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Old 01-26-2011, 10:28 AM   #1
dolphingirl47
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East Meets West - A Wonderful Journey

Prologue

This was the cruise that was never supposed to happen; and therefore it did.

Just over two years ago, I heard the first rumours that once the first of the two new Disney ships would come into service, one of the older to ships would go to the West Coast of the USA. At the time, I was pretty sure that this would be the Magic as she had spend the summers of 2005 and 2008 doing Mexican Riviera cruises out of Los Angeles. We decided that if this rumour would come true, we would be on that cruise.

A few months later, the Port of Los Angeles released a press statement that the Disney Wonder would be home ported in Los Angeles. If anything, this made us even more determined to be on that cruise. My favourite ship is the Magic, but Graham has a slight preference for the Wonder. After doing 4 out of our 5 cruises on the Magic, it appeared only fair that Graham should finally get another cruise on the Wonder.

It was not until mid September 2009 that Disney Cruise Line finally unveiled the itineraries for 2011 and officially admitted that the Wonder would go to California. At that time, our enthusiasm got slightly dampened. It looked like the cruise would set sail in January. January is not a good time anyway as it is too close to Christmas and still part of the peak season for me at work. It also meant that there would be a very short interval between our Transatlantic Cruise and Panama Canal Cruise. Still, we kept an open mind.

About two weeks later, bookings opened. We had one look at the prices, laughed and gave up on the idea. Considering what we had paid for previous cruises, the prices seemed astronomical. We promised ourselves that we would look at it again when they would be doing the next Panama Canal Cruise and hopefully that would be at a more convenient time.

At that time everybody expected that the Wonder would come back East to go to dry dock. Since 2009, the ships have gone to dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas and as the Wonder is registered in the Bahamas, it would have made sense to bring her back to the Bahamas for dry dock. That would have meant a couple of Panama Canal Cruises every two to three years.

Last summer it became clear that they had no intentions to bring the Wonder back East for dry dock, but that she was going to dry dock in Vancouver instead. We were suddenly hit by the reality that if we wanted to do a Panama Canal Cruise with Disney, that this would probably be our last chance for at least a decade.

We were still sitting on the fence about this one in the run up to the Transatlantic Cruise, but we had decided to speak to cruise sales person on the ship. I decided to play it safe and get the leave for January confirmed just in case. I figured that I could always cancel it again if we decided against the cruise. However, I knew that I would be in deep trouble if we decided to book it and then I could not get the leave sorted out as the cancelation period had already started about a week before we went on the Transatlantic Cruise.

Needless to say, we could not resist the temptation. About half way through the Transatlantic Cruise, this cruise was booked. It was kind of a risky proposition as our already high expectations had become even higher after that fantastic cruise. You will be the judge if it was worth it.

So let the adventure begin!
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:34 AM   #2
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Looking forward to more!
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:34 AM   #3
dolphingirl47
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Day 1

It has become a kind of tradition that we spend the last night before a holiday at the Crowne Plaza at Manchester Airport. We only live in central Manchester, but the trains can be a bit hit and miss in the early morning hours and by the time we have paid for a taxi, we might as well spend the night in a hotel, especially as I can often get good travel industry discounts.

We had decided to treat ourselves to a Club Room. We both had to work that day, but I was on an early shift and the hotel is on the route that we take to and from work so my colleague, who I car share with, dropped me off at the hotel.

I checked in and went up to our room where I took the first photos of the trip.











Once I had taken enough photos, I headed down to the Club Lounge. They have a computer with high speed Internet access there as well as a fancy coffee machine and fridges with all kinds of soft drinks that are there for the taking. At the time, I was the only guest in there so I grabbed myself a bottle of J2O and settled down in front of the computer to tie up a few loose ends.

I got chatting with the host after a while. I was still the only guest in there and we were glad for each other's company.

Once other people started to arrive at the club lounge, I vacated the computer and settled down to read. They are serving alcoholic drinks and canapées between 18:00 and 20:00. I had a few very yummy canapées, but turned down a drink and stuck to Ginger Ale instead. I promised our host that we would have a pre-dinner drink once Graham had arrived.

I decided to take a few photos of the foyer and the Christmas tree and then went back to the Club Lounge to carry on reading.







A short time later, Graham arrived. We took his luggage upstairs to the room and then went back to the Club Lounge for out pre-dinner drinks. I had a Gin and Tonic and Graham had a Budweiser. I also completed our online check in for the cruise as I had been waiting for Graham with the new credit cards, which had been delivered that day.

Once we had finished our drinks, we headed over to the restaurant. They have a fantastic oriental restaurant called Sampans. They had changed the menu since we last ate there in September and this meant that my favourite dish was no longer on the menu, but the new menu was every bit as good. We had Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup, Crispy Seaweed, Steamed Pork Bun and Chicken Satay followed by Sambal Prawns, Massaman Chicken Curry, Egg Fried Rice and Crispy Chilli Beef. We had no room for dessert after this little lot.

Once we finished our meal, we headed back to the Club Lounge for a short while. Graham had a couple of things to do online and I enjoyed another J2O. Once we were both done, we headed upstairs and went to bed.
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:13 AM   #4
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Great start Corinna, I am so looking forward to reading your trip report as we had booked this cruise the day the dates were released, but then I chickened out as I didn't want to leave the girls at home in the winter, so we did the Halloween cruise instead

Lovely pics too
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:44 AM   #5
dolphingirl47
I will post my goodies once I am back
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandymouse View Post
Great start Corinna, I am so looking forward to reading your trip report as we had booked this cruise the day the dates were released, but then I chickened out as I didn't want to leave the girls at home in the winter, so we did the Halloween cruise instead

Lovely pics too
I so wish you had been there. It was a fantastic cruise. I will try to get the preliminaries out of the way quite quickly and then I will keep you in suspense once the actual cruise starts. I have so many photos to download and put onto Photobucket, it is beyond believe.

Corinna
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Old 01-26-2011, 05:34 PM   #6
ForTheLoveOfDCL
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Corinna--I am so excited for the photos and cruise report...I have to say I am particularly looking forward to the crossing and your pics and comments. Ok I am feeling like quite an idiot....what is J20?
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ForTheLoveOfDCL View Post
Corinna--I am so excited for the photos and cruise report...I have to say I am particularly looking forward to the crossing and your pics and comments. Ok I am feeling like quite an idiot....what is J20?
j20 is a bottled fruit juice.they have different flavours.apple/mango,orange/passionfruit,white grape/kiwi etc.my favourite is apple/mango.
looking forward to your trip report corinna.it doesn't seem 2 mins.since i was reading the last one
tracy
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:33 PM   #8
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I was waiting for your report. You are off to a great start! I so wanted to do this cruise but just couldn't convince myself to take my whole 2 weeks of vacation for the year in January.

I will live vicariously through your report.

Jill in CO
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:58 AM   #9
TotallyAngelic
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oooooooohhhhh ... just subscribing to another wonderful trip report by Corinna I'm looking forward to this
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Old 01-27-2011, 02:52 AM   #10
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Looking forward to next day already
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Old 01-27-2011, 02:57 AM   #11
dolphingirl47
I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ForTheLoveOfDCL View Post
Corinna--I am so excited for the photos and cruise report...I have to say I am particularly looking forward to the crossing and your pics and comments. Ok I am feeling like quite an idiot....what is J20?
J2O is a juice drink in the UK that is silly expensive. I really like it, but would not buy it. My favourite is the Apple and Raspberry flavour.

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Looking forward to next day already
Day 2 is all typed up. I am heading for work shortly, but I will add the pictures and post it tonight.

Corinna
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:44 AM   #12
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Can't wait to hear all about it.
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:33 AM   #13
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Ok so some of you I see following all Corinna's trip reports as I do....Am I the only one who when I get on the Dis go straight to see if Corinna has posted She is just a great reporter!! Waiting patiently for this evening...oh who am I kinding(not Corinna) I am dying...
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Last edited by ForTheLoveOfDCL; 01-27-2011 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:48 AM   #14
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Glad to see you have started the report Corinna - can't wait to read more and especially to see more pictures of the voyage through the canal

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Old 01-27-2011, 09:04 AM   #15
disney_princess_85
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The Crowne Plaza looks lovely!
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