Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by nenner1, Oct 2, 2011.
Wow!!! Awesome day!
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Wow St. Maarten looks beautiful! Good job on the sandcastle Sarah!
Don't be too sad about our camera... It came back from the dead a few weeks later. The lens doesn't run as smooth as it once did, but it still takes good photos. That still didn't stop us from using a big chunk of our tax return this year on Jen's new toy.
Can't wait to do Capt Alan's again!!! I'm pretty sure we'll do it on this year's cruise.
It was great to see Savannah finally got her Zip on, and that she enjoyed it so much!
Love to see little Sarah golfing.
Too bad Chops didn't blow you away. That's how we felt about our Palo dinner. We felt like quality-wise we could do just as well in the DR, and they don't even offer filet anymore - tenderloin was the "prime cut" and you can get that on the regular menu. I still want to try the brunch, but Jim wants to skip Palo next time.
The comedy looks good! The Phil Tag video made me LOL! -
I see you've posted another update, so I'm off to read that one! Wow - when you update, you are serious!!!
WOW nenner1! I can't believe your thread is still going!
We've come and gone on our Thanksgiving Oasis cruise a looooong time ago!
About a month ago we decided to book a cruise for our Spring Break week this March from the university we work at. We've already done the Oasis so it was between 7 nights on the Allure (we live very close to the Fort Lauderdale port), or 5 nights on the Dream with a double dip to Castaway Cay.
We only looked at inside cabins and the Allure was actually about $200 less than the Dream (virtual porthole!). Soooooooo, we decided on the Dream, with 2 nights prior at Pop Century with our APs. It was a big decision, but after some disappointing things on the Oasis I could not talk my dh into the Allure. Maybe next time, I'd love to to both of the big ones.
We've been on the Dream before but it was only for 3 nights and that was not enough time. So I am looking forward to this one on the Dream for 5 nights. We have the Fantasy (7 nights!) booked for next Thanksgiving!
Wow! I just found your TR and read through the hole thing.... so much for work
As you can probably imagine I am about to go check out prices and dates etc... I will always love Disney... but now and then I might be able to venture elsewhere....
Thank you so much for your terrific trip report. The detail and the photos (not to mention your great sense of humour) make it a most enjoyable read.
I must say I'm a bit overwhelmed by the size of the ship, the huge variety of restaurants and places to go. Did you feel like you were in sensory overload when you were on it? Did you ever feel like you could really relax?
One of the things I like about the DCL classic ships is they're manageable -- easy to get around, not horribly crowded, and of course you don't need to book for shows. The idea of cruising with 6,000 people is a bit intimidating.
I'd also love to know how it all squared financially, given that you had to pay for drinks (when you couldn't score that free ice tea!) and the meals in the specialty restaurants.
I think I would've been sick on that boat ride....
And then crying if my camera got ruined......really crying.
Just found this thread and I am thoroughly enjoying it. It's more informative than anything I've read. My husband and I are hoping to cruise with our kids in Aug. 2013 to celebrate our **th birthdays. We've only cruised once before on the Wonder in 2006. We are really torn between RCI and DCL. Thanks so much for this. It's really helping. Can't wait to read about the rest of the trip. BTW, did you notice any dolphin swim excursions. Our daughter is dying to swim with dolphins. I know Atlantis has one, but if Allure is only in port for half a day, is that enough time?
Wow awesome trip report! I found this yesterday and have read the whole thing! Thanks for all the great details. My Dh and I are planning our 10 year wedding anniversary for next year and we are considering a cruise. Do you think this would be a good one for an adults only trip? It seems like there is plenty of "adult" things to do. THanks for any input! : )
After a wonderful day in St. Maarten, somebody was pooped!
Plans for this evening were to hit up Family Karaoke, which was listed in the compass, get the kids some dinner and then head to our dinner reservation at Giovannis Table. The kids requested pizza from Sorrentos (again!) so we thought wed grab that and eat while we enjoyed a little bit of Karaoke. Once we hit On Air and waited a little while, it became obvious with the lack of kids in the bar that there really was to be no Family Karaoke this evening.
Ron went and asked the bartender and they knew nothing of it, so they told us it must have been a misprint. Big bummer, we had not had a chance to do Karaoke yet, and the kids were really looking forward to it. It was right about this time that we realized Sarahs stuffed Minnie Mouse toy was missing. We discussed at length whether we had even brought in onboard or not, where it might have been left, and Brendan said he thought she had brought it to dinner the other night in the MDR. We thought about it and realized he had to have been right. After a thorough search of both rooms, we realized we would have to go to Guest Services to see if Minnie had been found.
We got the kids happily settled in the kids clubs again, and headed back down to Deck 5 to Guest Services. We described Minnie for the clerk behind the counter and she departed to go check the lost and found area. We joked amongst ourselves about the episode of Extreme Cruise ships on Oasis and the missing teddy bear that is waiting to get reunited with its owner. We wondered if that would be us that got the red flashing light and the big buzzer at disembarkation to be told we could not leave without picking up our poor lost Minnie Mouse
(If you have not seen the Extreme Cruise Ship program, it is on occasionally on the Planet Green network or TLC- It is a really informative look on behind the scenes of disembarkation/embarkation day aboard Allure's sister ship, Oasis of the Seas- check out the snak peek to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9d2w_S-sSI
Thankfully we did not have to worry about it long, as the clerk came right back out with Sarahs Minnie Mouse! We had to fill out a book and leave a description of the item just in case someone else would try to claim the same thing. Whew. Potential crisis averted.
We had plenty of time before our Giovannis reservation and upon reaching Central Park, while still in the forward elevator bank; we noticed an interior catwalk that overlooked the park, with two outdoor overlooks, one port, and one starboard. We headed up to Deck 9 to check out this area. I had never read or seen pictures of this picturesque overlook, so I dont know if it has been mentioned here or not. It is a quite tranquil spot- especially at night- and is great for pictures
..you have a better camera. (lol)
This is taken from the middle of the catwalk inside (you can kind of see the glare from the glass)
And this from the port side overlook:
Here is the door you go through to get outside:
And the catwalk!
How gorgeous is Central Park at night???
There was a live strings trio playing, and the music really added to the tranquility of the atmosphere. Here is a short video showing how lovely it really is:
(Video-click picture to play)
This evening our dinner reservations are in Central Park at Giovann's Table - an Italian family Style restaurant.
Giovanni's as it appears during the day (it is also open for lunch):
And in the evening, basking in the intimate glo of the Central Park illumination:
We arrived at Giovannis shortly before our reservation time of 8PM. The restaurant was busy but not quite as bad as Chops the night before. Right away we saw the seating situation was very similar to Chops with the very tight tables that had one booth seat and one chair. Right away we asked if we could be seated at a more isolated table. Its a good thing because the hostess then said she would see what she could do and had us wait a moment.
The interior if Giovanni's is warm and inviting. Giovanni's is currently only found on Oasis and Allure. It is more casual than the Italian Specialty restaurant on the other RCCL ships- Portofino. It is also more casual than Palo on DCL. We absolutely love Palo- so I as curious to see if Giovanni's could measure up.
As you can see decor is more along the lines of Olive Garden or Carabbas. Int he evening by candlelight though, it is a friendly and intimate atmosphere.
As we waited we observed the amazing looking dessert table: chocolate torte, cannoli, tiramisu, and zuppa inglese. Mmmmmm!
After a few minutes she came back and led us to a somewhat isolated 2-top table. As we were being seated we were informed our server was away at the moment but would be with us as soon as possible. I immediately thought, uh-oh
what did we get ourselves into by asking for this table but we would soon find out it was all good.
Our server did indeed come to greet us shortly. He was excellent- very personable and knowledgeable. As it turns out the party of two across the aisle from us (a decent distance of 3-4 feet, btw) was also just seated so he often addressed both tables at once to avoid having to do a spiel twice. That was absolutely fine with us. I wish we had noted his name to mention on the survey- the other couple actually asked him too and also asked for the manager to praise his service. I remembered it at the time but couldnt for the life of me recall when I filled out the survey. And so, tonights meal was already off to a much better start.
So, we were presented with menus and asked for our drink orders. I had no problems getting iced tea in Chops the evening before, so I was surprised when I asked for it tonight that Giovannis actually did not have iced tea. Of course our amazing waiter said not to worry- that he would find me some. Awesome!
We started out with bread service, a crispy white country loaf with olive oil, vinaigrette, freshly ground pepper and fresh grated parmesan cheese. Our server had this neat little thumb pepper press bullet that he would just push the top of with his thumb and express fresh ground pepper! Neat!
Olive Oil/Vinaigrette/Parmesan dip:
Here is the menu at Giovannis (courtesy of Beyondships.com, I couldnt get a good pic with my new camera) Please note this menu is from earlier last year and is slightly different than the one we had. Im not sure if the changes are seasonal or permanent, but I will note the things we found to be different.
As an appetizer, we selected the Antipasti per Due, mainly to get some of the amazing looking fresh sliced prosciutto, which you can see prepared by this interesting contraption:
M...G it was SO GOOD! It melted in our mouths! So delish! We could have eaten a huge mound of it. In fact we could care less about the rest of the plate; the salami, gambonzola cheese, artichokes, zucchini, sardines
.no it was the fantastic prosciutto that our forks were sparring over.
Now Ron and I have similar tastes in a lot of food, and so we often tend to order the same dish when in restaurants. Sorry about the lack of variety, but we did the same thing here at Giovannis. We both elected to have a pasta course as well as an entrée. Our amazing waiter whose name I wish I had gotten assured us the pasta courses are not entrée-sized. We were concerned about having too much food but I can assure you this evening we had room for dessert. Not sure if the portions are a tad smaller, or if it was just that good but we had no problems polishing everything off.
Having been reassured the pasta course would not gorge us, we both ordered the Risotto I Fungi- (it may have had other weird Italian words in the title) but basically it was mushroom risotto, and it was AMAZING mushroom risotto! Thick, perfectly al dente, rich, earthy, creamy truffle undertones, fresh parmesan and blanched asparagus on top. Wow. Just sinful. Note that this risotto is not listed in the menu above, they must have switched it out with the Risotto al Pomodoro.
This was just sooo good. I could have eaten a TON of it!!
Mr. Awesome McAwesomely our server took this picture of us between courses. It was so nice to just sit back and relax during our meal, as opposed to being rushed the night before. We actually held Headliner reservations for 10:30 but already knew wed be blowing them off. We were just too tired and the headliner show wasnt really to our taste (it was signer Tony Tillman who does a lot of Rat Pack and Big Band songs, not really our cup of tea).
It wasnt long before our entrées had arrived: the Flietto di Manzo alla Griglia, Patate Fritte All Olio Agliato, Salsa a Barolo o Burro di Gorgonzola. Translation: Filet of Beef tenderloin (8oz) grilled with garlic fries and served with choice of Barolo reduction or gorgonzola butter:
The steaks were juicy, tender and cooked to perfection. Not as dramatically thick as the ones from Chops but it had much more flavor. We both chose the gorgonzola butter- Ron though it was a bit too heavy but I LOVED it! Rich, creamy, succulent and the perfect accompaniment! The garlic fries were pretty good too. I dont care too much for steak fries personally but they werent greasy and had good flavor. Ron said the broccoli was fine but I dont care much for broccoli so I didnt eat it. (Saving room for dessert
umm, yeah, thats my excuse!)
It didnt take us too long to eat our steaks and you can bet we were ready for the delicious desserts.
I was torn. I love anything chocolate, and that torte looked fabulous, but I also love tiramisu and had read Giovannis was terrific. I had also read good things about the cannoli- so I chose the hazelnut cannoli and tiramisu. Ron just had the tiramisu.
The verdict: yeah, as good as it looks. The tiramisu was wicked good. Best ever? Maybe. I thought the serving size was too small. The cannoli was superb as well- crunchy, crisp yet flaky shell, and decadent creamy filling. Wasnt overly chocolate, and the rich hazelnut flavor was delectable.
Overall just a fantastic dinner. We loved that the atmosphere was laid back and appealing, more comfortable than the slightly stuffy counterpart on other ships, Portofino.
Literally on the way out of the restaurant, our AO phone rang. Ron didnt even recognize it was ours at first, even though it was in his pocket. Turns out Sarah had a potty accident. She had waited too long to go and just missed making it up on the potty before letting loose. We headed right up to get her, fearing she would be banned from the club, but those fears were unnecessary. The club staff handled it really well; they had already given her a change of clothes (little AO shorts) and placed her wet clothing in a Ziploc bag. There was no trouble at all, it was handled very well by the staff- happens all the time they said. We stopped by to check out the older kids- under much protest. Not surprisingly though, they were more tired than they had liked to admit. They fell asleep rather quickly, and so did we!
Up next: Because Im All Alone
You should, it's such great fun! We plan on doing it a third time on our Fantasy Eastern this September!
Thank you! I am glad too that we found something to carry us through the rest of the cruise! Teh rest of the TR just wouldn't have been the same without pics!
Yes it was, I wish I were back there RIGHT NOW!!!
Aww, thank you, she sure had fun!
Yes, I thought we were already set on those plans.
Oh yeah she did! Now, to get them on the one at Labadee.....(after how difficlut it was to get her on Rock N Roller Coaster that plan may be a bit too ambitious! HAHA!
Yep, she had her unique style of game going on. She kept trying to go on the regular mini course to steal people's balls! Crazy kid!
That is such a bummer- true though. We will still go to Palo- of only to get a meal alone. Hee hee. Of course Sav will be in the Vibe with Brendan this time and I have a feeling we'll have trouble getting them out of there, so maybe we could have meals to ourselves int he dining room anyway!
Yeah, I really need to get back on track. I'm trying to keep it going steadily although we have a seriously busy couple of dance weeks ahead!
I can't either! LOL!!!
Oh my gosh...it doesn't seem like that long ago!
That's awesome! So excing you get to cruise again so soon! (Ok I am totally eating a Peanut Butter and Jealous sandwich!) Sorry. I just HAD to use that one!
That will be great- you are so right about 3 nights not being enough! Sounds like a year of amazing cruising- I hope I will get my Fantasy TR going a little bit faster next year. Maybe it will be half done before you go on your Turkey cruise?!?! LOL. Another one of my friends is going on the Fantasy onThanksgiving- Beth (Tinkerbelltwins). They are a fun family, we cruised together last Halloween!
Work?!?!? Work? Pshaw!
It's OK to cheat, I promise. So glad you are enjoying the read!
Well thank you for reading, so glad you like it!!!
Not really. I was pretty prepared, had studies the deck plans, pics, TR's ao i knew what to expecr from end to end so it didn't overwhelm me- at least not in a bad way. Sometimes I would look around and just totally be in awe of that amazing floating city!
i did- you will enjoy the next part of my TR- we spent that whole morning of Day 6 just chilling- and so many areas of the ship were so empty you would not believe it- (but I have pics to prove it!) LOL!
Oh it can be- The great part is on this ship, you'd never really realize you are in the midst of so many folks. Sure there are busy areas from time to time (parades, parties on the Promenade, sometimes Park Cafe or Windjammer) but nothing seemed proportionally crazier than any other cruise ship, or Disney World- or well, I guess that is busier! Haha!
As far as getting around the ship, I had it down pretty much before we got onboard but the layout was pretty similar to other RCCL ships- MDR to the aft (rear) of the ship, and Theater to the front- actually it's also similar to DCL int hat regard!
I think I mentioned it earlier in the report but the final bill aboard Allure was the cheapest one we've ever had. I don't remember where it is posted anymore so I can't quote you the exact amount but I believe it was around $480. That was exclusively onboard spending- restaurants, drinks, etc- no tips are included in that since we had to prepay them (well we did leave additional tips at the specialties but I mean that amount did not include the regular gratuities). We brought aboard sodas and that helped keep the drink costs down and there were a couple of times I had to brew my own tea when i couldn't find any around LOL- but we really did not restrain ourselves purchase wise. We didn't buy many pictures but we also didn't wait in the picture lines often so we didn't have too many to choose from and that helped keep a normally large expenditure in check.
You're welcome- thanks so much for reading- there is some good stuff still to come, check it out- especially about the crowds!
Its funny, I was sick the day before on the slow whomp, whomp, upppppp, downnnnnn, sailboat, but the crazy boom!boom!boom! bouncy speedboat I was fine!
Yeah, I will definitely NOT be bringing my new Rebel on that excursion. The Coolpix in a DicAPac waterproof case will have to do!
Thanks so much! I'm so glad you are enjoying it!
LOL at the **! I hear ya on that!
Well, it's almost a full day now- they arrive at about 7 AM and leave at 3PM now- so it should be plenty of time. Yes, Atlantis does have the Dolphin encounter and swims available, and I think the Blue Lagoon Island Dolphin encounter was also one of the options they offer. (yes, they do- you can see the options and prices HERE)
If you want to read about our experience on Blue Lagoon Island back the dark ages (2007!), check out the link to my very first and oldest TR in my signature. ( Long Story short- we loved it!)
Hope that helps- let me know if you have any other questions!
Thanks so much for reading! So glad you like it!!
Oh Absolutely! I think it would be a terrific choice for an adult experience! There are kids onboard- depending on the time of year, some times moreso than other times- but there are so many adult areas- it's easy to escape the madness when you want to relax! There is the Adult Solarium, Adult only parties int eh evening, many bars and lounges of many different styles- from the elegant Viking Crown to the charming British Style Pub- the the Latin Boleros- to the younger skewing Blaze dance club- and many many more- plenty of restaurants- the Spa that I never even got to...LOL! I think it's perfect! Feel free to ask if you have an y specific questions I can help you with, and Happy Anniversary!
Alright guys, I have to run for now, costumes are calling my name. Enjoy the new update!
Having fun reading your TR..
Giovanni's looks really good. Mike and I also tend to order the same things in restaurant. I don't know if that's because we have been together for so long or because we are the most boring couple ever!
Little Sarah asleep sitting up on the couch is adorable.
Fantastic update! Giovanni's sounds wonderful (and how awesome you had a much better table and much better server for this dinner). And how cool is that cat walk? Good eye in spotting that!
What a bummer about the karaoke. Keeping my fingers crossed there was at least one other chance to squeeze that in for the kiddos!
That food looks great! I am now officially starving.
Giovanni's looks great, except for all the close tables. Seems like the menu is alot like Palo's, with a more comfortable atmosphere. Glad you enjoyed it!
This is a fantastic TR!! How fun to see all the great things you got to experience on your cruise!
I'm looking forward to reading it!
I've seen Tinkerbelltwins over on the Turnkey Cruise thread. I'll have to say hi to her.
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