East Meets West - A Wonderful Journey

irongirlof12

<font color=blue><marquee>Am I the only one who lo
Joined
Nov 3, 2006
shame about not being able to dock ay castaway, i haven't even considered this before you have said. still you made the most of your day. love the rescuers print.:goodvibes
 

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Day 5

We were awake bright and early again. Once we had our wake up call from Mickey, we got up and headed for the gym. We were hoping that doing Pilates indoors the previous day was an exception due to high winds and decided to give it a go again. Unfortunately they were doing the class indoors again. I had also spotted in the Navigator that there would be Aqua Aerobics in the adult pool half an hour later. This is something that I always had wanted to try. So I decided to have a go at this. Graham was not too sure about the idea at first, but decided to have a go as well. We both thoroughly enjoyed it and I don’t think I have ever had such a good workout. I could not touch the bottom for the most part so had to tread water while doing the exercises.

After this, we had definitely deserved some breakfast. We spent a little while working out what the different dishes on the menu are. On the Magic, a lot of the items on the breakfast menu have names that are linked to Beauty and the Beast, whereas on the Wonder, the names are inspired by The Little Mermaid. So Graham ended up with Chef Louis Kick Off (fresh fruit, plain yoghurt, Granola) followed by Scuttle on the Run (Ham, Bacon, Sausage, Grilled Tomato, Scrambled Egg, Hash Brown). My breakfast was easier. I had a Mango Mountain Hike (Mango Smoothie with Muesli), which was the same on the Magic followed by Eggs Benedict. This was a bit of a leap of faith for me as the last time I had Eggs Benedict on the Magic, it was horrible and I had not enjoyed this dish since. However, the Eggs Benedict on the Wonder were delicious.

All fed and watered, it was time to work some of this off. So we headed up to deck 4 to do Walk a Mile. This was not quite such a leisurely proposition as it had been on the Magic last year. It was more on a power walk and by the end of the 2nd lap, my calf muscles had gone into cramp. This might well have had something to do with the unusual exercise earlier on. I still carried on, but just slowed down a little. I met Graham back at the starting point. He had jogged most of the three laps. He said that the rest of the group had got confused and were going round again even though they had already done 3 laps.

Graham and I agreed to meet up for lunch around 13:00 and I headed down to Wavebands for the DVC Member Celebration. This is usually great fun, but this time I got more than I had bargained for. When I got to Wavebands, I found a huge line that snaked all the way from deck 3 forward past the midship elevators and clear across the atrium. As I had only brought one baseball cap for the two of us expecting to get new ones during the DVC Member Celebration, I decided to brave the line. I was just approaching the end of the line, when somebody came out of nowhere and grabbed my arm hard to push me out of the way just so that he could get one person ahead. He can thank his lucky star that there was no crew member nearby as I would have created a bit of a stir.

When I finally got to the front of the line, I was handed a couple of baseball caps and a nice document folder. The baseball caps are a different style from those that I had received on previous cruises. They were white and have a red Mickey silhouette on them rather than the DVC logo. I have never seen so many people in Wavebands before. Fortunately some people who I knew spotted me and waved for me to come and join them. As soon as I was sitting down, I was handed a glass with a Mimosa. I could get used to this! Normally there are all kind of ice breakers and games, but there were simply too many people for this. So they just did a raffle and I won a nice beach bag. Once I had collected my prize, I left as I wanted to catch Lilo and Stitch up on deck 9.

Stitch has over the last couple of years become my firm favourite and on past cruises, I had some fantastic interactions with him. So I was more than a little disappointed that they did not bring him out during the day of over unplanned sea day especially as we was scheduled to be out and about on the island. He was out for photos during late dinner the previous night, but I missed him as I was still eating my dinner.

This also turned out the only opportunity to have a professional photo taken with Stitch. To say that I was gutted would be the understatement of the year. Anyway, I knew that Lilo and Stitch would be up at the Gazebo on deck 9 at 10:30 so I made sure that I would be there. I was very disappointed that there was no photographer with him, but I got a nice hug and the character escort took a photo with my camera.



Once I had my brief quality time with Stitch, I headed back down to the Walt Disney Theater. Don "Ducky" Williams was on board and he was doing his talk for adults that morning. He was also on our Transatlantic cruise and I had a brief opportunity to talk to him. He is a genuinely nice person. I was sad that I had to miss both of his talks then and promised myself that I would make at least on talk during the Panama Canal Cruise.

As people entered the theatre, they were given a raffle ticket. Throughout the talk, Ducky Williams was drawing characters, which were then raffled off at the end of the talk. I then spent a very interesting hour watching Ducky Williams draw and listened how he sent a letter and a character drawing to Walt Disney as a child and that he wanted to work for Disney ever since. It took him years to get there and listening to his story of what it took to be finally hired by Disney as a character artist was fascinating. He is now the only character artist working out of Disney World and is doing all the character drawings for maps, flyers, etc. He also did all the artwork for Tony's Town Square restaurant at the Magic Kingdom. He said that at the moment most of his work is for Disney Cruise Line as he is doing lithographs for all the special cruises and whereas before there would be one lithograph for both ships for holiday cruises, he would now have to produce one for the Magic and the Wonder and a different one for the Dream. Unfortunately I did not win any of the drawings, but two of our tablemates were lucky enough to get a drawing of Donald Duck.

After the talk, I went up to deck 9 to see if I could get my hair braided. They did not seem rushed off their feet, but were extremely reluctant to fit me in. In the end we agreed that they would get started and if their appointments turned up, they would have to stop and I would make an appointment for the next day to finish it off. Well, this was not necessary. At one stage, I had both of them working on my head. One did the corn rows and the other added the beads. They were just going to start on the last braid when the first appointment turned up. One person finished my braids off and the other got started on the other person. The other person that had an appointment still had not showed up when I was done and had paid.

Once I had my hair done, I found Graham by the pool. We briefly headed back to the cabin so that he could get changed and then we went to Parrot Cay for lunch. They had a Steak House Buffet that day. Graham had Salad, Peel and Eat Shrimp, Pork Ribs, Roast Beef, Grilled Pork and Rice and Fruit Crumble for dessert. I had Oxtail Soup, Scalloped Potatoes, Sautéed Asparagus, Sautéed Mushrooms and Garlic, Roast Beef, Pork Rib, Beef Medallion with Fried Onion. For dessert I had Profiterole and Pecan Pie.

After lunch, we went to the Walt Disney Theatre for a lecture on the history of the Panama Canal. The lecture was given by a retired Panama Canal pilot. This could have been very dry and boring, but was both interesting and entertaining. Apart from the history behind it, we also learned that the Panama Canal is the only place where the pilot assumes navigational control over the ship. Normally pilots just act in an advisory capacity and the captain and the officers remain in control of the ship. The lecture ended with a time lapse video of a Panama Canal crossing, which was a nice preview of things to come.

After the lecture, I went upstairs to the Cove Cafe, where I had arranged to meet with the participants of my first jewellery workshop. I had arranged three workshops this time round and contrary to on the Transatlantic cruise, the groups were smaller and every group did a different project. For that first session, I only had 2 people and we were making a set consisting of a choker, bangle and a pair of earrings for formal night. Everybody had chosen their colour scheme and we used semi-precious stones, crystals and pewter beads with a stardust effect. One of the people participating in this workshop had done one of my workshops on the Transatlantic cruise. She had brought one of the pieces of jewellery that we had made on that cruise, which she had not quite managed to finish. She was working on this while we were waiting for the second person to arrive. Shortly afterwards, the second person arrived and we started on the jewellery sets. Everybody got a great result. This is my idea of a perfect time: sitting out in the sunshine, surrounded by water and making jewellery with other people.











A friend of one of the participants had joined us and sat with us during the workshop. We ended up staying behind and chatted once the others had left. It was nice to just sit and talk. Time was positively flying. I suddenly noticed that it had gone dark. I looked on my watch and it was 18:15.

I felt a little guilty as Graham had mentioned earlier on in the day that he was considering going to the show. He had only ever been to one show during all the cruises that we have done. So I had intended to go with him even though the show was the Golden Mickeys, which is my least favourite of the shows. By the time, I realized what the time was, the show had already started. In the end, Graham had decided against the show as well and I found him in the Rainforest Room.

I spent about an hour just chilling out in the Rainforest Room and then got showered at the spa. I then headed back to the cabin to get changed. Graham arrived back in the cabin shortly afterwards.

Once we were both changed, we headed down to the atrium. This evening was the Captain's Welcome Reception. Our previous cruise on the Wonder was the only cruise where we did not get a photo with the captain. I wanted to put this right this time round. When we got there, it was hard to get even to the atrium. The line for the photo with the captain was huge and he had not even arrived yet. I decided to join the line, which mercifully moved very quickly once the captain arrived. Graham had stayed in the area by the midship elevators when I joined the line, but he came and joined me when I was nearly at the front of the line. We got our photo and then just wandered around for a bit. Graham managed to get a couple of the free cocktails, but I was not so lucky.





Soon it was time for dinner. Unfortunately two of our table mates did not come to dinner that night as it was formal night. Dinner that night was the Golden Mickey Menu. Graham had Caramelized Bay Scallops on Tomato Risotto, Broccoli and Maytag Blue Cheese Soup with Crushed Walnuts, Swordfish with Rice, Red Pepper Sauce and Braised Swiss Chard, followed by Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee with Honeyed Raspberries. I opted for Fried Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Sauce, Broccoli and Maytag Blue Cheese Soup with Crushed Walnuts, New York Strip Steak with Sauteed Asparagus, Baked Potato and Spiced Butter. For my dessert, I had the Sweet Temptations (Triple Chocolate Award, Raspberry Cake, Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee).





After dinner, I managed to get a photo with Pluto and we both had our photo taken against a backdrop of the ship at night. I then let Graham go back to the cabin while I had some photos taken against a black and white backdrop.























After this, I headed back to the cabin. I could not quite figure our what our "towel" animal was supposed to be. It was made out of a napkin and vaguely looked like a tuxedo. I took a photo anyway and then went to bed.

 

Chilly

RIP Tag Fairy
Joined
Apr 25, 2006
I hope one day i'm on the same cruise as you so I can make some jewellery with you.
 
  • mandymouse

    Bahama Mama Time !!
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2003
    Another fun filled day and lovely photos too Corinna :thumbsup2

    I hope one day i'm on the same cruise as you so I can make some jewellery with you.
    Yes it sounds like fun Claire, though I would hate to see what mine would turn out like after a few Bahama Mamas ;) :rotfl2:
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I hope one day i'm on the same cruise as you so I can make some jewellery with you.
    That would be nice. I bought some travel-size tools for the Transatlantic and I figure I might as well use them.

    Another fun filled day and lovely photos too Corinna :thumbsup2



    Yes it sounds like fun Claire, though I would hate to see what mine would turn out like after a few Bahama Mamas ;) :rotfl2:
    You would probably be surprised. It is really easier than you think so I am sure you would do OK even after a few drinks.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 6

    When cruising, things don't always go according to plan. According to the itinerary, this was supposed to be our second sea day. When we did not make Castaway Cay, they contacted ports that were on the way to see if they would be able to accommodate us on short notice. They did not have any luck in finding a new port, but Aruba agreed to letting us arrive a day early and staying over night. We were scheduled to get there at about 4 in the afternoon. For the first part of the day, we went ahead like it was a sea day though.

    We got up at our normal time and headed to the gym for some exercise. We then went to the Cove Cafe for some coffee and a pastry for breakfast.It was a nice relaxing start to the day. Shortly before 9:00, we went down to deck 4 to do Walk A Mile.

    Next up was the Castaway Club Reception. This is only the second time that I was allowed to attend this. When we first started cruising, all repeat cruisers were invited to this. So I attended the reception on our second cruise. Just before our 3rd cruise, they changed the system and silver Castaway Club members (1 to 5 completed cruises) were no longer invited. The reason for this was that there were simply too many repeat cruisers. As this was our sixth cruise, which made us Gold Castaway Club Members, we were invited again this time.

    Graham decided to come along for this. When we approached the venue, there was a line, but that moved quickly. We were given a name sticker and shortly afterwards, we were allowed to go in. There were actually so many Gold and Platinum members that they had to overflow into another room as well. We had met up with somebody I knew in the line and ended up sitting with her and a friend of hers. As soon as we had sat down, servers came around with Mimosas, non-alcoholic cocktails and canapés. Mickey was around in his red captain's outfit, but nobody seemed to want to see him. At that time, he did not have a photographer with him, but his escort took a photo with my camera. Graham joined me for this. A bit later the photographer appeared and I had a professional photo taken. Apart from Captain Mickey, a number of officers including the captain were in attendance. Captain Henry spoke first about the cruise, the new itinerary of the Wonder and that there were new exciting itineraries in the pipeline. The Vice President of Disney Cruise Line then said a few words as well. We then watched a video about the Disney Dream and with this the reception ended. On the way out, we were able to collect a Castaway Cay Club Champagne Flute each. They are only plastic, but rather nice.







    After the reception, I headed up to Treasure Ketch. They had released the logo pin for the cruise at 10:00 AM. Unlike the other pins, this was a limited edition of 1000. When I got there half an hour after the release, there was nobody else in the shop and there were still plenty of pins available. So I got my pin without any problems. It is a nice colorful pin, but as they did not do a separate pin for the crossing day, I rather wish that they had included the locks into the design.



    While I was in the shop, I realized that they no longer had the Disney Cruise Line Dooney and Bourke bag that I had intended to buy on display. They had all the other sizes, but not the size I wanted. I started to panic a little had I had wanted this bag for so long and had budgeted for this. I spotted that they still had one on display near the till and another in the window so figured all was not lost. I asked and they found some more in the store room and among those was my perfect bag. I bought it very quickly before somebody else could get it.







    Once I had stashed my treasures in the cabin and got changed, I joined Graham in the adult pool. Even though it was lovely and warm for us, there was nobody else in the pool even though there were plenty of people on the loungers around the pool.

    Once we had enough of swimming, we got changed and headed for Parrot Cay for lunch. Between the two of us, we had Beef Strip Loin, Pork Chop, Coconut Rice, Salad, Jerk Chicken Skewer, Coconut Cream Pie, Rum Chocolate Slice and Pineapple Mouse.

    After lunch, I headed back to the cabin to get changed yet again. We had our Champagne Girl Meet and Tasting that afternoon. Champagne Girls means pink clothes, tiaras and feather boas. I passed on the feather boa as I hate the texture of feathers on my skin, but I had brought a pink dress and a tiara.

    I had first experienced Champagne Girls on the Transatlantic cruise, where we brought our own champagne and held it in a suite. This turned out to be a bit of a free for all. This cruise we had asked Disney to do a champagne tasting for us. We had been asked to come 30 minutes before the official start time and we spent this by playing a version of "Who Am I?" as an icebreaker. We all had a label with a Disney Movie stuck to our back and had to find out which Disney movie we represented by asking people questions about it. One of the rules was that you only were allowed to ask one question per person. It was a lot of fun. My movie had special significance to me. I had "The Fox and the Hound", which was the first movie that my dad took me to see as a child.

    Disney did a great job with the tasting. We got 4 tastings although none of them were actually Champagne. The first one came as a bit of a surprise. We had some Martinelli Sparkling Cider. This was not cider in the UK sense of the word, but sparkling apple juice. It was nice, but a touch too sweet for my taste. We had some Italian Prosecco and an old favourite, Fairy Tale Cuvee. The last tasting was actually my favourite. It was an Italian rose sparkling wine that was a little on the sweet side. This is produced for Disney under the label Magical Rose. It comes from the same region as Rosa Regale and has a very similar taste, but is half the price. This was a real discovery. For each of the sparkling wines, we were first asked what flavours we could detect. Then we were told what we were actually drinking and a bit of information about this. At the end of the tasting, we were each given a Wine Tasting pin.

    With the actual tasting finished, we went to the atrium to have some group photos taken. While we were getting organized, we saw Daisy and her escort walking by on deck 4. We invited her to come and join us, which was a definite bonus. I suppose Daisy is kind of the ultimate Champagne Girl even though she was not wearing her pink outfit at the time.

     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Once all the photos had been taken, I headed back to the cabin to get changed yet again. I met Graham there, who was just dropping off some stuff. He had been to the launch session of Goofy's and Max's Boat Building Bash. He had been given some empty juice cartons, some glue and some string and had until the last sea day to build a boat that floats. He also had been to another lecture about the Panama Canal. This one was about the actual crossing.

    We decided to go up to deck 9 to watch our approach on Aruba. We were standing right above the flying Bridge and it was interesting watching the docking process from this spot. First impressions were not particularly impressive. There seemed to be a lot of industry around.



























    Once the ship had been cleared, we decided to get off and have a look around. With it being a Sunday afternoon, most of the shops were closed. Some of the high end jewellery shops were open and some convenience stores, but that was about it. This was fine by me as I had not come to shop. A lot of the bars and restaurants were closed as well. We found out afterwards that it had been the local carnival the previous day and people were still nursing their hangovers, which was the reason that so much was closed.

    We had booked a private excursion for the next day and went to the marina to see where we needed to go. We then walked through a park near the sea and saw some big crabs and fish in a swimming lagoon belonging to a hotel. Let's just say, I would not have gone swimming there. We then walked over to another beach and Graham could not resist putting his feet in the water. Once he had checked the temperature, we slowly headed back to the ship having a look at some shopping centres on the way. This is how Graham likes shopping centres best - when they are closed. I did find one convenience store that was open. Graham needed some empty plastic bottles for his boat. I spotted that they had some grape soda, which I am rather partial to. So I got a couple of bottles of this. We also had a quick look at the souvenir shops in the terminal building at the port.











     
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Once we had arrived back on the ship, we dropped our stuff off at the cabin and then headed up to the Rainforest Room to relax until it was time for dinner. We had this to ourselves as a lot of people were obviously still in port.

    Dinner that night was the first of the three rotational menus and we were in Animator's Palate that night. We do not like the so called show in that restaurant, but really enjoy the menu. So we decided that we would go to dinner after all. Graham had Ahi Tuna Tatare, Grilled Veal Chop with Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes, Asparagus and Morel Mushroom Sauce. For dessert he had Buckled Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream. I had chosen Polenta Cake with Roma Tomatos, Mushrooms and Cheese, Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup, Beef Tenderloin with Bok Choi, Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and Tamarind Barbeque Reduction. Our server also had brought us some Mushroom Risotto with Porcini Twist to share. I liked this so much that I might well go for this on our next cruise. For dessert I had the Sweet Temptations, which consisted of Strawberry Sable, Orange and Cranberry Cheesecake and Double Fudge Cake. Dinner was washed down with a Margarita, which was very nice.

    One thing that was interesting is how they would handle the show. Traditionally on the Magic, Sorcerer Mickey has always come out with the servers after they had changed to their coloured waistcoats. On the Wonder, this was never done. I was rather curious if now that the Wonder is doing cruises of 7 nights or more, if they would have Sorcerer Mickey, too. Sorcerer Mickey did indeed appear. Apparently this was the third cruise where they had Sorcerer Mickey. The had introduced this during the two 7 night cruises over Christmas and New Year. Something what I saw for the first time is that the paint brushes that are dotted around in the restaurant actually were lit up.

    After dinner, I had my photo taken with Mickey and Minnie and also against a backdrop with fireworks.














    Once I had my photos taken, we headed back to our cabin. Our stateroom host had left us a towel scorpion. I took some photos of this, quickly read through the Navigator and then we went to sleep.

     

    mandymouse

    Bahama Mama Time !!
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2003
    Another great day Corinna, I love your D&B bag ::yes:: I hope one day I'll have the opportunity to be a Champagne Girl ;):rotfl2:
     

    Rohais

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 8, 2009
    Thoroughly enjoying reading your trip report Corinna, as usual! :goodvibes Sooo in love with your D&B bag, gorgeous placement! Lovely pictures too :thumbsup2
     
  • ForTheLoveOfDCL

    A Dream is a wish your
    Joined
    Sep 17, 2008
    Loving the report. I love the pictures with the white backdrop--kinda cool how you and the characters are just floating there... The D&B purse is lovely. I am hoping to find one I like as well in October! Love the pic of ladies in pink that was shot from above. Would love to have one done like that of us Dreamers if we all do a brunch or something. Can't wait for more updates..I am looking so forward to the PC crossing!
     

    Marl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2010
    Love the dress you're wearing on the pics with Mickey and Minnie and gorgeous Dooney bag :woohoo:
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Thoroughly enjoying reading your trip report Corinna, as usual! :goodvibes Sooo in love with your D&B bag, gorgeous placement! Lovely pictures too :thumbsup2
    I got lucky with the Dooney and Bourke bag. Actually, this is the second time this happened. On the Transatlantic, I had fallen in love with one wristlet and I checked on it every couple of days and it was always there. I had to wait until Payday to get it and once I was in a position to buy it, it had gone. So I gave one of the staff in the shop a rough description of what I was looking for and he came back with a wristlet that I liked even better than the original one.

    Loving the report. I love the pictures with the white backdrop--kinda cool how you and the characters are just floating there... The D&B purse is lovely. I am hoping to find one I like as well in October! Love the pic of ladies in pink that was shot from above. Would love to have one done like that of us Dreamers if we all do a brunch or something. Can't wait for more updates..I am looking so forward to the PC crossing!
    I am working on the next installment every spare minute that I get. It is now nearly finished and I should be ready to post this tonight. Aruba was a pretty full day, but the sea day afterwards was fairly low key so I should be able to start on the crossing day by Friday. However, as this was a bumper day, this will take a while.

    The white backdrop never used to work for me because of my white hair. I just looked like a ghost. However, I found out that it is just down to the skill of the photographer. I got some fantastic photos against the white backdrop on the last two cruises. There are more to come.

    The photo from the Champagne Girl gathering was taken by somebody from the DIS with my camera. He took everybody's camera and went up to the little balcony by the midship elevators on deck 4. It worked out great.

    Love the dress you're wearing on the pics with Mickey and Minnie and gorgeous Dooney bag :woohoo:
    The dress is a Monsoon dress, but it is one of my Ebay finds.

    I love my Dooney and Bourke bag. It was quite expensive and it took me three cruises to talk myself into it. I am glad that I got it. I am getting so much use out of this. Since I bought it, I never left the house without it. Of course, that I was getting $25 cash back in form of a stateroom credit for buying it helped as well.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 7

    We allowed ourselves a bit of extra time in bed that day. We were meeting at 8:45, which should have left plenty of time for breakfast.

    However, we found out the previous day that Aruba was actually one hour ahead, but we were asked to stay on ship time. This meant that we were actually meeting at 7:45, which did not give us enough time for breakfast. So we figured we might as well have an extra 30 minutes in bed.

    We were supposed to meet by the aft gangway. Disney had other ideas though. They only had the forward gangway open and when we were walking along the dock towards the aft of the ship, we were soon stopped by a crew member. So we decided to wait for the others near the entrance to the terminal building. Soon the others started arriving and we were only one couple short. Somebody went back to the ship to give them a call. They had lost track of time and joined us very soon afterwards.

    Once everybody was there, we walked the short distance to the marina. On the way there, we had to walk past a "market" that had sprung up over night. The vendors were selling typical tourist tat and it felt at times like running the gauntlet. To their credit, they did actually take no for an answer. When we got to the marina, we were welcomed by the captain of the boat. We each had to sign a waiver and the money for the excursion was collected. While we were sorting out the paperwork, it started to rain. Fortunately it was only a passing shower. By the time we were ready to get on the boat, it had blown over.

    Before we were allowed on the boat, we were asked to take our shoes off so that we do not damage or mark the deck. The shoes and our bags were stashed below deck. Most of the people, including Graham, opted to sit up on the deck. They had put mats down to make this more comfortable. I was not quite brave enough to try this at first as a lot of climbing around was needed. So I settled down on a bench near the cabin with some other people.









    It took us about an hour to get to our snorkeling spot. To the left of us were things like a landfill site, the airport and a desalination plant, but to the right, there was some mangrove, which was very pretty. On that side, we also passed a resort with a water park. During the journey, we were offered as much water, juice, soft drinks, rum punch and local beer as we could drink. I started off with orange juice, but eventually gave in to the temptation of the rum punch, which was very nice. At some stage, I decided to join Graham up front. I had an idea now about the movement of the boat and figured that I could do this as long as I stayed low. I got to my new perch without any problems.

    About half way through the journey, we hit another passing shower, but that did not last long either. As we got nearer to our destination, they gave out snorkeling gear. I declined. I had tried to snorkel twice before and both times I ended up drinking a significant amount of the snorkeling lagoon. So I have given up on snorkeling. Instead I have perfected a technique where I keep my face just above the surface of the water and if the water is clear, I am still able to see a lot.

    When we arrived at our destination, I went down below deck to put on my wetsuit. By the time I came back upstairs, Graham was already in the water. I put on some more sunscreen and then braved the ladder to get into the water. We were moored in the middle of the sea, a little way away from a wooden pier with ladders on both ends. We were given the option of either swimming across or to wait for the smaller boat that we had been towing to take us across. Quite a few of us opted to swim. The sea was completely calm. We had been asked to wait for everybody on the pier and once everybody had arrived, we were given some guidelines as to how far we were allowed to go and which areas to avoid. We were then let loose for some snorkeling. Graham took a lot of photos with his new waterproof digital camera.



















     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I spend some time enjoying swimming in the sea, but did not see anything as the water was not as clear as I would have hoped. It was relatively shallow, which meant that the bottom got churned up by all the people snorkeling. Still, the water was relatively warm and I enjoyed just swimming in the sea. Unfortunately, because the water was so shallow and there were a lot of rocks on the bottom, I managed to get tangled up with one of the rocks and hurt the bottom of my foot. I decided to get out of the water to have a look as it was kind painful. There was a quite deep cut that was bleeding. So I decided to stay out of the water until it had stopped.

    I was just about ready to go back in the water, when everybody was called back to the pier. We were given the option of either continuing to snorkel in the shallow area, return back to the boat or go drift snorkeling at the other side of the coral reef in deeper water. Graham decided to go for the drift snorkeling and I quite fancied swimming in deeper water so I opted to join the drift snorkeling trip. The captain said that he would take the people that wanted to go back to the boat back in the little boat and then come back for the drift snorkelers. On the way back from the drift snorkeling, he would then pick up anybody who had opted to stay behind and snorkel in the shallow water. He ferried the first group back to the boat and then came back for us. I had one close look at the boat and decided that I could not do this. I am not very good with small boats at the best of times and his was just an inflatable with an engine. I changed my mind and said that I would swim back to the boat once the group had left. The captain was not very happy with this idea. I don't know what suddenly had changed. They were perfectly happy with swimming across, but now suddenly swimming back seemed to be a problem. I reassured him that I was perfectly capable to swim the short distance to the boat and that the problem was that I was terrified of the boat and therefore had opted not to come out for the drift snorkeling. In the end he gave in and Graham said that they actually saw me climbing the ladder to the boat before they had lost sight of the boat. I rather enjoyed my swim back as the water there was deeper and there was no risk of me getting tangled up with rocks or coral.











































    Once I was back on the boat, I was offered some lunch. We got a yummy pea soup and sandwiches. A lot of the sandwiches were fish or seafood based, which I don't eat, but they also had some ham and cheese sandwiches, which did very nicely. Lunch was washed down by more rum punch. I was nearly finished with my lunch when the drift snorkelers returned. In the meantime, those that had stayed behind in the shallow water to snorkel had already swum back to the boat. So once the drift snorkelers had finished their lunch, we were ready to head back.



    Once Graham was back, I joined him back at the front of the boat. He told me that I made a wise decision regarding not coming out for the drift snorkeling. Although he thought that I would have enjoyed being out in the deeper water, he thought that the boat ride there and back would have freaked me out as the boat was bouncing on top of the waves.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    On the way back, we were actually able to sail whereas on the way there, they had to use the engine as the wind was coming from the wrong direction. Once we were on our way, they passed around platters of cut fresh fruit and the rum punch was again flowing liberally. I lost count how many I had in the end, but I did not feel drunk nor did I have a hang over the next day. I was talking to one of the crew members for a while and found out a bit more about Aruba. I was absolutely fascinated by the fact that by the age of 9, children in Aruba can speak, read and write 4 different languages. I also had a little mishap on the way back. On the way there, it had been quite windy and I was hanging on to my cap for dear life. On the way back, the wind was not really an issue as it was stopped by the sail. However, there was a sudden gust of wind that blew my cap of my head and it went into sea. I wonder if it is still keeping the fish company or if it has been swept on land by now.



























    We got back to the port area a bit early and went past the marina to the cruise port. We sailed past the Wonder and then turned around and went alongside the Wonder. We managed to get some nice up close photos. Once the crew had a good look at the Wonder and people had taken plenty of photos, we headed back to the marina.















    When we got back to the marina, we said goodbye to the captain and his crew and walked the short distance back to the ship. The "Common Port Vultures" had all but left and the few that were still around, left us alone. Maybe we did not look like people who were in the market for cheap souvenirs.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    When we got back to the ship, we dropped off the towels that we had used at the cage that had been left on deck one for this purpose and then headed up to our cabin to get changed. Despite using waterproof sunscreen with the highest protection I could find and reapplying this frequently, I had burned quite badly. I suppose waterproof sunscreen is no match for salt water.

    Once we were changed, we headed up to deck 9. I was quite hungry. I suppose the soup and sandwich was breakfast for me and I had been pretty active. So I got a cheese burger and fries from Pluto's Dog House, something to drink from the drink station and some vanilla and chocolate swirl frozen yoghurt from Goofy's Galley. We then managed to find a shady spot to sit down.

    Once I had my food, we decided what to do next. We both needed to stay out of the sun, but we also wanted to watch us leaving Aruba. I suggested that we could go up the Outlook Cafe. The Outlook Cafe is a fantastic space. This was added during the dry dock in 2009 and has replaced the defunct Outlook Bar on deck 10. In 5 previous cruises, we had never seen the Outlook Bar open. It is normally to windy there and demand apparently was not there with the Outlook Bar being right above Signals. On the Magic, they are now using this as a store room.

    Anyway, with the Wonder heading to Alaska during the summer months, they decided to enclose this and some other spare space on deck 10 and turn it into the Outlook Cafe. Access is either from the Cove Cafe or from the elevator lobby on deck 10 midship. The Outlook Cafe is made up of a number of different areas with the main room having great views of the adult pool, which makes it great for people watching, but also out to sea as there are windows on both sides.

    We got ourselves a coffee from Cove Cafe and sat down on the pool side of the main room as this was out of the sun. Outlook Cafe has its own bar serving the same menu as Cove Cafe, but this is only open during the busier times. Otherwise people get their drinks from Cove Cafe and take them upstairs, which is what we ended up doing. We enjoyed watching the world go by while we had out coffees. At some stage, one of our table mates came buy and we spoke to her for a while. We watched the ship sailing away from Aruba and once we were out at sea, we went down to deck 4.

    I wanted to check out the pin situation. By the time I got there, the shop had been open for a while and the line had cleared. They still had plenty of pins left so I got my Aruba pin without any problems.



    When I came out of the shop, Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog was out for photos in the area outside the Walt Disney Theater. I am not big on the Princesses, but as I did not have a photo with her before and there was no line, I decided to go for it.





    Graham had been mentioning that he needed some cardboard for his boat building project. So I decided to go into one of the shops to ask if they had an empty cardboard box that they could spare and explained what we need it for. They said that this should not be a problem and somebody went off to find me one. It took a while and I was just about ready to give up, when he came back with a box that was the perfect size. In the meantime, Graham had bought some crayons. Once we had the box, we said "Thank you" and I sent Graham back to the cabin with his booty.

    Before I could join him as well, I had one more job to do. As my DVC cap was now with the fishes, I wanted to check if they had a spare one for me. I told the gentleman at the DVC desk the sorry story and ended up not only with a new cap, but also a piece of valuable advice. He had spotted the DIS lanyard that I was wearing and even more importantly, the crocodile clip on that. He suggested that I should clip this to the back of the cap so if gets blown away or knocked off, the lanyard will catch it and I won't lose it. This is so simple and yet so effective. It has prevented me losing my cap again a few times during the rest of the cruise.

    Cap in hand, I headed back to the cabin. We were debating going to the Rainforest Room, but were not sure how this would work out with the sun burn. We figured that we would never know unless we tried and that we could soon enough come back if it did not work out. So we grabbed our swim stuff and I took my E Reader and we headed up to the Rainforest Room.

    I decided to try out how I got on with the heated tile lounger. I had covered it completely with a towel so that my skin did not touch any of the tiles directly. This worked very well. I spent about 30 minutes chilling out on the heated tile lounger. Once I started to feel a bit uncomfortable, I retired to the normal loungers in the changing rooms and carried on reading. Once it was time to start thinking about dinner, I had a shower before going down to the cabin to get changed.

    Dinner that night was the rotational menu at Parrot Cay. Graham had Seared Ahi Tuna, Parrot Cay Salad (Spinach, Eggs, Bacon), Island Spiced Rib Eye with Corn on the Cob and Double Baked Potato and a side of Jerk-spiced Pork Chop. For putting he had a taste of Lemon Meringue Pie and Creme Brulee Cheesecake from the Sweet Temptations that our server had brought for the table. I had chosen Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tenderloin with Blue Cheese Dip, Spiced Romaine Salad, Jerk-spiced Braised Pork Chop with Cornmeal Cakes and Curried Peach Relish. For my dessert I had the Chocolate and Vanilla S'Mores Cake, which is one of my favourite desserts on the cruise menus.

    After dinner, I was ready for my bed. This was a real shame as they were offering Adult Flubber in the Oceaneers Lab that evening and I really had wanted to do this again as I had enjoyed it so much on the Transatlantic cruise. We headed back to the cabin. I took a quick photo of the towel stingray that our stateroom host had left us, set an alarm call for the next morning and then went to sleep.

     

    Chilly

    RIP Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2006
    Another fan of the D&B bag, and i like your monsoon dress as well. Do they do limited pins on just the really long cruises?
     

    akluss

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 11, 2010
    Great update. I also swallow a lot of water when I snorkel, so I have never really enjoyed it that much. Aruba did look lovely though. Karyn
     







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