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Old 03-10-2013, 02:43 PM   #76
bumbershoot
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Originally Posted by kaoden39 View Post
The cruise just seems so short to me. Argh.


Your dinner looks wonderful! Eamon's mac and cheese even looked good to me. But dessert? Oh my goodness!!!
SO short.

The mac and cheese was very tasty. I didn't get a single good pic of E with his food because he was always so hungry and so tired or so upset because he wasn't with cousins enough.


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Such a fun trip report..you need to take another cruise for us (and yes..LOVE that Grand Marnier souffle..am already thinking of it when we cruise in April)
Aw, thanks, that's really nice of you to say!




I have to finish this up but I don't want to and I don't know what to say. Robert's packing for his trip to Russia tomorrow, tomorrow is the 13th freakin' anniversary of my mom's death, and I am dealing with what is nearly the WORST case of sciatica I've EVER had. The combo is making it hard to think deep thoughts!
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:57 PM   #77
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:50 PM   #78
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The end of the cruise is chaotic, rushed, and sad. I guess one could do something about the rushed part, by being super-prepared. But others will never be and there's definitely chaos. And I suppose you could take care of the sad part by hating your cruise or being horribly seasick the whole time, but that doesn't seem like fun. I don't recommend those options.


You have to wake up early and you have to be out of your room completely by something like 8am. In the concierge level you can have some form of room service on the last morning (suites might get hot breakfast, even, but the 00V category only gets cold), but all the other rooms on the ship don't get that. We didn't opt for that; we forgot about it entirely, actually.

We got everything out, hauling our carryons with us. I get really attached to my carryon bags, DS likes to have his things to do so he needs them, and DH generally has computer equipment and his CPAP with him. In short, we had 6 carryons between us.

On the last day you can either eat at the buffet (Cabanas on the Dream) or if you prefer a dining room, you go to the same dining room you ate at the night before. We did that option, just to see our buddies again. We hadn't heard from family at all, but since they have 5 people and it was chaotic enough with the 3 of us, we had no interest in bothering them. Since they were on the same dining rotation we knew they would probably be in the restaurant, though. On the way out we said goodbye to the concierge lounge and the concierge CMs (and tipped 'em).


Your breakfast time is based on if you had early or late seating. We had late, so our breakfast was late. But that still means early. And you canNOT be late. So we weren't. We were early, even, really early.

AHA! Just figured out timing. Whew.




We were so early, I decided to run upstairs to the photo place to see if we had anything worth buying.

And here starts the "let's have huge quantities of annoyance and silly policies!" portion of the morning.


They were having some little show or meet and greet or something like that (but I didn't know that). There were masses of people nearish the stairs. The stairs curve and you can't see the top from the bottom. I went towards the stairs, but there were two sets of mother/grandmother and little granddaughters taking pictures on the stairs. Then a CM came over and told them that they can't block the stairs. No they can't stand on the stairs or sit on the stairs.

Kind of joking as my path was cleared by the CM and I started to move forward, I said "but I can walk up the stairs, right?" And it was a good question because the answer was "no". Huh? "The stairs are blocked, don't you see?" Um, no. She moves me over to the side and points up. Ah, there's a set of ropes up at the top of the stairs. Which you can't see from the bottom. And there's no sign. And the CM who told people to get off the stairs wasn't stationed AT the stairs, she had had to come over TO the stairs.

Why are they blocked? "Because there's the blah blah show and they'll be coming down soon". Um, ok. How do I get to Shutters? "blah blah blah this way that way blah blah". WHAT? I can't hear you. But she was gone.

So, getting frustrated and feeling lost and panicky for no good reason (no coffee yet? too tired? intensely low threshold for stupid things like that?) I started looking around for how to get upstairs. Although I had figured out how to get from stateroom to Oceaneers Club/Lab without mis-steps, I was still kinda bad at point random A to point B. And the crowd at the elevators was INSANE.

Well I finally made it up there to the madness. I knew where our pictures were located already from a previous excursion, but they were locked up during that late-night visit. Now I could get them, and I got them. They choose the size to print them out in. They charge based on size of print. Turns out they don't have an option to buy single prints AND digital copies. If you want digital you have to buy the whole CD, which is exorbitant, and considering I do buy the photopass and pp+ CDs you would think my "that's exorbitant!" feeling would have been obliterated, but seriously it was something like $250 for a CD of pictures from 3 days.

We were so late sitting down at Royal Palace the night before that we had missed the photographer, so we didn't even have a full record of our meals. I chose a few pictures, found out that I can't have them printed in sizes of MY choosing, had a moment of "that's pretty ridiculous and I'm really frustrated but of course it's not your fault cutiepie CM", paid for my prints (good gads, $70+ for something like 5 prints in sizes I didn't even like), and ran back downstairs to Robert (who was annoyed with me for buying pictures when he was so worried about missing our breakfast even though they were still feeding the early group and it wasn't open to us yet) and Eamon (who was in a weird mood, too).


So now I had two carryons, a bag with pictures, and another portfolio thing. See, with concierge, you get a big ol' lithograph to take home. It's big. And they give you a nice cardboard-ish envelope to put it in. It's big and bulky (though flat, of course). Somehow I'm the one carrying this all.


When I got back to the guys, I magically ran into Cruise Direction Christiaan. Since he's the CD and expects people to talk to him, I did so. Let him know that I had enjoyed his disembarkation spiel and that he was very funny, but by the way if you are going to have the stairs blocked you need to do it at the top AND the bottom. He seemed to care about this, he noticed that the lone CM was intensely overwhelmed at the exact moment we were standing there, that there were people crowding the stairs (so you see the show still hadn't started even though I'd already done my Shutters stuff), etc etc. He acted like he was going to think of doing something about that, which I appreciated. He made me feel better. Yay for him!


Finally it was time to enter the restaurant. Our server indicated that we should leave the carryon rolly bags in an area just inside the restaurant, but I still had custody of smaller bags and portolio and bag of pictures. Which I checked on every 5 seconds to make sure I hadn't magically lost them.


I had a surprisingly nice breakfast of fruit and cream of wheat. Not sure what the guys had. Had coffee, too, of course. Lots of coffee. Tipped the head guy (from Italy but had a French-sounding name...just like Ludovic was French but that doesn't sound like a French name to me...and our server had an "English" name but was Indian), knew we would miss the dining experience, and then we were done.

On the way to the bathroom I ran into my aunt and the girlie cousin, who wasn't feeling all that great. Later I found out boy-cousin wasn't, either. When they got home they slept nearly the entire day and night long. I'll just say that I'm not totally surprised E ended up sick less than a week later and leave it at that. Of course, the 18,000 other kids he came into contact with didn't help, but he wasn't hugging *them*.



We were all gathered together, although we knew that would come to an end. They had their car there, and we were taking the bus. We thought that we would have a moment at least together, though. I thought I would be able to give my aunt the wine I was carrying.

Right at 9am they got serious on the PA system. They had been doing nice announcements of getting off the ship, but a switch was flipped at 9 and it was more along the lines of "you don't have to go home but you can't stay here". It was time to get in line.

We got in line together but at some point we got separated. When we got into the proper customs area, we were met immediately by a porter, who we "hired" immediately. He said, without prompting, that our bags were in the blue Donald area. (remember that we had luggage tags with colors and characters on them)

I was quick that morning and realized that blue Donald tags were concierge tags, and he recognized us not because of our air of wealth (b/c we could afford it?) or poverty (because we had stretched ourselves to afford it?) or anything like that, but of the big ol' portfolio of our lithograph. Smart man, that porter was.

He got all our bags on his cart and went on through the line with us. We chatted the whole way. I saw my family at one point, and was really glad to see that they had a porter, too. It really is easiest.

Our time in customs was short, only made a bit longer because Christiaan had indicated that if you were married but had different last names that you needed two customs forms. I had done that, even though going through Canada/US customs has never been like that and Robert didn't think that was right. It wasn't right. The customs agent didn't want two forms. He just wanted one and it didn't matter which one. Other than that it was fast. Did you bring home any wine/liquor/etc? I bought nothing like that on our trip and am bringing what I didn't drink of what I brought onboard. Waved us on through. EASY.

But then our porter just sort of swept us out to the buses, so we had no chance to say goodbye again! Wahhhh! No goodbye, no see you later, no passing off of the wine...

I texted them from the bus and we sent texts back and forth that day, which is how I know the kiddies were asleep inside of 5 minutes of their car ride and pretty much stayed that way until going to school the next morning.


Our bus ride felt REALLY fast. The driver was very tour-guidey, which was kind of nice, and we learned all sorts of things about the area and alligators (or crocs, whichever ones tend to live in Florida). In short order we got to the airport, offloaded, and went to find our rental car.


And that was that! The end of the cruise. At the time I felt a little more stressy about the experience than I do now. Which is why my title is a little more irritated than what I might title it now. But I'll let it stand. Having this cruise was an experience of growth and learning, heck, being on Castaway Cay was one of those, too! And even writing this, re-experiencing it, talking about it in depth with Robert and Eamon, looking over pictures and the documentation and all of that, it's all been really interesting. I feel a lot more positive about Disney Cruises than I did before the cruise.

But we'll have to wait a bit for another one of those. We have to wait for any cruise; at least until next January, when we'll find ourselves on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas for a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise.

Ohhhh yeahhhhhh.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:11 PM   #79
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Wow the stairs scene would have frustrated me terribly. They rush you out don't they.

That's to bad you didn't get to say good bye to your family. That is rough how they rush you out.

So another cruise.....I am intrigued.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:36 PM   #80
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We knew we would be seeing them the following Friday so it wasn't that big a deal, but on the other hand it was kind of sad.

As I started writing the report I realized how much we liked simply being at sea. Robert's a natural-born sailor, Eamon loved everything about it, and I was glad to know that I could handle it. And I miss the feeling of sleeping on a ship; probably goes back to having an old-school waterbed from the age of 9 well into college (at my mom's home, not AT college). I love that rocking.

I do have to say that RCCL isn't as much cheaper as I thought it was, and DCL's pricing for inside cabins isn't that far off. But...now I can't quite imagine going on any other disney ship than the Dream, and can't quite imagine being away from the concierge lounge. It's funny, because Robert's the one that LOVES concierge/club level at hotels, and when I've booked it it's been for *him*. I can do without it easily. At hotels. But I'm probably the driving force behind only checking the prices for concierge cabin levels for DCL (though not the 1 bedrooms and higher, just for the "basic room on that level" rooms). Though Robert doesn't object.

So that aspect of it keeps the pricing a bit higher, keeps us on one type of ship (not the Wonder or Magic), and it'll keep us from Disney Cruise Line for a bit.

Plus, RCCL's bigger ships have the Dreamworks characters.


And on that we are going to go see The Hobbit at our local $2 theater.
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:24 PM   #81
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RCCL is expensive isn't it? I have priced them and they are pricey. What about Princess?


Oh I can hardly wait to hear whether you liked The Hobbit or not.
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:53 AM   #82
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For whatever reason, I never think of Princess.

RCCL *can* be expensive on certain ships, but I feel we got a fairly decent price. Of course, remember that we have only 3 while you have 5 in your party. That alone changes things completely

All of this prompted me to finally scrapbook our honeymoon cruise last week, and I found the invoice, and this January cruise isn't much more than our 2 person, non-balcony Alaska cruise. Which is just weird. And includes a third person. Weird.


The Hobbit was decent. I'm going to have to go back and skim it again and then read some of the extra material they used, just to see what was from Tolkein and what was just "stuff that Peter made up" which is what I kept thinking but I didn't think "stuff". The movie would be a lot better if I actually liked the character of Thorin, but then I didn't like him in the book, either!

It wouldn't have felt quite as long if I could understand everything being said, but the Gollum stuff was nearly incomprehensible, and some of the Dwarf conversation didn't work for my ears, either. I was LONGING for captioning. I need to get my hearing checked, I really really do.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:20 PM   #83
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I've started my WDW/Universal trip/picture report. Go here if you wish to!
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:26 PM   #84
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The Hobbit was decent. I'm going to have to go back and skim it again and then read some of the extra material they used, just to see what was from Tolkein and what was just "stuff that Peter made up" which is what I kept thinking but I didn't think "stuff". The movie would be a lot better if I actually liked the character of Thorin, but then I didn't like him in the book, either!
All of the extra stuff came from the appendices in the end of the Return of the King. The only thing not in the book and created by Peter Jakson were the dwarfs and Gandolf meeting Radagast the Brown and the orc attack before the get to Rivendale. Also the addition of the white Orc
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:20 PM   #85
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All of the extra stuff came from the appendices in the end of the Return of the King. The only thing not in the book and created by Peter Jakson were the dwarfs and Gandolf meeting Radagast the Brown and the orc attack before the get to Rivendale. Also the addition of the white Orc
Good to know, thank you!

Though from DS's Lego magazines it seems there's an elf in future movies that isn't something Tolkein created...something like Tauriel? I looked up her name and wiki says she's not a "real" character.
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:35 PM   #86
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Good to know, thank you!

Though from DS's Lego magazines it seems there's an elf in future movies that isn't something Tolkein created...something like Tauriel? I looked up her name and wiki says she's not a "real" character.
Essentially he has just given a name to an otherwise unnamed charter. Another example is that Legolas is going to be in the next movie instead of another nameless elf charter.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:31 AM   #87
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I've really enjoyed this TR and appreciate you taking the time to do it

Hope you have a wonderful next Cruise
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:05 AM   #88
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Just wanted to say hi neighbor! Thanks for a great trip report.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:38 PM   #89
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Essentially he has just given a name to an otherwise unnamed charter. Another example is that Legolas is going to be in the next movie instead of another nameless elf charter.
Thanks for the info! It is definitely appreciated.

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I've really enjoyed this TR and appreciate you taking the time to do it

Hope you have a wonderful next Cruise
Thank you!!!

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Just wanted to say hi neighbor! Thanks for a great trip report.
Hello, Auburn! Thanks for the kind words.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:54 PM   #90
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Enjoyed the TR. Just a note, you mentioned using an iPhone to take photos and also mentioned (maybe in jest) to bring a small recorder to keep track of what you did. Well, the iPhone has one built in that you can can use just for that reason called Voice Memos. I'm certain that most smartphones these days have something like that. With that said, I may try that on my cruise in May.
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