Distant Shores: A 4-Night Dream Report--COMPLETE with boatload of photos

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by Narnia_girl, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. Narnia_girl

    Narnia_girl DIS Veteran

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    Sail Away--Part II

    Enjoying the view!
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    Next up we get ready for the mandatory safety drill. On our last cruise we arrived early and stood in the sweltering sun for 20 minutes. This time we found our assembly station right away, but stayed nearby inside until just before it was the required time.

    Our assembly station was just outside the Gallery on Deck 4. Rick read the Navigator while waiting for the Assembly Drill while the boys used their 3G coverage while they had the chance. (Once we sail away, all phones were put on airplane mode to avoid international data charges.)

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    At the drill they crowded us together but since I’m the shortest in the family I got to stand in front and it wasn’t so hot there. They went over the usual safety demonstrations and then something went wrong on the intercom system. They actually played the dismissal notice before the drill was over. People started to drift away when they corrected themselves and said ‘go back’. It was kind of chaotic, but didn’t take too long.

    After that it was finally time to get that boat moving.

    Hurry up before that storm hits! (Our last cruise had a stormy sail away party so we didn’t want a repeat.)

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    We stationed ourselves on Deck 12 and watched a little bit of the Sail Away party but not too closely.

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    Our families in the midwest were watching the Port Canaveral Webcam (portcanaveralwebcam.com) so we had told them where to look for us. It took a long time to sail away and was actually after 5 p.m.

    I made cheap sail away banners for us to wave. Using a $1 plastic tablecloth I cut arrows with long tails. This is what they looked like.

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    I used the rectangular part to knot a loop. Then we slipped the loop onto our wrist so it wouldn’t blow away and the triangular part flapped in the breeze. I was hoping this would catch the attention of the webcam operator and it did, although by the time we got in front of them we were tired of waving. Our family did see us though!

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    Goodbye!
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    All that waving makes you hungry, and since we had the late dinner seating, it was time for a snack. In case you don’t know, grill type food is available all day at the walk up counter.

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    … and off to see the Golden Mickeys. We all really enjoy this show. We got to the theatre about 15 minutes early but I felt cool right away so I ran back to the room and got a wrap. The theatre did end up getting more crowded but there was never a show when it was completely full.

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    The Golden Mickeys are based on an award show and feature some of the best-loved Disney songs and performances. It hadn’t changed much since our first cruise in 2009 with one notable exception: Roy Disney gave the opening speech (via video) back then. In 2014 it was the CEO of Disney.
    We returned to our rooms after the show and relaxed.

    Is that a Royal Caribbean or Carnival?
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    Here is our Castaway Club gift: a rope-handled tote bag and write-on/wipe off board. After you have sailed on Disney one time you are a member of the Castaway Club and you receive little perks like this gift. The more cruises you take the higher your level (silver, gold, platinum). Since we had two staterooms, we got two gifts.

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    Dinner tonight was in the Royal Palace. This was my favorite restaurant of the cruise. We were seated in a little back room which made it feel more secluded and personal. Plus we had a port hole table which was good for about 20 minutes until it turned completely dark out.
    Notice Cinderella’s Carriage Bread Basket?

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    About this time I started to feel a bit seasick. I remembered from our first cruise that it hit me right about dinner time. It wasn’t bad just queasy. For the next three nights I took Less-Drowsy Dramamine an hour before dinner and it seemed to help.

    Our server was Gilbert from the Philippines and our Asst. Server was Onica from Guyana. We thought both of them did an excellent job. Gilbert highly recommended I try the Chateaubriand roasted steak and it might have been the best thing I had the whole cruise.

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    I am also a soup lover so I had soup at every meal. This time I opted for Belle’s French Onion Soup and the Potato-Leek soup. Both were excellent!

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    Christian tried the non-alcoholic Prince(ess) Drink drink and loved it.

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    Andrew and Caroline both tried the fried baked Brie with chutney and gave it the thumbs up. (My photos turned out too dark here so I borrowed a couple from the Photographers Wife. She has also written a cool report on her blog.)

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    Christian had the duck confit appetizer (just okay) and the duck entrée (loved).

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    Overall it was a very good dinner and I would have been happy to eat there twice. We walked to the Atrium and watched Greta Salome play violin for a while. She was very good.

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    Then we strolled up to Deck 11 to enjoy the beautiful evening.

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    I couldn't believe it when the guys decided they should get pizza since they were right there! :eek: I was still very full.

    We headed to the D Lounge to see Family Fusion game. I expected it to be Disney trivia which the audience could at least answer in their heads, but it wasn't that at all. It was a game show with questions pertaining to the individual families (which character are you most like, etc…) None of us found this very entertaining so after a while we headed to our stateroom for bed.

    Something I learned:
    Waving a cheap banner does get you recognized by the Webcam operator.
    If you want two soups instead of an appetizer and soup—order two soups! Start taking seasickness meds the day before.

    Soups eaten: 2

     
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  3. iloverags2

    iloverags2 DIS Veteran

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    Good idea on the banners...and awesome you were spotted on the video!
     
  4. Cheryl726

    Cheryl726 DIS Veteran

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    I remember your cabins were very easy to find, sorry to hear you seemed to have an issue with them. I do like your picture of the hall leading into the Enchanted Garden, made me feel like I was walking in for dinner!
    I was also a little worried at sail away, hoping it was going to rain and thankfully we were able to stay on deck to watch us sail out to sea!
    I thought the violinist was amazing, very impressive!
     
  5. jedijill

    jedijill <font color=red>Chiefs fan living in Bronco countr

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    I remember your last report....so glad you are doing a report on the surprise cruise! Looks like a great time so far.

    Jill in CO
     
  6. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

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    I'm enjoying your report so far! Thanks for covering your visit to Mosaic church. I found that really interesting.
     
  7. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Mouseketeer

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    Great report so far. I really like the little tips you include in the report. This looks like a fun cruise. We're thinking about booking the same itinerary in January.
     
  8. Narnia_girl

    Narnia_girl DIS Veteran

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    It's nice when an inexpensive idea works out!

    Other than some noise issues, our cabin really was awesome. We were so glad the outdoor sail away worked out!

    thank you, they are fun!

    Glad you liked that. Sometimes I wonder if the trip reports are all sound alike, so I like learning new information.

    Thanks! I keep learning. And January sounds like a great time--probably a lot less crowded.
     
  9. Narnia_girl

    Narnia_girl DIS Veteran

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    Day 4--Nassau Time


    We slept until 8:30 a.m., just as we were pulling into Nassau.

    Our porthole view of the British Colonial Hilton.

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    The kids slept a little later so we didn’t get up to Cabanas for breakfast until after 10 a.m. Everyone else must have slept late also because the restaurant was crowded. But how can we complain with this view for breakfast?

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    After breakfast we decided to walk around Nassau. I had done a lot of research on the Melia (formerly Sheraton) Resort and had pretty well settled on doing a day pass there. But when put to a vote among the kids, no one was really interested in a beach day.
    So we opted to stroll around Nassau and just take in the city. Strolling is a bit hard in Nassau. First you must run the gauntlet of street vendors. Multiple times we were offered hair braiding, drinks, taxis, shells, necklaces, tours and cigars. My husband was also offered a ride to a nude beach. After we got into the shopping district it was very crowded with narrow sidewalks (several were crumbling or torn up). We kept walking until we skirted the edge of the Straw Market and then past Senor Frogs and the British Colonial Hilton.

    Outer edge of Straw Market (too claustrophobic to go inside!)
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    We walked on to Junkanoo Beach.

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    It was a very hot day and the sidewalk to the beach bordered a busy street. Parts of this sidewalk were completely underwater due to some sort of flooding. A long stretch of the sidewalk had large square metal inserts every few yards. Most of these metal plates were rusted through at the edges or sticking up several inches above the sidewalk. I really wish I had taken photos of the sidewalks in Nassau as several were unsafe. At one point we had to stop because the sidewalk was completely submerged and other tourists were approaching that section from the opposite direction. A local evidently thought we were being silly for not walking through murky ankle deep water on the sidewalk and said, “is this an obstacle or is it just water?” Well since we couldn’t see the bottom of it and cars were flying by on the street just a foot away we felt we had to stop to take turns to navigate the mess.

    But here's a pretty area
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    We stayed at the beach for about 5 minutes then trekked back to the ship. At this point we realized Christian had lost his KTTW card. We retraced our steps but never found it. The Bahamian security officer compared his driver’s license with ours to verify same last name and then told us to go report it to the ship. At reboarding the Disney castmember joked with Christian about staying in the Bahamas (better learn to braid hair!) and Rick took him to guest services where they promptly replaced his card.

    Going ‘home’

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    We had lunch at Cabanas. I tried the Tortilla Soup and it was nasty. Like canned enchilada sauce.

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    A trio (quartet?) of meats for Christian.

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    From Cabanas outside seating area.

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    After lunch we spent some time gawking at Royal Caribbean’s “Allure of the Seas” which was docked next to us. It is massive.

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    I tried my panorama feature on my phone. The window that we are standing in front of is not a curved glass-it is all straight--so although this is distorted, I like the way you can see the whole ship.

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    Christian spotted a Shrek meet and greet.

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    We all got cold drinks and started the Mid-Ship Detective Agency.

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    This is a fun game that works a tour of the ship into the mystery. It starts by activating a card and then you work your way to special paintings where you use your card to perform tasks and find clues.

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    The kids were intrigued by the interactive painting next to the Detective Agency.

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    For the detective game, we quickly figured out that it’s easier to do the odd number decks and later do the even number decks, rather than doing them in numerical order. We paused on Deck 4 for a rest on the lounge chairs. It’s such a beautiful, relaxing place to spend time on the ship that we ended up here many more times during our cruise.

    Brown area is a climbing wall on the Allure of the Seas

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    Goodbye Allure of the Seas, we had fun gawking at you!

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    The guys played some shuffleboard, we did some more Detective work and the kids went back to our staterooms to rest a while. Rick and I delivered some Fish Extender gifts and relaxed on Deck 4 again.

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    Doesn’t get much better:
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    Something I learned: GO WITH THE FLOW... I did so much research on the Day Pass for the Melia Beach Resort, even contacting two guest reviewers on Trip Advisor for their input. I was sure we'd spend the day there, but no one really wanted to. We had a great day anyway, and I'm tucking my info away for next time!

    Soups Eaten: 3
     
  10. marciemouse

    marciemouse Raised on Disney

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    Thanks for sharing your honest input about Nassau. We have mostly planned to stay onboard while there, but we have also considered taking a cab or public transportation to Cable Beach. Give your description, with 3 younger kids, I'm thinking that staying onboard is probably our best bet. Maybe we'll get off if our other beach days earlier in the trip get rained out. :)
     
  11. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Mouseketeer

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    Another great installment, and an excellent tip. Thanks for sharing.

    We've been on Royal several times, but have been on the big ships yet. I was a little surprised when they were coming out that they did not include that promenade that you guys enjoyed on deck 4. Of course it has the nice interior with the central park and boardwalk instead.
     
  12. condorthb

    condorthb Trying to Lure the wife to the DisSide.

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    happy bumper day.
     
  13. Narnia_girl

    Narnia_girl DIS Veteran

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    The place I wanted to visit (Melia) is on Cable Beach. It sounds very nice there! And I hope I didn't paint too bad an impression of Nassau, some of those 'not nice' aspects really stood out to me. I know others really like it.

    We did love Deck 4 and I'd be willing to try a RCL, but our kids aren't enthused with that idea!

    :scratchin I don't know what that means?
     
  14. Cheryl726

    Cheryl726 DIS Veteran

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    I also gawked a lot at RCL Allure of the Seas too! I had to watch it sail away, so nice! I had plans too for Nassau, wanted to spend some time at Junkanoo Beach but that didn't work out. DH and DS12 wanted to stay onboard, DS15 wanted to check out the straw market again, so we did that with my sister and her family. They ended up checking out Junkanoo Beach for a little while after the straw market, my son and I headed back to the ship.

    I think the Deck 4 is probably one of my favorite places to be on the ship, so very relaxing!

    Looking forward to reading more!
     
  15. iloverags2

    iloverags2 DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like a nice, relaxing day in Nassau. My favorite way to spend time there is to just walk around. (The fort and Queen's staircase are especially my favorite places to visit!) Will keep your tip in mind about Midship Detective...I have been trying to come up with a "best laid plan" for it!
     
  16. Narnia_girl

    Narnia_girl DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like you had a good Nassau day, too!

    I wish we had visited the Fort!
     
  17. tweis

    tweis DIS Veteran

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    In 2013, my DH and I had planned to spend the day at the Sheraton also but unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative. :( We had planned to give it a shot on our cruise this past April, but then I found out that we could do Atlantis pretty cheap via Comfort Suites so we still haven't visited. :lmao:

    Enjoying your report so far. We love the Dream and can't wait to sail her again!
     
  18. Narnia_girl

    Narnia_girl DIS Veteran

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    You were one of my sources of information on the Sheraton. I couldn't find a lot of info on these boards but I did find the detailed list from your email to them. So thanks for doing that! :flower3:
     
  19. Narnia_girl

    Narnia_girl DIS Veteran

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    Nassau Time--Part II


    We gathered the kids so we could try out the AquaDuck.

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    The line was not very long at this point and it was a fun ride.
    Here you can see the wait line. It’s not very long here but it is also a bit deceptive because the end of the line is hidden—so it’s higher up than you first realize.

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    A Carnival ship had been in port with us at Nassau so we naturally compared it to our lovely boat.

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    Caroline posted this (it made me laugh).

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    . . . and we watched it sail away.

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    We also had a snack before cleaning up and heading to the theatre for Villains Tonight.

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    This got mixed reviews from our family: Two liked it, three of us thought it was just ‘so-so.‘ The premise of this production is that Hades is no longer evil enough since he was defeated by Hercules. He needs to become more evil in one night. So he calls on all the other Disney baddies to help him out. The songs were fun and there were some clever jokes.

    We delivered a few more Fish Extender gifts and relaxed in our room before dinner in Animator’s Palate.

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    I told you she loved that porthole!

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    The walk to Animator’s Palate is beautiful—all lined with portholes. We had a great meal there but it was nothing like the quiet, relaxed atmosphere of the Royal Palace. This dining room is loud and busy with constantly changing wall monitors.

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    Crush came and talked to a few children at nearby tables.

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    A few favorites here were the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes, Lemon-thyme marinated chicken breast and the marinated beef tenderloin. In my quest to have more soup I had Butternut Squash Soup and Baked Potato Soup. Caroline loved the Baked Potato Soup.

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    Playing a game…
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    After dinner we stopped in the Atrium to watch Greta play her violin again.


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    In an attempt to burn off some of our meal we walked along Deck 13 and watched some lightning in the distance.

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    I like this clock outside Goofy's sports.

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    Then we retreated to our favorite spot on Deck 4 for some shuffleboard before heading to bed.

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    Something I Learned: Villians Tonight wasn't my favorite show, but it's still an impressive production.

    Soups Eaten: 5
     
  20. maggonz9

    maggonz9 Earning My Ears

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    Enjoying the new installments! I can't wait to try all that soup! YUM!
     
  21. iloverags2

    iloverags2 DIS Veteran

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    How did you like the Butternut Squash soup? I have to admit I was disappointed with it...but wondering if maybe it was a bad night since so many love it. :)
     

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