I originally posted this on our 9/29-ers board, (with some minor editing to add some details), but am putting it here also for those who like to read trip reports. (Like me) Who we are: Me- 32 DH- 32 (Joe) DD- 2 We went with DH's parents. (Originally, BIL and SIL were supposed to go, but as they live next to WTC in NYC, they had to cancel) We are back. We got in about midnight last night. We spent the last several days at AKL. Let me tell you, DO NOT GO TO THE PARKS AFTER THE CRUISE. First, we were pooped!!! Second, all other CMs seem almost rude in their service compared to the CMs on the boat. We are doing laundry. DD fell asleep on the living room floor this afternoon. It was so great to meet all of you (9/29-ers). I LOVED being able to walk through a hallway or go into the dining room and see people we know. How nice that was! Just like Peagreen said, like seeing friends, like home. I loved running into everyone, and then getting to have lunch with Peagreen and DH. We hardly saw Lynette, and met Inga only that time in the club with everyone! We saw everyone else a lot. What a great opportunity these boards have provided us, to get to know one another! We had Salvatore for Brunch and dinner and then DH's parents had him for their brunch. What we discovered at our brunch, which was first, was that he and his brother Marco are from the next town over from where Joe's parents are from in Sicily. So, he and Joe, and then he and my in-laws spoke to each other in Sicilian the whole time. They shared inside jokes and idioms. They knew the same places and some of the same people. THey laughed and laughed. I ejoyed just watching all of them interact!!! Let me just say that Salvatore got quite the tip from our table each time! We also loved Christophe, head server in Palo's. We saw him everywhere when we were off the ship and we would always say hello! How funny the 9/22-ers were who kept bumping us up! They made me laugh so hard! Did everyone know, I am sure Peagreen told you... that the Pres of DCL (Matt) and CFO and Architect were on board. They were in the Palo room with plans for Boat #3 when we were having brunch. The would not come out for a picture though. They felt bad, but didn't want to risk us getting the plans in the photo, etc. We met Donna at the end of the cruise and met Cathy Canada while playing Disney trivia. I LOVED the staff. I loved getting to know them and them caring to know us. I loved our servers!!! I had them sign a menu on the last night of the cruise. What sweet things they wrote. We weren't that impressed with our room hostess. But when it asked on the comment card if we wanted to mention any CM by name for their good service, we gave a list....our servers were underlined and highlighted, then Maria Ellen from Shutters, and the Flounders Reef staff, Tamer, Anita, Pietro, Salvatore, Pietro, Marco, Christophe, Any one have anyone they thought made their trip special? My only negative comment on the card was that there were no excursions that were beach or snorkeling related that we could take Annabelle with us. When we go to Hawaii, she goes eveyrwhere with us. We have a life jacket we take, and she is game to go along. but there were none that we could do on either STM or STT. So, we went to the beach by ourselves. If we travel without the in-laws, we would spend the whole day at Magaens Bay in STM, and totally skip shopping!!! I did not belive that there were 2000 people on board. We saw the same people every where we went. Then, when we all filed off the boat at Castaway Cay, I KNEW there were 2000 people on board! When we got to the parks, I noticed a few small things that I missed VERY MUCH. I had to put my own napkin in my lap!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? And I had to get my own coffee. WHERE WAS GIORGIO? Waiting on other people I am sure. Our BIL and SIL cancelled the Friday before. I just assumed that that would leave our two branches sitting at a table with four empty chairs. BUT NO. We were sat at an eight top with a set of grandparents who were traveling with their grandson. OHMAGOD They were horrendous. They would make the servers take their food back three or four times. By the end of the cruise, no matter what she ordered, Sunny (server) brought her three versions of it just in hopes of her liking one of them, and then throwing the other two out. She NEVER said please or thank you. The grandson was a TERROR. I kept distracting Annabelle so she wouldn't pick up any bad habits. The grandfather was mean. The grandmother was a wicked, bitter woman. And thenwhen the photographer would some by, she took off her glasses, propped her head on her folded hands and grinned ear to ear. I don't know how I would avoid the situation in the future. The good part was that the servers had to work extra hard to please her, yet they still gave us all the attention in the world. It never detracted from our service. Every morning at 9 am, Anita from the spa would lead a mile walk around the deck. I went on Thursday. I was the only person. it was so great to chat with her, by myself for a whole mile. She said 30 people showed the first day, but since then it dwindled, and now it was just me. It was one of my favorite times. I told some of you this...but will tell the rest. On each of our four flights, we made a card for each flight crew. We took GBG's wording, and made a thank you card. On the first flight out, each Flight attendant came up to us to thank us, most with tears in their eyes. Then the pilot himself went to find our stroller that we gave them. Then the connecting flight, the pilot thanked us for our note over the loud speaker during the opening annoucements. Then going out, the flight attendants again stopped by our row to thank us. Tears flowed. And the pilot of that one thanked us in a special message over the loud speaker. Then on the last leg of the flight, the pilots and FAs thanked us as we got off the plane, as a group. These notes got such a warm response. And I will tell you that when they thanked us, we only said "thank YOU" back. I am so glad that we did that, and they seemed to be really touched. As a tip to the servers, I got ideas from this board for thank you notes and phone cards. So, I wrote out these Pooh thank you cards, then put their envelopes inside them with a phone card. The servers and head server seemed genuinely surprised and grateful for the cards. Then we gave a bunch to the group in Flounders Reef Nursery. I am so glad we wrote a note and so glad we gave phone cards. They were really appreciative!!!!!! We did the surial and then I got to do the Absolute Face & Body. I was not looking forward to the surial, but ended up loving it. I was MUCH less impressed with the Absolute. And when pushing the products after the Absolute, this girl kept saying "boost" in the most grating way. Maybe cause I was not that happy about the treatment, but the way she said "boost" made me tense up and want to strangle her. Donna aka Cruella was telling me that when she had dinner with the captain, she told him that she this was her fifth cruise, and that this by far was the best. He said that the two previous weeks, the guests and crew had been kind of subdued. But that when the 9/29 guests got on this boat, they were excited and it infused the crew. And he said they were more excited than he had seen them in weeks. (no offense to the 9/22-ers, this is just the story Donna told me) DH really enjoyed the convenience of the great entertainment, the fantastic food...then you just go back to your room. He loved meeting the 9/29-ers. If I could, I would eat Palos brunch more often!!! The sweet pizza, the brie, the meats and desserts...And I would do dinner more often there too! The Panne Cotta. The day they served mexican food in the buffet, I wouldn't eat it. But I did have five, count them FIVE desserts. Two vanilla flans, one chocolate flan, and two rasberry whipped cream things. YUMMY!!! I miss getting to have dessert whenever I want. Giorgio knew exactly what I liked!!!!!! Salvatore told this story, (in Sicilian) of a time he had a Japanese customer who ordered the souffle. When Sal went to use the fork to poke the big hole in the souffle, the man became outraged. He scremed and yelled in Japanese and stormed out of the restaraunt. A day or so later, the man found out what Sal was really doing. He came back to Palos, apologized and gave him a HUGE tip. They became friends again! That is it for now. If I think of anything to add, I will. I hope you enjoy reading this. I have enjoyed reading most everyone else's. I am also planning on posting my packing list. I compiled one from a bunch others had posted, so I will post mine. To future cruisers, I hope you have as wonderful a trip as we did!!!!!!!!!!! We are headed back for the Western 9/28/02. DH is booking tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!