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Old 07-05-2013, 10:06 PM   #1
theemily
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Our first Disney cruise [August 2013] - 7 night Western Caribbean & BFF's wedding!

Hello! Welcome to my cruise planning journal! I don't have too much planning left to do (the cruise is less than a month away ) but I thought I may as well do a PJ because I like to keep track of everything, there are very few existing reviews of the room we're going to be in, and because my best friend has gotten me re-addicted to the DisBoards

So without further ado...

Emily & Channing's 1st DCL Trip!

Planning Journal:
Trip Report: HERE!

The details:
Emily (me) & Channing (bf) - both 25
(I'm a photographer & a part time CM at the Contemporary, Channing works in VIP Tours at Universal)
Ship: The Fantasy
Dates: August 3rd - August 10th
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Stateroom: 6677

Part 1 - The Backstory
While my BF has been on a cruise before (never DCL, though), I've never been and I've always wanted to go. My dad always refused when I was a kid - what if we didn't like the room, or the food, etc. etc. - so when my best friend decided she was getting married on the DCL, I was more than a little bit excited.


The bf & I!

Jessica and I met on facebook before our Disney College Program way back in the fall of 2009. We wanted to be apartment mates but she got put in an apartment across the hall. Eventually through some silly circumstances, she ended up in our apartment with myself & Caitlin, my CP roommate, and the rest is kind of history. After our program ended, the three of us moved into an apartment off property together while we all continued working at Disney. Eventually, Caitlin's brother Curtis came to visit, sparks flew, etc., and Jessica and Curtis continued talking to each other after he went home. Obviously things went well because now they're getting married!


Jess & Curt

I'm actually a photographer, so I've taken quite a few photos of Jess & Curt together over the last couple years. The one above is from the trip before the trip where he proposed. We didn't get any photos on the trip when he proposed due to lack of planning & time, and I'm still sad that he didn't ask me to pop out of the bushes at the Polynesian while he was proposing, but I still got to have a nice freak-out moment when I saw a missed call from Jess on my phone - I just knew they were engaged

Anyway, skipping ahead, when Jess decided on the cruise for the wedding, not only was I thrilled to finally get to go on a cruise, I was also thrilled that she let me volunteer to be their photographer. I can't wait to take photos of them all over the ship & Castaway!

If you want to read more about the wedding, Jess has a planning journal of her own right here, you should go check it out!

Coming up next...
More about booking our cruise, getting our paperwork, questions, and my nervousness about our stateroom...

For now though, I have to head to bed - I have a client meeting in the morning & work at Disney tomorrow night. Thanks for reading!

Last edited by theemily; 08-14-2013 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:14 PM   #2
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Part 2 - Planning & What I've accomplished so far...

Welcome back to my pre-trip report, if anyone's out there reading

So when I left off, we had gotten to the point where Jessica & Curtis decided on a cruise for their wedding. Because I'm a CM at WDW, I was hoping for a discount on a cruise - no dice, that's not how CM discounted rates work. Still, I was happy to be able to put our deposit down on an inside stateroom with a magical porthole. Our room was a GTY, but I had no idea what that meant, nor did I think to look it up...whoops.

Paperwork & Planning!
Once we got our paperwork in the mail, I found out our stateroom number (6677), and the fact that it was a GTY didn't end up being a problem (or at least it hasn't yet haha) - we're on deck 6 with the rest of the wedding group. The only review for our stateroom is worrying, though - apparently there's a lot of vibration from the ships engine? Hopefully it won't be too bad. Actually, last night I was reminded that I often fall asleep in cars, so I'm hoping any vibrations will actually help put me to sleep haha I'll definitely be reporting back on what our room is like - that's a major reason I started this report, and I can't be the only one curious about it.

As for other planning, DBF had to get a new passprt (he lost his a year or so ago) and we were worried he wouldn't get it in time, so he paid extra for the 'rush' option. The woman at the post office told him he wouldn't need it but we went ahead and did it anyway just in case...and it arrived in four days. Guess we didn't need the rush after all At least we won't have any problems getting on the ship.

Jessica somehow managed to connect our rooms on the planning section of the cruise website, so she set our boarding time for 12:30. I've heard that around that time, they often start letting everyone onboard despite their chosen timeframe - hopefully it won't be too crazy. We're lucky enough to have an extra parking pass for Jess & Curtis's hotel near the port, so we'll be driving down that morning, parking there, and taking the hotel's shuttle with them - yay for saving money! I scrimped and saved for months to afford the cruise, so we really don't have extra funds right now. I figure if we can each eat our weight in lobster, steak, and shrimp every day, the trip will basically have paid for itself

Onboard plans!
Because we don't have extra money for the trip, we don't have any excursions planned right now, and that's okay with me & DBF - we're not really outdoorsy, beachy people, so we'll be spending a majority of the trip relaxing on the ship. I've also heard that port days are great days to do stuff on the ship that usually has a wait or more people - the Aquaduck or the spa, for example - so that should be a bonus for us. We do have plans for dinner at Palo on our first night, which I'm super excited for as a foodie, though sadly brunch was fully booked by the time I paid for the full cruise. I'm going to keep checking back, hopefully something will open up!

The only other plans we have are for our Castaway Cay day - that's the day of the wedding, so we'll be running all over! Last I heard, it's getting ready on the ship, then wedding on the beach, then back to the ship for the reception, and then back to Castaway for the rest of the day taking photos/enjoying the beach. Honestly, I'd be happy taking photos all day, but I don't think Curtis will be willing to - he does not like attention. He wants to take all of the photos on the ship in the middle of the night so no one watches us We already told him that won't be happening. I do intend to steal Jess for some bride-only shots during one of the sea days, so we can explore the ship and take photos without any pressure on Curt. I'm definitely taking her to Ooh La La for a bunch of photos... it's so pretty!

These are the only other ideas we had for activities on board so far:
  • midship detective agency - we love SOTMK so this sounds fun!
  • possibly getting a day pass to the rainforest room?
  • ordering cookies & milk before bed
  • bring board/card games with us? DBF is a big gamer
  • Jess, her family & I love trivia, so I'm sure we'll be doing that at some point

Homework!
Shopping wise, I needed a new swimsuit for the trip - I found a super cute one at Target so that was great! - though we still need to get one for DBF. You'd think living in Florida he'd own a swimsuit, but we don't really ever go swimming, so nope! I also got a coverup - my pale skin does not really agree with constant sun - and I'm still looking for a sun hat. I also stopped by the liquor store yesterday and got a bunch of mini bottle of a variety of vodka & rum flavors, so we can have a mini-bar in our room. What can I say - we're cheap! We were planning on bringing a case of water, too, but I did some research on the disboards and found out that the water on the ship is fine for drinking! So that's one less thing we need to get.

I've also started a list of things to do/bring to make our trip better/easier. Here's what I have so far:
  • bring $1 or $2 bills for tipping room service
  • order coffee at night and it'll stay warm til morning
  • make a photo of the room number my phone lock screen so it can easily be returned if lost
  • bring a nightlight for the bathroom
  • bring a power strip for charging our devices
  • magnetic clip to keep the day's Navigator on the back of the door
  • bring our tavel mugs
  • ziploc bags for hoarding snacks

I'm sure I'll be adding to the list, but I feel somewhat well prepared so far.

That's it for today...I'm not sure what else I have to write about before the trip, but I'm sure I'll think of something.
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Old 07-11-2013, 04:59 PM   #3
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Part 3 - Teeny Update!

So not much has been accomplished since my last update but I figured it was better to keep track of all my thoughts so they're organized in the same place!

Still no luck getting into brunch at Palo...I've been checking every day but I have a feeling nothing's going to open up. I guess we'll just have to take another cruise

As for shopping, I got us some chewable Bonine while I was running errands yesterday, since that's what most people on the DIS seem to recommend. Hopefully we won't need it but I'd rather be overprepared than sick the whole time. I also just ordered a mini clear pocket shoe holder with a hanger built in for our stateroom (this one, from Amazon), since I loved the idea of using a shoe organizer to keep the stateroom organized but knew that over-the-door hangers were out. This one can hang in the closet or off of any hook in the room/bathroom, so that's exciting! We tend to leave stuff all over any available surface so hopefully this will help us out. DBF still needs a swimsuit & a travel mug for drinks, those are next on our list.

Jess also helpfully send me some info from the Passporter book on cruising, and I printed their packing list to help me keep track of everything. Can you tell I'm a little bit obsessive about organization when it comes to vacations? At least I didn't make a spreadsheet this time

I'm also still looking into the best option for making us a magnet for our stateroom door. I already designed it, and it's super cute, I just need to turn it into a magnet. I think I'll probably have it printed at FedEx and use their laminator, and then just glue magnets to the back. Here's the design I came up with, for reference:



We also decided that we definitely want to bring some board games with us on the ship, now we just have to decide which ones...

That's all for today's mini update! I'll be back if anything interesting or exciting happens before the cruise.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:54 PM   #4
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Spot it is a fun game that you can play and stop, add more people at any time or they can quit too. More fun with more than two but works with just two.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:54 PM   #5
theemily
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessica52877 View Post
Spot it is a fun game that you can play and stop, add more people at any time or they can quit too. More fun with more than two but works with just two.
I have no idea how that's played - I've never heard of it before! Any insight? Is it a card game, board game, etc?
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:05 PM   #6
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Part 4 - Another update - Remy brunch & a finished magnet!

Just two more small updated bits to add...I can't believe we're ONE WEEK AWAY!

Remy Champagne Brunch
I had mostly given up the idea of getting to do Palo brunch on this trip, and I admit that I haven't been checking the availability every day like I should have been. Today, though, I decided to check while I was bored at work & I lucked upon one opening for Remy Champagne Brunch for the morning of our second day, so I snagged it. I figured I could always cancel if I didn't like the sound of it, but I didn't want to risk not immediately grabbing it and then it not being there later.

After I got the reservation confirmed - 11:30am on our second day - I did some research on Remy's Champagne Brunch to decide if I wanted to keep the reservation. At first, I was disappointed at the small-sounding menu I found on Disney's website, but after reading a bunch of reviews on different websites & message boards, I've become really attached to the idea

I haven't had a meal of this caliber since a trip I took to Paris while I was in college, and as a foodie, I've been missing opportunities for dining experiences like this (I've been on a pretty tight budget recently). I've decided that I'm going to be using this meal as my birthday present to myself - I'll be working a wedding on my birthday the week after the cruise anyway, so we won't be able to celebrate then - and I'm super excited!! DBF doesn't like the idea of gastronomy or super small plates, but I told him he has to suck it up and we can go get him something bigger & manlier to eat afterwards if he's still hungry

Finished Door Magnet
I also finally got around to printing, laminating, and adding magnets to the door magnet I designed. I got the color print at our local FedEx Office for super cheap (like $0.53 or something), laminated it there as well, cut it out, and then added magnet strips to the back (I believe they're the 3m brand ones - I got them at Walmart, but they were hidden in a weird side aisle away from the rest of the craft & office supplies). I added plenty of magnets, and they're quite strong anyway, so I'm not worried about it not sticking to the door. Here's a photo of it on our fridge:


It looks much nicer & the colors are brighter in real life, but my cell phone was the handiest camera I had just now. I'm excited to get it up on our stateroom door asap!

I doubt I'll have another update before we leave - time has flown this past month! Did I mention that it's only ONE WEEK AWAY???
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:49 PM   #7
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The Trip Report Starts Here!

Well, we're back! I still feel a little bit like I'm swaying around on dry land, but otherwise we've both gone back to our normal schedules, and I've done almost all of our laundry from the trip.

I'm not quite ready to post the beginning of the trip report yet, but we did take pretty thorough notes during the trip, and I'll be adding a day-by-day report (or maybe even more thorough than that on some days) as soon as I write it all out!

For now, if I add any photos or interesting cruise-related posts to my blog, I'll be linking them on the first post of this thread for convenience's sake (for example, this post with food photos from Palo).

See you all soon!

EDIT: The trip report is actually going to be in a new thread, here!

Last edited by theemily; 08-14-2013 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:12 PM   #8
vivCDG
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Smile We were on the same cruise!

We saw a bunch of folks wearing Jessica and Curtis wedding shirts all over the ship! The best part was seeing the bridal party and the gorgeous bride drive by at Castaway Cay. We yelled out some woo-hoos! Hope you all had as great a time as we did. Looking forward to your TR. I haven't fully gone over my pics yet, I'm still bummed our trip is over. And yes, I, too, am still swaying...
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivCDG View Post
We saw a bunch of folks wearing Jessica and Curtis wedding shirts all over the ship! The best part was seeing the bridal party and the gorgeous bride drive by at Castaway Cay. We yelled out some woo-hoos! Hope you all had as great a time as we did. Looking forward to your TR. I haven't fully gone over my pics yet, I'm still bummed our trip is over. And yes, I, too, am still swaying...
Aww, yay! We figured with 23 people wearing matching shirts, people would notice us, haha. Jessica got SO MUCH ATTENTION on our golf cart trips to and from the island! She loved it, but I felt a bit bad for her hubby...he's not fond of that much attention. She even had quite a few little girls come up to her at dinner that night to say hi (they got back into their wedding attire for dinner).

As for my TR, I'm actually going to be making a new thread for it...see my next post for details haha. I'm also bummed that the trip is over, but it's good to be home. Most of the swaying has finally gone away, except for when I'm standing very, very still.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:02 PM   #10
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Update!!

The trip report is actually going to be in a new thread, here!
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