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Old 02-28-2014, 09:25 PM   #1
WiscBill
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Birthday Back to Back Wonder Cruises 2/16-2/26, 2014

For our daughter's 12th birthday, we decided to take her on a Disney cruise. Both DW and I had celebrated birthdays on previous cruises and wanted to do the same for DD. Our original plan was to do the 5 day Wonder in February (with stops in Cozumel and CC) and then return for a 7 day Western Fantasy in April. However, when we realized the next 5 day Wonder cruise was Grand Cayman and Cozumel, we decided to do the back- to-back instead. It was considerably cheaper than the 7 day Fantasy, plus we could do two Palo dinners and two Palo brunches if we wanted. DD is a big Frozen fan, so the more showings of that movie the better. We did two stops in Cozumel instead of one in Cozumel and one in Costa Maya. Everything we learned from the boards (and from crew members on board) is that there is not a lot to do in Costa Maya you can't do as well in Cozumel, so we were not disappointed with the two stops. We were very lucky weather wise, with the smoothest seas, sunny skies, no rain, and comfortable temperatures the entire trip. We have a complete set of Navigators for both trips and promise to post them as soon as we get them scanned (probably Monday).

Like many others, we flew into FLL instead of Miami, since we could get a non-stop on from our local airport on Southwest. We took a mid-morning flight down on Saturday and were glad we did as some of the flights later in the day were cancelled because of a snowstorm. We arranged for a private car service (QLS limo) to take us from the airport to our hotel in downtown Miami (JW Marriott Marquis ) mainly because DD and DW were going scuba diving in Cozumel and Grand Cayman and had a fairly heavy gear bag, along with our other luggage. We felt that the cheaper shared ride service was just going to be too much of a hassle. The driver was prompt and called us while we were at baggage claim and picked us up right outside after the luggage arrived. The drive to the hotel took about a half hour. We were really pleased to be in short sleeves and away from the snow and cold.

The hotel was excellent, with a very nice swimming pool on the 19th floor overlooking a canal into the bay.
We could see the cruise terminal from the hotel and watched a few Carnival ships put out to sea. (They just don't look as nice as the Disney ships).

The shopping in the area is good for last minute items or warm weather clothing, with several drug stores and inexpensive clothing stores like TJ Max and Ross near by. For those bringing adult beverages on board, the CVS drugstore near the hotel had a good selection of wine and beer. There was also one liquor store within walking distance, but the prices there on most items seemed high compared to those in NY. The only problem we encountered was when it came time to leave. We called the front desk and asked for bellman to take the luggage down and for the desk to call us a cab to take us to the port. The bellman never came and after a half hour, we carried the luggage down ourselves. Arriving in the hotel driveway with our bags, we asked the doorman to hail us a cab. He disappeared and we had to go out to the street and hail one ourselves. The trip to the terminal took about 10 minutes and cost around $10.

Arriving at the terminal, we gave our bags to a curbside porter and proceeded through security. The walk wasn't bad, but DD had a bad moment when she realized she had lost one of her favorite pins (Peace, love, and Cruising) from her lanyard. There was nothing we could do except hope they had another one on the ship in the store or available for trading.
The check-in went smoothly and then it was time for pictures with Mickey.


Boarding was shortly before noon and we proceeded to deck 9 to sit outdoors by the family pool and enjoy the warm weather. I ran into our cruise director, Darren, and our assistant cruise director, Cally, in the Cove Cafe when I went to get some iced coffees to drink. They told us we would be sailing with Captain Thord. We had only sailed with Captain Thord once before, a New Years Eve Cruise, in which the first part was fantastic with sunny skies and warm temperatures and the second part was cold with heavy seas (30-50 ft). Darren promised smooth seas this time and he was right.

DD went swimming for a bit, but later went to the Edge to register for the activities there. While she and DW went down the Edge, I decided to finally buy one of the souvenir beer mugs. When I stood up to go to the bar, I heard a clicking sound while I walked. It was the missing Peace, Love, and Crusing stuck to the bottom of my shoe, so DD got her first birthday present. Her second was the DCL birthday banner we had placed in the room.

That night, DD got her birthday cake at Animators. It's not as big as it used to be, but it's still very nice and our wait staff sang a very good version of Happy Birthday.


Last edited by WiscBill; 03-06-2014 at 06:30 PM. Reason: Added pictures
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:57 PM   #2
sheldonlarson1246
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Anxiously awaiting the navigators )
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:56 PM   #3
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Can't wait to hear more. So far it sounds like an awesome trip.

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Old 03-04-2014, 08:29 PM   #4
WiscBill
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:40 PM   #5
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:49 PM   #6
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:08 PM   #7
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:18 PM   #8
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:41 PM   #9
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:43 PM   #10
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:45 PM   #11
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:46 PM   #12
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:49 PM   #13
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:39 PM   #14
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thanks for the navigators! I was so happy to see somewhat different entertainment on each cruise. We are planning a back to back on the Wonder next March. It didn't seem as if the Marriott offered you very good service! Did you have the same room each cruise?
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:10 PM   #15
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Did your original itinerary say that pirate night was on cozumel day, on the 2nd part of your cruise? I am so confused, we are doing the same itinerary in april but we are told pirate night is cozumel night not grand cayman night.
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