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Old 09-22-2008, 11:48 AM   #1
dolphingirl47
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Two Trips to Paradise

Day 1: September 1st 2008

Today our adventure really begins. As per usual when we get to Orlando, we were wide awake by 5:00 am. I decided to unpack the new Macbook that I bought at the airport in the UK and make good use of the free wireless internet at the hotel. I had my heart set on the first DCL bus. I had heard that this leaves about 9:00 am. We left the hotel at 8:15 and the hotel shuttle dropped us in the right area for the Disney Welcome Centre. When we got there, the DCL transportation check in desks were not even open, but they allowed us to check in at the Disney's Magical Express check in. We were advised that the first bus would leave after 9:30 and were taken to the luggage cages where we were able to drop of our checked luggage. I went up to the terminal to go shopping in Lush (they still do a bath bomb in the USA that was discontinued in the UK about 10 years ago and just happened to be my favourite) and then to Starbucks for a Green Tea Frappuccino. I then went back down to meet up with DH who had found himself a seat near the Disney Welcome Centre. We decided to head outside to soak up the sunshine and watched the world go by. Close to 9:30 I went inside to check with a cast member where we would get the bus from. He advised us to sit down near the Disney Welcome Centre and they would come and get us when the bus has arrived. About 30 minutes later we were called and escorted to a queuing area. At 10:15 we were finally on our way. On the bus they showed a video about the Disney Cruise Line and the ships and when that finished, we were nearly at the port. I got my first glimpse of the Magic and started to well up.

There seemed to be long lines first at security at the entrance to the terminal and then again at check in, but they moved very quickly. We were in boarding group 4. We had some time to say "hi" to some people from our cruise meet thread. We were given some lanyards that some people on that thread had made for everybody. DH was a little reluctant at first, but when I explained to him that this was a good place to put his Key to the World card and photo ID, he soon changed his mind. Shortly after midday our boarding group was called and we proceeded through the Mickey ears. We had a photo taken, but that part is a bit of a blur. We entered the ship, were announced and got our first glimpse of the breathtaking atrium. The plan had been to go to Rockin Bar D where we could sign up for reservations for the adult only restaurant Palo, but somehow I got confused and we ended up aft instead of forward. A cast member tried to intercept us and wanted to send us up to deck 9 for lunch at Topsiders, but having read the Disboards for the past 9 months, I stood firm and we ended up eating at Parrot Cay on deck 3. Lunch was great and with that done, we did make a second attempt to find the bar where we could make reservations for Palo. I tried to make reservations online as soon as I could 75 days prior to the cruise, but was unsuccessful. When we got to the bar, they only had a reservation left for the first night, but that went as well before the cast member had finished his sentence. I was quite relieved as I did want to spend the first night in our designated dining room for that night. We had been assigned to Animators Palate for our first dinner and this was the only time we would eat in that particular dining room whereas we had two evenings at Parrot Cay and Lumieres. He did offer to put us on the waiting list for both brunch and dinner.

DH made himself comfortable in one of the huge portholes on deck 3 for a while until I became impatient. We had been advised that our stateroom would be ready at 1:30 and it was nearly that time. So we headed up to deck 6. When we got there, the corridors to the staterooms were still roped off and we had to wait another 20 minutes or so. When we finally got there, we were both blown away by how spacious it was. We had a sideways category 11 standard inside cabin for this cruise. Once we had a look around and put down our carry on bags, we decided to go exploring. We headed up to deck 9 and ended up at the Vista Spa. We were given a tour of the spa and instantly fell in love with the Rainforest Room, an area with heated tile loungers, two steam rooms, a mild aroma therapy sauna, a rain shower and a fog shower as well as an ordinary shower that had water coming from both the top and the sides. We ended up getting length of cruise passes for both of us. We then had a look at the pool areas and headed up to deck 10 for the view. We saw so many brown pelicans that it is hard to believe that they are an endangered species. Soon it was time to head back to our cabin to get our life vests for the mandatory safety drill.

The safety drill could only be described as a shambles. I have never ever seen something so badly organised and chaotic. This kind of put a big question mark over what would happen if there was really an emergency. The assembly area was far too small for all the people who had to report to it. There were also other people trying to get past us to go to their assembly stations. People were joking around and taking photos. For the most I could not hear the names the cast members called. Then an announcement came and we were all dismissed before they had finished calling names. Still, I was glad to get rid of my life vest.

We had decided against going to the sail away party. We headed to the Vista Spa and the Rainforest Room instead. I relaxed in a tile lounger. They are amazingly comfortable. DH did the rounds of the steam rooms and the sauna. Now I am normally a steam room kind of girl, but these steam rooms were a little bit much for me. The mild steam room was OK for 5 minutes or so, the other one was a definite no no. To my immense surprise, I really enjoyed the sauna. So I spent some time there and then headed back to a tile lounger. The showers kind of defeated me that first day. I could not get the fog shower to work at all and the rain shower was ice cold. We decided to call it a day and got changed. As we came out of the changing rooms, we headed for the gym that was completely empty at the time. The only people there were two cast members. We watched while we moved out to the open sea from the panorama windows at the gym and talked to the cast members.

Once we were out to sea, we returned to our cabin. Most of our baggage had arrived. However, I got a little worried that a package that had been sent to the ship had not arrived. I had ordered some custom jewellery from the USA for formal night back in July and that was lost by Royal Mail. So the seller made me another set and I asked her to sent it straight to the Magic. As I had been told that packages would be waiting in the staterooms, I was a little worried that it had not arrived. So I headed back to guest services. I started to think that this jewellery was simply not meant to be. Guest services made a couple of calls and then advised me that our stateroom host was on the case. About 15 minutes later, our stateroom host came with the package and the missing item of baggage.

We decided to carry on exploring. We had a walk round the promenade deck on deck 4, but could not go round all the way as they had closed off parts of it. We then had a look around the shops and said "hi" to the people at the DVC desk and were given some bright red DVC baseball caps. As we were not interested in the variety show that was on that night, we headed back up to deck nine. We got some drinks from the soda station and some fresh fruit from Goofy's Galley and sat down to watch the sunset. Close to our dinner time, it got very windy and the sea was getting a bit rough. We headed down to deck four and got in line for Animators Palate. Soon we were shown to our table. We were at a table for 8 with a couple from North Carolina and a couple from the Netherlands. The fourth couple did not show. I don't think that first night anybody knew what to make of the experience. We were first time cruisers and the couple from North Carolina were on their first Disney Cruise. The Dutch couple were repeat cruisers and they helped us to get into the routine. Our server team was wonderful as well. We had Toto from the Philipines as our server and Gidion from Indonesia as his assistant. They made us feel completely at ease and explained how dinners work on the Magic. The food was wonderful. I have to say I was bitterly disappointed by Animators Palate though. I suppose there is such a hype around that dining room and the reality simply did not live up to that. We saw none of the gradual addition of colour. Colour started appearing and then disappeared again and it went through this cycle multiple times. After we had been served our desert, our server asked us to stay behind for a while. All the servers left while we were shown video clips and then came back with colourful vests and ties. They were then joined by Sorcerer Mickey, which was the highlight of the show for me as I had never seen Sorcerer Mickey as a character before. By that time we were more than ready for our bed. We said good night to our table mates and went back to our cabin.

While we were at dinner, our stateroom host had been to do a turn down service and he left us an elephant made from towels as well as some chocolates. We went to bed and it was a bit of an experience to lay down on a rocking bed. After being a bit jumpy at first, I slept really well.

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Old 09-22-2008, 07:15 PM   #2
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What a great first day Corinna! It sounds much more relaxed then our chaotic first night. I can't wait to read the rest!
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Old 09-24-2008, 04:46 PM   #3
dolphingirl47
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Day 2: September 2nd 2008

We woke up shortly before 6:00 am and decided to go up to the drinks station on deck 9 for some coffee. With our coffees in our hands we headed further forward and saw the most beautiful sunrise. We saw some land in the distance and decided to hang around. Sure enough, the land soon turned into Castaway Cay. I got my first glimpse of this bit of paradise and I was quite sure that I have never seen anything quite so beautiful.

We decided to go and get some breakfast. I really wanted to try Lumieres as I had seen that they do Eggs Benedict for breakfast. This is one of my guilty pleasures and was quite fantastic at Lumieres.

After breakfast we headed back to our cabin to put our swim gear on underneath our clothes and pick up the sun block. When we got to our cabin, the message light on our phone was flashing. there was a message that our excursion for that day (Personal Watercraft Eco Tour, essentially a jet ski ride around the island had been cancelled).

So we headed out and decided to go straight to the adult beach at Serenity Bay. On the way to the tram stop, I had my photo taken with Daisy and both of us had a photo taken with the Magic in the background. When we got off the tram at the family beach, I encountered Pluto with hardly a line. So I needed a cuddle and a photo with him as well. Then it was onto the tram for Serenity Bay.

DH headed straight for the water, but I was a little more reluctant. I was just wading in the shallows. We saw other people with Inner Tubes and decided to go and explore where we could get them from. At $6 for the day they seemed like good value. We got one and DH was pushing me about while I was lounging in my gently moving Inner Tube. At some stage I decided to go for a swim, but I exited the Inner Tube and ended up swallowing what felt like half the ocean. Still, it did not deter me and once I had stopped coughing and spluttering, I swam back to the beach to reapply some more sun block and then it was back to my Inner Tube and more fun in the water.

Once lunch was served, we went over to get some food. This was essentially a barbecue with various breads and salads, but we really enjoyed it even though DH usually hates barbecues. We were joined for lunch be one couple that we were sharing the table with for dinner and this gave us a good chance to get to know each other.

After lunch we decided that we essentially had enough sun and that it was time to head back to the ship. DH had one last swim and I actually managed to find myself an empty hammock that I relaxed in until he had enough of the sea. We then headed back to the ship.

I decided to go to distribute my Fish Extender gifts, but only managed to do three decks as I had so many cabins to do. We attended the DVC member celebration and I won a great new beach towel and we were given all kinds of neat goodies like a captains log book with lanyards. They did not have any record of us being on board, so they gave us our goodies at the meet rather than putting them in our stateroom on our first night.

After, the meet we headed upstairs to the Rainforest Room and I chilled out on the tile loungers while DH made the rounds of the steam rooms. When we had enough, it was time for me to have a shower and then to head for the show.

The show that evening was The Golden Mickeys. This was kind of an awards show and I really enjoyed it. After the show, I browsed the shops for a bit and then met up with DH to go to dinner. The second night we had dinner at Parrot Cay and the food was again fantastic. The whole affair was a lot more relaxed than the first evening and we had a great time chatting to the other couples.

On the first night, the Dutch couple on our table mentioned to our assistant server, who was from Indonesia, that on the previous cruise they got to know one of the chefs, who was also from Indonesia, and that he cooked Nasi Goreng and Chicken Satay for them one evening and they wondered if that chef was still working on the Magic. He happened to be on his two months off the ship, but the on our second evening they were welcomed with a huge plate of Nasi Goreng and Chicken Satay each. They had also made some extra so that we could all try some. The rest of our table was not very adventurous when it came to food, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was absolutely blown away that in an environment where they have to cater for nearly 2000 people they would still be able to do something like this, just to make somebody's vacation that little more magical.

By desert we needed match sticks to keep our eyes open so we headed to bed after dinner. I was thrilled to find a towel swan on our bed that our stateroom host had made for us. Again we slept very well with a gently rocking ship rocking us the sleep.





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Old 09-26-2008, 02:34 PM   #4
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I went up to the terminal to go shopping in Lush (they still do a bath bomb in the USA that was discontinued in the UK about 10 years ago and just happened to be my favourite)
dolphingirl47
I LOVE Lush! My favorite shower gel was the "B Never to Busy to B Beautiful" which was discontinued in the U.S. (actually, we may not ever have had it, but my mom used to bring it home to me from the UK). Now you can only get it at the special "B" store (and of course, its pricey!). Have you tried the bath bombs at Basin? I have found a few I really like there too.
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Old 09-27-2008, 07:52 AM   #5
dolphingirl47
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I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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Originally Posted by travelgirl06 View Post
I LOVE Lush! My favorite shower gel was the "B Never to Busy to B Beautiful" which was discontinued in the U.S. (actually, we may not ever have had it, but my mom used to bring it home to me from the UK). Now you can only get it at the special "B" store (and of course, its pricey!). Have you tried the bath bombs at Basin? I have found a few I really like there too.
I do like Basin, but have always been disappointed by their bath bombs. I suppose I am spoiled by Lush. I do love their soaps and and the premium lipbalm though.

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Old 09-27-2008, 01:24 PM   #6
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Sounds like a great vacation!!

Thank you for a great review.
I really look forward to reading them.

Any tips for first timers??
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Old 09-27-2008, 03:46 PM   #7
dolphingirl47
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Day 3: September 3rd 2008

This day was changed around quite a bit. As per itinerary this was supposed to be our day at Nassau. When we checked in at Port Canaveral on the first day, we received a letter advising us that this had been switched with our day at sea. However, the previous evening it was announced that we would be going into Nassau after all, but we would get there about an hour earlier as scheduled and all aboard would already be at 4:00 pm rather than 7:00 pm. After this the storm would come too close for us to be there prior to the end of our cruise.

We actually had a bit of a lie in that they and when we went down for breakfast we were docking in Nassau. We had no excursions planned nor had we made any other plans. From the ship, Nassau looks positively idyllic with all the pastel coloured houses.

We had breakfast and then we went to the adult pool. There were some people in the surrounding sun loungers, but the actual pool area was empty. I got as far as the first step on the ladder and then I turned around. The water was so cold. DH swam laps for a while and I was quite content to sit on the wooden surround with my feet dangling in the shallow pool overflow area. Once DH had done enough swimming, we relaxed in the hot tub for a while and then headed for the Rainforest Room.

Around 11:00 we decided that we should have at least a look at Nassau. So we headed down to deck one to leave the ship. We were the only ship in port. In order to get into town, we had to go through a craft market and we were followed around by people trying to sell us all kinds of stuff (taxi rides, city tours, horse and carriage rides, t shirts, bags, scooter rentals, hair braiding, you name it, they were trying to sell it). I was not too impressed. This picked up a notch when we left the port building. Only then we also had to content with the time share people and people trying to almost drag us into the various shops. I was decidedly unimpressed.

My watch strap had come apart during the night and I had that fixed while in Nassau. Dh got himself a pirate shirt at the Hardrock Café store. He was not really interested in Pirate Night before we left, but suddenly started to get into the spirit the previous night. He was also trying to get a parrot toy for his costume, but no such luck. We even were brave enough to check out the Straw Market, but left this again at the speed of lightning. We quickly checked out where the meeting point for an excursion that DH had arranged privately for our second stop at Nassau was and then we headed back to the ship less than 90 minutes after we left it.

I was quite hungry by then and decided to have some lunch at Topsiders. The food was great, but I really did not care for the restaurant. It just seemed cramped and chaotic. The outdoor seating area was closed due to high winds which did not help either. Still, I had great views of Atlantis, which is truly stunning.

DH had booked the beer tasting so he went to that shortly after lunch. I decided to hang out in our stateroom for a while and then I headed off to the Martini tasting that I had booked. I had never tried a Martini before, but as I like most cocktails, I thought it would be worth a try. I got there a bit early and started chatting to one of the bartenders who was from Ireland and his contract would end at the end of this cruise. It was so nice talking to him. The Martini tasting itself was great it was just the right mix of being educational and getting to try some different Martinis. We got a Classic Martini, that we had the option to turn into a dirty Martini, followed by an Apple Martini, a Pomegranate Cosmopolitan and a Chocolatini. The one that I was looking forward to the most was the Chocolatini, but I did not really rate this at all. My favourite was the Apple Martini. I ended up sitting with a couple from the Disboards and once the class was over, we stayed behind and chatted for a while. It was so nice to have the chance to get to know some other Disboarders. I have to say, I was not too keen to get up. Even though the Martinis were quite small, they definitely had packed a punch and I felt pleasantly merry.

When I walked by one of the other bars, they were just getting ready for a session of Bingo. As they were also giving away limited edition pins as prizes during the session, I decided to have a go. Even though I did not win anything, I still had a lot of fun.

I decided to have some timeout and headed back to our cabin only to find DH working on his Pirate Night costume. He had got himself a Webkins Toucan from the Mickey's Mates store and was trying to attach it to the t shirt that he had got earlier in Nassau. This was a sight to behold!

The show on that night was some comedian and I was really not interested in this. So I decided to go to a trivia challenge instead. This was quite a humbling experience for me. I am normally quite good at trivia and I did great on the Disney questions, but there were lots of fairly obscure American history questions and even questions about the American school system. I had no chance there. Still, I enjoyed it and non-alcoholic drink of the day (some Mango and Mint concoction - very tasty) that I had during the quiz helped me to get over the after effects of the Martini tasting.

Now that DH was getting so in the Pirate Night spirit, I thought I better at least get myself a Pirate t shirt as well. I got a great t shirt with all kinds of characters dressed as pirates on the back and a modified Disney Cruise Line logo (with a skull and crossbones instead of a Mickey head) on the front. I also picked up an eye patch and a big gold clip on hoop earring for DH.

On the way back to our cabin, I encountered Stitch in Pirate costume. So I just had to get a photo with him. This turned out to be one of the best character interactions that I ever had. Stitch was in a mischievous mood and I was more than happy to play along.

When I got back to the cabin, I got changed into my pirate shirt and put temporary pirate tattoos, that kind people had left in our Fish Extender, on both of us. DH also put on some pirate medallions and his eye patch and earring and then we were ready for dinner. We made a small detour via the Disney Vacation Club desk as we had a message on our phone that they had some loot for us. We got some really nice Disney Pirate tattoos which I decided to keep.

We still had a little time until dinner so I convinced DH to have a proper portrait taken in the lobby. He looked so cute in this pirate outfit that I wanted photograhic proof of this evening. Once the photo was taken, we headed for Parrot Cay, where we were having dinner for the second night running. When we got there, they had bandanas and a special treasure map menu waiting for us. We again had a wonderful dinner and had lots of fun wth our table mates. Our serving team had realised that we were all big kids at heart and started to perform magic tricks in between courses and at the end of the meal. It was so funny. Unfortunately the dessert was the only disappointment food-wise that I had that week. I had ordered the white chocolate cheesecake and it was absolutely tasteless. Other people on our table had ordered other desserts and they were not too impressed with their choices either.

After dinner the others went up to deck 9 for the Pirate party, but we were so tired that we headed straight to our cabin. I went in first and looked on our bed. I was quite sad when I did not see a towel animal. I turned around to put my lanyard on the coffee table, and there it was. Our stateroom host had made us a monkey that was hanging from the curtain rail of the privacy curtain. The monkey was even wearing my sunglasses. Shortly afterwards DH came in who had been talking to somebody in the hallway. He looked over to the bed and looked so disappointed. I did not say a thing. Then he spotted our latest cabin mate and a huge smile lit up his face. We headed for bed. I can remember hearing the fireworks in the distance while dropping off.




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Old 09-28-2008, 03:19 PM   #8
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Day 3: September 3rd 2008

After dinner the others went up to deck 9 for the Pirate party, but we were so tired that we headed straight to our cabin. I went in first and looked on our bed. I was quite sad when I did not see a towel animal. I turned around to put my lanyard on the coffee table, and there it was. Our stateroom host had made us a monkey that was hanging from the curtain rail of the privacy curtain. The monkey was even wearing my sunglasses. Shortly afterwards DH came in who had been talking to somebody in the hallway. He looked over to the bed and looked so disappointed. I did not say a thing. Then he spotted our latest cabin mate and a huge smile lit up his face. We headed for bed. I can remember hearing the fireworks in the distance while dropping off.

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That sounds like the magic!
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Old 09-27-2008, 03:56 PM   #9
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Thank you for a great review.
I really look forward to reading them.

Any tips for first timers??
Only two:
If you are travelling with older kids or just adults, seriously consider late seating. We had late seating for the first cruise as we booked this only about 4 months in advance and that was the only seating that was available. This is much calmer and somewhat more leisurely than main seating from what we saw. On the second cruise I had requested main seating when we booked the cruise, but we changed this as soon as we got on the ship.

Have a look at the Rainforrest Room on the first day. We got length of cruise passes for this on both cruises and practically lived in there.

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Old 12-31-2013, 06:07 PM   #10
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Thanks for the heads up on your report. I'm here.
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You light 'em, they fight 'em. A DVC/Disneyland Resort PTR
http://disboards.com/showthread.php?...1#post51407145
You bet your aft we had a good time: a Disney Wonder trip report
http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3260751





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Old 01-01-2014, 08:16 AM   #11
dolphingirl47
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I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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Thanks for the heads up on your report. I'm here.
Oops, this is the trip report for my first ever cruises in 2008. You may find this helpful as you are embarking on your first cruise. The trip report for the most recent trip can be found under the Scared Silly, But Loving It link. You have not missed anything yet. I have just posted the prologue a couple of days ago and I will post Day 1 tomorrow.

Corinna
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Old 01-02-2014, 12:20 AM   #12
rentayenta

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Originally Posted by dolphingirl47 View Post
Oops, this is the trip report for my first ever cruises in 2008. You may find this helpful as you are embarking on your first cruise. The trip report for the most recent trip can be found under the Scared Silly, But Loving It link. You have not missed anything yet. I have just posted the prologue a couple of days ago and I will post Day 1 tomorrow.

Corinna


Thanks! I'll go there.
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http://disboards.com/showthread.php?...1#post51407145
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http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3260751





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