The James Gang Lives the Fantasy

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by bobbi565, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. bobbi565

    bobbi565 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! I'm trying to get part 4 up, but suddenly Photobucket keeps crashing Explorer when I try to copy my pictures into my report. I'll get it up as soon as I can!
     
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  3. bobbi565

    bobbi565 DIS Veteran

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    I really loved our aft verandah stateroom! The views were spectacular and the verandah so spacious and comfortable. I enjoyed watching the wake of the ship cutting through the ocean…
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    …looking down at the hull art with its Dumbo statue…
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    …just hanging out!
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    After waking and spending a little time on my verandah, I decided to head back up to the comfy padded loungers in the adults area with my NOOK and camera to read and maybe get some nice sunrise pictures. In what would become a recurring theme on this cruise, the sunrise was extremely devoid of color. I was able to witness some nice golden beams of light that could have been excerpted from a Spielberg film, but none of the breathtaking bands of rose, violet, and amber that I so love. :(

    As I lounged, read, and gazed at the horizon, I became aware of a familiar face moving around by the rail. I made eye contact, and she waved and headed my way to say hello. It turned out to be luvavacation from our Meet thread and Facebook group. She settled onto the lounger next to me, and we started chatting like old friends. We spent the next hour in companionable discussion of our love of Disney, our families, and other topics culminating in an amazing story of her first Disney cruise which found her on Castaway Cay on September 11, 2001. Her recounting of how Disney handled this event was amazing! If you have a trip report here with the story, luvavacation, feel free to link to it here. :thumbsup2

    When we’d talked ourselves out and parted ways, I headed over to Cabanas for breakfast. Today’s Eggs Benedict variation was florentine…yummy! I grabbed my usual table by the rail and ate and read. When I was finished, I made a beeline to the pastry area and piled some croissants on a plate then filled up a glass of apple juice to take DS breakfast in bed. He’d discovered croissants on the Norwegian Jewel and seems to crave them on vacation since then for some reason. I threw a Mickey waffle on there for good measure, his breakfast of choice at WDW, and returned to our room.

    Both of my boys were still fast asleep, so I popped back out to my verandah to read some more. I had a nice relaxing time out there, and then I became aware of DS beginning to stir within. I popped inside and pointed out the “room service” breakfast I’d delivered, and he began to munch happily. I asked him what he wanted to do today, and he announced he wanted to try another round of the Detective Agency game. He got dressed, and we headed down to deck two to start a new game. This time we tried The Case of the Missing Puppies, a 101 Dalmations mystery. DS solved this one handily, and we headed back to our stateroom to find DH awake.

    We decided we’d go over to Cabanas for lunch, and then head up top to try some Goofy mini golf. A typical Cabanas lunch for me: a pile of steamed shrimp, some mussels, a plate of sushi, and some kind of salad. On this plate, I have a small helping of the duck and avocado salad, which was very tasty.
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    We went to deck twelve and found the line for golf. It wasn’t too terribly long and, as the holes are pretty small, it moved fast. We waited 5 – 10 minutes before we began to play. The course is really cute!
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    You have two choices: Max’s putt, the easier shot, and Goofy’s putt, the more challenging shot. These are indicated by an icon on the green for ball placement and dottted lines to suggest the trajectory of the ball.
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    We breezed through the nine holes, and speaking of “breeze”, I found myself wishing I’d brought along something with which to tie back my hair! It was so windy up there, my hair was blowing wildly. In the end, DH won with a score of 31, DS was second at 34, and I was dead last at 35.
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    After mini golf, we decided to head to the pool. DH had still not tried the Aquaduck, and DS wanted to ride with him. The boys got on line, and I found a seat near the pool. I read and waited, and eventually I spotted them zipping throught the tube in enough time to catch this shot.
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    DH was not a big fan of the Aquaduck. He was uncomfortable getting in and out of the raft, and didn’t particularly enjoy the ride. Oh well, two out of three ain’t bad! He recovered by relaxing poolside with me and a soft serve cone as DS played again in the Goofy pool, and we watched “Tangled” on Funnel Vision. After a while, DH decided to return to the room, and DS and I remained.

    After the movie ended, DS and I returned to the room. DH and I had 6:30 reservations at Palo this evening, and I wanted to start getting dressed. I planned to grab a plate of food for DS at Cabanas and drop him off at OL before DH and I went on our “date”. I had spoken to one of the counselors at Oceaneer’s when we went to the open house on embarkation day about DS’s sensory issues and his aversion to the bulky bracelet, and she was very helpful and understanding. She said we could try a looser band or putting it on his ankle instead of his wrist. She was extremely willing to work with him and us, and that made me very happy. :love:

    DH was napping when we returned to the room. DS settled in to another round of “I’m in the Band” while I jumped in the shower. As I was finishing up getting dressed and made up, DH began to stir, and he began his ablutions. I grabbed DS and planned to bring him to Cabanas, have him eat, then drop him off at the club before swinging back to the room for DH. Silly me for not checking the schedule! No buffet at Cabanas at 5:45! I figured we could get “his royal pickiness” something at Tow Mater’s grill. I was a little concerned about having to walk out onto the Lido deck with my freshly coiffed head, but a mother’s got to do what a mother’s got to do, so I forged ahead. We stepped up to the counter, and I braced myself for the inevitable, “say what?” and strange looks as I ordered a plate of french fries and a plain hot dog bun, hold the hot dog. The CM behind the counter only took a beat to stare blankly at me before preparing our plate without further question. We decided to take it back to the room where DS scarfed down his carbs with a glass of apple juice and some more “I’m in the Band”. :happytv:

    DH and I walked DS down to the check-in area at the kids’ club, and I explained the bracelet situation again, fishing it out of my purse. The young lady at the desk cut another length of strap and tried fastening it around DS’s ankle. “How’s that feel?” I asked him.
    “OK, I guess,” he replied doubtfully, but he seemed willing to give it a try, so I received my hugs and kisses and off DH and I went for “grown-ups’ night out.”

    We set out for deck twelve and soon found ourselves at the entrance to Palo. We were a few minutes early for our reservation, so we were asked to wait in the lounge until our table was ready. Meridian has the feel of an upscale men’s club with dark wood, brass, marble, and leather. Of course, the real attraction is the expansive ocean views available both on the outdoor seating area or within through large glass balcony doors etched with a world map.
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    DS ordered a beer, and I stuck with an iced tea at this point, saving the alcohol as an accompaniment to the meal.
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    After about fifteen agreeable minutes socializing in Meridian, the Palo hostess came in to direct us to our table. It was right next to the windows, which was nice!
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    Our server was Nikola from Serbia. He was amazing; quite possibly the most personable server I’ve ever had. I’ve never seen a food service professional describe the menu with such passion! Either he’s an amazing actor, or he REALLY loves food. Everything about this evening was delightful: the atmosphere, the service, the food and beverage, and of course the charming company! It’s definitely worth the modest surcharge. I always mean to remember to photograph my food, but when it arrives, I usually get too eager to eat to remember to do so, but my Tuna Carpaccio and Lemon Oil Dressing was so beautiful, I immediately thought to take a shot!
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    DH got the Grilled Shrimp appetizer and the Beef Tenderloin Palo for dinner. I stuck with a theme and ordered the Grilled Tuna for dinner. We each got the infamous Palo’s Chocolate Soufflé for dessert and had a glass of chianti with our meal which was very satisfying. During our meal, we asked Nikola to take a picture of us. He cracked us up by clowning around holding the camera backward and taking an “unintentional” selfie…
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    …before figuring it out and taking this shot.
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    Not too long after that, a Shutters photographer came around.
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    After our dessert and coffee, we strolled down to deck five to pick up DS. DH was pretty anxious to get down to O’Gills to watch the second game of the Stanley Cup. I’d neglected to mention in Part 2 how much he’d enjoyed watching game one even though there were far more Chicago fans than fellow Bruins fans there. He’d seen them win in 2011 on the Norwegian Jewel and was hoping for another victory at sea!

    DS’d had a good time, but was ready to rejoin us when we arrived. One of the CM’s on duty told me that he’d removed the bracelet from his ankle after only a little while and put it in his pocket. She said that they didn’t really have a problem with that except for the risk of it falling out and getting lost (you are charged $50 for a lost device, which apparently contains an RFID chip). She suggested clipping it to a belt loop or other garment for our next visit.

    We found Bugs here waiting for us when we returned to our room.
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    Next up: St. Maarten and Pirate Night
     
  4. disny_luvr

    disny_luvr DIS Veteran

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    It looks like you guys had another great day at sea. The food offerings at Cabanas look delish. I'm so glad you posted some pics of mini-golf. I think my boys are most looking forward to playing Goofy golf. Your Palo dinner looked wonderful. We had a CM at Disney once do the same thing Nikola did with your camera - take a picture of himself. My boys thought it was the funniest thing ever.
     
  5. bobbi565

    bobbi565 DIS Veteran

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    The mini golf was so cute, but my DS really enjoyed the Midship Detect Agency most of all. Cabanas really had something for everyone at lunch time.
     
  6. LindaBabe

    LindaBabe <br><img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/i

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    Really enjoying your report! You have great taste in clothing. I love both your dresses so far.

    Thank you for so much information - I never thought about cruising on the Fantasy, but then this great deal came along . . . So now I NEED information, lol.
     
  7. tessasmom

    tessasmom Mouseketeer

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    I have to agree with the last poster. You have great taste in clothes! :)

    I love Cabana's! I know a lot of people complain about it, but it's one of my faves. Now you have me rethinking doing Palo brunch and doing dinner instead! I've heard others rave about Nikola before...he must be awesome!

    I never saw that many people at the Goofy Golf on the Dream! Wow! Loving this TR!!:worship:
     
  8. bobbi565

    bobbi565 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! Can't resist a good deal. :thumbsup2 Feel free to ask any questions.

    Thank you! It's so convenient to just grab a plate of food at Cabanas for lunch! I love my leisurely dinners onboard, but I'd rather not invest too much time to have a served meal at lunch time, especially with DS. Palo brunch or dinner, you can't go wrong either way!

    Stay tuned for part 5! It's almost finished.
     
  9. staley98

    staley98 The Mouse makes me feel like a little girl again!

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    Great TR Bobbi. We had a wonderful time as well!
     
  10. bobbi565

    bobbi565 DIS Veteran

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    Once again, I rose before the sun. I pulled on my gym clothes and headed up to deck eleven to wander, read, take pics, and hopefully catch a good sunrise before the gym opened. This was St. Maarten Day, and I was looking forward to some family fun! :hyper:

    Once again, the sunrise was disappointing, although I got this really interesting cloud formation.
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    I waited outside the fitness center for the doors to open and had another lovely workout. When I emerged, I could see the port of St. Maarten coming into view.
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    I grabbed my usual latte, went to Cabanas for my breakfast, and grabbed a plate of croissants to bring up to DS. I had booked a 1:00 Pirates of St. Maarten Day Cruise on the Lord Sheffield sailing ship, so we still had plenty of time to disembark. I generally like to book my excursions myself. Its usually considerably less expensive, and I dont mind navigating the ports of call on my own. Today, that would prove to be a bit more hassle than Id anticipated! :rolleyes2

    Id mentioned the Dreams Unlimited gift basket, which was really nice! Its not actually in a basket, but a blue reusable shopping bag stuffed with shredded paper filler in which the gift items were nestled into place. This bag was very lightweight and the perfect size to carry three pool towels Id grabbed after finishing my breakfast and my snorkel gear. When you exit the ship at any port, they have big carts of towels available for you to take with you, but I prefered to have everything packed and organized before exiting the ship. I also had another tote bag with my camera and other necessities, so I was all set to go. :thumbsup2

    We had a pretty leisurely morning in the room before disembarking at around 11:00. The information Id read said it would be a short walk from the cruise ship dock to Dock Maarten, where wed board the Lord Sheffield. Id looked at a map and had a general idea of where we would need to go, but I wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to find our way and do a little shopping as we made our way to our excursion.

    When we disembarked, we found ourselves at a touristy little shopping area.
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    I handed DH the blue DU bag with the towels in it, and we visited a couple of the shops. DH haggled with a lady over a cheerful orange tropical print shirt, basically his summertime uniform, and walked away feeling hed gotten a good buy! I found a cute Christmas tree ornament to add to my collection of ornaments from our travels. Wed asked a woman at an information booth how to get to Dock Maarten, and she seemed a little confused, so I mentioned Great Bay Marina, and she seemed more familiar. She implied that it was a pretty long walk and suggested we take the water taxi. Now I was getting a little confused, so we walked to the water taxi stop and asked the lady there. She gave us directions of where to get off the water taxi, and since DS enjoys all sorts of boat rides, I decided wed go ahead and take a ride. DH fished out the $7 per person round trip, and we boarded the boat that was waiting there.
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    I spoke to the captain and told him where we were going, and he said the next stop was PAST where we wanted to be, but if I reminded him, hed make a special stop for us on the way back. The special stop, just for us, was right on Dock Maarten beside the Lord Sheffield, which the water taxi captain pointed out as our ship, and DH fished into his pocket to tip the man. As we stepped off the boat, DH announced, Well, my drivers license is gone!
    What? I gasped. What do you mean?
    I had it in my pocket, he explained, and its not there anymore.
    I started to flag down the water taxi as it pulled away, thinking it might have dropped out aboard there, but DH stopped me. Dont do that. Well never find it on there. He decided he needed to retrace his steps back to the ship, which we could see not much more than a mile away from the dock (thanks to all the helpful and knowlegable folk of St. Maarten for the accurate directions!) and stop at the water taxi stop and the shops where wed spent money. He handed me back the blue bag and set off. We still had about forty-five minutes before our excursion, so I told him to meet us back at that spot if he found it quickly. DS and I walked to the streetside of the Marina building.
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    Just past the dock was a little shopping area, so we walked there to kill a little more time browsing the shops before returning to wait to board the Lord Sheffield. At about 12:50, we walked to the end of the pier and waited to board (notice how close the Fantasy is in the distance).
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    Captain Austen introduced himself, and I explained to him DHs situation. When I told him that I didnt think hed be returning to join us, he surprised me by saying that we would not be charged for his excursion fare even though their published cancellation policy did say they require 5 day notification for a full refund! He also told me we were waiting for one large party of twelve, and then we could depart.
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    DS and I found a padded bench in front of the cabin windshield where we made ourselves comfortable.
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    1:05 and we were still waiting for our shipmates. Captain Austen said if they didnt show soon, DS and I would have a private cruise! He also confided in me that they would be charged for the excursion if they did not show up. 1:10 and the captain said hed phoned the ship, the other party was also sailing on the Fantasy, and was told the group was on their way. By 1:15, we saw a group of men, women, teens, and a couple of children around DSs age moving quickly down the pier. One of the women among them claimed responsibility for their tardiness and engaged in a discussion with Captain Austen about missing paperwork (mine was in the Tuesday section of my trusty acordian folder!) after which ensued several phone calls to an excursion company to confirm their booking, during which we set sail. I felt like the crew of the Sheffield was most accommodating with both my unexpected situation and the other partys lack of organization. I was impressed with the level of customer service provided.
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    We took about a 20 minute sail to our snorkel spot, during which time we were given safety instructions and directions about the facilities and snorkel gear was distributed to all who needed it. When we arrived at the designated spot, a ladder was lowered over the side of the ship, and we were given instructions how to get into the water and back onto the ship safely. I jumped in and waited below for DS.
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    When we were both in the warm waters, we began to paddle our way over to this little oasis with which DS was quite intrigued.
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    The snorkeling here wasnt great. All we really saw were several schools of little yellow and black striped fish, and the water wasnt really clear enough for me to get very good pictures of them, but we had tremendous fun swimming around, and DS got very excited when he spotted one of the schools of fish on his own.
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    After about 45 minutes at the snorkel site, the ship took off again. The crew began to serve drinks and barbeque ribs and chicken wings, which were very good. The ship was heaving up and down with the current, and the woman who had organized the other groups excursion was having a terrible time with sea sickness. She had crawled around to the side of the ship and was laying on deck with her face over the edge. I felt a little queasy myself, and Ive never suffered from any type of mal de mer, but I was able to enjoy the trip back by lounging still in the area DS and I had claimed as our own, refraining from the rum punch that was being served, and sipping slowly on some Diet Coke.

    As we approached Dock Maarten, I prepared to disembark by folding up the two towels I had removed from our blue bag and gathering up my snorkel gear. As I pulled the bag open to return the towels, I saw DHs face smiling up at me from the bottom of the bag. It was his missing drivers license! It must have fallen into the bag as he carried it at his side and was happily not lost in the Caribbean at all! I couldnt wait to get back to the Fantasy and share the good news. I only wished wed taken the time to search the bag before hed returned to the ship, although in hindsight, he probably was happier back on the Fantasy than he would have been on the Lord Sheffield. He doesnt snorkel, and although he could have remained onboard at that time, the seating was not all that comfy for just lounging around.

    DS and I walked about a quarter mile to the nearest water taxi stop (it was already paid for, and while I would have considered the walk back to the Fantasy invigorating, DS is not much for exercise), and waited around 10 minutes for the next boat, having just missed the last one.
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    We hurried back to the room to find DH napping. I woke him excitedly with the news, and he shared the story of wandering around the streets of St. Maarten searching for his lost license, visiting guest services to file a report that would be shared with customs at the port, and receiving bracing words from the wonderful CM there who told him, You mustnt let this ruin your vacation. Its just a document, and it can be replaced. Dont blame yourself, nor anyone else for that matter. DH said he thought the CM must have known him pretty well!

    At this point, it was time to shower and get dressed for dinner. It was Pirate Night, and being a former drama teacher, Im all about the costumes! We each were prepared to go full pirate for the festivities, so I laid out the attire, we got dressed, and headed down to Animators.
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    Marijan and Allwyn were both extremely enthusiastic about our commitment to the spirit of fun. They both mentioned that we were missed the night before, and DH chatted with Marijan about our Palo server, Nikola, with whom he happened to be good friends.
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    Pirate Night in Animators is fun because they show pirate themed clips and video on the screens. This was also the only night I saw Shutters photographers in the MDRs.
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    I was disappointed by that, since I had already decided to buy the complete photo cd, and my philosophy about that is the more pictures that are taken, the better deal it ends up being. I dont really mind taking several minutes out of dinner to get some professional photos taken, but apparently I am in the minority, as when I mentioned this at Shutters, they told me that photographers are now only in the MDRs two nights as a response to guests requests. L

    My dinner this night began with Blackbeards Jumbo Crab Cake, which was delicious, followed by the refreshing Chilled-to-the-Bone Honeydew and Watermelon Soup. My main course highlighted the excellent service of Marijan. I ordered the Macadamia Nut Dusted Mahi Mahi but was advised against it. Marijan said that guests generally complain that the fish is dry. I thanked him for his advice and ordered the Short Ribs instead. Marijan said hed bring both, so I could taste for myself. I thought it was funny to be sitting there with two big main course plates in front of me, but he was right about his recommendation. The flavors of the dish were delicious; I loved the rice and the curry sauce as well as the seasoning of the fish, but it was a bit dry. The ribs, on the other hand, were fall-off-the-bone tender. I ordered the Banana-Chocolate Crepe from the No Sugar Added section for dessert, and loved the sushi style presentation.
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    After dinner the boys decided to play in the Arrrcade, so I went back to the room to read and relax for the pirate deck party at 10:30. I had been enjoying my book for a nice while when the door opened, and the boys came bursting in full of excitement. You have to come up top, Mama! DH urged me. Theres a lot of fun going on!
    We were having too much fun, and we wanted you to be with us! DS added.
    Apparently, they had exited the Arrrcade and stepped into the early pirate party for kids that starts at 7:30. We all ran back up to deck eleven and found a good spot to view the proceedings. The stage show also broadcast on the Funnel Vision involved Captain Hook and his crew trying to take over the ship and included video clips of the actual crew along with the characters. One hysterical clip actually showed uniformed officers bound and gagged! There were no fireworks at the conclusion of this earlier show, but it was great fun.
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    Afterward, we headed back to the room. DS and I decided to relax there, while DH decided to catch a screening of Ironman 3. Unfortunately, I told him it was in the Buena Vista theatre when it was actually in the Walt Disney, so he didnt see it. I do believe he caught some of the basketball game in OGills and then returned to the room. As you can tell, The James Gang are not much for the nightlife scene! As the night wears on, were mostly happy to hang around the room, not unlike this guy&
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    Next Up: St. Thomas, Turtle Encounter, and Fun Onboard
     
  11. bobbi565

    bobbi565 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks, Anne! It was so great to meet you and share the excitement! Perhaps one day we'll meet again on the high seas...
     
  12. tinkerbell60

    tinkerbell60 DIS Veteran

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    I am sooo enjoying your trip report! We were also on the same cruise - and it is fun reliving my vacation vicariously through your trip report. So glad your DH found his license - that can be scary! You have wonderful pictures!!
     
  13. vatchr

    vatchr Mouseketeer

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    I love your trip report. We will be sailing on the Fantasy next summer for the first time, and love seeing all of the pictures on your TR.
     
  14. bobbi565

    bobbi565 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! I was so happy to have found that license, you can't even imagine!

    Glad you're enjoying it. Your family will LOVE the Fantasy!
     
  15. disny_luvr

    disny_luvr DIS Veteran

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    Oh no! I can't believe your DH lost his license. It's a shame he had to miss the excursion to go look for it, but I am so glad you found it. I had to laugh at you finding it at the bottom of your bag. That is so something we would do - retrace our steps and look all over the place before checking the bag.

    Pirate night looked fun. I loved your Pirate outfits. :thumbsup2
     
  16. WDWaddictt

    WDWaddictt DIS Veteran

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    Just joining along...I would love to sail on the Fanasty! We have been on the dream and loved it! Maybe one day, in the meantime I will read your great TR. thanks for sharing!
     
  17. kmchar1

    kmchar1 Mouseketeer

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    Really great trip report so far! Enjoying it so much!
     
  18. bobbi565

    bobbi565 DIS Veteran

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    Talk about overlooking the obvious!

    Feel free to live vicariously through us!

    Thank you!

    Sorry for the delay in my next installment, friends! We went on vacation, then returned to several personal issues, including the birth of a baby to a close family member. I am getting back at it today! :goodvibes
     
  19. bobbi565

    bobbi565 DIS Veteran

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    Up before the sun, as usual, I headed up top to try to catch some sunrise shots, once again in vain. There are always a few of us early birds wandering the ship in the wee hours of the morning, but I just love the solitude of this time of day, watching the crew cleaning the public areas and hosing down the decks as I take a meandering route to my ultimate destination, a comfy cushioned lounger on the forward rail of the Satellite Falls Sun Deck. There with my NOOK, the ocean breeze, and the gradually blossoming rays of the rising sun, I come about as near to nirvana as a middle class suburban housewife, mother, and middle school teacher is likely to do.
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    Pretty soon, St. Thomas began to come into view.
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    I saw a man walking near the rail with his cell phone, who looked at me and smiled, “At last! A cell phone signal again.” That’s right! the US Virgin Islands! No foreign rates or roaming charges. I couldn’t wait to get back to my phone. In the meantime, Cabanas was open for breakfast, so I stopped in Cove Café to get my daily latte from Dawide and strolled to the other end of the ship.

    After eating my breakfast in my usual spot, I returned to the stateroom to wake the boys. I had booked the Sea Turtle Encounter at Coral World for us at 10:00, and we were advised to arrive no later than 9:45. DH is not usually a breakfast eater, but he wanted to have the Cabanas breakfast buffet at least once during our trip and decided today would be the day, so I went to rouse the boys.

    As they dressed, I packed my backpack, securing DH’s driver’s license in a slot in its organizer pocket! Then we took the elevator up to Cabanas where DH loaded a plate full of scrambled eggs, and I got DS his beloved croissants. He happily munched on them and gazed out the window at the St. Thomas landscape.
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    It looked quite scenic.
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    As the boys ate, I tried to take advantage of the cell phone signal to give my mom a call, but she did not answer. &#61516; After the boys filled their bellies, we disembarked and headed into the misty, drizzly St. Thomas air. Clayton, the cruise director, had announced on the PA a while earlier that the weather forecast called for intermittent showers but that it was likely to clear later in the day. It was definitely a steady drizzle at this point and pretty overcast, but our adventure involved standing in a chest high lagoon, so I figured what would a little more water from above matter.

    We followed the signs to the taxi depot and found about a half a dozen cab drivers and cars hanging around waiting for passengers. I told a gentleman who appeared to be in charge where we were going, and he directed us to a car and relayed our information to a woman who would be our driver. We loaded into the car, an eight passenger suv, and I confirmed that the fare would be $10 per person each way, as I had read was the government regulated price for this trip. “We just need to wait a while until I get some more passengers to fill up the car,” the driver informed me.
    “Well,” I responded, “we can’t wait too long, because we have an appointment, and we can’t be late.”
    “We can take you by yourselves, but there will be an extra charge,” she returned.
    “How much?” I asked.
    “It will cost $60.”
    “$60 one way?” I gasped. “You want to charge me twice as much as the usual fare?”
    “That’s the rule,” she told me.
    We grabbed our stuff and got out of the car, informing her we’d find our own way. As we moved away from the vehicle, the man to whom we’d originally spoken came over to see what was the matter. DH explained the situation to him and told him we would not pay that much. The man and the female cab driver argued for a few minutes, he encouraging her to run us to Coral World and return for another fare, she insisting that they had “rules” which applied to everyone. Eventually, the man got on a walkie talkie and then beckoned us over to a sidewalk by the mall through which we’d passed on our way to the taxi depot. He informed us that a silver four seater suv would be arriving shortly to take us to our destination for the originally agreed upon fare. We thanked him and waited about five minutes. Our taxi arrived, driven by a charming older gentleman.

    One of my favorite things about vacationing with my DH is seeing him interact with locals when we visit new and interesting places. For him, journalism is not just a career, it is a vocation. He has an inquisitive mind, uncommon communication skills, and a beguiling charm that enables him to coax the most interesting conversations out of total strangers. A cab ride in an exotic locale becomes a lesson on the life and experiences of a typical resident of the place. DS and I sat in the back seat as DH and our driver entertained us with amusing anecdotes of life on the islands and adventures in taxi driving.

    We arrived at Coral World in plenty of time. I had called Coral World to purchase our tickets directly several months earlier. I had a coupon for a couple of dollars off admission that I had found online, and the woman on the phone warned me that if I didn’t remember to present the coupon when I checked in, we’d be charged the full price. Of course, the man at the ticket both seemed totally confused by my coupon and said we’d already been charged the discounted price, but he took it anyway. We had time to explore the facilities before our encounter, and there were some cool things to see.

    There was a bird enclosure with some beautiful brightly plumed parrots…
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    Open tanks with stingrays…
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    Lots of little turtles…
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    A touching tank with sea stars, sea cucumbers, and other little sea creatures…
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    And large tanks with all manner of fish.
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    Eventually, we made our way up to the covered deck where we’d been instructed to meet our turtle specialist. There was a little gift shop up there, and we took a quick look inside. Finally, a young woman in a wet suit arrived and introduced herself as Maggie. She sat with us for about fifteen minutes and worked her way through a binder of information including photos of different types of sea turtles, diagrams of the journey of baby sea turtles, information about sea turtle conservation laws, and safety information. I considered the $143.00 we paid for our three tickets a bargain after learning that there are fines to the tune of $10,000.00 imposed in some areas for touching sea turtles in the wild!

    Finally, we got into the lagoon with rescued sea turtles Duncan and Tortuga. The water was pretty chilly, and the mist and overcast sky did nothing to help matters. DH and I bit the bullet and moved quickly into the water. DS had a little more trouble acclimating himself to the water. We were encouraged to stand close together with our backs against the wall of the lagoon in order to keep the turtles in front of us. Duncan, who apparently had some neurological issues, was the friendlier of the two and would raise her head out of the water to greet us frequently.
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    We could rub their shells and touch their fins but were warned to keep our hands away from their heads and tails.
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    After about 45 minutes, we got out of the water and returned to the main area of the building where there were restrooms and showers, if we cared to take one. We decided to wash hands really well and shower back in the room. We took a visit to the underwater observatory and got to see people doing the Sea Trek Helmet Dive, which looked pretty cool to me but didn’t appeal at all to my cautious boys, then headed up to the big gift shop by the park’s exit. After finding an appropriate Christmas tree ornament with purple sea turtles on it, we walked out the door to one of the many awaiting taxis and took the 25 minute drive back to port. DH got this driver telling us stories about the strangest passengers he ever drove, which was highly entertaining!

    I kinda wanted to peruse the mall area at the port after our cab driver dropped us off, but the rain had really picked up, so we went straight back to the ship. We all showered and grabbed some lunch from Cabanas. Then we chilled in the room for a bit.

    Dinner that night was in Enchanted Garden, and it was the Prince and Princess Menu. This was probably my least favorite meal of the cruise. I started with the Salmon Royal, which was good. I don’t even remember what my soup/salad course was, might have been the mixed greens. My main course was the Beef Wellington which was disappointing. The beef wasn’t well seasoned, the mushroom stuffing was bland, and the pastry was just so doughy, I was unimpressed. I ended on a high note, however, with the Sweet Temptations once again. I love that option because I often have such a hard time deciding among multiple tempting menu items, it’s nice to be able to have a little bit of each!
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    After dinner, DS was excited to participate in the Officer Pin Trading event taking place at Preludes. Before the cruise, I had ordered a lot of 25 pins on ebay for $13.95. DS had sorted through them and picked out about 10 he wanted to keep and the rest were for trading. The officers stood patiently for about 45 minutes while crowds of passengers examined their lanyards and offered trades. They were so friendly and good natured, DS had a blast. DH hung around for a while before heading back off to O’Gills for another Stanley Cup Playoff game, and DS and I went to the Buena Vista theatre to catch a screening of Wreck-It Ralph. Returned to the room later to find this guy waiting with the exciting announcement of the Monsters University PremEAR!
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    Lots to look forward to on our final at sea day…

    Next Up: Day at Sea, Semi-Formal Night, and Monsters University PremEAR
     
  20. WDWaddictt

    WDWaddictt DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    Messages:
    672
    The turtle excursion looked like fun!
    Too bad your supper was disappointing.
    Great update!
     
  21. Ndsmorrison

    Ndsmorrison Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Messages:
    76
    Question for you....what do you mean pins? What kind? And what kind of officers are you referring to, police officers? Just wondering. That maybe something my DH be interested in.
     

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