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Old 10-09-2008, 08:05 PM   #1
I must've been distracted by the Cafe Press Logo Thong talk!
nenner1's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: TAMPA, FL
Posts: 3,564

Back to the Island-Double Dip Delight!Western COMPLETE~Cruising with a baby w/PICS!

Ahoy, there! Welcome aboard! This is my third trip report, for our third cruise on DCL, the first 7-night cruise after dry-dock: an “alternate” Western of sorts, dubbed the “Double Dip Delight”. If you have read along with my adventures before, welcome back. If you are new, you can expect a play-by-play of all the action onboard we took part in (and sometimes some we didn’t), lots and lots of pictures, and as much detail as I can possibly remember! I hope you find reading our memories as enjoyable as it was for us to make them.

Here are direct links to individual installments:

Bring Back the Magic
Door Number Three
They Don't Dance Like Carmen No More
Gypsies in the Palace
Back to the Island
Perrier Blues
I Wish Lunch Could Last Forever
Christmas in the Caribbean
Quietly Making Noise
Carnival World
A Pirate Looks At 40 (Thousand)
Mexico, continued
Take Another Road (Part 1)
Take Another Road (Part 2)
Take Another Road (Part 3)
The Coconut(s) Telegraph (Part 1)
The Coconut(s) Telegraph (Part 2)
The Great Filling Station Holdup
Where's The Party?
License to Chill
Bank of Bad Habits
Back to the Island
Back to the Island (Part 2)
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

Meet your Cast of Characters:
My name is Jen. I’m 34 and I have been a Disney fan for quite a long time. Other than that I am unremarkable. My husband Ron is also 34 and his interests include all the usual guy stuff. He loves to travel, which works real well with this cruising thing. My son Brendan is 8 (almost 9). He plays football and baseball and is the Hidden Mickey guru of the family. I have two daughters, Savannah, the oldest is 7 and Sarah is our baby, who just turned 4 months old. Savannah is a competitive dancer and cheerleader whose newest main interest is Hannah Montana. And Sarah…well she likes to drool and chew things, but who doesn’t?

I can’t have a trip report installment without at least one photo, so here is my favorite one of the kids taken this trip onboard the Magic:

We booked this cruise pretty much as a result of post-trip restlessness after our first cruise, a 4-night on the Wonder in 2007. We did not rebook on board for some silly reason I have never managed to figure out. However, not even two weeks after stepping foot off of the boat, we were lazily browsing the DCL website and saw this special itinerary cruise which intrigued us. It was an “alternate” Western, with stops in Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico and two stops at Castaway Cay. The pricing for it was surprisingly less than the other Westerns so within about 2 hours, we had made our decision and booked the cruise. At that point we had previously only sailed in a Cat 11, which was fine for our needs at the time (as far as it being an inside room), but we did think we would prefer to have the split bath so we chose a Cat. 10. It was at that time 18 months from sailing.

We took another cruise on the Wonder, a 3-night in the interim, which turned out to be our last cruise as a family of four. This time we had spoiled ourselves. We had gotten a fab Florida Residents rate on a Cat.5 for the 3-night, so now we felt we could not take the step backwards to an inside room for the next one. So onboard our second trip on the Wonder, we re-booked to get the 10% discount and $200 and also upgraded to a Cat.8. This -as well as most categories at that time- was already in guarantee status, so we could not pick a room, but all of the Cat.8 rooms are forward on 5, 6, & 7 so we had a pretty good idea of where we would end up. And hey, we could always hope for an upgrade!

After finding out we were expecting Sarah, we had some real strategics to figure out. Our preference at that point would have been to just move to a Cat.4 room, but the prices on those were more than double what we had already paid, so that was out. A friend of ours also going on the cruise ended up booking Sarah in their room (though Sarah would stay with us in our room), but she ended up having to cancel so we found ourselves scrambling once again. Our travel agent managed to get us a Cat.11 room to go with our Cat. 8 (right across the hall from each other) for only $800 more than we had already paid, so we figured that would be the way to go. We were no longer in GTY status, we now had rooms, 6022 (Cat.8) and 6019 (the Cat.11). We had never stayed on Deck 6 before, plus 6019 was a “sideways” 11 so we were interested to check these rooms out. The doors for both rooms were directly opposing in the hallway so it would be easy to run between the rooms, to check on Brendan and Savannah, who would be in 6019 by themselves. We figured (correctly) that we would only be in the rooms to sleep, and whenever they would be in their room, we would be in ours so there would be no shenanigans over there unbeknownst to us! (We packed Sarah’s baby monitor to listen in on them, just in case…)

Are you following all this? There will be a short quiz at the end.
(OK, I’m kidding, but I promise this is pertinent information)

The countdown begins…

This particular cruise, originally to be the first sailing of the Magic out of dry dock, was packed full of Castaway Club members and Disers. In fact 473 folks onboard were either Disers or their immediate family and friends…that’s 158 staterooms. Our meets thread “Double Dip Delight” was a blast and it was not uncommon to go through 20 or more pages in a day. Our great group initiated so many fun plans that made the time waiting for the cruise go by swift in anticipation. We would have a DIS meet, of course…and also do fish extenders. Some of us would participate in a ‘Secret Mickey’ exchange that is akin to Secret Santa, and we would also have cool lanyards with name tags to identify ourselves (thanks lanyard team!) Group photos, and a group Palo brunch, dinner, and tea are just a couple more examples of all the neat events we had planned out.

And when I say plan, I ain’t joking around folks. This group is made up of some serious planners (me included). Most of us were repeat cruisers on DCL and knew the deal. We wanted to plan out every little detail, from the dinner rotations, to the shows, right on down to the drinks of the day. In fact I worked very hard to create a spreadsheet with all this information on it to have at hand to help out with the planning. I used prior Navigators to gather the information and called DCL to confirm that the rotations, etc. I had figured out were right. They confirmed that yes, indeed I was correct. They also told a few of my co-cruisers the same thing so we were all pretty secure in that the info we had was accurate. (Yes, this is all foreshadowing). Anyway, what do you think? A handy little tool, eh?

(Don't bother copying all this stuff down. It's wrong)

The first thing to change was the ports. (You knew changes were coming, now didn’t ya?)
Costa Maya was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Dean in 2007, and Disney decided, that although the port repair work was on schedule to be complete by the time we arrived in late Sept., that it would not be up to DCL’s standards, so it was scrapped in favor of Grand Cayman. Although we were looking forward to Costa Maya, we had never been to GC before so it worked for us. However, to accommodate THAT change, they also changed the departure time on our first Castaway Cay day to 2:30 PM. None of us were very happy about that, and didn’t really buy DCL’s excuse that they needed the extra time to account for the longer sailing distance (I mean, how much further is CC from Key West, really?) This change would affect some of our other plans later on, but we’ll get to that later. Then they decided that the Magic would get done with dry dock sooner than expected, so they snuck in a special 3-night sailing before our cruise. This, folks…turned out to be a good thing. Trust me.

Before we knew it 90 days out had arrived. I got on the computer at the stroke of midnight (okay actually 11:59) and snagged Palo dinner, Palo brunch (one of only three reservations left!) and our Flounder’s Reef allotment. I could have gotten the one Palo High Tea spot still there also, but we weren’t too interested in doing the tea. We did not take any excursions through DCL, since we consider ourselves cruise veterans now and felt comfortable we could arrange excursions on our own for cheaper.

Our plans were at Castaway Cay, the first day to spend as a family beach day and the second day we would rent bikes and explore the island and maybe (just maybe) get a little time at Serenity Bay since Sarah would be in Flounder’s. In Grand Cayman we would do a Stingray City and snorkeling trip booked through Captain Marvin’s. And in Cozumel – this is where we really stepped out on a limb- we would rent a car and explore the island ourselves (a little ambitious for us slightly green world travelers, I know).

The last few months before the cruise flew (of course I had just had a baby), and before you know it we were in the home stretch. The last couple of weeks were frantic. I work graveyard, and that’s hard enough in & of itself, but add in a newborn, cruise planning, packing, FE gift assembly, magnet designing & printing. Needless to say I was going out of my mind (what little I had left!)

And then, the accident. Just eight days before the trip I was involved in a hit & run accident that totaled my car. Ironically I did the hitting, but I didn’t do the running. Go on & figure *that one* out! Nobody was injured (well, at least I wasn’t- who knows about the “mystery vehicle” or invisible brick wall as the police said I must have hit) so we decided to let the insurance company clean up the mess, because it’s time to cruise!!!!

Next up: All Aboard!

(If you’re still with me, that is. It was a real long intro, wasn’t it?)

Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas 9/2011- NEW! TRIP REPORT! - Disney Magic 7 Night Western 10/2010: Trip Report - Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas 1/2010: Trip Report and Videos - Disney Magic 7 Night Western Double Dip 09/08: Trip Report - Disney Wonder 3 Night Bahamas 10/07: Trip Report - Disney Wonder 4 Night Bahamas 03/07: Trip Report

Last edited by nenner1; 09-20-2009 at 10:00 PM.
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