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bobbi565 02-19-2008 07:18 AM

May 3 – 10 Western Caribbean Trip Report
Feb. 3, 2008: Planning

Actually, my obsessive planning began long before today, as we booked our cruise 14 months prior to embarkation date, but I will start with our 90 days out reservations. Maybe folks can benefit from my experiences. The cast of characters are:

Me :hippie: – 42, a former high school teacher turned stay-at-home mom for the last three years preparing to return to the classroom in the fall.
DH :earsboy: – 44, a newspaper editor and larger than life character who is still an eight-year-old boy at heart but with the patience of…well, someone who’s not a saint.
DS :yay: – 5, my drama king preparing to start kindergarten in the fall and the originator of much of our domestic chaos.

This will be our second cruise, our first being a 3 night in January of 2007. After a near disastrous attempt to fly from BWI to MCO to make our cruise, and finding that DS 4 at the time was terrified to fly :eek: , we decided to drive this time. The plan is to leave here on 4/30 and drive to a little beachfront resort in Myrtle Beach, SC. We will stay there two nights, and then head down to the Country Inns & Suites on 5/2 for an early boarding time on 5/3.
After receiving a confirmation of final payment on the morning of 2/1 from my TA (Karen Nunn of Small World Travel… :lovestruc LOVE HER!), I was psyched to make ressies on the stroke of midnight 2/3. I figure we’ll have the APL… dining rotation again, so I was looking for dinner at Palo on Sunday night, brunch on Monday, and a manicure/pedicure treatment for me Monday afternoon. That way, DH and I will have a nice grown-up evening after a day of fun on Key West with the little guy. I’m not really excited about the regular rotation menu at Parrott Cay, and we’ll be there again for Pirate Night (perfect!), so that will be a good night for Palo. After a relaxing brunch the next morning, I’ll get to spend a couple of hours in the spa getting pampered and pretty for formal night! :cool1:
Anyway, when a few minutes before midnight rolled around, I got on our kitchen computer and logged on to the DCL site. I kept refreshing the “My Cruise Plans” link until I no longer got the message that that section was not yet open to me. At that point, I got the dreaded message telling me that either my balance was not paid in full or my birthdates were not entered correctly. Having been warned of this by my friends on the DIS board, I logged out and in repeatedly for five minutes with no luck. Can you say screaming, crying, gnashing of teeth, tearing of hair :scared1: ? Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. After a panicked midnight call to my TA’s voice mail (did I really think she’d be waiting by the phone?), I finally tried another computer and got on immediately. Miraculously, I got all my first choices!!
The only other thing to book was Stingray City with Captain Marvin’s. After much deliberation and finding out that all my pals on my cruise meet thread are going on the 10:00 ½ day trip, I went ahead and booked it to. My TA had suggested that they could drop us off at the Turtle Farm after, but I guess that since it was moved to Boatswain Beach, that is no longer an option. They’ve offered to drop us off at the nearest bus stop and informed us that the busses run every half an hour. I’m kind of paranoid about missing the right bus and not catching the last tender back to the ship. I have no idea how long everything will take. I know my boys will love the Turtle Farm, but they might not enjoy Stingray City as much as I will, so now I’m contemplating ditching Stingray City! DH does not swim (or even FLOAT) and DS can be very nervous/skittish/cautious, and the rays might be too intense for him. I continue to deliberate on this. Any suggestions? We’re scheduled to do the 3 hour Stingray City and snorkel tour from 10 – 1. Will we have plenty of time to get to and from the Turtle Farm before the last tender at 4:30 :confused3 ?

fairfax 02-19-2008 11:18 AM

Glad you got all your ressies! Great TR so far.

Disney owl 02-19-2008 03:56 PM

looking forward to reading more

kalel29 02-21-2008 12:48 PM

Sounds interesting...:surfweb:

misslissa 02-25-2008 09:44 PM

Ah... the midnight panic phone call. I remember it too clearly!!!!!!! I can't wait for this report :cool1:

bobbi565 02-26-2008 06:50 AM


Originally Posted by misslissa (Post 23439648)
Ah... the midnight panic phone call. I remember it too clearly!!!!!!! I can't wait for this report :cool1:

You might find your name in it! :goodvibes

bobbi565 03-10-2008 05:07 PM

Magnet Madness and More...
Well, after booking dining ressies and excursions, there seems to be a planning lull that’s mind numbing for an obsessive planner like me! The solution? Find all sorts of cruise related tasks to keep you busy! :thumbsup2 The first order of business had to be starting to plan the NEXT cruise! We made the mistake of not rebooking onboard last time and missed out on that big discount and obc, which was a little frustrating when we booked two months later, so we’re not going to make the same mistake this time. So here I go again, back to Passporters to check the rate and weather charts and figure out when will be the optimum time to book our 2009 Land and Sea outing since I will be returning to work as a teacher. It will be DS’s first trip to WDW, so I’m extremely excited! It’s looking like the best time is June 21 – 28. Since DU is running a double credit special until the end of this month, I've concocted a plan with my TA there to book now for their OBC, and then rebook onboard, combine the ressies, then get my original deposit back. That way I get TWO OBCs plus the onboard rebooking discount!:cool1:

So, during this planning lull, I’ve occupied my time with some designing! Cruising the magnet thread has become one of my hobbies, and I’ve come up with the three door magnets below:

Borrowed these name badges:

And made some calling cards to pass out to new friends!
I’m also thinking about little details to make the cruise more fun. From the board, I found this fun item to have delivered to our stateroom to surprise my little boy.

I’ve also started having second thoughts about my excursion plans. After my concerns about Captain Marvin’s and my boys’ possible reactions to Stingray City :scared1: (yes, I refer to my husband as one of my boys!), I decided to cancel that one and just spend the day at Boatswain Beach. I know they both will be really excited about the Turtle Farm, and I was worried that we’d be too rushed to try to do it and make the 4:30 tender back to the ship. There really seems to be a lot to do at Boatswain, so I think that’s the safer option for us. To get my stingray fix, we booked Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure on CC. It seems much less threatening, and if my little guy doesn’t care for it, we won’t be stuck for hours on a boat with an unhappy boy! :goodvibes

What's next? I guess it's the countdown to buying last minute supplies and then...packing!

ImTooExcitedToSleep 03-11-2008 12:57 PM


Originally Posted by bobbi565 (Post 23715553)


RLccweems 03-11-2008 02:29 PM

I love your door signs....very nice!

bobbi565 03-11-2008 02:37 PM


Originally Posted by ImTooExcitedToSleep (Post 23732362)

Do you mind? :confused3 You posted them on the magnet thread, so I thought they were fair game! They look fantastic! :thumbsup2

ImTooExcitedToSleep 03-11-2008 02:49 PM


Originally Posted by bobbi565 (Post 23734516)
Do you mind? :confused3 You posted them on the magnet thread, so I thought they were fair game! They look fantastic! :thumbsup2

No problem, just giving you a hard time (cause I recognized that it wasn't my work). :)

By the way....I'm happy to do them for anyone that wants them, just PM me.

bobbi565 03-11-2008 03:18 PM


Originally Posted by ImTooExcitedToSleep (Post 23734753)
No problem, just giving you a hard time (cause I recognized that it wasn't my work). :)

By the way....I'm happy to do them for anyone that wants them, just PM me.

Thanks for your blessings! :worship: I didn't want to bother you to personalize them for me when it was easy enough to do myself. But I really like how your design is a little different than most of the other name badges I saw on the magnet thread!

purplepeg 03-15-2008 11:54 PM

Hey postcard buddy, glad I found your report.:cool1: I will live vicariously through you:rotfl2:

bobbi565 03-16-2008 01:15 PM

Welcome aboard, purplepeg! I'm really enjoying your TR and all the funny stories about your girls. I think I will have one more pre-cruise report that will include all the shopping and packing mayhem, and then you'll get to relive the Disney Magic from our points of view! :cheer2:

bobbi565 04-15-2008 06:48 PM

Packing and Preparations...
In the Home Stretch
This will be my last installment on pre-cruise planning, as we leave at the end of the month! :banana: I’ve been in a shopping frenzy!! I’ve gone ahead and bought a tuxedo for DH, got a great deal at JC Penney’s. I’ve also gotten some beautiful dress sandals for me for formal night and new dress shoes for DS (the third pair this year :scared1: ). I found a DISer on eBay who makes beautiful custom embroidered fish extenders, so we bought one.
The meet thread for my cruise has just a few families participating in gift exchanges, so it shouldn’t be too expensive or time consuming. I also bought a nice frame with a large mat for signing to leave at guest services with a set of sharpies. We got a really nice rolling soft sided cooler at Wal-Mart and plan to stock it at ABC Liquors before checking in at the port. :thumbsup2
A fellow DISer called purplepeg (be sure to check out her trippie) sent us a postcard for DS when she went on her Western back in February. I had heard that it can take months to receive a postcard when sent from CC, so I figured that would be enough time. Well it showed up in something like 21 days, so I stashed it away and decided to give it to DS when it got a little closer to departure date. When we were a little over two weeks from the cruise, I slipped it into the mail that DH was looking through one night and said, “Daddy, is that mail for Joel?” He replied, “Why yes, I think it is.” So I grabbed to postcard, handed DH the camera, and showed DS the picture. “Who is this card from?” I asked him. He got a big smile on his face and said, “Mickey!”
So I read him the note from Mickey telling him how he can’t wait to see him and describing all the fun he would have. My DS, who acts like a little wild man whenever he thinks anyone is paying attention, gets all quiet and bemused whenever he’s genuinely surprised and delighted, so the sweet little grin and slightly confused expression shows that he really bought it!
Thanks again, purplepeg! :lovestruc
I’ve made some headway on the packing: I’ve assemble my first aid kit, packed the hanging shoe holder and pop-up hamper, and I’ve got all the shorts and swimsuits ready to go. Even if it starts getting to be shorts weather in Maryland in the next two weeks, I have a leg waxing appointment on the 25th (we leave on the 30th), so my legs are in the process of getting too furry to expose to the public until after the torture session! :laughing: I’ve also got an accordion folder of all my confirmation documents and magnetic door signs. I’ve actually decided to only print a few on actual magnetic paper, some that have our names on them but no specifics of the cruise. The ones that have this cruise’s dates on them are printed on photo paper and will go into vinyl display protectors with magnet tape on the back. That way I can use them again on the next cruise.
Speaking of which, we went ahead and booked our 2009 Land/Sea with DU! They were running a double credit special (might still be) of which we decided to take advantage. I was told I can then rebook onboard, get the 10% discount and their onboard credit, and then transfer that ressie to DU when I come home. Tracy at DU will then make sure we’ve got our preferred resort and stateroom and cancel one reservation. ;)
Nothing left to do but finish packing and count down the days! See y’all when we’re back on terra firma… :woohoo:

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