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Dave Dizney 01-08-2013 11:24 PM

The Lloyd’s – Just Us Two on a Dream Cruise – January 2-6, 2013
Table of contents (work in progress):

Part 1 - Pre-Cruise - DW & Travel (below)
Part 2 - Day 1 Sail Away
Part 3 - Day 1 - Embarkation - Evening
Part 4 - Day 2 - At Sea - Morning
Part 5 - Day 2 - At Sea - Afternoon
Part 6 - Day 3 - Nassau - Morning
Part 7 - Day 3 - Nassau - Afternoon
Part 8 - Day 3 - Nassau - Evening
Part 9 - Day 4 - Castaway Cay - Morning
Part 10 - Day 4 - Castaway Cay - Afternoon
Part 11 - Day 4 - Palo - Evening
Part 12 - Day 5 - The sad goodbye

OK Im home, sitting in my home, with luggage strewn about the living room, its a cold grey day outside, suffering with PDD (Post-Disney Depression) at even a higher scale since this is the more severe PDCD (yeah, Cruise in the middle). Heres a little introduction of us and our cruise, which ended just two short days ago&

My DW and I had planned to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary 5 years ago had it paid for and everything, but had to cancel because of an unplanned relocation and decided to put it into siding on our house so it would sell better. Wed go outside at sunset and say ahhhh, theres our Disney cruise on the side of our house.

Zip ahead now five years, and here we were, ready for our Disney Dream 30th anniversary cruise. I surprised my DW last summer by having Mickey call her but he called late, and we were outside and didnt have the decency to leave a message. That was the only real misstep by Discorp on this entire trip.

Our youngest daughter was finishing her 5-month Disney World College Internship, so this cruise coincided with our time to bring her home. Now if all the weather, helpful planning from the DIS boards, and planets aligned, we might be able to eek out a decent trip. So, before I dive into the entire trip and photos, I can sum up the trip in three words&


This trip report is from the aspect of newly empty-nesters taking a trip without kids. Does it work well for adults without kids? Absolutely! As a result of the great tips on this board, heres a quick list of my top recommendations:
  • Get to know others on your cruise on the DIS Meets boards - I actually met a family from our own home town! We also had a short meet & greet the first day - and met more DIS people during the trip! They're all the BEST!!!
  • We brought a French press and our own coffee. Anytime we wanted coffee, wed order a pitcher of hot water.
  • Since it was January, we knew the water would be cold. We locally bought 2.5mm shorty wet-suits. My thin Californian wife never had a problem in the water we even snorkeled for an hour and a half.
  • Late dining rotation worked great we caught the early shows, had a late dinner, and partied in the clubs in the evenings.
  • We bought a waterproof container for our digital camera online. It cost about as much as a waterproof film camera, and worked great.
  • We ordered chocolate croissants and hot water each morning as our wake-up call.
  • Treat the cast members well tip them extra talk to them about their home. The payback is well worth the effort, and youll get to know some extraordinary people.
  • Make full use of the adult areas on the ship theyre wonderful.
  • Make a playlist of music youd like on the cruise, and bring portable speakers. Ours began playing each time our keys turned on our stateroom lights
  • Go walk the beach on Paradise Island then shower off your feet and walk around Atlantis. Cost = free.
  • Oh, theres a number more, but well get into those with the pictures&

One additional note, for those who remember way back when, our family was one of the host families on the show Fans Guide to Walt Disney World on the Travel Channel/Discovery HD way back in 2004. You can watch that show still today on You Tube, but its quite dated. Im that over-planner that so many loved to hate. This cruise would be our first trip w/o the kids at a Disney venue. Because of the wonderful advice here on the DIS boards, all the planning I did made for a fantastic trip. Lets start out, shall we???

Early trip:
Yep, we drove all the way from the KC area in a large rental. The reason; our daughter was moving back from Disney, and we needed to move back all her stuff. We left the frozen north-land, and made a two-day trip down to Florida.

A sideline, along the way we stayed with some friends in the Jacksonville area. It was a great place to put away our long pants and put on short-sleeves. While there, they dragged us to their favorite local breakfast hot-spot, that I now highly recommend; Metro Diner in Neptune Beach. More food than any human should consume at one sitting, but sooooo good.

Yes, thats Eggs Benedict on top of chicken and waffles. Oh, so wrong but, oh, so good. Then we had to spend the rest of the day on the beach. Too cold to swim, but a beautiful day on the beach.

So after a couple days, we were finally off to Disney World to help move our daughter out of the College Program housing and visit the parks. She worked in DAK as a Kilimanjaro Safari guide, and we got to see her do her thing a couple last times.

This was New Years Eve the Magic Kingdom was gridlocked that day, but Animal Kingdom was wonderful. The weather was bright and in the 70s. We ate at Tusker House our first time it was OK. The evening was cool enough for a jacket and by the time we left (which was around 8:00pm), it was dark outside which Ive never seen there very dim night lighting which was quite nice, and nearly empty. Later that night, we toasted the New Year at our room in the Royal Plaza near downtown Disney (not a real Disney property, but good for the price during this CRAZY season).

The next day we made it to the Magic Kingdom. Though we had gone to the cast preview of the New Fantasyland in October, we made reservations for Be Our Guest for dinner the day they opened reservations. The park was crowded, but as you know, Im the man with the plan so we got in everything we wanted. It was strange being there without kids I kept looking behind me to see which one we had lost. But then again, it was a lot of fun being there with just my wife. We didn't have to take a vote to see what our next attraction would be we just went! We had lunch at Tortuga and rode Pirates a couple of times since that was pretty much the theme of the next part of our trip. If you havent seen the new Fantasyland, its beautiful. We also got a better look at the Tangled tower (restroom) area its also looking very nice.

Dinner at BOG is a lot of fun. The Beast makes an appearance, snow falls outside the windows, and the food is quite good. This has been sorely needed for the MK. I had the bread-bowl seafood DW had the Salmon, and DD had the Ratatouille all quite good.

Desserts included the mango pastry, strawberry cupcake, chocolate cupcake and since we were getting ready to celebrate our anniversary, we got the grey stuff!

We had a great time exploring the new restaurant.

Then we walked around the kingdom and said goodbye to the castle dream lights.

We bid goodbye to our daughter for 5 days and high-tailed it to Coco Beach. We found a great deal (thanks to some folks here on the DIS boards) at the LaQuinta Inn there that included parking for our car and a shuttle. The hotel was better than I expected nice pool and HUGE rooms.

The next morning we repacked from our trip leaving items not needed in the car, and waited for our shuttle. The van arrived on time (Road Runner) and had a nice driver who filled us in on a lot of the history of Coco Beach.

Before we knew it, off in the distance we saw her&

The Dream is beautiful it takes your breath away.

Much more to come as I keep uploading the photos!

iloverags2 01-09-2013 07:52 AM

Looking forward to "hearing" all about your cruise!

Happy Anniversary!

lorimay 01-09-2013 10:52 AM

Your daughter looks just like your wife.... Both are beautiful.

We did our first kid free cruise this past September on the Magic out of NYC.
It was wonderful.......

Can't wait to hear more.

pillow 01-09-2013 07:41 PM

Love your idea of bringing coffee from home. I was disappointed in the coffee we had onboard. :sad1: Will have to do that next time.


Dave Dizney 01-09-2013 11:26 PM


Originally Posted by pillow (Post 47138904)
Love your idea of bringing coffee from home. I was disappointed in the coffee we had onboard. :sad1: Will have to do that next time.


Hey Pillow! Great to share a cab with you!

We LOVED the French Press idea! Had a Kona blend and Dunkin's Peppermint Mocha. We even bought our own brand of creamer in Cocoa Beach and popped it into the fridge. Worked like a charm!

Dave Dizney 01-09-2013 11:36 PM

Part 2 - The Sail Away!
Part 2 – Sail Away!

We arrived at the terminal via shuttle around 11:00 am. It was easy dropping off our bags, getting through security, and getting into the check-in line. And, it was a BEAUTIFUL day!

Here’s is where my heart was in my throat – I had checked and double-checked regarding our travel documents. Both my wife and my passports had recently expired – and though I knew in this closed-loop cruise all I needed was our birth certificates (with seals) and a photo ID, I still was sweating it. I made the decision a few months ago to forgo the passport renewal and use the extra $$ for our cruise. But in the back of my mind was the fear that I would get up to the check-in lady and she would slam down a big rubber-stamp saying “DENIED.”

Didn’t happen!

Once we had our KTTW cards, I knew we were golden. This trip WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING!!! I became very happy and Minnie was glad to help us celebrate.

So in we went into the yellow Mickey ears that I had seen 100 times on the DIS boards! In line with us were our friends we had met via the DIS Cruise Meet thread. We discovered ahead of time they lived nearby our home, and so we met for coffee before Christmas! What are the chances of meeting someone on the cruise from your home town??? Only on the DIS boards!!!

We went into the atrium, got announced, and headed straight to Cabanas. Nice!

After snarfing down shrimp and crab legs, we began exploring the ship. As avid DIS board lurkers, we felt like we already knew every nook and cranny, but it’s so cool to see it for real for the first time.

Christmas decorations were still up in the ship – and they still looked beautiful. The gingerbread house still smelled … gingerbready.

We began to explore the adult area. We chose not to pack our swimsuits in our carry-on, just because we were more excited to get into our room and we knew we’d be getting back here soon.

Before long, we were given access to our room, and our luggage was already nearby in the hall! So we moved into our wonderful room #7650! It’s amazing how the space absorbs so much of our stuff! We brought an over-the-door organizer, but DW found that if she had to, she could have done without it.

One thing we were SO glad we had was a multi-plug extension cord. We used it for her curling iron, music speakers, mp3 player, camera and video recharger.

Then we were off to the muster drill. I can imagine in the heat of the summer how dreadful this must be. And parents make sure your kids take it seriously – two boys in front of us were in a near fist-fight while the poor crew member was trying to give instructions. It’s a short amount of time, what takes longest are those who don’t read the instructions, don’t see the video, or don’t hear the countless instructions telling EVERYONE that you HAVE to be there! It’s amazing how many people come late with this look of “I didn’t know I had to do this!”

So finally, it was sail away time. For a short while we watched the show…

…but then we moved to a place we had early determined would be a good location.

Earlier in the week I sent an email to our family telling them to watch the Port Canaveral webcam at the time we’d be departing. We determined a good place would be between the red flag and first funnel on deck 12. It worked – our family in various locations watched us sail away (the photo below is a photo of a screen shot my daughter-in-law took).

…and we watched the shore move into the distance

We were underway to the best vacation of our lives!

pillow 01-10-2013 08:37 AM

Wow - you're even more of a planner than me (I didn't think that was possible). If we cruise together again, I'm just gonna follow you guys around the entire time . . . ;)


Dave Dizney 01-10-2013 08:41 AM


Originally Posted by pillow (Post 47142888)
Wow - you're even more of a planner than me (I didn't think that was possible). If we cruise together again, I'm just gonna follow you guys around the entire time . . . ;)


Yes, when it comes to Disney trips, I'm a planner - don't believe it, watch our Travel Channel show. I've come under a lot of criticism over that, but it really helps to be prepared. The information we received from reading the DIS boards over the last few months has been invaluable!

pillow 01-10-2013 08:45 AM


Originally Posted by Dave Dizney (Post 47142923)
Yes, when it comes to Disney trips, I'm a planner - don't believe it, watch our Travel Channel show. I've come under a lot of criticism over that, but it really helps to be prepared. The information we received from reading the DIS boards over the last few months has been invaluable!

Did you rebook?

indyxray5 01-10-2013 09:38 AM

I am really enjoying your posts! We are leaving in 2 weeks for our Disney Dream 4 night cruise. So excited!!! Love your pictures!!!!

Dave Dizney 01-10-2013 10:43 AM


Originally Posted by pillow (Post 47142964)
Did you rebook?

Sigh, no. We need to turn our attentions to domestic needs for a while. But, I must admit I looked at prices. It's just so tempting. Did you???

I am really enjoying your posts! We are leaving in 2 weeks for our Disney Dream 4 night cruise. So excited!!! Love your pictures!!!!

Thanks! I hope the weather continues for you. For us mid-westerners, it was as close to perfect as you can get!

RMAMom 01-10-2013 10:44 AM

I can't wait to read more!

DisneyMissy318 01-10-2013 12:27 PM

We cruise the Dream in October for our first ever cruise! Can't wait to read your report!

Dave Dizney 01-10-2013 09:56 PM

Part 3 - Night #1
Part 3 – Night #1

Forgot to say in the last post that the first thing we actually did when we boarded was run over to the Royal Palace and see if what we’d been told was true – did they hold back reservations at Palo? They had shown as being sold out online from the day they opened – and just like everyone said here, without a hitch we were able to get our reservations for the final night of the cruise at the time we had hoped. Easy-peezy lemon squeezy.

We decked out our door – this is the only photo we took of it, which is a shame since we kept adding different elements during the 5 days. You’ll note the big arrow on the left – since our room was the last of the aft rooms before the family suites, there’s a big wall just past our door. That made our room easy to find and fun to note impending danger.

We could have stayed in the room all night – the veranda was absolutely worth the money.

I think Oprah or someone was getting a late boarding below us…

Since we were in the second seating for dinner, we had some time to go through the shops and take a look at where all our money would soon be going. First, we stopped at Shutters, and dang it, they already had photos in our folder! We had discussed that we’d be taking all our own photos and not get suckered into buying a photo package. After DW saw the first glossy, I knew I’d have to take out another loan by the end of the trip.

We then went to the stores, and met some of the cutest cast members ever - Sanja and Jade. Since our daughter was a cast member at AK, we knew that some days, all these folks hear are complaints. As we were looking around, they struck up a conversation with us and we shared how if we had to get off the ship right now, we would have already had a great time! It’s true, every cast member and crew who walked by went out of their way to say “hello” or “are you having a good day?” So we were telling these two gals what a great time we were having and how we so appreciated their work. They seemed genuinely grateful and said since there were so many grumpy “entitled” attitudes they encounter every day, it was refreshing to hear some praise.

Later the next day, we had a little certificate with a note from these two young ladies on our stateroom door naming us the “cutest couple” of the cruise.

We then went into the theater for “Villains Tonight.” Many have commented that this was their least favorite show – we would agree, but with the explanation that it was a “9” out of “10.” It was a great show to start the cruise – funny and entertaining. They won’t let you take photos (and I don’t want to be “that guy”), but we got a couple of photos from the balcony before it started.

After the show, it was our first night in our AERR rotation, so off to the Animators Pallet we went! I had seen enough photos to know what to expect, but my main interest was meeting our wait staff and table mates. Sure enough, Disney had linked us with two other “child-less” couples – who we got to know better as the nights went on.

So here’s how the food went down:

Bread and a garlic spread (along with the neat paintbrush knife)

I had the Black Truffle Purseittes – very good.

DW had the Creamy Butternut Squash Soup – she LOVES the Butternut Squash soup at Boma, but this one was more savory than pumpkin-pie-like…

…so she ordered the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup – which she liked MUCH better:

My main was the Angus Beef Tenderloin – medium. Very good!

DW had the Lemon-Thyme Marinated Organic Chicken Breast. She thought it was a bit dry, but OK.

For desert I had the trio (pineapple fancier, walnut cake, and lemon mousse) – nothing spectacular, but fun to try a few samples.

DW had the brownie cheesecake - which she loved.

Crush came by and talked for awhile - you know, that happens all the time at Disney.

Something to note about my beautiful little skinny wife – she ate me under the table most days on the cruise! She would often make me get her something more at Cabanas, and would stop every time we went by Flo’s V8 for a slice of pizza. She doesn’t branch out far from the chicken and mashed potatoes staple, but cannot pass up anything chocolate. This will explain much of her menu.

I want these for my dining room!

When we returned to our room, we had our first towel visitor and Sleepy chocolates. DW was so happy! They were changing out those hard-bound stateroom books and so we got to keep the 2012 version! Yay, free!

So then we went down to the District and watched Knight Magic, the adult rendition of the magic show that’s on the Dream – the two of them are VERY good. Don’t sit in the back of Evolution, or people will, without thinking, stand RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU as if your seat behind them didn’t exist. So, what we SAW of the show was great!

DW’s drink of choice – Parrot Song: Coconut, pineapple, and a banana blended. Very good!

Finally, earlier we ordered a cheese tray and a cookie to end the day. Oh – this was the beginning of a WONDERFUL relationship between me and the veranda!

Wow – what a great first day!

RMAMom 01-11-2013 08:48 AM

That was a great first day! I can't wait until March so I can enjoy some of the same! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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