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Old 04-20-2013, 07:50 AM   #1
jtkboston
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Just off Fantasy Western Apr 13-20 2013 [notes/trip report near end of thread]

Just off the ship. Fantastic week. Weather was good, no rain but some wind at Costa Maya and CC canceled some water-based excursions.
I have Navigators I will scan and post after I get home.

Ship was cleared around 7:15. We got on the airport bus around 8:15 (not the first bus, we ate breakfast without rushing) and to MCO Terminal A around 9:05.
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Last edited by jtkboston; 04-28-2013 at 07:21 PM. Reason: updating to note trip report
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:53 AM   #2
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Glad you had a great time...we really enjoyed our Western last June. We will be leaving for the port in about 60 minutes and we'll take good care of her for you....just too bad about the stormy weather all day today in Port Canaveral.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtkboston View Post
Just off the ship. Fantastic week. Weather was good, no rain but some wind at Costa Maya and CC canceled some water-based excursions.
I have Navigators I will scan and post after I get home.

Ship was cleared around 7:15. We got on the airport bus around 8:15 (not the first bus, we ate breakfast without rushing) and to MCO Terminal A around 9:05.
Welcome home! Can't wait to see your navigators.

I was wondering if you did any excursions? We are cruise soon and were wondering if you had any you would recommend?
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:41 AM   #4
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I was wondering if you did any excursions? We are cruise soon and were wondering if you had any you would recommend?
I did Chacchoben ruins at Costa Maya--interesting for adults, would probably bore kids.
In Cozumel, I swam with dolphins (Dolphinaris) with the 10 & 7 year old kids. 7-year old was a bit nervous, and chilly in the pool, but she enjoyed it anyway. We bought a few pictures (not cheap but great pics).
In Castaway Cay, all 4 of us did the stingray adventure (got the first time slot at 10am), that was fun.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:11 AM   #5
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Cruise Director

Welcome Back! Who was your Cruise Director?
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:02 AM   #6
jtkboston
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Welcome Back! Who was your Cruise Director?
Brent (the Aussie)
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:36 AM   #7
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Welcome back! You picked a great week to be away from Boston!
Glad you had a good time!
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtkboston View Post
I did Chacchoben ruins at Costa Maya--interesting for adults, would probably bore kids.
In Cozumel, I swam with dolphins (Dolphinaris) with the 10 & 7 year old kids. 7-year old was a bit nervous, and chilly in the pool, but she enjoyed it anyway. We bought a few pictures (not cheap but great pics).
In Castaway Cay, all 4 of us did the stingray adventure (got the first time slot at 10am), that was fun.
Thanks!
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by jtkboston View Post
Just off the ship. Fantastic week. Weather was good, no rain but some wind at Costa Maya and CC canceled some water-based excursions.
I have Navigators I will scan and post after I get home.

Ship was cleared around 7:15. We got on the airport bus around 8:15 (not the first bus, we ate breakfast without rushing) and to MCO Terminal A around 9:05.
Can't wait to see the Navigators! Also, thanks for posting airport arrival time. I was wondering how early people can actually get there. After 13 Disney Cruises this is the first time we are flying home directly from the ship (we usually go to WDW for a few days but this year we are going to WDW before the cruise).

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Old 04-20-2013, 11:57 AM   #10
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We do this cruise in one week! How was the water temp at castaway?
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:07 AM   #11
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I can't wait to see the navigators. We are on the Fantasy May 25th...and are counting the days.
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Old 04-21-2013, 02:39 PM   #12
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Just returned as well, got home about 2 hrs ago after the 19 hr drive home.

Parked at Cruise Parking of Port Canaveral. Little more effort, but worth the $100 in savings. Didn't wait for more than 5-10 minutes. Well run and parking area felt safe. Got to the terminal a little late around 2pm, but loved that we got right on with little wait.

Weather was great. Mostly sunny, but not too hot. Humid, but constant breeze/wind kept it comfortable.

Ship was beautiful. Big, lots of walking, but lots of places to explore. Sports deck was great, and loved the Tunnel Vision screen in the pool area. Watched and enjoyed Wings of Life in the Buena Vista Theater. Didn't go to any shows, but watch pieces of them on TV in our room. Room was great, deck 9 aft verandah. Decent amount of room, loved the split bathroom. Plenty of storage space. DS6's favorite thing on the whole boat was the Midship Detective Agency. Obsessed with it, almost annoyingly so, but he had a great time with it.

Avoided the main pool area like the plague, just too crowded, didn't look like fun at all. I'm not usually squeamish at all, but the crowded, cloudy, and very warm Mickey and Donald pool water grossed me out. Kids spent the middle of the sea days in the lab/club, while adults relaxed on the adult deck in the shade near the Serenity Falls(?) pool on the front of the boat (awesome!). Took the kids to the pool and Aquaduck around 4-5 pm for a couple hours before our 8pm dinner seating. My DS6 broke his arm 4 days before leaving for cruise and was in an upper arm to wrist cast, but he was luckily still able to ride and swim, didn't stop him from doing much of anything actually.

Little underwhelmed by the Aquaduck. Nice and all, and certainly unique, but not very exciting. My kids (DS6 and DD10) liked, but didn't love it, but they are adrenaline ride junkies who will go on any roller coaster they are big enough to go on (and whine when they aren't). This is the one place where I think Carnival is a little better, good water slides for the somewhat older kids (I really wanted to ride the "toilet-bowl of death" slide we saw on the Carnival Dream next to us in port), but the splash areas (Nemo and Aqualab) were pretty great.

Kids weren't fans of the Oceaneer Lab/Club at first. I think it was too crowded during that first sea day and left a bad impression, but they warmed up to it later in the trip. Still didn't love it, but generally enjoyed it (and they had no choice, we weren't skipping Remy and Palo.

Food was above average I thought for cruise fare. Cabana's was very good, and the MDR meals were pretty good for mass-produced meals. Servers (Oscar and Marchello) were great. Remy and Palo were awesome, although the 3.5 hr Remy experience is not something I could do very often. Loved the fromage. Sat in disbelief as a neighboring table barely touched their cheese plate, what a waste, almost got up and took it from them.

Didn't do any DCL excursions, organized them all ourselves:

Grand Cayman: Did Dolphin Cove for about half the price of the DCL sponsored Dolphin Discovery. Picked us up and dropped us off with no issues and no problem with time. Very well run with great trainers. Also had birds and a touch tank for the kids as a bonus. Liked the larger, man-made cove connected to the ocean here better than the pools at the other venue. This was the only thing that we had to change for my son due to the broken arm, couldn't do the swim, but was still able to do the encounter (touch, kiss, etc.) Pictures weren't as bad as I have heard from other places, at $75 per CD per family/experience. Kids joked about swimming in dolphin pee, and told them it was better than swimming in kid pee in the ship pools....

Costa Maya: Did the Chacchoben Ruins through Native Choice. Excellent tour. Much better than the one we did several years ago. Small group of 12 people, very personal, lot of background on the Mayan culture and history during both the van ride and the tour itself. Our tour guides Casey and David were great. Casey even did a little side tour with the kids looking at native plants and animals while the adults got some more in-depth info from David. A little work to get to them outside of the main port area, but its not that much further. You may get a little nervous since the area outside the immediate port looks run down, but its just because the area hasn't fully recovered from the 2007 hurricane. Perfectly safe and well worth the minor additional effort.

Cozumel: Took a cab to Paradise Beach ($30 one way for 8 people). Did not disappoint. Beach was nice and kids loved the water toys (even my son with the cast). The water was a little stirred up due to the wind and surf, but cleared up further we went out, and wasn't an issue overall. It was a little rocky in the water, but most Cozumel beaches are like that. Pool and grounds were beautiful, and felt very safe. Everyone had a great time.

Castaway Cay: DW and friends did the 5K, I babysat and brought the kids to breakfast. We spent a few hours on the beach near the Pelican Plunge water slides when the kids spent about 2 hrs trying to catch fish. The water slides were great, fast and loved they way they spit you out about 2 feet above the water. Spent another couple hours on the family beach before heading in. Overall a little more crowded that I would have liked, but a fun day. No doubt beautiful, and good facilities, but the food at Cookies was kind of meh.

Port Canaveral: After disembarking, went to Kennedy Space Center. Probably the least favorite part of the trip. Really expensive at $50/$40 per adult/child. The Saturn V/Apollo center was a highlight, but the rest of it was underwhelming. Might be better once the Atlantis exhibit is done this summer. I remembered being much more impressed 10 yrs ago. Maybe it was all because the kids were tired and generally uninterested, maybe just the cost/enjoyment ratio was low. Several signs and prints indicated how the center is privately run by an outside company on admission revenue only, and that no tax dollars are spent, but if there is someplace that deserves tax money and/or national park/monument/museum status, this should be it. God knows the government spends our tax money of much less worthy things.

Overall, a great trip. Would love to do again in a couple years, but will likely be at least another 5yrs before being able to swing it with all the other vacations we want to do. My wife went to discuss pre-booking another cruise, but it really didn't seem to be a bargain despite the "10%" off. We paid less for this cruise a few months before than they wanted with the discount.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:29 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=UConnJack;48170674]DS6's favorite thing on the whole boat was the Midship Detective Agency. Obsessed with it, almost annoyingly so, but he had a great time with it. Would like to check this out with my 4 year old. Wondering if 4 is too young?

Avoided the main pool area like the plague, just too crowded, didn't look like fun at all. I'm not usually squeamish at all, but the crowded, cloudy, and very warm Mickey and Donald pool water grossed me out. This just sounds so gross. It was the same on the Magic. So glad my daughter wasn't potty trained so unable to go in!

Little underwhelmed by the Aquaduck. Nice and all, and certainly unique, but not very exciting. My daughter doesn't swim on her own. Can she go on with me?...but the splash areas (Nemo and Aqualab) were pretty great. So glad to hear that! Will try and keep my daughter there, rather than the gross pool.

Kids weren't fans of the Oceaneer Lab/Club at first. I think it was too crowded during that first sea day and left a bad impression, but they warmed up to it later in the trip. Thanks for the sea day info. My daughter wouldn't go into the kids club on the Magic. I'm hoping 1.5 years later, she'll give it a try!

Didn't do any DCL excursions, organized them all ourselves:

Costa Maya: Did the Chacchoben Ruins through Native Choice. Excellent tour. Much better than the one we did several years ago. Small group of 12 people, very personal, lot of background on the Mayan culture and history during both the van ride and the tour itself. Our tour guides Casey and David were great. I want to do a tour with Native Choice but we're only in port for 4 1/2 hours and I'm really nervous about getting back to the ship on time. (We NEVER do the ship's tour!) Were you in port longer?

Castaway Cay: We spent a few hours on the beach near the Pelican Plunge water slides when the kids spent about 2 hrs trying to catch fish. The water slides were great, fast and loved they way they spit you out about 2 feet above the water. Just wondering if you have to be a swimmer or my daughter can buddy-up with me?No doubt beautiful, and good facilities, but the food at Cookies was kind of meh. I thought the same thing!

Port Canaveral: After disembarking, went to Kennedy Space Center. Probably the least favorite part of the trip. Really expensive at $50/$40 per adult/child. Next time contact your congressman - 6 months in advance - for free tickets. We're also planning to go - I was planning the day before the cruise but now that I see how early everyone disembarked (we have a late-ish flight home), I may consider going that day. How many hours would you allow to see the Space Center?

Overall, a great trip. Would love to do again in a couple years, but will likely be at least another 5yrs before being able to swing it with all the other vacations we want to do. My wife went to discuss pre-booking another cruise, but it really didn't seem to be a bargain despite the "10%" off. We paid less for this cruise a few months before than they wanted with the discount. Surprised about this. We pre-booked our Dec. cruise while we were on the Magic and I think we got a really good deal, especially considering how over-priced the Magic from NYC was!

Thanks for all the great info!
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:37 PM   #14
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Port Canaveral: After disembarking, went to Kennedy Space Center. Probably the least favorite part of the trip. Really expensive at $50/$40 per adult/child. The Saturn V/Apollo center was a highlight, but the rest of it was underwhelming. Might be better once the Atlantis exhibit is done this summer. I remembered being much more impressed 10 yrs ago. Maybe it was all because the kids were tired and generally uninterested, maybe just the cost/enjoyment ratio was low. Several signs and prints indicated how the center is privately run by an outside company on admission revenue only, and that no tax dollars are spent, but if there is someplace that deserves tax money and/or national park/monument/museum status, this should be it. God knows the government spends our tax money of much less worthy things.
Up until about 15 years ago, KSC was a tax-payer run facility that was free to the public. You only paid to go on tours of the working facilities (about $20 back then; I never went). Up until I was a teen, even the IMAX movies were free. They used to have a short film called "The First Boy on Mars" that I particularly enjoyed. Then they started charging to see IMAX, and shortly thereafter the Center was sold to a private company, and it's been a "theme park" ever since. My family has not paid to go in ever since. It really is very sad. My family used to drive out there for "something different to do" and I miss those days. I'd say to anyone, unless you have a passion for spaceflight, I wouldn't dream of paying those prices to visit a once tax-payer run facility.
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:27 PM   #15
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Up until about 15 years ago, KSC was a tax-payer run facility that was free to the public. You only paid to go on tours of the working facilities (about $20 back then; I never went). Up until I was a teen, even the IMAX movies were free. They used to have a short film called "The First Boy on Mars" that I particularly enjoyed. Then they started charging to see IMAX, and shortly thereafter the Center was sold to a private company, and it's been a "theme park" ever since. My family has not paid to go in ever since. It really is very sad. My family used to drive out there for "something different to do" and I miss those days. I'd say to anyone, unless you have a passion for spaceflight, I wouldn't dream of paying those prices to visit a once tax-payer run facility.
We really are interested in the Space Center. Party of 10 and we all got FREE tickets from writing to our Congressmen.
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