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Old 12-10-2012, 12:42 PM   #1
socababy
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southern CA
Posts: 1,049

Panama Canal or Bust!! December 9 - 23, Not so LIVE, Trip Report!!

Hard to believe that I have just set sail on my 5th DCL cruise this year! I canít think of a better way to end the year than to escort the beautiful Disney Wonder through the Panama Canal to her new home in Miami! My family is surely going to miss her being on the west coast.

As soon as I heard about the possibility of a PC cruise, I was determined to be on it. I am fascinated by the Panama Canal and it is a bucket list must see for me. The rumors about the proposed December date started circling during my kidís winter break last year. As soon as they returned to school after the new year, I immediately went into the school office to ask if I could get permission to take my kids out of school for 2 weeks. This cruise hadnít even been confirmed yet but I wanted to get all my ducks in a row! I am a planner! I was told by the office to do it now while they are in elementary school because it would be just too hard to do when they get older. Permission granted!

Traveling on this cruise are my 3 kids, Josh (9), Dylan (7), Katelyn (5) and me, Christina. For those who havenít read any of my past trip reports, my husband passed away 4 years ago. This trip will be a big step forward for me as it will be the first vacation with just the 3 kids and I! All of our past vacations have included family, friends, or a combination of the two. This time I will be outnumbered 3 to 1! I just keep telling myself ďI can do this!Ē So knowing that I was going to be all alone on a ship for 14 nights with 3 kids, it was a must to splurge and get a suite! I gave my DU agent Marla a maximum price that I wanted to spend and she was able to book a 1 bedroom suite on opening day (8532) for less than my budget! Deposit was madeÖthis dream trip was going to happen! During the course of the next few months, this cruise would have 2 price decreases. Each time Marla was on top of it and refunded the differences! Fast forward to sometime around August, someone mentions on our meet thread that a Royal Suite (8530) has become available. I go and take a peek and see that it is below my original budget and decide to go for it! We, along with my ILs, were fortunate to sail in a Royal Suite last April. Beautiful suite and I knew the extra space would be great.

This cruise always seemed so far away but now that it is here, it feels like the months flew by, if that makes any sense! One of the perks of the Royal Suite is unlimited internet. My hope is to update this trip report each day. If accessing Photobucket is as hard as it has been in the past while on the ship, pictures may need to be added once I return home. I am really hoping to complete this trip report because the last few trip reports I have started but then didnít finish the last couple days on each! I promise I am going to try to complete this one!

Embarkation

With 6 pieces of checked luggage and 4 carry ons carefully stacked in my car, we were off to the port at about 10:15. My Ils are fantasticÖnot only are they driving us to the port, they are staying ay my house to watch my fur baby Daisy! I really donít like to board her for a week long trip, much less 14 nights. So they were gracious enough to offer to watch her! We arrive at the port just after 11. I have really found the San Pedro port to be very smooth. Porters were right at the curb to collect our luggage. We said our goodbyes to grandma and grandpa and headed into the terminal. There was no one in line at the Concierge check in so checking in was no more than 5 minutes. The kids did have their first argument of the trip. Dd and I are gold CC members while the boys are silver. They didnít like that they didnít have gold lanyards as well. Iím not sure why they care since they donít wear their lanyards anyway! I assured them that their next cruise they will have gold too!


We went to the Concierge waiting area where I was able to say hello to a couple DISers! We didnít wait long because they started boarding just before 12. The ship is even more beautiful with all the holiday decorations up! A beautiful chocolate display with an ice sculpture of the ship was on display in the atrium.



As we headed to Parrot Cay for lunch, we passed by the large gingerbread house in the Promenade Lounge. It smells so good!

I always feel like vacation has started once I am seated in Parrot Cay on the first day having lunch. The kids ate what is surely to be their first of a thousand helpings of mac and cheese. I wasnít too hungry so I just had a salad. My stomach was in knots! I think I just had some Ďvacation alone with the kidsí anxiety! LOL

After lunch we headed to the Cadillac Lounge for the Concierge Reception. I was so sad to not see my favorite concierge host Tawanda. When we saw him 10 weeks ago, he said he was due back from vacation the day we boarded for this cruise. Iíd later learn that he is now on the Magic! Such a nice guy and was sad not to see him. I didnít recognize the 2 concierge hosts but would learn their names are Jennifer and Rodrigo. They were busy when we first walked in and we sat there for over 30 minutes before Jennifer came up to talk to us. The kids were restless and didnít want to sit there anymore. I briefly went over some things with Jennifer and by then it was after 2 and the rooms were ready. I wanted to make a couple spa appts with the CM at the reception because I didnít like the times offered when I went to book online but the kids were ready to go. I just wish it hadnít taken so long for a Concierge host to approach us but then again there was only 2 of them. I will look into a spa appt later.

We head up to our room and it is of course beautiful! I am very happy to see that there are 2 lounge chairs on the balcony in addition to 4 chairs. I plan on spending a lot of time on that lounge chair! The kids just want to kick off their shoes and relax but we need to go down to the Promenade Lounge for the DIS meet. We stayed down at the Lounge long enough to get some of the room changes for the FE and to meet some other DISers. After I heard from the kids for the 100th time that they wanted to go back to the room, we headed back up. By the time we got back to the room, all of our luggage had arrived. I started unpacking and then started decorating our door with our magnets. My kids love decorating the door with magnets. I let them place them randomly on the door and then I secretly go behind them and put them in a more orderly fashion! LOL Before we knew it, it was almost 4pm and time for the muster drill. Our location is ĎCí on deck 4. Iím glad it went rather quickly because the kids were already fighting about being too close to one another while standing in line. The older couple next to me just smiled sweetly at me as the kids were fighting with each other and I just asked she pray I come home with my sanity after these next 2 weeks! After the drill, we went back to the room where I finished unpacking. Maybe itís because the kids have done a few cruises this year but they didnít want to up to deck 9 for the sail away party. They prefer to stand on the balcony and wave to the Cms on the pier waving their big white Mickey hands. So we did just that. Captain Thord must be in a hurry as we pulled away from the pier at 4:45, 15 minutes early! We were already on our way when we heard them do the count down up on deck 9!





We have early dining at 5:45 with the following rotationÖAPTAPPTTAPTAPT. So funny to see so many letters on the KTTW card! The knots in my stomach have passed and the kids and I are starving! We head to Animatorís Palate where we are reunited with our requested server Salomie. This is the third time she would be taking care of us on a cruise and we love her. Her assistant server is David from I believe Portugal. He seems very nice albeit a little quiet. Dinner seemed slow tonight but maybe it was because we were all so hungry! The kids all had pizza, fries and green beans. Well, the boys did. Katelyn barely touched her food. This is typical of dd and I typically make her eat most of her food before she can get up. There have been times we are the last to leave the restaurant because dd is still eating. Since I will have 14 nights of this, I chose not to engage in this battle. She did not get to have dessert though! I had calamari with a wonderful spicy tomato sauce for dipping, a white bean and arugula salad and grilled chicken on top of a bed of sweet potatoes and a creamed corn mixture. Overall, everything was really good! Dessert, on the other hand, was blah. If you have read any of my past trip reports, this is an area I feel DCL can improve on. I ordered an apple tart with vanilla ice cream and the tart tasted like it was burned. Oh well, a few less calories wonít hurt! Josh did not want dessert and Dylan ordered chocolate ice cream. Dylan was out of his chair when the ice cream arrived and as he was climbing over the arm of the chair, he kicks his ice cream with his foot and it goes crashing to the floor, glass dish shattered. I just took a nice deep breath because I know this wonít be the last time something like this happens with my sweet Dylan. He can be absentminded at times and just doesnít pay attention to what he is doing! I always say he has book smarts but doesnít always have street smarts! Salomie brings him another ice cream and by the time he finishes it, it is 7:25. Iím bummed because we missed the tree lighting ceremony in the atrium at 7:15. We go check out the tree anyway and take some pictures in front of it.


At 7:45 we head to the Cadillac Lounge where Jennifer is meeting us to escort us into the Walt Disney Theatre through the secret way for the ďLet The Magic BeginĒ show. This is one of the perks of concierge that Tawanda introduced us too! Iím not sure how much we will use this perk though as the theatre didnít get completely full and it is a lot to ask 3 kids to sit in a seat for 30 minutes before a show begins. Weíll just play it by ear each night. This show isnít my favorite but seeing the look on ddís face as she sits in the front row with Disney characters dancing on stage just feet in front of her is priceless and worth me sitting through the show! We were told by Christiaan our cruise director that there are only 1800 guests on board. Later I asked one of the kidís club Cms how many kids there are and I was told about 250. After the show, the kids were finally getting what they wantedÖme dropping them off at the club/lab. I told them they wouldnít be closing down the lab/club because I wasnít sure how much longer I was going to last. I was so tired! I went back to my room and read the new navigator and then went online to check my email. Yes the internet is slower than at home but I have had pretty good luck with it in the past. At about 10:30, I went and picked up the kids. In my mind it was already 11:30 because we were moving the clocks forward one hour tonight. Before retiring to bed, I filled out my room service card for some coffee, fruit, muffins, and cereal to be delivered in the morning. As I always do, I opened the balcony door and fell asleep listening to the beautiful sound of the ocean!
__________________
WONDER...Jan 1999 Land/Sea, Feb 2011 MR, Nov 2011 MR, Apr 2012 MR, Apr 2012 HI, Sept 2012 CA Coast, Dec 2012 EBPC, Aug 2013 Alaska, May 2014 WBPC
DREAM...Aug 2012, May 2013
FANTASY...May 2013 EC, June 2013 WC, Jan 2014 EC, Dec 2014 EC
MAGIC July 2014 Med, Aug 2015 Dover to Barcelona, Aug 2015 Med

Last edited by socababy; 01-24-2013 at 11:51 AM.
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