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Old 09-16-2012, 03:54 PM   #1
lmhall2000
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Murphy's Visit with us on the Fantasy Eastern!

The Proclaimers: "Five Hundred Miles"

Warning: Personal opinions/experiences will be shared in this trip report. There are some events I will have to use clever clues (song lyrics/movie scenes) to share the essence of what happened. The purpose is to protect those who I will be ratting on and bring some levity to some heated events that took place. Let's just say parenting teens and being married 20 years brings its own challenges

Our 20th anniversary cruise almost did not happen: We scraped and saved the funds to pay in cash (after having 2 mortgages for 31 months we've sworn off credit cards)...IRS decided our bill should be exactly what we saved, but, LO, our state income tax would be just enough to cover it, surely, it'll be in before our 75 day pay off! NOPE! We had to cancel our category 8 (cheapest option for five) and they were not to be seen again. I stalked the website hoping for GT rates. Finally, at day 39 VGT rates came out...but did not want to book 2 rooms...waited until day 30 and no OGT/IGT rates had come out..so booked it, it's our 20th right??

Within 12 hours Disney released IGT/OGT...would have saved us about $1500!! UGH! But, happy to wait for room assignment! We get our assignment and instead of connecting (hoped) there was one room between us...now I was worried...I can not put 3 teenagers in a room by themselves...I trust them greatly, but I know siblings, I would be dealing with door slamming with them coming to our room for "MOM! He won't get out of the shower!" My plan was to show up at port EARLY to see if we could get pixie dusted with adjoining!

..13 hour drive and we finally arrive at our hotel! The grounds are amazing and had no idea the Bonnet Creek was soo close to Disneyworld! We were given the top floor (14th)...was tickled b/c knew we'd have a great view of the fireworks! Having survived stuffing all our luggage (I pack light!) and five pretty tall adults/teens in a Prius for the long haul...the hotel was a nice change!

The bad on the hotel...it advertised an 'executive lounge' where refreshments and light snacks could be enjoyed...we're not picky and thought for the minimal upcharge (had a code online that knocked this room for five down to $99) for the executive floor would be worth it ($5 upcharge)..get what you pay for...all they had was old water with cucumbers in it (nasty stuff floating in it and it was not cold!) and a dismal arrangement of fruit...the oranges were squishy/brown/with mold spots!

But, we're not easily dismayed so we looked at the positives of the room...great soaps/shampoos...lovely set up for five, bunkbeds and two queen beds...they were just what we needed to rest our weary squished bodies!

Would we do it again? No. The $16 resort fee was wasted on us...I had visions of us running through the lazy river/pools that were shared with other resorts, but ALL of us were exhausted....even too exhausted to watch for the fireworks! We were in bed by 9pm!! The $13 parking fee was excessive as well. A great deal for families who can get there earlier in the day and use the facilities. If we cruise again, it's decided, we'll stop at a Residence Inn off I-75 that is 2 hours from port...13 hours in one day is just such a long drive!

MURPHY ALERT: Don't worry, pretty much every day has its own alert..some more than one! We embrace Murphy...we mentally prepare for his arrival (not sure why I attach a masculine semblance to him)...this time it was our camera...the charger was nowhere to be found! Several DEAR families on our Cruise meet on Facebook hoped their charger would work...after taking the time to photograph their chargers I realized we had no working options. I spent one hour on the computer looking for the best deal for a camera (an early birthday present for me - to be had on the 13th) I found a camera!!! It was cheaper at Best Buy than at Amazon.com but only one Best Buy had it...after I bought it online, realized they had me picking it up at our BB in Alabama!! EEK! Quick call to customer service and all was ready for us to pick up in the morning...but store would not open until 10:00...which puts us getting later into port...but we will have a camera!!

No pictures from today, no camera...but tomorrow, will have our first go of shots!!

Next up: Toni Basil: "Hey Mickey!"
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:38 PM   #2
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We're you on the Fantasy Eastern that just got back yesterday? We will be on the 10/6 Eastern. Can't wait to keep up with your trip report! Hope things got better from here!
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:50 PM   #3
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Yes I can attest that Murphy was with this family!!! We were fortunate enough to have sailed with this lovely family-they took the good, the bad, and the ugly with smiles and grace that I can honestly say would have brought me to tears!!!!!!
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:00 PM   #4
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I'm in for the ride.

Jill in CO
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:22 PM   #5
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Subscribing! Thanks!!
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jjgarv View Post
We're you on the Fantasy Eastern that just got back yesterday? We will be on the 10/6 Eastern. Can't wait to keep up with your trip report! Hope things got better from here!

Yes!! First time on Fantasy and really enjoyed the Eastern with one or two exceptions, but do not let those discourage you...I will go in detail
You will have a blast!!

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Yes I can attest that Murphy was with this family!!! We were fortunate enough to have sailed with this lovely family-they took the good, the bad, and the ugly with smiles and grace that I can honestly say would have brought me to tears!!!!!!
You all play a huge part in our pixie dusting! Still feel the sparklies! Especially one big part which sums up the trip! Like the titles??

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Welcome aboard! A compact simulation of the original but just as much feeling!
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:30 PM   #7
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I leave on the next Eastern on 9/22. I'd love to read your entire trip report but I'm guessing you probably have to get back to work and will be finishing over time! Still I'll be watching for updates through Friday and then will check back to compare experiences when i get back!!!
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:50 AM   #8
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Toni Basil: "Hey Mickey!!!"



Up and At 'Em!!! The GPS App is all set with the Best Buy location, technically 'on the way' just a bit north of where we need to be headed (Port) but kids are begging for a 'real' breakfast, the cucumber water and spoiled fruit were not tempting for them this morning. But, they're all cheerful and eager to see the ship!!

We make it to the Best Buy with 15 minutes to spare..decide to pop in at Chick-Fil-A for breakfast. After losing 75 pounds this past year, I find it really hard to 'eat' the way I used to...so I opted for a side of sausage and a water...pathetic, I know...but I know a week of cruise food will sink me...so better stay good. Kids were chowing down on their chicken minis and I'm anxiously eyeing that store door...you could see BB from their window. I do a quick repack of items while dh runs across the parking lot to pick up our camera. I decide to drive over to him and the kids are wondering why Dad is standing outside BB since the doors are open. My panic (NEED TO GET TO PORT SUPERVISOR FOR UPGRADE CHECK) sets in and I just roll my internal eyes...this always happens, he is on his Iphone checking something, reading a column he likes to read, checking sports updates and the world outside him stops..it's like his own H.G. Wells Time Machine..only he pays no attention to BB doors swinging open and 20 in line filling in ahead of him at the customer service desk! Insert Sheldon's "Wheaton!!!!" cry. ONly for me it's. "LOUIEEEEEEE!!!" I give a honk and point to the door and he scuttles in.

I can't hold it any longer, I just go right inside to make sure it's the right camera, he's got the free case it came with and he laughs at not noticing the doors were open! Sigh. We quickly jump back to the car, we've got to get this camera out of the box so we can charge it on the 45 minute drive to port!! It must be ready to take pictures, but WAIT!! We realize we do not have an SD card, surely my card from my Sony will work, we dig through the luggage to find the dead Sony only to realize the card is not the right one...we run BACK into BB and purchase it, I can just feel all the available cabins for upgrading slipping away. But, atleast we have a camera!!! "The more you're near your destination, the more you're slip slid'n away"

A quick drop off of our luggage at the curb and dh is headed off to the Park-n-Cruise..reserve ahead online and it's $5.99 a day. They even called us on the way to the port to let us know they were ready with the shuttle for us! But, we did not want to tote luggage so dh took one for the team and dropped the car off. The kids and I excitedly made our way through all the smiling faces and big Mickey Hands "Hey Mickey, you so fine, you so fine you blow my mind, Hey Mickey!!! Hey Mickey!!!" up the escalators and to the sweet sign that says Castaway Cay member check in!!! There was no one in this line!! I go right to the first rep and ask if I can please check us all in without dh...she said as long as I had passport for dh I could!! YIPPEE!!!

MURPHY Aside:Oh! Almost forgot, we charged the entire trip on our Disney Chase card that is FORBIDDEN to be used JUST so we could take advantage of the 2% cash back for upgrading to Premier...I checked everyday to see if our Rewards dollars were on there....finally, they appeared and I ordered our card a week before we sailed...but NO card came!!! Another SAVVY Disney Cruise Meet member said we could get a replacement card at the port...so not only did we need to check on pixie dust for room assignment but needed that card...it was ALL the spending money we had allotted for the trip!! (The OBC we got through DU covered our tips only) And as an aside, we were able to get both OBC from DU and $50 per stateroom for using the Disney Visa...some say it doesn't work, but it did for us!

Back to the past: As soon as we got the room keys she directed me to the supervisor who was just 2 cast members down, I was so excited!!! But, just like the little spectacled boy in A Christmas Story the lady behind me looked at me and used her eyes to motion me to the 'line'..."Oh, you must be in a line I'm guessing." I snake my way through the line to the end and realize there are about 15 people ahead of me!! I suck it up and hope for the best...we start looking around for any familiar faces we've met on Facebook over the past 6 months...finally, I see the family that we've declared are like family...constantly sharing trip ideas/parenting struggles/budgeting triumphs....but I can not get out of line to greet them, I frantically wave like a nut...I do this wave-check on line in front of me-wave for a few seconds then I see their children had found me!!! I was soo excited to see them!! PRECIOUS children and although I bet I scared them with my enthusiasm they tried to act not too afraid...if I get permission I'll share our first shot of them, the dear son does look rather afraid of me!! But, I think we grew on him during the cruise and he gave me the sweetest hug..but that's another story!

I then explain to them they should get back with their family, they should be boarding asap!! Jealous but excited for them!!! I then chat it up with the truly cool mom/daughter in front of me...I thought it was so cool to travel just the two of them! They were hoping for an upgrade as well...I shared all my tips and we passed the time in line quickly. Before I knew it, a sweet supervisor was waving me over! In my shortest rendition (think Bruce Springsteen on a concert version of Born in the USA...it just goes on and on, if only I had an EStreet Band to carry me through)...I shared the dilemma...could we get adjoining rooms or even trade two 5B rooms for one 4A room?? Honestly, we're good being in one room, I just need to prevent mamma drama with three teens! Oh, and we need a Disney rewards card... the poor supervisor was flipping pages, calling people over, and really gave me that "I've tried everything look" and my desperation took over and I asked her, "Would it be terribly rude of me to ask the family in the room between us if they might switch to our other room?" It's like lightbulbs went off in her head, within 5 minutes she had it all done, she said, "It's done." I said, "Huh?" She explained she moved them to our room and put our rooms connecting! She said they had not checked in yet so she was able to do it....then honestly, I felt bad, what if that family had a special attachment with that room number and I just screwed it up for them...WHY DO OUR MINDS go there?? I should be joyously celebrating and was so thankful for this sweet supervisor's help!! She said only 2600 on this cruise and there was more flexibility...I felt bad for those who got the other supervisor, she was not budging, acting like there was no flexibility and not really making an effort to help others...thankfully, Murphy was on a break for this event!!!

Other than a panicked daughter coming to me every 10 minutes..."Mom, something has happened to Dad, he hasn't shown up, do you think he's in an accident? Do you think something happened?" Honestly after 30 minutes I was concerned...but he shows up, just said he had to wait for the shuttle to fill up before he could make it back to the port..whew!!

Now, we are heading to the Aquaduck!! All the girls in our family had our rash guards and swim shorts on, we were ready!! With all the delays we would not be the first on it, but would be on it as soon as we get through these ears!!!



The Aquaduck was AWESOME!!! I think I counted, but there are about 50-60 steps to make it to the top...not so bad if there is a long line, but hiking up those steps on the hot sun was tough on the feet...but the water is soo refreshing!! They also make you stand with your back to it and plop in backwards, you are not allowed to 'stand' up in the raft just plop in and plop out The plopping out is a challenge for the one in the back..never graceful exit! My calves were hurting after the first day with all the step climbing And I walk 2-4 miles everyday

Cabana is next on the list, hungry!! GREAT set up!! Love that they have the silverware on the tables, I was ALWAYS forgetting to get my fork on the Magic/Wonder...the stations are easy to walk up and serve, no lines to go through...they have mastered this well!!!

Rooms are open!!!! Can not wait to go to our rooms!!! They are great!! I do miss the H2O Body butter and shower gel...we got a bath bar and some thinner lotion instead...I bet higher categories may get the nicer stuff...I'm a big soapy person so wish I'd brought my own. Loads of storage space, unpacked in 20 minutes and it was off to the EyeScream station to meet our Dis Cruisers!!

I think we met at least 30 of them at the EyeScream, I think over 45 families were on our Facebook. Such precious families and all the ones you'd think were the outspoken crazy ones online were still the crazy ones in person! That was a relief, we were all afraid we'd turn into clams and no one would talk to anyone! Not at all!! Everyone was so excited to put faces to personalities! And we had the BEST ones!! Love this crew!! The Fantasy Fantastic!!!

Then it was off to the LifeBoat Drill....Okay, I am THANKFUL that our group got to sit in the theater instead of lining up like sardines on deck...but when did they start doing the instructions in English and Spanish? It seemed to drag on b/c you had to wait for both instructions to be read out. I did try and pass the time refreshing my espanol...I'd catch a color/number every now and then, but it seemed to take forever. I wondered if they do this every cruise now or if they look at what percentage are spanish speaking on the cruise and by law or courtesy will offer it. There were quite a number of South American families on this cruise...I really wish my Spanish were better, I love to surprise the kids and complement them in their own language!! Sometimes I would comment on a cool shirt or hat and they would look at me like they had no clue what I said....so the universal smile always worked!

Whew!! Time to get ready for dinner!! We had AERAERA rotation...So excited! We were blocked with about 10 families from our Cruise meet. I wish we could have all been at one table for 25 but alas, we were sectioned off but still got to see everyone and chat a bit. So happy our dear friends we saw in the port were next to us, that was GREAT! Our servers were so sweet, honestly, I'll give them the best award out of our three cruises. Devendra and Rosalie. Rosalie was a sweetheart but always seemed to be worried she was not doing something right and apologizing...she was AWESOME!! Rosalie!! Do not worry! You were soo considerate and kind!! The kind you just don't want to correct b/c she's so hard on herself!! Sadly, my GRUMPY husband can not tolerate lemons on his drinks...for the first 3 nights she continued to put a lemon...I knew how hard she would take it each time he corrected her but honestly I think she heard that he 'wanted' lemons and thought she was doing the right thing...luckily by the third night she got it and his grumpy stare at the cursed lemon disappeared. Oh, and it was a lemon on his diet coke...just not used to people putting lemons on sodas Devendra was so kind and I'm sure I"m butchering the spelling of his name...but honestly, a good soul and eager to please...love that guy! Food was pretty good, honestly, there is not much the servers can do to make it better, though they try...I'm just not that big a fan of cruising food, by the fourth day I'm kind of wishing for a salad bar loaded with fresh foods on it...Devendra was so accomodating and willing to create me a salad if I did not like what they offered...I only did that once...and did not ask, he just did it...just nice servers!!!

Honestly, we were tired, we skipped the first show and the kids headed off to their clubs. We turned in early and waited to start our first full sea day!!

MURPHY:"A Whole New World! I can show you the world, shimmering, shimmering splendid!" Okay, now as I remember it, Aladdin took Jasmine on a tour...well, I had just made it down my first Aquaride and went to talk Louie (dh) and son into changing so they could go down it. But, where was ds?? My dh said the strangest thing happened, a girl came and asked him if he would like to hang out with her and my husband said our ds did not hesitate, he said, "Sure" and we did not see him for the next 7 days...okay, maybe I exaggerate, but this 'new world' will lead to a frantic episode on day 5..so while in and of itself it may not be a Murphy, it's leading to a "Houston, we have a problem" moment...ah, parenting!! Oh! And how could I forget (funny how things come to you once you recall your trip!) I spent Monday night preparing all of our Fish Extender packages....I had ordered in bulk ice cream toppings for families, but I had to put them all in little mini-baggies...I got my food prep gloves on and went to filling over 150 mini bags of mini-m&ms, 3 different flavors of gummi bears, chocolate jimmies and sitting there doing that for over an hour brought a wave of nausea..don't think it was seasickness but just smelling all those smells for an hour...the blueberry gummis were the worst, I had some left over in a bag and the whole room smelled like them if the kids did not seal the bag after getting a few! I am not a gummi fan, but these were crazy!

First day on the Fantasy, AWESOME!! Such a beautiful ship!!! Beautiful people, friendly servers...a great start!
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:46 AM   #9
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[COLOR="SeaGreen"] Let's just say parenting teens and being married 20 years brings its own challenges
I'm with ya' on this one!!! We just celebrated 20, also!
Looking forward to your TR as it unfolds, Murphy and all!
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:14 AM   #10
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What a great start, Tara! I'm so glad you were able to switch cabins with the one next door so you could connect with your kids' cabin. Looking forward to more - even the Murphy parts!
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:17 AM   #11
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Tara, enjoyed meeting you and your family at the meet. Great trip report!
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:15 PM   #12
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Subscribing!! :)

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Originally Posted by MagicMe View Post
I leave on the next Eastern on 9/22. I'd love to read your entire trip report but I'm guessing you probably have to get back to work and will be finishing over time! Still I'll be watching for updates through Friday and then will check back to compare experiences when i get back!!!
See you on the cruise, my friend!!
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:40 PM   #13
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I am really enjoying your TR so far - more please!
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:11 PM   #14
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Steve Winwood: Back in the High Life Again

2nd Day- Day at Sea and Formal Night!



We have already been surprised with oodles of Fish Extender gifts...some were sooo creative and all were soo appreciated! The kids just loved getting them and many keepsakes we'll keep for a very long time...one great idea that I LOVED (because I forgot our photo mat that I was going to have signed!) was a large ceramic plate that had a logo of our Disboards Crew name and date of our cruise "Fantasy Fantastic" and instructions to take it to Guest Services and they would have special markers with which to sign the plate, we would then take it home and back it so that the signatures adhere...what an awesome remembrance! I just wish we had a chance to have all in our group sign the plate as well!! I will post a picture soon when I can find it and unpack it!

Today my oldest daughter can wait no longer to try the Disney Detective Agency (located on decks 2 and 5 at midship). I was still into losing mode so I made the bright idea of starting on the lowest deck and walking up all the steps...geez!! I think we walked 3 miles easily in an hour..and my calves/shins were killing me the next day. My husband did it with our youngest daughter and the clever (path of no resistance) man started at the top of the ship and rode the elevator down! So, there you have two choices..be forewarned it does take you all over the ship!


You step on a metal disc and the pictures come alive..it really is ingenious and should not be missed even if you're a couple going it alone with no kids..I would recommend doing it the second day, the first day you had a wait b/c everyone was trying to get it done. We had no waits at all and it was a great deal of fun for mother/daughter father/daughter

Formal Night!

Being the frugal nut I am, I was able to dress these three kids for a total of $100 for all their clothes/shoes in this picture!! Suit was at the Dillard's Outlet for a steal, dresses for both girls were $6 and found the shoes on amazing deals...truly a blessing to be able to work that out..The girls hate trying on dresses and would only let me pick 3...I gave them three dresses and two were the same b/c they were only $6!! Of course, I'll give them that one, it was hilarious when they come out saying "I LOVE THIS DRESS" and see the other one wearing 'their' dress....they both agreed at that moment that they would not fight over it, they'd just both wear the same one! I think they both look great in them and they loved dressing up for the event!! I loved that they chose the cheapest one!!



A little tip, the Captain has a Captain's gala intro of sorts in the main lobby right before your dining time...for about 30 minutes they walk around with complimentary champagne and non-alcoholic drinks...it was a lot of fun and while we're not big drinkers, I got a kick out of my oldest daughter...
"Mom, please don't get drunk."
"What do you mean?"
"I heard what that man said, the captain spiked your drink"
I was confused, I had taken the non-alcoholic drink and asked the server what was in it...she thought he said "The captain is offering you a spiked apple juice" when he said it was "Sprite and apple juice" Silly girl! In her lifetime I might have had 3 glasses of wine...one of these days I'll have to really embarrass her!

My impression of the Captain..well he's Italian, that is always a plus, tall dark and handsome..but not quite the most personable guy...but heck, when you have seconds to pose for a picture with strangers, the pressure is on to be charming, unassuming and debonair all at the same time...he knocked out two of them Honestly, I'd rather have a dry captain who knows how to steer us out of the storms than a chatty one...we know what happens with those sometimes! Thank you Captain Marco! We appreciate you!!!


I think my husband and I easily knocked all THREE out of the options (charming-unassuming-debonair) with the following picture..our turn at the 'duck face' pose...all these kids on FB trying to do this pose that makes no sense to me, so we gave it our best shot!



Note on kids clubs. We honestly thought my youngest (13.5) would want to go to Vibe but I really wanted her to check out Edge. She did but was only there for maybe 5 minutes and said everyone looked so much younger than her. So, I told her I would go up to Vibe with her and sign the parent waiver allowing her to check it out and switch if she'd like. I only did that under one condition, that she MUST spend 30 minutes in the Edge for Open House and then spend 30 minutes in Vibe before she made her decision. She was 99% sure going to Vibe...but luck would have it, she met some amazing Cast Members in the Edge that were just the right portion of fun/personality/ enthusiasm and she felt the 'teen' group in Vibe would be boring...so she pulled a switcheroo and would not even go back to Vibe after trying Edge out..I honestly think my 14 year old would have preferred Edge...even she said so but at the time we did not realize Edge was 11-14 year olds, we thought it was 11-13 and she had to be in Vibe. Several 13 year olds moved up to Vibe on this cruise, but I think either group would work. For my youngest, Edge was Da Bomb!! They just seemed to have more planned activities. Vibe did a cool movie shoot about zombies...figured it was something they do every cruise..but the kids got to be filmed and they showed the short video in the main theater on the last night...we missed it but the kids saw it..we thought the viewing was only for teens but all families were invited.

We went to see Aladdin tonight...it was really amazing...skipped the first night show...but this was worth watching, such talented actors.. Genie was amazing!

NO MURPHY!! Honestly can not recall a Murphy moment this entire day! That is why I chose the title "Living the High Life"...every now and then we are given a day that is just smooth sailing..no complaints from son having to dress up for dinner and wear something other than Crocs, girls are getting along famously, I see a bit of tension brewing with Grumpy (dh) but wrote it off to all the excitement...sigh, you know that is never the case!! After 20 years, I see the storm coming!

Enjoying this bit of high life for this special sea day..while it lasts!!
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:45 PM   #15
jjgarv
Gotta get away to where the boat leaves from...
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Central PA
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Enjoying your TR! Do you have Navigators that you could post?
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