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Old 11-11-2008, 06:31 PM   #16
disneydiva16
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Hi Corina...great TR. Cant wait to meet you on our Oct '09 cruise!!!!
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:40 PM   #17
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Part two should be on the way shortly. I have everything typed up to including Nassau day and just need to get around to format them and post them. I have two days off coming up after tomorrow ...

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Old 11-13-2008, 07:46 AM   #18
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Day 6: September 6th 2008

We had a slightly earlier start today as our first cruise was unfortunately just about to come to an end. When we came down to deck three for breakfast, we came across a huge line of people waiting to get of the ship. We sat down next to the portholes near the Promenade Lounge on deck three, when I suddenly heard some excited voices. I looked out of the port hole and realized that we had visitors. There were three dolphins swimming in the harbor basin near the ship. This was the closest I have ever seen wild dolphins. Unfortunately soon I had to give up my grandstand view as our restaurant opened for breakfast.

We had a bit of a surprise. When we got to our table, there were two people there that I had never seen before. The fourth couple had finally made an appearance. To my immense surprise, this made me feel really uncomfortable. I suppose we had become so used to and comfortable with our usual table mates, that the last minute addition unsettled me. Unfortunately one of the other couples had left prior to breakfast. They were from North Carolina where hurricane Hannah was forcasted to make landfall that day. So I can understand that they wanted to get home as soon as possible, but it was a shame that we never got the chance to say goodbye. The new couple quickly ate some breakfast and left. We kept looking through the restaurant windows to see how many people were still waiting in line to get off the ship. We ended up having quite a leisurely breakfast. Our server team were really excited. During the ship's time in dry dock they would be moved into the guest staterooms. Our server had been allocated a suite and was really looking forward to this. While we were still in the restaurant, they started to strip tables and stack chairs. This kind of took some of the magic away.

Eventually there were not many people waiting to get off the ship. So we said goodbye to the other couple, got our carry on and headed for the gangway. We did not get very far though. Just as soon as we had left the ship we were asked to wait in the hallway of the terminal with a large number of people. We kept hearing that this is very unusual and that disembarkation is usually a quick and smooth process. Eventually we were allowed to go down to the baggage hall and we found our baggage very quickly. Clearing customs was painless as well and soon we had been released back to the real world. As soon as we left the terminal building, we were asked by a member of staff, where we are going and directed to the shuttle pick up point for our hotel.

This is were the problem started. Apart from us there were 2 other families waiting. We kept seeing the shuttles for our hotel go by, but none of them stopped. All in all we waited about 90 minutes. For us it was not really a problem as we were staying there for the night before going on our next cruise the following morning. The other families had parked their cars at the hotel for the duration of the cruise and were in a hurry to get on their way. It was interesting to see how quickly the ship was loaded with supplies. A large number of contractors went on board. Deck 9 was soon filled with containers. It was hard to believe that we were up there only the previous day.

Eventually one shuttle did stop and we were taken to the hotel. The guy organizing the shuttle was very apologetic and explained that the problem was caused by one of the ships getting in very late. He did check for us that he had us on the list for the next day and confirmed that we would be on the first shuttle the following morning.

To our surprise, we were able to check in straight away when we got to the hotel. We got a lovely, newly refurbished room near the pool. We had originally planned to visit the manatee park that is near the hotel, but after we have been told that it is a 2 mile walk, the sun was beating down and we were actually pretty exhausted, we decided against it. I made good use of my MacBook and the the free wireless internet at the hotel while the sun was at its strongest.

We decided to get some lunch and ended up at Subway. I am always intrigued how much nicer the food is at US fast food restaurant compared to their UK counterparts. I had a prime rib sub that had me positively drooling.

After lunch we headed back to our room as it was simply too hot to be out and about. When I checked in, I had left a message for one of the couples on our cruise meet thread as they were the only people for whom I had the full name. I had to spell my name three times to the person at reception. Shortly after we got back from lunch, the phone rang. It was one of the people for whom I had left the message. She thought it was somebody else from the cruise thread as the message that was passed on was simply "Your friend is in room ....". Anyway, she mentioned that they were heading to the pool so shortly afterwards I headed out there too. We had been chatting on the forum since late last year, but had never seen each other. I was scanning the crowd at the pool trying to figure out who they might be. Suddenly I saw some people waving from the opposite side of the pool and sure enough it was them. While we were chatting by the poolside, another family swam up to us, who were also from our cruise meet thread. After saying 'hi" to everybody, I headed back to our room.

Later in the afternoon, DH and I went for a swim. The pool was fantastic and after 5 days of the relatively small pools on the ship, this felt like the ocean. Another big difference was that the pool was warm enough to tempt me to get more wet than just my toes.

We were still really tired so we just had dinner in the hotel. They have a Seafood Buffet at the hotel on Saturdays, which kept DH happy and I just had something from the regular menu. After dinner we headed straight to bed to get a good night's sleep before the second part of our big adventure.

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Old 11-13-2008, 07:55 AM   #19
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Day 7: September 7th 2008

I had set the alarm so that we would be up in time for breakfast, but of course we were so excited that we were awake long before breakfast started. So we packed the few things that had gotten unpacked the day before and then I made good use of the free internet access while we were waiting for the restaurant to open.

The children of one of the families on our cruise meet thread had no idea that they were going on a Disney Cruise, but were under the impression that they were going to Seaworld as a birthday treat for the older of the two boys. Everybody on the cruise meet thread was in on the plans for the big reveal at breakfast. So I really wanted to be there when the boys got told. It ended up being really low key and I missed it all. Still, breakfast was lovely. No Eggs Benedict in sight, but cooked to order omlette and biscuits and gravy more than made up for this.

After breakfast, we collected our luggage and went to the lobby to wait for our shuttle to the port. All the families on our cruise meet thread that stayed at the Radisson the night prior to the cruise had managed to get on the first shuttle slot of the day. We were really looking forward to travel together. As it turned out, there were multiple shuttles at that time and we ended up traveling to the port with only one couple from our cruise meet thread. Even though I had just got of the Disney Magic the previous day, I felt a big lump in my throat when I got my first glimpse of the Disney Wonder. I could not believe when we actually turned away from the Wonder and headed for the Royal Caribbean terminal. We had some passengers for the Mariner of the Seas on the shuttle, who were dropped off first. Finally we were on the way to the Disney Cruise Line terminal and we were lucky enough to get boarding number 2 (1 are the suite guests). We had been told that there was a problem with the check in system and that therefore check in was delayed for a bit .We were actually the first people in line at the repeat cruiser desk, but they chose the party behind us in line for a trial run for check in. This was just as well. When we got to check in, for some reason the system had picked up the previous cruise in the reservation system when they scanned DH's passport and gave an error message that the debarkation date had already passed. They had to call a supervisor who managed to straighten everything out.

At the hotel they had passed out letters, that stated that no changes had been made to our itinerary. I took this with a pinch of salt. Sure enough, at check in we were given a letter from the captain advising us that we would have our day at sea first and that we would go to Nassau on the Tuesday and to Castaway Cay on the Thursday. Our original itinerary was Nassau, Castaway Cay, Day at Sea. This change of plan left us with a problem. DH had booked a private bird watching excursion in Nassau for the next day. We tried to ring the tour operator from the pay phones at the terminal, but were unable to do so as it was a long distance call. Fortunately I had insisted to bring my I Phone and we managed to make call with this. It being a Sunday, we only got a messaging service and we were still not sure if the day for the tour could be changed.

I had spotted Mickey in his white captain's outfit and decided to get in line. Of course, knowing my luck, just as I got to the front of the line, they took Mickey in and Goofy came out. I was a little disappointed but I got some wonderful photos with Goofy.

Pretty much as soon as I had my photos taken our boarding number was called and we walked through the Mickey ears again. We had our photo taken in the hallway just before we entered the ship and then I was on the Wonder. I actually prefer the atrium of the Wonder to the one on the Magic. It looks more sophisticated.

I had originally requested main seating when I booked the cruise as I figured we would be jetlagged and would not be able to cope with the late dinner seating. Of course, by this time we had been in and around the USA for a week and had late dinner seating the previous week and really enjoyed it. So our first job on the Wonder was to go to Wavebands to change our dining arrangements. Fortunately there was no problem changing us to the late seating. We even were able to keep our rotation and our table number.

Once we had that taken care off we decided to d to our favorite place - the spa. We had a little tour and then we were introduced to the port day specials. I had never had a spa treatment before, but decided to go for Cleopatra's Massage Ritual first thing in the morning on our Castaway Cay day.

After we had done our little bit of exploring, we headed down to Parrot Cay for some lunch. The food choice was not as good as on the Magic, but there was still food that we liked. This was the only time on both cruises that we experienced the draw backs of Disney being such a family orientated cruise line. We were surrounded by screaming and misbehaving kids and the parents did nothing to stop their kids making themselves as nuisance.

After lunch we headed down to our stateroom. For this cruise we had an outside cabin. Although the porthole was nice, I preferred the layout of the inside cabin that we had on the Magic. There were loads of lovely surprises in our cabin when we got there. We had booked the Romantic Escapes at Sea package and for that we received a bottle of chilled champagne, two white chocolate champagne flutes filled with dark truffles and a collapsible wine cooler with Disney Cruise Line logo that contained two bathrobes with Disney Cruise Line logo. As we were now repeat cruisers, we also received a Castaway Club gift that consisted of a beautiful black and red beach bag with Castaway Club logo, a red net bag with the logo, a pen, notice book, two sport bottles and a pencil case with colour pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener and a stencil. I did notice that our length of cruise passes and our letter that would let us know when our romance turn down service would be and the card on which we could order our champagne breakfast were missing. I headed to guest services and they told me that it was showing as delivered on their system. They asked me if I had my voucher for a free photo and that was missing as well. They promised they would look into it for me. I also asked if we should have received tickets for our Palo brunch and dinner and I was advised that no tickets are issued for this, but that our dinner was reserved for the Tuesday and the brunch for the Wednesday. I nearly fainted. Wednesday was now the Castaway Cay day and DH had a morning excursion booked. I especially asked her if this was correct as the brunch is normally only offered on the sea day and I was advised that they could not change all the brunch reservations just because the sea day had changed. I was decidedly unimpressed. I headed back to Wavebands with full intentions on canceling the brunch and ended up speaking to the restaurant manager for Palo who advised me that all brunch reservations had been moved with the sea day and we had a reservation for the following day. He actually came back to guest services with me to have a word with the person who had misadvised me.

Once all of this was taken care of, I went back to our cabin to collect DH. We decided to do the walking tour of the ship. For any first time cruisers on Disney Cruise Line I would really recommend this as it is as fantastic orientation of the ship. For us it was not quite so valuable as the layout of the Wonder is pretty much identical to the Magic, but we still enjoyed it.

We had arranged a DIS meet by the Mickey pool at 3 pm so I headed up to deck 9 for this. I was hoping to meet some other people from our cruise meet thread, but the only people there were the same people that stayed at the Radisson the night before. Still, it was nice to meet up again and exchange first impressions. Soon it was time to get back to our cabins to pick up the life jackets for the safety drill.

After the debacle on the Magic, I was really worried about this, but there was no need. This was so well organized. Everybody got ticked off as we approached our station and they were just calling the numbers of the cabins that they had not seen coming past just in case they had been missed. One family was thus found, but loads of people simply had not shown up. Later in the afternoon we saw letters outside the doors of the cabins that did not show up. Before we knew it, there was an announcement that marked the end of the safety drill and we were dismissed.

When we came back from the safety drill, our suitcases had already been delivered. We also had some vouchers for the Rainforest Room passes on our bed. So we headed up to the spa to have our Key to the World cards marked accordingly.

I had passed on the Sail Away Party on the Magic so I decided I should at least give it a go on the Wonder. I went up to deck 10 as deck 9 was far too crowded. I have to say that it was not really the Sail Away Party that I was interested in. I had read that the staff at the terminal would wear Mickey hands and wave the ship off. This was really what I had come for. It was worth hanging around for this. Having brown pelicans flying really low over the ship definitely added something to the experience as well.

Once the Sail Away Party was over, I decided to go and find DH who had disappeared earlier on carrying his telescope and tripod. I found him near the Wide World of Sports deck. We actually managed to see the Space Shuttle on the launch pad through the telescope. Suddenly something caught my eye that I thought might be dolphins. DH did not believe me at first, but suddenly it became very obvious that we had company. The first of many pods of dolphins was playing in out bow waves. We were escorted out to sea by various pods of dolphins. It was so great to watch.
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:59 AM   #20
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Day 7 - Part 2

Once we had moved out to the open sea, we headed for our favorite place, the Rainforest Room. Although most of it was identical to the Magic, there were some differences. On the Magic there was a tea and chilled water bar just in front of the entrance and that was missing on the Wonder. The tile loungers were not nearly as warm as on the Magic, but that was actually a bonus as they were sometimes just a little too warm on the Magic. The outside of the fountain in the middle of the room changed colors and soft music was played, which made the whole experience even more relaxing. The only real drawback was that the mild steam room had no lighting whatsoever on the Wonder and was pitch black. I did not feel comfortable with this at all.

Once we had enough of the Rainforest Room, we went back to our cabin to get changed for dinner. The missing paperwork for our Romantic Escapes at Sea had arrived in the meantime. I quickly did my first Fish Extender run and then we headed for dinner.

Dinner that night was at Parrot Cay for us. To our immense surprise we were sat at a table for four. We had been sitting there a little while on our own and we were getting a little worried that it would be just the two of us, when the other couple arrived. How things can change! When we first got on the Magic, I would have been grateful if it had just been the two of us, but now I really wanted company for dinner.

Dinner that first night was diabolical. We had been seated for nearly 45 minutes, before we were even given the menus. The drinks order took forever to get to us and people around us had almost finished the main course, before we even had our appetizers. Our server did not seem to be able to cope. He just seemed monosillabic and harassed. After we were so spoiled with the serving team on the Magic, this was a bitter disappointment. The food was another disappointment. I could hardly eat the Cream of Sweet Onion soup that I had loved so much on the Magic. This version just tasted of raw alcohol. Our assistant server tried his level best to rescue the meal. He was absolutely brilliant as of day one. I don't know what had gone wrong this evening, but I saw tempers flare with other serving teams, so it must have been a bad evening all round. Our head server was brilliant. She ended up helping out towards the end of the meal and was really apologetic. She offered us a free drink with our dinner the next evening.

This evening we actually went for some of the evening entertainment for the first time. They did have a Match Your Mate show at Wavebands. I really wanted to play, but DH was not quite so enthusiastic. Still, we had a blast just watching. They also do a mean Pina Colada on board the Wonder.

On the way to our cabin, we bumped into our assistant server who was manning a dessert buffet outside Tritons and we had a really nice chat. I had commented that if I had known that there would be chocolate covered strawberries on offer, I would have passed on dessert. He told us to wait and came back with a selection of chocolate covered strawberries to take back to our room.

We headed back to our cabin where we found a towel boat on our bed, but no navigator. We also had a gift from DVC in our cabin. We fell into bed and the gentle rocking of the ship sent us straight to sleep.


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Old 11-13-2008, 08:04 AM   #21
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Day 8: September 8th 2008

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise. We had seen sunrises on the Magic, but being able to see one while sitting on the sofa in our cabin was quite special, even though DH insisted that it was 10 minutes late.

Sometime during the night our navigator was delivered. So I spend some quality time planning my day. As we were going for brunch at the adult only restaurant Palo, we passed on breakfast. We just had a lazy morning.

Midmorning we attended the DVC Member Celebration. We did not win anything this time, but it was fun and informative. We saw a film about Adventures by Disney and this is definitely something that we would consider doing in future. We also had some coffee and I had the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted.

After the DVC Member Celebration, I headed back to the cabin to get changed for brunch and to pick up my invitation for the Castaway Club House. DH did not fancy going so he headed up to the gym instead and we arranged to meet up in front of Palo 5 minutes prior to our reservation.

I really enjoyed the Castaway Club House. They had set up a buffet with pastries, cakes and fruit as well as all kinds of non alcoholic drinks. I did not eat anything as I did not want to spoil my appetite, but mineral water has never tasted so good after a week of de-salinated water. They had set up a game that was half trivia and half ice breaker questions and there was a raffle, but again I did not win anything. It was great to be able to chat with some of the officers of the ship and the captain did a really interesting presentation about the history and future of the Disney Cruise Line. The Castaway Club House finished just in time for me to meet DH in front of Palo.

As we never got the chance to eat at Palo the previous cruise, I was really looking forward to this. First of all the view from Palo is out of this world and we were lucky enough to have a table by the window. We were soon welcomed by our server Ferhat from Turkey. One class of champagne or a champagne cocktail is included in the price of the brunch. Ferhat recommended the Bellini cocktail, so we both decided to go with this. This was the best Bellini I had ever tasted. Once he had taken our drinks order, Ferhat gave us a tour around the buffet. There was a antipasti buffet, a seafood buffet, a buffet with cakes, sweet breads and pastries and a dessert buffet. He also showed us the open kitchen areas where the chefs were cooking various egg dishes, pizzas and lunch dishes to order. He made his recommendations in each area. Then we were let loose on the buffets. DH headed straight for the seafood and came back with plate full of jumbo shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, mussels and crab legs and claws. He had never tasted crab before, but really enjoyed it. I won't go anywhere near seafood, but I really enjoyed the antipasti buffet. I had the best Parma ham I had ever tasted as well as speciality breads, humous, olives, sunblush tomatoes and various cheeses. While DH tried some antipasti, I had to try some of Palo's famous Stollen Bread. Well, being German and having almost been raised on this seasonal treat, I can confirm that this was nothing like any Stollen I have ever tasted. It was a very light, sweet yeast-based bread with a filling of ground nuts. It was absolutely delicious.

We had heard so much of the pizza at Palo that we just had to try some. So we decided to order a Peperoni pizza to share. It was every bit as good as we heart. We could not decide between two meat dishes so we decided to order one each and to swap half way through. The only problem was dessert. The desserts were served in shot glasses and I managed to try both the Tiramisu and a chocolate cream which were both fantastic. DH is allergic to chocolate and there were no chocolate-free desserts left as we were in the last brunch seating. Still, he had so much food that he did not really miss anything.

After brunch, we headed down to Wavebands for a towel animal folding class. We had expected this to be very busy and for loads of kids to be there. However there were only about 10 people there and most of them adults. We learnt to make a dog, an elephant, a bunny and a monkey out of towels. We had great fun even though the bunny defeated me.

After the class DH headed back to our cabin to have a siesta while I went and found myself some characters on deck 9. It was very windy, but I still got some nice photos.

Later in the afternoon I attended a diamond and gem stone seminar. It was mainly aimed at people who were hoping to buy jewellery in Nassau, but I still found it informative. Unfortunately the seminar overrun and I ended up missing the spa jackpot bingo. Still, all the more money for me to spent at the spa.

I decided to head back to the cabin to catch up with DH, but he was not there. Instead I found a plate of chocolate strawberries with a card from our head server, apologizing yet again for the bad experience at dinner the previous evening.

I grabbed my swimsuit and headed for the Rainforest Room to chill out. Eventually I caught up with DH and we decided to fill out a quote request for a 7 night Western Caribbean Cruise.

Soon it was time for dinner and the experience that evening was completely different. We had dinner in Triton's that night. The service was quick and attentive. Our serving team was chatting with us in between courses. The food was also much better that night. Our head server came over to remind us that we could choose a drink on the house. DH and I had a glass of a wonderful white wine and the other couple had a cocktail each. Dinner was very enjoyable and we got on as well with our table mates than we had done the previous week.

Finally it was time to head back to our cabin. This was the night for our romance turn down service. Our stateroom host had put some towel swans on our bed and sprinkled rose petals all over the covers. He also had replenished the ice in the champagne bucket. We took some photos (which I still have not downloaded) and then we sat down on the sofa and enjoyed the champagne. It was such a shame to destroy the lovely display, but after a very full day, we were tired and fell into bed.






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Old 11-13-2008, 08:25 AM   #22
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Day 9: September 9th 2008

This day started a little earlier than I had anticipated. At around 3:00 am I was woken up by a very excited DH who told me that there was another ship out there. I have to say, the ship looked very pretty all lit up, but I found it a bit hard to come up with the right amount of enthusiasm considering how early in the morning it was.

The next time I woke up, the time was a little more to my liking. I had set a wake up call for 8:00 am and it was great to have Mickey at the other end of the phone. We got up and got dressed and shortly afterwards our champagne breakfast was delivered. This was a further perk of the Romantic Escapes at Sea package. We each got a glass of champagne, a glass of orange juice, some coffee to share, Eggs Benedict, Hash Browns, Sausages and Danish Pastries. There was so much food that we could not finish it. We decided against breakfast in bed, but it was great to sit by our porthole and have breakfast while we pulled into the port in Nassau. The first thing we saw was the same ship that we had seen in the middle of the night.

As we had been to Nassau the previous week and did not really rate it, I decided to stay onboard. DH had an email that morning to advise him that his bird watching tour had been rescheduled for this afternoon. So we had the whole morning together. It was amazing how empty the ship was. We had filled in a quote card to rebook a cruise onboard and this had been returned to us the previous evening. So we headed up to the returning cruiser desk to book our next cruise. We had our heart set on a Western Caribbean cruise, but were pretty flexible with the dates. We had requested a quote for the first weekend in September in 2009, but found out that we could save quite a bit of money, if we traveled on the 2nd October. So we decided to go ahead with this. We even managed to get the same sideways stateroom that we had on the Magic the previous week that we loved so much. The only problem is that we are now cruising over DH’s birthday and he hates to have a fuss made over his birthday. So he told me that anything will be done for his birthday then the D in DH will stand for divorce.

Once we had completed the serious task of booking our next cruise, we headed up to the Rainforest Room and chilled out for a bit. DH decided that he could do with a haircut and we checked if they could fit him in. He probably had the most comprehensive haircut ever. Not only did the stylist cut his hair and trim his beard, but she even trimmed his eyebrows!

I did not want to be left behind either and ended up getting an exotic hand ritual, which is hands down the best manicure I ever had. I do feel the occasional need to get a manicure, but I see it in the same way as a dental check up – a necessary evil and far from enjoyable. Well, this was a completely different experience. She covered all the little things that are part of a manicure, but she was really gentle so that I never felt a thing. Once the nails had been shorted, shaped and the cuticle tidied up. She exfoliated my hands and lower arms with a mix of salt, ginger, lime and milk and then massaged my hands and lower arms with warmed Monoi oil. This was so relaxing that I nearly fell asleep. She had also put some reviving gel on my neck and temples and put some lightening eye cream underneath my eyes. This beautiful treatment finished all too soon and after I had some natural looking polish put on my nails, I was sent on my way.

DH had found his way to the swimming pool and I ended up on the wooden surround to the pool with my feet dangling in the water and waited for my nails to dry. This was the first time I tried out the Cove Café. This is such a peaceful retreat (adult only) with comfortable chairs and books and magazines to read. I tried on of their iced mochas and this met with my approval even though I am a bit of a coffee snob.

Soon I had to say goodbye to DH who headed out for his bird watching tour. He was left with a stern reminder when the ship was leaving and a dire warning on what would happen, if he was not back in time. In the meantime I used the downtime to do our laundry. I have learned one thing: There is no point over packing when going on a cruise. Laundry facilities are plentiful and reasonably priced. As it is not all that pleasant to have wet swim stuff in the cabin, we did the laundry frequently and tended to wear the same clothes again.

Once the laundry was done, I decided to get a bite to eat. Tritons had my favourite menu that day: meatloaf with mashed potatoes followed by Key Lime Pie. I was a little nervous about having a sit down meal by myself, but there was no need. I was treated like royalty.

After lunch I headed up to deck 9 to do some people watching. I finally had a chance to have my photo taken with Donald and Daisy. Of all the character photos that I have from years of going to Disney parks, I have never had one with Donald or Daisy, never mind with both of them together. I got poor old Donald into trouble. I was wearing a very unusual necklace that day and Daisy was pointing at it gesturing to Donald that she wanted one as well. I had such a laugh.

I was watching the hair braiders at work and decided to have my hair braided. As I did not have time there and then, I made an appointment for teatime.

One of the couples on our cruise meet thread were having their vow renewal on board the Wonder and we had been invited to that. The original plan had been to have the vow renewal on a “secret” outside area on deck 7, but it was decided that it was too windy and the ceremony was moved to the Cadillac Lounge on deck 3. I got there nice and early and was soon joined by the “groom” who had been sent away so that the “bride” could get ready in peace. This was kind of strange as everybody on the cruise meet thread had seen photos of the gown and he was the only person who was unaware.

The room was decorated beautifully. There was a pianist, a decorated area where the vow renewal would take place and a table with the cake (with Mickey and Minnie souvenir topper) and the champagne for the toast. Soon the bride appeared. The ceremony was performed by the captain and was very moving. After the ceremony, the cutting of the very yummy cake took place and there was the champagne toast followed by the first dance. The whole thing was so beautiful. We had planned a vow renewal for our 10th anniversary this year, but for a number of reasons, we did not get around to it. Our plan had been to have our vow renewal at Crystal Cathedral in California, but I am well aware that this venue is more meaningful to me then it is to DH. As we both loved the Disney ships, we have decided that we will have the vow renewal on the Magic during our 2010 Transatlantic cruise.

After the vow renewal, I had some time to get some more photos with some characters. I managed to get some photos with Mickey and Minnie in pirate clothes. Soon it was time to get my hair braided. I was surprised how quickly that was done. I had a hair band style done with beads woven in and I was very impressed with the price of this considering how much they charge in Orlando for something similar. On the way down, I managed to have photos taken with Stitch in his pirate gear and with Captain Jack Sparrow, who was quite easy on the eyes.

When I got back to our cabin, I realized that DH had safely arrived back on the ship as his bird watching gear was on the bed. He was nowhere to be found, but that gave me the chance to get ready for our romantic dinner at Palo. I had to buy a cocktail dress for a Christmas party at work two years ago and I decided to bring this for our dinner at Palo. I really enjoyed having the chance to get dressed up.

Once DH had reappeared, we headed up to Palo. This time we did not have a table by the window, but it was dark anyway. We did however have Ferhat as our server again. We were glad to find out that he would be looking after us again. As part of our Romance package, we were able to choose a bottle of wine from the premium wine list to go with our dinner at Palo. Ferhat had told us that we had $50 to spent on the wine, but that we could choose a more expensive bottle and just would have to pay the difference. We decided on a bottle of the Fairy Tale Cuvee sparkling wine and had to pay $2.50 extra, but it was well worth it as we really enjoyed it.

We had a fantastic meal. I tried the Polenta and Portobello Mushroom starter followed by the Beef Tenderloin, which was amongst the best steaks I have ever tasted. DH had seafood for both starter and entrée, but the thing that he is still raving about is the lobster ravioli that Ferhat brought out for us to taste. I do not eat seafood so he had all of it to himself. I just had to try the famous Chocolate Soufflé which was out of this world. Poor DH is allergic to chocolate and missed out on this treat, but he really enjoyed the berry crème brulee. Again, Ferhat brought out something extra: Almond Ravioli. This time we shared and they were really tasty, but I still preferred my Chocolate Soufflé. We really enjoyed the complimentary lemon drink that we were served at the end of our meal.

Once we had finished our dinner, we headed back down to have our photo taken in front of backdrop with the Wonder, a sunset and a Mickey-shaped cloud. Unfortunately we had to wait a little while for the next photo session to start, but this was well worth it. The resulting photos are probably my favourite photos of the two of us together bar none. Even our wedding photos cannot compete.

Once our photos were taken we headed back to our cabin as we both had an early start the following morning. We welcomed our latest towel animal, which was a monkey and then fell into bed happy, but very tired.


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Old 11-13-2008, 11:10 AM   #24
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I've really enjoyed your reports! You both look great after your "makeovers" (hair cut and braids!). Thanks for sharing (esp. posting them together for a nice long read!).
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:08 PM   #25
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Day 10: September 10th 2008

I had another early morning wake up call from Mickey. In a fit of madness I had booked a 08:00 am treatment in the spa. I had been advised to be there at least 15 minutes before my appointment so that made for a pretty early start. When I got upstairs to the spa, I found out that I did not need to be there quite so early anyway, as I had to fill out all the paperwork for my Exotic Hand Ritual the day before. I was sent to get changed into disposable underwear and a robe and was asked to wait on the day beds in the changing room once I was done.

Soon my beauty therapist came to get me. I was a little nervous as I had never had a proper spa treatment before. The first part of the treatment was the Exotic Ginger and Lime Salt Glow full body exfoliation. She had mixed some milk bath with the mixture and once she had rubbed the mixture all over me, I was wrapped in tin foil and towels and it was left to soak in. It smelled so lovely and being wrapped up felt so cozy that I must have fallen asleep. After what felt like a very short time, the therapist came back and asked me to go and shower off and then lie back down on the treatment couch. The second half of the treatment was not quite so relaxing. This was my first massage and we had agreed that she would use gentle pressure. While she was massaging my neck, back and shoulders, I was OK, but when she started to work on my calf muscles and ankles, it was all I could do not to hit her. This was so painful. I suppose this was a case of no pain, no gain and once it was all over, I definitely felt the benefits. My whole body felt so relaxed. After the treatment I decided to get some of the products and also the shampoo that had been used for DH haircut the previous day as he really loved it.

After my treatment was finished, I headed back to the cabin to pick up the stuff that I needed for my day at Castaway Cay. I headed out and spoke to the character escort by the post office to check if Chip and Dale would be out that day. They are two of my favourite characters and the only characters that had eluded me on both cruises. I was told that I was out of luck. Still, as I was out already, I decided to walk up towards the family beach and see what characters were out and about. I managed to have photos taken with Mickey, Minnie and Captain Jack Sparrow, but I ended up purchasing only the photos with Mickey. I had a little look around the shop and then I took the tram back to the ship to get some breakfast at Parrot Cay.

After breakfast I headed back out to Serenity Bay. The water was not half as smooth as when we went there on the Magic. As I am not a particularly strong swimmer, I decided to give the sea a miss. I decided to finally try the famous Konk Kooler and found myself a beach lounger to drink it on. Soon the time at which DH’s Kayaking and Hiking Excursion was due to be finished and I decided to head down the hiking path to meet him.


We had lunch at the adult beach and then we headed back towards the ship to find out if our parasailing excursion was still on, but that had been cancelled. As our Personal Watercraft excursion had been cancelled the previous week, we decided to check if they still had availability for this. They told us that there was availability on the excursion that would start about 75 minutes later. We signed up for this and then headed to the family beach for a swim. I actually preferred swimming at the family beach as this was much more sheltered. Near the beach it was very crowded, but once we swam out a little, we had all the space we could possibly want.

Soon it was time for our tour. We had a safety talk and were given a life vest to wear and then we were off to get onto the jet skis. I got a little worried once I saw them up close and opted to ride doubles with DH. We headed out towards the Flying Dutchman and the guide who was behind us signaled us to go faster. DH sped up and the jet ski turned over and we ended up in the water right in front of the Flying Dutchman. DH got back on, but I did not have the upper body strength to pull myself up onto the jet ski from the water. I could have easily swum back, but they would not let me. The boat that they use for parasailing came by and took me back to the beach while DH carried on with the tour. I will never get on a jet ski again! The staff from the tour operator who are running this excursion were great. They checked if I needed any medical attention and once I reassured them that I was fine, we chatted and I learned a lot about the Bahamas.

Once DH was back from his tour, we headed back to the ship to pack. Once the packing was done, DH headed up to the gym while I did my last fish extender gift run. We met up in the Rainforest Room for our last visit to our favourite place on the ship. All too soon we had to think about getting ready for dinner. We bought some souvenirs on the way back to the cabin and packed them before heading for our last dinner.

Dinner that night was at Animators Palate and again I could not understand what the hype was about. Still, we sat directly next to one of the video screens and the film that was shown towards the end of the meal was quite cute. The food was fantastic and dessert was served on palate shaped plates. There was no Sorcerer Mickey this time, but the serving staff came into the room carrying flags at the end of the meal.

All too soon our last dinner on a ship was over. We visited Shutters one last time to buy the photos from the previous day and from Castaway Cay and then we headed back to our cabin and put our luggage out for collection. All of the towel animals from the previous nights had been removed, but our stateroom host had made us a bunny for the last night. I set the wake up call for the following morning and then we went to sleep on the ship for the last time.


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Old 11-14-2008, 12:23 PM   #26
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Wow how neat to do a back to back but one on the magic and one on the Wonder! That is neat!
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:52 PM   #27
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Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder for our 25th!
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Corinna, it's so fun to 'relive' the trip through someone elses eyes. We had such an amazing time and it was so good to get to meet you and Graham.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:01 PM   #28
dolphingirl47
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The next morning we were woken up by Mickey one last time. We got dressed, took our carry on and headed for breakfast. Getting to the restaurant was an interesting experience. We were again at Animators Palate on deck 4. The only access route is via Shutters, which was heaving with last minute photo purchases. The fact that everybody was anxious to get to breakfast and was standing in line did not help either.

Soon we were let into the restaurant and our tablemates arrived shortly after. We had a lovely leisurely breakfast going through all the highlights of the cruise. All too soon the time came to say good-bye to our servers and our tablemates. We picked up our carry on and headed down to deck 3. This time there were no lines and we headed straight for the exit turning back only once. I was sad to leave the ship, but after 9 nights on board a ship I was kind of ready to get back on terra firma. Knowing that the next cruise is already booked most certainly helped as well.

We got until just before the escalators down to the baggage hall, when we were stopped. They were fast tracking the people who booked their flights through Disney and everybody else had to wait. Still, we were in no particular rush, as we knew that we could not check in at Old Key West until 4 pm anyway.

Once we were allowed in the baggage hall, we had no problem finding our suitcases and cleared customs very quickly. As soon as we left the terminal building, we were directed to our coach. We were advised that there would be a short delay before departure as there would be a two minutes silence at 9 am.

Soon we were on our way and we saw a film about Walt Disney World followed by classic cartoons. We were the first people to be dropped off at our resort. This ends our Two Trips to Paradise, but not our wonderful vacation. If you want to read the sequel, you can find it here:

Staying at Mouse House Central

Last edited by dolphingirl47; 11-24-2008 at 01:06 PM. Reason: to fix link
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:48 PM   #29
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great pictures
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Old 12-31-2013, 06:07 PM   #30
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Thanks for the heads up on your report. I'm here.
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