East Meets West - A Wonderful Journey

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
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?
It is not even quite as easy as this. I have done 6 Disney cruises now, 4 of which were special cruises of some kind. On the Inaugural 5 Night Double Dip cruise, there was no special pin at all. For the Med cruises, there were two special pins, but I think they were essentially open edition. They were selling them off at a discount on the Transatlantic. On the Transatlantics last year, they had one special cruise for the Eastbound and one for the Westbound. Again I think they were open edition as the Eastbound pin was still available when we did the Westbound.

I think they had special limited edition pins on all 5 Panama Canal cruises, but the edition size varied. I also think that their were limited edition pins on the 2007 Transatlantic cruises. I have also heard that there will be limited edition pins for the Alaskan cruise (one for each port and two cruise pins). I assume that as they have a number of Alaskan cruises, that this will be quite a bit edition.

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
I actually figured out how to snorkel by the end of the cruise. But more about this at a later stage.

Corinna
 

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Day 8

We had set our alarm call for 7:00 AM as Aqua Aerobics was offered again this day. We got up and got changed into our swim stuff and headed up to the adult pool. There were quite a few people for this, but we were the only people who had already done this when it was offered before. Some people decided that it was too much like hard work and left during the class, but we also had a couple of late arrivals. This was great fun again and provided a good work out. I have to say though that getting into the water with my sunburned legs was not a pleasure at first.

Once we were changed, we headed to Triton's to get some breakfast. Graham had his fresh fruit with yoghurt and Granola followed by Scuttle on the Run. I had the Mango Mountain Hike followed by Eggs Benedict and Hash Brown.

After breakfast, we headed up to deck 4 for "Walk a Mile". I had a special mission that day. During the Transatlantic cruise, I had bought a wristlet while we were waiting to do "Walk a Mile". This then resulted in me having to carry it with me around the ship. Graham and the male member of cruise staff were very amused by this and decided that it should be a rule that whenever you buy something that is not strictly necessary, you have to carry it for mile first before you can truly call it yours. Graham had reminded me of this ever since I bought my Dooney and Bourke handbag. Somehow the fact that I walked more than a mile with it during our afternoon in Aruba did not seem to count. So the handbag came to "Walk a Mile" with me that day to satisfy the new tradition. Once we finished our three laps around the ship, Graham had to concede that the bag is really mine now.

Once we were finished, we headed back to our cabin. My intention had been to get changed out of my gym kit and into something more comfortable. For once, I actually had nothing planned. The order of the day was to keep out of the sun. Graham decided to work on his boat in our cabin and I decided to join him and read my book. We briefly went to guest services to borrow a pair of scissors and then we settled down to our respective tasks.

It was our turn that day to have our lithographs signed by Ducky Williams. They had organized the signing sessions by deck over three different days. On this day, it was the turn for deck 6. Deck 6 was the only deck that got a signing session on its own. They had combined decks 7 and 8 on one day and decks 1, 2 and 5 on another day. Even though our signing session was only for one deck, the line was huge when we came down to deck 4. The signing was in the open area between the Walt Disney Theater and the shops and the line went all the way to the midship elevator lobby. We decided to wait for the line to go down a bit. We took the scissors back to guest services and then sat down on deck 4 on the seats overlooking the atrium. It was nice just watching the world go by.

After a while, I went back to check out the situation. The line had gone down considerably. I decided to go and collect Graham and the lithograph, which I had left where we had been sitting. Graham went to sit down by the shops and I joined the line. While I was waiting my turn, I managed to take some photos of some of the character scenes in the shop windows.







Soon it was my turn. I took my lithograph up to be signed. A member of cruise staff, who was there for crowd control, had taken my camera and offered to take a photo. I had a short conversation with Ducky Williams and then took my signed lithograph and joined Graham while I was waiting for the ink to dry.



Once the ink was dry, I took the lithograph back to the cabin and then we headed to Triton's for lunch. The menu was the same as on the first sea day, but as I had really enjoyed it, this was no hardship. Graham had Lobster Ravioli followed by Chicken Curry with Rice and Poppadom and Coconut Cream Pie for dessert. I had Tortilla Soup followed by Chicken Curry with Rice and Poppadom and Coconut Cream Pie for dessert. Triton's was relatively empty so this provided a welcome opportunity to take some photos of the mural at the back of the restaurant.





After lunch, we headed back to the cabin to check the Navigator for anything that we might be interested in. I was actually quite tired and opted for a nap. Graham had originally planned to go to a seminar organized by the gym/ spa called "Powerful Posture". However, when he read the description, it became obvious that this would be yet another sales pitch for expensive food supplements that may or may not work. So he decided to give this a miss and have a nap instead.

Once I woke up, I decided to do my Fish Extender run. After bouncing around ideas and a few design changes along the way, I decided to make bag charms/ zip pulls from crackle glass beads in the colours of the ship and pewter ship wheel charms. As I had nearly 100 cabins on the list, I needed something that was small and lightweight. I was rather pleased with the end result.





I started on deck 8 and worked my way down. The person hosting the website for our cruise meet thread had gone through a lot of trouble compiling a list that listed all the participating cabins so that you could easily work your way down one side of the ship and up the other. This made the Fish Extender run a lot easier. Still, I only got decks 8, 7 and 6 done that afternoon, but that covered about 70% of the participating cabins.

While I was doing deck 6, I quickly checked in at our cabin. Graham asked if I fancied going up to the Cove Cafe to get a coffee. I told him that I wanted to finish off deck 6, but then I would love to head up there.

Once I had finished my round of deck 6, I went back to our cabin to let Graham know that I was done. We headed up to the Cove Cafe. They had speciality loose leaf teas on the menu and I rather liked the sound of the Russian Imperial Earl Grey. To my disappointment, they had none of the loose leaf teas, but just the standard tea bags that they have at all the restaurants, the spa and the drink station. I passed. I definitely won't pay for something that I can have for free elsewhere on the ship. Instead I decided to have a Mocha, which was very nice.

We enjoyed our coffees and chatted to the bartender, who was from Ireland and had worked for another very upmarket cruise line before. The other cruise line has very small ships with only suites and is completely all inclusive. He told a few stories and I got the distinct feeling that he much prefered the more laid back atmosphere on the Wonder.

Once we had finished our coffees, we headed back to the cabin to get our stuff for the Rainforest Room. As per usual, we virtually had the place to ourselves while most people were either at early dinner or the show. We spend a couple of hours relaxing and I even was brave enough to try out the experience showers. The fog shower was a little cold for my liking, but I loved the tropical rain shower.

Soon it was dinner time. I had brought the dress that I was going to wear up to the spa so that I could get showered and changed up there.

Dinner that night was the rotational menu at Triton's, which is my least favourite of the rotational menus. For instance there is no appetizer on there that I would enjoy so I always opt for two soups instead. Graham had Escargot, French Onion Soup, Braised Lamb Shank with Mashed Potato (which our server had substituted for the Polenta that should have come with this dish). For his dessert, Graham had chosen the Creme Brulee. I had French Onion Soup, Tomato and Basil Soup and Beef Tenderloin, Mashed Potato, Bacon-wrapped Green Beens. For my dessert, I had the Grand Marnier Souffle, which was divine.

After dinner, we headed straight to bed. We knew that we had a long and exciting day ahead of us the next day. I took a quick photo of the towel lobster that our stateroom host had left us and then switched off the lights.

 
  • TotallyAngelic

    Disney Addict
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2005
    Sounds like a very relaxing day :cloud9: I love sea days :goodvibes I hope they do the aqua-aerobics on the WBTA as I would definitely be interested in that class. Love the bag charms ... I love the effect of the glass beads.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Escargot---I love it! One of my favs on board!!! Wonderful trip report!!!
    Graham likes them. I am not quite so adventurous.

    Sounds like a very relaxing day :cloud9: I love sea days :goodvibes I hope they do the aqua-aerobics on the WBTA as I would definitely be interested in that class. Love the bag charms ... I love the effect of the glass beads.
    I love crackle glass and really loved the effect with the charms. Without giving to much away, one of the gifts that I am doing for the girls for the next cruise will have crackle glass beads.

    As to Aqua Aerobics, I think this had a lot to do with the fact that the person in charge of the gym on the Wonder was a woman.

    Corinna
     
  • irongirlof12

    <font color=blue><marquee>Am I the only one who lo
    Joined
    Nov 3, 2006
    lovely day at sea, I just adore those bead charms you made. I would love to learn how to work with beads and make jewelery, but i never seem to find the time.
     

    mandymouse

    Bahama Mama Time !!
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2003
    Another great update and lovely pics too Corinna, I look forward to your next installment ::yes::
     
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 9

    This was the day that was the highlight of the cruise, the Panama Canal Crossing. We did not get as restful a night as I would have hoped, at least not at first. Shortly after we went to bed, the thrusters started to go. We must have arrived at the entrance to the Panama Canal very early. We still managed to fall asleep despite the noise and the vibration, only to be woken up again by an announcement that refuelling operations had commenced shortly after midnight. Normally they do not pipe announcements into the cabins after the safety drill is over on the first day. So I was more than a little surprised to get one in the middle of the night. Still, it made sense, as people in veranda cabins are normally allowed to smoke on their verandas and they were not allowed to do so during the refueling process. We went back to sleep soon afterwards.

    We had set our Mickey wake up call for 5 AM as we had heard that the Panama Canal pilots were scheduled to come on board around that time. We wanted to make sure that we were able to witness the whole crossing. We had decided on deck 4 forward as our base. We had figured that deck 9 and 10 would be very busy and that deck 4 would be quieter. Deck 4 also has the added advantage that it is in the shade, which was a definite bonus with our sunburn. When we got there, we found that two of our table mates had the same idea. We also found two empty and very comfortable loungers and settled down.

    As we got to deck 4, the pilot boat was departing. Shortly afterwards, one of the line crews came past us. The Panama canal is special in so far that this is the only place in the world were the pilots are not just there in an advisory capacity, but assume navigational command of the ship. They also provide line crews for each set of locks. The ship is attached by lines to train engines that run on a track on the lock walls. The ship moves under its own power, but the engines are supposed to stop the ship from hitting the locks.

    Soon after the pilots and the line crews were on board, we started to move . We passed the commercial port, where ships that are too big to fit through the canal can offload their cargo so that it can be transported by other means. We had a beautiful sunrise.







































     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    When we got to the entance of the canal itself, we had to wait as another cruise ship, Statendam, was going through the first of the three Gatun locks. I used that time to do a coffee and pastry run. They had set up stations with coffee, juice and pastries on all the outside decks.















    Soon it was our turn to enter the lock. I took a few photos of the area and the ship that was in the lock next to us. They had some of the ship' s photographers outside on the lock walls to take photos and they also had photographers walking the decks taking photos. It actually turned out that we probably had the best spot to watch our progress through the locks. As we were relatively low down on the ship, we got a really good idea just how much the ship was lifted.





















    Once we had passed through the first lock out of the three that make up Gatun locks, I quickly headed back to our cabin to get a couple of things that we had forgotten to bring. Graham wanted his tripod, I had forgotten my sunscreen and both of us needed sunblock for our lips. Even though we were in relative shade on deck 4, I did not want to risk burning more. I completely missed the second lock, but I was back in position when we entered the third and final of the Gatun locks.















     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Soon we entered Gatun Lake. I was quite surprised by how brown and murky this was. During the lecture I had attended earlier in the cruise, I had heard that the water in Gatun Lake was the cleanest water in the world. It definitely did not look like it to me. However, we soon found out why this was. I had heard that there had been some freak weather in Panama not long before the cruise. They even had to close the Panama Canal for a while as the lock gates could not function because of all the additional water. Apparently the heavy rain had washed away a lot of the mud from the hills and into the lakes. This is why the water looked so brown. Apart from it not looking very pretty, this had a very serious implication. Gatun Lake is normally the main source of drinking water for Panama City. Because of the contamination with mud, it could no longer be used for this purpose, leading to a severe water shortage in Panama City.















































    A short while after we entered the lake, we decided that we were ready for something a bit heartier then coffee and pastries. We decided to head down to Triton's for some breakfast. As expected, Triton's was positively empty and we got a table near a window so that we still could admire the view. Graham had his usual: Chef Louis' Kick Off followed by Scuttle on the Run. I decided to try something new and had an Omelette with Onion, Peppers, Mushroom and Cheese, Sausage and Hash Brown.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    After breakfast, we headed back to our spot on deck 4. The loungers had been taken by now, but that was OK. I was quite happy to stand by the railing and watch the scenary. Apart from coffee and pastries, they also had a yummy orange and guava juice at the coffee station, which kept us hydrated.







    A little while later, I decided to check out deck 9 and 10. They had set up a barbeque by the Goofy pool, which looked good, but made this area very smokey. Decks 9 and 10 were very hot and crowded and I was only too happy to return to deck 4.



















    Part of the reason why I had come up to deck 10 was to find out about the dress code for Palo Tea. We had only been lucky enough to get a reservation for High Tea at Palo once and that was in 2009. We really enjoyed this. I headed up to Palo, but the restaurant manager was constantly on the phone. In the end I gave up and checked with guest services. I am glad that I did as the dress code on the Wonder is much stricter as far as Palo is concerned than this is the case on the Magic. On the Magic, the dress code is relaxed a little for Brunch and High Tea, but on the Wonder it is the same for all three meals.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Shortly after I rejoined Graham on deck 4, we passed the continental divide and the Centinial Bridge. It was in this area that I got a real surprise photo. I had zoomed in to try to get a photo of a bird near the river bank. Of course, how it so often happens with birds, by the time I zoomed in, set up the shot and pressed the button, the bird was gone. However, I did get a surprise. Instead of an empty shot that I had expected, I had actually managed to photograph a crocodile that was sunning itself on the riverbank. This was the first ever crocodile that I had seen. Now that I knew that it was there, I made another attempt at getting a clearer photo.















    We spent the next couple of hours just admiring the scenary, taking photos and chatting to people. At various points we were joined by Donald and Daisy and Chip and Dale, who had decided to watch the crossing as well.









    Soon we reached the Pedro Miquel Lock. To me the area around this is the prettiest part of the Panama Canal. I took plenty of photos.























     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
















    Once we had cleared the lock, Graham headed back to the cabin to get changed. My maxi dress and shoulder wrap did nicely for Palo so I just got a pair of shoes and I was ready.

    We had a table by the window at Palo. So we were able to continue watching the crossing while we were enjoying our High Tea. As Palo is aft, there was nobody standing outside of the picture windows, which was a definite bonus. The High Tea was beautiful. We started with little finger sandwiches. We got Cucumber Sandwiches, a Salmon and Cream Cheese Sandwich, a Shrimp and Sour Cream Sandwich, a Prosecuto, Parmesan and Peppers Sandwich and a Tomato and Mozarella Sandwich on Foccacia Bread. Graham had the seafood sandwiches plus a cucumber sandwich and I had the rest. This was then followed by Scones with Cream and Strawberry and Raspberry Preserve. We then got a cake stand with Chocolate Brownies, Chocolate Eclairs, Cheesecake, Fruit Tartlets, Macaroons. As Graham can't have chocolate, he had the fruit tartlets and the cheese cake and we shared the Macaroons. As this was not enough food already, we were also brought a Strawberry Trifle each. I washed this litle lot down with Black Massala Chai Tea and Graham opted for Black Tea with Cassis. We both enjoyed this a lot and were completely stuffed.

    Towards the end of our tea, we had reached the Miraflores Locks. We cleared the first of those two locks while we were still at Palo. I did not like the perspective at all. Having been fairly low down all day, it did not feel from deck 10 that the ship was actually lowered. We definitely had made the right decision to watch the crossing from deck 4.
     

    TotallyAngelic

    Disney Addict
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2005
    WOW .... I loved sharing your experience of crossing the Panama Canal .. brings back so many happy memories for me when I did it every 2 weeks when working on the Royal Princess in the 80s. Of course I didn't get so many wonderful photographs as it was pre-digital. Did you get any of those enormous bugs flying across from the rainforest. :scared1:
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    By the time that we entered the final lock, we were back on deck 4 forward. This was a completely different experience. The main visitor centre for the Panama Canal is at that lock and lots of people were on the balcony to see the Wonder. The whole atmosphere was simply amazing.









    Once we had cleared the last lock and had therefore officially reached the Pacific, the deck started to clear. The pilot boat picked up the pilots and the captain was in command again. The pilots had not done their job very well. At two points during the crossing there was a loud crunching noise. We saw later during the cruise that some of the portholes on deck 3 forward had been damaged and the Wonder had a great big hole on the outside between deck 3 and 4.

    Graham suggested that we head inside as well, but I really wanted to stay outside until we passed underneath the Bridge of the Americas. So we stayed put. We saw some dolphins and got a gorgeous view of Panama City.









































     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Once we had passed the Bridge of the Americas, we headed back to our cabin to drop off our stuff. On the way, I got a quick photo with Donald in the atrium. We got changed into our swimming gear and headed for the Rainforest Room. Graham stayed there until they closed. I chilled out for a while and then I got showered and changed.





    Before dinner, I took advantage of the various photo opportunities. I managed to get photos with Donald, Chip and Dale, Goofy and Pluto.





























    Dinner that night was 15 minutes later. The menu that day was the Panama Canal Menu. It was actually the same menu that was served as Transatlantic menu on our Westbound Transatlantic cruise. I had Cheddar and Applewood Bacon Tartlet with Sweet Onion Sauce, Cream of Cauliflower Sauce with Toasted Almond, Slow-roasted Prime Rib with Risotto, Bacon-wrapped Green Beans, Madeira Sauce and Butter Pecan Sundae for dessert.

    After dinner, I headed straight to our cabin. It had been a very long and exciting day. I found two Panama Canal Crossing certificates and a mystery towel animal that may have been a dinosaur on our bed. I had a quick look at the Navigator for the next day. All over sudden, I got very excited. Ridley Pearson , the author of the Kingdom Keepers series, was on board and would do a talk about those books followed by a book signing the following day. I decided that I should better get some sleep as I would have another busy day ahead.



     

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