I dont want to go as I cant imagine Disney without the heat of FLorida! ( Think im spolit)

IM looking forard to doing Brunch @ palo in July. I did not realise they did rissotos etc.

One last comment- were you drinking decaf @ cove cafe because it was late? It would have kept me awake all night :lmao:

Thanks again for you report!
:wave2:

BethC1952
03-07-2006, 12:21 PM
were you drinking decaf @ cove cafe because it was late? It would have kept me awake all night

No, I was drinking the real thing. By the end of the day, I was so tired, nothing would have kept me awake!

I will definitely let you know when we're coming...this trip will be the first of what we hope will be many trips to England. It would be impossible to see everything at once, but the amount of time that we can take for any single trip is kind of limited by our family business, so we're going to do it in "installments". We have a few scheduling issues to work out first, and then we'll be setting things up.

Thanks for the offer of information!