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Old 05-22-2014, 06:17 PM   #16
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Day 2 - Key West, Florida

Our first port of call was Key West - although we would have preferred a stop in Castaway Cay, Key West was a nice stop and provided one last opportunity to do some shopping and stretch our legs. The Wonder docked at Mallory Square, contrary to our last stop in Key West aboard the Magic where it had docked at the Navy pier requiring a trolly to get to and from the ship.

Throughout the cruise, I wore a FitBit bracelet to track the distance walked each day - Key West was just over 18 km or 11.25 miles. Our total for the cruise was just over 153 km or 95 miles.

We decided to forgo any organized excursions and decided to take a walking tour of downtown Key West. A bit of shopping at the Tervis store (431 Front) to pick up a few tumblers to add to our collection. We continued along Front Street to Duval and checked out dozens of stores (clothing, art, beach, etc.) chock full of unique gifts and touristy items.

Our lunch plans called for a stop at La Creperie (300 Petronia, located south of Duval) which was a 20 minute walk from the port. The food was excellent and service was great. It was a very hot and humid day and the servers had plenty of drink options to choose from.

We made our way back to the port and walked through the beautiful neighbourhoods along Thomas Street toward the Truman Annex . Tons of southern Key West charm in the stately mansions and resorts in this area. A few wild roosters were spotted along our 20 minute walk.

All aboard was set for 4:45 pm and we had returned to the ship just before 3:30 pm. The evenings entertainment was Lynn Trefzger, a family oriented comedy and ventroliquist act. We skipped the show, but heard positive reviews from many of the guests.

Weather - 95F, Sunny, High Humidity

Last edited by ShakeyShakey; 05-23-2014 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 05-22-2014, 09:28 PM   #17
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really, really enjoying your TR. We are on the Sep EBPC cruise and getting excited reading your adventures. We are imagining it all in reverse! Keep them coming!

Retiring Sep 10, 2014
EBPC, Sep 2014 and BCV for F&W 2014
Wonder 5 Day in January
VGF & SSR Jan 2015
EBTA, May 2015
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Old 05-22-2014, 09:43 PM   #18
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Following, can't wait to read all about your trip!
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Old 05-22-2014, 11:46 PM   #19
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Day 3 - First Sea Day

Day 4 was our first sea day after visiting Key West while enroute to Cozumel, Mexico. Our route took us along the northwestern coast of Cuba. The seas were fairly calm as we transited the Gulf of Mexico heading toward the Yucatan Peninsula.

Golden Mickey's was the evening show - again 6:15 was our showing - we found that we did not need to arrive too much in advance of the show to get a good seat - 10 minutes early was consistent throughout the voyage. This was our first time experiencing this show and it did not disappoint. The stage setting, costuming, characters and dancers were all excellent. Golden Mickey's was the second of 5 major shows put on the by the entertainment cast of the Wonder.

This was my DW's 45th birthday and we had 8:30 dinner reservations for Palo. An excellent selection of meat, pasta and seafood entrees were available - we opted for the beef ravioli and the Palo beef tenderloin. Of course Tiramisu and the Chocolate Souffle were selected for dessert.

Palo Dining Room

Last edited by ShakeyShakey; 05-23-2014 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:38 AM   #20
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I'm loving this! We're going to be on the EBPC in 2015 and it's really cool to see it in reverse
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Old 05-23-2014, 03:05 PM   #21
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Reading along enviously....I'll do a PC crossing someday!

Jill in CO
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:29 PM   #22
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Day 4 - Cozumel, Mexico - Cinco de Mayo

Our second port day was Cozumel, Mexico - we again opted out of any organized excursions and decided to do a leisurely walking tour along General Raphael Melgar Ave which runs along the north seawall both east and west of the cruise port. No tender was required as we docked at the Punta Langosta Cruise Terminal - Mexican port authorities guided us off the ship and through a small gift shop up a set of escalators and over to the south-side of General Raphael Melgar Ave where more tourist shops, jewelry shops are found.

As May 5 was Cinco de Mayo, we were expecting much fanfare when we arrived in Cozumel - we were a little disappointed to find out that when in Mexico, May 5 is basically treated like Flag Day not fourth of July!. There were absolutely no visible signs in Cozumel that Cinco de Mayo was any different than any other day.

Security throughout the port area was provided by armed federal police and a few military vehicles with armed soldiers. Most of the jewelry shops have their own unarmed security guards posted out from - all in all we felt safe to walk in the area (in the daytime).

Although you will be a constantly bombarded with heckling from the local shop keepers along the way, they aren't too aggressive (not as bad as Cartegena) and won't impede your walking. Some of their approaches are funny ("hey amigo, come buy my junk") but most are just trying to get you into their store. They quickly pick up on the fact that you are Disney Cruisers and will often make some comments.

There are a few reputable jewelry stores along the way (Diamonds International - was located in every port we hit except Key West) but we only purchased a couple of Nacho Libre mexican wrestling masks for our DSs back home.

We decided to have lunch at Pancho's Backyard Restaurant - approximately a 30 minute walk from the port. The food was excellent, we decided to stay safe with the Quesadilla's, Nachos and Pina Colada. Also free WiFi!!! We were seated in a small courtyard complete with great Mexican atmosphere, two local men played the Marimbas. Pancho's also has a store selling local handicrafts, tequila, jewelry and gifts. Absolutely no pressure sales here.

We returned back the Wonder by 3:00 pm after doing a little more sightseeing and browsing in Plaza del Sol.

Upon returning to the Wonder we found that a number of the characters were strolling through the ship in Spanish attire.

The evening show was a return appearance of John Charles - we really enjoyed his show and it was suitable for adults and families alike.
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:00 PM   #23
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Day 5 and 6 - Sea Days 2 and 3

After departing from Cozumel, Mexico the Wonder continued southeast across the Gulf of Mexico away from Belize pretty much smack in the middle between Jamaica and Honduras. We travelled pretty much at 18 knots throughout this leg of the trip - the seas were fairly calm and the weather was a little muggy and hot.

If you are a fan of the Disney Princesses, the WBPC provides countless opportunities to spend time with your favourites...aboard the cruise we had Belle, Cinderella, Tiana, Rapunzel, Sophia the First and Ariel. Between the three scheduled Princess Gatherings and strolls - you can easily find at lease one princess or character at any given time day or night. Due to the low number of children aboard the cruise, the lines were very short - ranging from 2 minutes to 15 minutes at the most.

Due to the number of sea days and the length of this cruise, the Wonder arranged for a extra entertainment to be on board. Sea Day # 2 called for a Beach Boys cover band "Catch a Wave" to play on the Deck 9 Main Stage in the afternoon. The evening show was hypnotist Matthew Fallon.

The next sea day called for a Beatles cover band "Paperback Writer" that held a show in the Walt Disney Theatre. The show was excellent with really cool costumes and lighting.
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:12 PM   #24
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I must say, these are some great Princesses! Each looked very appropriate to their character.

Jackie '99-01AllStar Movies 02-03Many trips DLR '03 Nov AKL/Swan 04 April POFQ Oct offsite/Dolphin 05 Jan POP/WL,3DLR Nov POFQ/Wonder/POP 06 2DLR, Nov Magic DD 07 May DLR Dec SSR/Wonder 08 April DLR May Magic-WBPC Sept DLR 09 Sept WDW/Magic-Tortola Nov DLR 10 Jan Magic-Western, April EBTA 11 Jan 2Day Wonder April LA Repo/Alaska Nov Dream B2B 12 Wonder-Hawaii Dec Fantasy-SanJuan 13 2x DLR, Nov Dream 4 day

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Old 05-24-2014, 11:11 PM   #25
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Day 7 - Cartegena, Colombia (Second Port Day)

We arrived in Cartegena, Colombia at approximately 06:30 am on May 8th at the sea port which is smack in the middle of a cargo container port with a lot of container ships and bulk cargo vessels. The disembarkation was run from Deck 1 Aft, pretty much at ground level for the dock. All aboard was scheduled for 3:00 sharp as the Wonder was on a tight schedule to arrive in Panama the next day.

As we were not comfortable to venture out on foot/private car/taxi from the seaport we elected to take an organized excursion - City Drive, Shopping and La Popa Monastery. Our scheduled time to start the tour was 9:30 - our group met in Studio Sea and were quickly escorted down to Deck 1 where we were met by cast members and escorted to our air conditioned tour buses. The cast was quick to get us aboard the bus as there were a number of women with fruit-stacked headdress having their picture taken with guests, for a fee of course - they weren't too pushy but you got the vibe that pictures weren't free. On the dock, there were at least 20 buses and 20 to 30 private cars/vans standing by.

Our english speaking guide introduced himself and started the tour providing a bit of history lesson of Cartegena discussing their recent challenges and plans for the future. We quickly departed the port area and made our way through some pretty congested local streets were the bus driver demonstrated some pretty snazzy driving skills as we sped from the port to the foot of the mount where the La Popa Monastery is located. The streetscape was transformed from a commercial port area, to middle-class homes and apartments, to impoverished tin huts that showed signs of recent flooding and landslides. Throughout our trip we were reminded of the presence of military who were following the bus from a distance. At the start of the roadway to the Monastery, there were armed soldiers controlling access to the winding road ahead. At every hairpin turn, we would see another armed soldier for approximately 3 kilometers up the mount. We did not feel unsafe with the presence of the guards but you knew that they were positioned there for a reason.

The bus driver was not reckless but did not waste any time getting up the mountain. Once our bus reached the peak, we exited the bus outside the gates to the Monastery where locals who were permitted access to the area were selling fruit, handicrafts, t-shirts and offered to have your picture taken on their donkey (for a fee of course). The tour guide gave us a heads-up about this and was quick to move our group from the bus into the confines of the Monastery property.

The exterior of the Monastery does not do justice to the inner courtyard and chapel. The exterior provided a great vantage-point of the city, harbour and the Wonder parked in the seaport.

We spent approximately 60 minutes at the Monastery before making our way to Fort San Felipe de Barajas which is a huge fortress constructed in the 1500s and statue of Blas de Lezo, a renowned Spanish Admiral who lost an arm, an leg and one eye during his tenure. As we were tight for time, the driver allowed us to exit the bus and take a few pictures (10 minutes) before heading to our next stop. There were about 10 local vendors selling jewelry, t-shirts and local handicrafts. They were fairly persistent and approached the bus and anyone who ventured on foot. I would have preferred to spend more time at this fortress - you would need at least an hour or two to check it out properly.

We then headed to Las Bovedas for approximately 45 minutes of shopping for jewelry, local handicrafts and souvenirs. Las Bovedas was originally built as dungeons and vaults used to store munitions and provisions in the 1700s. We could have used another 30 minutes or so to check out some of the side streets and walkways around this location - there are a number of upscale hotels in the area with shops and restaurants.

We then continued on to the Old City area for some more jewelry shopping and a quick tour of the resort and condo area before heading back to the port. This stop was a waste of time - I don't believe anyone on our bus purchased anything. The local vendors and street merchants were very pushy at this location - most guests opted to stay on the bus.

We were back aboard the Wonder by 2:00 pm. All in all, this tour was OK (a 7 on the scale of 1 to 10) and would definitely not be kid friendly.

The evening entertainment was Scott Alexander, a Magician and Illusionist. The show was entertaining and suitable for families.

Weather - 90F, very humid but mostly sunny.

Last edited by ShakeyShakey; 05-24-2014 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 05-24-2014, 11:34 PM   #26
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With your experience in Cartagena would you suggest not getting off the ship? The armed guards kinda freak me out a bit. Is there anything close to port? We like to try to collect magnets from every port. Was the only way to get to anything by taxi?
I am loving your trip report ! The pictures are beautiful!
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Old 05-24-2014, 11:42 PM   #27
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I would get off the ship but would only go with an organized excursion through DCL - military guards were armed and patrolling the area in both Cozumel and Cartegena - did not see any overt presence in Puerto Vallarta or Cabos. We felt safe at all of the ports of call - it's just not something we are used to.

Taxi's were available - but again, if it's not organized through DCL - I wouldn't venture out unescorted. There was nowhere to walk to from the port, although some cast members told us they visited some kind of miniature zoo on the port that they were able to walk to.
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Old 05-25-2014, 01:10 PM   #28
I get excited by the little things!
I follow directions well!!!
I'm not allowed to buy any more craft supplies till I actually MAKE something LOL
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....posted in the wrong place...
Jackie '99-01AllStar Movies 02-03Many trips DLR '03 Nov AKL/Swan 04 April POFQ Oct offsite/Dolphin 05 Jan POP/WL,3DLR Nov POFQ/Wonder/POP 06 2DLR, Nov Magic DD 07 May DLR Dec SSR/Wonder 08 April DLR May Magic-WBPC Sept DLR 09 Sept WDW/Magic-Tortola Nov DLR 10 Jan Magic-Western, April EBTA 11 Jan 2Day Wonder April LA Repo/Alaska Nov Dream B2B 12 Wonder-Hawaii Dec Fantasy-SanJuan 13 2x DLR, Nov Dream 4 day

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Old 05-25-2014, 04:05 PM   #29
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I am loving your trip report. As another reader who is booked on the WBPC next May, I am excited to read about your experiences.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:25 PM   #30
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Day 9 - Panama Canal Crossing

After departing Cartegena, we were full speed ahead to the first set of locks at the Panama Canal. We were scheduled to arrive at the lock entrance at approximately 07:30 am and we heard that many guests were going to stake their spot on deck 10 by 05:00 to ensure they had a view. We decided to take leisurely approach and made our way up to the starboard side, forward on deck 10 by 7:00 am. Although we did not get a spot near the bow, our view was fine.

DCL had made arrangements to have Captain Puckett, a longtime Panama Canal Pilot (specially trained and experienced captains who assume control of a ship to navigate into port or through difficult passages) to provide a series of lectures on the history, construction, operation and future of the Panama Canal. This was a special year for the Panama Canal as it is in its 100 year of operation while at the same time new construction is well underway for a set of new locks to accommodate longer and wider vessels. The sessions were taped and broadcast on the televisions throughout the cruise.

By 7:30 we were approaching the first set of locks at Gatun. Appropriately dressed characters to celebrate the occasion were on deck to entertain the guests and locals on shore.

A tug arrived to standby in case the Wonder needed a nudged getting into the first set of locks. We were told that 6 pilots boarded the ship at the first set of locks - only two were needed and the remaining four enjoyed a Disney Wonder breakfast and entertainment.

When the Wonder arrived at the lock gates, the guide cables were attached to six electric locomotives to guide our passage through the three sets of locks to get us into Gatun Lake. The cables are not used to pull the ship as it travels under our own power. It is a very tight squeeze with less that 2 feet of space on either side of the ship.

Approximately 90 minutes later we cleared the first set of locks and made our way across Gatun Lake and headed toward the Centennial Bridge and Continental Divide. The total time to transit the Panama Canal was approximately 9 hours.

This picture helps you understand that we were transiting a man made lake where the islands were hilltops more the 100 years ago, the black protrusions in the water were petrified trees.

We then headed into the Pedro Miguel Locks by 1:45, a little bit ahead of schedule. At this location, we could easily see the new lock system under construction. Judging from this picture it is hard to believe that the new locks are expected to be operational in 2015.

The Wonder continued onto the last set of two locks, the Miraflores Locks before passing under the Bridge of America with Panama City in the distance. We made our way into the Pacific Ocean by 5:15 pm. A fuel tender was arranged and we anchored off the coast of Panama for approximately 4 hours between 8:00 and midnight - no smoking was permitted on decks during this time.

Over a hundred Panamanian adults and children were able to get a glimpse of Disney Characters from the Miraflores Locks Visitors Centre.

The Walt Disney Theatre hosted a big screen viewing of Captain America Winter Soldier.

Weather - 95F, Mostly Sunny, Very Humid until we reached the Pacific, where a strong breeze dried things out a bit.
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