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Old 06-07-2014, 01:16 PM   #1
brady22
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The Huston family takes on the Eastern Caribbean, May 2014

This is my first trip report, so bear with me! Traveling in our party is myself, DH, our 5 year old twin DD and DS, and my mother. We booked this cruise while on board our September Fantasy cruise and used the excuse of the on board discount and stateroom credit, lol!
We had a terrible winter in Ohio so it was a much needed trip.
We always have a Disney movie marathon the day before our trips.

We left our house in Ohio at 4:20 to pick up my mom and arrived at the Detroit airport at 5:30. DH dropped the rest of us off with our luggage and left to park the car. He then grabbed a shuttle back to the airport, leaving his boarding pass in the front seat...but that is another story...
After an uneventful flight, we landed in Orlando at 10:25 and made our way to the Magical Express. We LOVE that we don't have to worry about our luggage when using the ME. The first thing we noticed was the rain, or monsoon actually, lol! The rain would end up staying with us until the next day.

Anyhow, we arrived at Port Orleans Riverside by 11:30. We grabbed a snack while waiting for the rain to subside, which it never did. So we braved the rain and headed to our room! This was our first stay at POR and we fell in love. There is a cute little area at check in for the kiddos to watch cartoons.

We will definitely return here for our next stay.


We were initially going to try the water taxi to go to Downtown Disney for some shopping, but it was not running because of the rain. We walked to our bus stop and headed over instead. We always buy the Potato Head box to fill with pieces for our collection, ornaments as souvenirs, etc. We have a few traditions!


The rain did not let up, but we didn't let that bother us. We had dinner at T-Rex Cafe and stuffed dinos at their Build A Bear store.



It was time to head back to the room, as the kids were getting crabby with the early morning and travel! We ended up with wet luggage when we found it waiting in our room. That's OK though, because it was time to get ready for our cruise! Disney Fantasy, here we come!!
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Old 06-07-2014, 05:37 PM   #2
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Great start! Can't wait to read the rest.
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:07 PM   #3
brady22
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Cruise Day 1 - Port Canaveral

It was finally cruise day! The rain was still coming down, but we were hopeful it would stop soon. We had arranged for a driver through Happy Limo to pick us up at 9:00 for our PAT of 10:30. We of course needed our "grocery store" stop as well! Our driver seemed to be taking his time, so we ended up at the port a bit later than I would have liked, but it was OK... we were here!





The whole check-in process is seamless, moves fairly quickly, etc. We ended up with boarding group #2! It was not very long before our group was called and we were up at Cabana's for lunch by 11:00-11:30.



It was still raining at this point. NO!!! We made the best of it, though. We explored while waiting for our room to be ready, registered for the kid's club (which was a mess), and ran into some characters! We saw many characters just walking around this time on our cruise. It made the whole trip just that bit more magical.







We headed to our room and found some of our luggage already waiting for us! We decorated our door and hung our FE... and promptly got locked out of our room. Never fear, our stateroom host was nearby to let us in! We had a deluxe family stateroom with verandah. We have been spoiled by the verandah's and LOVE them. We were on deck 9, between midship and aft, also our favorite place to be. We had 3 adults and 2 children in our stateroom, and had plenty of room! We had a murphy bed, but ended up not using it. DGM slept on the couch, DS on the upper pull down perth, and a sandwich of DW/DH/DD was on the bed! It did not make for great sleep for mommy and daddy, although DD seemed to sleep just fine!







After our cruise group meet and our muster drill, we got ready for sail away. The rain had finally stopped! We had an idea for sail away this time, and headed to the aft area of Cabana's where there is outdoor seating. No crowds, relaxing time, and we even saw dolphins!









Since Frozen merchandise is so scarce right now, I had a plan to head to the gift shops as soon as they opened, because I had spied some cool things in the gift shop. I was there before dinner at 5:45, and scored an Anna and Elsa dolls. We headed to dinner at Animator's Palate for first seating. My favorite restaurant!! Our servers were wonderful, but our seat was not very close to a screen so no talking with Crush this year.







We skipped the show that night, because the kids LOVE "night swimming." We rode the Aqua Duck several times with no wait. After some snacks and our nightly room service delivery of Mickey Bars, it was time for bed.




Anna and Elsa were all tucked in for the night, too.
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:59 PM   #4
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Cruise Day 2 - Day at Sea

I first off would like to say that I LOVE sea days. The Fantasy is an amazing ship to explore. There are so many things to do, that you can't possibly do everything.


Waking up and hanging out on the verandah.

We slept in a little and went to watch the Frozen sing-along in the theater. It was fun, not very crowded. We had brought our breakfast of donuts and milk in with us! Me and DD left before it was over, met Daisy, and then waited in line for the princess gathering. I recommend the first sea day gathering, because although it is offered once or twice more in the cruise, I think the lines get longer as the cruise goes on.





After the gathering, we headed up for some swimming. Loungers are scarce on sea days so be prepared! We ended up finding one and leaving DGM with our things while we took the kids to the Mickey Pool. It is "kid soup" I swear on sea days. UUUGHHHH! At least the weather was warm, though, and no more rain. We spent much of the day up on deck, swimming and going to the Arrr-cade.



It was formal night, so we had brought nice clothing, as mommy likes photos! We take advantage of the photo CD offer, and make the most of the photo ops!





Dinner that night was in Enchanted Garden. Again, our seat was in one of the side rooms, but it was at least next to a porthole.


Anna looking out the porthole during dinner.


Look mom! Anna drew on the tablecloth! (DD is always a comedian).

We watched the Aladdin show that night. It is an amazing show and held the twin's attention the entire time. We handed out our FE gifts after the show and were in bed by 12:30. A busy but relaxing day at sea!
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:43 PM   #5
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Cruise Day 3 - Sea Day

Before I start the second day, just want to share the kids and their "formal night" photo. I share this because there usually is a photographer set up on the side of the main lobby, near the murals. Wait time is usually short, and the mural is an awesome background for photos!


By the way, DS had dress shoes on for maybe 10 minutes or so. We decided to not make a big deal and let him wear flip flops with his dress pants and tie! Anything goes sometimes!

OK, the second day at sea we all slept in until 8:30. DH and I went up to Cabana’s to get breakfast for the kids and a “snack” for the adults. It was Palo brunch day for the adults, so we didn’t want to eat too much! We decided to meet Sofia before we dropped the kids off at the kids club.
Palo was fun! We saw the captain dining at Palo, too! Cat was our server, who was wonderful. We tried mozzarella cubes, chicken parmesan, cheese and grape pizza. Everything was wonderful! It was nice also to be away from the kids for awhile. We LOVE Palo brunch! It is worth every penny, and we always leave an extra "cash" tip for our waiter/waitress.




At Pepe's door!

We picked up the kids from the kids club and decided to swim again today. It was beautiful, warm and sunny. We swam in the Mickey Pool, the Donald Pool, rode the AquaDuck. We had ice cream sundaes with the sprinkles and chocolate sauce we had brought from home (another good tip!).






After we had enough of the pool and sun, we went to the room and it was off to Royal Court for dinner that night.
We had another porthole seat at Royal Court, which was nice, but it was in an outer room again.


Our dinner view out of the porthole.

We met Pluto after dinner and then did a bit of shopping. Wishes was the show that night, which was amazing. It always brings a tear to my eye for some reason, as it is about kids growing up. We left grandma in the room after the show and headed up to the Arr-cade to play a bit and to explore the deck at night. It is so much more peaceful just wandering around at dark. Great photo ops as well!






I think we then went back to the room and had our usual Mickey Bars from room service before calling it a night. Tomorrow, St. Maarten here we come!!
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Old 06-18-2014, 07:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toria View Post
Great start! Can't wait to read the rest.
Thanks! It is harder than I thought to do this!! I ended up taking over 1,000 photos myself, so it is hard to weed them out for the TR!
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:52 PM   #7
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Cruise Day 4 - St. Maarten

We were very excited for St. Maarten. It had been our favorite day on our previous cruise, so we had high hopes again this year. We slept in a bit, then headed to Cabana's for breakfast. We had not booked an excursion for the day, as we just grab a water taxi when you get off the ship and head to Great Bay Beach, Philipsburg, So easy. We waited for the ferry to take us to the beach and noticed that we were one of three ships at port that day. Last time, we had gone in off season so were the only ship in port. This time, things were a bit busier...









The water was rough, the beach busy. A man cornered us and led us WAY down the beach to his chairs and umbrellas to rent. Nothing like the last time we were here! It was fun though and we enjoyed not being bugged by the peddlers this year. Everyone enjoyed the water, the kids on their floats “Mango” and “Feathers.” I highly recommend bringing along blow up rafts for the kiddos. They loved them. Also, umbrella strollers. It is HOT and the kids get tired, even if they are a little older. Our twins are 5, and the strollers were a lifesaver!!! No whining, no tired little legs, peace for mommy and daddy...











Overall, it was a relaxing day with HOT sun. We ended up getting pretty burnt that day, although we kept on reapplying the sunscreen. We finally decided to call it a day, as we had Pirate's League appointments before dinner. We took a detour the block over from the beach to explore a bit.







It was then time to grab our Guavaberry Rum and a colada to drink before getting back on the ship. Yummy!!







There is a bit of shopping that is right by the ship, but we didn't do any shopping. On to the ship to get ready for pirate night!!
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:09 PM   #8
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Cruise Day 4 - St. Maarten PART 2

The kids had pirate makeovers to get ready for, so we took showers and got changed into our pirate outfits. We all had matching pirate outfits as well this year! I found an idea online with fraying the edges of plain t-shirt, which I picked up from Michael's on sale. Perfect! Easy, cheap, cute and comfy!

For the Pirate's League, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique transforms for the night. Pirate music, decorations, very cool. We do the makeovers for the kids, not the adults. The kids seemed to have a good time with the makeovers this year. It is well worth it. All of the kids get pirate swords, a certificate with new pirate names, a treasure bag with a pirate medallion, bandana and eye patch. The boys choose boy pirate makeup, the girls can have mermaid or empress makeover makeup. The girls get a face gem, nail polish, and makeup, and get to keep the extras!




















Photo ops are everywhere! If you are planning to buy the photo CD, take advantage of it all!!

We all went to meet characters after the makeover and took some pictures.









We had dinner at Animator’s Palate again that night, which is a great restaurant for pirate night. The movie screens show clips/animation from pirate movies, sketches, etc. So very cool. After dinner, we then decided to watch the pirate deck party. It was crowded and people were “pushing” so it wasn’t the best experience. There was a break in the "pirate" action at this point, so we watched the Bears movie after this.

We thought we would try to watch the fireworks on deck but couldn’t find a spot at first. It gets crowded EARLY and in our experience others do not really move to help make room for more. Mind you, we were still very early before the fireworks were to begin so we weren't trying to push in at the last minute... It was all very frustrating, so we went back to our room and watched the fireworks from the verandah. I know this is a no-no, but we did it last year, too!

DH and I hit up the buffet after this, which was crowded of course! They have the spread in Cabana's, but it is only out for 30-45 minutes so people go crazy, sometimes push a bit, you know. The crepes are worth it, though! Also turkey legs, nachos, tacos, etc. It was so late and we were so tired that we ended up back in the room after grabbing a bit of food. We were all asleep fairly soon after that!

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Old 06-24-2014, 08:48 PM   #9
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Great report! St Maarten looks beautiful!
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:10 PM   #10
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A fun to read trip report, thanks. We're heading to the eastern Caribbean in Oct. Looking to hear more of your trip.
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Old 06-27-2014, 04:29 PM   #11
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Great report! Looks like you are having lots of fun!

The kids as pirates are too cute - what a fun thing to do!

I will have to keep that beach in mind next time we're in St Maarten. We did a tour and although it was fun & I'm glad we did it, it was pretty tiring to go-go-go all day. Next time, a beach day is in order.
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Old 06-28-2014, 05:50 PM   #12
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Enjoying reading your TR and looking at all your great pics! Will you post a pic of FE gifts?
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWGal210 View Post
Great report! Looks like you are having lots of fun!

The kids as pirates are too cute - what a fun thing to do!

I will have to keep that beach in mind next time we're in St Maarten. We did a tour and although it was fun & I'm glad we did it, it was pretty tiring to go-go-go all day. Next time, a beach day is in order.
Thanks! We had a blast. We loved the St. Maarten beach, although it was a bit busier this year. It is a lot cheaper than doing an excursion and you can come and go at your leisure!
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:52 AM   #14
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Enjoying reading your TR and looking at all your great pics! Will you post a pic of FE gifts?
These photos are gifts that we gave out. I will try to post later some of the gifts we received.


Cabin gift was a photo frame. We also gave out buckeye candy as we are from Ohio, and recipe cards and a history of the buckeye candy. I don't have a photo I don't think of this, but I will keep looking!


First Aid kits for the cabins without children, or those with peanut allergies who couldn't get the buckeyes!


Kid gifts. These were for most of the kids. Large pens, notepads, tattoos and stickers, eyepatches. Little kids received coloring pages and crayons, with stickers. A few babies received small stuffed animals.

We had a lot of fun with the FE, but it took up a bit of room in our luggage! Last year we did trip journals, which was heavier but took up less room!

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Old 06-29-2014, 11:31 AM   #15
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Great FE gifts! Thanks for sharing!
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