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-   -   "Witty Western-Fantasy Trip Report Title"... January 5th-12th With Pictures (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3047993)

MrRay 01-15-2013 11:04 AM

"Witty Western-Fantasy Trip Report Title"... January 5th-12th With Pictures
 
My wife and I have been lurkers for several years and have gotten a lot out of trip reports, so now we are finally giving back.

Introductions...

I'm Bob, 30 years old. I'm a lighting guy in the entertainment business in New York.
I've only been on one cruise, a 7 night Norwegian cruise last year.

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7618.jpg

I'm Jenna, 27 years old. I'm a dancer and have done a few cruises, including a Disney cruise ten years ago and I worked on a Princess Cruise ship for 6 months back in 2008-2009.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...7-_MG_7791.jpg

We decided as the Fantasy was coming out last year that we wanted to try a Disney cruise together. While the Fantasy was getting christened in New York I had the opportunity to do some work on the ship for some tv spots and it was an easy decision to book once I had seen it.

There were a few different variations on how we were going to do this trip but we finally decided on... Flying down 2 days before the cruise and taking the first day to unwind and get settled and the second to visit Kennedy Space Center. Then one night at Animal Kingdom Lodge after the cruise.

Spoiler Alert- The trip was amazing and we even had a few surprises along the way...
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...1-_MG_8365.jpg

But we'll get there...


Pre-Cruise Day 1 - Travel
Pre-Cruise Day 2, Kennedy Space Center
Cruise Day 1, Getting Onboard
Cruise Day 1 Part 2, To the Room
Cruise Day 1, Part 3, Sailing Away
Cruise Day 2, At Sea
Cruise Day 3, Grand Cayman
Cruise Day 3, Part 2 Grand Cayman Snorkeling
Cruise Day 3, Grand Cayman Part 3, Odds and Ends
Cruise Day 4, Costa Maya Part 1
Cruise Day 4, Costa Maya Part 2
Cruise Day 4, Costa Maya Part 3
Cruise Day 5, Cozumel Part 1
Cruise Day 5, Cozumel Part 2, Passion Island
Cruise Day 5, Cozumel Part 3, PIRATES
Cruise Day 6, Sea Day 2 Part 1
Cruise Day 6, Sea Day 2 Part 2...Odds and Ends
A Quick Sidetrack
Cruise Day 7, Castaway Cay Part 1
Cruise Day 7, Castaway Cay Part 2
Cruise Day 7, Castaway Cay Part 3
Cruise Day 7, Castaway Cay Part 4
Cruise Day 7, Castaway Cay Part 5
Cruise Day 7, Castaway Cay Part 6
Cruise Day 7, Castaway Cay Part 7
The Day After...Part 1
The Day After...Part 2
The Day After...Part 3
Last Day
The End

MrRay 01-15-2013 11:19 AM

Day 1 Travel
 
We had a 9:15 am flight out of New York. We had a comfortable amount of time to check in, have a leisurely breakfast in the terminal and then meander over to the gate just as it was starting to board.

This young man cracked me up, he very astutely studied the safety card for like 20 minutes.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...r/IMG_0824.jpg

Everything worked like clockwork and we were in the rental car and on the road by 1pm.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...r/IMG_0126.jpg

By 2 we were pulling in at the Doubletree in cocoa beach. We had paid for the cheapest room and ended up with a partial ocean view. I say partial because there was a lot of roof in the view but you could definitely see a lot of water, it was a nice surprise.

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3-_MG_7419.jpg

But it looks better cropped...
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3-_MG_7420.jpg

The hotel was nice enough, nothing really stands out. The price was reasonable and it was close to the ocean, we really didn't spend much time there.

We dropped our stuff and went out for a walk on the beach. The proximity of the hotel to the beach was great. We didn't really utilize it too much but it was nice to look at.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...r/IMG_0826.jpg

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...r/IMG_0833.jpg

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...r/IMG_0828.jpg

We wanted to eat dinner at the port and watch the ships sail out. We ended up getting there a little late so we missed the parade, but I think it was just one smaller carnival ship so no huge loss. We decided on "Rustys" for dinner. Service was quick and the food was good. We had an order of fish and chips and an order of jumbo fried shrimp, both were very tasty. They obviously had prepared everything in house, the breading on both was simple and tasty and didn't overpower the seafood itself, I'm always happy when a restaurant actually prepares this stuff as opposed to just pulling out a bag of frozen shrimp and frying it up.
It was a delicious meal at a good price, we're from New York so almost everything seems like a good price comparatively. Also the beer tasted clean and fresh. Always a win.

MrRay 01-15-2013 12:37 PM

Day 2- Kennedy Space Center
 
Day 2 we got up early so that we could grab breakfast and be to Kennedy Space Center by 9 am. I'm a big space nut so I was looking forward to maximizing our time there. We found a small place right on the strip called "Oceanside Cafe, Bagel Paradise". We each got a simple egg and bacon sandwich on bagels and were very impressed. It was simple delicious food. I think a bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel will set you back about 4 bucks. The bacon was crispy and delicious. It was a great place for a quick, tasty, and cheap breakfast.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3/IMG_0834.jpg

Breakfast ended up being so quick that we got to the Space Center early and were one of the only cars in the parking lot, gotta love offseason.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3/CIMG5670.jpg

We had purchased gold passes on their website before we left, they were $5 more per ticket but you got $10 food credit and a souvenir coin. We figured we were probably going to eat anyway so might as well save the $10 between the two of us on food.
What I hadn't taken into account was parking. On their pamphlet that we grabbed from the hotel it states clearly, in two places, that parking is free...
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...G_0981copy.jpg

It's not, it's $10. Their website does reflect this however. The annual pass price online at the time was $55, and you get free parking. So it's worth keeping an eye on this if you're interested. Also just a heads up the food vouchers are only good at 2 of the restaurants, I'm not sure if there is better fare at the other places but the one we went to was typical, incredibly mediocre, cafeteria food.

We also sprung for the Vehicle Assemly Building tour. I have always wanted to go in there and since they are actually doing tours now that they are between spacecraft projects I couldn't pass it up. This tour also pretty much replaces the standard tour that comes with your admission, the bus seemed to go to all the other places that the standard tour did. We first drove out along the water so that we could see all the different launch pads wrapped around the area. They are far off in the distance but a nice place to see it all and get a feel for how big the complex really is. Also a great place to see wildlife, I caught a glimpse of a dolphin swimming by before we headed out.



Next stop is the VAB. They aren't strict about security really but they did ask that we leave larger bags on the bus, we could take all the photos we wanted though.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...4-_MG_7453.jpg

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...4-_MG_7443.jpg

The building, as I'm sure you can imagine, is massive. It's hard to comprehend even while you are in there. The amount that you can actually walk is pretty limited, comparatively I guess. They keep you on the permiter and have a few pictures set up showing different spacecraft being worked on inside.

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3/CIMG5676.jpg


If you aren't interested in the building itself it probably seems very empty and boring but if you're a space nut it's easy to get caught up in the magnitude of what the building represents. In the next bay they were doing some heavy maintenance on one of the crawlers that takes the rockets to the launch platform, that was an added treat.
They talk through a lot of the building history that you would expect in a tour of it and then someone else who used to work in the department that put the heat tiles on the shuttles spoke for a bit and showed tile samples. I wandered away to take more pictures and then we were off to the bus.

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...4-_MG_7444.jpg

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...4-_MG_7439.jpg

From here on out it was pretty much the regular tour. We spun past the launch pads and made a stop so we could see them from afar.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...4-_MG_7472.jpg

Then they left us at the Saturn V rocket building. This area is one of my favorites of the whole complex. After a great presentation reenacting Apollo 8's launch you are led into the room with a Saturn V laying on its side, it's amazing to see in person.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...4-_MG_7485.jpg

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...4-_MG_7494.jpg

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...4-_MG_7488.jpg

There are plenty of other great artifacts here as well, including a moon rock that you can touch, but after all these years it's probably just a germ filled mess... I rubbed it anyway.

Later in the day we tried out the newer "thrill ride" they are putting in the shuttle building that is under construction. You can smell the wet paint here and they only had one of what I think will eventually be 5 simulators running. It's a "shuttle launch simulator". But think of it more as "Star Tours" then "Mission Space". The vehicle shakes a lot but there really isn't much to it. There are a couple other special effects that unfortunately look a little cheap. We weren't very impressed with it overall, but its really the only "ride" per se so I'm sure it will be popular.
Also it's important to note that you can't bring anything on the ride, they have lockers provided that are currently free, let's hope it stays that way.

Overall it was a great day at KSC, it can get a little expensive but if you are at all interested in the space program it is an amazing place to be and is full of incredible history.

Afterwords we decided to try "Florida Seafood" for dinner. It seemed like a locals restaurant. It was very casual and comfortable, a fun decor and had several fish tanks. It's a very seafood heavy restaurant, as you'd expect and prices were very fare, you don't want your seafood too cheap. I had cod stuffed with crab meat. Jenna had shrimp, sundried tomatoes, and feta cheese in a garlic sauce. Both were very good. They also make a big deal about their fritters. Everyone seemed to get them as an appetizer but they ran out or something so ours showed up after we finished our meals. It worked out great because they were hot and fresh and really seemed like more of a dessert thing to me anyway, it's basically fried dough with powdered sugar.

I tried to take a picture of them...
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3/IMG_0857.jpg
But I guess this says it all...



Then it was time to head back to the hotel to gather our things. Two days went by very fast.

MomToPrincePhillip 01-15-2013 01:18 PM

Hi Bob and Jenna, great start on the TR :thumbsup2, I'm really enjoying it so far and can't wait for another update.

We head out on the Fantasy for our 1st cruise in May, it's the Eastern itinerary.

disney honeymooners 01-15-2013 01:37 PM

Great Trip Report so far we leave on the Fantasy in September for Western Caribbean can't wait to see your pictures of the ship. :cool1:

pixiedust1125 01-15-2013 01:57 PM

Jenna here!!!!! Just wanted to say HI and that you are going to fall in Love with the Fantasy. This trip was better then we ever could have dreamed.

MrRay 01-15-2013 01:57 PM

Cruise Day 1-Part 1 "To the Ship"
 
January 5th
We both woke up early like the old Disney commercials, "I'm too excited to sleep". This is probably one of the hardest parts of the cruise, waiting for the time to actually board. The big kick in the pants was that after we had gotten ready we realized that the clock in the room was set an hour later, so it was much earlier than we thought.

We stopped off at Publix and got some fruit smoothies for breakfast and stopped by the Disboards Welcome Center.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3/IMG_0128.jpg
We chatted with Rob and Walter for a bit before heading off the drop off the rental car.

It was a little crowded at the rental car place but not too bad considering that there were 3 ships in port. After a short wait we were on a shuttle headed for the terminal and getting our first glimpses of the ship.

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3/IMG_0138.jpg

Dropping off our bags, security, and check-in worked extremely smoothly and we were all set by 11:15. the rental car shuttle driver had told us that customs had chosen that day to flex their muscles and remind everyone who was in charge so everything was running a bit behind. We took the time to check out the terminal and get our picture taken with Mickey, because if you're just standing around why not wait in a line. Right before we got up Minnie came out to switch places...

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7587.jpg http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7588.jpg http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7595.jpg



Before we knew it we were boarding, I think it was just about noon on the dot.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7601.jpg

They announced our introduction and we wandered into the atrium. Jenna was in awe, but me having been on board before already had our plan. People were slowly mulling about and heading up in the midship elevators to go to Cabanas so I dragged her through the lobby, we'll have all week to soak it in, and headed down the deck 3 hallway past Royal Court to the aft elevators, which were empty and let you out right at Cabanas.
They ushered us into the starboard side of the buffet and we didn't waste any time. Shrimp, steak, and lamb chop were among the hilights. I even decided to try crab legs for the first time...
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3/IMG_0151.jpg Unsuccessfully. http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3/IMG_0153.jpg



We sat right by a window and watched the organized chaos on the pier. I also lost count of the number of crew that welcomed us aboard as they walked by.

We ate quickly and were too antsy to see more of the ship so we were off.

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3/IMG_0159.jpg http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7608.jpg


Some beautiful detail from outside the Rainforest Room...
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3/IMG_0888.jpg

To be continued...

MrRay 01-15-2013 02:49 PM

Cruise Day 1- Part 2 To the Room
 
We had a few things that we were focused on doing when we got on board.

1- Booking a snorkeling excursion for Grand Cayman that was sold out online...Success

2- Booking a Mixology class for the first sea day... Success

3- Touring the kids clubs since it's one of the only times adults can.

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x..._MG_7636-1.jpg

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7628.jpg http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7632.jpg
...Success

The kid's club is awesome, I was jealous.

Before we knew it 1:30 had come and we were able to go to our room. We were in room 8540, category 5B verandah room.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...9-_MG_8022.jpg
It was just around the corner from the forward elevators, very convenient. There was also 2 pieces of Enchanted Art there that changed depending on the time of day.
Here it is at dinner time...
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...8-_MG_7931.jpg

We opened the room to find a whole lot of goodies.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...tonemapped.jpg

First off we had a Castaway Club bag that Jenna got for having take a cruise previously, then the gift basket from "Dreams Unlimited" for having booked with them... then a surprise bottle of champagne and box of chocolates from my parents as a belated Christmas present.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7651.jpg http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x..._MG_7700-1.jpg

We were very excited and it was also just nice to be in the room.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...3/IMG_0880.jpg
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x..._MG_7655-1.jpg

WanderlustNZ 01-15-2013 03:22 PM

Really enjoying your TR so far. Thanks for sharing.

wiigirl 01-15-2013 03:27 PM

Really enjoying your TR and pics! :thumbsup2

wdhinn89 01-15-2013 03:34 PM

Hey guys it's Victoria!:wave2:
Love the trip report so far! Can't wait to read more! popcorn::

kalel29 01-15-2013 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrRay (Post 47197519)

Spoiler Alert- The trip was amazing and we even had a few surprises a long the way...

Great...thanks for ruining it for me....but I guess I will subscribe anyways. popcorn::

MrRay 01-15-2013 04:53 PM

Cruise Day 1- Part 3, Sailing Away
 
We got our bags at a reasonable hour but didn't get around to unpacking... We walked around for a bit before heading to our muster station. That didn't take too long so we filled our Dreams mugs with "ginger-ale" and it was time to sail away.

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x..._MG_7701-1.jpg

We didn't catch the show, we opted to head up to Deck 13 Forward where it was quieter. It was fun sailing out, they played a couple of the horn sounds. There was more people than I was expecting there to watch us sail away.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7704.jpg http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7705.jpg

It was cool and breezy so once we had sailed out a bit we decided to grab a snack. By this time it was probably 5:30, we had the 2nd dinner seating so we thought we were going to need something to hold us over until 8:30.

http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7635.jpg

The only thing open was the quick service area. We grabbed some chicken strips.
Now when I was a kid and used to come to Disney World they had chicken strips at all their restaurants and I loved them. At some point they changed to "chicken breast nuggets" and it was really never the same. I was very excited to find that they still have proper chicken strips with honey mustard and it tasted just like I remember.
http://i754.photobucket.com/albums/x...5-_MG_7708.jpg

We went back to the room and unpacked while watching "Beauty and the Beast". Having so many Disney movies On Demand is incredible, plus there is a channel that shows classic cartoons. It's nice having on in the background.

Our dining rotation was AERAEER. We met our table mates in Animator's Palette, Disney's Computers had paired us up with two other young couples. We got along very nicely. This is a great place to have your first dinner because their is so much to look at, and that night was the Turtle Talk with Crush show, so it was great for breaking the ice. The first person Crush talked to was one of the guy's at our table and it was pretty funny watching him realize that Crush was actually talking to him.

I had an Arugula-Watercress salad, trio of Veal, and desert trio. Jenna had Potato cheese soup, Thyme chicken, and ice cream sundae. It was all very tasty and a good meal.

We went to The Tube after dinner to catch a "Match your Mate" show, it was funny but we were exhausted. We aren't stay up super late kinds of people.

Next- Day 2, At Sea

PizzieDuster 01-15-2013 06:48 PM

Fantastic trip report! I love all the pictures you are posting! Can't wait for more! :banana:

One of my regrets on sailing out of PC was never taking my teen boys to the KSC. They would have LOVED it!

Maple17 01-15-2013 09:50 PM

Great TR! We are in 8540 on the Fantasy in 3 weeks! Did you like the room? I read that there is a slight obstruction on the balcony on the left side. Did that bother you at all?


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