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Old 08-15-2007, 05:17 PM   #1
CustardTart

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Fun with Dick and Kaz - A Cruisin' Trip Report... COMPLETED

Fun with Dick and Kaz - A Cruisin' Pre-Trip Report...

The Cast:
Me: Karen (a.k.a Kaz) 40-something. Loves a Kir Royale in Mizner's Lounge and spending Dick's $$$...
Him: Richard (a.k.a Dick) Slightly older 40-something. Loves a Kir Royale in any Lounge and the exchange rate...

Last September, after celebrating our 24th Wedding Anniversary with a wonderful meal in a great restaurant and a bottle or two of vintage champagne, DH and I decided that we really had to do something special for our next anniversary - the big silvery Two Five! We discussed various romantic options but the one we kept coming back to was the 7 night Western Caribbean DCL cruise - we'd recently returned from a wonderful WDW family vacation and were still high on pixiedust and Dole Whip. So, full of that and more than a little champagne cheer, we got online and (amongst other things) booked the 7 night DCL cruise that coincided with our momentous milestone. As someone who'd had several glasses of champagne once said, "If you can't push the cruise liner out then, when can you?" Wise words indeed...

Next day, I examined my inbox and found the DCL confirmation. So it was true! After cancelling the orders for a dozen hens with low maintenance urban coop and the entire back catalogue of Yes (oh the perils of late-night booze-fuelled internet shopping!), I retreated to the comparative safety of the DIS to see if a thread existed for the cruise. It did and I subscribed. We were official. At that point, I can't lie, I had misgivings. Big misgivings. Using advanced mathematical formulae and a very large calculator, I deduced that our combined cruise credentials weren't great. Sure, I had a May 2005 3 day DCL Wonder trip under my lifebelt but my man was (and still is) a 40-something cruise virgin! There was only one thing to do. Order an up-to-date PassPorter and hope for the best. My partner-in-life didn't seem so worried. A sample Palo menu and the prospect of regular margarita/martini tastings convinced him that tramps like us, baby, we were born to cruise! You've gotta love an optimist, I know I do...

Anyway, once the PassPorter arrived, I had a wealth of information at my fingertips. It turned out there were concierge levels of stateroom - who knew?! We had booked a Category 4 but I felt that "suite" sounded sooo much - er, sweeter and silver wedding-y. I emailed DCL about an upgrade and as luck and $$$ would have it, a Category 3 was available. I didn't hesitate and paid the extra non-refundable deposit as if my life depended on it. I am very good at spending. Gifted actually...

The idea for the Vow Renewal came later and, unlike most of our truly excellent decisions, it was rooted in sobriety. I was already familiar with the Fairytale Weddings website as I had hoped my beloved only daughter would want the whole Wedding Pavilion/Cinderella's Coach thing. Strangely, for someone who has been asked if she's sponsored by Disney and wears Mickey ears to work, she remains resolutely unmoved by the prospect. But I digress. Our original wedding was an early 80's fashion fiasco and the photos left a lot to be desired. Suddenly I saw a chance to, quite literally, redress the balance and before you could say "have a magical day, ma'am", a very pleasant wedding planner called Cathy had booked us in for the works! In case you're wondering, my groom-to-be-again didn't even flinch, but I swear I heard the sound of credit cards being shredded deep into the night...

With the Vow Renewal came something that can only be described as 'homework'! Now I wasn't that conscientious the first time around and TBH I find it perversely encouraging to note that I'm still an appalling shirker. The worksheets (cue eye-rolling/exaggerated sighing/derisive chortling and "I can sit here all lunchtime, 4B!") languished in my inbox for weeks before I could face filling them in. These were hard-core - not only requiring the usual name, address, shoe size sort of thing, but also an array of complex mind-boggling options such as musical choices for the different parts of the ceremony, cake flavouring/filling combinations and the tricky bouquet/buttonhole ballot! Like a rabbit caught in the headlights, everytime I attempted completion of the worksheets (cue eye-rolling/exaggerated sighing/derisive chortling etc) I froze! How could I possibly choose between burgundy or pink roses when I didn't have a clue what I'd be wearing!? Could Canon in D by Pachabel enhance the ceremony more than a rousing chorus of Bibbidee-Bobbidee-Boo!!?? What in the name of gateaux would 'yellow' cake taste like!!!???That's where the DIS came in. Obsessive board perusal ensured I made educated decisions and complete the forms within the deadline...

If the VR paperwork gave me brain freeze, I can honestly say that chatting with our fellow cruisers on the Cruise Meet thread has been nothing but a heart-melting pleasure! Even this reserved Brit (you should see my stiff upper lip - it makes for strange photos) cannot wait to meet up with everyone on the first day - it'll be so great to finally put faces to names. There's talk of us all storming the Margarita/Martini tasting sessions on our first 'at sea' day so I'm expecting high jinks on the high seas! We have been lucky enough to link our reservation with two other like-minded couples (thanks Eva, Steve, Penny and Bob!) so we know we'll be dining with convivial tablemates! I am mightily relieved about this as my DD and I had a few rather tricky dining experiences with a very young newly-wed couple on our 3 night cruise and I am anxious to avoid a repeat performance...

Opting for concierge meant that we could book our excursions at 105 days and made getting those all-important Palo ressies a breeze. Which leads us nicely to the details of our trip! So for those of you still reading, here's our itinerary:

September 21: The pampering starts here as we've booked an Upper Class flight from Gatwick to Orlando. Overnight in MCO Hyatt...

September 22: Drive to Port Canaveral. Board ship and meet our cruise mates! Have first (of many) Bahama Mamas. Sail away...

September 23: Key West. 25th Wedding Anniversary! Palo Brunch followed by a walking/staggering tour of the bars of Key West...

September 24: At Sea. Time to chill so nothing much planned here except the Margarita tastings (which we'll book onboard) and the prospect of glamming it up for Formal Night! Pass me my tiara...

September 25: Grand Cayman. Our first excursion. We're booked on something called the Thriller Sand and Sea Adventure - basically we race around the GC coast at 60mph before flopping on a beach somewhere. I can't remember why we decided to do this but I'm sure it'll be fab. Later we're back on the Magic, being pampered during the Couples Choice massage in the onboard Spa Villas. More champagne, please darling...

September 26: Cozumel. We've got the exhilarating Tulum Ruins excursion booked for today so there's a chance we'll be pretty pooped by the time evening rolls around. Tho' I'll wager not too pooped to wear a skull & crossbones t-shirt, a bandana and walk the plank for tis Pirates Night, me hearties!

September 27: At Sea. This is our big day and the one we've been waiting for! The Vow Renewal's pencilled in for around 4.45pm on Deck 7 - weather permitting. I'm hoping to book time with the hairdresser earlier in the day as I may want to vary my standard 'thro-a-hedge-backwards' look. We're opting for one of the photo packages too so will spend time posing around the ship before heading off to Palo's for our wedding night dinner...

September 28: Castaway Cay. The other day we've been waiting for! Tandem parasailing's booked in the morning (my kids reckon I'll bail - we'll see) and we're enjoying a massage on the beach in the Couples Cabana in the afternoon. Bliss! Tonight's our final night and we'll be bidding a fond farewell to our new friends - I'm sad about that already but fingers crossed we'll all still be talking and singing "We'll Meet Again"...

September 29: Disembarkation followed by a drive to DTD where we'll check-in for our flight later that day. Then we're planning a day at Universal/IOA to finish the vacation off properly...

So ladies and gentlemen, there we have it. Stay tuned for further fun with Dick and Kaz...
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Last edited by CustardTart; 10-30-2007 at 10:05 AM. Reason: Updating...
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Old 08-15-2007, 10:02 PM   #2
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Sounds like a great time
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Old 08-16-2007, 09:41 AM   #3
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WHOA...karen - AWESOME report...who knew you could write like this!!!
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Old 08-16-2007, 10:46 AM   #4
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What a great start (though you should have kept the hens)!



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Old 08-16-2007, 02:35 PM   #5
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I think Chicken-in-the-cupboard (Nan's husband) would also agree on the hens.

Oh yeah, I'm jealous _ great report.
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Old 08-16-2007, 04:40 PM   #6
CustardTart

I am sooo proud, happy, relieved and impressed - it's a great day...
 
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Thanks guys, you're very kind!

Believe me, I would love hens but, as my very wise husband (think of him as a cross between Grandmother Willow and a young Homer Simpson) says, there's a reason our house is called The Foxes...
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Old 08-16-2007, 05:21 PM   #7
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Hurrah!! Great pre-trip report! It had everything -- tears, laughter, thrills, chills (no really, I'm absolutely terrified of chickens). Can't wait to read the rest
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Old 08-16-2007, 05:28 PM   #8
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I'm in, Karen!!!!

Can't wait to read the rest!!!
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:31 PM   #9
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I am in too Karen!

Great start!

I am totally looking forward to reading all about your trip...

Congratulations on your 25 years together!
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Old 08-17-2007, 07:34 AM   #10
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Karen, Great Job! I can't believe it is only five weeks from tomorrow!
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Old 08-18-2007, 02:16 AM   #11
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Way to go Karen. Can't wait to read more Gotta see what sort of trouble ya find on the ship heeheehee.
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CustardTart View Post
September 22: Drive to Port Canaveral. Board ship and meet our cruise mates! Have first (of many) Bahama Mamas. Sail away...
Karen ~ My fellow Bahama Mama loving friend, your plans sound fantastic.

When you get back I want to know everything about your vow renewal as I would LOVE to do this. Was it easy to arrange ? Have you now decided on your flowers/cake/music ? (and whats wrong with walking up the aisle to Bibbety Boddity Boo ? )

Please take lots of photos and I can't wait to hear all about it

Have a very special holiday and vow renewal

Mandy
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Old 08-18-2007, 12:26 PM   #13
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Anxious to read your report on return!
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Old 08-19-2007, 03:43 PM   #14
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Wow - I am stunned by the eloquence of your pre-trip report, and I can't wait to read more. I am also slightly inspired by the mention of vow renewal - but is 5 years a bit soon to be thinking in terms of longevity. Perhaps I will keep that one on the back burner until we have survived ten years. I am looking forward to hearing all about your adventures!
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Old 09-03-2007, 12:46 PM   #15
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I am sooo proud, happy, relieved and impressed - it's a great day...
 
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UPDATE:
We received the official "Fairytale Wedding" paperwork today!
I confess there was a tear in my eye as I reviewed our details, but that was most likely down to shampoo as I'd had to race out of the shower in full lather to greet the UPS man!

Just over 2 weeks to go and reality is biting - hard! So far, on my check-list, I've been able to tick off "find suitable man" - but as he's been hanging around the place for almost 30 years, I can't really claim any recent planning success. Actually the same is true of my dress. The concept of a VR outfit has been my own private 'I dunno' ever since I booked the ceremony! Don't get me wrong, I love dressing up - as long as smart jeans, boots and a strappy top are the order of the day. I really, really don't 'do' formal frocks! I had thought about a relaxed Hawaiian fabric sundress with DH wearing a matching shirt but, from the way he winced when I showed him a couple of online examples, I could tell he wasn't keen. Truth be told, DH looks flippin' lovely in a suit and, in my heart, I knew I had to make more of an effort. I said as much during dinner one night and, by the following lunch time, he'd gone the extra nautical mile and ordered a new navy Hugo Boss suit! No pressure then!!?

Time for the turquoise silk halterneck dress that had been languishing in my wardrobe to step up. I'd considered it a few times and finally, under pressure from DD, tried it on and (even if I do say so myself) it didn't look half bad! It's very tropical and it will match perfectly the burgundy lilies I chose for my bouquet. I even have a matching handbag and a pair of designer shoes that work so I guess it's meant to be.

Plus it fits in with that whole "old, new, borrowed and blue" thing. For anyone of a certain vintage, I don't mean the 1974 Slade album - I just mean I'm old, the dress is blue (sort of). And I'm still working on the new/ borrowed aspects...
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Last edited by CustardTart; 11-04-2007 at 07:45 AM.
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