Tap Dancing Lobster? Joy Riding Scooters? Read all about the Dream 1/27-1/31
Consider this the most interesting and engaging subheading you have ever read on a trip report!
What can I say? This will be a brief, albeit drama-filled, account of my second-ever Disney cruise back aboard the Disney Dream for 1/27-1/31, 2013. You may remember me from such trip reports as "East Meets West" and "A Dream Come True"---both entirely exciting examples of my detailed ramblings about 2 Disney trips not related to my lifetime of WDW visits.
I found myself back onboard my beloved Dream after a rather impromptu decision. I am in my first year of teaching middle school language arts--quite possibly the most unappreciated and challenging job any sane adult could ever willingly subject themselves to. And yes, I ended that sentence on a preposition--shame on me. The insanity led me to booking the most ambitious purchase ever in my life: an Alaskan cruise, and on DCL to be exact. I'm treating my parents, but my poor best friend is always left behind to watch our dogs. I wanted her to have a great vacation, too, and for me to have a "playmate" for once on a cruise. I decided that if a great discount presented itself for a 4-night Dream cruise, I'd take her.
Lo, the Florida resident rates appeared! :littleangel:
With a week to go until Christmas, I decided to book after discovering that the date I wanted (Feb 3rd--my birthday) had already sold out. Within an hour, not only were the two of us going--but my parents, my grandfather, my other 2 best friends, and my brother's family of 4! Thank goodness that it was the last week of school before the break, so the kids were testing and then watching a movie. This allowed me the otherwise impossible opportunity to communicate with my TA to book 3 connecting verandah staterooms ASAP.
But then ... drama. This usually comes hand-in-hand with my brother's family. Ultimately, he decided not to go after all. This was perfectly fine--I would learn later why traveling with a large party can be challenging. And my SIL would have made things even more ... challenging.
My grandfather had never been on a cruise, and he uses every opportunity he has to explain how the "last boat he was on" lasted for 6 weeks, sleeping in a hammock, and being sick the entire time--as a marine in WWII. He has always expressed wanting to try a pleasure cruise, but was afraid of being sick amongst a multitude of other anxieties that have kept him from joining us in the past. But he's a very active guy for his age, and finally his boredom overcame any of his reservations. So, we needed a HA room.
But pro-tip, your chance of getting a HA room on a last-minute deal is pretty non-existent. There were none available. This was OK, as he gets around perfectly fine. But that meant figuring out how to park a rented scooter nearby. We ultimately ended up in 3 connecting category 5C's, forward and on the port side of the ship.
So, with a party of newbies and just about a month to prepare--would we make it? Would the Dream be just as magical the second time? Could we trust Grandpa not to drive his scooter off the ship? And what about that lobster?
It's all in the future of this mini-trip report. Which will likely not end up being mini. Stay tuned. :3dglasses
Sounds like it should be entertaining, I'm in.
I'm in too. Can't wait to find out more - and hopefully see some pictures.
Sorry for the delay (I'm a teacher) and thanks for the follows. I shall try to spice things up with a few photos but I'll warn you, I did not take as many as my first trip.
First, the cast:
- There's me, a newly minted 30-something, celebrating my departure from the rollicking youth of my 20's. I celebrated my "first" 29th birthday on the Dream last year.
- There's Myna, my best friend. This cruise was a gift to her from me, as I've always wanted her to join us on a cruise but she couldn't manage to come.
- Dixie, my Disney best friend. She's a Cast Member and a die-hard Disney fan. Together, we're unbeatable at Disney trivia!
- Kris, another best friend. We've known each other for close to 10 years now. We rely on her to be the queen of travel.
- My parents, who wanted to come along because they love cruising and Disney.
- My grandfather, who had never been on a pleasure cruise that did not involve gambling or gunfire.
Getting to the Park n' Ride was easy. Take the exit right before the port, go under the overpass on a dinky little road to another super dinky little road on the left, and it's on the right. I expected it to be a paved lot, but it's not. We pulled into the building, they unloaded our bags, and then I had to drive the cars to the parking spaces. It all looked secure, though, so I wasn't worried. You pay up front, and then after a few minutes, we were on the small shuttle bus to the port with another couple.
Here's where things got a little stressful. As a spoiler, observe our smiling faces post-initial stress:
http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/k...ps232ef992.jpgThe scooter rental company told us that when we arrived at the port, we could ask a CM to fetch the scooter for Grandpa so he wouldn't have to walk very far. It's not like my grandfather can't walk; no, he just gets tired quickly. Well, we ended up walking through the first security gate--fixated on getting everyone checked in--without realizing we needed to get someone to get the scooter. We walked to the benches outside the terminal for a quick photo and a break.
Parents and Grandpa
We had two CMs check us in. It turned into a bit of a confusion, with everyone's documents and keys and photos and so on flying around. Then there was the scooter. The one girl looked and acted like she might have been new. When we asked about the scooter, she said that it wasn't ours. Ok, so where is ours? Her response was to sort of shrug and fetch us the number for the company, then tell us they weren't open on Sundays and it'd be an answering service. Meanwhile, my grandfather is beginning to whine and needed to sit. The girl takes off. I'm left at the desk, shooing my family and friends off to find a seat while I tried to call. The number didn't ring or anything. I'm beginning to panic. We paid over $200 for this rental, was assured it'd be there at the terminal, and was getting no support so far from the CMs. Finally, my mother grabs me and steers me over to the supervisor desk, where we managed to snag a supervisor--who thankfully offered to call the number herself and straighten it out. Now, there's the DCL service we know exists!
She manages to get someone, was told that the scooter was still en route because there are 2 other ships in port (honestly, how many scooters are being rented? It's noon by then), and gives the service my number to give to the driver to give me an update. The supervisor then assures us that if it didn't arrive before we boarded the ship, they'd deliver it to his stateroom. Meanwhile, she'd find us a wheelchair to borrow to get on the ship.
Momentarily calm, I then went to search for the small corner that my party managed to find amongst the crowded terminal. Such a contrast to our first cruise at the same time last year, when we literally walked in, checked in, and walked directly onto the ship. It was clear immediately this trip was PACKED. We were clearly not the only ones to take advantage of a FL Resident rate---but then explain to me why there were so many foreigners?
Some super quick shots around the terminal
Boarding had begun very shortly after that. Within minutes, I was called (in the bathroom, no less) by the driver to say that he was still delivering and had not arrived at Disney yet. They'd take the scooter to the stateroom. Meanwhile, the promised wheelchair had still not shown up. The boarding numbers were flying through--about a minute between boarding numbers. We had 16, and by the time we were called, the wheelchair was still missing. By 18, CM's were finally bringing it to us. Finally, we were on our way on board.
We had lunch in Cabana's, where we quickly learned that it's not that handicap friendly. From there, we had some time, still, until the stateroom were ready. So, I went to take care of another matter: our dining time. We couldn't get main seating, so my friends and I went to go see if we could get it switched. Commence our next drama. Long story short, we were told that the ship was completely full and there was very little chance our request could be filled. If they could change anything, they would call our stateroom by 4 PM. With the long line behind and ahead of us of people wanting to change, we knew that it just wasn't going to happen. With diabetic men in our party, this was not good news.
But there was good news! The scooter was at our rooms, as promised. We spent some time settling in, getting our luggage and unpacked. We also went through our CC goodies and the goodies left by my Dreams Unlimited TA:
http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/k...psb460295d.jpgMy parents and I were certainly spoiled with the little extra room in the 4B we had last year. The 5C's were cramped at times, even with just two adults. The dividers on the verandah also took some time to get opened by our hostess--the first night (to jump forward), they opened up one divider too many, and the one connected to a room that did not belong to us was broken and flapping loudly in the wind. So they closed both of their dividers :sad2: and it wasn't until the last day that it was finally opened again.
It has led my mother and I to consider upgrading on our Alaska cruise, as we currently have a 5B booked.
Once settled, I decorated our doors and we went exploring:
We went to the lifeboat drill, which was a mess this time with a lot of guests who simply just didn't know where to stand or where to go. We were dismissed early, though, because of Grandpa being in a scooter. This did not help us get an elevator, though, because everyone felt they were more entitled than a handicap person and rushed ahead of us. We waited very long throughout a lot of the trip because of this.
And I'm sorry, I do not understand why people take LARGE strollers on the ship. They are NOT necessary and are a nightmare in close quarters.
By the time we made it to the sail away party, there was no space to see. After peeking through for a while and grabbing my first ice cream, we headed to my favorite place to watch the sail away--the front of the bow. It was crazy windy; meanwhile, it didn't occur to me to go back to the stateroom. We assumed we were stuck with late seating.
See where this is going?
We grabbed a snack at Flo's, ate in the Cove Cafe, went down to the show, then leisurely went to get ready for dinner. That's when I noticed the light on the phone.
Oops. Somehow they managed to give us first seating. The call was timestamped 4:45. Could we go down immediately?
Well, first, you said 4:00. Second, I wasn't going to wait in my stateroom all afternoon when I wanted to be out for the festivities. Nervous we weren't going to be able to eat anything, we went down to EG. Before I could do anything, my party got ahead of me and gave our tickets to a waiter. We were then led to a table where another large party was already being seated. Then we simply just STOOD THERE while NO ONE did anything. None of the CMs seemed to notice that we were led to an occupied table. That's when I went to the desk. I didn't realize the man I was speaking to was the same man I spoke to earlier about changing. I began to explain our situation. He IMMEDIATELY goes on the defensive, loudly insisting that HE had told me HE WOULD CALL BY 4:30 and HE CALLED 5 TIMES and HE DID EVERYTHING HE COULD.
And I'm just standing there going:
I remained calm, and insisted that it was OK. I was not upset. We were simply concerned that now we had missed the first seating and here it was the second seating and we had no table. I wanted to know if we could still eat, then eat at first seating for the rest of the cruise. OH YES, IF THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT, I CAN DO THAT BUT JUST KNOW I DID EVERYTHING...
Yes, sweetheart, calm yerself. ... I took note to mention this occurrence on the comment card. I'm sure he must get angry guest all the time over these issues; what was irking was he wouldn't calm down enough to realize I was not mad or upset, simply worried over ME making the MISTAKE.
We were at 2 tables this first night. Our beverage waiter was awesome; our main waiter was far from it. Regardless, we were stuffed and it was after 10 PM :crazy2: We turned in for the night after a very long day.
Looking forward to reading some more.
I'm in! We're booked on a 4 day Dream cruise next Jan and taking my parents. First cruise for all of us! Can't wait to read more!
I admit this is not my best trip report--primarily because I do not have anywhere as much time as I had for my last one, but I notice that unless one has children and/or posts a lot of food photos, your report doesn't get much attention! So, thank you to the few of you reading. It was my intent to make this report brief and informative for anyone traveling with a large group and the elderly.
On to Day 2!
Like our previous cruise on the Dream, we arranged for room service to arrive between 7:30 and 8. And, like last time, they arrived promptly at 7:30. This had been my first time sleeping in an actual bed on a cruise. Being a family of 3, my parents always get the bed and I'm stuck with a sofa bed or bunk. Now that I'm older and "set in my ways"--having a soft mattress on vacation is heavenly. Unless your bed mate is a, ahem, noisy sleeper. So, the bed was comfortable but my eardrums were not, and I did not sleep well.
But the excitement of the day got us up and relaxing with our pre-breakfast nibbles on the verandah as we pulled in to Nassau.
Grandpa checking out the observation wing of the bridge ...
Now, on the last cruise, my parents and I did an excursion to Atlantis for the walking aquarium tour. We agreed it was pretty and nice, but had no desire to return. However, Dixie wanted to check Atlantis out, and my grandfather was interested in the casino. Since we took him on a cruise with no casino, we felt we owed it to him to at least take him out there for a few hours.
Commence slight panic over how to get my grandfather to Atlantis.
My mother did not feel comfortable until we asked a CM whether or not we would be able to find a taxi that could accommodate a scooter. Meanwhile, we waited in the lobby during the princess meet. And my non-Disney grandfather, being the old man and socially/politically incorrect as he is, proceeded to ask me who the "black woman in the dress" was.
"Tiana, Grandpa. She's a princess."
Lord help me.
Cleared to leave the ship with the scooter, we had adventures finding a gangway with a ramp. We went all the way down to the midship one, only to be told it had stairs and to go back up and over to the forward elevators. Once off, we did a bit of photo ops before making the trek down to the terminal.
We were greeted by various Nassau hawkers--not sure what else to call them. I suppose they either worked for their department of tourism or some private touring company, but they tried to talk us into tours and all such of stuff. We firmly told them we had plans and if they could direct us to a taxi who can transport the scooter. Next, we directed inside to look for a man named ... I think it was "Lexus"--it was something like that. Before we knew it, he appeared and led us outside to the curb. After declining a teenager with a poor horse and buggy, Lexus arrived with a van. We shared it with 2 other women, and Lexus got two other men to help lift the scooter into the back.
It didn't seem this long, but it took 20 minutes with traffic to make it to the resort. We were dropped directly at the front lobby--unlike last time with DCL--so we got to see this gorgeous fountain and a few other new sights:
My grandfather is the only person in my family (or among my friends) who likes to gamble. If my brother had gone with us, he would have agreed but then suddenly having a casino on the ship becomes a priority. We let my parents and grandfather in the casino and went to the few areas we could go without having to pay anything. Which meant just around the terrace that surrounds the casino and the upscale shopping mall between the one hotel tower and the casino. We had told Lexus to come back in 2 hours--we wanted to be back on board for lunch. But after about 45 minutes or so, my friends and I grew board with the limited accessibility and went to find my family in the casino.
We began to just mill and play around on the slots--then decided to play one or two just for the fun of it and say we did. Now, you're told not to take photos in the casino--but there's no one around to enforce it. So, we took photos.
Ironically, for not seriously wanting to play, the 3 or so we goofed around with resulted in almost all of us winning something! I hit the biggest jackpot of $29!! Not too shabby!
Grandpa, apparently, was done at that point. He didn't like any of the tables and, I later found out, he doesn't like to play slots but instead likes to watch people play them. o_O I can't even ...
So, we wandered for a little bit until we had to be back to meet Lexus. Which made for some adventures in getting a scooter up and down a handicap elevator by the stairs:
True to his word, Lexus was right on time. I think most of us would've liked to have left earlier and I know that I wished we had stayed on the ship like we originally wanted. But still, it was a fun outing and winning in the casino was a treat.
I'll finish the rest of this day's report tonight.
Day 2 Continued
I left off with our return to the Dream. We had no problems getting back to the terminal, though we had a crowd waiting to get through security since the Carnival ship and the Holland America ship were getting ready to leave. I wonder what time they get in to port because they were gone by 2 and 3 PM.
We had another wonderful lunch in Cabana's, then decided it was time to change into swim suits. Grandpa wanted to play BINGO later, too.
... You know what? I think I totally forgot to mention that our first night, I actually got into my suit and Manda and I went for a late night dip in the hot tub. Or was that night 3?
Anyway. Manda and I did the Aquaduck a few times, while Kris and my family hung out by the pool. Dixie went off in search of characters (she's really in to photos with characters). The wait for the Duck was probably no more than 10-15 minutes. Then Kris went off to a drink seminar, and Manda and I watched a little bit of movies and trivia from the Donald pool--trying to sun ourselves in the water and avoid the soup of children.
As much as I dearly love the Dream, it still boggles my mind at how poorly designed the pool areas are.
My mother, who hates BINGO, was having no choice but to accompany my grandfather when the time came. I was having too much fun to join them, much to her dismay, so they went off and I told them we had to be back at the room by 4:30 to get ready for dress-up dinner. Manda and I watched the beginning of The Little Mermaid before hitting the Duck one last time before going back to the rooms.
It was still a little early, so I decided to go grab my mother and grandfather from Studio D. I found them easily, for they were the 2 grumpiest lumps in the entire animated room. I was amused, because it was the liveliest BINGO session I had ever witnessed. But this only annoyed my grandfather beyond belief. He is used to your stereotypical BINGO hall with dozens of tables of geriatric folks, hunched over with the ink blotters and a carpet of cards, while somebody at death's door coughs out numbers. EVERYTHING about the BINGO on the ship was all wrong to him--from the price to the caller. And his unabashed complaining, understandably, got under my mother's skin.
As time crept up to 5:00, I nervously sat there as the last game dragged out. I reminded them that it was dress-up night and we had less than an hour now to get ready. When the (torturous) game finally ended, I led the stormclouds to our rooms.
Things decidedly went downhill from there. My grandfather was still full from lunch and was as grumpy as a toddler without his nap. He insisted on skipping dinner and staying in the room, which resulted in an argument because he is diabetic and cannot skip a meal. Before my mother could get ready, she had to call room service to bring him a hot dog, get him settled in bed, and I had to find him an "adult" movie to entertain him while we were gone.
5:45 came and went. My friends were all ready when we were half-dressed, so I told them to go ahead and get seated. My parents and I managed to get ready and down to Royal Palace by 6:15. Our serving team introduced themselves, since we missed them the first night. I don't remember their names at all, because aside from being good--they were not fantastic, and I was so preoccupied by everything that I did not commit their names to memory.
I've also learned that I need to be more careful with what I eat on these cruises. Having a 4 course dinner with heavy foods I'm not used to eating does a number on my stomach, and like last year, within an hour after dinner my stomach was rolling. I think the French onion soup is just too much for me, amongst everything else. The lamb dish was excellent, though. And the desserts--I had my favorite creme bruele, but they brought out birthday cakes for me and Dad ... so there went 2 desserts!
The show that night was Villains Tonight!, which is not my favorite but I had to take the newbies to see it. It seemed less awkward than last year, but the whole Iago/Jafar number is still just too weird. Manda was beside herself with that one. It was during the show that my stomach went downhill. After, we took a formal photo on the stairs; I didn't think I'd make it through this because my stomach was definitely not happy. We would have done more pictures, but I told everyone I just couldn't do it and my friends and I wanted to see Wreck-It Ralph in the theatre. We went back to the room to check on Grandpa, and we changed clothes. I had to use the restroom for a while, but managed to feel well enough to go out for the movie. Manda and I decided to go in our PJ's.
Do this. It was so nice. No one bats an eye--it was a 10:30 PM show, after all, but it was also pretty crowded. I guess because the ship was in port until 2 AM? Meanwhile, my family went to go check out the Match-Your-Mate show. I wish I hadn't missed it; I loved it the last time we went, but I was satisfied with seeing the movie. The theatre is definitely impressive for being on a ship!
We went right back to the room after the movie; my family were already in for the night. Still not feeling 100%, I crawled in to bed and fell asleep; thankfully, I slept better this night because I fell asleep first, LOL. But my parents ended up staying up until the ship left the port around 2:40 AM! My dad was determined to watch us leave. He loves this ship and is fascinated by everything.
Next up, Castaway Cay!
Great report so far. Sounds like fun traveling with family. I can never get mine to go with cause they are not Disney fans like I am!
Love your report and pictures!
Love the info and pics! Can't wait for our trip!
Can't wait for Castaway Cay day!
Great report! Thanks for sharing. I will definitely be back to read the rest!
I am enjoying your report so far. :thumbsup2 We were on the Feb 10 Dream sailing. If I may ask you a question.... we did the Atlantis excursion w/ dolphin swim on our Nassau day. We have rebooked for next year, & was wondering about just going over to Atlantis on our own. I see you were only able to access the casino/lobby/shopping "mall". Was that what anyone can do by just walking in (no admission fee)? What if you wanted access to other areas (cost)?
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