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Old 05-26-2010, 10:59 AM   #46
Señor DonDuck
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Joining in. Congrats on getting engaged! Can't wait for the trip report.
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:01 AM   #47
ickletarakins
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It was a Hard Day's Night...

So.

Our trip did not start off as planned.

Of course that's okay--it was still amazing.

But let me bring you back, back to May 19th, 2010 (because it was *so* long ago, haha)...and tell you about our hectic day of departure.

The morning began with Steve losing his car keys. I mean really, truly losing them. We still haven't found them and either he dropped them in the driveway and someone picked them up--or they somehow ended up in the trash. Oops. Needless to say, we were both late for work, and all I can tell you is thank God for my sister. She lives with us and I dragged her out of bed to take me to work, so that Steve could use my car to bring the dogs to their boarding facility and go to work himself.

One would think that that was enough excitement for the day, right?

Wrong.

I got a call from Camp Bow Wow at about two in the afternoon--they had to kick my dog Rigby out! They were very understanding about the fact that I was leaving for vacation and told me that if I couldn't make it in to pick him up, or couldn't find another boarding facility, they would keep him for the weekend--but he would have to stay inside his crate while all of the other dogs, including his sister Wendy, were out having fun

Now, Wendy has been going to Camp for years. I know that they don't kick a dog out unless that dog is endangering the other pups or the workers. Rigby is a very friendly boy, but apparently he is only good with smaller groups of dogs--shove him into a crowd of 20-25 dogs and he just can't handle it. Needless to say, I called our vet, left work early, transferred Rigby from camp to the pet motel at the vet's office, and made my way home to finish packing.

Speaking of packing, despite my reminders, guess who didn't pack the night before? You guessed it...Steve I love him to death, but man is he a procrastinator! He didn't get home until 5:45 and because he had to pack, we didn't leave the house until 6:45

We made good time to Port Canaveral--it took us just about eight hours and we checked in to the Comfort Inn and collapsed into bed right around 3 AM, alarm set for 9 AM.

Now, with such a hectic day...you know we forgot some things. But what we forgot remains to be seen...

(And yes, I will be posting plenty of pictures! Obviously we didn't take any of us packing or driving through the night, haha)
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:16 PM   #48
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ohhhnooo Im HORRIBLE with keys I lose mine all the time. I had to bust the locks of the outside fridge at our campground the sat before we left for the cruise.I was lucky enough to have my DB stay with our dane while we were cruisin (although hes a slob and im STILL cleaning up after him)
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:53 PM   #49
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Wow! Sorry about the keys, but your journey sounds a bit like ours! We did not leave Augusta, GA until 7:16 pm! We had issues with finding a suitable sized rental vehicle even though we had a reservation! We landed at Country Inn and Suites just after 2:00 am! I can't wait to hear more about your trip! We had a blast!
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:58 AM   #50
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Here comes the sun...

I guess I was just too excited for our cruise to begin, as I was wide awake by 8:45 AM (15 minutes before the alarm was supposed to go off!). I dragged Steve out of bed and we walked the two blocks to the beach, where we went for a run! Steve doesn't run and I do (every other day), but he kept up quite nicely and it was so great to have the smell and sound and sights of the beach while I was running. Just a great change of pace

Upon check-in the night before, we had discovered that our plans to sleep in and meander over to the port around noon or so were foiled. The Comfort Inn only sends one shuttle to the port, and it leaves at 11 AM So after showering and moving the car to their long term parking lot, we boarded the van and were finally on our way to board the cruise!

The Disney Wonder was the shuttle's first stop, which meant we arrived at about 11:20 AM, and as we gathered our things and headed into the terminal I snapped a couple pictures. They came out okay, I guess...I just wish there hadn't been so much construction blocking our views!





There was no line to get through security, and when we got to the top of the escalator we saw our friends Jonathan and Jen right away! They were in line to get pictures with Mickey. We decided to check in for the cruise, and again, no wait at all! This is by far the smoothest boarding process I have ever experienced, and this was my fourth cruise and fourth cruise line.

After we got our boarding pass (group 10, eh) we reunited with Jonathan and Jen so that the four of us could get a picture with Captain Mickey!



That took up a little bit of time, but we still ended up hanging out for maybe 20-30 minutes before they finally called group 10 to board. We walked right up and through the Mickey-shaped entrance, and then...we were finally on the boat!



As we made our way to lunch, we were distracted by the cast members selling beer mugs. Steve and I went ahead and purchased them (I'm a beer girl myself), but in the end...I just don't think they were worth it. (a) because we simply didn't need any more souvenir beer mugs, and especially didn't need two of the same souvenir beer mugs, and (b) because we didn't really get our money's worth on the 3-day cruise. Had this been a week-long cruise, I absolutely would have drank enough beer to justify the $18 or $19 cost of the mug, since the refills are bigger and cheaper than buying a bottled beer...but on such a short cruise, we barely broke even on the cost. Ah well, lesson learned, and at least we got a silly picture of Steve, who was obviously more than ready for the first drink of the cruise...



However, I convinced him that we didn't want that drink to be beer! Thankfully Disney sure does know how to cater to adults as well as children, because within moments we encountered a server with a tray of rum runners. We bought a round and made our way to the buffet. I was honestly surprised at the fact that the selection and quality of everything was SO good! I've been on cruises in the past that had less-than stellar buffets

We sat outside and enjoyed our food and our first drinks...



...and then left to explore the ship! First stop was the spa. Steve and I had heard about the Rainforest Room passes from a close friend of mine. $42 per person later, and they were ours. I definitely think that, like all spa services on this and every other cruise, these passes were overpriced...but we definitely enjoyed the steam rooms and aromatherapy showers! They even convinced us to take advantage of the $20 off first day promo and book a couples cabana massage for Castaway Cay...and I'll get into that later

We hung out on the adult deck for the next twenty minutes or so, until our rooms were ready--at one point there was a woman there trying to get her kids in the pool, but a cast member immediately approached her and politely asked that she make her way to the family pool. Nice to know firsthand that they really do take the adults-only area seriously!

And then our rooms were ready! Steve and I headed down to deck 2 and were surprised and pleased to see 2 of our 3 checked bags waiting outside our door. We lugged everything inside and I breathed a sigh of relief at the size of the room. Having never stayed in an inside stateroom before, I had concerns about the size...but this room was bigger than my oceanview on Monarch of the Seas and about the same size as my oceanview on the Carnival Valor and my balcony on the Princess Sapphire!



We did some quick unpacking and decided to make our way back outside for more drinks and fun. First things first, though--hang that FE outside the door!



The next couple of hours were spent relaxing outside, having a few drinks, and for me--checking out the pizza situation. I'm somewhat of a pizza nut! Sadly...I was disappointed by the Disney cruise pizza. It was kind of...gummy and just not very good. I've honestly had better food at the quick serve places on Carnival cruise line

When the warning whistle blew for the muster, we all headed back to the room to gather our life jackets and go to the theater. The muster was quick and painless...for whatever reason, I can't remember the muster on my Princess Alaska cruise, but my two Caribbean cruises had their musters outside and we had to stand around in the summer heat for about 30 minutes. This muster lasted maybe 15 minutes at most and was at least in the air conditioned comfort of the theater!

Obligatory look-how-silly-we-are-in-our-life-jackets picture:



As soon as the muster was over, it was time for--you guessed it--more drinks!!! Steve was basically carrying a bar around in his backpack, but on that first day we kept forgetting to grab those trusty Disney Cruise Line drink cups we had purchased first thing (the ones with the rum runners, not the beer mugs). Which meant that he ended up buying another drink, this time a frozen Strawberry Daiquiri/Pina Colada mix of deliciousness! (I drank most of that one )



The sailaway party was pretty fun, but we didn't stay for the whole thing...it was a bit stifling in the sun and it got really crowded after a while. We ended up going back to the adult area and were relaxing in the shade when the ship blew those five sweet notes of "When you wish upon a star"...and began making her way out to the open sea!

To be continued...
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Old 05-28-2010, 11:49 AM   #51
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Great day 1 report! Sorry to hear about the pizza but I'm salivating quite a bit after all the drinks mentioned.
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Old 05-30-2010, 07:54 AM   #52
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Tara,
You caught us on film! In the Beach Blanket Buffet pic, off the outer edge of Steve's left shoulder sitting a couple of tables behind you is my DS (sun glasses on top of his head), the blonde at the same table is DD and the dark haired girl is ds DF. My head (dk blonde hair & wearing Sunglasses) is to the back of DS on the other side the pole. I love looking at the back grounds of pics that other people took to see who they also captured. On our first cruise there were several pictures that included our friend who was traveling with us who just happened to be about everywhere.

Congratulations on your engagement. Now comes wedding planning "fun".
Just remember to enjoy the planning and don't get too stressed.
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:30 AM   #53
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Congratulations on your engagement and I love your trip report - can't wait for the next installment
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:22 PM   #54
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What fun drinks!!! I see you drank as much as i did
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:37 AM   #55
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Great pictures. Looking forward to reading more. Those wedding plans can be put on hold while you finish the TR
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:24 AM   #56
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Sorry to hear about the missing keys but your first day on the ship sounded fantastic! Can't wait to hear more!
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:46 PM   #57
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Helter Skelter...

Once Steve had convinced me to leave the "whimsy of the Sail Away Party behind...we decided that it was time to fill the FE's!

Aaaand this is when we discovered that something had gone horribly wrong

Basically, I had planned on separating all of the FE goodies out before we left, but with such a hectic few days following our engagement...that didn't happen. All I ever got around to doing was separating the stickers for the kids.

And as I pawed through our bags, I realized...no candy. And no nippers.

Needless to say, we spent a rushed ten minutes putting together the glow bracelets and Steve tried to talk me down from my panic. "You probably overdid it with the candy and nippers anyway," he reassured.

Of course, as any of you who were on this cruise know...candy and nippers in addition to the other items I had gathered (glow bracelets, stickers for the kids, and pens from my family company for the adults/older kids) would not have been overdoing it

But I still tried to have fun filling everyone's FE's, and I certainly enjoyed all of the AWESOME gifts that we got! So if anything...know that we completely appreciated everything...and that we've learned our lesson about getting engaged just a few days before going on a vacation



It was great to run into some of you as we were filling them, too! So glad I got to meet TexasKate and...MizzTig, I think. And crap, GeorgeY and one other woman...my memory is terrible for a 27-year-old. (Sorry, things are a bit spotty now that it's been almost two weeks )

To talk myself down from worrying over the FE's, we knew that it was time for--you guessed it--a drink! We ended up mixing some drinks with our pint bottles and deciding to explore the ship a bit more, rather than bothering with the show We tried to go up to the front of the boat on deck 10 (Steve had to be like every other guy and play the "king of the world" game), but it was waaayyyy too windy! Some nice lady took our picture, though, and of course we returned the favor...



After a quick stop at the Cove Cafe (espresso martini...yum!), we discovered the "secret decks" on the back of the ship! We stayed there on...deck 9, I think...for quite some time. We were the only ones there, it was quiet and the weather was perfect...also, the sun was about to set. Steve pulled his usual I'm-going-to-steal-Tara's-camera-and-take-copious-amounts-of-candid-photos...and got a few good ones



Buuut once some other people arrived, we figured it was time to walk around some more. We ended up on deck 4 and caught a glimpse of the Carnival Sensation fading away into the distance...



...and even ended up taking a random snapshot of ourselves, which turned out to be the best picture from the cruise, IMO...



At this point, I knew that it was time to switch to beer. Too bad I didn't know where to find the only truly good beer on the boat! (Stella in the sports bar, of course) I sucked it up with a couple Mich Ultras before dinner and was so starving by the time we ate that I devoured most of my Parrot Cay meal without taking pictures

I don't remember what I had for an appetizer, but the mixed grill was good and the s'mores cake thing for dessert was delish. I did manage to snap a picture of that:



This is the night they brought Steve's birthday cake out to him, as well! It looked awfully good:



...but we never did eat the thing. We even brought it back to the room on a covered plate...and then forgot about it until Saturday night. Oops.

When we stopped back at the room for a moment after dinner, our towel art was waiting for us:



Steve, not knowing about the towel art (I had to keep some cruise info a secret on him!), was very impressed....but we weren't ready for bed, anyway. We made our way up to the Cadillac Lounge and hung out for a beer until we simply couldn't keep our eyes open...it was bedtime around midnight for us, and that was the end of our action-packed first day!
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:14 PM   #58
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Subbing! Great PTR & TR and can't wait to hear more...

Congrats on the engagement!

PS - I love Falls Park!
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:07 PM   #59
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Too funny about the FE gifts. Glad you were able to go with the flow. Quite a first day!
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:00 PM   #60
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Hey Tara,
This is a great report. It helps me remember alot of things as well. We did run into each other the first night filling FE's, I accused you guys of stalking me. Thanks for the gifts.

And I am glad I have a picture of someone wearing the Green Wristband. My wife told me she never saw another person with one. In fact, you were the only one we saw as well. I never thought the Boat was SO big.

George
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