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Old 01-03-2014, 09:44 PM   #16
finest14
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More Nachi...

More beach...

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Smoothie number 38??

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Nachi's pool...nothing was crowded this day!

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Really, really great food at Nachi...

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Time to get back on the beautiful Wonder...

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Disney details...

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Old 01-03-2014, 09:48 PM   #17
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Pirate Night Pictures...

Lots of pirate themed characters to meet...

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Old 01-03-2014, 09:53 PM   #18
finest14
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Pirates on the Caribbean...

Our most excellent servers, Santana and Tita...

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Waiting for the festivities to begin...

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Pirate Party!

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Mickey zip lines in to save the day...

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Dancing at the after-party. I was surprised he kept the hat on all night...

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Old 01-04-2014, 03:53 PM   #19
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Tuesday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve on Grand Cayman

Another early day as we had booked a private excursion on Grand Cayman. It was a Sailing, Snorkeling and Beach Excursion through Island Marketing. I found it online and did some research before committing. The reviews I found were all good. Although Island Marketing does the booking, the excursion is provided by Scotch Bonnet Charters and Captain John Michael Stafford. So, we headed to the Buena Vista Theatre to get tender tickets and wait. We were told the wait was about 10 minutes but it was more like 20. We were finally called, boarded the tender and headed off to the island. Really a painless process. We were told to meet John Michael next to the Blue Iguana store, a short walk from the pier. We thought we were headed the right way but it was taking a while...then we thought we might be going the wrong way when we rounded a corner and found the Blue Iguana store. John Michael was there, loaded us in his truck and we were off. We made a stop at a grocery store for some drinks, and if we wanted, some food for lunch. We opted to stop at Rum Point and eat instead. Next we headed to his boat. You can either book a Boston Whaler power boat or a J22 sail boat. I love to sail, so it was a no brainer for me. It was just the three of us and the captain. The website says he’ll take up to five in this boat but that may have been crowded. For us, it was perfect. First, it was a long, up wind sail to Stingray City. It wasn’t too rough, but just wet and wild enough to be a blast. We arrived at Stingray City and John Michael expertly anchored the boat. We jumped off and headed onto the sandbar. John Michael had squid to feed the stingrays and helped us safely hold them. Unfortunately, DS (who is usually up for anything) started to freak out. He didn’t like the stingrays and alternated between enjoying himself and screaming. We pushed it as far as we dared and got back on the boat for our next adventure.

John Michael asked if we wanted to stop and snorkel but thought DS needed a break, so it was off to Rum Point for some lunch. DS and DW got a turn at the helm and then John Michael whipped the J22 into the dock at Rum Point. Impressive! He told us when we were done to walk 10 minutes down the beach to meet him. We found a table at the restaurant and enjoyed a leisurely lunch and, of course, some Mudslides. The service was a bit slow, but friendly. The view was, of course, tremendous. After lunch we headed down the beach for a beautiful walk and to meet up with the boat. We boarded and set sail for a calm downwind trip to Star Fish Beach. This was a great stop and DS loved the starfishes as much as he disliked the stingrays. It was a great experience. Back on the boat for the final sail back to John Michael’s dock. On the way he caught a grouper that DS didn’t like flopping around on deck - more screaming! We has asked John Michael to have us back at the tender pier by 3 p.m. as the last tender back was 4 p.m. (better safe than sorry). I think we were back by 3:10. No small feat on a sail boat with no motor. John Michael was an expert sailer with years of experience including in the Olympics. We felt completely safe and had a great time.

It was formal night, so we needed to hustle and get ready for dinner. This was our Animator’s Palate show night and we didn’t want to miss it. We enjoyed the color change and the parade at dinner and then it was off to an actual Disney show, the Golden Mickeys (no ventriloquist!).

The show was great. We all loved it, especially DS with his giant tub of popcorn. Great cast, great production and just very well done. Similar to the shows I’ve seen at the parks. We did make it a point of getting to all the shows 30 minutes or so early to get a good seat and it was worth it. Sitting down and waiting for the show to start never seemed too long.

Afterwards we headed to Studio Sea for the Golden Mickeys After Party because, as we found out earlier, DS loves a good DJ. So we all danced a bit, had a cocktail (or smoothie) and then stayed to listen to a few minutes of Family Superstar Karaoke (no singing for us). It was another long day in the sun so we hit the hay. After all, Santa was coming. What a magical trip so far!
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Old 01-04-2014, 04:02 PM   #20
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Stingray City Pictures...

In front of the J22...

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On the way to Stingray City...

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John Michael getting us set...

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The freak out begins...

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At least someone enjoyed the experience...

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Old 01-04-2014, 04:10 PM   #21
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Rum Point and Star Fish Beach...

Mudslide!

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Beautiful walk back to the boat...

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Someone likes starfish better than stingrays...

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John Micheal, really!?!?

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Just a beautiful stop...

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Leisurely sail back to the island...

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Just before the fish freakout...

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Bye bye Grand Cayman, back to the Wonder...

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Last edited by finest14; 01-06-2014 at 02:23 PM. Reason: Spelling correction.
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Old 01-04-2014, 04:15 PM   #22
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Animator's and Formal Night...

This is a formal as we got...we fit right in...

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The colors begin to change in Animator's Palate...

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The finale!

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Waiting for the Golden Mickey's with the giant tub o'popcorn...

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Dancing at the after party...

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Old 01-05-2014, 11:02 AM   #23
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Ok....it is Christmas Day.....and"............?

Great report by the way

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Old 01-05-2014, 02:26 PM   #24
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Loving your trip report! I think I will try the Nachi Cocum resort when we are there on the Oasis of the Seas next year. Looks great!
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:55 AM   #25
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Wednesday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day at Sea

Santa was in the Lobby Atrium starting at 8:30 a.m. and we wanted to get there early and beat the crowds. I think we were in line by around 8 a.m. and were the second or third family. They had quite a spread in the Atrium! Cookies, pastries, cider, hot cocoa..too much, too early! We were glad we were there early as the line for Santa quickly grew and was huge. It was nice to see Santa and then have the whole day to enjoy

We had breakfast at Tritons (preferred table service to the buffet most of the time) and then took DS to the Lab. DW and I headed to the Quiet Cove pool. Seas were a bit rough and water was sloshing around the pool and out of the hot tubs. It was also a bit chilly (though not cold) so we spent some time in the hot tub and met some nice people.

We picked up DS and had lunch. DS wanted to hang out in the room so we all relaxed there and DW and I took turns working out in the fitness center. DS wanted to do the Christmas Caroling so we took him back to the club for “practice” while we got ready. Unfortunately, by this time DW had come down with not only a cold but some strange pain/swelling on her, um, torso so she wasn’t feeling particularly well. We headed to the Atrium to watch DS sing with the other kids from the clubs. It was so cute and he really enjoyed himself. That was a great memory.

DS went back to the Lab while DW and I went to the Cadillac Lounge for Martini Tasting with Wawan. Again five different drinks: gin and vodka martinis, plus some fruity concoctions that are called martinis but really aren’t. Wawan was awesome again and we learned a lot. In fact, my cocktail of choice for the last two nights of the cruise was an “In and Out Beefeater Martini.” I could use one now.

We picked up DS, headed to dinner and were all excited to see Toy Story the Musical. We thought the show was fantastic and DS was in Toy Story heaven. As I said earlier, we loved all the Disney production shows and would love to see them again. It was really fun to sit there as a family with that giant tub of popcorn and a glass of wine. Something we can’t do at home.

After the show, DW’s cold had gotten the best of her so she and DS called it a night. I, however, was on vacation and headed to the Outlook Cafe for more fun. I was the only one there and had a few cocktails and listened to very good guitar player. Great day!
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:02 AM   #26
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Christmas Day pictures...

Santa had left DS some small gifts under our mini tree...

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Then we went and met the man himself in the Atrium...

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We let DS have one Gingerbread Man before breakfast. Incredible spread!

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Always carry your camera...you never know who you'll run into by the elevators. Don't want to miss a great photo op!

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Super cute kids caroling...

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Martini tasting!

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Old 01-06-2014, 09:38 PM   #27
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Thursday, Dec. 26: At Sea

Sadly, this was our last day. We tried the Beach Blanket Buffet for breakfast and then thought we’d get to the Goofy’s Pool early, get some chairs, hang out and let DS swim. We got there and it was empty! Why? It was really cold. Now, the Navigator said the high that day was supposed to be 79 degrees. I would say it reached maybe 70 without the wind. We live in a snowy climate so I was fine with it, but DS was cold and DW was sick so Goofy’s Pool wasn’t going to happen. In fact, DW was so miserable she made the decision to visit the Medical Health Center while I took DS to the Lab. Be warned, they have really weird hours at the Medical Health Center: 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. She luckily got there at around 10:30 a.m. and there was one other person waiting. I met here there, then more sick people arrived, so I headed up to the Outlook Cafe to have come coffee and wait. After a while she joined me and was diagnosed with an infection. She was given some antibiotics and ibuprofen. It didn’t help her cold but eased her pain somewhat.

We picked up DS and had lunch, then DW and DS just wanted to relax in the cabin. I decided to work out but instead of the fitness center, ran around the track on deck 4. That was great and the weather was perfect for it.

I had booked us a spa treatment in the Couples Villa for that afternoon but DW was too sick to participate. They wouldn’t let me cancel so I selected a different treatment (facial and a massage) and went to the spa by myself. They still did my treatment in the couples villa, which was anticlimactic. However, the treatment was nice and I enjoyed it. It wasn’t what I had planned but we had to go with the flow at this point. We were also able to get all our packing done that afternoon.

We had reservations at Palo so we went to the early showing of Dreams. Again, like all the Disney productions, it was excellent. It was my least favorite of the three shows because I thought the pacing was a bit slow. Still, it was very good. I was disappointed they didn’t have a matinee showing of Toy Story or Dreams the final two sea days. I had read that was a possibility and wanted to work it into our plans.

We got DS some dinner at Pluto’s Dog House and DW rallied for Palo (bless her heart, because she was hurting.) Palo was nice. Definitely the best food on the cruise. DW had the filet and gnocchi (I think) and I had the Esperienza del Vino - basically a six course tasting menu with wine parings (it was an extra charge, over and above the regular Palo charge). The wines were excellent and very well paired with the courses. The food was also very good, with one exception. You guessed it...the fish. It was a branzino and it looked beautiful on the plate, really nice. However, it was so fishy. Lesson learned. No fish on a Disney cruise again. I’m just not going there. I enjoyed Palo and we juggled our schedule to make it work. However, while I’d eat there again, I wouldn’t bend over backwards to make it happen. Just my opinion. Maybe we’ll try brunch next time instead.

We picked up DS from the Lab, said goodbye and thanked the excellent staff there. DW and DS headed to the cabin and crashed. This was my last night so, of course, I couldn’t go to bed. I didn’t want to go to the “‘Til We Meet Again” show by myself, so I headed to the Cadillac Lounge and had some final cocktails from Wawan and said goodbye. By now, I had caught DW’s cold and was starting to feel it.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:42 PM   #28
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Some random photos...

The Atrium all decorated...

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The obligatory "laying in the window" photo you always see...

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Santa Goofy...

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The man and the Mouse...

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Old 01-07-2014, 12:44 PM   #29
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Subbing because 1) It's a trip report out of Galveston and 2) it's a Christmas trip report. Great job so far, although sorry to hear that your DW was sick and missed out on the Couples Villa.
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:36 PM   #30
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Friday, Dec. 27: Goodbye to the Wonder

Our final breakfast was in Tritons at 7 a.m. We said goodbye to our dining staff and gave them our tip envelopes. We did tip extra to each of the three dining staff and our stateroom host. They all earned it. Debarking was just as amazing as embarkation. After breakfast, we walked through the Atrium and ran into a family from our FE group. We said goodbye, and with perfect timing, they called our group: Gray Daisy. Well, we were right there...so we scanned our KTTW cards for the last time and walked off the ship...alone. We entered the terminal and it was basically empty. A porter helped us find our bags and led us to immigration. I think there were about 10 lines open and no one in any of them. We got through there in about one minute. Our driver had texted us earlier that he was already in Galveston, so as we reached the curb I texted him back. He promptly pulled up in a stretch limo (we only paid for a town car). By the time they called our group to the time we loaded the limo it was maybe 10 or 15 minutes. Amazing! Both embarkation and debarking were flawless for us. Of course, I knew everything about debarking because on the last sea day, DS watched Cruise Director Peter go through the process over and over on the cabin TV. I dont know why he was do fascinated with that!

After an hour our so, we were in our Houston hotel, which thankfully had a room ready for us early in in the morning. We were all sick at this point and spent the day in bed. Not a great way to end a trip, but oh well. Its almost two weeks later and I still have this stupid cold! The next morning we headed to IAH and were on the way home...sad to leave the Wonder behind and excited for our next Disney adventure!

Last edited by finest14; 01-07-2014 at 11:53 PM.
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