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Old 01-06-2013, 11:35 AM   #271
oybolshoi
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Originally Posted by ehagerty View Post
I've been reading along - taking notes to be used on our cruise NEXT WEEK - especially plan to incorporate the cocktail plan as something new that we have never done before!

Thank you, as always, for taking the time to post. Besides being entertaining, we learn valuable information to apply to our own cruises!!

Hope you foot feels better soon - had my share of hairline foot fractures (karate) - no fun!
Hi Ellen! Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoy your upcoming cruise with all the cocktail advice we've been able to share. And I hope you hand is doing much better, too!
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:40 PM   #272
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Love love love your trip report Brenda, I had made a list of drinks to try, thank you so much!
I am having trouble deciding what to do in St Thomas, would you recommend the St John Champagne sail and snorkel to us older folks (54 or so, not giving my real age out!)? DH doesn't like to snorkel where he can't easily put his feet on the ground ( fear of drowning and all that) would they take him in closer to the beach?
Your description makes it sound like so much fun, what with the punch and all
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:55 AM   #273
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Love love love your trip report Brenda, I had made a list of drinks to try, thank you so much!
I am having trouble deciding what to do in St Thomas, would you recommend the St John Champagne sail and snorkel to us older folks (54 or so, not giving my real age out!)? DH doesn't like to snorkel where he can't easily put his feet on the ground ( fear of drowning and all that) would they take him in closer to the beach?
Your description makes it sound like so much fun, what with the punch and all
Hi Jo - happy new year!

We really enjoyed that Catamaran Sail and Snorkel and would recommend it to anyone regardless of age (not that you need to worry) as long as they enjoy being out on the open water. The initial drop off point for people who want to snorkel is actually a good distance from the beach; however, they have two small boats that they offer to take people over to the beach on, so I don't see why he couldn't do that and snorkel closer to land - they were pretty accomodating. If I remember correctly there was a sea turtle colony fairly close to the beach that a lot of the snorkelers had a chance to observe. One of the turtles got tired of the company though, and actually swam over to the catamaran to get away from them and then there was a horde of people that followed him. It was pretty funny - wish I'd thought to get a picture of all those people converging on that poor tutrle.

I stayed on the catamaran the whole time and really enjoyed having it to myself - beautiful scenry and very peaceful.

As to the report itself, I'm so glad you've enjoyed it and have gleaned some useful information from it. I look forward to hearing your take on the cocktail menu once you've had a chance to sample it yourself!
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Last edited by oybolshoi; 01-08-2013 at 07:59 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:02 AM   #274
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Thanks and Happy New Year to you and Jason, Brenda! I'll do my best to sample all I can, may my liver forgive me the abuse.
Re the turtle with the fan club, I bet that was hilarious to watch.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:24 PM   #275
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oybolshoi, where for art thou? Did I miss the ending?
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:45 PM   #276
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oybolshoi, where for art thou? Did I miss the ending?
No ... you didn't miss it I still need to finish. I broke my darn foot last month at WDW and then my step-dad ended up in the hospital and it's been a pretty messed up couple of weeks.

Hoping to post the end tomorrow ... really!
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:24 PM   #277
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Day 7: Rock on With Your Bad Self!!

To help get you in the mood ...

Rock the Boat


Given everything we had to drink the day before combined with the wavy gravy ocean, you might think that Jay and I had a restless, sleep deprived night. But that was not the case; we slept the sleep of innocents (or drunkards), lulled by the movement of the ship through the waves. It may actually have been the best night of sleep I had on the entire cruise.

It did feel a bit strange to wake up on the final day of a week-long Disney cruise and not anticipate a visit to Castaway Cay, but since we have been fortunate enough to dock there on previous sailings we weren't too disappointed to miss it. We kind of liked the idea of another long, aimless, lazy day on the ship before packing up our stuff for the mad dash home on Saturday morning.

We noticed that the Fantasy seemed to be moving a lot more on Friday than on Thursday, and the wind was definitely stronger. When we first looked out our verandah door Friday morning we thought it had rained overnight; turns out all that moisture was from wave spray as the ocean churned in Sandy's ever-expanding wind field.

That's salt water; the ocean weeps for your inability to dock at Castaway Cay.


Waves to the front of us ...


And waves to the back of us ...


Deck 4 ... is it just me or is the ocean rising?


The wind was actually howling, even early that Friday morning, and I started writing down the weather information from the bridge channel because I was quite fascinated by what was unfolding. My first notation indicated that before 7AM the actual wind speed was 40mph and the apparent wind speed was 60 mph.

I turned to Jay and said, "The storm must have grown overnight - we're still in it and I think it's worse than yesterday!"

Jay yawned. "I can't pretend to be a meteorologist until I've had my coffee ... and maybe a nap."

Far be it for me to argue with that kind of logic. Instead, I dragged him up to Cove Cafe for an hour of coffee, croissants, and reading before we paid a visit to the Rainforest Room for one last heated tile nap. The wind was even more noticeable on the higher decks and with people coming and going at the Cove, napkins and other paper products were dancing all over the place.

Once the spa opened at 8AM we made a beeline for the Rainforest Room. Only one other couple was there at the time and I really admired the bravery of the gentleman in that party because he was lounging in the hot tub on the semi-enclosed overlook and the wind was so strong that there were whitecaps in the tub and they were slapping up against the back of his head! The wind was fierce - it whistled and moaned and made it very difficult for me to relax. Jay didn't have that problem, but this is a man who can sleep through howling cats, fire alarms, and tornado sirens in the dead of night. Between the wind and the steady flow of people who waited until the last day of the cruise to take a tour of the spa it was extremely noisy in the rainforest room, which is typically an oasis of peace and quiet. We gave up after about 90 minutes and went in search of other distractions.

Interesting things that caught my eyes and ears before I met Jay at the spa's front desk:

The artfully fanned barf bag display on the counter in the ladies' changing room;
A lady singing Rock the Boat while she showered;
Two other ladies arguing about the necessity of tipping spa attendants on the final day of a cruise;
A tentacle that I'm sure belonged to the Kraken sliding into a floor drain clutching a single plastic spa sandal.

As Jay and I wandered up to Deck 13 for some weather surfing I told him that I thought being cooped up on the ship during a tropical storm in combination with a full moon was causing some guests to behave a little more oddly than usual. He normally scoffs at me for comments like these but after watching two adult meltdowns in quick succession he agreed that some people appeared to be a little stir crazy and in need of a good drink.

So, what did we find by the time we actually made it to Deck 13? All of the furniture was covered and tied down - the front area of the ship, including satellite falls, was closed to guests and the wind was incredibly strong. We were both taken aback at first by just how powerful the wind was and then we just had some fun with it ... there was something stupidly exhilarating about being out in the middle of the ocean in weather that we've never before experienced. Living in tornado alley, we're no strangers to the deadly power of wind, but this was a completely different and exotic animal and we were crazy enough to think it was kind of fun.

The Weather Channel's got nothing on me!


Jay's hair is an immovable object.


We are obviously not right in the head


Look ... we're not the only ones!


Churning, churning, churning.


Jay and I stopped for drinks and some lunch at the Cove Bar - people in that area of the ship seemed to be having a good time. The pools were open although quite wavy and cast members were offering guests a choice of blankets or towels for their lounging pleasure. Once we finished we headed back to the room for some packing and napping. Around noon the captain made an announcement that the ship was about 200 miles N / NW from Sandy's eye and that the closest we could expect to be was about 180 miles from the eye later in the day. Without realizing at the time that the storm had expanded to giant proportions this seemed pretty reasonable to us and we continued to enjoy the day although it was obvious that the weather was worsening rather than improving.

Here's a sampling of my weather information from the bridge channel throughout the rest of the day into the evening:

Noon: actual wind 52 mph (apparent wind 58 mph)
1:30 PM: actual wind 65 mph (apparent wind 65 mph)
3:30 PM: actual wind 55 mph (apparent wind 70 mph)
4:30 PM: actual wind 60 mph (apparent wind 75 mph)
6:30 PM: actual wind 67 mph (apparent wind 82 mph)
11:30 PM: actual wind 70 mph (apparent wind 85 mph)

Mid-afternoon pictures show just how angry the ocean looked:

Big wave and lots of spray


Not looking much better this way


I really don't want to know what it looked like on the lower decks.


Seemed like the best option we had at this point was to ping pong our way down to Skyline for a round of drinks with Novak and any other hardy drinking souls on board ship! Upon our arrival we found three other people there - Lori, Rick, and their friend Don. They challenged Novak to make a drink that would knock Don flat, and I think he came pretty close with a seven-layered martini that was followed with a shot of something that had the color of anti-freeze.

When the bartender looks like this as you drink, the best idea may be to stop right now!


Jay and I played it safe by ordering from the standard menu but I'm stumped now as to what we had. They were tasty as always and a heck of a lot more fun given the motion of the ship. We had quite a few big waves slap us around and Rick said he estimated some of them were between 20-30 feet at that time.

Bottoms up!


We asked Novak if we could have a group picture behind the bar and he obliged ... the first shot is "normal" wave action and the second shot is rogue wave action:

Just the usual crowd of drinkers...


Being knocked sideways by a massive wave!


We went upstairs to get dressed for dinner and finish packing ... probably about 6:30 that evening ... and Jay was out on the verandah watching the waves when he suddenly started whooping like a cowboy. The picture below is what elicited that reaction from my normally very quiet husband:

One big wave with spay almost reaching the bridge!


Since we had more time to waste before dinner and are not show people, we went back to Skyline where all our favorite people were imbibing before the 8:30 seating, including Wendy and her mum! I ordered a drink that was infused with tea and Novak made Jay an outstanding Limoncello martini - Jay's martini was so good that we sent one over for Wendy and her mum to enjoy too.

We had planned to come back to Skyline for a nightcap after dinner but at that point the ship was moving around so much we thought it might be safer to stay in our cabin and relax. Even we have our limits when it comes to alcohol and excessive motion!

Tea infused booze and a limoncello martini


Our final dinner was in Animators and we got to experience the live animation show where all the guests draw themselves and then the drawings dance across the restaurant. It was such fun - if you haven't had a chance to dine at Animator's during this show on the Fantasy, don't miss it! And when you draw yourself, use as much color as you can so that you stand out on screen.

It's Jay!


I look like a strange clown-bird


Check out Jay on the edge of the screen!


Wendy & Doreen - how many different types of awesome were they??


There has been plenty posted in the last few months about that last night on the Fantasy so I'm not going to go into excruciating detail. It was noticeably rough that evening, especially between midnight and 2AM. The ship was creaking and small items were moving around and I left a glass in the bathroom that slid off a shelf and shattered on the floor. There was one instance where the ship pitched to about a 30 degree angle due to a wave that hit us broadside and we did have to hang on to the side of the desk in order to avoid falling over, but that was the worst of it for us. And we were laughing while it happened, as was the cabin next to us. As I have stated previously, I think we were fortunate in the location of our cabin because the motion of the ship, apart from these handful of instances, was not bad enough that we were frightened or couldn't sleep.

The biggest inconvenience for us was that we docked and disembarked so late that we missed our 2:30 flight to Stinktown. Thankfully Southwest Airlines performed a small miracle and flew us home via Chicago - we got there late but had the comfort of sleeping in our own bed that night.

The disembarkation process was the area that DCL fell down in our opinion. As you will see in the last picture I've posted, there was no crowd control and no effort to organize the mass of people who were waiting to leave the ship. My guess is that the crowds started forming down in the lobby so early that by the time anyone realized it was getting messy it was too late to really do anything effective. To be fair, people were very polite and CMs were handing out water, but it could have turned ugly very fast. There were a lot of anxious, unhappy people in that crowd - DCL should have anticipated that and acted accordingly but they didn't.

Jay and I were surprised and pleased to receive a 25% discount offer for another cruise from DCL - while we didn't feel that anything was owed us from the cruise line it was a good PR move on their part. After four October cruises we plan to use our discount for a cruise in May and see what the weather has to offer at that time of year.

Saturday morning ... what a long, strange trip it's been


It's a madhouse!!


That's a wrap, folks! Thanks very much for reading along and if you have any questions please feel free to ask!
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Last edited by oybolshoi; 01-21-2013 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:40 PM   #278
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Wonderful summary of our last day! We both loved our drink you sent us and it finished off such a wonderful week. We had a few things thrown round our stateroom at midnight but that was more due to my stupidity at not putting things away. And unfortunately we were in the madhouse of disembarkation as I had found out if I didn't make our 2pm flight it would be Monday before we could get another flight home to the UK. We made it with minutes to spare and only because the flight was delayed! Much as I would have wanted to stay I'm not sure my school would have been so happy.
Thank you for so many happy memories and for allowing us to relive the trip!
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:45 PM   #279
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Wow what a crazy day! Thanks for including the winds in your TR.

Embarkation day, . Too many people in one area for my liking.

Nice of DCL to give you the discount. I'm sure you'll use it wisely.

Are you going to do another TR for your trip with Grimace or am I going to have to for missing your writing for long periods of time?
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:51 PM   #280
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Originally Posted by wendym View Post
Wonderful summary of our last day! We both loved our drink you sent us and it finished off such a wonderful week. We had a few things thrown round our stateroom at midnight but that was more due to my stupidity at not putting things away. And unfortunately we were in the madhouse of disembarkation as I had found out if I didn't make our 2pm flight it would be Monday before we could get another flight home to the UK. We made it with minutes to spare and only because the flight was delayed! Much as I would have wanted to stay I'm not sure my school would have been so happy.
Thank you for so many happy memories and for allowing us to relive the trip!
Wendy
Wendy, we can't thank you and your mum enough for being such lovely dining partners and just all around good, fun people! So happy we had the chance to meet and look forward to the day we can cruise together again. Honored to call you both friends!

We had the same issue in our stateroom ... I was smart enough to pull the hangers down in the closet but not smart enough to put stuff in the desk drawer or put that drinking glass in a cabinet.

Glad you made it home safely and on time - we were sweating it for a while with SW and then they pulled a flight out of their magic hats!

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Originally Posted by Jennifer48 View Post
Wow what a crazy day! Thanks for including the winds in your TR.

Embarkation day, . Too many people in one area for my liking.

Nice of DCL to give you the discount. I'm sure you'll use it wisely.

Are you going to do another TR for your trip with Grimace or am I going to have to for missing your writing for long periods of time?
Hey Jen! I will probably go ahead and write a report with Grimace because how could I not? I already know it's going to be a interesting voyage of discovery paired with "we are never doing this again."
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:00 PM   #281
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What a fabulous TR!

I totally applaud your attitude to the hurricane - I love that you just "got on with it" and enjoyed your last day on board regardless of the weather conditions

Bravo!

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Old 01-21-2013, 01:03 PM   #282
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Have just read your entire TR - amazing! It's everything I hope my upcoming cruise to be - lazy days, cocktail and food filled but without the rough seas!



BTW did you see me waving at Port Canaveral?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NF7LQWWO7k

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Old 01-21-2013, 01:16 PM   #283
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As always, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of your review!! Please, please do a Grimace TR.

I, also, LOVED the attitude both of you had with regard to the hurricane and how it was handled. Life is too short not to just go with it and make the best of it!
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:29 PM   #284
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what a fun report! Glad you had a great time!
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:37 PM   #285
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Thanks for the wrap up Bendy. I was having kind of a poo afternoon and you cheered me right up! In fact I think I'm going to go back and read some past reports to further cheer my eyeore self. Which episode was it when you shouted that Jason LIKES IT when you don't wear pants?

just totally made myself laugh remembering that.

:r otfl2:

Can't wait for the next report!!!

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