"Once Upon A Time in Carribean" - On the Wonder Feb 16-21, 2014 (WRAPUP! 7/09)

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by skier_pete, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Tinker326

    Tinker326 DIS Veteran

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    For the person that posted above- Yes, Alaska sailings are much choppier than Caribbean! Especially outside the 'inside passage' area.

    You made me giggle with the 'oh no, Donald Duck' comment. Too funny! :rotfl2:

    Food looks good as do the desserts! And the picture of your DD holding her baby at the show is super sweet! :cloud9:

    Good end to day #1!
     
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  3. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Having not been on the ship before, I would definitely recommend catching one of the tours. It only tour maybe 30 minutes, but it does a great job of orienting you!

    I didn't even realize she had Lasha-baby in the picture. The kid never ever played with dolls, EXCEPT for Lasha-baby, who still always comes on vacation with us. She was there in our room in November too, though she didn't venture out to the parks.
     
  4. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Wonderful pictures of the Little Mermaid themes in the ship.

    Food does look wonderful. Was the second dessert a souffle?
     
  5. MouseMomx2

    MouseMomx2 DIS Veteran

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    I'm loving your report so far! Can't wait for the next installment.

    Just for future reference, the wine package pricing is not per person. For the $149 you get one bottle per night. You can open more than one bottle at a time (a red and a white, for example), if you like, but you get one bottle for each night of your sailing. In your case you would have received 5 bottles for the $149. Any wine leftover each night will be stored for you and brought to your next dining room the following night.
     
  6. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Oh interesting. Well, we still saved money, because we drank the equivalent of TWO bottles of wine each nights, so it would've cost us $300 (plus tax and tips). The wine itself cost us about $100 - and the corking fees were another $100, so not so bad.

    Oh - and thank you for reading along!
     
  7. projectGemini

    projectGemini Earning My Ears

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    Looks fun so far! I for one love the Sabres hat! Can't wait to read more
     
  8. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    It might be...I just don't remember.

    Wear my team loyalty on my sleeve (head)! It was nice that the NHL was down for the Olympics so I didn't need to keep up-to-date.
     
  9. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Our dark interior inside room has one huge advantage…it’s really easy to sleep in. Not that we slept in particularly late, but it was probably around 7:30 AM by the time we got around to getting out of bed.

    We decided to go up on the top deck for breakfast, at the Beach Blanket Buffet. This was more of a “what you would expect” cruise buffet, with all the typical breakfast fare. Overall the food was good. The nice part was sitting outside on the back deck, where we could see both fore and aft other cruise ships heading for what I would guess is the same destination as we are – Mexico. To our Port was an huge island which we rapidly identified as Cuba. (I suppose the closet we’re ever gonna get!)

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    DDs big goal of the day was to head to the kids’ club. My guess is that she mostly wanted to go there to play on the computer, but while we try and limit her on-line time at home, we decided that if what she most wants to do on the ship is stay in the kids club while we relax, than that’s what we’ll do!

    On the way to the kids club, they had all the princesses out greeting. I thought this was kind of a cool angle. (And NO I wasn’t just trying to see down their dresses!)

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    So, after dropping her off, DW had plans to see some sort of cooking demonstration, so I went back to the room, loaded up some whiskey in my flask (hey, the sun was over the yardarm) and headed up on deck. I stopped by the main pool and saw our friends there, but I headed over to the adult/quiet pool. One of the great disappointments of the trip. While the pool itself wasn’t crowded, the area AROUND the pool was, such that there was not one single available deck chair. This forced me to go sit at a table, which I found pretty unappealing, so I ended up moving up to the upper deck sort of off in a corner. It was one of the few times I saw the pool with only a few people in it, so I decided to “take the plunge”.

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    After awhile, Tom decided to come and join me while Duchess watched the kids, so we kind of hung out and chatted and I did a puzzle book. Eventually, Duchess wrangled some more chairs in their area so we were able to move back down there and watch the kids while watching the movie that was screening. (I want to say it was Tarzan.)

    One thing I neglected to mention in here. Each room was equipped with two “wave phones” so while we didn’t have access to cell phones, we could contact eachother whenever we wanted on the ship. The problem was, the phones were really quiet. This was on purpose apparently. After a few days, we went to guest services and learned how to set them to vibrate, but before that it was really easy to miss calls, unless the phone was about 2 feet from your ear.

    Eventually it was approaching lunch time, so I headed down to catch up with DD. (DW came around at some point, also…details are fuzzy.) And I think we ended up all having lunch together at the same location we had breakfast. Another buffet, another OK feed. This time we ate all together as a group.

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    After lunch, DD was ready for pool time and so she spent some time in the pool while we did as well. That little main pool with all those kids was just this side of skeevy to me, but hey, what we do for our kids. We caught the end of “Teen Beach Movie” – which looked pretty awful – and the start of showing “Pixar Shorts” before it was time to head in for dinner.

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    To be continued
     
  10. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Tonight we had dinner at the premiere dining choice, Animator’s Palate. For those not in the know, this is the restaurant that starts out all in black and white, and eventually shifts to color. The effect, while neat, was not the “amazing-ness” that I sort of expected, but it was a fun night with a show

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    DW absolutely loved this pasta appetizer, though I can’t remember the specifics of it:

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    Tom had this sushi-sashimi type appetizer:

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    Duchess and I had the soup. I think it was a lobster bisque. It was just OK.

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    The main course was brought out as the artwork continue to change. It was odd that some things would go to color, and then fade back to black and white:

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    For dinner, DW again got the steak which was served with a potato pate.

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    I go the pork chop with risotto. This was really tasty as I remember.

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    For dessert, the kids were lucky enough to be able to get Mickey ice cream bars!

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    We were “stuck” with a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake.

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    Or this chocolate walnut torte that DW really enjoyed.

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    At the end of the night, there was a big production with the wait staff changing outfits and a special guest character leading the parade. I won’t tell you the character, but the music was from “Fantasmic!”.

    After dinner we again only had a little bit of time before the main show. Outside the main theater:

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    The show for tonight was the Golden Mickeys:

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    This show was more along the lines of what I had pictured. It was set up to be an award show where various types of Disney cartoons are awarded “Best Villian”, “Most Heroic” that type of thing. Though this show was really good, it still felt like the sets and the production was very limited for being on a ship, and just felt to me “cheap” throughout. Really though this was the second best show of the trip, and it was really a lot of fun. The kids all loved the shows, so well worth it for this. It’s a nice piece of entertainment to get every night.

    Again after the show we headed back to the room. Both DD and DW were pooped out and went to sleep with their towel animal. (Not sure exactly what it is.)

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    Tom and Duchess went out to the Cadillac lounge for a drink while putting their kids in the kids club. The lounge was OK. Very mellow, fairly empty. The piano player was playing a bunch of oldies – he mostly stuck with the’50s and ‘60s lounge music. It was a nice nice-cap, even if it cost like $12.

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    Overall, the day was very nice, and it went by very, very quickly. It was a fairly laid back day and everyone seemed to enjoy getting to do their own thing. I myself didn’t find much of the activities on the ship that were interesting me, so mostly hung by the pool. And drank.

    The Good
    Nothing like breakfast out under the sun.
    I could get used to watching a giant TV while hanging in the pool/hot tub.
    Another excellent dinner, this time with a show!
    Smooth sailing. The only time we really felt the motion was at Animator’s Pallet.
    Spending some time in the afternoon down on Deck 4.
    Hey, there’s a ice cream machine on the deck and everything is free.
    That bottle of whiskey was the best investment ever!

    The Bad
    Pools are way too crowded. Even the adult pool there was nowhere to sit.

    The Ugly
    The hot tubs around the main pool were frequently well over posted capacity (like 12 people in a 6 person hot tub). There did not seem that there was any policing of people in these. Mostly we avoided them.

    Next up - Cozumel and swimming with the Dolphins
     
  11. projectGemini

    projectGemini Earning My Ears

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    Ha, I said the same thing while the Wife and I were in California during that same week...although, with this season, there wasn't much to miss:lmao:
     
  12. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    I really am loving you updates on this cruise. Food looks great and I love the group shots.

    Pity about the spa and pools. That's such a shame that they were over crowded.
     
  13. Tinker326

    Tinker326 DIS Veteran

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    I think lounging out in the sun and drinking are the best parts of any cruise!!! :thumbsup2

    And that blue thingy at the end looks mighty good!

    I agree with the icky kids pool. Just. Eww. :crazy2:

    I let my kids get in them but I won't set a foot in them! All that pee! In such a tiny space!!!

    I did get in the adult pool on the Dream and I suspect I will on the Fantasy too. Chair space, on sea days, on ANY cruise line.. is always a high commodity item.

    Also, I have no idea what you mean by saying the kids were 'lucky' to get Mickey Bars.

    It's the standard daily dinner choice for SOMEONE every night when we Disney Cruise.

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    Great update! I'm 31 days away. Eek!!!! So excited!
     
  14. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    I'm sort of disappointed in how few pictures I took. I've been trying to get my friends to give me a copy of their pictures, but they have yet to get around to it.

    See, I'm really not much of a lounge around in the sun guy. It was fine for a few hours though.

    It's really a shame that so many chairs are just saved empty for who knows how long. At the adult pool, more than half the chairs were empty with stuff on them to save the spot. You would think they could implement a system where that wouldn't be allowed.

    I actually ordered a Mickey Bar myself at Parrot Cay, their dessert list was less than impressive.
     
  15. JulieODC

    JulieODC DIS Veteran

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    Lots of updates to catch up on! Love it!!

    Dinner the first night looked fun -- everyone seemed excited to be on vacation!!

    Not a bad spot for breakfast!

    The crowded pools always look pretty unappealing to me....we'll have to scope out some out of the way hangouts.

    Animator's Palate looks fun -- neat concept!
     
  16. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Looks like you are just about ready to take off on your cruise. Have fuN!
     
  17. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Sorry for the delay between postings...work has been crazy busy for weeks and i have just not had the time to post. I've made an extra long update to make up for it!

    Before I get into the update - more news regarding our next WDW trip. So, as you may remember, DW and I decided to buy DVC points, and the points we bought had some "freebie" points which have to be used by Nov 30th.

    So after a seemingly eternal wait - actually 73 days - we got our DVC Membership information. We had already booked an airfare when the rates were low on SWA for October 16th-20th, so we're hoping to get something for those four nights.

    Once I logged on the website, I discovered the there was ZERO availability for a studio at ANY DVC resort for those days. Not even using some sort of split stay.

    I then looked to one bedrooms - which fortunately we had enough points to afford if we used them all - and there was still very little, but we were able to get FOUR nights at Saratoga Springs in a 1-bedroom. I would've preferred a studio and sold the extra points, but knew this was a possibility going in.

    So, our flights and our room is booked for October. Food and Wine - a couples retreat! Now we just have to come up with the money to cover the trip! (Usually I pay for all vacations, but DW is saving for this one also to share the costs, because we have no money in our budget to pay for it!) Fortunately, we had a free flight and no cost on lodging, so we're only at $225 so far! Anyone got some leftover park tickets? :thumbsup2


    Back to the update for Day 4

    Today is our first port day, and we awoke to a bright sunny day overlooking the Mexican resort of Cozumel. While there were a ton of options as far as excursions – I think about 30 Disney sanctioned ones – there was really only one that I wanted to do, and also DD, and that’s swim with the Dolphins.

    It’s funny, while we were planning the trip one thing we said with our friends is that we were did not have to do the same excursion. However, when talking with “Tom” one day we were talking about the different excursions, and he said that he wanted more than anything to do the Dolphin Swim. When they were on their honeymoon in Hawaii, they were booked in for the Dolphin Swim at there resort, but when they got there they had cancelled it because one (or more) of the Dolphins was pregnant.

    Well, turns out this is exactly my reasoning for wanting to do the Dolphin Swim, right down to the same resort in Hawaii – except that we couldn’t even get the Dolphin Swim booked – so we agreed we would join together to go on the same excursion.

    Like much of what was going on with the cruise, we really didn’t know what we were doing. We were supposed to meet down in a certain lounge at a certain time (I think it was 8:30 AM.) so we got up in the morning and went up and had breakfast again in the same spot – and it was the same breakfast of course, except this time we were tied to a dock.

    They gathered us up and led us off the ship. The dock was sandwhiched between a Norwegian Cruise line ship and ours.

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    It gave us a chance to really get a better view of the outside of the ship.

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    The view of Cozumel from the dock.

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    They gathered all the people going to this Dolphin encounter together, and led us all through the port facility. The area was basically a little open air shopping mall with all these shops selling junky souvenirs for us tourists. The area had a bit of a run-down feel to it, but it didn’t feel unsafe or anything, and I think because we were in a big group being led somewhere no-one was bothering to accost us to buy stuff.

    Eventually after walking through the top level and then back through the bottom level of these shops, they led our group to a taxi stand. There were a good 50-70 people here, but fortunately because there was eight of us total, we got our own taxi-van to take us out to the Dolpin swim. This was about 20 minutes up the road at a place called Chankanaab. It was a marine preserve that had a bunch of different stuff there, but we didn’t really get to see that much. Pretty much a Tourist Trap with a capital TT.

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    We went into the place and they split us up by own experience we had signed up for. For us, it was the Dolphin Push Pull and Swim. In other words, you got three experiences with the dolphins, one where they came up to you and gave you a kiss, another where they towed you across the swim area, and a third where they pushed you by the feet.

    Before going in, we had to change into our swim gear. At least they gave us free lockers for this. We then were given a life vest and were then led out onto a big dock that had a large open area in the middle along with several pen areas along the side. The good news is it really didn’t seem like these Dolphins were being treated badly other than that they were stuck in captivity. However, when we asked about it, they said they are either all rescue dolphins or both into captivity.

    Anyways, here’s a picture of the dock area:
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  18. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    I had brought my water camera, but no such luck, they were NOT allowing you to take your own pictures. Yup, either buy their memories or forget it. Well, we ended up in the end buying it. By combining all our pictures, the disk was only like $200 American (BLECH!) but at least splitting it two ways made it nto so bad. Below are some of the pictures of our experience. I choose to only including my family as I didn’t think it necessary to share the O’Malley’s shots.

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    DW

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    Me

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    I sorted these pictures out, but in reality we took turns amongst the 12 people that were in the water (us and one other family). Overall, we were probably in the water for over an hour, it was very hard to judge exactly.

    I don’t know quite how this is possible, but I felt like while the price they charged for this was a total tourist rip-off, at the same time I felt like it was totally worth what we paid (well maybe not the pictures). I consider this is something I’ve wanted to do my entire life, and its not something that is easy or cheap to arrange any other way. I only felt it was a rip-off because I was thinking these poor employees are probably making $5 an hour while we’re paying $135 to be in the water with the dolphins, and someone was getting very very rich off of us tourists. But, that said, it was really a wonderful experience, and certainly if I was paying that in the US I probably wouldn’t be complaining.
     
  19. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    After the swim we were allowed to stick around the preserve and swim or see the sights. Most of us stayed, but DW wanted to do a little shopping – more on this later – but first we all were hungry. There was a small outdoor café where we could order some lunch. Standard fast food at not-bad prices (don’t know if it was not-bad for Mexico or not).

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    There was some jungle walks, a pool, a beach and also a sea lion show. DD basically wanted to swim. It was a neat pool, boasting several different layers of depth.

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    The Sea Lion show involved a couple of different Sea Lions doing mostly standard tricks. It was a nice little arena for this, and the Sea Lions seemed well taken care of. The show was in both Spanish and English, again obviously catering to the tourists.

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    We took a taxi back to the port after all of this. When we got back to the boat, we had to go through the on-boat cleansing ritual We were all pretty beat and had plans for the evening. It turned out we had a lot better day than DW. She had somehow lost her glasses in the transition out of the park back to Cozumel. In a panic she had returned back to the Dolphin encounter to try and find them, thinking that she had dropped them outside the locker. She didn’t find them either place though – and was stuck with not getting any shopping done and also losing a $400 pair of glasses. So, she was NOT a happy camper, but mostly worried that I was going to yell at her. Fortunately, I had the smarts not to get worked up about it, simply because what could we do? Don’t want it to ruin the rest of the vacation – though leaves it tough for her as she would need to wear her contacts all the time.
     
  20. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    What an amazing experience to be able to swim with the dolphins. Like you, I would have worried about what sort of life the dolphins are having and it seems like these ones have a reasonable amount of space to swim in.

    Despite the $$$, those are great pictures of the 3 of you with the dolphins.

    Pity about the lost sunglasses. I hope DW was okay for the rest of the trip. :goodvibes
     
  21. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Not sunglasses, regular perscription glasses. She still hasn't replaced them as our medical insurance won't cover until June.
     

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