Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by nenner1, Oct 20, 2010.
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keep them coming
We Love MNSSHP too
Thanks Jane! Yes, I agree we saw far too little of you over the course of the cruise! Isn't it funny how you can go the whole cruise never seeing some folks at all but see the same ones over and over again?
Yep. It seems like so long ago now!!!
Thank you! My camera is a real bone of contention around here. It is a Canon S3 IS, which is now quite an older model. We got it for our first cruise in 2007, and it has served us rather well over the past few years. It is not a DSLR though and I have been looking to upgrade for awhile but the cameras I have been looking at are very pricey so needless to say we still have old faithful here. Since it still takes really good pictures I always lose the argument that it's time to upgrade! (although I try to say it is the photographer not the camera!!!)
We really enjoyed the pier too! Wish we had more time to really spend out there,we could have for sure!!
Wow, so cool that you remember that. Ron used to go to Cocoa all the time back then too, there was a group of kids that would ride in some dude's bus over on the weekends to surf. You do still have to pay to get to the Tiki Bar at the far end of the pier. I think it was only $1/pp or so though.
Well, maybe it's good you guys didn't get there, since according to Grills we weren't actually there! Ha ha!!! Just kidding! It was a great meeting you all as well, I'm glad you took the time to come over and hang out with us! IMO I was actually fine with going to the Radisson..Joanie and Sam said it was quite a wild party (which frankly I think we would have enjoyed! ) but in the end it turned out to be a really fun time by the pool at CIS.
Thanks, I can't wait to read and see what this place was like!
Oh wow, you can see the ships? That is very neat! We really did like it a lot and like I said wished we had more time to spend that day. I'm pretty sure we will be back in the future!!
Thanks so much, there really was just no other way to start out a Halloween cruise! It set the tone for sure!
I know what you mean. We upgraded our Canon A75 (which we still have) to a Canon SX100IS prior to the 2008 EB REPO cruise.
While I love the zoom capabilities of the new camera - I'm not happy with the delay when shooting with the flash and pictures seem to blur alot more than previously. Was looking at some old photos taken on the A75 the other day - man that camera takes good pictures - just wish the zoom was better. Was discussing the issue with DH as I was going thru our photos from the cruise previous to yours the other night. Haven't reached a solution here either. Don't really want to jump upto a DSLR - mainly due to price and bulkiness.
I totally agree about the bulkiness, that SX100 is a really decent little camera though (I believe it was the next- albeit smaller- generation to the line I have, both are Powershots). Part of the reason I've hestitated to make the leap into DSLR myself is due to the fact I know I will be the one having to carry the big ol sucker and all of the equipment around! LOL. I would love a Canon 7D or 60D but will accept a Rebel T1 or T2!
FWIW we have quite a bit of lag too when shooting with the flash and night/motion pictures really do not come out well either, even with the high ISO and low shutter speeds.
Yes, I have pics of the Magic leaving on Saturday night, but with our camera they are horrible. They aren't anywhere near as close as the pics from Grills, but they are still amazing to watch! We loved the little kids surfing while we ate.
CIS looks like a great place. Would you recommend it and would you stay there again?
Sorry to hear about the troubles at Grills!
My kids (especially my son, who freaked out the first three days) kept me jumping the entire time. Also, I think I had a different dining rotation than most ever other Diser. I only saw one other Diser in the dining rooms and that was Morgansmom. After a day or so, I got the sense we were just on a much different schedule than everyone else.
I'm hoping next cruise (8/25/12), I will get to talk to more people more often!
nice to be able to sleep in, i never do that on vacation.
Sounds like you spent a nice relaxing day before cruise day, another things i never do LOL. Let alone at the beach, fun .. im hoping to do that this time around.
We did Grills too before the DD.. aww takes me back i agree food was eh ok totally over priced.
I have been on the Monarch before. E and my 1st cruise was on that one here in Cali, a 3day booze cruise to Ensenada!
Yes, we would certainly recommend CIS!!! It was a wonderful place to stay. The shuttle process was seamless. If you can get the Priceline deal, it is a STEAL! If not, it is still a good value IMO! (We were paying in the $70-$80/night range and felt that was a great price for what we got).
We plan on staying there again next time too!
Yeah it is strange how that happens! We were on a rotation with Ellen (podsnel) and Joanie & Sam (sssteele) so we saw them all the time, which was great! And we tended to run into the same folks over and over again so they must have had the same dining time but different rotations. It happened on my last cruise too! Did you have early dining? Those are the folks I didn't seem to see as much.
First and last time. LOL!
Yep being there a day (or two in this case) early really makes a difference! We will do it every time from now on!
Yeah, see-another reason to be there early! I totally missed all the fun!!
Awesomel! Nothing quite like a booze cruise!
I gotta get caught up on what I missed.
Just found yer Trip report. Hope all went well.
Ok back to page one
Hey Kris! So glad to see you stopping by. Yes, it was a fantastic cruise!! We did miss you!!!
Thank you all for your patience! I have had a very busy week with the holiday and have not had time to update but hopefully over the next couple of days I can get the next part of the story up!
Love it - can't wait for the rest!
Yes, we had early dining. Right now, it's the only time that really works for my kids. I'm hoping when they get older, we can switch to late dining as I would prefer that myself.
After only a few hours of sleep, Ron and Savannah were up at dawn and headed up to the fourth floor to see the ships in port. It was hard to see many of the ships due to their positioning (especially the Magic), even from that vantage point. The mammoth Carnival Dream was easy to spot, however:
We all awoke and got showered, dressed, and ready. It was nice to not have to get up at 3 AM, or to rush around! We headed out to breakfast around the 9:00 hour, along with absolutely everyone else in the building. Of course there were no tables available either inside the breakfast room nor outside on the patio, so we went through the line (it is a short buffet-style line with a small drink station off towards the center of the room), and took our food out into the lobby to eat. We were lucky enough to snag a couple of chairs and a table, some people after us had to just stand and eat. Selection was skimpy at that hour and we did not want to wait for any of the cook-to-order items (waffles, etc.) so we stuck to the continental offerings, pastries, donuts, and cereal.
After eating, Ron and Brendan began bringing our luggage around to the lobby from the room and van. Keeping watch over both Sarah and the growing mountain of bags was not easy. There was a shuttle coordinator roaming the lobby checking with groups of folks in the lobby and getting them to their assigned shuttles. She approached me, and I got us all checked in. She informed me that all the people assigned to the 10:00 were present, so as soon as the shuttle returned we would begin boarding a little early, which was great news. We were anxious to get to the terminal as quickly as possible!
A shuttle was currently loading and preparing to depart for Carnival. The lobby was a madhouse, Sarah was a maniac, and this was probably the most stressful point of our trip. When our shuttle arrived, we struggled to get our luggage moved out into the portico to the shuttle’s trailer. Thank goodness for Judy’s husband Martyn who was invaluable giving us a hand with our bags and our children! As we told him at the time, we probably would not have ever made it to the ship without his help!
After all of the madness that ensued, we were the last family to board the shuttle and ended up sitting in scattered seats. The shuttle bus was a 25-30 seat passenger shuttle bus/van with a large pull-behind trailer attached for luggage. When the driver began to pull away, we realized Martyn had not boarded and had the driver stop the vehicle so he could hop on (he had already dropped Judy and the rest of their family off directly at the port, something we should have considered doing). In any event, we were finally all aboard and on our way!
The ride to the port took only five minutes, and we were pulling in front of the DCL terminal. There is still a lot of construction going on, with a lot of temporary fencing and it is a little confusing, and since it was prior to 10 AM, a lot crazy. There are 5 (five) Shuttle drop off and pick up numbered areas here, and everyone who had been dropped off from the various local hotels and resorts was clustered around with mounds of suitcases. There was some semblance of a line, so I trudged to the end of it. It seemed impossibly long. The bags were just left in piles with assurances that the porters would take care of it. We trusted that they would!
By the time all of the luggage had been unloaded and Ron had joined me at our spot at the end, the line began moving. It was a little chaotic since even as we were moving up, some clumps and groups of people were standing around not moving (and the line moved past them), meanwhile others were being dropped off at various spots and trying to work their way into the now moving throngs not realizing it was a line. Very confusing. But once we got past the dropoff areas and up towards the check in gate, things got more orderly.
It took between 5 and 10 minutes to move through the line and through the checkpoint gate. We followed the green tarp fence which led us right up to the front door of the terminal. The security line was very long, but as chance would have it, they opened up the right hand queue just as we approached and we scooted to the front, and into the security area, and then up the escalator to a surprisingly sparsely populated terminal
I was completely expecting the terminal to be packed already, but it was still fairly empty. Since I have a history of managing to miss the person handing out boarding passes (sometimes they hand them out at the escalators, sometimes near the check in lines, sometimes at the check in desk-on every cruise so far I have managed to miss them and had to go back for it) I asked the first CM I encountered at the top of the escalator where they were being handed out today. She told me at check in, so I proceeded across the room towards the virtually empty Castaway Club check in line.
Of course, in doing so I passed up the very busy regular new-cruiser check in line. Once we had wound through the roped queue to the front of the CC member line, I found out from the folks behind us that once again I had managed to pass up the boarding numbers. Apparently they were being handed out at the beginning of the check in line-the line I was able to bypass by going to the CC lines. I couldn’t believe it- I had even asked..UGH! Luckily the numbers had not changed by the time Savannah had run back to retrieve one, and like the folks behind and all around us, we had a #3!
We moved quickly through the short queue and in very short order were at counter #21 being checked in. The process was quick and seamless and before we knew it, we were all checked in, with our KTTW cards and Silver CC lanyards in hand and were ready to roam the terminal.
A few things had changed since we had last been there two years prior. Our favorite spot to sit, on the couches near the windows overlooking the ship was now reserved for concierge guests only. You can still walk past this area to go to the balcony outside to get peeks at the ship, however. Since the terminal was not crazy busy yet, we were able to get seats on the couches over on the right hand side of the room, but these seats did go quickly. As we split up to take a look around and meet some of our new friends, a DCL employee gave us a stern warning that one of us had to stay with our pile of carry-ons- “It’s just like an airport- you can’t leave your bags unattended”, he said. That was a little annoying, having to have one of us chained to the pile at all times. We had an excessive amount of carry-ons due to two of our Dis exclusive events- a private Trick-or-Treat and the meet thread Lanyards, both of which I was in charge of. Since we had a very large group, these bags were ample and heavy. So carrying them around with us was not a pleasant option to consider.
I took the first round manning home base, while Ron and the kids explored the terminal. I enjoyed chatting with some folks, some cruise mates, some not. A lot of folks were asking about the logo shirts I had made with our meet thread logo design. There was one sweet lady sitting near me that told me in no uncertain terms that I should have a career in T-shirt graphic design. Many of our cruise mates had arrived and were now mingling in the area.
The line for the Club/Lab check in was already long when we had first sat down, and now was absolutely ridiculous. They did not even open the Club/Lab check in until at least 11:00 AM, and that line was absolute insanity by then. When it did start to move, it moved so painfully slow that we decided we would just check Savannah into the Lab onboard. (Sarah would still be in Flounder’s and Brendan was in the Edge (previously Ocean Quest).
We also used this time to inspect the Navigator:
At about this time, we realized Mickey had made his way out for pictures, so we switched off and I took the girls to get in line. That line wasn’t too terrible yet, although it did move slowly. We were lucky to have gotten directly behind our meet thread mate Linda and family, which was invaluable when I had to constantly run out of the line to chase after Sarah.
This is the time I should note that it became obvious that I had made a big mistake, what would turn out to be the worst decision I had made for the entire cruise. I had decided that we would not need our stroller. What a huge error this was. It would have saved our sanity many, many times over if we had just brought the stroller with us. If you are in the same situation as us, thinking how your two or three year old hardly uses the stroller anymore, that you won’t need it…..do think it over carefully. Yes, we could have “rented” one onboard for free (there is a $200 refundable deposit), but every time we thought we’d just go get one, we decided oh we’ve come this far, it couldn’t get any worse, etc. -yet it always did. Parents of toddlers, heed my warning and bring your stroller. You won’t regret it!
Back to the story, we were in line for Mickey, who soon switched out for his partner Minnie. Other than the Hag, we had not had any close character encounters yet, so I didn’t know if Sarah would be delighted or run from Minnie screaming. Luckily it was the former. She absolutely loved the characters!
At a few minutes before noon, not too long after we returned to our seating area from greeting Minnie, the family of the day was announced and boarding began. Number one which is just the concierge, and I think Platinum Castaway Club members- went first. Just a couple of minutes afterwards, the call was announced beckoning numbers two and three to the boarding area, and a very happy crowd of folks- us included- worked our way to and through the mouse ears.
(A quick note on boarding numbers- they no longer date stamp the numbered boarding passes you receive. But keep in mind they do take them from you upon presenting them at the boarding area, so you will not get to keep them. If you want one to keep for scrapbooking, you will have to pick up an extra one and tuck it away!)
It seems that a very large percentage of the terminal population was numbers 2 and 3, as the embarkation hallway past the Mickey ears was packed full, all the way up to the picture area. It took about 10 minutes to move through to where we had our embarkation picture taken.
After that, we were on our way across the gangway, and once again in grand fashion we were welcomed aboard the Magic!
Video: (Click to Play!)
The first thing we noticed was the Halloween decorations. We were expecting them of course. In the atrium there was a very large ice sculpture display with carved pumpkins and candy scattered all around. It was the same candy from MNSSHP that we had bags upon bags of, so I was more interested in getting on to the buffet at Parrot Cay.
We had no business to take care of upon boarding, such as dining rotation or Palo reservations. We had requested, and had received the APLLAPL rotation, therefore no changes were necessary. I was very happy about that, although I noted that on my previous cruise the repeated restaurants were on nights 2 and 3, this time the repeated restaurant was nights 3 and 4.
We moved through the Promenade Lounge straight to Parrot Cay. There was actually a lineup waiting outside to enter, which we had never encountered before. The restaurant was very busy, but we were seated after only a 5 minute wait.
The first thing I noticed besides the crowds was the food looked delicious. The food quality was a major disappointment on our last cruise aboard the Magic, and we were really hoping somehow things had improved in the culinary department. I am happy to report back it has- the food was fantastic! The entire cruise, everything was delicious and seemed to be high quality- especially the beef which was a sore spot in 08 for sure.
Fantastic buffet offerings:
Our service here was spotty. It took a very long time to get our drink orders placed, let alone receive them. We were virtually done eating before we got our drinks. Luckily this gentleman would not be our server on a regular basis. We tried to find our assigned table for dinner but not all of the table numbers were out so we did not find it. We were hopeful to have a table to ourselves as we requested.
It was already a whirlwind, we had been onboard barely an hour but it was moving so fast!
Up Next: Bom Bom Bom Bom Bom Bom Booooom!
Thanks so much!!
I wish we had done early dining. We had meltdowns every.single.night!
Finally an update! Keep it coming... it's great!
loving your report, can't wait to read more
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