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Old 06-11-2014, 04:55 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Flossbolna View Post
Yes, it was a good travel day! That was the third time using Air France across the Atlantic and while my experience in 2008 was just ok, I really enjoyed it last year and this year. If you want to read about my experience last year, I wrote about it here: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post48504412

They really have improved how you connect at at CDG, but I am not sure whether things might not be different from you coming from a non-Schengen country? But I do think that they treat all EU flights the same for connections. In 2008 it was still a hassle to get through multiple checkpoints it seemed.

Going to LA you would be on the A380, so no issue with old 777s. I know we talked about the A380 and I did not think the plane was that amazing. But I did enjoy that AF has economy class on the upper deck with a 2-4-2 configuration. I had a nice storage compartment between me and the window which came in very handy!

I have flown AF quite a few times to Paris recently as well and I have to say that I have had mainly great experiences with crew as well.
I will check the trip report out on the weekend. We have flown Air France to Paris and I liked it, but never tried them long-haul. As you know, I am a big fan of the Big Bird (A380) and this definitely has pushed me towards giving it a go. Sitting on the upper deck and a 2-4-2 configuration would be an added bonus.

We have made tentative plans for another Panama Canal cruise for 2017. We are determined to do an Eastbound Panama Canal cruise after doing two Westbound Panama Canal Cruise. I am quietly optimistic that by 2017 the new locks will be open and the Wonder will have had her makeover.

Corinna
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:16 PM   #48
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Yea! Another trip report. I have often thought about writing one, I do so enjoy reading others but I hate seeing photos of myself and I seriously doubt my spouse would agree to having his picture posted on a public board. However, you are doing such a great job writing an interesting report with lots of pictures and without showing Michael that maybe I need to reconsider.

I have an off-topic question for you and Katharina, Sarah (our daughter) is interested in being an exchange student but we are not willing for her to be away for nine/ten months. Do they ever do “summer” exchanges?

By the way, the Panama Canal trip is on our list of must dos so I am very interested in your current trip report. Sarah will graduate in 2016 so we are hoping to go 2017 – if her university semester is compatible.

Kate
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:49 AM   #50
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I know, I have been thinking the same ... quite a lot of us here now! But on 5 cruises so far, I have only ever met/seen/heard 2 German speaking families on board. A Swiss-American family on last years WPBC, and a German family on one of our cruises out of New York City. One of the German guys was even Platinum (and no, it wasn't dizneeat's brother ). We have yet to cruise with German-speaking Disers, that would really be fun!
When we were in line to get off the ship in San Diego, there was a German speaking couple in front of us. Had not seen them at all during the cruise, so was rather surprised.

I think with your preference for the longer itineraries, there is a good chance that we might end up on the same ship at some point in the future!!

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EDIT: Oh and by the way ... five readers? Who am I missing? Karin, mimmi, dolphingirl47, me and ...? Your sister probably?
Yes, Katharina is reader #5. She posts as nodnol.

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Absolutely the same here! "What cruise line? Never heard of them. Seriously, Mickey Mouse? Okaaayyy ... I always knew you were weird".
And to think that Aida and MSC and several other cruise lines depart on Northern European itineraries right from my hometown ... I will get around to trying them eventually. But so far, we have never strayed from DCL
Oh, so you are from Hamburg? Or Kiel?

I have actually started to seriously look at other cruise lines. So far the one that appeals to me the most is Princess. I did some reading about them on Cruise Critic and really liked what I read. They seem to have a lot of neat little touches (which make you think that Disney could do that, too). Also, we are thinking about an Alaska cruise and Princess has one-way cruises where you can combine the cruise with a land vacation, which for Alaska sounds like a great combination. But I think I first want to try one of the new Disney ships and after that I am ready for other experiences!

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We all have about the same feeling when it comes to tell someone here we are going to Disney or on a Disney cruise.
Guess what, when we go to WDW, we officially meet with friends in Florida. , well yes we do! Going to DLRP we are visiting Paris or Magny le Hongre. Let them figure it out.
We have "some" friends who share the love of Disney here, but at work, when someone asks if we go on "yet another" cruise, I just mention the initials. It's an American company, they have great service ...... and no we are not doing Carnival.
Not many people here "get it".


I have used the going to Paris line as well. For a trip that was split between Paris and DLP. And I felt that there was no need to be specific about which sights we visit when there.

But I do like the idea of just saying DCL as the cruise line. There are situations when explaining that there are Disney boats is just not necessary. I have to say however, that a lot of my friends have young kids and many of them are pretty interested in the idea of a Disney cruise. The parents I mean. But the kids are fascinated, too. I had a Christmas party for my friends last Christmas where at some point I ended up at the computer with all the kids around me, showing them my pictures from the cruise last year. They were totally in awe at how beautiful the ship was!

OMG ........ exactly we we got before we decided to no longer give all too much detail.
Wonder how we will feel getting off in European ports this summer.
Shouldn't the people in the ports at lest know that there is a Disney ship?
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:03 AM   #51
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Was Cruise Director Jimmy in your other trip report also? Or am I thinking of someone else's? I'm sure that I've heard him mentioned before.
No, you are right!! Jimmy was the Cruise Director on our last cruise as well! You will hear more of him in future updates! Someone was teasing me all cruise about being such a huge Jimmy fan...

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Originally Posted by dolphingirl47 View Post
I will check the trip report out on the weekend. We have flown Air France to Paris and I liked it, but never tried them long-haul. As you know, I am a big fan of the Big Bird (A380) and this definitely has pushed me towards giving it a go. Sitting on the upper deck and a 2-4-2 configuration would be an added bonus.

We have made tentative plans for another Panama Canal cruise for 2017. We are determined to do an Eastbound Panama Canal cruise after doing two Westbound Panama Canal Cruise. I am quietly optimistic that by 2017 the new locks will be open and the Wonder will have had her makeover.

Corinna
I often choose my flights according to which plane I would get for the long leg. So I understand why your preference for the Big Bird makes AF more attractive to you!

You are a really long term vacation planner it seems! I wish I knew when and what I am going to do in the fall (still have so many vacation days left over). I have been thinking about an Eastbound as well, but just in general, not for any certain year. I looked at the itineraries and it seems that time port times are much better for people like Michael and me who like to sleep in (one more than the other) as the ship often arrives midmorning, but then stays longer than mid afternoon like it was for us.



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Originally Posted by kid-at-heart View Post
Yea! Another trip report. I have often thought about writing one, I do so enjoy reading others but I hate seeing photos of myself and I seriously doubt my spouse would agree to having his picture posted on a public board. However, you are doing such a great job writing an interesting report with lots of pictures and without showing Michael that maybe I need to reconsider.

I have an off-topic question for you and Katharina, Sarah (our daughter) is interested in being an exchange student but we are not willing for her to be away for nine/ten months. Do they ever do “summer” exchanges?

By the way, the Panama Canal trip is on our list of must dos so I am very interested in your current trip report. Sarah will graduate in 2016 so we are hoping to go 2017 – if her university semester is compatible.

Kate
Glad to see you here!

Thanks for the compliment about my trip report! I think that a trip report does not need to have plenty of pictures of people. While it can be fun to have that very personal style of trip report where you see people in all kind of activities, I think a lot of the things people want to get out of trip reports are information about how a vacation was, what people saw, did and ate (of course!) and it does not matter whether the pictures have a face in them or not. I post pictures of myself if I like them and I do think it kind of helps readers to connect a bit more with the writers personality, but I don't think they are totally necessary.

I will send you a PM about the exchange thing during the weekend. If I forget, please remind me!!

And maybe you will end up on the same cruise as Corinna (dolphingirl47) she is planning for 2017, too!

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Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
Thanks for the bat signal! I am here but it will be a week or so before I have much DIS time to get caught up anywhere. Marking my spot


Don't worry, this trip report will not move very quickly, you know my style! But I am happy that you are here!!
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:23 PM   #52
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I read your last TR and look forward to reading about your latest cruise. I think traveling through the Panama Canal would be so exciting.
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Old 06-12-2014, 01:33 PM   #53
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A Lazy Start to the Vacation

Day 2 to Day 4: Tuesday, April 30 to Thursday, May 1

I am going to do a combined update since we did not do a lot of special things during these days. We just enjoyed hanging out, spending time at the pool and the beach, having breakfast at Starbucks (where I fell in love with the cinnamon coffee cake and the Valencia Orange Refresher, both not available here in Germany…), meeting friends of Michael etc.

We also repeated one event from last year: a visit to Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall. It is the largest outlet mall in the US and really quite impressive. One reason to go there is that they have a Disney outlet that is actually run by the Parks and Resort division of the Walt Disney Company. So they have a lot of WDW and some DL and even DCL stuff there. On my last cruise I had thought about getting a pin that was for 15 years of DCL, but then did not like the design. Michael ended up buying one though and once we had gotten off the ship, we found out that it is actually a pin with two sides and I really loved the other side! But then I had no way of buying that pin anymore. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to find it at the outlet there!! Michael was much less thrilled than me of course as he had paid full price…

This is the pin with front and back (you can turn around the round part in the middle):





And this is the reason why the pin mattered so much for me:



My collection of park anniversary pins from parks that I visited during their “anniversary year”. Yes, I think getting a Disneyland 60th anniversary pin is a good reason to plan a trip there for next year!!!

The W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale was a very elegant place, had kind of a night club feel about it (I guess that’s what the chain goes for), but I found it still warm and welcoming.

This is a picture of the lobby seating area (also serves as a bar in the evenings):



And some outside seating outside that area with a view of the beach and the ocean:



If you want to get to the pool from the lobby, you go up these stairs:



Yes, that’s through the pool. This is the view looking back once you are on the pool deck:



W sign in front of the hotel:



View of the hotel from street:



And close up of the tower where our room was located (somewhere in the blue section in the middle):



And finally a few pictures of your room:





The bathroom set up was strange to say the least. The view you see there was directly from the hallway. Originally there would have been no door at all, but they now added a curtain to create a visual barrier from the bathroom area to the hallway in the room. To the left is the toilet, just separated by a frosted glass door through which you still could see quite a bit. And to the right is the very large shower. As you can see the side towards the sink is all glass. But if you look to the other side of the shower, you might be able to see that this is glass as well. On the other side of the glass wall is the first of the two beds. They did have shutters there that you could close to have privacy in the shower, but it seemed that those were added later as well. I really do not understand that concept of bringing all bathroom business into the middle of the room. While some people might enjoy putting on a show in the shower, I can think of many situations of people sharing a hotel room where it would not be welcomed at all. Or what if housekeeping enters the room while you are getting under the shower??? Anyway, our room had the additional curtain and the shutters, so we were fine. But who in the hell designs stuff like that?

We did have a lovely view however:



We spent some time at the beach, which really is quite lovely here. And having it directly across the hotel was nice.





But you might see from the way the palm trees look like and the waves, it was very windy. Unfortunately the wind kept blowing for all the three days I had there. And while the waves were fun for a short time, all the wind made for a less comfortable beach experience, so after the first afternoon at the beach, we did not get back there.

Just when we were starting to get out stuff together at the beach we noticed a guy kind of walking sideways through the water where it was about waist deep for him. He had one arm stretched out high with a fist and looked a bit crazy. Then we noticed two lifeguards watching him and then one of them went into the water and tried to talk to him, but it seemed that he did not respond. Then we saw the police arrive and the paramedics. In the end four lifeguards went into the water to carry him out. He did not fight against them, but they literally had to carry him holding on to his arms and legs. This happened just where we had stationed ourselves, about 20 meters away from us maybe. They then carried him to the sidewalk where the paramedics took over. I wish we would have been able to find out what happened.

One thing that was really neat was on May 1. It seemed that on that day quite a few ships departed from Port Everglades and we could see the parade of cruise ships leaving the port from our hotel patio. I am sure it is even more impressive if you are closer, but I liked it nevertheless:



Later in the afternoon we saw one cruise ship coming back into port, it was a Royal Caribbean ship. At first it was just hanging out outside of the port entrance and then it moved inside. Even later in the evening we saw it departing again. Some research uncovered that the ship was starting a transatlantic voyage, but had come back to bring back a medical emergency. I am sure that this makes sense for the person’s health. I just wonder whether the cruise line is going to charge them the additional costs this cost in fuel and port fees?

I guess this is all I can tell you about the three days in Fort Lauderdale. We had some good food, but nothing picture worthy. We returned to Five Guys, they are still good. Otherwise we tried to not to overdo the eating as we knew that we had a 15 night cruise with plenty of free (or included in the cruise fare) food coming up. There will be more food pictures once we are onboard the ship!

Up Next: The Wonders Begin
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Old 06-12-2014, 04:14 PM   #54
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Very cool steps coming up through the pool. Looks like you could see under the surface of the pool from the steps. The same guy probably designed that as designed the bathroom!

I wonder what was with that guy coming out of the ocean.
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Old 06-12-2014, 04:42 PM   #55
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Hi Flossbolna!

It's great to have another opportunity to relive our vacation. It was nice to meet you! I know I had a heck of a time getting back into real life after 2 weeks. I can't imagine having to go back to work after a whole month.

Those stairs through the pool do look really cool!
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:14 PM   #56
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What a great collection of pins. How super you got another chance to add the DCL one!

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Anyway, our room had the additional curtain and the shutters, so we were fine. But who in the hell designs stuff like that?


It looks like a really nice hotel, but yes, there was some strange designing going on there. You had a really nice view, and the beach looked wonderful. One good thing about the beach is that you normally have a breeze to keep it from feeling too hot, but there is a fine line between a nice breeze, and too much breeze!!!
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:09 PM   #57
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I will say I have never seen a pool with steps through it from the lobby.....

Nice view and sounds like a great way to get acclimated to the time change and relax.

Now that bathroom. Yes a strange set up. I guess my only question is what do the blinds in the shower prevent you from seeing? The bedroom area?


What a beautiful sight of the ocean and the ships leaving, and coming in and leaving again....


I guess it is good the Lifeguards noticed something was wrong with that guy and got him out. Yes even I think that THAT is very strange behavior
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:29 AM   #58
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Very cool steps coming up through the pool. Looks like you could see under the surface of the pool from the steps. The same guy probably designed that as designed the bathroom!

I wonder what was with that guy coming out of the ocean.
Yes, you could see under the surface of the pool - and therefore everyone who was in the pool. We made sure to never hang out too close to those stairs!! And I think you are right, the see through shower wall and those stairs clearly show the same set of mind!

We never knew what was wrong with that guy. He just appeared to be not thinking clearly and considering that the water was quite rough, it was certainly good to get him out of there before he got into danger.

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Hi Flossbolna!

It's great to have another opportunity to relive our vacation. It was nice to meet you! I know I had a heck of a time getting back into real life after 2 weeks. I can't imagine having to go back to work after a whole month.

Those stairs through the pool do look really cool!
Getting back after those 4 weeks was really strange. It felt like I had been away for much longer even (so that's good!). I even noticed how the seasons had changed from spring to summer...

I hope you enjoy my version of our cruise! I am following Corrina's TR and it is so fun to see how you can be on the same ship and have very different - or very similar experiences!
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:38 AM   #59
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What a great collection of pins. How super you got another chance to add the DCL one!
I am really happy with my collection as well! Of course, they live in a box that is in another box and nearly never come out. I am thinking of coming up with a way of actually displaying them. Afterall, I get them because I like what they look like...

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It looks like a really nice hotel, but yes, there was some strange designing going on there. You had a really nice view, and the beach looked wonderful. One good thing about the beach is that you normally have a breeze to keep it from feeling too hot, but there is a fine line between a nice breeze, and too much breeze!!!
I guess the line is when you start getting sand in your face...

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I will say I have never seen a pool with steps through it from the lobby.....
And you are the pool expert!! So it must be a very unique feature!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poolrat View Post
Nice view and sounds like a great way to get acclimated to the time change and relax.

Now that bathroom. Yes a strange set up. I guess my only question is what do the blinds in the shower prevent you from seeing? The bedroom area?
I think the blinds prevent anyone in the bedroom area from seeing you under the shower! But it works the other way around, too. Why would I want to see the unmade bed during my morning shower? The window was too far away and at an angle so that you would not have had a view of the sea from the shower...

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What a beautiful sight of the ocean and the ships leaving, and coming in and leaving again....
I think normally they don't come back that quickly!

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Originally Posted by Poolrat View Post
I guess it is good the Lifeguards noticed something was wrong with that guy and got him out. Yes even I think that THAT is very strange behavior
I think they were just afraid that he would get into a situation that would have been really dangerous to him. The waves were really strong and it was actually quite difficult to just stand in the water without being tossed around by the waves.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:49 AM   #60
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I have an off-topic question for you and Katharina, Sarah (our daughter) is interested in being an exchange student but we are not willing for her to be away for nine/ten months. Do they ever do “summer” exchanges?
I'll talk to Magdalene and see wether I have any additional ideas to hers! It's great that she wants to be an exchange student!

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We all have about the same feeling when it comes to tell someone here we are going to Disney or on a Disney cruise.
Guess what, when we go to WDW, we officially meet with friends in Florida. , well yes we do! Going to DLRP we are visiting Paris or Magny le Hongre. Let them figure it out.
I know what you mean. It's interesting (and frustrating) that my husband, who is not a big Disney fan but enjoyed his first visit to a Disneypark last year at DLP, has no problem at all telling people before and after we went there and then spends a lot of energy explaining them, why this isn't a crazy idea. Maybe that's just because he's new to this... But it was kind of counterproductive as I knew in advance whom to tell we would stop at DLP on our way to Normandy and whom to tell we would stop in Paris. And he blew it all by telling everyone
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