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Old 04-19-2013, 12:06 AM   #16
CatDenver
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These last several days of snow have made me really long for the day when were stepping off the ship in Key West, Nassau, and Castaway Cay. Even as I type this theres still snow on the ground and its 33 degrees outside. BRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!



So, on to port excursions&.I have to admit that of all the planning for this trip, this part has been the most challenging. There are so many options and to add to the complexity so many varying opinions of which are the best and worst excursions. And its further complicated by the stance of those who dont even get off the ship at Nassau because they consider it an undesirable port. When I first chose our itinerary I wanted to a) make sure we had at least 3 sea days to enjoy the ship and b) have port options where we could get in one snorkeling excursion. Initially I was most excited about Nassau and Key West and mildly interested in Castaway Cay. Not sure why I doubted that Disney would do something amazing with their own island but my initial impression was that it was just a beach. Well, clearly I had THAT all wrong. At this point, Castaway Cay is sounding like it will be the highlight of the three. Where Nassau sounded so exotic at first, now Im having images of being hounded by street hawkers followed by getting held up at gun point. Is there a t-shirt somewhere in there? Actually, I tend to be an optimist and adventurous so Im sure Nassau will be just fine. It will likely be where we do our snorkeling.

Now, Key West, I have to say, is another port I initially was excited about but then read about some bacchanalian festival occurring around the time well be there. The reports I read are that it involves a lot of drunken naked people. I grew up in a college town so it wont be anything I havent seen before. But not sure I want the younger kids seeing that just yet. Key West seems to have a Bohemian air about it. One person posted about a woman coming out of her house stark naked to walk her dog right past her, DH and their young children. And Im betting that the people who choose to run around naked are likely people who really have no business running around naked. Recently someone shared a YouTube video of a portly (Im being kind) gentleman in a Speedo dancing on the beach like he didnt have a care in the world. Hes become my model of what I expect to see in Key West. All that aside, Im still looking forward to Key West so I can do cheesy tourist things like getting our picture taken at the southernmost part of the U.S., buying Kino sandals, and eating key lime pie on a stick. If we happen to see a naked person or two along the way, que sera sera!

Castaway Cay is really the surprise port for our itinerary because I knew nothing about it and thought it was no big deal, just a glorified beach. Yet its the one port where the opinions are consistent&&&..its amazing! Would it be wrong for me to hope for a tropical storm that could force us to skip one of the other ports and keep us at Castaway Cay? I know, not likely. The one thing Im grappling with on Castaway Cay is to cabana or not to cabana. The pros are that it would be great to have a place to hang out, our ground zero on the island. DH and DD have that Irish skin that burns just thinking about the sun so the cover would be good. And the chaises and hammock look fabulously cozy! But the price tag on it is pretty steep! So far Ive been really splurging on this trip to make it an amazingly awesome family event. However, I have to admit Im still on the fence with the cabana. Youngest DD saw several YouTube videos of cabana tours so shes working overtime to convince me to go for it. Well see.

Were roughly two 2 Ĺ months away, June 28th to be exact, from when I can start booking excursions online. Sometime before then well have to have a family meeting to discuss what our plans are for the three ports. Jeez, doesnt that sound so Brady Bunchish? The exception is that well have to Skype with DD and DSIL for that discussion. Definitely post Brady Bunch!
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:12 PM   #17
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Holy snow, Batman!

I was raised i nSt. Louis (my parents still live there) and I do not miss snow one bit. The pizza and the Cardinals, yes. Snow and humidity? No.

I am excited about CC too... I would LOVE to have a cabana, bu given our recent decision to (probably) upgrade to concierge I don't think I should push my luck! Besides, we booekd this cruse thinking it was our one-time DCL moment so we better go all out... however, I am already thinking about adding on a 3 night from Port Canaveral after our next trip to WDW!!!

Can't wait to hear what you decide for your port adventures!! I am thinking the following:

Key West - rent electric cars and hit the tourist highlights (I must see Hemingway's house)
Nassau - maybe walk around for an hour or two and see some of the architrcture and soak up a little locall flavor (it is very possible only my Dad and I will do this), then head abck to the ship for lunch and relaXation
CC - play, play play every possible second we can!
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:56 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jiminy'sGirl View Post
Holy snow, Batman!

I was raised i nSt. Louis (my parents still live there) and I do not miss snow one bit. The pizza and the Cardinals, yes. Snow and humidity? No.

I am excited about CC too... I would LOVE to have a cabana, bu given our recent decision to (probably) upgrade to concierge I don't think I should push my luck! Besides, we booekd this cruse thinking it was our one-time DCL moment so we better go all out... however, I am already thinking about adding on a 3 night from Port Canaveral after our next trip to WDW!!!

Can't wait to hear what you decide for your port adventures!! I am thinking the following:

Key West - rent electric cars and hit the tourist highlights (I must see Hemingway's house)
Nassau - maybe walk around for an hour or two and see some of the architrcture and soak up a little locall flavor (it is very possible only my Dad and I will do this), then head abck to the ship for lunch and relaXation
CC - play, play play every possible second we can!




Okay, since you mentioned the Cardinals I've got to post a picture of me with DD at a fundraising event this past February that had a sports theme. My BFF and her husband photo bombed us! When I was a kid we lived across the river from St. Louis in Belleville, IL so I grew up loving the Cardinals! I definitely don't miss those Midwest winters!


Your port adventures sound great! I too want to see the Hemingway house and I'm sure DD will too. The running joke with her is that she'll end up being the crazy cat lady so we need to get a picture of her with the Hemingway House cats.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:05 PM   #19
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Too funny.... My husband grew up in Belleville!!!!!!
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:26 PM   #20
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Too funny.... My husband grew up in Belleville!!!!!!
No way!!! What a small world! I went to Douglas Elementary from kindergarten through 3rd grade in Belleville. At the time my dad was stationed at Scott AFB.
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:40 AM   #21
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Snow Again!

So here I am trying to think and plan about a wonderful tropical fall vacation and in the meantime, I'm looking out my home office window to falling snow! ARGH!!! I think this is the latest winter we've had in some time, at least it feels like it.



I am hearing through the FE grapevine that Joann's has a new Mickey print fabric so I'm hoping to go out on my lunch break to take a look. The wonderful thing about Joann's is they have those great little free tear aways with directions for various crafts to make. What a great marketing scheme to buy more of their stuff...........as if I need their help! I found one last week that will be great for the adults in the FE. My readers who are on my cruise are probably wondering, hmmmm, what could it be? How about Mickey print lederhosen? That would definitely fall into the what-was-the-weirdest-FE-gift-you-received category!

Well, it's time to start my work day. Jut thought I'd share some of my weather frustration. TTFN (Ta ta for now!)
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:43 AM   #22
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It's hard to believe but here we are May 2nd, and I'm looking out the window at, yes, you guessed it, SNOW!!! Enough already! I packed away the sweaters after the last one hoping Mother Nature would take the hint! This had better be the last of it!

So the big day came last week when I made the final payment on the cruise. We're now PIF! That was such an awesome feeling, like no matter what happens to us financially, by golly we're going to be on the Wonder in October. Everything is covered....cruise, Friday night hotel, airfare, transportation. Now it's a matter of setting aside money for the stuff like drink of the day , spa , pirate costumes , port excursions , and on and on.

And speaking of pirate costumes, I was looking on a costume web site and it's amazing the names they come up with for the women's pirate costumes. There was Pleasure Pirate, Vixen Pirate Wench, South Seas Siren, Sexy Swashbuckler, and Buccaneer Beauty. Honestly between the names and the style of the costumes you could have a pirate themed brothel! (Hopefully I won't get an infraction for using the word brothel on the DIS. I know it's a family site!) I ended up not buying anything. Somehow I just couldn't see modeling it for my kids and asking, "Hey guys, what do you think of Mommy's Vixen Pirate Wench costume?" Besides the fact that some of those outfits require some serious cleavage and my figure is lacking a bit in that area. I think I'll play it safe and try to find a pirate shirt, vest, and make some striped pants to go with it. I'll be the Caribbean Androgynous pirate! Or I could wear a nightgown and go as Tired Overworked Pirate Mom! Actually, what I'd really love is to get my hands on a Seinfeld puffy shirt!!! Now THAT is a pirate shirt!

My brain has taken a break from thinking about port excursions although it was a nice escape daydreaming about snorkeling while big ole flakes of snow are dropping from the sky. But I'm tired of thinking about what to do in port and DH's head isn't there yet to start making decisions. Instead I've been focused on making my FE gifts. On the way home from DD's horse riding lessons last Saturday, I found another Joann's which not only had the classic Mickey fabric that my other Joann's ran out of but they had some new ones as well. I whipped up a lap quilt last weekend with the classic Mickey fabric and needed more to have enough to make gifts for all of our FE staterooms. So I am good to go! After seeing the Mickey lap quilt now DS wants one using Marvel fabric. Yes, nothing says cozy like snuggling up with a quilt that has a green guy with bulging muscles and a guy in red and blue shooting spider webs from his hand! LOL

Ahh, well, enough of my DIS time for this morning. Time to get my work day started. Cheers for now!
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:37 PM   #23
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But I don't wannnnna be a pirate!!!!

Come on, ya saucy wench.... unleash your inner vixen! Hehe, I know what you mean. Why do we need sexy Alice, sexy Mad Hatter, and my personal fave, sexy Maleficent? When did Halloween become a stripper holiday, I ask you! Even the kid costumes as young as 7-8 are veering in this direction. I am no prude, but I find this to be a disturbing trend.

Am I hearing this correctly? Your FE gifts are a dadgum QUILT? I am now SO glad I opted not to participate in that. I could never stack up!!!
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:12 AM   #24
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But I don't wannnnna be a pirate!!!!

Come on, ya saucy wench.... unleash your inner vixen! Hehe, I know what you mean. Why do we need sexy Alice, sexy Mad Hatter, and my personal fave, sexy Maleficent? When did Halloween become a stripper holiday, I ask you! Even the kid costumes as young as 7-8 are veering in this direction. I am no prude, but I find this to be a disturbing trend.

Am I hearing this correctly? Your FE gifts are a dadgum QUILT? I am now SO glad I opted not to participate in that. I could never stack up!!!
I totally agree with you!!!! We have a costume shop not far from where we live and I steer the kids away from the adult women's costume section because it's like a trashy version of Victoria's Secret. It is disturbing that some of the young girls costumes are going in that direction. Ick!

As for FE quilts, gosh, no! My FE gifts entail some sewing but rest assured Iím not making quilts! I made a lap quilt for DD using extra classic Mickey fabric from my FE and FE gifts. DS asked me to make one using Marvel comics fabric. So I decided Iíll make lap quilts for the family using Disney themed fabric as a memory gift for our family cruise. I say "trying" because I tend to be more ambitious than what I can actually complete.

I can see where I confused you. Sometimes my typing doesn't catch up with my brain and I'm not clear in what I'm saying.
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:01 PM   #25
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I'm loviing this!!!
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:17 PM   #26
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I'm loviing this!!!
You are too kind! Not sure my DH would agree with you! I think sometimes he wonders what planet I'm from!
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:48 PM   #27
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Happiness is being PIF! I made the final payment two weeks ago and was so excited. Itís such a good feeling to have it all paid for, the flight, the Friday hotel and the cruise itself! Up until then I had fears of one of the dogs needing major surgery, one of the cars imploding, or me losing my job and having to make the decision to cancel the trip. Being paid in full, if I was to lose my job, we might be eating beanie weanies for dinner but, by golly, weíre cruising Disney in October!

As time passes, more and more people are joining the cruise meet group. Itís been a real hoot getting to meet my fellow travelers via the DIS board and Facebook! What a fun group! And nice people, too! Some have offered to bring in extra Halloween candy so those of us flying donít have to worry about taking up space in our suitcases. How kind is that???

So planning is in full swing as the cruise date gets closer. The project manager in me is really kicking in and itís taking all Iíve got to not geek out totally and create a Gantt chart for this trip. Google Ganntt chart to see what a PM dork I am! It actually crossed my mind as we have chatted the last few days about meets, Trick or Treating, mixology events, my own family activities on the ship and, of course, port excursions. Itís all just screaming to be put on a timeline with tasks, milestones, and due dates! Okay, enough of the PM geeking!

Honestly, though, I really do find planning half the fun. I just love it! However, it doesn't diminish my impatience and desire to be on the ship NOW! And it doesn't help matters that DD Catie chose the song ďUnder the SeaĒ from The Little Mermaid as her piano recital song. Those first few bars make me want to run and mix up a Mai Tai or some other fruity tropical drink. Actually, it doesnít take much for me to want to make a fruity tropical drink! LOL!!!! Aw, just kidding! On the other hand, I chose ďEdelweissĒ as my piano recital piece so in our house the mood quickly goes from being under the sea to the sound of music in beautiful Austria. It makes me dream of cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudel. These are a few of my favorite thingsÖhmm, wrong song.

So back to the cruiseÖ.wardrobe is becoming a consideration now, though Iím still trying to figure out how I get myself back in shape again. So Iíve been hesitant to do much shopping. Iíd love to have the body I had at 25 but short of time travel through Sherman and Peabody's Wayback machine that's not happening!!!


The key seems to be to find clothes that pack well and can be easily mixed and matched. Iím notorious for over packing whereas DH will throw in a couple pairs of boxers, a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, two shirts and call it done. He goes in with the idea that we can do laundry. I go in with the idea that if I wanted to do laundry on vacation Iíd strap our washer and dryer to the car and bring them along. Otherwise nay nay on laundry. On vacation I am escaping having to wash clothes, dishes, floors, dogs, etc. However, this is the first trip in a long time where weíre not driving. My problem is that I bring half my closet because I tend to be a mood dresser. My clothing choices for the day are based on my mood and given how moody I can be (much to my husbandís delightÖNOT ) that typically calls for numerous clothing options. Thatís easy to do when driving. Since weíre flying to Houston itís a different story. Now I've got Frontier Airlines limiting my baggage and charging me for what I do bring! So, Iím determined to find that happy medium between not having to do laundry and packing half my closet. I just don't want to do laundry on vacation!!!!

Well, my carpal tunnel has flared up so Iím calling it a night on the computer. Until next time, fellow cruisers!
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Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:14 PM   #28
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Great Pre-Trip Report so far! I totally agree about the planning part...it's what keeps us going (And the Dis Boards too). Although I have not created a Gantt chart, I do have several spreadsheets I use. They of course have several tabs.

I am looking forward to planning our excursions as well and try not to get discouraged by the negative reviews of the stops. We heard bad things about our ports in Mexico, but still planned our own excursions and had a great time - without fear.

Gary
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:55 PM   #29
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Great Pre-Trip Report so far! I totally agree about the planning part...it's what keeps us going (And the Dis Boards too). Although I have not created a Gantt chart, I do have several spreadsheets I use. They of course have several tabs.

I am looking forward to planning our excursions as well and try not to get discouraged by the negative reviews of the stops. We heard bad things about our ports in Mexico, but still planned our own excursions and had a great time - without fear.

Gary
Thanks Gary. You're right about reading negative reviews with caution. I've learned that so much on the DIS is subjective. The food reviews are all over the place so I plan on just enjoying the whole experience and not expecting perfection. :-)
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:21 PM   #30
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It seems like just yesterday I posted the Die, Winter, Die picture. Today we hit 97 degrees. So winter did die but Iíve got the paddles out to revive it! Ha! Yes, Iím so fickle.



So much has progressed since my last report. The FE group has grown so much weíre getting ready to spin up our 3rd group! We have 25 people per FE so it doesnít become too unwieldy for folks to make/buy gifts. When I joined the DIS group in early January of this year it was so quiet through February that I thought I had picked a dud of a cruise as far as people to cruise with. I had convinced myself that all the cool things I had read about with other groups was not to be. However it started to pick up in March. Now, I canít keep up with the conversations in our Facebook group! What a wonderful group of people!! We have nearly 70 in the Facebook group and have set dates for our Meet and Greet (with a backup date/time in case we leave the port late), Mixology class, Trick or Treat, and a Happy Hour.


Excursion planning continues to move along and weíre pretty set for Key West and Castaway Cay excursions. Weíll get an electric car to tool around Key West and see the sights. Hopefully there wonít be too many naked people lying about, leftover from the Fantasy Fest the days prior. I figure the car will enable us to drive around them versus walking and having to step over them. For Castaway Cay, I finally got off the fence on the cabana. DCL shoreside concierge is going to grab a cabana for us on June 28th when our booking calendar opens up. Iím so looking forward to some serious R&R on the Cay. Weíre using our OBC to fund the cabana. Itís pricey, yes, but with someone elseís money, itís doable.

Iím going to take a quick rabbit trailÖ..Iíve read people question whether their first cruise should be concierge if they have the opportunity because it could ruin it down the road for future cruises when they may not be able to afford it. That could happen but from my perspective, if the opportunity presents itself, go for it. Itís unlikely weíll get to cruise concierge again and I can live with that. Iím thankful for the opportunity this time and will savor the moment. Iím not going to pass on the opportunity simply because later down the road I worry I wonít be satisfied. Like the old saying goes, a bad day cruising is far better than a good day at work!

Back to excursionsÖ. The topic that I see posted more frequently than whether to bring your own booze poolside is whether to get off the boat at Nassau or not. Opinions are all over the place. Iíve read in some posts where Nassau is made out to be a real den of thieves, a mugger or drug dealer around every corner, kind of like the bad guys sneaking around Ralphieís house in ďA Christmas StoryĒ.
For others, itís a real tropical paradise a la ďFantasy IslandĒ. At the end of the day, whatever we decide it will probably be relatively low key because I anticipate Castaway Cay being amazing to the point of wearing us out!


Weíre still 137 days away and I feel a bit like Iím in limbo. The 2013 DCL Passporter was supposed to be out by now but theyíve already missed at least 3 projected release dates and I just saw itís now delayed to July. The 2013 cruising season is half over so they need to just forget it and start on 2014. I really wanted their lists!!!! Iím itching to make lists and pack. Okay, yes, the packing is a bit premature. After all, Iím guessing the family will need their clothes for the summer. But the listsÖÖ.look out because Iím ready to start making them, even this far out.The FE gifts are coming along well but I like to work under pressure and this leisurely pace is killing me! I need to feel like Iím under the gun with a tight timeline and Iím just not there yet. To make sure I get that feeling Iíve set a date to have my FE gifts packaged and ready to go.

Well, Iím sweating like a preacher in a crap game, to quote my dad, God rest his soul. Time to go cool off with a nice cold beer. I also need to go write a speech for a speaking engagement. Okay, not really but I've been wanting to use that emoticon and I couldn't work it into this report. So that wraps up this pre-trip report. Until next time, DISers!
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Pre-trip Report The Yours Mine and Ours Mystery Tour
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