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fredgirls 03-11-2013 10:07 AM

Paddington's Mischief to Mexico-5/nt Wonder-Miami-updated 27/5 - More Cabana#5
Hello there people!
I have so much enjoyment reading other's trip reports I thought i'd give it a try myself! And it's a great way to share holiday memories with families and friends around the world!

First, the cast of this story.
Myself, Anita, (rarely in pics!)

Husband Ben (yes...actually asleep on small world here!)

and Daughters Esme and Alice.

We don't take ourselves very seriously!

And our final family member is Paddington Brown.

My Mum gave him to Alice at Christmas and she absolutely loves him. For those who don't know the Paddington stories he's always getting into mischief, and this holiday was no exception!

This report will also be very honest!
We had a great time, but for this, our second cruise, I was not wearing my rose-tinted glasses!

fredgirls 03-11-2013 10:10 AM

Will we ever leave!

We were flying from Manchester, NH, which is about 7 hours drive. I'm always nervous travelling at March Break because you never know what the weather's going to do.
The forecast was predicting bad weather on Thursday, so we decided to leave Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday morning I started to get the last things together and I noticed we still had our visa waivers' in our passports from last year! You are supposed to hand them in when you return to Canada from the US, otherwise the US has you as still being in the country. I know how serious this is...because the same thing happened last year! Oops!
So suddenly my relaxed morning became a panicked race to get to the border services office and then collect a host of documents to prove we've been in the country for the last year!

It's funny trying to find proof of your existence. It's easy for the girls as they have school reports with number of days absent. They're also listed for sports games and plays. Ben is also on a number of programs for show's he's played in, as well as talks he's given etc.
I on the other hand seem not to exist! I couldn't find one thing with my name on to prove I lived here! How sad is that!! The only thing I could find was bank statements of money i'd spent! :-D

So, with everything printed and packed I went to pick the girls up from school early. We decided to pop to the mall for lunch before we packed the car.

And here is where the day got crazier!

I was parked up against the snow bank and Esme had climbed it to get into her side of the car. I guess she misjudged the distances and opened the car door into her head! Not that unusual for Smee! She was hurt but we carried on. I assumed she's just got a bump. Then, as I get on the highway she says, 'Mum, i'm bleeding...quite a lot'! She turned to face me and there's a big gash in her head! And if you've ever had a cut on your head, you know how much they bleed!
We turned back home and cleaned her up. It was a little gaping, so she held it together while I steri-stripped it!
Sigh. I really needed that Konk Cooler on the beach about now!

iloverags2 03-11-2013 12:05 PM

I'm frantic and exhausted already! ;) :goodvibes

Looking forward to hearing about your vacay!

wiigirl 03-11-2013 12:09 PM

Looking foreward to hearing more! :)

fredgirls 03-11-2013 12:25 PM

Boarding Number 3!
So...i'm going to skip all the travelling bit. No-one wants to read about how our SW flight was disgustingly dirty, with half eaten food all over the place or how even with Early Bird we got a high B boarding number. And no-one is interested in how the Holiday Inn bayside room had been sprayed so much with air freshener that we couldn't breath. But even if you want to hear about it, I have no pictures. And everyone wants pictures! :laughing:

So I'll start at embarkation.

Today was Esme's 13th Birthday, so we were up early opening presents followed by a nice breakfast.

About 10.30 we thought we'd head to port.
The taxi ride from bayside to the port was $12 and very easy. And also very entertaining!

The taxi driver was obviously taking this opportunity to evangelize!
It was all hellfire and brimstone on the radio and it made for a very quiet ride! Then I caught my daughters' eye and they got the giggles. I'm glad the ride was short!

We misjudged the time to get there and so arrived about 10.40. Still giggling from the sermon we'd just been given.

I thought the terminal might not be open yet, but it was quite busy inside already! So obviously they're not keeping it closed until 11, like in PC.

All checked in, silver lanyards in hand and Boarding Group 3! That was very exciting!
Then we just had to wait.

Not long though.
It was before 12 when they called group 1, then 2 and 3 immediately after.

It's very different than PC.
In Miami you go up an escalator and then walk along a long corridor looking down over the terminal.

Looking back it was quite hilarious! Hardly anyone had got on in group 1 or 2 so we were about the 4th family on. Halfway down this upper corridor we started to walk quicker with excitement and then we started to run! But of course I had to take pictures as we went! So these were taken while I was actually running! We must have looked crazy!

Next...we calm down and explore!

fredgirls 03-11-2013 01:09 PM


Originally Posted by iloverags2 (Post 47764913)
I'm frantic and exhausted already! ;) :goodvibes

Looking forward to hearing about your vacay!

Yes, I'm getting palpitations just writing about it!
I just kept thinking about that Cabana waiting for me on CC! :goodvibes

fredgirls 03-11-2013 01:10 PM


Originally Posted by wiigirl (Post 47764956)
Looking foreward to hearing more! :)

Thanks for joining the party. :goodvibes

fredgirls 03-11-2013 01:37 PM

Ghost Ship
After the obligatory atrium pics...

we went to BBB for lunch.

I was quite disappointed with the selection compared to the Dream. To be fair, I didn't notice the pasta station until we were sat down, as it's tucked round the corner at the end of the main buffet. But we weren't that hungry and really wanted to explore!

No pics of the food.
Or of the carnage after Alice knocked over her drink. Just imagine it... us all jumping back from the table in unison as a waterfall of sprite entertained other diners who were pretending not to look. But unfortunately for her the lady next to us, she did an involuntary gasp before looking away, so we were onto her! :laughing:

The ship was deserted. It was great walking around like we owned the place!

And before we knew it it was sail away time.

Yes..I know, there's a whole chunk missing where we see our stateroom and do the drill. But I have no pictures. And I know you need pictures! :laughing:

If I start a big passage of writing I know I'll lose you! Am I right?!

I don't know if it's because it's smaller and more intimate, but this seemed like much more fun than on the dream. Much more energy. We really enjoyed it...well Esme's still too cool but I know she was bopping along on the inside! :goodvibes

It was funny...we'd seen a lot of young children but not many tweens and teens and Esme was getting concerned.
It was easy to spot the tweens at the sail away party though - they were the ones too cool to dance along! :laughing:

Paddington got a little in the way of the people behind but he removed his hat as a gesture of good will.
He'd sailed before but that time he was a stow-away so he was very excited to be a bone fide passenger this time! (If you don't know the story you'll now be lost!)

iloverags2 03-11-2013 02:27 PM

I agree...the Sail Away Party on the classic ships is soooooo much better than on the Dream class. Either way though, I'm on a Disney cruise!

fredgirls 03-12-2013 08:16 AM

Secret stairs
After the sail away we returned to our room to change for early dinner.

I've always thought that late dining would be too late for us, but this time the early dining just seemed so early! We don't go overboard and the girls are not high maintenance but it always seemed that we had to interrupt something to get ready for dinner. And so many of the family activities in studio sea are on either as we were getting ready or started before we had got out of the dining room. We were really looking forward to some gameshows but didn't get to one!
I think we would definitely try late dining next time, and just skip some meals if it's too late.

In our room we had these :banana:

Since online check-in and seeing so many cabanas available, and of course grabbing one, i'd been thinking about cancelling. But I didn't! ;)
So glad! It was an amazing day (with lots of pics to come!)

We had not had a veranda room before and it was really nice. The room seemed more cramped than last time, because on the dream we'd had an 8A room that was enormous. But having the fresh air was really nice. (especially with the day to come!)
We were in 8586. Excellent number - easy to remember! The best thing was the proximity to the secret stairs! I think this was Alice's favourite thing! I booked a 4E GTY to be right by the stairs. We were assigned a 4B but it was still really close.

Because of my crazy leaving day I hadn't had time to print all the magnets i'd planned, but we made one new one.

LisaHK 03-12-2013 08:25 AM

I am enjoying your trip report. I love Paddington, my children have all my books from when I was a little girl. :)

fredgirls 03-12-2013 08:34 AM

Clubs comparison
Somewhere in this afternoon's activities we visited the clubs.

Esme had LOVED the Edge on the dream, and I was worried about the Wonder's version. It was actually a better space than i'd remembered.

One thing that became clear is that their experience has nothing to do with the space, but more the kids in it.
Esme loved the councillors and said they had great rapport. She just didn't connect with the kids as well as last time. Some of the boys were fun but she just wasn't on the same wavelength as the girls. I think she's also another year older than last time and has outgrown this age group a little.
It was great for us though, as she spent more time with us! :goodvibes

Alice was in the Oceaneers Lab.
I know the Dream class has all the bells and whistles but we thought this club was much better. Great layout. Great planned activities. Much more structure and I guess being less busy, less overwhelming. Alice wasn't there a lot, but she enjoyed the time she did have there.

At this point I will apologize for picture quality.
I usually have an SLR hanging round my neck but last year the Little Kodak Playsport did so well we decided to skip the big camera and just take one family point and shoot. For the main part it was great. We passed it around and everyone took pictures. But something I hadn't accounted's terrible in poor light!

So basically anything I took inside is rubbish! Sorry :goodvibes

fredgirls 03-12-2013 08:42 AM


Originally Posted by LisaHK (Post 47772935)
I am enjoying your trip report. I love Paddington, my children have all my books from when I was a little girl. :)

yay! A Paddington Lover! :banana:

Although we've been in Canada for 11 years, we're from the UK originally. About 5 years ago my in-laws sent us an audio book that had come free with the daily mail or something. The girls were hooked! We have all the audiobooks and listen often. My Mum augmented this love at Christmas sending an actual Paddington. Alice has taken to him quite seriously!

If any of you reading are in North America and don't know Paddington, you can check out some old TV episodes on NetFlix! Love Love Love! :goodvibes

fredgirls 03-12-2013 08:56 AM

Another thing we like more...
...Animator's Palate.

This was SO much nicer than on the Dream.
I know the Dream has the fancy show but it was so big and the decor was a little, dare I say it, tacky?

Animator's Palate on the Wonder is so much nicer in our personal but unanimous opinion.
The way the art lights up was very engaging for the kids, and the decor was very appealing. And of course being smaller it was much more intimate, and you could see the whole room.
To top it off there was the show which was a great surprise!

I think that's the shame about the bigger ships. They've made the dining rooms so big that I think we didn't feel they were anything but a restaurant. Whereas on the Wonder we felt really connected with the whole environment.

We had a great rotation. APPTA. That meant Animator's twice and Parrot Cay for Pirate night! Couldn't have been better! We didn't make a request, so lucked out!
We did request a table alone and we did have a 4 top, in great locations. And we had amazing servers, Sam and Maria. We really lucked out. :goodvibes

This was our favourite meal of the cruise. Mushroom Risotto to start was heavenly! No pics, sorry. :-( I promised kids i'd keep them to a minimal this holiday!

Alert...more poor quality pictures ahead! :blush:

fredgirls 03-12-2013 10:00 AM

Returning to our room we had this cute guy.

The girls were really pleased this room had a murphy bed, so neither had to have the top bunk. As it happened the murphy bed was pretty old and not very comfy, but Alice didn't seem to notice!
Esme is 5'6" and both beds were too short really. She managed but I certainly wouldn't want to be an adult on either of these.

The thing Esme and I loved the most about this room was the placement of the mirrors. In one or the other you could see yourself from every angle. Not always great! :rotfl: But super for hair!

The seas were a little rough but we put on the sea bands and felt better. Little did we know how much worse they would get!
Esme went to the club for ice-breakers and we settled in for the evening.

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