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Old 04-14-2013, 07:45 PM   #196
WonderTwinsMom
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Originally Posted by Conorama View Post
Day 4 - St. Thomas - part 2 - Getting back off the ship

After a quick lunch at Cabanas, we headed back off the ship. DH had big plans to buy a new camera, but we didn't have any ambition to shop 'til we dropped. We had done the main shopping strip in St. Thomas 5 years before, and the idea of doing that with a 4.5 year old convinced us to suck up some higher prices and shop at port - still duty free, which was the main deal. I amused Conor at tacky souvenir stores (great for the 4.5 year old set), while DH found his camera, in the space of about 20 minutes.

Here we have cool tourist boy - that is a real Tilley hat - a gift from my sister's in-laws - that thing rocks.

Butterfly farm

Back in the P-K days (pre-kid) DH and I had been to a butterfly farm in St. Martin and so I paid attention when I saw the signs for one "5 minute walk" from port. It was a 5 minute walk for normal humans, but not for a 4.5 year old who has to explore everything, however, we were not on a schedule ( a theme?) so we just meandered.

We arrived just as they were putting on a bird show just outside the shop- cool birds doing cool tricks - since one is supposed to pay to watch this extravaganza (included in the admission), we were good little tourists and went in to do so. I can't remember how much we paid, but it wasn't completely ridiculous - somewhere between $20 and $30 for the 3 of us? (Pales in comparison to the price of Port Adventures)

The farm itself is much smaller than the one at St. Martin, but, again, not a problem for the JK set. There were enough butterflies to keep him interested, and because it was small, we were able to make a quick exit when he decided he'd had enough. We refrained from buying anything in the shop.

My overall review? It's reasonably cheap, and the bird show was cool (birds walking on tight-ropes, etc.) and close to the ship - perfect for killing an hour with little kids - probably would bore older kids to tears, though.

And.... the Aquaduck!

Somewhat to our surprise, Mr. "I go down the Mickey slide slower than anyone else" really wanted to go on the Aquaduck. There was no way we were going to attempt the 20-30 minute line-ups on at-sea days, but a slightly rainy, definitely overcast at-port day was perfect.

Conor is 42 inches tall ... exactly - we know this since they had him take off his swim shoes and his swim hat to measure him - he just made it. I stayed on dry(ish) land to take photos. It was only about 10 minutes when I saw them come out the one side, so I was ready to capture this:

Yes, that is a photo of a boy holding on for dear life, while DH waved happily behind. Conor's declaration after getting off... "I do NOT want to do that again!!!" Too much speed, too many dips. Nope - roller coasters are not in our immediate future. Love my adventurous boy.

We dried the poor bedraggled soul off, got him changed, cuddled him, fed him ice cream, and by then, in typical resilient kid fashion, he was ready for a couple of hours at the club.

I believe DH and I headed to deck 4 to lounge in anticipation of ... PIRATE NIGHT - a HUGE night for us. You can keep your princess extravaganzas and character bonanzas.... we will take pirate night 1,000 times over... coming up next.
Hi. Enjoying your report from a first time DCL cruiser and a Canadian to boot! We're from Vancouver and will be going on our first DCL cruise on the Magic for an EBTA cruise on May 18. I understand how you and othe DISers feel about Air Canada. But having flown an various American Airlines and going to their airport lounges, I will take Air Canada in a heartbeat.

Thanks for sharing pics. It gives us a better idea on what our trip may look like. And yes, we'll take the Princess extravaganza? My twins DD3 and DS3, who will be celebrating their third b-day on the cruise can't wait to meet the Princesses. Even my DS wants to give them a hug...and a kiss. LOL Were there any characters from Disney's Pixar movies (Cars, Wreck-it-Ralph, Monsters, etc). Other than the Princesses, the twins aren't into the classic Disney characters, but they love Pixar.

How did you find the flight? Would appreciate any tips you can give us since it's the kids first flight? Sounds like Conor enjoyed the club. Did you feel comfy (and safe) leaving him there? On your trip, were the kids mostly his age and 3-year olds or was he mixed in with the older 7 or even 8 year olds? I've read in a number of reports that the Mickey pool was often (various times daily) closed due to cleaning due to kids' potty accidents. Did you experience that? Although it sounded like Conor enjoyed e slowest ride on the Mickey slide.

It's the twins first trip. I'm a little concerned with the flight times and how they will do (hopefully no sea-sickness) on the cruise. Thanks in advance.

Cheers
Teri
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:14 PM   #197
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Hi. Enjoying your report from a first time DCL cruiser and a Canadian to boot! We're from Vancouver and will be going on our first DCL cruise on the Magic for an EBTA cruise on May 18. I understand how you and othe DISers feel about Air Canada. But having flown an various American Airlines and going to their airport lounges, I will take Air Canada in a heartbeat.

Thanks for sharing pics. It gives us a better idea on what our trip may look like. And yes, we'll take the Princess extravaganza? My twins DD3 and DS3, who will be celebrating their third b-day on the cruise can't wait to meet the Princesses. Even my DS wants to give them a hug...and a kiss. LOL Were there any characters from Disney's Pixar movies (Cars, Wreck-it-Ralph, Monsters, etc). Other than the Princesses, the twins aren't into the classic Disney characters, but they love Pixar.

How did you find the flight? Would appreciate any tips you can give us since it's the kids first flight? Sounds like Conor enjoyed the club. Did you feel comfy (and safe) leaving him there? On your trip, were the kids mostly his age and 3-year olds or was he mixed in with the older 7 or even 8 year olds? I've read in a number of reports that the Mickey pool was often (various times daily) closed due to cleaning due to kids' potty accidents. Did you experience that? Although it sounded like Conor enjoyed e slowest ride on the Mickey slide.

It's the twins first trip. I'm a little concerned with the flight times and how they will do (hopefully no sea-sickness) on the cruise. Thanks in advance.

Cheers
Teri
Hey fellow Canadian! 3-year-old twins -wow, that's busy, I'm sure.

There were a few Pixar characters, as I recall (we were boycotting all characters, regardless of origin...) - Buzz & Woody for sure. I don't remember anyone from Monster's Inc, but there is the Monster's Inc room in the club.

As for flights - Conor is, um, well-traveled, to put it mildly (he's at trip number 14 this weekend coming up). He's quite used to planes. Age 3 was not bad at all for flying (way better than age 2) - mostly because by then he was old enough to be amused at his seat - coloring, Playdoh (yes, you can bring it on planes), Hotwheels, and of course a fully-loaded IPad (games and shows). He views flights as one of the few times he is actively allowed and encouraged to watch TV, so he loves them.

My flight tips with kiddos:

A) Pack your own food and do not assume you'll be fed on the flight- we once got stuck with turbulence during the entire flight, so there was no in-flight service. I was very glad for the food I packed. Ditto for drinks - I bring empty sippy cups through security then immediately fill them up. On return flights, this usually means we buy food at the airport to bring on the plane.

B) Have extra clothes for all ... including yourself. Conor used to get airsick, and he always managed to cover me.

C) Novelty is your friend - I stock up on a whole bunch of new stuff - not expensive, just new to Conor. Favourites at age 3 - AquaDoodle travel size, Crayola Colour Wonder stuff (no staining), new books, Hotwheels, stickers, etc. Then, I loaded up the IPad with new games (I can provide recommendations if you have one) and new episodes of his favourite shows.

D) We love the CARES harness when we don't need a car seat at the other end. It keeps him contained. We've not used a car seat on flights, but I think that would work too.

E) Use their "baggie" allowance for stuff you will need for them (sound obvious) - but I always have Kids' Advil, Tylenol, Gravol, Benadryl on hand, with a syringe, and I calculate doses before we leave - we've only ever needed the Gravol, but I feel better! Many bandaids are also on stand-by.

F) Layers are your friend when going from Canadian climes to Southern temperatures. Overheating on the plane = airsickness for us in the old days, so I make sure his final layer is a light-weight T-shirt and lightweight pants.

Hope that helps!

Conor was definitely not the youngest in the club at age 4.5. He loved it. Only once did he complain about an older kid- and then we realized, when he pointed the child out later, that the boy had special needs and was quite a bit older (9?). He told us the boy pushed him, but the "teachers" stopped him and took him away, so they were obviously watching. Mostly, when I went in to get him, the kids were all under 6, I would say. He never went over the the Lab side of things.

The pool was closed once- Conor was in it (he didn't cause it!) and they got folks out quickly. It might have been closed other times, but we didn't notice.

What flights do you have? I might have other thoughts when I know times/durations, etc.

Transatlantic sounds fun!
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:54 PM   #198
WonderTwinsMom
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Originally Posted by Conorama View Post

Hey fellow Canadian! 3-year-old twins -wow, that's busy, I'm sure.

There were a few Pixar characters, as I recall (we were boycotting all characters, regardless of origin...) - Buzz & Woody for sure. I don't remember anyone from Monster's Inc, but there is the Monster's Inc room in the club.

As for flights - Conor is, um, well-traveled, to put it mildly (he's at trip number 14 this weekend coming up). He's quite used to planes. Age 3 was not bad at all for flying (way better than age 2) - mostly because by then he was old enough to be amused at his seat - coloring, Playdoh (yes, you can bring it on planes), Hotwheels, and of course a fully-loaded IPad (games and shows). He views flights as one of the few times he is actively allowed and encouraged to watch TV, so he loves them.

My flight tips with kiddos:

A) Pack your own food and do not assume you'll be fed on the flight- we once got stuck with turbulence during the entire flight, so there was no in-flight service. I was very glad for the food I packed. Ditto for drinks - I bring empty sippy cups through security then immediately fill them up. On return flights, this usually means we buy food at the airport to bring on the plane.

B) Have extra clothes for all ... including yourself. Conor used to get airsick, and he always managed to cover me.

C) Novelty is your friend - I stock up on a whole bunch of new stuff - not expensive, just new to Conor. Favourites at age 3 - AquaDoodle travel size, Crayola Colour Wonder stuff (no staining), new books, Hotwheels, stickers, etc. Then, I loaded up the IPad with new games (I can provide recommendations if you have one) and new episodes of his favourite shows.

D) We love the CARES harness when we don't need a car seat at the other end. It keeps him contained. We've not used a car seat on flights, but I think that would work too.

E) Use their "baggie" allowance for stuff you will need for them (sound obvious) - but I always have Kids' Advil, Tylenol, Gravol, Benadryl on hand, with a syringe, and I calculate doses before we leave - we've only ever needed the Gravol, but I feel better! Many bandaids are also on stand-by.

F) Layers are your friend when going from Canadian climes to Southern temperatures. Overheating on the plane = airsickness for us in the old days, so I make sure his final layer is a light-weight T-shirt and lightweight pants.

Hope that helps!

Conor was definitely not the youngest in the club at age 4.5. He loved it. Only once did he complain about an older kid- and then we realized, when he pointed the child out later, that the boy had special needs and was quite a bit older (9?). He told us the boy pushed him, but the "teachers" stopped him and took him away, so they were obviously watching. Mostly, when I went in to get him, the kids were all under 6, I would say. He never went over the the Lab side of things.

The pool was closed once- Conor was in it (he didn't cause it!) and they got folks out quickly. It might have been closed other times, but we didn't notice.

What flights do you have? I might have other thoughts when I know times/durations, etc.

Transatlantic sounds fun!
Well, I finally finished your informative yet-never-boring details. I was surprised it took me over a week to finish. I had intended to read everything in a couple of days. Guess at times, sleep had to take over. Thanks for the airplane tips above. Didn't even think of A, B and F. Yes, would appreciate your recommendations for iPad games. As for our flight back, DH had a great idea to take the twins to Disney Paris. While I'm looking forward to visiting my favourite city in the world, I still have reservations about the kids going on an extra flight. I think I would've been happy exploring Barcelona again. But all the flights have been booked, so I'm hoping for the best.

I understand your wanting to avoid schedules on vacations. After our first few cruises, we've learned to pace ourselves and set aside time to do nothing. We'll see how it is with a couple of toddlers in tow. Thank you once again for sharing such an honest and useful report. I hope Conor enjoys trip #14 this weekend, and of course, you and your hubby too.

Cheers,
Teri
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:54 AM   #199
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Well, I finally finished your informative yet-never-boring details. I was surprised it took me over a week to finish. I had intended to read everything in a couple of days. Guess at times, sleep had to take over. Thanks for the airplane tips above. Didn't even think of A, B and F. Yes, would appreciate your recommendations for iPad games. As for our flight back, DH had a great idea to take the twins to Disney Paris. While I'm looking forward to visiting my favourite city in the world, I still have reservations about the kids going on an extra flight. I think I would've been happy exploring Barcelona again. But all the flights have been booked, so I'm hoping for the best.

I understand your wanting to avoid schedules on vacations. After our first few cruises, we've learned to pace ourselves and set aside time to do nothing. We'll see how it is with a couple of toddlers in tow. Thank you once again for sharing such an honest and useful report. I hope Conor enjoys trip #14 this weekend, and of course, you and your hubby too.

Cheers,
Teri
Hello! Apologies for the delay - we were away in Quebec city and I never had a chance to catch up on email. We had a great time!

For 3 year olds, I would recommend checking out apps by Duck, Duck, Moose, Toca, and Shoe the Goose. Duck, Duck, Moose has the easiest apps - the Itsy Bitsy Spider was one of Conor's first apps. He loved most of them though. Toca games are a tiny bit more advanced, but I think most 3 year olds would enjoy them - Conor's favourite are the restaurant ones where you feed different people/animals. I personally love the Shoe the Goose ones - you basically make stuff on the phone/pad/pod - cookies, cakes, etc. Conor still enjoys those as well - he's always "making" me stuff on the i-pod.

I hope that helps. I'm glad you enjoyed the review. You've only got a few weeks left - happy planning and packing!
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:12 AM   #200
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Hello! Apologies for the delay - we were away in Quebec city and I never had a chance to catch up on email. We had a great time!

For 3 year olds, I would recommend checking out apps by Duck, Duck, Moose, Toca, and Shoe the Goose. Duck, Duck, Moose has the easiest apps - the Itsy Bitsy Spider was one of Conor's first apps. He loved most of them though. Toca games are a tiny bit more advanced, but I think most 3 year olds would enjoy them - Conor's favourite are the restaurant ones where you feed different people/animals. I personally love the Shoe the Goose ones - you basically make stuff on the phone/pad/pod - cookies, cakes, etc. Conor still enjoys those as well - he's always "making" me stuff on the i-pod.

I hope that helps. I'm glad you enjoyed the review. You've only got a few weeks left - happy planning and packing!
The app Tozzle is great to occupy toddlers too! It has a series of puzzles that range from very simple 'peg' puzzles to quite complex. You would be amazed on how fast these little guys move to the more complex puzzles!
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:50 PM   #201
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The app Tozzle is great to occupy toddlers too! It has a series of puzzles that range from very simple 'peg' puzzles to quite complex. You would be amazed on how fast these little guys move to the more complex puzzles!
Oh - yes, thanks - another favourite. I forgot it since it's not used very often anymore with Mr. I am almost 5.
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:50 PM   #202
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Thank you so much for this TR... We luved it ....
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:04 PM   #203
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Thank you so much for this TR... We luved it ....
Glad you liked it!
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:28 PM   #204
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Beyond belated but I found this puttering around and I loved your trip report. We always fly out of YOW its gotten cheaper for some flights than YYZ (Crazy isnt it?!) Great report and I see you have a ticker so you're going back for more
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:44 PM   #205
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Beyond belated but I found this puttering around and I loved your trip report. We always fly out of YOW its gotten cheaper for some flights than YYZ (Crazy isnt it?!) Great report and I see you have a ticker so you're going back for more
Oh goodness- I assumed no one would read this again.

Thanks - and I'm glad you enjoyed it. YOW is our go-to airport ... if the flights work. They didn't, again, for the (ahem) new trip we booked on DCL. They did work for our beach vacation coming up in 26 days (but I am not counting...) so we'll be back soon. I didn't see today if they were as backed up as YYZ was - one cannot imagine that it could have been that bad.

I will do another report explaining why we changed our minds once we're back from our beach - mostly because I have now decided that all this pixie dust stuff is false - DCL must put some sort of secret substance (that would be illegal if anyone knew what it was!) in the lattés that causes parents to book another cruise when they didn't plan on doing it again anytime soon. People need to know about this. It's my public service announcement, you see.

Thanks again for reading!
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:50 PM   #206
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Thumbs up

Great review! So glad this one popped back up to the top. Very informative with a lot of helpful info for first time DCL cruisers.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:54 PM   #207
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I really enjoyed your TR. Your Conor is so similar in many ways to my son.
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:37 PM   #208
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Really loved reading ur thread and trip reports. Couldn't stop reading them. Our family is the opposite. We've been on 2 DCL cruises within a year of each other. Probably won't be able to go until 2015. We are a very go-go family. Love the activities, character meet and greets, rotation dining, the service, the cabins, etc. cruises just aren't for everyone. I have a couple coworkers that said they didn't like cruises for the same reason as you. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:01 PM   #209
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Wow- you know you're cool when you manage to unsubscribe from your own thread... I missed these replies - sorry! I clicked the wrong link in my email - or that's the story we're sticking to, anyway...


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Great review! So glad this one popped back up to the top. Very informative with a lot of helpful info for first time DCL cruisers.
Thanks! I lurked on here a long time before our cruise, and it fed my obsessive researching tendencies nicely, so I figured I owed the boards something in return.

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I really enjoyed your TR. Your Conor is so similar in many ways to my son.
Thanks! I re-read this when it popped up again last week - it's been almost 1 year, so Conor is different in some ways now as a wise 5.5 year old, but not in most. We just got back from taking my dad out for supper, and we got a waiter who recognized Conor (small town - not that we eat out all the time - honest!) because "he's the one who talks a lot". Yep. Once he got over his disappointment that they didn't have "a vegetable salad without the vegetables" (aka veggies and dip), and the waiter was able to stop laughing, we had a grand time. Love the "in head out mouth" stage ... most of the time, anyway.


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Really loved reading ur thread and trip reports. Couldn't stop reading them. Our family is the opposite. We've been on 2 DCL cruises within a year of each other. Probably won't be able to go until 2015. We are a very go-go family. Love the activities, character meet and greets, rotation dining, the service, the cabins, etc. cruises just aren't for everyone. I have a couple coworkers that said they didn't like cruises for the same reason as you. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks! We did like a whole lot about the cruise, but not enough for it to be our main vacation every year - or, honestly, it's mostly me, since I really felt a bit tied down by schedules and navigators and port times. I'm the one with a crazy work schedule, so we can blame me. However, this year, through a series of good luck events, we decided to do a 2nd "mini" vacation, so, yes, as per the men's request, we're back on DCL. I will write up something once we get back from MY vacation... the one-week lie on the beach like a lump, with my Kobo, and only make one or two decisions per day ... when to hit up the juice bar, and which restaurant to visit for supper vacation, which happens in 23 days, not that I'm counting down for that or anything.

(I will grudgingly admit that there was not a lot of arm-twisting required by the men in my life to get me back on DCL. I blame the lattés - there is something in them, and I'm not buying that pixie dust story!!! )

Glad you enjoy them so much, and I hope you get back in 2015 as you hope. I'll spend the next few months coping with the highs and lows of planning, while admitting that, honestly, I do NOT care about the quality of the lanyard we'll get as first time silver CC members. (DUCK!)
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Old 01-12-2014, 12:12 AM   #210
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Thanks for taking the time to complete your TR- especially on the excursions. We are sailing in June and trying to make some decisions!
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