Disneyzellin through the Canal,12/9 - 12/23 the Wonder Final Chapter updated 8/21/13!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by DisneyZell, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. DisneyZell

    DisneyZell Likes Adventures on the High Seas

    Sep 28, 2004
    Hi Everyone! Welcome to our East Bound Panama Canal Repositioning Cruise. Or EPCR as most of you know it who were on the cruise!

    I started this TR onboard, typing as we go, and am posting the first time on Christmas. So some of this happened live, some of it I wrote late, and some of it is happening now...so please hang on to your hat.

    Before I get any further, I really, really want to say hi to three folks who made our trip very special...Doug, Audrey and Zac. I'm certainly not trying to leave any others out of this as we really enjoyed all of you, but spent the most time with these three. Guys, you sure made our trip fantastic and know that we will stay in touch far into the future! :thumbsup2

    Getting that out of the way, it's time to introduce our cast of characters...

    DW - aka DedeDisney, aka Deanna - The Matriarch of our little trip, organizer of all things Disney and vacation, and of course the best partner in crime I could ever ask for. Yes, she is the one who has to put up with me all the time…while you are only stuck with me as long as you keep paging through our TR!! She is also the keeper of the journal...so that 12 months from now when I am finally finishing this up I am able to remember the little details. Don't believe the 12 months? you clearly have not read my past TR's! Go do it now. Go head. We will wait. :cool1: All issues with facts, etc, are entirely my fault and not hers. As she will point out through this journey known as a TR.
    [​IMG] And here she is in all her glory when we boarded the ship!

    DH - aka DisneyZell aka Drew - That's me, the writer of the trip report. Or TR. Have you even noticed how many acronyms are used on the DIS boards. Is DIS an acronym? Is the sky blue? These questions will be among the many that will be asked but not answered along the way. Anyhoooooo, I'm the one along for the ride. DW does the planning, I do the TR writing. But to warn you right off the bat, this will likely be a boring trip report because I plan on being very boring and lazy the whole time.
    [​IMG] And here I am!

    DS10, DS14 - oh wait, they aren't here. Ha! no kids! Yes we left the kids behind. We do actually have children, and we generally enjoy being around them, but 14 days with no kids and no time constraints and very little that we *have* to do…uh yeah, that might be ok.
    [​IMG] Some of you will remember this picture from our door magnets. More on that later. :) But these are the kids that we left behind! And that sweatshirt looks familiar...hmm...maybe I wear that a *bit* too much :rotfl2:

    Why am I writing this as if the trip has not happened? because unlike my past TR's (yes I've written a few, the links are all down there in my signature. Go ahead and go read them all. Go on. I'll wait. go ahead. yup.

    OK all done now? anyway, unlike my past TR's where I have had to hijack DW's journal to write (what, you didn't know that? Then you didn't really go look at my other TR's. Trust me, you are going to have a rough ride if you are going to have that attitude the whole time you are with me. But whatever. :)

    This time I'm going to try to write it as I go. Note the "try" because I do have a tendency to get distracted.


    ha! get it? did you get the "UP" reference. Geez, come on, I can't keep telling you all my secrets, you do have to do some of the thinking on your own.

    but I digress.

    I am, in fact, writing this particular installment sitting on my balcony as the Wonder makes her way down the coast of Baja California. At least I think that is where we are. We can't see land at all which I find kind of funny. I wonder if we have to be a certain distance out to sea, and cannot cruise with the coast in sight (I'll bet the Costa passengers would like a rule like that. OK, ok, bad joke!). Another question that will likely not have a answer unless one of you comes along and answers it. Yes this is supposed to be interactive people!

    ok, so after I said that I had to go do something, and then returned and when we returned we could see the coast as demonstrated in this photo:
    [​IMG] Land Ho!

    This whole thing started back in February. Or March, or maybe April. I'm sure DW will correct and interject to make are I used the right dates. It makes her feel good so I'll leave it at that. Anyway, DW found an unbelievable fare for the Panama Canal cruise. Something I have always wanted do do, combined with a 14 night cruise, also something I have always wanted to do. Why? because we have done many 7 night cruises (which you would know if you bothered to read my other TR's. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Nope, not me. ), and I have always said that I would like to do a longer cruise because it is usually about day 6 that I'm truly unwound, usually just in time to get packed, off the ship and the stress of going home. But this time about day 6 we will be settled in.

    So this great price was for a guaranteed inside stateroom. For those of you who have no idea what that means, it means that we are guaranteed a room…but not a specific stateroom. In other words you don't get to pick. You also had to pay for it all up front…no refunds on that one.

    14 nights…that's a long time….and the kids have school so a decision needed to be made. questions needed to be asked (and not the kind that don't have answers this time!). DW called her parents to see if they would come up and stay with the kids. The great thing about having parents that are retired is their ability to do this. We have many friends who's parents have not yet drifted into retirement yet…and so they cannot enlist them for things like this. Luckily we do, and they agreed to come and stay with the boys.

    So that was the first question answered…check.

    The next was slightly more complicated. At that exact time I was changing roles at my company. I work for a software company and being new I felt a *little* uncomfortable (well, ok, A lot uncomfortable) asking for time off within the first week of changing jobs, even though the time off wasn't for 8 months or so. But I decided to man up and make the call, which I did. It was a tough call for my boss, though because we were just starting up a project which was due to end about the time I would be leaving. But I talked them into it and we had the approval that we needed, all questions answered.

    Now we had to book it. We booked through Dreams Unlimited so that we would get the onboard credit that they were offering. We used a person who had been recommended several times on these boards, but unfortunately we didn't feel like we got anything out of it. She never really contacted us past that first day, never telling us it was time to book excursions, time to sign up for Palo…things we expected.

    Since we booked this DW has become a travel agent…and so we were a bit disappointed knowing that she would and will provide those basics. Apparently this was common, however, as we were in the terminal and chatting with a woman and her mother who had a similar experience…she was looking for any information about the cruise, what could and could not happen, cell phone service, basic things and she was told that she was essentially all on her own. Our favorite advice that this woman got was that she should stay at LAX for 4-5 hours vs. going to the port. Because there is so much to do at LAX. So clearly the travel agent that was used for that woman had no idea how Disney worked, and we recommended they change travel agents next time!

    but I digress. Fortunately we have done this a few times (this is trip #6…first time Gold Castaway Club, woohoo!). So we didn't need the reminder. Ah, one more digression on this topic. The woman we met who had the bad experience said that maybe it was because it was a cheap cruise that the travel agent didn't provide the service, and perhaps that was why ours didn't really do anything as well. That's silly because you never know what people will do next….but I guess that is an excuse! :)

    Anyhoo, sorry for wandering off topic. But again if you have read my past TR's you know that I do that a lot.

    Dang, I don't even know where I am in the story now. Please hold while I read back.

    OK, I'm back. So we booked the trip, and for the first time ever we decided to get travel insurance. We were both a bit uncomfortable with the fact that we could not cancel…so we decided it was a good idea. And I kind of like the idea of having protection should something happen medically. I believe we used a website to check the prices…and we got the website from the Disboards of course. So do a search to find the website where you can search. We went with a company called Squaremouth (which I think is related to Square Trade whom I happen to have all my electronics warranties through!) It was the best price for the benefits that we wanted so we went with it. Quick and easy to do and I recommend it. We will likely do this going forward.

    It's been a while since that point obviously, nothing really major to report except for a short cruise that we took on Carnival for a family reunion. It was a 3 night cruise…and let me just say that I will not cruise Carnival again. Or at least I don't plan to. I don't want to hijack this TR and plug in another one…but I think for the most part it is summed up by what happened when we walked onto the ship. We went up to the pool deck to hang out as a family (I think there were 19 of us). The music was so loud that you couldn't hold a conversation with someone that was 2 feet away from you. I realize that Carnival is known as a party ship…but there were tons of kids…and the music was just too loud. I know, I know, I'm clearly getting old! Scary!! But beyond the loud music…about every 2 minutes the DJ would come on the intercom system and say "Come on People! Grab a drink! you need to be drunk by 5!!!". Again, this wasn't just once, it was over….and over….and over…and over…and over…and over…and over…I think you get the idea. Disney certainly likes you to purchase alcohol, but Carnival pushed it on you constantly. Even at breakfast in the buffet area they had a bloody mary cart wandering around trying to sell you those or mimosas. Just too much.

    The only positive I will say was that I won $50 in the casino on the last night. We had $20 in onboard credit which we had not used…so I cashed that in and me, my cousins and one of their wives played electronic blackjack. We had a great time and I walked away with cash. Nice! I am probably ready to go to Vegas and be a whale in one of the casinos, but for some reason they don't seem to be calling me!! Crazy I know! But even with that I'm glad Disney does not have a casino on their ship…the smoke around it is insane and not any fun.

    But again I digress. At some point we told our kids…needless to say they were not happy and continued to bug us up until the point of us leaving. My oldest was hurt by it the most…but not because he was hurt he was not going on the cruise, but I think because he was more affected by us being gone for 2 weeks. He has always been the kid who didn't want to be away from us. Connor (our 10 year old) was the one when he was in preschool that didn't even say goodbye as he ran over to play with the other kids.

    The way we sold it was that Grandma and Grandpa were going to be there with them…and that they were getting older and there is only a limited time that they would get to spend with them. Did this work? no, but it made us feel better! :)

    So the plan was set, we made reservations to fly home from Miami on Jet Blue, and decisions needed to be made about Fish Extender. We, of course, are taking part in Fish Extender because it is just fun to do. DW is *very* creative and she came up with the idea to make clipboards for the older kids, crayon books for the younger kids, a CD of music for the adults and an envelope for keepsakes.

    Oh, an envelope Won't that be easy. Just draw a nice Mickey Head on the envelope and call it a fish extender gift. Nah, that wouldn't be hard enough. No….we must paint it red and black and put a yellow ribbon across the middle and two white dots on the red side. to make it look like Mickey. There were several iterations of the envelope…Deanna trying to figure out how to best paint the envelopes…roll on the paint, spray paint…naturally she figured it out (combination of both!). And they turned out really good. More on that later.

    The CD was no big deal to burn out…but printing the tops of the CD's took FOREVER. I've done video stuff for a long time, including printing the top of the DVD's…but the most I ever did at one time was about 20. This time I was doing 80. One at a time. That was an adventure, and one of many things on my list of to-do's before we had to head out.

    The cruise is happening at a perfect time…right before Christmas, and those of you who are reading along and were on this cruise you know that it's no big deal to be gone the two weeks before Christmas. Returning on 12/23 leaves you plenty of time to shop for Christmas. Ha! That was probably the hardest part…knowing that we wouldn't have the time to shop when we get back…we had to get it all done. So there was a lot of shopping, a lot of wrapping (ok, DW did the wrapping, I got out of it this year :) ). But we somehow managed to get it all done and on the morning of Saturday 12/8 we went and got a rental car, packed up and it was off to Southern California!!

    Only a 5 hour drive…so it wasn't a big deal. We were able to stay with some friends down there and have dinner with them, so that was quite nice and a good start to the vacation. Funny thing is…as i'm writing this, and as you will read it I can't say for sure how great a vacation it was…my assumption is that it will be great…but until it's over I can't say! Note from after the cruise: Yup, it was great. :thumbsup2

    next up: Day 1: Checking in, upgrade? and Day 1 on the Wonder!
  2. iloverags2

    iloverags2 DIS Veteran

    Feb 13, 2002
    Great start! Looking forward to reading all about your cruise!
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  4. MPS516

    MPS516 Disney #2 Fan

    Jan 26, 2010
    Thanks for the start, looking forward to the complete TR. We are on the September 2013 EBPC and hear all about your cruise.
  5. chrissyt27

    chrissyt27 DIS Veteran

    Feb 25, 2003
    We love our Mickey envelope and CD! I should have taken notes on our cruise as I totally forgot all the fun stuff we did. This cruise was a blast. Sad to be home.
  6. bbangel

    bbangel My friends call me the font of useless knowledge

    May 18, 2006
    We met at the meet the first day and then I never saw you again. I hope you enjoyed all the adult things you wanted to try since the kids weren't with you.

    I think the envelope may have been my most useful FE gift! I loved having a place to keep my navigators and all the other bits of paper I wanted to save. It definately helped keep the stateroom tidier and made it handy to carry everything home safely!
  7. dthogue

    dthogue DIS Veteran

    Jan 23, 2002
    Great start to your report - can't wait to hear more!
  8. LindaBabe

    LindaBabe DIS Veteran

    Oct 20, 1999
    I can't wait either! (And, guess where one of those clipboards and envelopes is, Tammy.)
  9. DisneyZell

    DisneyZell Likes Adventures on the High Seas

    Sep 28, 2004
    Thank you! Welcome aboard...er...or rather I'm sorry. Hopefully this will not be a long and painful story for you!!! :)

    Glad to help as much as possible. I envy that you have that to look forward to!!:cool1:

    So glad you liked the FE stuff. DW worked very hard on the envelope and of course on the CD. Too bad they don't have cd players in the rooms so you could have heard it. Hopefully you liked it once you were able to play it!!

    Hi! I saw you a couple of times, but usually from pretty far away. we did alot of stuff as you will soon see. Hopefully you had a great time too! That envelope seems to have been popular!

    Thank you, thank you...and welcome aboard to you as well!

    I'm assuming we need Tammy to answer this? :) welcome aboard, hope you enjoy it!

    thanks everyone, next episode will be up very soon!

  10. violetmonarch

    violetmonarch Mouseketeer

    Nov 16, 2012
    Looking forward to reading more :thumbsup2
  11. DisneyZell

    DisneyZell Likes Adventures on the High Seas

    Sep 28, 2004
    Welcome aboard! :)
  12. DisneyZell

    DisneyZell Likes Adventures on the High Seas

    Sep 28, 2004
    So, big day heading out on our cruise the next day. Important to get some sleep and be well rested as you don't want to start off the cruise exhausted. So what does that mean to me? You guessed it, it means that I should toss and turn all night long so that I am exhausted the next day!! It's perfect. DW had the same issue…still not sure why, strange bed, stress of not waking up…and the dreaded sound machine.

    Just to warn you if you have not yet read all my TR's, I do tend to go off on tangents from time to time, and in case you were wondering…this is one of those times. Oh, you haven't read my other TR's? Go do it. I'll wait. They are all linked down there in my signature. Go ahead. No really. I'll sit right here and wait until you finish.

    OK, welcome back :)

    Sound Machines are the most wonderful invention ever. If you are not familiar with what that is, in our case it is an alarm clock that has a choice of sounds that will play. These sounds vary from seashore, to birds chirping, or the best, rain. It's basically white noise and it helps drown out sounds such as dogs barking, kids watching TV, kids being loud in the morning, DW rolling over in bed…among other things. :) So we have been using a sound machine for years and have really gotten used to it.

    I travel from time to time, and it is not always possible to travel with a sound machine. At some point along the way I discovered an app called "relax and sleep" that has a ton of sounds on in, including white noise. This was perfect and became the sound machine that we used when traveling…that was, until we upgraded our Droid X phones to Samsung Galaxy 3 phones. While the phones themselves are fantastic…for some unknown reason Relax and Sleep now skips and jumps during the sounds…at varying intervals…so instead of a constant white noise we had some white noise a blip of nothing and then white noise again. That was worse than anything.

    I have tried several other aps without any luck either. OH, and to make a long story longer…both of our phones have the Relax and Sleep app…so I figured I'd get both phones going…and if one skips the other should be cruising right along, right? Wrong. Somehow they both skip at the same time. What the…? I did find an app with a constant sound…which was perfect, for 30 minutes which is when it shut off and woke me up. Yikes!

    But I digress.

    So the skipping sound machine kept me up…but eventually it was time to get up anyway…we said goodbye to our good friends, hopped in our car and headed to DW's sister's boyfriend's house (fiancé?).

    [​IMG] DW on the drive over. Some of you saw this on our cruise meet! OK, so this is actually on the drive down to southern california, but come on...let me tell the story! :) This is Disney related. It's all about the magic! er...the Wonder!

    DW's Sister's Boyfriend (say that three times fast!) is Armenian and cooked us an Armenian breakfast. Wow…good stuff! There were eggs with some kind of sausage that I can't remember the name of and some kind of beans which were very good…and I'm not a bean person!

    Anyway, we then dropped the car off at the Burbank airport and my sister-in-law took us down to the port. Originally our plan was to get to the port, check in, try to upgrade and then take SIL out to breakfast. But since we had eaten that was out the window…change of plans….so she just dropped us off. This was perfectly fine, except there was a bit of concern that we would not be allowed to bring our rolling cooler onto the ship through security. Apparently at Port Canaveral you are no longer allowed to. We were hoping this had not made it to LA, and since it was the last time the Wonder was going out of there for the near term we hoped they would look the other way.

    We arrived at the port and got in line behind 10 or so others also crazy enough to arrive at 9:30am. After talking to them for a bit guess what? All of them were DISboard members. Shocking. :) I was a bit nervous about the upgrade simply because on the cruise meet someone laid out exactly what to do in order to secure an upgrade. While I think it's great that others have the information, it was ok with me that there were some things you had to learn yourself...and we had figured that part out. Mean, I know...but I like one or two advantages! :rotfl2:

    They let us in shortly after 10am, and we headed upstairs to check in. We got checked in pretty quickly and because we wanted an upgraded headed over to the supervisor's desk. I think we were about the 4th family in line for upgrades. While we were waiting a CM came by (oh, that's Cast Member for those of you who don't yet speak DISboards). She had a list of the cost to upgrade and scared us by telling us that the cost to upgrade would be $2,800. While we wouldn't consider paying that much we decided to hang in to see what was available when we got up front. Thankfully we did! When we got there we were told that there where category 5c rooms available which are the least expensive balcony rooms. The cost was $1,550, still very expensive, obviously, but for 14 nights? We thought it would be worth it. So we went for it.

    As I said before, I'm writing this while on board…today is Thursday 12/13, so I have not yet seen our bill which will likely scare the crud out of me. :scared1:

    So now it was waiting time. We headed through security, again with a small concern that they would turn our rolling cooler full of beer away. However it wasn't an issue, they turned it on it's side to put it through the machine, but other than that didn't bat an eye. Whew!

    I need to start remembering that not everyone reading my TR's have had a cruise or two under their belt, and I think this is the biggest tip we can give. Disney *will* allow you to bring as much alcohol as you want onboard. You cannot check your alcohol, you have to carry it on, so be prepared for that. Also, do NOT put ice in whatever you are carrying your alcohol in...you can have your stateroom attendant do that for you. We are referring above to Port Canaveral where supposedly rolling coolers are no longer allowed. Rumor has it people are rolling their coolers up on deck and using them up there. so that's the other part of this...don't ruin it for the rest of us...enjoy your alcohol in your room, or grab a beer and then walk the ship. Don't bring a six pack around with you.

    I have always brought a beer or two to dinner as well until I realized that isn't nice...you can certainly do it, but the assistant servers make money on tips...so it is a bit like rubbing it in their face if you bring your own beer or glass of wine to dinner. This is just my opinion and of course you can do what you want. But I definitely recommend you bring your alcohol onboard to save yourself some money. Dw and I have never had more than maybe one drink on our past cruises and our intention was the same here

    But I digress.

    We went and found a seat for the rest of the wait…and proceeded to chat with several people, including many DISers. This was Sunday, and football was on so I thought I would go see if they could put a game on one of the channels. I found a CM and asked the question…and got a rude response. That kind of surprised me…and I think surprised her as well as she caught up to me and explained further. Basically Disney wouldn't let them put anything on other than Disney channel in the terminal.

    They own ESPN…so come on! no reason they couldn't do something. But oh well.

    I went to sit back down when it dawned on me that I could pull my laptop out and get on wifi…and found the link to watch NFL redzone. wooohoo! I was in business. Now I could watch my fantasy football players, chat with DISers, and hang out and wait. It was the fastest waiting ever in my opinion, not really sure why. Part of it was talking with others…including the older woman I mentioned earlier who was traveling with her mother, and come to find out that she had been given very bad information by her travel agent. The travel agent basically just said that any questions she had she needed to contact Disney. Which was crazy. DW just started being a travel agent, and we gave them more information in 30 minutes than they had gotten in the months leading up to their vacation. Very sad that some Travel Agents just punt…I think that is one of the things that give travel agents a bad name. No more feeling that they need to earn their commission! Sad!

    We had boarding group #3, and had gotten to know Lindy and Denver (Haileyboo), and invited them to board with us as our extended family. they were also traveling sans-kids…so it was nice to be able to walk on with someone else. Very soon they did the family of the day (never us…why never us??? :) ), and we were up and headed onto the ship! Yeah!

    We went into the Atrium and…wait for it…"Please welcome aboard the Disney Wonder, the Zell Family!" That's one of the coolest sentences that could ever be said because it means we are back…and this time it means we are back for 14 nights. Yikes! that is a long and wonderful time!

    For the life of me I don't remember if I told you guys this but my plan on this cruise is to do one thing new each and every day that I had never done. Not sure how easy that will be to do, but I will try to tell you all what it was that I did. So if I don't do that on a day, remind me and I will add it in!

    Since this was day 1 we needed to start right off with something we had not done…and that was to have lunch in Parrot Cay. We have always darted right up to the pool deck, snagged a couple of tables and sent people in shifts to get lunch at the buffet. But I needed to do something new…and we did…marched down the hall and went in to have lunch with Lindy and Denver. The lunch there was a Buffet as well which kind of surprised me because I had thought that it would be a sit-down lunch. Maybe that was just me not paying attention to other TR's, but it is just what I envisioned. They had all the staples of Beach Blanket Buffet, shrimp, shrimp and more shrimp, weinershnitzel, little sandwiches, etc.

    Being the genius that I ...ahem...am…ahem…well, that I like to think I am, rather than putting the cocktail sauce on the side, I got more shrimp and saved room on my plate by putting the sauce over the top. Great idea, right? Note that I have not included this as a tip…because the Disney shrimp are not peeled, and I'm thinking all of you are smarter than me. :rotfl: So it was lovely that I got to dig my fingers into the red sauce, peel my shrimp and then wipe my fingers off…all in front of two people I had just met a few minutes before. Yup, I looked good. I'm sure that was a bonus for them...look, this person we just met is covered to his elbows in cocktail sauce. That's almost like ordering a big messy plate of ribs on a first date. Nice.

    But I managed to make it through..but more importantly I had spotted the greatest thing since sliced bread…the ice cream bar. DCL has this mysterious ice cream bar that shows up from time to time. They bring out a tub or two of ice cream, have a giant bowl of yummy carmel sauce, chocolate sauce, shaved chocolate and this time a vanilla sauce. This mystery ice cream bar is a mystery because you never know for sure when it will show up except on Pirate Night. It *will* show up in the BBB, but they don't tell you when…so you have to check for it every day. I spotted this one right off, took a picture on my phone and immediately texted it to my buddy Mike who was the original discoverer of the ice cream bar. Yeah…rubbing it in just a little. :)

    The only thing I didn't like about this one…was it was chocolate ice cream. I'm a vanilla guy when I add toppings….so that makes it not quite as good as the one they usually have later and at pirate night. but I digress.

    After getting my fill of ice cream we headed up to do the second thing I had never done, tour the spa.

    [​IMG] Stopping to take a pic by the adult pool on the way. Here is DW, Hi DW! :wave2: I know, I know, I already posted these pictures. but now they go with the story!

    [​IMG] and your's truly!

    Now I realize they are just going to try to sell me spa services…but boy all that stuff sure looked good. My favorite is a room that has it's own hot tub, a bed, and a massage table. I mean, come on, you can just check me in all day long and I'll be quite happy to not leave there. I also don't have any money left since we upgraded at the port. ha!

    But they have a raffle where they give away things to the spa…which I never realized they did because we were usually too busy with the kids, lunch and in the pool. So we entered the raffle and then headed down to our room because they were open and ready for us. We checked everything out, took look #1 off of the balcony, put the wine in the beverage cooler and then headed down to the Disboards cruise meet which was at 2:30.

    I think we did one other cruise meet before, and there were maybe 20 people there. Not this time. I don't know the numbers, but it must have been over 100. Jeff and his wife Susan who had coordinated the meet (thanks guys!), had made name tags for everyone to put in their lanyards. this added a nice touch and has been something we still see around the ship and you know immediately these are Disers!

    [​IMG] Cruise Meet pic #1!

    [​IMG] Cruise meet pic #2!

    There was a lot of coordination because of all the changes to rooms that were made at the port (see, all that information almost hurt me!!! :) ), and we got to meet a few people which was very nice. Again we have done the meet before, but never have had such a large group of people. And it seems like we never really ran into Disers on other cruises…but here we are seeing people we now know all over the ship. Very neat. Normally we have cruised with friends, and at least our kids. But since we are without kids and without friends it is nice to have made some new ones!

    Plus Jeff made name tags for everyone and most of us put those name tags in our lanyards...this will help identify the DISers throughout the cruise. Thanks Jeff!

    The time is now 3:15, time for the spa raffle, time for me to become famous for winning the big bucks. We headed up to the exercise room, the top part of which I can't even use because I can't stand up on the treadmill or sit on the bike without hitting my head on the ceiling. Darn it, I just won't exercise! I protest! And I digress.

    So they drew all the names and alas we did not win. No soup for you! One of the Disers won, I think it was Mrmom's wife and she was hilarious in her reaction and very excited to win.

    So it was back to the room to hopefully find our suitcases. All but one were there (the one with our shoes of course!), and we got to meet our room host Herold, and told him we were missing our one suitcase and that we had changed rooms. We also introduced him to our rolling cooler…please fill with ice. :) He is incredibly nice and friendly and does a great job. He went down to our old stateroom and grabbed the bag and brought it up…now we were ready to go. We popped open some wine and got ready for dinner.

    [​IMG] Gotta love timers on cameras. It's funny, I looked at this picture for a good 5 minutes trying to figure out how our table was so high. Then it dawned on me that we were on our knees. I had forgotten! Nice! :rotfl2:

    We did the early seating. I know a lot of people like to do the late seating, and we talked about doing that because we did not have the kids with us. But to be honest we are not stay-out-late people, and we don't think we would enjoy eating dinner at 8pm, so our dinner was at 5:45. Our rotation is Parrot Cay, Animators, Tritons. and that repeats a lot. :) The beauty of a 14 night cruise!

    We linked our reservation with other Disers, and we had 4 tables together (tables 1-4). At our table we had Jeff, Susan, Audrey, Doug, Patti, Rick, Zac and his grandfather. I'll try to get his name later in this TR. Zac and his grandfather are a part of a larger group, but there wasn't room for them at one table.

    DW had bruschetta, salad, lobster and shrimp risoto and apple tart. I had Calamari (mediocre), seafood chowder (yum), risotto (yum also), and kahlua creme brule (heehaw).

    Dinner was great, we are clearly sitting with some very fun people. Zac is 18 (newly so), and is a fun kid to have around. Jeff did all the organizing for the cruise, and the other 4 (Audrey, Doug, Patti and Rick) were from Canada. We sat across from Patti and Rick and spent most of the time chatting with them, but we got to know everyone through the dinner.

    Our serving team is Dina (Assistant Server) from Australia and Frano (Server) from Croatia. they are both really good. Dina doesn't get my humor at all…so at some point I have to choose if I continue to throw my little jokes her way or give up. :) We will see through the cruise! Remind me later to tell you how that works out!

    After dinner we went to the store to do a little shopping. DCL made a bunch of Panama Canal stuff and we picked up an ornament. We try to get a Christmas Ornament whenever we go on vacation and we felt that was a good fit. The rest of the stuff we are going to wait and see and hope that maybe it goes on sale at the end of the cruise. How's that for wishful thinking…this *is* Disney after all. Again I'm writing this on the cruise…so at this point i don't have any idea if they will make it cheaper or not!

    DW also bought a charm for her Pandora bracelet. Not all of the charms fit, but the CM was more than happy to have her try them all on her bracelet. And then we found something out that we didn't know. because we are Gold Castaway Club members we get 10% off our purchases in the store. Nice! Who knew! OK, so probably all of you knew…but we didn't! That was a nice little bonus.

    Although I tried to push against it we did go to the welcome aboard show. Figured we needed to do so to see the preview act…and as it turns out I'm really glad we did. The preview act was Kevin Johnson who did a show with puppets. Kind of like Jeff Dunham. He did about 10 minutes…the first five minutes I was worried as it was a little boring, but after he established the puppet's personalities it was really, really funny. He did a bit where he was doing Japanese films where the words are out of synch with the actors on the screen. Holy cow I almost peed my pants!! He is doing a full show the next night…and we were definitely looking forward to that!

    After the show we headed back to the room to organize the FE gifts. OK, dW organized the FE gifts while I lounged around. The plan was to start delivering them on Monday….but that was definitely enough for one day!

    [​IMG] Our gold castaway club gift which was a DCL journal and a few other things. This is in addition to the standard backpack stuff that came with the normal castaway club gift.

    [​IMG] And the first towel animal of the cruise.

    Thank you all for hanging with me through this...let me know if you have any questions you would like me to answer!

    Next up: Day 3: first day at sea
  13. LindaBabe

    LindaBabe DIS Veteran

    Oct 20, 1999
    Loving it! Thank you for reminding me what I did, :rotfl2:
  14. dededisney

    dededisney Mouseketeer

    Apr 29, 2008
    Dh is off to a good start...everything he is saying actually happened! It already seems like so long ago that we were on the ship. It is always good to re-live the cruise and DH makes it so much more exciting than my journal. Way to go Drew:thumbsup2
  15. figment52

    figment52 <font color=royalblue>Oh man, I checked out the we

    Apr 28, 2003
    Loving the report. I did the PC cruise in 2008 and would love to do it again. You are going to love the 14 days on board but I'll warn you, it is hard to leave.

    Can't wait for more....
  16. iloverags2

    iloverags2 DIS Veteran

    Feb 13, 2002
    Total enjoyment already and it's only Day 1...can't wait for more then! BTW, your Gold CC gift is waaaaaaaaaaaay better than the one I received on our October 2012 Dream cruise...totally jealous!
  17. pharmjenn

    pharmjenn DIS Veteran

    Jan 29, 2012
    Love reading about your first day. We hadn't met yet, but Billy and I were also at the spa raffle. He did about 5 minutes on the elliptical while waiting. I don't think I can do that long, even without any tension set.
    I was chuckling at your Dina comments, and Jim questioned me. I think I may get Jim to read your report!
    As Linda said, great to read about what we "did" the first day, since a lot of it matches.
  18. bbangel

    bbangel My friends call me the font of useless knowledge

    May 18, 2006
    My mom talked about the Kahlua creme brule the whole trip! We didn't link our dining with you guys and I was regretting it as of the first night. Will know better next time!
  19. tokyodisneydad

    tokyodisneydad DIS Veteran

    Oct 3, 2006
    Finally climbing aboard....thanks for the link. I bet you didn't even see me stowed away in that lifeboat, did you? Looking forward to all the hilarity and useful tidbits. :banana:
  20. Grooovertoo

    Grooovertoo DIS Dad #572

    Feb 22, 2011
    Just in time for the new year...that's right!

    A DinseyZell Cruising TR!!!!​

    Followed you over from all your other TR's and I feel so lucking to be getting in on page 2 of this one. Keep up the good work.

    Happily joining in for this yarn.
  21. QuiltTeddy

    QuiltTeddy DIS Veteran

    Jul 31, 2004
    *slips in quietly and yawns*

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