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Old 02-21-2009, 05:23 PM   #91
1stdisneycruise
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Did you just ask the first night for the copy of the menus. Or did you have to go to guest services every night to get that nights copy?

We are on our 3 night first Disney cruise in just a few days and love readying your TR. I am hoping to here about CC before leaving
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:52 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by 1stdisneycruise View Post
Did you just ask the first night for the copy of the menus. Or did you have to go to guest services every night to get that nights copy?

We are on our 3 night first Disney cruise in just a few days and love readying your TR. I am hoping to here about CC before leaving
To get copies of the menus, I went to guest services near the end of the cruise. They were great about making copies of everything, and giving me extras of the Navigators in case I had lost any.

I'm not sure I'll get to CC before you leave. (I'm finding it harder to post during the week, but am trying to get more done on the weekends.) But I'm happy to answer any of your specific questions, if you're curious about something. I'll keep plugging away on my postings, and see where I get by the time you leave.

I'll be curious to hear about the 3-night cruise. We got the offer where we could take one for $99 per person because of when we booked out 7-night cruise. We're hoping to take the cruise in September. We just loved our first Disney cruise, and can't wait to go again.
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:59 PM   #93
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I'm still loving your trip report, can't wait to read about St. Croix.
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:08 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by 1stdisneycruise View Post
We are on our 3 night first Disney cruise in just a few days and love readying your TR. I am hoping to here about CC before leaving
My guess is we'll be getting on next Sunday after you disembark.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:46 AM   #95
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great report

Enjoying reading your report - we leave for our cruise in a few days!
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Old 02-22-2009, 08:53 AM   #96
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I am so excited for all of you who are getting ready to go on your trips - and I can't wait to see what you all think of the cruise. I really think you'll have a blast. OK, I'm working on adding my latest update today. Maybe I'll add two if I really get ambitious. (OK, maybe not - but I can dream
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:03 AM   #97
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Day 4 Ė St. Croix

So Iíll be honest. I was a little concerned about St. Croix. Before our cruise, I read bad publicity about the island. Apparently, the Disney cruise before us had a rough time, and Disney might have put the island on notice since so many people asked for their money back on excursions. The news story was a little vague, because Disney wouldnít talk to the newspaper (which was the St. Croix paper) but it was clear that the tourism folks took the warnings seriously. They had a lot of training before our visit, according to the paper.

So I didnít go into it with high expectations. We started our morning with room service (I recognized the voice on the other line almost the minute she picked up. She was a riot.) We got English Muffins and cereal to serve as a real breakfast, since we werenít planning to go to a dining room. And then DH dropped DD off at the club before I got my bathing suit on. I just couldnít put it on in front of her, and tell her she couldnít come with us. But the excursion was for kids older than her, so I didnít have the option of bringing her. The club opened early on days when your in port early. It was open at 7:30 this day. (9 a.m. usually.) We actually had to take her to the lab, where they had all of the kids that morning. A short time later, they moved the little ones to the club.

At 8:15, we had to meet at Diversions. The time was listed on tickets left in our room. It was also listed on the front of the navigator for the day. After everyone arrived, we followed a guide off the ship. She took us to a guy named Brook, who was with Island Networks. I canít say nice enough things about him or the excursion. We really love the water, and this was the first day on this cruise where it was nice enough to really enjoy the water. So this excursion was a highlight for us.

OK, So I didnít take pictures on the excursion. We should have gotten a waterproof camera. But we didnít. So the pictures Iím posting we took later in the afternoon, after the guide took his second group out. We also got a few from our window.

This is the one from our verandah. No idea who is on the boats.


And these are from when we went back out later in the day. The guy in the pic is Brook.



So, we followed Brook to the other end of the pier, where the boats were docked. He gave us a little primer on the safety gear (we all had to wear safety vests on the boat.) They had us each pick up our snorkeling gear. Now my hubby has large feet and he said the fins he picked up were a bit snug. They fit, but he thought they were snug. I picked up a smaller pair, and was just fine. They had masks and snorkels for us all, and water vests. Brook said all of the gear was cleaned in a bleach wash between uses. It all seemed clean.

We all got on the boats (now Iím a little freakish about climbing into a boat from a pier. Thereís no good reason for this, Iím just crazy and worried Iím going to make a fool of myself Ė and possibly hurt myself Ė in front of a bunch of people. Iím actually more concerned about making a fool of myself more than hurting myself, but we all have our priorities.) But there was nothing to worry about Ė no falling in the water. No making a fool of myself. All was fine.

Brook then told the drivers (who in our case was my hubby) how to operate the boats. My hubby has been on many boats, so this wasnít an issue. But I donít think everyone with us had operated a boat before, and it seemed like clear direction to someone like me. (None of us had any difficulty with out boats or equipment, that I heard about. And since we were all close, I think I would have heard if there was a problem.)

So a group of maybe eight boats (most of us had two people in a boat, but one person had his own boat) followed Brook and another guide. Actually, the other guide was in his own boat initially, but had technical difficulties, so he ended up with Brook. Brook took us to our first snorkeling area. It was pretty murky, because of a front that had just come through. Nothing the folks at St. Croix could do about that.

But the water was nice, the equipment was easy to use and on this first stop, we had about 45 minutes in the water.

The only downside for this for me was when I felt a stinging sensation (like a bee sting) on my left hand Ė and then on my right thigh. I was certain this was what people were talking about when they mentioned sea lice in trip report. It kind of hurt Ė but the sensation passed enough that I was able to continue swimming (and I really am a wimp about pain, so I can assure you if it was really bad I would have been crying or something close to it.)

After a while, I decided to get back in the boat. (Little bit of a struggle to get back in. My hubby got up first and helped pull me up. Fortunately, everyone was doing their own thing, so I donít think I made much a fool of myself. I asked Brook if I had been stung by sea lice. He said he doubted it. Instead, he said it was likely a really small jellyfish. Well, now I didnít feel so silly about thinking the stinging hurt. By this point, I could see little red dots where I was stung, but the stinging was about gone. (I never felt it later, and the red marks were gone that afternoon. So if was a jelly fish, it was a baby one that did very little harm. I'm assuming it wasn't sea lice, because it only got me on those two areas - and that doesn't sound like sea lice.)

We then rode around on the boats a little, stopping on occasion so we could get photos of the ship. We then went to a beach area for more snorkeling.

The water was clearer in the second location. We swam a little, then went to shore to sit on the beach. First thing to note here is the sand was really coarse. When it was on you, it was hard to get off. I found sand for days (I do realize that was Too Much Information, but itís the truth.) And the water was very rocky near the shore. So if you go to the beach on St. Croix, please be careful of the rocks. The waves were pretty rough, so a few times I got pulled back on the rocks. It wasnít really dangerous, but you could get hurt if youíre not a strong swimmer. There may be other beach areas with less rocks, and Iím sure plenty of days when the waves arenít very strong. But just something to warn people about.

OK, now for a little more Too Much Information. We hit the shore and I just have to go to the bathroom. Like RIGHT THEN. I heard one of the guides tell another person on our excursion that there were bathrooms where we were going, but I didnít pay close enough attention to where. And the beach area was decently steep. Iím not even close to in shape. (Exercise seems like a waste of time when thereís all that relaxing, reading, eating and watching tv to do. I would love to say Iím joking, but that would be a lie.) So I was just exhausted by the time I got to the area where there were bathrooms. But I made it in time. YIPPEE.

But the thought of walking back to where we left our fins, masks and vests just seemed too much when I returned. So my hubby walked back to get them and I met him half way. Then we walked out in the water backwards with our fins on. This took a little navigating, first not to lose our fins before we actually got them completely on Ė the waves almost took them away. And then to get over the rocks. But as soon as we did, we just swam out. Fortunately, we werenít the last to get to the boat. This time I slipped when getting on the boat, but my hubby helped pull me up.

The bottom line on this trip was it was great. I really had a wonderful time. In retrospect, I would say I wouldnít have gone to the beach area, but I would have had to anyway to go to the bathroom. So not much I could have done differently there. The cost was $79 a person through Disney, which I thought was pretty reasonable.

We then took the boats back to the pier and climbed out Ė no problems there either. We were back by 12:30ish, I think. Now we didnít bring any money to tip our guide, which I never thought about. So my husband had it in his mind that he would try to tip him later, if we saw him. Turns out we did.

We headed straight back to the boat Ė didnít look around the island yet at all. We decided we would grab lunch (since our DD would have already eaten at the club) and then get our DD. I think we ran by topsiders, but didnít love what they were having. I think it was Asian day. Just nothing appetizing. I ended up getting a burger at Plutos. The fries were fabulous. Really very good. Then we went back to the room. But my burger would have to get a little cold, because I had to get a shower to get all of the sand off of me Ė or most of it.






Up next: Afternoon on St. Croix, Twice Charmed and Topsiders for dinner
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:22 AM   #98
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Day 4 Continued

OK. This shocks me too. But I've finished the second part of Day 4, so here you go....

After we ate, we got our DD and we all took a nap. When we got up, we headed off the ship again. We stopped by to see Brook and give him a tip from our earlier excursion. It’s not required, but it was a good idea from my hubby.

Since before we really went straight for the boats, now we had time to pay attention to the island. It was really beautiful – which we could also see from the water. The area where Disney docks the boat isn’t really built up much. Many of the shops are vacant. But the local vendors set up a little market right near the ship. There wasn’t a ton of stuff there, but there were some local items. We bought three T-shirts for $10. When could you find such a deal like that? They were all St. Croix shirts. Very cute. I guess since it was later in the day, the vendor really wanted to make a sale. We looked around a little more, and then my husband suggested we get closer to the water for some pictures. It was a great idea, there were many picturesque areas. And finally, we learned the way to stop the fake, cheesy smile from DD. We just asked her not to smile, but to laugh. Now she looked more natural and we got a few cute pics.








(I would highly recommend getting off the boat for a little bit with your family to get some great pictures with or without the boat in the background. The area is really close to the boat, not a far walk - and just really pretty.)

And then we headed back to the ship. Now if we had really wanted to do shopping or sightseeing, we easily could have grabbed a cab. But we just wanted to let my daughter get off the ship for a while. (If you remember from earlier, my daughter didn’t believe we were on a boat the first few days. So this was the first time we were able to show her that we had been on a boat, and she could see us getting on – not like in Port Canaveral, when we got on board from inside a building. We even told her Goofy was painting. Well, she realized he wasn’t the “real” Goofy, but she enjoyed seeing it.




Anyway, my overall impression of St. Croix was the people were very friendly. No one was pushy about selling us anything. And we felt very safe. I’ll be interested in hearing what others thought of their stop there.

So on this evening, we skipped the meal in the dining room. We decided to get our DD something for dinner in our room, her favorite hotdog, I believe. Then we went to see the show – Twice Charmed – early. We were concerned that our daughter would be tired, since we didn’t take a long nap and she was busy in the club most of the day. Anyway, she loved the show, and we were glad we went early. Cinderella is her favorite character, and the story was really unique. My husband and I both really like it.

Then our DD asked to go to the club, so we went to Topsiders for dinner for us. It is only open from like 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. for dinner. Not a ton of time. In fact, when we first went there for dinner (I think at 7:30ish), there was a line to get in. They don’t have a lot of tables available for the dinner service. We ended up going for a walk, sitting out on one of the decks and relaxing for a while. Then we went back, and there was no line.

Even though we didn’t go to the regular dining room, we did get a copy of the menu for all of you to see.





The Topsiders menu didn’t look just like this, but it had many of the same items.

I know I got the crabcakes, which were pretty good. Then I think I had a Caesar salad, but I didn’t love the dressing. Then getting into the swing of ordering whatever I wanted, I got both the shrimp and scallop meal, plus the beef tenderloin. I actually ate most of the beef tenderloin, but only had the seafood off the other plate. Both were very good, but I wasn’t much in the mood for the pasta that came with the seafood dish. I will say, the shrimp were rather large, which I found a little surprising.

My husband got the pineapple appetizer, which he liked, if I remember (He’s still not here to ask – but we can update this later, if I’m wrong. He also got a Caesar salad, but added chicken to his. He liked it and finished mine. Then I think he might have gotten the pork shank and tenderloin too. I could be wrong about that (he might have gotten a steak), but I do remember he liked his meal.

Then for the first time, we ordered dessert. We both got the chocolate cake. Our server, who was incredibly nice, said they had run out of the dessert, so he had to get it from one of the dining rooms. That was really nice, we thought. But it really wasn’t very good. My memory is it was kind of watery, as if it was soaked in something. But I’m not sure if it was. Now, I’m a dessert girl, and not overly (or at all, I would usually say) picky. To leave chocolate on the plate? Well, I must be sick or it must be bad. I wasn't sick. But overall, the desserts weren’t that great. But we had finally found meals we liked for the rest of the time.

After dinner, we headed to get DD and went back to the room. We would have loved to have seen the fireworks, but they were on the other side of the ship than where our room was (8014) so we couldn’t see them from our room. And it was just too late to keep DD up this night. But that was OK. It was a long, fun day for us too, so we all settled in. I'll be interested in hearing about pirate night from other cruisers. I know people we talked to had fun.

UP NEXT: St. Thomas/St. John day
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Last edited by OurOhana; 02-22-2009 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 02-22-2009, 02:10 PM   #99
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Thanks for a wonderfully detailed personal trip report. You've prepared those of us leaving this Saturday for the same trip!

THANK-YOU!!!
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Old 02-23-2009, 12:13 AM   #100
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I was wondering if your waiter was nice about you ordering two of something. I did that on our first cruise (Carnival) and the waiter acted like that was not right. Then I did it on (Costa) he asked like I was rude for asking. So I do not like to seem rude or wrong. So that is why I am asking if they make it seem like it is not a big deal. I see some nights I would like two appitizers and no main dish or saddly two desserts
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:41 AM   #101
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There is no problem. Last year on the Magic, Arnold, our head server ordered one of each dessert on the menu for us. This is a cruise. Eat all you want.
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Old 02-23-2009, 06:17 AM   #102
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We normally have not had a problem with doing this and the servers usually encourage it BUT last cruise the server made a big deal about it and sometimes only brought us one thing even when we had asked for two.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:14 AM   #103
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I was wondering if your waiter was nice about you ordering two of something. I did that on our first cruise (Carnival) and the waiter acted like that was not right. Then I did it on (Costa) he asked like I was rude for asking. So I do not like to seem rude or wrong. So that is why I am asking if they make it seem like it is not a big deal. I see some nights I would like two appitizers and no main dish or saddly two desserts
Our server, Toney, was just wonderful. Very nice, efficient and as with most everyone we encountered on the ship - he wanted to make sure we had a great vacation. He often asked what he could do to make that happen. He never blinked when we ordered double of something. We had done the same on our HAL cruises a few years ago, but then I read of many people doing it when I was looking at trip reports on disboards before our cruise. And it really made our trip better. If you'll remember at the beginning of the trip, we had some disappointing meals. By the end, we mixed and matched what we wanted to have a more enjoyable meal.

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There is no problem. Last year on the Magic, Arnold, our head server ordered one of each dessert on the menu for us. This is a cruise. Eat all you want.
Arnold sounds great.

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We normally have not had a problem with doing this and the servers usually encourage it BUT last cruise the server made a big deal about it and sometimes only brought us one thing even when we had asked for two.
Wow, I can't imagine. I'm curious if you ever said anything about it to him? I wonder why he wouldn't bring two of things.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:35 AM   #104
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Thanks TammyNC. I've been doing the same thing, enjoying the boards to help me pass the time. It helps that we booked late, but I have a feeling I'll have a longer wait next time.

You live in Burlington? I used to live there too. I went to college at Elon (before it was a university) and then worked in Burlington for a few years. I absolutely LOVED Burlington. It's a beautiful area.

Yes, we are in Burlington...I grew up in Gibsonville and my kids went to Elon Elementary for a few years before we started homeschooling. We love the area, it is growing a lot though. We enjoy being just a few hours from the mountains and the ocean.


I am so enjoying your trip report, ours is still a long ways off but I get more and more excited with every report I read.

Can't wait to hear and see more from you.
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:30 AM   #105
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Day 5 Ė St. Thomas

So my little one was sick this weekend, and still not up to par this morning. So we've stayed home. And I've had time to do some updating. I might even have Day 6 up today too, depending on how we're doing here.

So here's Day 5 -

When we were planning our cruise, we knew we didnít want to leave our daughter on the ship for more than one day. No particular reason, other than we wanted to do some family activities. The problem was there arenít a ton of those excursions for younger children. So weíll have a blast when sheís a bit older, but for this day, we chose the St. Thomas Tram Ride. It was $18 per adult. DD was free. I canít remember if the cutoff for free children is 3, her age, or older. I feel like it was older, just not sure.

On this excursion, we just had to walk to our destination, which wasnít all that far. (There was nothing in writing that told us what to do, so we called down to guest services to ask.) So we walked through a little shopping area and went a few blocks. Iím horrible with distance. I know it took maybe 10 or 15 minutes. And it was a little warm out, but it wasnít a bad walk. I will say that in this port, we were asked quite a bit about if we wanted a cab or to take a tour. There were a lot of people lining the streets. And there was a lot of traffic near the port. I wasnít as comfortable here as I had been on St. Croix. It wasnít bad, but just letting you know for a comparison.

So we got to the tram, which is a skyride. We had quite a few steps to get to the area where we got on the tram. And then we rode up. Iím not really sure how high we got, but it was a pretty view.










At the top, they had some shops. They were pretty cheesy, nothing special there, and no great prices. And then the rain started. So we sat down at a little bar (I think it was also a restaurant, but we just got drinks Ė and we only did that because it was raining.) As soon as the rain slowed down Ė we hurried back to the skyride to go back down. And then we caught a cab back, since it was still sprinkling Ė and I was lazy.






We then grabbed lunch Ė I think in the room. I believe this is the day after my hubby realized the steak sandwiches on the room service menu were really good. He loved them. So I got one, and he got two. And we got DD either her favorite cheese platter or a hot dog. I canít remember which. She loved that cheese platter, and I really did too.

After lunch, we took DD to the club, and we decided to go back out for just a little bit to do some shopping. She decided she didnít want to do the shopping. (And not that sheís horrible to shop with, but I knew it would be easier without her, so I was OK with her staying on the ship.) The shops are right next to the ship Ė so we weren't far. We got some more shirts Ė with St. Thomas on them.

Here's the St. Thomas guide you get from the ship





Then we headed back for a late nap. When we got up, we got ready for dinner. DD said she wanted to go to the club. She said she wasnít hungry. The problem was that the club was at Topsiders at 5:30, I believe, which is when our dinner started. So I told her she had a choice, we could go to dinner with her clubmates, and then go back and play. Or she could have dinner with us. We know she loved the little girl sitting at our table, but she decided to wanted to go to the club.

After dropping her off at Topsiders, we went to Parrot Cay. But our tablemates didnít show this night. (Remember, we didnít show the night before.) So it was just me and DH, which was really rather nice.






I had the crab/cheese dip for the appetizer. (I thought it was OK.) And then I had the onion soup, which was surprisingly good. My hubby tried mine, and thought it was good too. I then followed my trend of ordering more than one entrťe and got the ribeye of beef (which was sliced beef, not a steak) and the grouper. I ate most of the beef, but only some of the grouper. Both were good though. I thought the beef was the best.

Hubby had the fritters, which were really good. He highly recommended them. I tried them, and agreed. He got the Caesar salad, which he liked again. For his entrees, he also did the beef, plus he did the mixed grill. It had a little of something from different entrees over the last few nights. He liked both, if I remember correctly.

Then I think we both got an ice cream sundae, which was really good.

After dinner, we did some shopping. Then we went to get DD to let her pick out a gift to take back. For a 3-year-old, I thought she did a good job of not wanting everything. She stuck with an Ariel toy, even after looking through everything else. But we took notice of what else she looked at, so we could go back later and get her a little surprise. (We ended up getting me and her matching bracelets, with different charms on them. We both love our little keepsakes from our cruise.)

A nice little note about shopping in the stores. The cast members will deliver your packages to the room later for you. The people who work the shops do the deliveries, so itís not immediate. But it only took a few hours Ė and it was nice to shop whenever we wanted and not have to worry about carrying it all around with us. Of course, we didn't need this if we were going back to the room, but other times we didn't want to go back just then.

After shopping this evening, we headed back for bed.

Up next: Our last sea day, palo brunch, Friendship Rocks and more.
__________________
DW DH DD (7)

HAL Maasdam Feb. 16, 2003 * HAL Zuiderdam Sept. 7, 2003
DCL Magic Jan. 31, 2009 * DCL Wonder Sept. 17, 2009 * DCL Wonder Sept. 20, 2009



Our Jan. 31, 2009 eastern trip report

Our back-to-back September 2009 cruises on the Wonder trip report


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