RAIN, SCHMAIN, AND HURRICANES: Our 9/2011 Cruise: NEW ANNOUNCEMENT!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by sleepydog25, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. sleepydog25

    sleepydog25 Been here awhile

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    The Prologue

    "Scotty! I need. . .more. . .power. . .nowScottynow!"

    "I'm sorry, Cap'n, I kenna give ya no more--we're bein' sooked in by the vortex and it won't let go-o-o!"

    And so it was that we were similarly drawn into the sirens' tentacles that belong to DCL. I was on a DCL cruise several years ago, and was well aware of the attraction these trips have, but my DSO (or DDP or fill in your own designation) has NEVER been on a cruise, and given she's a Disneymania. . .umm, a huge fan of all things Disney (yeah, that's the ticket), it was inevitable that a cruise would be an option for us. In fact, one night nearly a year ago, as we sat in our living room, shivering in the cold brought on by an early frost here in the mountains of Virginia, she casually mentioned, "We're going on a cruise." :rolleyes1

    At first, I was a little reluctant given that I'm not a huge planner, preferring to sneak up on vacation times and then scurry like a squirrel gathering nuts for the upcoming winter. Not so my lovely partner. Oh, n-o-o-o-o-o. . .She is a logistician, with a mind like the very best event planner and the heart of the happiest place on the planet. However, the more we talked, the more we--okay, I--thought it would be a fun getaway. Honestly, my only reluctance was that we already had decided to do a Thanksmas trip to VWL for 2011, so we'd have to figure out a way to come up with the extra moolah needed for a cruise. . .and we all know they ain't cheap.

    With the ingenuity of an IMF crew, we set up a planned savings so that by the time the Dream left port, we'd have scrimped enough to mostly pay off the entire cost up to that point. . .and still make it to VWL for Thanksmas. After that, the planning became extremely easy--I just left it in her extremely capable hands. :cool2:

    Coming: The Architect
     
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  3. luvvwl

    luvvwl Mouseketeer

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    Hmpf!!! I see how this is going to go!!!

    WHO was it, I might ask, that actually WENT to the DCL website, researched AND booked this cruise????

    Hmmmmm??????

    And.

    Are you packed yet???????
     
  4. luvvwl

    luvvwl Mouseketeer

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    PS~

    for future reference, let's just refer to me as the love of your life, shall we??

    And.

    PPS~

    I sooo did remember my password, Mr. Smartie Pants, so there!!!
     
  5. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    You guys are pretty cute in your banter.

    Hope you have a fantastic voyage and smooth seas :boat:
     
  6. sleepydog25

    sleepydog25 Been here awhile

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    The Architect
    Right up front let me say it was my DS. . .umm, "love of my life" who was the main engine pushing this train. When I said that I thought it would be fun getaway, what I meant to say was she was convinced we should go from the beginning, and that I finally agreed that it would, indeed, be fun to give it a whirl. I figured if I was robbing banks to finance the cruise, what was one more? It's not as if most banks I know actually would miss the money. . .but, wait, I digress.

    Nope, she was the driving force (behind the trip, not the bank jobs), and I give her full credit. She did the research while I provided my best support.
    "Babe, do you have to pay in full to start?"
    "I dunno."
    "Do you think Palo and Remy will be hard to get?"
    "Maybe."
    "Will we need to pack one of those shoe storage thingies?"
    "Ummmmm. . ."
    Yeah. I was great help. It's part of my charm. pirate: Then again, I can pretty much figure out what I want to eat the first, maybe second time I see a menu. I needn't revisit said dining rotation eleventy times, just sayin'. But. That's part of her charm. ;)

    Fast forward to this week. She's packed. I'm not. . .well, I wasn't until tonight. . .we leave tomorrow in order to spend a day at the World. I mean, you can't drive that far, be that close to Disney, and NOT go, right? But, that created a whole other manner of thinking. . .not only do you have to pack clothes to dine on board the Dream (including Palo and Remy), but also keep something in a separate bag to wear to eat at AP Saturday. And more stuff to wear in the park, but can't be packed in the main suitcase since they're being hermetically sealed and sent via Brinks Armored. So, I have to come up with something like kazillion pieces of my ensemble. . .who am I kidding? I don't even have ensembles. I tossed together some coats, ties, slacks, shirts, and shoes in a pile, threw them up in the air, and whatever pieces landed next to each other, those are my threads for a given night (be looking for the tall guy in a plaid shirt, striped pants, a jacket with leather patches on his elbows, oh, and orange socks). Yep, that's part of my charm. What's that? Oh. DSloveofmylifepartner says it's actually part of my anti-charm. :angel:

    Where was I? Oh, yes. Her packing. Done. Last month. It was thought out before all the snow melted this past winter. She is nothing if not thorough. Organized. Determined. And did I mention she was packed last month? And charming. Very, very charming. (Yup, that could be a code word.) :love: We are done. Ready to roll. Ready to drive the most scenic highway in the U.S., the I-95 corridor. Watch out, Smokey, we know where your speed traps are, and we'll slip right through like milk spilling from Austin Power's teeth. Florida, here we come. . .

    The Tempest
    You don't have to be a Shakespeare fan to know that as I type, Tropical Storm Maria is bearing down on the Bahamas. Now, two days ago, she looked as though she might swerve north like Katia. Today? Not so much. I'm addicted to the National Hurricane Center website--with one click I can be all giddy or as has been the case today, gnash my teeth and curse the great Triton. Just call me a NH Centerian--"What's that, babe? No, I'm not a centenarian. . .you can stop laughing now. No, really, catch your breath before you hyperventilate." Anyhoo. The brain trust at the center (funny, no one ever says the brain trust in Congress--wonder why?) now says Maria will be whomping the Bahamas by Tuesday evening. There's only one thing to do: panic!!

    Okay, we won't. We decided some time ago (I think it was maybe noon today) that even if the Dream runs like a little girl trying to escape the clutches of her pesky smaller, spoiled brother, we'll have fun. We can drink. We can eat. We do both very well. And, we'll have our ensembles. What more can one ask? Rain, schmain, and a possible hurricane? Look out, here we come.

    The Friday Before the Saturday before the Cruise (and Saturday, too)
    Okay, this is really weird, because I'm typing the day before the day I'm speaking of. So, it's sort of sci-fi, future-geek stuff. . .time travel 'cause I'm forecasting what will happen before it actually occurs. Cool, huh? This much I know. The drive will be long, but split into two days since we won't leave before tomorrow afternoon, and we'll stop about 11 p.m. only a few hours from Orlando. Saturday (wow! see how quickly we fast-forwarded?) we'll get to VWL, check-in as much as possible, then hit MK all day, eat at AP, then DHS (yes, it IS called DHS, babe) until they run us off (which could be sooner rather than later).

    Then Comes Sunday
    Some Mickey waffles, Starbucks, a short drive, and then we board our dream. Yeah, I know it's called THE Dream, but this time around it will be our dream. Something we've wanted for quite some time. Thanks to her charms. We'll write more then, details even. Til then, Bon Voyagee! as Bugs would say. . .pirate:
     
  7. luvvwl

    luvvwl Mouseketeer

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    My packing was NOT done a month ago and you know it, lol! It was done a week ago, I'll grant you that.

    Unlike some people I know. :rolleyes1

    And.

    I WAS planning outfits over the winter, but hey, a girl's gotta plan what she's going to wear so she can get cute new outfits, right??

    Curtis (our car affectionately, ok maybe lustfully named after that hot chef, Curtis Stone - all you girls know EXACTLY who that is, I'm sure!) has had his spa day. All shiny new again and looking F-I-N-E. Like his namesake. :teeth: Check.

    Bags are packed. Check, check.

    Goodbyes are said - to our kitties, MaxieIamJustaDoginaCatSuit and IHaveTooManyNamestoAnswertoAnyofThemBesidesWhichIamaCatNotaDoginaCatSuit and the two frogs, affectionately known as Sam 'N Ella. Check, check, check.

    Oh, and I'm still waffling between packing an umbrella and a bikini, lolol. But. At least it'll be a warm rain, right??

    We'll be checking into our Home Away From Homes, VWL and having dinner at our most favorite restaurant ever, Artist Point.

    Check for us here wwwdotportcanaveralwebcamdotcom around 5pm on Sunday and maybe you'll see us waving goodbye!!!
     
  8. sleepydog25

    sleepydog25 Been here awhile

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    We walked off the Dream at 7:40 this morning and are now chilling (literally) back in the mountains of Virginia--it's 55F! It was a superb cruise, and we'll begin filling you in on each day soon. Til then, if you have any specific questions (it was a 4-night cruise that included both Palo AND Remy), feel free to ask! :thumbsup2
     
  9. genmasjoy

    genmasjoy Mouseketeer

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    Looking forward to hearing more. I couldn't talk DH into trying Remy for our last cruise but maybe the next time.
     
  10. sleepydog25

    sleepydog25 Been here awhile

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    You should walk up to your hubby and thwack him in the back of the head a la Gibbs to Tony in NCIS. . .;)
     
  11. sleepydog25

    sleepydog25 Been here awhile

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    A Little Schmain but No Hurricane
    Before I go any further, let me catch you up on one minor detail. First, there was no Maria, either hurricane or tropical storm. Magically (dare I say pixie-dustishly?), she began projecting a northward turn and did just that, bless her pea-pickin' little heart. We found out this little nugget watching the Weather Channel Friday night in a Brunswick, GA, La Quinta Inn. We drove about 7 hours to get into Brunswick after I got off work Friday afternoon of the 9th--that way we were prepositioned for our triumphant entry into the Kingdom by mid-morning on Saturday. And as visions of sugar plums danced in our heads. . .wait, wrong holiday. . .and as visions of MK and VWL pranced in our noggins, we saw the sought after news saga that Maria had opted to take a sharp right turn. Ecstatic is a word that comes to mind upon seeing that report, and we have video to prove it!


    For those who might traverse that oh-so-lovely stretch of I-95 from SC, through GA, into FL, let me say that there are worse places to stay than the La Quinta in Brunswick. They have a nearby IHOP, Cracker Barrel, Waffle House if that's what your budget needs, and best of all, a Starbucks. Oh, yes, we've mapped out all the Starbucks between the mountains of VA and Jacksonville. Priorities! By 7:40 on Saturday morning, we were up, the car loaded, and a hot triple tall latte' with one raw sugar was gracing my hand and tickling my tummy.

    We rolled through the archway at the Wilderness Lodge at 10:30, strains of "Quigley Down Under," "Silverado," and various Aaron Copland compositions floating through our sound system. We pulled up to the main lobby to drop off our bags since we knew the room wouldn't be ready.

    Let me say right now that the CMs we encountered during our entire, albeit brief, stay and play at the World were as friendly, helpful, and genuine as I've seen in years. There seemed to be a new air about most of the CMs--they made us feel quite special and welcomed, reminiscent of years gone by. Perhaps we caught them on a good two-day cycle, or we were predisposed to like them what with a cruise on deck (get it? on deck?). Regardless, the customer service was memorable.

    Our room, as suspected wasn't ready, but they did say we had our request--a 2BR suite with a courtyard view. We strolled the lobby and grounds for a time, took a few pics, and soaked in our "home." We even took the time to attend a Love Bug Wrestling Referee Camp as they were numerous. . .the bugs not the referees.


    The Pre-Cruise
    As previously mentioned, one of the two of us couldn't just go on a cruise, but rather had to enjoy a day at Disney first before taking in her first sailing. I thought such a move would drive me crazier than the hunchback's bells, but it wound up being a special touch. We felt relaxed, took time to relish the relative quiet and low crowds (as low as I've ever seen), and hit our faves at both MK and DHS (which had evening EMH): Space Mtn, BTMR, Haunted Mansion, Tea Cups, POTC, Buzz, RnR, TOT, and Star Tours.

    In between the two parks, we made it into our room (spotless) then dined at AP, one of the truly meaningful places for us both. Our last two dinners at AP, while still good, had been marred by less than inspiring service--one night we had a server who just wouldn't shut up and the second time we had one who almost saw us as an afterthought. However, this night, this lovely, romantic night, reinforced why we love AP. The smoky portobello soup remained sublime, and both the buffalo and the halibut were expertly done, while the service was back to being exceptional. Our faith was restored.

    All that was left to do entailed one thing: sleep! We're such partiers. We did yet another brief check of Maria (she was gonna head north almost certainly), lingered hand-in-hand along the wooden boardwalk between the main lodge and the villas, and thanked our lucky stars for the good fortune that we not only were on a much-needed vacation but with each other. The trip was off to a momentous start. . .:thumbsup2

    Coming up: OHMYGODIT'STHEDREAM!
     
  12. luvvwl

    luvvwl Mouseketeer

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  13. luvvwl

    luvvwl Mouseketeer

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  14. luvvwl

    luvvwl Mouseketeer

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  15. luvvwl

    luvvwl Mouseketeer

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    posts to
     
  16. luvvwl

    luvvwl Mouseketeer

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    link to
     
  17. luvvwl

    luvvwl Mouseketeer

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    pics and video's
     
  18. luvvwl

    luvvwl Mouseketeer

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO4XIvw2QCE

    Or, as I refer to it, a "FATTY" for you. :lmao: And. A SKINNY for me. We OBVIOUSLY can see who's the "Skinny" of this duo.:rotfl2:

    [​IMG]

    Is this really going to be filled with corny jokes???

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It really WAS buggy. When we pulled up to the the hotel we noticed a little extra baggage - a bug cemetery on the front end of the car!!

    I told you so!

    :cloud9:
     
  19. sleepydog25

    sleepydog25 Been here awhile

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    OHMYGODIT'STHEDREAM!

    One of the quality customer service touches we found on our brief stay at WDW happened when we first drove up to the main entrance to the WL. We pulled off to the side, grabbed two suitcases (one with a half case of wine for the cruise!), and as we walked up were greeted by a woman who called us by name and escorted us into the lobby then over to the check-in desk. What a simple, but memorable, touch that was! But, I digress. . .

    We got up early Sunday morning, grabbed some Mickey waffles at RF (they were good!), loaded up the car, stopped by SOG for some Starbucks, then headed toward Port Canaveral. Our plan was to get there around 10:30 as that was our original check-in time before the new system was put in place. The drive was punctuated by the occasional yelp ("Port Canaveral, 30 miles!!") from my navigator, aka "love of my life," and drama-free. . .well, if you don't count having to outrun the DCL bus--"Pass them! PASS THEM! We have to beat them there!!" That bus was moving, let me tell you, but we passed them with about 20 miles to go and left them in our figurative dust. As we crossed over one of the bridges right before getting to Port Canaveral, I was momentarily rendered deaf: "OHMYGODIT'STHEDREAM!!!!!" There, in all her shining glory was the ship waiting to take us on our first cruise together. I gotta admit it gave me goosebumps.

    We arrived at DCL parking garage around 10:45 (tip: though the directions on the documents from DCL says to take the Terminal A turn, it's actually Terminal 8), dropped our bags on the ground level (the baggage guy said not-so-subtley, "you won't see us again so this is your time to tip" which I interpreted as "if you don't tip me, you'll never see your bags again!"), then drove to the third floor of the garage where the walkway is located. We sailed through the checkpoint at the head of the walkway despite the drool on my DSO's clothing.
    "Sir, is she okay?" queried the cast member checking passports.
    "Yes, she just does that occasionally when faced with a new Disney experience. If you speak directly to her, she'll respond," I answered jovially.

    I attempted to photograph and video strolling down the walkway with the Dream as a lovely backdrop, but I was bombarded with, "Will you COME ON!?" I managed a couple of shots before entering the bag scan zone where the agents commented, "Planning to party a little bit?" when they saw the wine. The other agent saw the drooling on "love of my life" and dryly remarked, "I can see it's already started. You're free to go, sir."

    We immediately got in line at the Castaway Club, and within two minutes, we were talking to a check-in CM. Five minutes after that, we had our boarding pass number--3--and got in line to take a picture with Captain Mickey. . .only we never made it. The line was long, and at 11:30 they started loading. We got up to within six people of the head of the line when they called our boarding number; unfortunately, those six people all had six degrees of family join them and we figured it would be another hour before we actually got to have our photo taken, so we opted to board instead. And we did so without any regret. :thumbsup2

    Coming up: The Dream Has Arrived
     
  20. luvvwl

    luvvwl Mouseketeer

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    It really was exceptional service. As much as I love VWL and for as many times as we've been there, I've never felt more "Welcome(d) Home."

    Mmmm!!!! Chocolate chip Mickey waffles!!! And Starbucks. Of course!!

    So I may have been a tad bit excited. A smidge. Maybe. Just a little. And. There was NO WAY that bus load of cruisers was getting in line before we did, lolol!!!

    [​IMG]

    Ha Ha. So VERY funny. NOT!!!

    I think we might have already established that I was a wee bit excited. And. Again with the funny?? Not funny before, not funny now. For future reference.

    I can't believe how quick and easy it was!! Literally 2 minutes in line and bang! We're done. The longest wait really was for our picture with Captain Mickey. Which we never did get. But I get that everyone's on vacation and they all want their pictures in every way, shape and form possible. After all, you only get one chance, really. So. I didn't mind. Besides. I think it's firmly well established by now that I was anxious to hit the road, uh, seas, lolol!!!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  21. shoppgirl

    shoppgirl DIS Veteran

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    This happened to us too!!! :rotfl2: When DH dropped me and the girls off with the bags, the guy said to DH "this is the last time you will see me or your bags" or something to that effect and that we should tip him now!!! Then DH turns to me and says, "hey can you tip him for me?" as he gets into the car!!!!!!! He must say it to everyone! That's so hilarious. I also felt that if I didn't give him a tip, I wouldn't see my bags again either! :lmao:

    Great trip report so far!
     

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