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-   -   Back to Back Cruising on the Dream May 23-26 & May 26-30 2013 (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3135798)

Recie 07-03-2013 09:09 PM

Back to Back Cruising on the Dream May 23-26 & May 26-30 2013
 
This was our second and third cruise on the Dream but my first trip report.

Ive lurked on DIS since our first trip to Disney World in 2004 but never joined. Ive gotten so much helpful information that I thought I would share our venture.

Our traveling party

Me - Teresa
DD - Daughter - Lover of all things Disney
DGD3 - Grand Daughter - Like the Princesses and Hello Kitty
DGS3 - Grand Son - Like Toy Story, Lion King, Pirates and Super Heros
DGN10 - Great Niece (Nephews Daughter) - Happy to be out of school

DD, DGD, DGS
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DGN
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Recie 07-03-2013 09:12 PM

How we got here
 
Background:
I mentioned that this was our second cruise. Last year when booking, DD was in the process of adopting. She did not have kids placed with her when we decided to take a cruise. I contacted Disney and explained that we would be taking a cruise and did not know whether or not we would have kids by the time we sailed. They suggested that we add names and ages to hold spots. DD was adopting through foster care and wanted a sibling group so I reserved a 2 year old and a 5 year old hoping to hold a nursery and kids club spot. Well as our Paid in Full date came up, no kids. I notified our Travel Agent that it would only be 3 of us so we would only need 1 room instead of 2.

Fast forward one WEEK. DD was notified that 2 year old twins would be placed with her. She had done weekend respite care so they were familiar with her. The following week they were officially placed with her as foster to adopt. She let their attorney and the courts know that we were planning a cruise out of the country and she would like to take the kids. Once we got approval and all of the requirements, I had to contact our Travel Agent and let her know that we would be a party of 5 instead of 3. The only rooms available were Concierge and a category 5D. We took the 5D and luckily there was nursery space available.

About 2 weeks after we got home, we decided it was time to book another cruise so we started making plans. We wanted to go on the Fantasy this time but the kids were still foster children so we could not take them to Mexico. I dont know if this is a Texas law or the adoption agency rule. We decided to do a back to back on the Dream. We contacted our Travel Agent and booked May 23-26 and May 26-30.
We were booked in room 8618, now the wait was on.

During this time the adoption was finalized and they were finally ours (okay hers). They participated in National Adoption Day along with 75 other kids in the area.

I had to go back and have the names changed on our reservations. They got new first, middle and last names so we were not sure if they would keep their Castaway club information. I was happy to find out that they kept their silver status. Disney changed all of their information.

Adoption Day...
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Recie 07-04-2013 10:26 AM

Travel Day
 
Our flight was scheduled to leave Dallas Love Field at 7:15 pm. There was a storm that delayed us 2.5 hours. We arrived in Orlando after 2am. Luckily we reserved the Airport Hyatt for that night so we didn't need to pick up a rental car until the next morning. We got to bed around 3am.

Waiting at the airport
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Finally cleared to leave.
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After a good night's sleep, it was time to check out. We left the Hyatt, picked up a rental car/van and off we went. Headed to Cocoa Beach.

The day before the cruise we stayed in Comfort Inns and Suites in Cocoa Beach. The room would have been okay for the night but….. we went out shopping for a while and DGN left a pop tart in a napkin on the countertop. When we got back, it was covered in ants. We called the office and they gave us another room. It was about 5 doors down but it had been remodeled and was much nicer (no bugs). We settled in for the evening, DGN did some of her homework for the week and it was off to bed.

Recie 07-04-2013 10:38 AM

Embarkation Day
 
I got up and returned the rental car to Budget in Cape Canaveral. The shuttle was not available to take me back to the hotel so they called a shuttle (taxi) for me. The driver was a nice guy, he gave me some places to see if we were in the area again. I asked him if he could take us to the cruise terminal around noon. We had an 11:00-11:30 PAT but we were not in a hurry to get there.

We realized checkout time at the hotel was 11:00 so I called to see if the shuttle could pick us up earlier. The dispatcher said they could but he had 3 more passengers across the street that needed to be picked up a 11:00. It was a large van so that was okay with us. His passengers were some students and I can’t remember where they were from but they were doing a project with NASA and building a robot. They came out with their partially built robot.

We were the first stop. When the driver stopped to let us out, the students were amazed at the ship. They got out of the van and went to the end of the drop off area and started taking pictures of the ships. They told the driver they were staying with us.

We went through the gate, had our ID check and on to the terminal. Check in was fast uneventful. We walked right up to the Castaway club area with no waiting. We had notarized Minor Authorization forms for DGN and documents showing that DD was the only parent for DGS and DGD. We were not asked for anything but our passport, medical and Signature Forms. Last year DD had a binder full of documents but again they were not asked for. I will still take the documents every cruise just in case they decide to check.

They did not take new pictures of any of us. Just as we finished checking in they called our boarding number. I believe we were in boarding group 6.
Once we went down the ramp and gave our KTTW cards, they thought DGD and DGS should have had new pictures.

Recie 07-04-2013 10:48 AM

Welcome Aboard
 
One of the best signs ever.

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We are finally onboard and hearing our name announced. We went to Cabanas for lunch. After lunch we walked around a little and the kids had their first of many ice cream cones.

Ice Sculpture in Cabanas
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Carnival Sensation in the background.
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Recie 07-04-2013 10:55 AM

Oceaneer's Club/Lab Check In and Open House
 
When they were finished with their ice cream and cleaned up, we went to get their bands for the kids club. We pre-registered during online check-in. DGS and DGN got theirs on their arm but DGD had hers on her ankle. She have busy hands and DD was afraid she would take the band off. It was open house so we let the kids get familiar with the club and tried to make them remember that DGD need to go the Tinkerbell Potty and DGS would go to the Peter Pan Potty.
DGN stayed in the club last year and loved it. I thought she may think she was too old this year but she still had a good time and found things to do. We did not give her check in and out privileges because shes not mine and I didnt want to go home and explain to my nephew that I lost his daughter.

We stopped to get a chandelier picture
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Open House
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kel4876 07-04-2013 05:23 PM

Thanks for the report. I was thinking of doing a back to back Dream trip in the future, so I'm eager to read how it's done :)

Recie 07-04-2013 09:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kel4876 (Post 48861184)
Thanks for the report. I was thinking of doing a back to back Dream trip in the future, so I'm eager to read how it's done :)

Thanks for reading along. We really enjoyed the b2b, especially the 2 stops at Castaway Cay. We also enjoyed the 2 Nassau stops. We got off of the ship both times. I will get into more detail later but I didn't feel like we had a wasted day. We had the ’free day’ well planned.

Recie 07-04-2013 10:16 PM

Stateroom and Door Decorations
 
When finished at the Oceaneers Club the rooms were ready. We went to check out the room and put the kids (and DD) down for a nap. While they napped, me and DGN put the door magnets up and relaxed until time for the Safety Drill. We were assigned station L.

Almost Finished
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Recie 07-04-2013 11:03 PM

Sailing Away
 
Sailing Away

We watched the Sailing Away Party from deck 12

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We're in the left corner on the webcam still shot.
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Recie 07-05-2013 11:26 AM

Dining
 
We had late dining so the family got ready for the show and dinner, The show on the first night was Golden Mickey. I did not go to this one since I saw it last year but DD and the kids enjoyed it.

Getting ready for the show and dinner.
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While they were gone to see the Golden Mickey, I relaxed and enjoyed the view from the Verandah.

I got this nice sunset .
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Our dining rotation was RAE
Our dining team was: Leslie - Server, Hendro - Assistant Server and Ali - Head Server.
I forgot to note that our Stateroom Host was Nesh. We were very impressed with him.

We requested a table for just our family but we had a table with 3 tablemates. They were a friendly group. It was a mother, DD and a friend of the mother‘s. The DD and my DGN were the same age so they hit it off right away. The mother and my DGN changed seats so the girls could sit together. They would become really good friends the rest of the cruise.

The serving team was really good with keeping the kids entertained but were lacking as far as serving. Ali was the best of the group and he was the Head Server. When he introduced himself to our table, he asked which family was doing a b2b. He told us that if was anything that we needed to let him know and that he would make sure that we were in his rotation. Our server was getting off of the ship for a few months at the end of the cruise so we knew we would not have the same team. That was fine with us.

On the first night we let the server know that DGN and our tablemates DD were participating in the Oceaneer’s Club Dine and Play. They were slow bringing their food which caused them to miss dessert.

On the next night, most of our table missed the second course. I order the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes for both my first and second course. I got both orders at the same time. The problem was that the rest of the family did not get a second course. Nobody noticed until later on.

The girls did finish their meal before going to the club on the second night. On the last night me and our tablemate took them to the club when they finished dinner because once again them missed out.

DD thought after the first night she should not need to request booster seats. Last year after the first night, our servers had the high chairs and the kids drinks already on the table when we arrived.

Dinner was delicious each night. Our meal for the first night in Royal Palace

Me - Spinach Souffle, Garden Salad, Angus Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Peanut Butter Mousse
DD - Glazed Duck Breast, French Onion Soup, Angus Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Sweet Temptations
DGD and DGS - Honeydew Melon Boat, Mac and Cheese and a Mickey Bar
DGN - Honeydew Melon Boat and Chicken Strips

After dinner, we walked around the ship taking pictures until it was time to get the little ones ready for bed. I let DGN stay at the club until about 11:30. The only problem was that she did not want to get up the next morning.

DGN doing what she does best, running her mouth.
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Our towel animal for the night:
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Recie 07-05-2013 11:49 AM

Nassau
 
We got up around 7:30 and got ready for breakfast and to leave the ship. Went to Cabanas and enjoyed breakfast.

We did not have an excursion booked this year. Last year we did Discover Atlantis

This year we made plans between the two stops at Nassau that we would take a carriage ride, the straw market, go the pirates museum, Senor Frogs and the Queens Staircase. Would we make it to all of the stops?

We started with a carriage ride around the area. The driver gave a guided tour, providing historical information about the buildings. It was not a boring tour, he was very entertaining. DGN had questions along the way and he had answers for all of them I don’t know whether or not they were correct but she was satisfied.

Arriving:
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Carnival Breeze was already docked
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This looks like I was taking a picture of yajaira74's family(from Rozo Family 1st Dream Cruise trip report). My family is behind her family.

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Recie 07-05-2013 12:18 PM

Carriage Ride
 
When we left the Marketplace area, there are vendors outside offering taxi rides, tours, carriage rides etc...

We already had plans to do a carriage ride so when the gentleman approached us and gave us his price we accepted and was ready to go. I believe it was $10 per person.

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This is near the end of the ride. You can see the ship in the background.
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This is a good option for someone that does not want to venture too far away from the ship alone. The Carriages are located right outside the Marketplace and bring you back to the same area.

Recie 07-05-2013 12:59 PM

Straw Market and Senor Frog's
 
After the Carriage Ride, we walked down to the Straw Market. We did run into some street vendors asking about hair braiding, selling handbags etc... We just said no thank you and continue walking. They did not harass us, they just went to the next person.

DGD found a Hello Kitty Purse
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Patiently waiting. She is getting her name sewn into the purse.
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DD got one of the cross body bags with Bahamas written all over it. She used it the rest of the cruise to carry her things for the day. Me and DGN ended up getting bags on our second trip to Nassau.

When we finished at the Straw Market, we went to get pictures at Senor Frog's:

On the way to Senor Frog's, we saw Carnival Sensation arriving around noon.
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Sensation left Port Canaveral before us. I guess they have a partial sea day before getting to Nassau.

Senor Frog's
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DGN went inside to cool off
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After getting pictures, we headed back to the ship. We looked in some of the shops near the port but didn't buy anything else.
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There's convenience stores all over that sell water and soft drinks so there is no need to worry about bringing your own. Me and DGN took our own water off the ship but it got warm quick so we ended up buying cold water. Well worth $1 after walking in the heat.

If you have little ones, I would recommend taking a stroller. We took one and the kids took turns sitting but they both got tired and cranky on the way back. We found some shade and let them rest and play a while and made it back with no major meltdowns. We were back onboard around 1:30.

iloverags2 07-05-2013 03:58 PM

Loving your trip report so far! You lucked out getting along with your tablemates, especially after requesting a table for just your family. I guess it's always luck of the draw.

We always love getting off the ship at Nassau, and Queen's Staircase and Fort Fincastle are typically a must-do. Such pretty sites. Did you get your passports stamped while in Nassau? That's always a must-do for us. :)

Looking forward to hearing more!


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