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Old 10-28-2013, 06:52 PM   #1
EvaSue
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Phoenix, Arizona, baby!
Posts: 528

Magical Rejects and Redemptions

This title may be a little deceiving, and I apologize for that, since this is actually a trip report for the 10-19-2013 Fantasy sailing. But it all starts with the Magic, and so this is where our story begins.

For a touch of background, my name is Eva, and I am a 33 year old Disney Cruise Line cast member-turned ER nurse. I worked on the Magic as an entertainer in 2006 and besides being the experience of a lifetime, it also turned me in to a DCL customer for life, and began my love affair with Caribbean-quality beaches and the ocean at large. I now have a son of my own, Elliot, who is two and a half years old, a son on the way, and my main man and partner, Von, who is 30. We live in Mesa, Arizona, which is depressingly lacking in Caribbean-quality beaches and the ocean at large.

My last cruise was on the infamous Hurricane Sandy sailing aboard the Disney Fantasy on October 20 of 2012. I am not ashamed to admit that I was one of the ones who was fearing for my life, most especially because having sailed under Captain Tom for months on end, I knew for a FACT that he would never have deliberately or knowingly sailed us in to such conditions, which opened the door to a myriad of the unknown. Still, shaken or not, we were happy with the cruise as a whole and extremely satisfied with our 25% discount, which brings me to this month's adventures.

I initially went looking for a double dip, not yet knowing that we'd be first to sail after dry dock. I thought that would be best for my first time cruiser toddler, where I knew I'd feel safe and there'd be plenty of age-appropriate activities. When I saw the information regarding dry-dock, that only sweetened the deal, as far as I was concerned. I'd also never been to Nassau, having only worked 7-night itineraries, so I was excited for a new port and to see the aquarium at Atlantis.

Let the obsessing begin! Like any good DIS-er, I poured over the details of my cruise; joining the FE, the DISmeet and the facebook page. Signing up for activities, obsessing over the Re-Imagined Magic updates, making friends, and getting very excited for what was in store. Knowing that I'd be 20-some-odd weeks pregnant, I was a no-go for the new slides or the beer tasting, but I was ready for action in any other capacity I could dream up. I was excited to see that 2 out of the 3 shows I used to perform in were still running on the Magic, but with some updates and modern flares that I couldn't WAIT to drink in. We also spoiled ourselves with concierge service in a 1-bedroom suite, and since we booked reasonably early on top of that, our 5-night cruise on the Magic was going to run us under 3,000 bucks for the three of us. If you do the math, it's one helluva deal.

The DISASTER!!

Then we get that dreaded phone call.... mere days before our sailing, Eric from shore-side concierge called to tell us that he was very sorry to inform us that our sailing has unfortunately been cancelled. My hubby and I were both in on the call, as when he saw who was calling, he immediately put the phone on speaker. We were in total shock. Von's knee-jerk response was, "You've got to be f@!*$ing kidding me". I threw a wrench in that quickly though and went in to full nurse mode: stay calm... assess the situation... find out what to do next. The offer for a free Magic sailing at another time was no good for us. I was going to be "too pregnant" for any future offerings, and then I'd have a newborn who was too young to sail. We were given to the manager to discuss our options, and once she realized our unusual situation, coupled with the fact that we had also been on the Sandy sailing, she went above and beyond for us to help salvage our vacation.

The GOOD: We were NOT going to forfeit our vacation. We would be able to sail the Fantasy at the same approximate time, and switching our flights was reasonably smooth. We'd also be getting two additional days, as the Fantasy was doing a 7-night vs our original 5-night on the Magic. We also miraculously managed to land a balcony, even though the ship was already nearly at capacity, and by the time we sailed, every stateroom was full. We were able to reserve Palo brunch and dinner, our excursion of choice on Castaway Cay, and Disney transport to the terminal. We opted to rent a car and drive from Port Canaveral to Ft Lauderdale for the return flight, as it saved us several hundred dollars in flight changes, and I don't trust DCL when it comes to flight reimbursements based on an iffy historical management of such. I also was very fortunate to be able to jump on to one of the FE lists on the new sailing, and discovered that there was a seriously AWESOME group of people sailing with us who totally embraced our unexpected arrival and situation without missing a beat. I was worried that people were going to be irritated that we were "crowding their ship" with our cancelled booking, but we literally encountered ZERO of that.

The NOT SO GOOD: Bye-bye concierge. There was no chance of maintaining our original booking category, which meant we had to forfeit our suite, and all the other perks associated with it. Although as I mentioned, we still received shore-side assistance with bookings, which was wonderful. We were also a little bit bummed that it was going to be the same exact ship and itinerary as last year, when we were looking forward to something different. The biggest boo-hoo of all, of course, was simply that we weren't going to get to see the new enhancements to the Magic, which I was DESPERATELY looking forward to. I was also sad that I wasn't going to get to see Villains for the first time, or to re-live Golden Mickeys and Disney Dreams like I was so looking forward to. The entertainment is a big pat of the experience for me, and I was not over the moon for the shows on the Fantasy. Still, we immediately adjusted our attitudes to be grateful for what we could get, and to get ready for the vacation of a lifetime... planned or not!!

Day One: Embarkation.
We took a red-eye flight thinking this would be best for our son who would just sleep through it. He DID sleep though it, but Von and I were zombies. We were supposed to be getting an entire day on land to recuperate, but lost that in the transition to the 19th instead of the 20th. Our son did have some massive melt-downs in regards to sitting up nicely with a seat belt on for take-off and landing, but other than that, it was pretty uneventful. He was VERY excited to be going on a "real airplane!" which delighted him beyond his wildest dreams, even though we just went to the Dominican Republic in February, which he seemed to have already forgotten. We went straight from the airport to the terminal in Port Canaveral, where Elliot was absolutely bouncing off the walls. He ran around in circles and jumped off of furniture, and made us work very hard to keep him corralled. He definitely felt the excitement in the air, and was SO excited to see the "Mickey Boat!" in person. We met Mickey for the first time in the terminal, where I quickly realized that I hated posing for pictures. The characters are sometimes so focused on posing for the camera that they fail to interact with or even face the child next to them, but I have a feeling that this is because so many parents WANT the picture first and foremost. We decided right away to tell the characters at the beginning of each interaction that we were not interested in a picture, but that "Elliot just REALLY wants to met you!". It was a night and day difference, and I think the characters prefer it, too, to be honest.
Once we got on board we went straight for food, which made Von and I markedly less grumpy and gave us a boost in energy that we really needed. It was very yummy, as usual, and even my picky kid ate a decent potion. After we went to our stateroom and put our things away, we went up for the Sailaway Party. Blame the hormones, blame the sleep deprivation, blame my former DCL career, or just my mother's heart, but I LOST IT. Sobbed like a child as I watched my son sitting on his Dad's shoulders dancing to the music, grinning from ear to ear and announcing each character as he spotted them... "Mickey! Minnie! Donald!"
We had main dining and got to meet our table-mates who were lovely, and Mom was also a nurse, for an added bonus, although her husband told us we were not allowed to "talk shop" at the dinner table. They had a son and daughter, both much older than Elliot, but very kind and well behaved. First night was Animators. Elliot was NOT a fan of the MDRs, and was a handful at every meal, to be honest, but we did the best we could, and took him out for a break in the hallways when necessary. We decided he should go to Small World Nursery for the shows, and when we dropped him off, he was biting at the bit to get in there and play with the toys, and could not possibly have cared less if we stayed or went. There was a very funny female ventriloquist on board who made a brief debut during the welcome aboard show, and we snuck out after she was finished, since I had forgotten how much I dislike the other parts of the Welcome Aboard show on the Fantasy and I was feeling guilty about having Elliot in the nursery. He was still happy as a clam when we came to get him. I'm SURE there was more to do that evening that we missed out on, but we were SPENT. All three of us. We opted for the pack-n-play for Elliot, even though he's in a toddler bed at home, and this worked out reasonably well. We were emotionally, physically and perhaps even spiritually exhausted. So much had happened to us in the last few days, we all just ZONKED.

Soooooooo, that's the end of my intro, pre-story and day one
I will be back with more in the coming days!! Hope you enjoy.
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