Discover Atlantis trip through Port Adventures (and a bit about Jan 24 Dream 3 day)
DH & I went back and forth on doing Discover Atlantis ourselves vs. the DCL trip, I priced it out and guestimated the Port Adventures trip was only a few dollars more so I opted to go that route (I assumed tips to the taxi, not via DCL- more on that later). Big mistake, itís one of the worst things Iíve ever done associated with Disney, and although I havenít done it myself, I would recommend doing the trip on your own. We were told it was an hour to an hour and a half tour and then return on your own with buses starting at 1. We wanted some pool time so 1return time seemed good and we booked. Meeting time was 11:15 for check in. I expected a little lag time, and we headed in mass out at 1130. Then we would walk 15 feet and stop. Another 15 feet and stop again. This continued the entire way to the curbside, we didnít even get onto a van/bus until 12:10 (yes, nearly an hour wasted) and we were among the first to get on a van. Short drive through town which was a nice intro. Then the bus driver starts his speech begging for tips. He did give us a nice intro so I gave him a dollar, but was kind of pissed that he would beg for tips from a 20 minute drive where I had already paid a lot, I would expect Disney to have taken care of this. By this point itís at least 1230 and we havenít seen a thing yet. Remember, we were told we could start heading back at 1:00; I know at this point that isnít going to happen. We meet up with our guide who is fair, probably 12:40 at this point. Walks us through the casino, pointing out a couple things along the way. NOTE: if you are doing it yourself, the stand to but your ticket (which is actually a wrist band) is in the middle of the casino and would be easy to find. Then we get to the fish tanks. The fish tanks are really cool and worth seeing. But he shares a lot of ďfantasyĒ facts about the fake artifacts they had there (I felt it was dummied down a little for kids, or maybe not dummied down but on a kidís level of wonder). Half the time you couldnít hear or understand the guide, and he was very scripted. He wondered us through at an OK pace. Saw a decent amount. At this point Iíll share that the couple with the stroller only made it about half way through the trip and then we went up a long staircase and I think lost them, Iím not sure if the guide even gave them an alternative as they tried carrying the stroller up the stairs part way but Iím guessing about 100 stairs (so beware if you have health issues). We ended the tour about 1:40 (now Iíve missed 2 busses that I was told I could have taken back as they are every 30 mins, interestingly the 2 buses were in the time that we wasted walking/waiting to get to the bus. DH and I walked around for about another 20 mins and saw some more of the property, really would have liked to have seen more (itís really incredible) but also had plans to meet friends back on the ship. Again, another 20-30 mins would have been great but if weíd done that I am pretty sure if I recall correctly that we wouldnít have been able to get lunch (other than pool snacks) when we got back. Do wander the property, and know that you MUST have a wrist band because we saw them checking at 2 places and they turned people back. So we then caught the 2:00 bus that was RIGHT on time back, about a 10 min ride and the driver started begging for tips before we even pulled away from Atlantis, and this time that was about all he said to us so I didnít tip the guy when he dropped us off. Very disappointed in the amount of time wasted by DCL getting me to the bus (and therefore cutting into my vacation time), and therefore not able to get back when they told us we could. And the drivers BEGGING for tips, especially the 2nd guy who didnít really do anything. Really Disney, I expect better. This was Jan 24 on the Dream.
Let me know if you have questions, other than this the cruise was great. Our 3rd DCL. Best staff we've ever had (room steward and all 3 in the dining room). Food was not quite what we recall from the past 2 crusies, not bad certainly but didn't knock our socks off. Love the bar area of this ship, lots of intimate spaces (we are 2 adults who travelled with 2 adults). Past crusies of Magic & Wonder, definitely noticed more people on this one, disembarking took a good hour plus (late seating). Ship was full but the dining room was pretty empty the 2 nights we ate there. Adult area was nice, but based on bad design of where the elevator lets out there were constantly kids walking through. Remy- it was nice, but a do it once and go back to Palo next time nice. Don't do it if you are picky, although they made great accomodations for our non seafood eating friends. As with our past 3 day cruise, you do what you can fit in but it just passes so quickly. Adult beach at CC was full in the AM but cleared out after lunch. Just a few thoughts, feel free to contact me about any of these things (or anything else) and I'll gladly provide my 2 cents.
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