"Because It's A Tuesday!" February 5, 2013 Magical Cruise
I spent some time last week day dreaming about our cruise last spring. Since I appear to have recovered from the behemoth that was my first trip report (16,345 words is no joke) I figured why not test the waters with a second report. I was so thankful to cruise aboard the Disney Magic on DCL's first Thanksgiving itinerary from the port of Galveston last year, but our second cruise out of Galveston had an entirely different feel and flare. Before I get too far ahead of myself, I'm Lorelei (or Lori to my friends) better known as cruisecrasher (like partycrasher, not like the Titantic) here on the boards. I love DISigning, when I'm not in full on dream come true vacation planning mode, which seems to be all the time. I love blogging, running, writing, photography and reading. I am a goofball, spaz, and all around pixie-dust nut with the occasional OCD planning tendencies. I'm married to a kind Disneyholic supporting man, truly deserving of being called my better half. He's the calm to my kinetic, the milk to my cookie, the Flynn to my Rapunzel. Benjamin is ketchAggie here on the boards, though he tends toward the lurking end of things.
Wow by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
After our honeymoon at the world, he was originally skeptical about DCL, thinking we might try a short stay at WDW and a short cruise. Then we took a short 3 day cruise out of Port Canaveral, just to "try it out" sans children. Now it's like pulling teeth to talk him back into the parks and off of the beautiful Disney ships.
We are blessed with two darling children who had been on one seven night cruise on the Magic.
They aren't what you would call pixie dust deprived. Christopher is 6, gluten free and in the throws of mastering handwriting, Kylee Anne is 4, loves ballet and allergic to dairy. Contrasting allergies means I can read an ingredient list with lightning speed and know my way around both my own kitchen and special orders on deck.
The original "big plan" was for us to pay off our house sometime around my 30th birthday, then save up for a super deluxe WDW DCL vacation for sometime around our tenth anniversary. Allowing for the caveat "if they ever come to Texas, we'll jump right on that." We paid off our house ahead of my birthday, thankfully. However, the urge to hunt down a good deal became ingrained in that part of my life, so I still love finding a good deal. Sometimes that means booking a high end room opening day, sometimes it means hunting out a last minute GTY.
When DCL announced sailings out of Galveston in April of 2011, we did the whole crazy stay on hold opening day bookings thing, right as the NYC and Galveston itineraries were released. Thus giving us a leisurely 19 MONTHS to sit and wait for our Thanksgiving cruise to roll around.
In the interim, one of my sweet friends, Casey, completed Disney's College of Knowledge and became an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Yay her!
Now since she started selling cruises, she felt she needed first hand experience with DCL. She picked my brain for tips and tricks from my last cruise. I couldn't help but get caught up in her excitement! I mean who doesn't love planning a Disney vacation with a friend?
I told her she'd be welcome to stay the night before her cruise with us, once she had one picked out.
September 14, 2012
I browsed around the DIS with Ben one evening and we came across a thread "Non-family Vacation Reasons for Taking a Family Cruise" and DH told me to respond with "Because It's A Tuesday"
I spent that September evening surfing the web, browsing the DIS and paying bills. Cool! Our Disney VISA accumulated over $800 in rewards dollars. I wondered how much a really short cruise in January or February went for nowadays. Ben spent a load of time the rest of that week swamped at work so I had plenty of time to browse and pick dates.
September 21, 2012
Then one morning, I found our cruise. We'd be cruising an 11c GTY for just the two of us on the February 5, 2013 four night cruise. After taxes and fees, the total stayed under our rewards dollars amount!
I did a little happy dance! Then a bigger happy dance! Then went out for a run, came back showered and happy danced some more!
So I started figuring out the logistics while keeping the stateroom on a three day hold. I picked not to stress out Ben with the details until I arranged everything. Casey checked with her kids' grandparents to see if the dates could work for them also. I did the same. Calling in Mimi and Pawpaw to see if they wanted a few days to spoil their grandbabies. Halfway through talking with Ben's parents I realized it'd be super magical if I could surprise him with the cruise. Since we all had other Disney cruise plans in the works, I could freely talk about cruising with his parents in front of him and not entirely blow my cover.
Back the first year I met Ben I tried throwing him a surprise birthday party, but I stressed so much over it, that he figured it out ahead of time. If I wanted to not ruin the surprise, I was going to need a co-conspirator or two.
Facebook 1 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
I joined up with our disboards meet up group and Facebook group, fully fifty co-conspirators would probably cover it.
More to Come!
Our Ship Came In
Free cruise? I'm in! Can't wait to see if you are able to keep the surprise going!
Jill in CO
Time passed exceedingly slowly, as it always does when I’ve got a secret. I made sure that I filled out medical release forms for my dear mother in law, just in case she needed to get the kids treated for anything while we were out of the country.
Casey and Chris got their cruise details nailed down and called to double check that they could stay with us the night before the cruise. Ben plopped on the couch and asked about which cruise they were taking. I told him that some of the eight night cruises in spring 2013 got split into four night cruises to Cozumel. I also let him know there were some really good deals on them. Ben replied in a way I never expected from my calm predictable husband.
Facebook 3 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
“Hey, maybe we should do one too!”
Now realize at this point we only needed to wait six weeks until our Thanksgiving cruise. In another six months after that we would be cruising on our eight night cruise to the kingdom and that we’d always been extremely conservative with money. I managed to distract him with talk of the kids’ school and other things, quite thankful that he hadn’t asked about our rewards dollars.
I will never sneak around behind his back like this again. It just isn’t worth going prematurely grey.
I worked on FE gifts and started getting to know all of the awesome people in my group. I ordered my FE (which is awesome, BTW) and snuck that into the house under cover of darkness.
In mid-October banner advertisements arrived in malls across Texas heralding the arrival of the Disney Cruise Line in Texas.
Facebook 2 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
One of my acquaintances from the Y, Tanya, is the wife of one of my husband’s coworkers, Ryan. Our husbands used to be in the same department and occasionally carpool, but corporations being what they are, have since split into other groups. Tanya helped out by getting my husband’s current supervisor, Joan's contact information from Ryan(as I couldn’t exactly ask him for that without raising suspicion).
“Hey honey, can I have your direct supervisor’s phone number and email address? Oh and when is the best time for me to talk to them when you aren’t around their office?”
Yeah. I think he’d get that something weird was going on.
Anyway, Joan scheduled Ben for (entirely fictitious) corporate training noted in his schedule as VIM (“Very Important Meeting,” "Vacation is Mandatory" or make up your own acronym). Ben mentioned it to me once, but remained so busy, as did his supervisor, that they never really had a chance to talk about it in private, and she assured him they’d revisit his various conference schedules after the holidays.
Thankfully, he didn’t get too suspicious and my Y friend, her husband, Ben’s supervisor and Ben’s parents all kept the secret. Casey and I chatted on facebook and texted as we got more and more excited about our upcoming cruises.
Facebook 5 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
Around mid-December I started getting concerned…I couldn’t think of anything to give Ben for Christmas that wouldn’t give it away entirely.
So I decided I would tell Ben in my own weird way right on Christmas, and let him know in advance that it would be for Christmas and our anniversary and his birthday all together. I love DISigning in my free time so I made a ticket booklet in the style of the old Disney Ticket books.
Except instead of the first ticket saying “Welcome to Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom” it read as follows…
Retro A1 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
RetroA2 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
RetroA3 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
RetroA4 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
Retro A5 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
RetroA7 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
RetroA6 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
IMG_3344 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
I printed each on a different color of cardstock, bound them together and wrapped it up for his Christmas gift. Ben waited until Christmas morning to open his present, rather than opening it the evening before. The kids busily roamed the house racing their remote control cars and singing in the new Hello Kitty karaoke machine.
Ben unwrapped the following note first...
IMG_3346 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
Yes, it's true, I'd even told my dental hygienist all about this surprise just so I wouldn't slip up and tell Ben...I'm that bad at keeping a secret.
After reading the letter, he looked extremely confused...in a "what on earth is going on" kind of way.
Ben opened the tickets. He read them, reread them (they're kind of a quick quirky summary of our entire relationship and marriage) and then Ben finally got it.
He looked up, smiled and said “Really?!?”
I said “Yes.”
Thirteen years after ruining his surprise birthday, I had finally surprised him.
Our Ship Came In
Our countdown chain started at a measly 42 days. Our darling children bounced all over the house when they found out that our cruise meant that they could expect to eat whatever their heart desired and enjoy unrestricted grandma time for five glorious days. Our FEs sat alone in our luggage and waited impatiently by the front door. Our facebook group reached a pitched excitement culminating in this:
Facebook 6 by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
Then slowly during the day before the cruise all the fun anticipatory facebook and DISboard posts went silent. Everyone too busy in the excitement of last minute preparation and travel to bother updating their virtual lives headed excitedly toward port.
My father in law drove my mother in law (Mom, as I call her) over the morning before our cruise, so we took some time to settle everything while the children enjoyed their morning in school and preschool and Ben enjoyed (probably not the proper word, but we’ll go with that) a last Monday of work. His parents and I enjoyed Panera for lunch then retrieved the preschool playgroup I host on Mondays. I introduced Mom all around to the teachers at school and the ladies she could rely on for preschool playgroup hosting the rest of the week. While I settled the kids back into our home, Mom and Dad checked into that evening’s accommodations. Our friends, Chris and Casey arrived midafternoon, followed shortly by Ben and once Mom and Dad returned we all enjoyed a quick dinner of take out. After visiting, Mom headed back to her hotel to catch some shut eye. We put the kids to bed in Kylee’s room and Chris and Casey retreated to our son’s room. Then Ben and I started to pack. At nine at night the evening before our cruise, I hadn't so much as rounded up our toothbrushes.
I know, I know.
Our FEs sat dutifully in our suitcases, but nothing else managed to pack itself in the short trip lead up. I blame sheer exhaustion on my part. Thankfully, since we only needed clothing for a four night trip it became a fairly simple exercise to stow away our two suitcases and light carryon backpack (nearly empty, save my purse, medications, documents and passports). It continued to be a simple exercise in folding and stacking into suitcases until I came to packing our beautiful new pirate costumes and then uncovered a slight error in our order.
Wow by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr
As DH put it, while I may metaphorically have two left feet, that’s just silly. I thought it hilarious and scampered down the hall to show Casey and Chris. Given our port arrival time came in slightly over thirteen hours, Ben opted to worry about exchanging his pirate boots for our next cruise and just make due. After neatly stacking our luggage in the office, we crawled into bed like children on the night before Christmas, eagerly awaiting the next morning.
The actual children woke and woke up early after our late evening of packing. A quick breakfast and coffee and all of the usual school preparations ensued. Mom showed up and all us cruisers started last minute checks and loading up our friends' van. We looked anxiously at the overcast and weather reports and decided an early start out and some extra time to accomplish the drive clear across Houston would be prudent. Besides, we wanted to be on the road! And on the ship!
Chris drove, Ben navigated (“get on I-45 and drive south until you find the ocean”) and Casey and I caught up on each other’s children and lives. I wished, for the first of a hundred times during this cruise, that we lived closer to one another. There’s nothing like friends that you can be yourself around!
As we chatted, Chris' job became more challenging as a misty rain settled over our car and all of the Tuesday morning commuters. Thankfully, we continued south without very much in the way of traffic. The rain cleared as we crossed over the Galveston Causeway around nine. We cheerfully discussed where to find a coffee shop and then my phone rang. I answered, wondering what I’d forgotten to tell mom.
It wasn’t mom.
It was the Disney Cruise Line calling to let us know our ship did not come in that morning. Rather the Magic stayed somewhere slightly out in the Gulf delayed due to heavy fog in the Galveston port area. The recorded message recommended we arrive an hour later than our original port arrival time. That meant that our new port arrival time stood at noon.
We swung by EZ Cruise on the off chance they might let us park despite the fact that the previous cruisers cars still occupied the lot. No such luck, so we swung around toward Kempner to park. The new meters on Galveston take cash, credit and interestingly, also pay by phone. We paid for a couple hours and walked up the block to the Starbucks on Harborside Drive.
starbucks by LoriKetcherside, on Flickr Photo Courtesy of Chris
After a round of Frappuccinos and hot chocolates, finally around 11 AM we saw the Disney Magic cruise past making her way into port.
Our ship came in!
And then the phone rang for a second time.
And you are off! I heard about that cruise coming in late due to the fog.
Jill in CO
Looking forward to hearing all about your trip :)
I'm vegan as well with dairy and egg allergy and a few other health issues so I love reading about those who have done this with special requests. We are planning our first ever cruise for Feb 2014 :)
Subbing :thumbsup2 We were on this cruise with you (and the one in April :goodvibes) The deal on this one was way too good to pass up. I will really miss DCL when it leaves in January, but we gave them as much of our money as we could while they have been here! :rotfl:
Looking forward to your TR. :)
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