Who: Me, 32 yo planner fanatic DH, 28 yo trusting in my planning skills Vacation to celebrate our anniversary. We started off our trip like exhausted sardines. We had one connecting flight, and naturally every single gate we flew in to and out of was the very last gate at the very end of the airport....and of course Budget rental car is the last car rental place at MCO. It sort of got to be funny in a warped tendonitis way. Flights crammed packed, unhappy travelers, and one delay due to mechanical issues. BUT We made it safely, and all that matters is that we were NOT at home, school or work! Starting our trip off, we first headed to WDW from Jan. 5-7. It was very cold, tried to cram way too much in, and generally managed to make ourselves physically miserable...except for the Dole Whip, which cannot be maligned in anyway. Found the CM's to be astounding and friendly, especially at Le Cellier. One word for Le Cellier: mmmmmm. I had quite a time observing all the shocked and irritated people who couldn't understand why at 7:30 they couldn't get a table. We rode everything we wanted to in a commando style, including the Mission Space ride I'd been so afraid to ride. I was so psyched out by all the comments to NOT close your eyes or you may spew from every orifice, that I stared unblinking at the screen. This proved to be a bit of a problem due to the constant calming breeze they blow on your face. As a consequence of the mixture, anyone observing me would have thought I was either deeply moved or terrified b/c of the tears streaming from my wide eyes. The interesting effect of this was that I knew which way I was tilted b/c of the way the tears were dripping. Soaring was alot of fun, though I didn't know until they came around to check our belts that I had not fastened mine correctly! AGH! I can just imagine people confusing that dull THUD they heard as sound effects of the pounding of the Pacific. Can sadly confirm that previous reports I'd read on the increasing rudeness and inconsiderateness of other guests is not exaggerated. One family at Boma berated the poor server about the food, griping, "look, can't you just bring us a plain piece of white bread!" Ummm, HELLO, where did they think they were eating, Luby's? Lot of people making alot of noise at inappropriate hours, trying to cut in lines, smoking where they shouldn't, neglecting their children...very much a shame. We were quite happy to head off on the 8th for our cruise. There is no moment like that first moment you top the hill at PC and see the Wonder. Wow. We dropped off our luggage around 10:30 am, and returned to Budget with our car. Despite all warnings, we were quickly taken care of and on a shuttle bus back to the port. Despite what I thought was an early arrival, when we arrived at the Port, we were given the number 11. Bummer... The line was quite long and moved average speed. DH immediately received my respect while we watched at exchange btwn a husband and wife. The wife was standing in line in front of us to check in for the family. Her husband walks up to the outside of the rope with the baby and says, "she needs to be changed." Wife says, "well I'm a little busy right now, you might ACTUALLY have to change ONE diaper yourself this time." He looked right at her and said, "yeah, not gonna happen". DH looked at me and rolled his eyes. I just had to give him a kiss knowing he's an upstanding kinda guy Found the waiting area to be a madhouse. After almost being clobbered in the head 3 times, would suggest to other families that while it might keep your children busy, it's not the best place to be throwing a nerf football around. Nerf or not, my head doesn't appreciate serving as a ricochet though in fairness, heads in my family do run too large. Finally, they called our number and we speedily boarded the ship. Wow...just...wow. Gorgeous! We were directed to Beach Blanket Buffet, and right away I saw just how amazing Disney is as directing crowds. I expected a mob scene, and while it was busy, we managed to get our food fast AND find a table with no problems. I also found out this first day what I was to realize the rest of the cruise...the food, eh. Fairly bland, cafeteria trying to act dressed up. This includes the buffet food and the restaurant food. While I am a food snob, I can still eat junk food along with the best of them...but still, the food was not that good. I liked the burgers all right, filling and just fine. More on the food later. DH and I had room 1046. We were very excited about this room as it was an upgrade to windows (2 portholes that offered plenty to see), and on the mid 1st deck, so less movement. We loved the look of the room, found it to be plenty of space for us. There was however, quite a sewage smell coming out of our bathroom sink. Called maintenance, who had to come twice before it was finished. Not a big deal at all, thought guest services needs to talk to each other more. I deeply appreciated their zeal in making sure that we were happy, but 4 different people called 4 different times (every time while we were napping or still asleep!) to make sure it was ok, AND someone stopped by! Again, it was wonderful to see this dedication, but sleep would have been nice too. Sadly, we discovered something bad about this room. At night, at least 3-4 times a night there would be some gawdawful noise to wake us up. Not gentle creaking, which we did have and found quaint, not little noises from surrounding areas, but huge bone shaking THUDS and BOOMS. This only happened in the middle of the night, and we assume we must have been over a working or machinary area below us. Since we were able to nap during the day ok, and could sleep through the dockings, it's all we can imagine. Pause for a further noise complaint: one problem with noise we did have were the people who would go running up and down the halls. There are plenty other areas to run off steam, scamper and frolic and what not. Noted this was a prob at the resort hotels too. Urghhhhh... Ready for the flaming. We set off to explore and discovered a place that would quickly be among our favorites: Diversions. Dont' know what it was, but we loved to go there for a drink and relax. This is where I had my first of many BBC's. Oh..heaven Again, we couldn't believe how efficient and friendly all of the CM's were. Very helpful, chatty. Always asked where we were from, happy to answer questions about the ship and themselves. DH turned into mister social person this cruise, I would be walking a bit in front of him, turn around and find him 20 feet back having stopped to chat with a CM. Before dinner we stopped off for a Kir Royale, and then over to have our pics taken at that...rr..name fails me. White screen, bare feet? What I mainly remember about it is the desire to brain the photographer. Not once, but twice he said, "suck in honey". Now I understand he's trying to make the photo good, but DH certainly has a beer belly that he didn't tell HIM to suck in. Ok, and granted I don't care for strange slick haired men calling me honey, I felt like I was auditioning for an adult film Dinner was at 8:30 at Parrot Cay. We shared our table with 2 college age girls, and an older married couple. All very nice people. We were lucky to have a good table. Our servers were very friendly, but quite slooooow. We were always some of the last out of the restaurant. Other then that, they were really very sweet. Always ready with suggestions and bringing us out extra things. While we didn't care for the food, I really enjoyed the Creamy Onion Soup. Quite good. That night we went to see Chronicles of Narnia. So fun to see a movie at sea. It was almost surreal. And the only place that first 3 nights I didn't sway baaack and forth most of the time I'll skim over Nassau. We visited Atlantis, checked out the beach and gave my ritual $50 sacrifice to the Video Poker gods. I thought that Atlantis looked like Vegas without the shows. We quickly returned to the ship and swam the one and only time during this cruise. We really enjoyed the Adult pool, and I wish we'd found more time to swim (instead of napping so much ) The pool was a nice temp, uncrowded and peaceful. Probably the first time I've been in a pool in 2 years, but I had to vacate after a while b/c there was a Pina Colada calling my name from my lounge chair. We did the early Golden Mickey's that night but sadly could barely hear/enjoy the show b/c of others behavior. At least 3 parents around us seemed to forget it wasn't a private show on their behalf. The biggest problem was this: child gets excited, talks in a loud voice about what's going on. Not the child's fault, they don't know better. But not only that, the parents were responding at full volume themselves. Not just once or twice, a constant stream of conversation. Before you think it was just us "the evil noise haters", at dinner that night, our table mates, started to tell us about the awful experience they'd had at the Golden Mickeys. Turns out, they were seated 3 rows behind us! It was a neat show, I really wish we'd been able to hear all of it. I have to say the Ursula tentacles effect was amazing! After dinner, we went up on deck. I can't get over how peaceful the ship is at night. The weather was balmy, the sky clear. I could have fallen asleep out there. It was definitely a pattern for us this vacation, daily naps and zen like states out on deck. The ship acts like a narcotic Castaway Cay was gorgeous. IT was so awesome to soak up the sun after the frigid days in the parks. Though the water..brrrrrrrrrrr. Discovered that it was just cold enough that if you went out into it, before to long your legs got numb and you couldn't tell it was cold. Not a bad deal And even if you're cold, just wait a while and a very nice man will be along with a fruity rummy drink to make you forget you're cold. I'm amazed by how well they keep up this island. The only thing I wish is that they would put a trash can on serenity beach somewhere towards the middle. We were very careful to pick up all our trash and carry it with us to the beach entrance, but noticed alot of people didn't. I really feel bad for the CM's who have to come pick up all that garbage, maybe a more accessible temporary trash can might make things easier on them. That night, we skipped Pirate Night and ate at Palo. Our waiter was amazing (name fails me), very professional, not obtrusive, but friendly at the same time. We really enjoyed the antipasto platter ( we love prosciutto) and the dips. I had the pizza of the day: shrimp with asparagus, and DH had the tomato/mozzarella salad. VERY good. I told our waiter that I couldn't decide between the ahi tuna with linguini, the gnocchi or the seafood risotto. He brought me out the tuna, with two sample sides of the gnocchi and the risotto. Tuna was AMAZING, gnocchi very good, the risotto was just ok. DH had rrrrr somethign with meat. Really liked it. I was so full at this point that yawning almost caused my rib to puncture my lung. I told our waiter that all I wanted was a little sorbet to try to help with my digestion. He brought us out the following for dessert: sorbet, panna cotta, tiramisu and chocolate souffle. GAH!!! I still tried a little of each, with the panna cotta being my favorite. That night we walked the deck over and over to work some of Palo down. We grabbed some chairs near the adult pool in order to watch the fireworks for Pirate Night. I was very impressed, expected something small, but these were REAL fireworks! We followed that up at Cove Cafe with a Cafe Mocha, and believe it or not, a black and white cookie (who knew we could find room). The next day at sea, we shockingly had signed up for the Palo brunch. DH was a little full up to the top of his head by then, but we gave it the old college try. I enjoyed every bite, especially of the fruit. Where in the heck do they get blackberries that big?! We were happy to see that they, like the regular breakfast buffet, carried the chocolate croissants. We probably ate enought chocolate crossaints that trip to earn back the cost of the trip alone. Later, DH partook of the beer tasting. Enjoyed the beer, and the information. We dined at AP that night, enjoyed the show and the company. Had a big shock when to my left, practically in my ear I heard this big huge BELCH! I whipped around to DH and said, "please tell me that wasn't you!" With a grimace, he said, "no, it wasn't" Then I heard it AGAIN! It was a guy the table over, and it was LOUUUUD! Now before you suggest that perhaps he comes from another culture where this is a complement to the chef, let me tell you that his pronounced Midwestern accent definitely killed that excuse. The funniest thing was the completely unabashed look on his face, all at our table just started laughing, grateful that he wasn't sitting at our table. After dinner, the two girls we dined with later joined us during the pub sing along/game at Diversions, where I literally choked up a CM by my most inappropriate and BBC fueled answer to one of the game question. It was a good ending to a great cruise. We skipped breakfast the next morning and were the 3rd group off the ship, and the first to the rental car place. I have to say, unexpectadly I teared up as we left the ship. It really was a magical vacation, and just the break we needed.