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PrincessTToo
12-30-2005, 07:37 PM
Instead of a traditional trip report, I thought I’d just thought I’d write down some of our experiences and some impressions. This was the first cruise ever for me (age 48) or for my DH (age 45). We were both very hesitant to go on a cruise before because we normally have very unstructured vacations. But we both had an absolutely wonderful time and wouldn’t hesitate to go on another cruise, especially a Disney cruise!

RADISSON RESORT AT THE PORT:
We are so glad we came in a day early. It really helped lower the stress level. When we were driving back to the airport on Sunday, we saw a huge accident that shutdown Hwy 528 to the port and we said “another reason to arrive a day early… you never know when something like this will happen.”

We were very pleased with our one bedroom suite at the Radisson. After we settled in, we went to the local Publix and were able to get a little dinner and some water to take on the ship. The suite had a microwave and all the utensils we needed for our dinner. The breakfast that was included was very nice. I thought the restaurant was very pretty and overlooked the pool. The pool looked great but it was a little too cold out for us to try it.

Everyone at the Radisson was very nice and helpful and we especially liked the shuttle drivers. The shuttle parking was a bit of a walk to where the shuttle bus picks you up, but the shuttle drops you off right in front of the shuttle parking.

We would both recommend the Radisson Resort at the Port for anyone going on a cruise at Port Canaveral.

EMBARKATION:
It was a very painless process. We were on the very first Radisson shuttle of the day and one of the very first to enter the terminal. We were surprised how much easier the security check was at the port than at the airport.

There was no one at the top of the escalator when we arrived but everyone was very helpful with all our questions. I wish they’d just give you a piece of paper that says “first you do this… and then you do that” because we weren’t the only ones who were confused.

We were also one of the first to check-in and got #2 for boarding. I didn’t even know they’d started boarding until I heard the man sitting behind us say “they’re only boarding #1 and #2 now”. They didn’t announce the #1/#2 boarding until we were already halfway onto the ship.

It was so much fun to get on the ship so early. I think my DH was a little embarrassed by all the attention (and our boarding picture showed it) but he soon got into the spirit of the whole thing.

We skipped the sailaway party and went to the front of the ship. Even though it was freezing up there, I’m so glad we did. We got to see dolphins jumping around in front of the ship as we were leaving. And we got to see first of many beautiful sunsets.

STATEROOM:
We had a category 6 room (#6084) with a verandah. Yes, the room was small by anyone’s standards but it was beautiful and very functional.

My DH was very happy when I told him we could lift the bed and store the suitcases under there. One of many little tips I got on these boards. He also liked the magnet I put on the door. It was very subtle but helped identify our room as we walked down the long, long hallway.

I loved the split baths. It really worked well for us. But I had to laugh when I took a bath. I literally just fit from front to back (I’m 5’8”). And I highly recommend not trying to shave your legs until you’ve adjusted to the ship’s movements!

I also measured and I had the width of one hand between the top of my head to the ceiling when I was standing up for a shower. There was very little water pressure in our room but the hair dryer worked great.

We loved having the verandah. We spent a lot of time out there at night watching the ship’s wake and looking at the stars. The stars were just amazing.

I was also amazed at how quiet our room was. We never heard any of the other passengers or any activity out in the hallway once our door was closed.

But the very best thing about the room was the towel animals. After a dozen trips to WDW, I finally got towel animals! Our room steward was very inventive. We got a rabbit wearing my sunglasses, a monkey hanging from a hangar and an elephant. Well, I have to admit I left out my sunglasses in a very conspicuous spot on the first day just hoping they would get used. And I kept the rabbit throughout the cruise to hold my reading glasses during the day.

CLOTHING:
Sorry for bringing up this topic which has been discussed to death but I just have to make a few comments. I was so happy that we dressed up for our dinners on the ship. It was a joy for me to see my DH in a shirt and tie. He hasn’t worn a tie to work in years and we rarely go out to fancy restaurants at home so this was a treat for me. I think he really enjoyed seeing me dressed up too. At least the twinkle in his eye told me so. Our table mates were all equally well attired. And when I saw families with the little ones dressed up, well … they looked so darn cute and the Moms were always beaming with pride.

Of course, we saw the opposite in attire at every restaurant. My mouth literally dropped open in amazement when I saw a woman going into dinner at Triton’s wearing the same pants I had worn last week to my Pilates class. I know they are comfortable but gosh!!

Once again, sorry for bringing up this topic.

DINING:
One of my greatest fears regarding this trip was that we had to eat with strangers. We ended up at a table with 8 other adults (all “couples”). We spent all our time talking to the Mom and Son couple from Germany who sat next to us. She spoke very little English and he would translate everything for her. But he spoke flawless English and was one of the most pleasant young men we’ve met in a long time.

One of the good things about a Disney cruise is that you immediately have something in common with the other passengers. We spent a great deal of time talking about the parks (Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris). The German son was also going to Vegas after the cruise so that gave us some other things to talk about as well.

That being said we really enjoyed the Palo dinner the most because it was just us and we didn’t feel like we had to be “on”. If I could do it all over again (and I wish I could do so right now), I would book two Palo dinners and do the buffet on the other night. We got PTA rotation and I was a little disappointed. I was really hoping for TAP or ATP because I had booked Palo for our last night and I didn’t want to miss Animator’s Palate. So after we boarded I rescheduled the Palo for our Triton night.

Parrot Cay:
We ate dinner at Parrot Cay on the first night and it was just okay. Our servers weren’t the best especially compared to our server at Palo. And I’m still waiting for my iced tea! It got to be a joke between us and the Germans. The Germans were very disappointed when they found out that the servers would be following us to all the restaurants for dinner during the cruise.

Triton’s:
We missed the Triton’s dinner because it was our Palo night but ate lunch at Triton’s on Nassau day. It was wonderful. I had some of the best French fries that I’ve ever had. Our servers there were exceptional. They had no trouble with my special order (a Reuben with no meat) and the Cokes kept coming all throughout the meal. And the server just had to bring us a couple of desserts to try even though we said we were too full. It was a beautiful place to eat.

Animator’s Palate:
Besides Palo, this was the dinner I was really excited about but I was more than a little disappointed. I had the Pasta Marinara and all I could say was “Chef Boyardee”. And we were seated above the engines or something because we were literally shaking in our seats throughout the entire meal. The show was not as “gee whiz” as I was expecting. I guess I had built it up in my mind a little too much.

Palo:
There is nothing I can say that will do justice to the wonderful time we had at this restaurant. We were given a table by the window overlooking Nassau. The Atlantis resort looked just beautiful at night.

Our server was Adina (?spelling?) from Romania and she was beyond exceptional. We even wrote about her on our comment card at the end of the cruise. She worked so hard to make our evening enjoyable. And as soon as I mentioned that I was a vegetarian… she was off to talk to the Chef and they came up with a couple of entrees for me to try that weren’t on the menu. She also had him create a special starter plate for me because she didn’t want my food touching the prosciutto on the separate starter plate that she gave my DH.

My DH asked her for a wine recommendation since we are definitely not wine connoisseurs. She suggested a wine and he said “fine”. But I said “how much”? She said “$20”. I was so impressed that she hadn’t tried to get us to buy something more expensive. Oh, and we thought the wine was very good and we had no trouble finishing the entire bottle. (Sorry, but I didn’t note the name of the wine.)

All the food was wonderful and the chocolate soufflé lived up to the hype. I’m drooling just thinking about it. I’m also getting starry eyed just thinking about how wonderfully romantic and special our evening at Palo was.

Buffet, etc.:
We loved the Beach Blanket Buffet. Lunch on the first day was very good and we enjoyed breakfast there every morning. We especially enjoyed it on Castaway Cay morning. It was such fun to sit out on the open deck and eat breakfast and survey the island.

I had the vegetarian pizza at the Pinocchio’s Pizzeria a couple of times and thought it was very good. My DH also liked the non-vegetarian pizza he tried there.

We only tried Scoops just once and had a simple vanilla ice cream cone but it was good too.

But the best was the beverage stations. It seemed like we lived there. The coffee was not too bad so we never tried anything in the Cove Café even though we used the Internet stations there a couple of times.

Lounges:
We had a beer in the Cadillac lounge but it was a little too smoky for me. We did enjoy listening to the piano player there.

We both loved Diversions where I had the martini flight on our first visit. Oh, did I love that “little” treat. The next night we went back there and I had the BBC (the first B is for Bailey’s, I don’t know what the second B was for, but the C was for coconut) and it was delightful. Oddly, this lounge is much more upscale than what is shown on the Disney website.

We stopped at the Promenade Lounge once and waited forever for someone to take our order. Finally a waitress came and I asked about the Martini flight because I couldn’t remember which bar had it (and that was before I started drinking). She just told us to go to Diversions instead of recommending something from the Promenade Lounge. I thought that was odd.

We didn’t get a chance to try WaveBands.

Castaway Cay BBQ:
I was worried that I wouldn’t find anything to eat there but it was loaded with vegetarian options. I had a very good pasta salad and some other things that I can’t remember now what they were but I remember they were good. It was fun to eat outside which doesn’t happen often here in Minnesota in December! My DH really enjoyed the BBQ food. We ate at the adult beach so it was fairly laid back. Several of the crew members were there in their amazing white uniforms. They must be a “fearless crew” to eat BBQ in those uniforms!

SPA:
We only did the Exotic Rasul at the spa but we both loved it. The products were amazing and my skin still felt great for a week afterwards. It took us a little while to get the hang of the steam room. At one point it was so steamy that I couldn’t see anything. (And I don’t mean “steamy” in the way that you’re thinking!) We kept going back and forth between the steam room and the shower and trying different products.

The only negatives were the robes which were very snug. And the attendant at the desk made a point of showing us the line for the tip on the receipt. Otherwise, they didn’t push product or anything else.

CASTAWAY CAY:
As many have said before, this truly is paradise. I can’t even begin to describe the beautiful water and beaches. I can still close my eyes and picture sitting in the chair on the adult beach with my feet in the water and the waves washing over them.

We had ordered the Getaway Package so my DH went to get our floats once we had picked our spot on the adult beach. Unfortunately, it’s a long hike and those floats are very heavy. If I had it to do over again, I would just stay in the chair on the beach. We also never used the snorkeling gear or the bikes. D’oh.

Stingray Adventure:
The only excursion we booked was the Stingray Adventure. We had a blast. I had booked the first excursion of the day so we had to hurry up to get there in time after we docked. But I had heard that there was more interaction during the first excursion because they haven’t been fed by anyone else at the time.

The excursion started with an overview of stingrays from the main guide. It was very informative. He asked if we had ever had a stingray encounter before. I said we had petted them at the Mall of America’s Underwater World. He said I was the first one to say that!

Then we were led out into knee high water to the feeding platform. There another cast member showed us how to feed the stingrays. Of course, I was the first to volunteer. It was so much fun. They are so gentle when they take the piece of fish out of your hand. It feels like a gentle vacuum.

Unfortunately my DH found out that you have to be careful around the very hungry “visitors” to the feeding platform. He got bitten by one of the fish that hang around under the feeding platform. I got bitten shortly after that. You have to make sure that you don’t stick your fingers through the grids in the feeding platform. That’s where the “mean” fish lurk.

When the stingray food runs out then you’re allowed to snorkel with them. We’ve never been snorkeling before so we ended up just standing with our faces in the water. The stingrays all hang around the platform anyway so there’s no need to swim out any further to see them.

When we went back to the beach, I chatted with the main guide. He had said during the intro that he used to work at The Living Seas so I asked him about the dolphins. He said that they had added two more dolphins but were also keeping my buddies Calvin and Rainier. It was so great how he just lit up when I started talking about the dolphins. He wasn’t a little reserved before then.

CHILDREN:
When we told people we had booked a Disney cruise, many said “you’ll be tripping over kids the entire time”. Nothing could have been further from the truth. And I thought the children on the ship were much better behaved than kids at the parks. With only one exception, the little girl behind us talked non-stop throughout the entire Golden Mickey’s show. I kept expecting her parents to say something to her but they seemed to just encourage her because they kept answering all her questions instead of asking her to whisper or save her questions for after the show. But the little girl who was with us on our Stingray Adventure with just the sweetest thing. It was so much fun to help her feed the stingrays while her Mom took pictures.

I’ve talked to lots of parents since then about how good the kids were on the ship. Someone came up with the idea that the kids spent so much time at the kids clubs that they were too tired to be obnoxious. But I wonder if maybe it was the rather formal atmosphere of the cruise and the fact that there are so many crew members out and about during the day. Whatever the reason, it was great.

CHARACTERS:
The first question out of my DH’s mouth when I started discussing a Disney cruise was “are we going to run into characters in the elevators, at every meal, …?”. He doesn’t like being forced into interacting with the characters especially the ones that can’t talk. (My doctor asked me very same question. So my DH isn’t the only one with this problem.) So if anyone else wonders about this, the answer is no. Well, almost … except…. We were standing out on Deck 4 all by ourselves watching the castoff from Castaway Cay and the beautiful sunset (a very romantic moment) when we turned around and there was Peter Pan standing behind us. It was so funny we just had to laugh. Peter said hi to us in a very normal voice but then switched into Peter Pan voice when he ran into some children further down the deck. The odd thing was that Peter was out there all by himself. I always thought that all the characters had to have CMs with them.

But if we had wanted to we could have had plenty of character interaction. I saw the whole crew at one point or another. I always enjoy watching kids interact with the characters especially Mickey. There’s not a “child” in the universe that doesn’t smile when they see Mickey …. especially me!


MISCELLANEOUS:
- We were the very first to shoot a few hoops at the basketball court. That was so much fun, but we stopped as soon as some kids came to play. The “view from the bridge” station on the ship’s TV always shows the basketball court and it always had someone playing ball not matter what time of day or night it was. I was so mad when I would see grown men hogging the court and playing way too aggressively. I really think it should be geared for the kids.
- The cigarette smoke was very manageable. Both of us are very allergic to it. The smokers were mostly out on the open decks and we could easily move away from them if we had to.
- Yes, I agree with everyone who says that Nassau is a pit. I wish I could have talked my DH out of going there. But he just had to say that he tried it. The Germans found out from a CM that Disney had to sign a 99 year lease on their berth at Nassau. So it looks like they’ll be going there for quite a while!
- The only other negative that really bothered me was the Laundry room. I hated having to wait in line to iron. I even missed the Dis Meet because I had waited so long for the irons that I didn’t want to give up my spot when the time came for the meet.
- The only live show we went to was the Golden Mickeys. I thought it was great. And the theater was packed. We went to the second show of the evening because it was our Palo night. I really thought they did a very professional job with the entire production.
- My DH was always embarrassed by the ship’s horn. Real Minnesotans never want to call attention to themselves!
- We only saw one drunk person on the entire cruise. It was during the Pirate Night party and he was so wasted that he didn’t even look up at Minnie who was standing next to him yelling down at the pirates!
- On the way back to the airport we discussed what we didn’t get around to doing on the cruise. My DH only said that he was sorry he missed getting one of the hamburgers at Pluto’s. I wish we could have used the exercise equipment in the spa. And I was sorry that we never got to ride bikes on Castaway Cay.
- The internet connection on the ship is very slow especially if you are used to a fast connection. And the browser home page is a Disney page that takes forever to load. Once I figured that out I would always stop it and then go on to whatever site I needed to get to.
- They finished making the huge Gingerbread house while we were on board. It smelled wonderful every time you walked by.
- The show and fireworks for Pirate Nite was so much fun. We watched it from Deck 10 and that worked out great because Minnie and Mr. Smeed were right in front of us and we got to see everything happening on Deck 9. I purposely didn’t tell my DH about the fireworks and loved seeing his face when they went off.
- My DH was thrilled with the porter we got at the end of the cruise. He got us through debarkation faster than we thought possible and he took us directly to the Radisson shuttle spot. My DH gave him a nice tip.

Once again, we both had an absolutely marvelous time on this cruise and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again… and again… and again.

bdink921
12-31-2005, 03:09 PM
Thanks for sharing!! We are so looking forward to our cruise next November--I think we'll also try the stingray excursion on CC--my DS will be so excited. :flower:

mylilnikita
12-31-2005, 04:18 PM
PrincessTToo- OMG, that was you and your DH at the Castaway Ray's stingray place? It was myself, one piece blue bathing suit, and DD7 blonde hair looks nothing like me and it was just the 4 of us and you mentioned about the Mall of America? You took a picture of DD and myself in the snorkel gear?

chanty
01-02-2006, 10:35 PM
Hi,

I'm just wondering if 3 day is enough... For our first cruise, we'd like to do either a 3 or 4 day cruise...just to see if we like it.

Is 3 day enough?

Chantal

PURTYPAT1
01-19-2006, 06:41 PM
Great Report, I enjoyed it very much.

Thanks for sharing.

Patricia

Jennifer48
01-20-2006, 12:07 PM
Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll be on my first cruise in April so I'm taking in as much as possible! :goodvibes

aiken4mickey
02-01-2006, 06:20 PM
I'm considering cruising on the Wonder the end of Nov 2006....this would be my 5th trip on the Wonder......I know the ship well........thought it would be neat to experience the ship decorated for the holidays. I've read about "snow" at CC.....gingerbread houses......storytime with Mrs. Claus......did you notice all this during your cruise.......did you think going that time of the year made the experience even more magical........???