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Old 10-09-2012, 09:31 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cordova, TN
Posts: 229

Cruisin for a bruisin: Our Fantasy Vacation 9/29-10/6

We had an amazing time on our very first cruise on the fantasy this past week! But somehow, my son ended up with a black eye and I had bruises all over my arms and legs I guess we were just having too much fun

Cast of characters:
Me-Nicole, 31
DH-Josh, 32
DS-Ari, 4

Day 1
We left our home in Cordova, TN (just outside of Memphis) around 9:30 pm on 9/26 for the 13 hour drive (plus and extra hour due to changing time zones) to Orlando. My husband was such a trooper and drove the whole way. My son slept through the whole night and was such a great little traveler. I slept for maybe about 2 hours, but was too uncomfortable to sleep the rest of the way. We decided that we will no longer drive in the middle of the night! We stopped in Gainesville for breakfast and to drive by our alma mater (Go Gators!). We arrived to Orlando around 11:30 and were able to get an early check-in at the Hilton Parc Soleil . Wow this place was beautiful. I will post some pictures later if I can figure out how to do it. We shared a two bedroom suite with my mother and stepfather who drove up from s. fla to see us for the weekend. It looked brand new with hardwood floors and beautiful furnishings. We put down our luggage and changed into our swimsuits to head to the pool. The pool area was huge and had an awesome water slide that my son probably rode about 30 times! We had a really yummy lunch poolside and just relaxed by the pool for a while. After my family arrived we went to dinner at T-REX in Downtown Disney. This place is great for young boys. The food is a little pricey, but IMHO is much better than Rainforest's food. We walked around downtown disney for a while until my son fell asleep in our arms and then headed back to the hotel for bed.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:48 AM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cordova, TN
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Day 2

The next day we woke up, had a yummy home cooked breakfast in our hotel room and then headed back to the pool again to relax for the morning. Around noon we headed back up to the room to shower, have lunch, and take a nap. At 2:30 we got up and got dressed for MNSSHP and left by 3:15. We all wore our pirate costumes we were using for pirate night so it worked out bc we got to wear them twice It was pouring when we arrived at MK so we all bought some ponchos. Having not lived in florida for 10 years now, I forgot that the rain only lasts for 10 seconds and by the time we were done purchasing the ponchos it had stopped raining It ended up working out ok though because they came in handy later in the cruise. We took the monorail over to MK and got our wristbands and trick or treat bags. I had not been to MK in 13 years so going again brought back so many memories . I have to say we were SPOILED by MNSSHP and don't know if we could do MK on a typical day. The longest we waited in a line was 20 min for Peter Pan. Most other rides we walked right on. We rode rides from 4-7 and then started some trick or treating with rides in between. We saw the first parade and the villians show at the castle which was great. We were around 3 rows back for the show and then got in line very quickly for pictures with the evil queen and captain hook. After the shows we rode more rides with no wait. We did Mike's laugh factory and my son was chosen to talk to the monsters . This made his night. We rode a few more rides, did some shopping in the gift shop and left the gates around 11:45. There was a huge line at the monorail and we found out that one of the cars was stuck on the tracks so we had to wait FOREVER to get on the monorail. My son had fallen asleep again and we had rented a stroller in disney so my husband was carrying him. Not one person on the monorail would let him sit down and he had to stand and hold him on the ride back! People were not using thier Disney manners that night. I think we got back to the hotel at 1:30 am and went straight to bed because we needed to get up early the next day to head to Port Canaveral
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:29 AM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cordova, TN
Posts: 229

Day 3

We had a 12-12:30 port arrival time and we were using park n cruise so we wanted to get on the road by 10 am. We woke up about 8, showered, ate breakfast, said goodbye to my parents and hit the road. It took us about an hour to get to park n cruise. We pulled right through the hangar and they took our bags and asked us what ship we were on. I got out and paid while my husband and son parked the car. We boarded the bus and headed to the Fantasy! Park n Cruise unloaded our luggage and we left it with the porter. We went through security and up the escalator. By the time we got in line to check in and take our security photo is was 12 on the dot. We took our photo and then took my son to get his wrist band. My husband waited in line to take pictures with mickey, but by the time we got there Minnie was there. My son was mad and pouted through the pictures because he wanted mickey We got in line to board, took our photos and had our names called as we went on to the ship

The lobby was so beautiful! We went up the grand staircase and started wandering around the ship. We went towards the aft and ran into europa. We took some fun photos in the motorcycle and sidecar and then decided to head to lunch. I had heard cabanas can be crazy on embarkation day so we went to the buffet at enchanted garden. I was surprised to see people outside the restaurant with wet wipes to sanitize your hands, but thought it was a great way to help stop the spread of germs. There were very few people there and we had a nice, relaxing lunch. After lunch we headed to our room.

We had a 6B verandah room on the port side of the ship, 7188. This is the last cabin on the port side before the ship starts curving backwards. I looked over the side of the verandah and thought we need to get 7190 on the next cruise because the balcony was HUGE! Ours was great though even if it was a standard size. The metal only comes up to your shins and did not interefere with our view at all sitting or standing. It was also a great place to rest your legs. I enjoyed being on the port side because we had a view of each port and could still see part of castaway cay near the post office. We also got to see cuba as we were sailing by. It is a beautiful island and hopefully US citizens will be able travel there in my lifetime. After unpacking a little and enjoying the stateroom we put on our swimsuits and got ready for the muster drill. After the muster drill we headed up to deck 11 for the sail away party We got some drinks from the soda station and ice cream from the self-serve bar and enjoyed the sail away party. DS was so excited and danced so hard he almost fell down the stairs! After the sail away party we went back to the room to freshen up for dinner.

We had the early dinner seating which I think was a mistake. We thought it would be good to eat early with having a young son, but he was cruisin for a bruisin by the end of dinner because it was so long and then we barely made it to any of the shows because they didn't start until 8:30 and DS was exhausted by then. On the next cruise, we will do the later seating and take advantage of dine and play. Our dining rotation was AERAEER, our table was 104. It was an ok table. It was in the middle of the room in animators so we didn't get any crush interaction. In royal and enchanted it was near a window which was nice, but we didn't get to see the sky change and were not near any murals Our head server was Fitz from Jamacia, our server was Dewayne from Jamacia, and our Asst Server was Jose from Peru. Jose is pretty new to the ship and you could tell he was still learning. He tried really hard and was a nuce guy, but you could tell he had a hard time keeping up with so many tables. We would often be left with empty glasses for several minutes and Dewayne was often picking up his slack. He also seemed a little to shy, but we enjoyed him. I really didn't understand the point of Fitz. He would just come around each night and ask if everything was ok. When we said yes, he would leave. I really think the head servers are unnecessary, but this is my first cruise, so what do I know. Dewayne was awesome! Pretty much any request we had he delivered. We knew he was busy, but he never let it show and we always felt like we were his only table. He could tell we were uncomfortable with our table mates the first night and he moved them without us even asking. On the first night, DS ordered dessert and only ate the sprinkles off of it. The next night, he brought a plate of just sprinkles for DS to eat made in the shape of his name. The next night a mickey head, and another night, the word mickey written in sprinkles. One morning we ate breakfast in enchanted garden and DS had remembered he ate mint chocolate chip ice cream there for lunch on the first day. Dewayne heard him mention it and he went back to the galley and got some out of the walk-in just for him. It was frozen solid and they pryed it out for him. DS demolished his pizza each night and Dewayne brough extra for him without us even having to ask. We also asked for lots of extra appetizers, main courses, and desserts each night and he always delivered with no problem. He also noticed that my husband would sometimes sit on the same side of the table and DS and I and sometimes across from us. He started setting up two place settings and wait to see where DH would sit before moving one. There were probably some other things that Dewayne did that I can't remember but he was great.

The first night we had tablemates and they had no interest in interacting with us. I made eye contact and gave a smile and had no response back. It made dinner very uncomfortable. At the end of dinner, DH said to Dewayne "So we're stuck with them all week?". Dewayne did not say anything at the time, but the next night, we were dining alone, so I think he had them moved. I don't remember the food I had at AP, but I remember I enjoyed all of it. I know some people on the boards have complained about the food but I thought everything I ate was great except for 1 or 2 dishes. The crush show was fun and DS was entertained throughout the meal.

After dinner, DS wanted to try out the kids club so we took him there to let him play before the show. We dropped him off and went to look at our first few photos a shutters. When we went to pick him up, he asked us why we came back so early and told us not to come back for 149 minutes DH and I decided to go see the opening night show ourselves. We sat through about 10 minutes of the show and thought it was very corny so we decided to go back to our room and enjoy the verandah for a little while. We relaxed in the room, ordered some room service and then went to go pick up DS. He still did not want to leave the kids club, but it was well past his bed time and he could barely keep his eyes open so we took him back to the room for bed.

I was very nauseous the first night and had alot of trouble sleeping due to all of the rocking and vibration of the ship. I had never been on a cruise so I was not sure if it was the room or just the boat itself, but decided I was going to see if we could get a different room the next morning.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:01 AM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cordova, TN
Posts: 229

Day 4, Cruise Day 2-At Sea Day

I woke up very early in the morning due to the ship movement and decided to check out the gym. It was already very crowded around 7:30 am and all the regular ellipticals, bikes, and treadmills were taken. I had wanted to participate in a spinning class because this is my form of exercise at home, but the 4 pm time did not fit in well with the 5:45 dinner; therefore, I hopped on a spin bike. I did my own little 30 min spin class and then left. The gym is very nice but it is way too small for a ship that holds 4000 people.

After working out, I went up to guest services to see about getting a different room. Jocelyn from South Africa tried to help me out. She found me another room that was midship on deck 7, but the vibration was essentially the same so I turned it down. She continued to check on me throughout the cruise to make sure I was feeling ok. After the 2nd day and using the sea bands I got used to the movement of the ship and the nausea was rarely an issue.

I went back to the room and DH and DS were just getting up. I showered while they got dressed and we headed to breakfast at royal court. I figured cabanas would be jam packed and wanted to see what a sit down breakfast would be like. Dewayne also told us he would be there that day and we wanted to get to know him more personally. There was barely anyone in the restaurant so we got to interact with him alot. DS had a sword and sheild with him from the Royal Knigth Package he had at BBB and Dewayne and the RC restaurant manager played with him. He really enjoyed thier attention. DS had waffles and pancakes, DH had an omlette, and I had the waffle stack. It was very sweet and I got a huge sugar rush! DS didn't eat much of his breakfast and DH said his omlette was just fine so we decided we would try breakfast in cabanas the next day.

After breakfast we headed up to the pool area for some sun, swimming, and the aquaduck. DH and I decided not to go in the pools because they looked pretty nasty and were very crowded so we just grabbed chairs near the pool and watched DS from there. Even though he is only 4 he is a great swimmer and we knew the water was not deep so he did just fine with us less than 15 ft away. DS and I rode the aquaduck twice and the 3 of us played minigolf. We grabbed lunch at luigis and it was pretty good. We hung out by the pool until about 3 and then went back to the room to shower and get ready for formal night. We went downstairs early to take advantage of all the photo opportunities for formal night. DH and DS wore tuxedos and I had a black satin mermaid style floor length dress. We had dinner in enchanted garden and then went up to shutters to view our pictures. They did an amazing job and we decided then and there to order our photo cd. We went down to deck 3 to do some shopping in the gift shops and then got in line to see the show. Somehow I tripped on my dress walking down the stairs in the theatre and took a huge tumble down 5 steps and two rows of seats. This is where my first bruise came from. I had a nice green and purple swollen spot on my ankle. Luckily I didn't twist it or sprain it. I was quite embarrassed and people probably thought I was drunk but I hadn't even had one drop of alcohol. DS fell asleep in DH's lap while waiting for the show to start but the two of us watched it. I am not sure how I felt about the show. I kind of liked it, but I expected it to be a serious story and not so much of a comedy. I don't think I really liked all the pop culture references and would have preferred just a straight Alladin musical. After the show we headed back to the room, but DS to bed and spent some time on the balcony before heading to bed. I don't know if I was used to the motion or just tired or both, but I slept alot better the second night.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:49 AM   #5
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Great report! Signing on..
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:44 AM   #6
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I'm in. You are doing a great job.

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Old 10-10-2012, 03:43 PM   #7
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enjoying your report..
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:11 PM   #8
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I'm really enjoying your report also! More please!
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:55 PM   #9
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cordova, TN
Posts: 229

Day 5, Cruise Day 3-Grand Cayman

I woke up early again, but this time I felt much more refreshed and had slept much better than the first night. I went back to the gym for my 30 min and came back to the room to shower and get ready for breakfast and our first port of call. The boys were just getting up once again but we got everything together and headed to breakfast at cabanas.

It was very crowded and we had a hard time finding a seat for breakfast. There is a huge variety of food at cabanas for breakfast and I enjoyed the food I ate. I had croissants, walnuts, fruit, bacon, and asparagus for breakfast. After breakfast we headed down to the atrium for some character meet and greets and pictures until it was time to begin the tendering process.

We did not have any wait to get on a tender boat and got over to the island quickly. We walked around the port area for a little while and then headed over to a local restaurant, The Brasserie, for lunch. We found the restaurant on open table and thought it looked good so we made a reservation before we left for the cruise. It was about a mile walk from the port and we did some shopping along the way. The lunch was based on local recipes and used a farm to table concept. The catch the fish they serve daily and have a garden right behind the restaurant where they get most of thier fruits and vegetables. We had oxtail tacos, bruschetta with local vegetables, pumpkin soup, pepperpot stew and sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Everything was tasty.

We started walking back to the port and halfway there, my husband realized he had left his backpack at the restaurant and decided to send me back to get it . I ran the half-mile back to the restaurant and retrieved the bag. Luckily there was nothing in there of value and nothing had been disturbed. I walked back to where my husband and son were and we walked the rest of the way back to the port. We did a little more shopping on the way back and got caught in a storm, but not to worry, we had our ponchos from the MNSSHP that we never used We headed back to the ship and showered and got ready for dinner.

Royal Court was on the docket for tonight. I don't remember what we ate in particular but it was good. We had another table by a porthole which was nice, but we were also right near one of the service stations so it was a little busy. Tonight, Dewayne brought Ari a plate full of sprinkles in the shape of a mickey head After dinner, we let Ari go to the kids club and we went and had a drink at Oh La La. Damien was working there and made up some yummy champagne cocktails. I remember his name from someone else's trip report and asked him about the squished frog. He asked me where I knew about it from and told him about the trip report on the DISBOARDS. He was honored that someone had spoken so highly of him. He told us this was his first rotation in Oh La La, but seemed to be doing a great job. After Oh La La, we went to skyline for a few drinks. I didn't really care for skyline but it may just have been because there were some loud, obnoxious people in there. The changing of the skylines was not as cool as I thought it would be and I didn't really care for the drinks. We did order a squished frog which was tasty, but the had to go ask Damien how to make it

After some drinks we went to look at more pictures at shutters and noticed that our prints book was full. We talked to someone at shutters and she took the pictures out and said they would hold them until the last day in an envelope with our room number. This made me leary, but I reluctantly agreed. We picked up our son from the kids club, prepared everything for the next day, and turned in for the night.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:21 PM   #10
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cordova, TN
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Day 6, Cruise Day 4-Costa Maya

Woke up early again this morning to beautiful weather Did my workout then went to breakfast at cabanas. After breakfast, we did the midship detective agency. DS chose the case of the missing puppies and he really enjoyed the experience. He loved holding up his clue card to the pictures and manipulating it to find clues. He was so excited that his favorite villian, captain hook, was the one who stole the puppies

After the dectective agency, we went back up to cabanas for a quick lunch and then went down to the buena vista theatre to meet up with our group for the chaccacoben mayan ruins. We waited in the theatre for for about 20 minutes and then they started dismissing us row by row to head to the port. They gave us stickers to wear and told us to look for someone holding a sign that matched our sticker when we got to the end of the pier. We met up with our group and headed to the busses. Our guide for the excursion was Estep and our bus driver was Pancho. The bus ride to the ruins was about 45 min long and our tour guide talked almost the whole time. He mixed comedy and history and we really enjoyed him. DS took a nap on the way over so it worked out great. When we got to the ruins there was a little "village" area where you could get a snack and buy souviners. We stopped there for about 15 minutes and then he blew a whistle to assemble us to begin the tour. We got to see 3 different pyramids and take pictures at each one. Our tour guide would talk about each site for a few minutes, open it up for questions, an then give us about 15 minutes to explore each site. We were not sure how DS would handle this excursion with only being 4, but he LOVED the pyramids. He thought they were old castles and loved climbing them and taking pictures on them. We throughouly enjoyed the whole tour and learned alot. At the end of the tour we had a choice of water or mexican coke (made with real sugar) whild getting on the bus and took a nap during the drive back. When we got back to the port we tipped our guide and driver and headed straight back to the ship because it was all aboard time.

We quickly got ready for dinner and headed to animator's for the special show on the second night. It was so neat to see the animation and got some good pictures and videos of it. We once again dropped DS off in the kids club and intended on going to the show, but I ended up dozing off in the room and DH went to get DS from the kids club.

I really wish the shows were more immediately after dinner because it is easy to get side tracked and you end up missing the show. We booked a 4 day bahamas cruise for 5/12/13 while onboard and made sure to request the late dining to see if that will work better for us.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:52 PM   #11
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Sounds like your first cruise is going great. Looking forward to reading more of your report. thanks for sharing
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:52 PM   #12
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cordova, TN
Posts: 229

Day 7, Cruise Day 5-Cozumel

I did not sleep well this night due to a crazy thunder and lightning storm that woke me up around 4 am. I was kind of neat to see through the slider out to the verandah, but also a little scary. We did not have good weather in cozumel and I was glad that we had booked an indoor excursion.

Port arrival time was early so I skipped the gym this morning and we went straight down to breakfast in enchanted garden. We figured everyone would be in cabanas early and did not want to fight the crowds. Also, Dewayne and Jose told us they would be working there that morning and asked us to join them for some magic tricks.

The buffet at enchanted garden was not crowded at all, but still had a nice selection of foods that cabanas offers. DS ate his breakfast and then asked for mint chocolate chip ice cream because he remembered having it in that restaurant the first day we ate lunch there. As we were telling him there was no ice cream available today, Dewayne walked away. A few minutes later, he came back with a cup of ice cream! He told us he had a friend in the galley and they went into the walk-in freezer, and dug some out just because Ari mentioned it. You could tell that is what happened because the ice cream was super hard. Ari was very thankful and we were just amazed at the things the servers do for their guests. It really makes the whole experience so special and I can see why people keep coming back to DCL over and over again

After breakfast we got off the boat. It was raining and we were once again glad we had our ponchos. We booked a tour on our own at kaokao chocolates damarsicheli, a tour I had heard about from the DISBOARDS. Our reservations were not until 11 am so we walked around the port area and did some shopping. We also took some pictures with parrots and a man in a gold lame' outfit and painted in gold body paint. After about an hour we got a cab to take up to the chocolate factory. I was really glad that we brought the directions from the website because the cab driver had a hard time finding it. It is basically just in a house on a side street and it is pretty new. It was a $10 cab ride each way and just $10/per adult so the total cost of the excursion was only $40

We got to the factory around 10:30 and were greeted by the family with some yummy samples. It is a husband a wife and their family that run the tour. The wife is from france and the husband is from spain and they moved to mexico several years ago. They became interested in chocolate and its history and started making in. They just planted their own kaokao trees on a friends land in cozumel and will know if 4 years if they were successful. Right now, they get their chocolate from the tobasco region of mexico. We also got to watch a video on the history of chocolate within the mayan culture that we would not have gotten to watch if we had just arrived on time.

At 11 our tour guide Joshua came in and started the presentation. He talked about the history of the mayans and how they used chocolate in rituals and their daily lives. He was very knowledgeable and entertaining. After the presentation, he brought us to a room set up where we could make our own drinking chocolate. Everyone in the group got to take turns grinding the cocoa nibs and then he added the other ingredients to make it into chocolate. He let us sample it and then put it into little cups for us to take home.

Finally we went into another room of chocolate that had already been manufactured and got to sample little bits of each kind. They were all very good and we bought one of each type: dark, milk, white, dark coconut, dark hazelnut, dark coffee. I typically do not like dark chocolate, but theirs is so good and not bitter at all. I also bought some lip balm made from true cocoa butter for $4 this is so much better than my $24 sugar treat from sephora. Finally we got some honey with cocoa nibs mixed in. It is sooo tasty. The honey tastes so much better than honey you can get in the grocery store. We bought so much stuff that they gave us a free chocolate bar

Our cab driver had waited for us and there was another family looking to go back to the port so we shared a cab with them. DS sat in the back with their 9 year old daughter and had fun making conversation with her . We wanted to eat some authentic mexican food and I had read on trip advisor that La Choza was a good place so we had the cab driver drop us off there. The food was great. We had pico, guacamole, a mexican soup with hominy, beans, chicken, and tortilla pieces, mole, flank steak, and flan for dessert. Everything was AMAZING.

The restaurant was only a few blocks from the port so we walked back and stopped at a tequila shop along the way. They were giving out some free samples so we tried a few The tequila was good, but really expensive so we just bought a couple 200ml bottles of our favorite flavor. We walked back to port and headed back to the ship.

We called down to BBB to see if we could change the time of my son's "makeover" for pirate night because the time we had scheduled interfered with the "early" pirate party. We were in luck because they had an opening in 30 min so we quickly showered and dressed him up in his captain hook costume. He was captain hook for halloween last year and the costume still fit him so we were able to bring it along with us and only had to do the $35 package instead of the $99 package .

When we got to BBB they showed him a picture of 3 make-up choices and of course he chose the captain hook look. It had very defined eyebrows and a moustache and patchy beard. After doing the make up they gave him a hook, medallion necklace, earring, and handkerchief. He also got a pirate tatoo on his hand. DS decided the only parts he wanted were the hook and tattoo because "captain hook doesn't wear those other things" Because he did not want to wear them, my husband got to jazz up his jack sparrow costume They had him repeat a pirate oath and then announced to the BBB that there was a new pirate and everyone clapped and cheered

After BBB he wanted to go to the kids club so we let him go there while DH and I went back to the room to get dressed in our pirate gear. When we picked up DS from the kids club, he had a magical moment certificate for having the best pirate costume in the kids club After picking him up, we went downstairs for some photos and then on to dinner. We were in enchanted garden again for pirate night. The menu was just ok and I did not care for the jerk chicken salad I had as one of the courses. I also didn't care for any of the dessert offerings so I just asked for some ice cream for dessert. We bought one of the light-up pirate glasses they were selling for the night and headed up to deck 11 for the early pirate party

DS really enjoyed the pirate party. It wasn't that crowded and the weather was nice. I little cool and a little windy. We were just a few rows back and could see everything easily. After the show we went back to our room for a little while. We intended on going back upstairs for the fireworks show, but ended up falling asleep in our full pirate costumes and makeup We thought we would hear the fireworks from our room, but I guess we were knocked out because we never heard them.
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