It’s Just for the Children: A Halloween on the High Seas Adventure

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by AdventureIsOutThere129, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

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    Welcome to my most recent super magical Disney adventure! I have been a long time reader (aka lurker) on these boards but thought that it was finally time to come out of the shadows and write my very own trip report!

    Some introductions! A little about me:
    [​IMG]Me and Donald full by Emily, on Flickr

    I'm Emily. I am a long-time Disney fanatic in my late 20’s. I work full time as a dietitian. Recently divorced, no kids, two very needy dogs. When people ask me why I (still) love Disney so much I always nostalgically talk about how in high school my two best friends and I were allowed to go on day trips to Disney by ourselves in the summer. We felt so grown up and always had such a great time; that was when I fully embraced the Disney magic. Of course having grown up in Florida I went multiple times as a kid but didn’t fully embrace the Disney lifestyle until I got a little older.

    I did a college program at WDW back in 2013 after graduating from graduate school. Because of that I have been to Disney World literally more times than I can count (tragically I have never been past the Downtown Disney area at Disneyland). Once done with my college program I stayed relatively close to the Orlando area, invested in an annual pass and went about once a month. Since moving to West Virginia a few years later I have been back about once a year.

    This was my fourth cruise, a three night on the Dream from September 21-24. Previous cruises include a seven night on the Fantasy in September 2014, a three night on the Dream in April 2015 and a four night on the Dream in September 2016. As a result of my recent divorce I needed a big ol’ dose of Disney magic as a pick me up so I proposed a Disney cruise to the same friends with whom I spent those magical high school years at Disney with (this will be our second cruise on the Dream together, the April 2015 Dream cruise was with them).

    The other cast of characters includes A and K. A is also in her late 20’s, works full time as a mechanical engineer, recently married and at the time of the cruise about 16 weeks pregnant.
    [​IMG]A Donald Statue by Emily, on Flickr

    She was not pregnant at the time of booking so this added a small dose of uncertainty to our plans. Would she feel up to the excursions we had planned? Would the heat be too much? Would she even feel comfortable getting off the ship because of the Zika risk? Would she remember to wear bug spray?

    This was her second cruise with Disney, fifth overall having previously sailed with Royal Caribbean in high school and again several years ago, our previous Disney cruise in 2015 and then an Alaskan cruise on Princess in 2016.

    A is also gluten free due to Celiac disease. We did A LOT of research on how this would work on our first cruise. Ultimately it turned out great although we often ended up waiting awhile for breakfast and lunch to be brought to her. This may have been because we did not definitively tell our servers where we planned to eat the night before. She pre-ordered dinner for the next day at the evening meal each night. This cruise was a little different. The menu was marked with gluten free appetizers, entrees and desserts which it was not the last time. This limited her ordering options a little. We also did Palo on our second night which threw off the pre-ordering process some. Read on to hear about how it went!

    Rounding our the trip is K.
    [​IMG]K and Donald by Emily, on Flickr

    Again in her late 20’s and works full time as an accountant. Like me, unmarried and no children, two dogs. This will be her fifth Disney cruise and sixth cruise total having been on a Carnival cruise in 2015 to the Bahamas, our Dream cruise in 2015, Alaska on the Wonder in June 2017, Bahamas on the Wonder in March 2018, and a Western Caribbean on the Fantasy in June 2018.

    Both A and K still live in Florida so their travel plans were to drive up the evening before we were to set sail. I had arranged for us to stay with my ex in-laws (strange I know but I am still super close with them) the night before the cruise. I was flying Spirit (yikes!) from Baltimore to Orlando two days before we set sail. My ex mother-in-law was going to pick me up from the airport for a relaxing two day break before the cruise. Read on to hear about boring travel, Halloween misadventures, awesome snorkeling, gluten free dining, a mixology class meant for three and much more!
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
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  2. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

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    Chapter Two: Boring Travel, Overweight Bags, Gourmet Italian


    Having learned so much from this board and having read SO MANY trip reports I always find it strange the parts that I love. For some reason hearing about getting to the actual trip really sucks me in. That and food pictures. I love hearing about the regular lives and travel plans of regular people. If you don’t please feel free to skip this section.


    I was scheduled to fly Spirit Airlines out of Baltimore around 11am on Wednesday 9/19/18. I fly Spirit because they are cheap, certainly not because they are fancy. If you have never flown with them the best way that I can describe them is…bare bones. They will not even give you water without charging you. They nickel and dime EVERYTHING from the carry-on bag to the check-in process and how big your “personal item” is. But I am simple folk and don’t need the bells and whistles, I just need to get where I'm going. So Spirit it is!


    I dropped off my dogs at their boarding kennel around 8am which put me at the airport about 9:30am. That was later than I was aiming for; the last time I flew out of Baltimore the line was next level bananas. I feel like I had to walk a quarter of a mile just to get to the end of the security line. This time, not so bad but I did walk up to the gate just as they were boarding. I used to be a "get to my gate two hours before flight time" kind of person. Now I always seem to saunter up minutes before I actually get on the plane. Running late is my new M.O.


    So back to Spirit. I had a checked bag and a personal item which was a largish beach bag. I paid for the checked bag when I booked the flight. I had weighed my checked bag at home and clocked in around 44 pounds. Assuming that the weight limit was 50 pounds I thought I was golden. When I got to the airport and headed to the self service kiosks (I found out via the agent that if you don’t tag your own bag at the kiosk they charge you $10 for the agent to do it for you) I saw a sign that said the weight limit was 40 pounds. But in my mind I thought “That can’t be right, it has always been 50 pounds. That must be for people who didn’t pre-pay for their bags. Or for carry-on bags. It can’t possibly apply to me.”


    So I get myself to bag drop-off where the agent tells me that my bag is about 4 pounds overweight and that it will cost me $30. She was kind enough to let me transfer things to my personal item. However I was panicking because there was a long line behind me and I didn’t want to hold people up. I start randomly stuffing thing in my personal item, making almost no difference in the total weight of the checked bag. She then starts giving me helpful tips like “Grab shoes and jeans. No not the hair straightener, they will never let you on with that!” Eventually with teamwork we got the stupid bag to 40 pounds exactly. Teamwork with your friendly Spirit gate agent really does make the dream work (and save you 30 bucks in the process. I was almost ready to admit defeat.)


    So I land in Orlando about 1pm. My ex-mother-in-law picks me up and asks if I am ok with stopping in an antique store to look at a patio table. We always have a blast shopping so I oblige. She gets her table and we have some fun mercilessly mocking some hideous antiques and some very creepy-looking antique dolls. We arrive at their house (about an hour and a half from the port and about an hour from the airport) and I haven’t had lunch because Spirit does not even throw peanuts your way. But we decide on snacks and an early dinner so I wolf down some cheese and crackers with a side of tuna. We have “happy hour” on their screened-in porch and enjoy some Florida warmth. We hit Olive Garden (my absolute favorite) and I get the usual, the five cheese ziti. I have absolutely zero pictures from this day but this picture is courtesy of the Olive Garden webpage:

    upload_2018-10-1_20-34-43.png

    Because Olive Garden is the best ever they were running a “Buy one, take one” special where for $12.99 you could get an entrée to enjoy there and one to take home. Sign me up! I ordered a cocktail and then realized I did not have ID with me. Now I used to look young but I recently had a friend’s daughter tell me I look “around 40” so I know I don’t look 21 anymore! But sadly she would not serve me (I get it, rules and all, I don’t want anyone to get in trouble.) So I revel in the Olive Garden glory sans drink and take home my prize!


    We get home and enjoy some America’s Got Talent (it was the finale and I had not seen a single episode all season) while tuning into Big Brother (my favorite show ever!) during the boring bits. My ex-MIL makes me a fruity frozen drink to make up for the one that I was denied. After all that fun and the exhaustion of travel I hit the hay. Thus ends day one. This post was so much longer than I was intending. I have one more non-Disney day to cover and then begins the part you are actually looking to read!
     
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  4. cheermom2four

    cheermom2four DIS Veteran

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    following along!!!
     
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  6. Ifie

    Ifie Earning My Ears

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    Following along!
     
  7. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

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    Chapter Three: Almost on the Boat


    Thanks everyone for following along! This brings us to the day before departure. My friends are still in their hometowns and I wake up for my first full day in Florida. I have some breakfast and because I am a masochist and like torturing myself on vacation, go for a run. Now I have not been into running for several years. I did it in college because it seemed to be the cool thing to do and all my friends did it but I had gotten out of the habit. But when booking the cruise we all agreed that we would do the Castaway Cay 5K. And nothing fills my heart with terror more than looking like a fool when I am unable to finish a race sponsored by my favorite company on my favorite island. So I trained (although I use that term pretty loosely). I used the couch to 5K app (C25K) prior to the cruise and had my 5K time to about 37 minutes (not great but it was better than where I started). So this day I did about 2.5 miles. I have since signed up for a Disney half marathon because like I said, I have problems.


    I showered, had my leftover Olive Garden meal, enjoyed TLC’s Extreme Couponing (and got my ex-in-laws hooked) and then my ex-MIL and I went to get our nails done! That is something I have done maybe five times in my life so it always makes me feel special and pampered. We also hit up a local outlet mall. In preparation for A’s special dietary needs we hit up Publix (my favorite grocery store on the planet!) for breakfast items. We then enjoyed some drinks on their beautiful front porch and reveled in the first slightly cooler day they had in awhile. We bantered about the Cavanaugh fiasco and wondered when my friends would arrive.


    I got the first of the two character calls I had signed up for (the original plan was for my friends to come up earlier and spend the day at the house but they couldn’t get off work early enough). You can sign up for a character to call (I believe the options are just Mickey, Mickey and Minnie or Goofy) right from the DCL website, totally free! From what my friends had told us they would get in around 9pm and we considered doing dinner all together when they arrived but ultimately decided takeout would be best.


    My ex-FIL went to pick up Stonewood which is a pretty standard American-fare type place but they have a dedicated gluten free menu. A (the one with Celiac) ordered salmon with I believe a baked potato and green beans, K got a salad with grilled chicken, I got a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon and my ex-MIL got the “stone bits” which is seared filet mignon pieces and I believe also a side salad. My ex-FIL did not order because he said 9pm was far too late to eat dinner (and he is so right).


    A and K finally arrive about 9pm and we enjoy our food. No pictures because I was not in my “need to document for the trip report” groove yet. We all enjoyed some wine (except A, ugh pregnancy always getting in the way of fun) and played a rousing game of cards against humanity. We had an awesome time and I think rolled into bed about 12:30am. This is the only picture I took on this day which I think was taken soon after their arrival or perhaps right before we went to bed:

    [​IMG]K and A house by Emily, on Flickr

    Up next: we FINALLY board!
     
  8. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

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    Part Four: Why Does Dwight Hate Us?

    We have finally made it! The day we have all been waiting for! Sailing away! Our goal was to be out the door at 9am for our 10:30 port arrival time. We got up about 7:30am, putzed around, made eggs, bacon and fruit salad for breakfast and finally got out the door about 9:30ish. We got the second character call at 9am and were all able to listen this time!

    We had an uneventful drive to the port and arrived about 11am. I took this beauty (along with several other less successful versions) as we were pulling around to the port:
    [​IMG]Dream 3 by Emily, on Flickr

    We dropped off our bags with the porters, tipped them and parked in the covered garage. The total cost as I remember it was $68 for the duration of the cruise. I remember it being over $100 for a 7 night, I am not sure what the per day fee is (or if it varies depending on the length of the cruise). The porter had advised we park on the third floor so we could use the walkway to security so that is what we did. We headed to security and then realized we had to throw away any opened waters. Sealed or empty bottles were fine. We each had two bottles of wine and had no problems.

    In the terminal we found this:
    [​IMG]Terminal by Emily, on Flickr

    We headed to the Castaway Club line and filled out our health questionnaire while waiting. We checked in, presented our passports and had our pictures taken. We expected to be questioned about A’s pregnancy (expecting them to ask how far along she was since we had called to note it on our reservation) but they never did. We were handed these:
    [​IMG]Voyage navigator page 1 by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Voyage navigator page 2 by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Voyage navigator page 3 by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Voyage navigator page 4 by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Navigator Fri front by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Navigator Fri back by Emily, on Flickr

    There was a version that covered info for the whole cruise (the first four pages) and one just for the day (the last two pages). We expected to get a pretty late boarding group because we had arrived so late. The lady checking us in asked “What group number do you think you got?” clearly pretty pleased with herself. I played along and said 12 because at this time they were calling group 10. She then handed us our card:
    [​IMG]Boarding card by Emily, on Flickr

    So we had the option to get right on. We debated getting a picture with Minnie but the line was long. We headed to the pressed penny machines and I got this baby:
    [​IMG]Castaway penny by Emily, on Flickr

    It featured Mickey lounging on Castaway Cay. I already had the Disney Dream penny. I also had a lady offer me a dollar for a penny so that her child could get one. I declined the dollar and gave her my shiniest penny. You’re welcome child whose vacation I made special with your pressed penny! More fun coming right up!
     

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  9. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

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    Part Four Continued: Stuffing Our Faces

    Pressed pennies in hand we headed to board. I snapped this at 11:50:
    [​IMG]Entry by Emily, on Flickr

    We of course opted for the photo and I ended up loving and buying the picture:
    [​IMG]Cruise professional 1 by Emily, on Flickr

    We debated what family name to use when being announced. We considered the Skywalkers, the Incredibles and several others but ultimately just decided to go with one of our real last names.

    We then headed right to guest services. The line was on the long side but not horrible. I had a gift card I wanted to add and I wanted to sign up for the 5K. The original plan was for us all to run the 5K. But it turns out A and K “forgot their sneakers” haha. A had a good excuse with the pregnancy I suppose, K said she just assumed we wouldn’t do it once we found out A was pregnant. My bad for not reminding them but I signed up anyway since I had made the effort. We had the princess gathering booked for 9:45 and the frozen meet-n-greet booked for 10:15 on Sunday morning (I had booked online ahead of time). However you cannot sign up for two things at the same time so they removed my name from the princess gathering. They let me keep the Frozen meet-n-greet in case I was done in time. I snapped these after we were done at guest services with a still mostly empty ship, the first taken at 12:21:
    [​IMG]Decorations by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]DSCN0917 by Emily, on Flickr


    [​IMG]Window by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Chandelier by Emily, on Flickr

    Since there was very little line we also decided to do our shots with Admiral Donald:
    [​IMG]Group Donald by Emily, on Flickr

    We then decided to head to lunch. We had the option of Cabanas or Animator’s Palette which was the a la carte option. We opted for Cabanas. We spoke to the first person we saw upon entering the restaurant and he got a head server. The head server had us first find a table so he would know where to bring the food and took A’s order. He made several suggestions but she decided to go with a side salad, gluten free chicken tenders and gluten free fries (fries are inherently gluten free but not when fried with items containing gluten. They have a dedicated gluten free fryer at each restaurant). I got pictures of nothing because I was so swept up in the magic of it all. While we waited we tested out the chat feature on the Navigator app (crazy fun Disney emojis) and snapped shots of the other boats in port (we got a really nice window table) while saying things like “I bet they are sad to be on that ugly ship” and “I wonder if they will consider jumping overboard and swimming to our magnificent ship?”
    [​IMG]Boo carnival by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Other ship docked by Emily, on Flickr

    Once we had been waiting a little while K and I went to fill our plates. We got some of so many thing but I noted my favorites as the mac and cheese, the cheese pizza (they have the best pizza on the ship in my opinion), a pasta dish with feta cheese and the raspberry panna cotta that I got for dessert. The only thing I can remember not really liking were some fish nuggets that I had decided to try. A enjoyed her food and we got the first taste of the vat of condiments she would be brought at each meal. At this restaurant they claimed the only gluten free dressing for her salad that they had was Italian. They brought it to her in a bowl that literally looked like a bowl of Italian dressing soup. Pretty much every person in the restaurant could have dressed their salad with the amount of dressing she was brought. We had a good laugh.

    While we were at lunch they made an announcement that rooms were ready. After this we decided to get the first of many ice creams. The only flavors available the first day were chocolate, vanilla or twist. We got a cup from the drink station by Cabanas for A (no cones, not gluten free) and snagged a spoon from Cabanas that she kept in her bag for when ice cream called so we wouldn’t have to walk back to Cabanas each time. We then headed up to our stateroom, 8060. My bag was already there so we put our magnets on the door:
    [​IMG]Door by Emily, on Flickr

    I made these just by searching the images I wanted, printing them out, covering them with packing tape and sticking a strip of magnet to the back. They turned out quite well considering that. Up next, some sub-par room shots.
     
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  10. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

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    Part Four Continued: Stateroom 8060 and We Are Sailing, We're Sailing Away

    These are the less than stellar shots I took of our room. It was a verandah stateroom that could sleep four and had the split bathroom:
    [​IMG]Bed by Emily, on Flickr
    Taken from near the verandah; you can see the Castaway Club silver gift, the sling backpack

    [​IMG]From hallway by Emily, on Flickr
    Taken from the hallway near the entrance door and closets

    [​IMG]Second bathroom by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]First bathroom by Emily, on Flickr

    The room was plenty big for the three of us. The first time we cruised we did an inside stateroom so this seemed spacious in comparison. There were two large closets and we kept our suitcases under the bed when we did not need them. We also took the opportunity to enjoy the balcony for a few minutes:
    [​IMG]K balcony by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Me balcony better by Emily, on Flickr

    The information on the Connect at Sea packages was in the room. We did not partake so I cannot speak to the speed or reliability:
    [​IMG]Connect at sea by Emily, on Flickr

    We changed into our swimsuits (we had decided not to wear them on so they would not be in our photo when getting on board) and headed to the adults only pool area. I think it was around this time that we met our stateroom hostess, Supapon. She asked how we wanted the room made up and we decided to have the murphy bed made up so we could all have our own beds.

    We got right in the pool which was a little cold and slightly crowded. We swam and then headed to the hot tub. K and I got in while A dipped her feet in. I love the hot tubs because there have a partly glass bottom; it is so cool to look down and see the water below. However later on in the cruise we looked up from a lower deck and could clearly see someone's bottom sitting right on the glass. Insider tip- sit only on the edges.

    When they started making announcements for the muster drill we headed to our assigned station. We were station C which was on the left hand side of the Walt Disney Theatre. There was another letter assigned to the opposite side of the theatre. There was a line to get in the door when we arrived, I guess we had arrived early and they hadn’t started letting people in as things moved quickly once they started moving at all. The drill started at 4pm. After watching the life vest demonstration and getting our instructions we headed up to the sail away party. We made the mistake of stopping at the room first to get my camera and had a very hard time finding a spot. There was some room on deck 11 towards the back but we headed up to deck 12. We were able to see by peering in between people’s heads. These are some pictures I had A snap since she was closest to the railing (I think she failed to remember my camera had a zoom):
    [​IMG]Sailaway 4 by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Sailaway 8 by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Sailaway 13 by Emily, on Flickr

    I find the song that they play about sailing away so catchy and always have it stuck in my head for weeks, although I do not know the exact lyrics. Up next, The Golden Mickeys.
     
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  11. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

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    Part Four Continued: More Money to the Mouse

    At one point I stepped to the railing to take pictures of us departing Cape Canaveral.
    [​IMG]Port Canaveral by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Port Canaveral 2 by Emily, on Flickr

    K and I had brought wine from the room in the provided glasses to enjoy. We were concerned we would get scolded for having glass but no one said a thing. The cruise staff came up to deck 12 and tried in vain to get everyone to dance.

    We headed back to the room when it was over to get ready for the first show, The Golden Mickeys, which began at 6:15. I took these from our balcony as we were still pulling out of Port Canaveral:
    [​IMG]Nassau dock by Emily, on Flickr


    [​IMG]Nassau by Emily, on Flickr

    I brought my popcorn bucket from my Halloween cruise in 2014 hoping it would be the same design. It absolutely was not but they let me use it anyway which allowed me to get a refill for only $1.50. Score! It was a win despite the fact that I had to lug the bucket back and forth in my luggage. We got there around 6pm and had no trouble finding a seat. This is the only shot I got of the show as you are not supposed to take pictures:
    [​IMG]Golden Mickeys by Emily, on Flickr

    I was however handed a program going in which I have never received before.
    [​IMG]Performance guide cover by Emily, on Flickr

    It listed all of the shows on each different ship:
    [​IMG]Performance guide show list by Emily, on Flickr

    As well as a blurb of the show’s plot and the song list:
    [​IMG]Performance guide GM songs by Emily, on Flickr

    The cruise director spoke, I don’t recall what her name was but I think she was form Australia? Then the show commenced. The Golden Mickeys is not a bad show but after having seen it on every cruise I have been on I could have skipped it. This only being A’s second cruise she wanted to see them all. After the show we then proceeded to the stores with pretty much everyone else. This was the only night we got to go so I’m glad we went when we did. I got this Tervis:
    [​IMG]DCL tervis by Emily, on Flickr

    It was priced at $21.99 but I ended up getting it for $12.99. I debated whether or not to say anything but ultimately decided not to as Disney had taken so much of my money already. I assume it was a keying error versus a sale as there was no signage to indicate any kind of sale. I also got the DCL magnet from this picture (not the Castaway Cay one yet):
    [​IMG]Magnets by Emily, on Flickr

    And this adorable Stich pin (the Hank one was purchased later):
    [​IMG]Pins by Emily, on Flickr

    I don’t recall exactly how much either was but my total was around $32.00. I had to talk myself out of buying an adorable Cinderella pumpkin coach necklace. I rarely ever actually wear jewelry. I was on the lookout for a shirt but didn’t see any designs I liked.
     
  12. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

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    Part Four Continued: Dwight Hates Us

    After our shopping we headed to the room to drop off our purchases. The room was made up:
    [​IMG]Turtle and Pascal by Emily, on Flickr
    Our towel animal, a turtle with Pascal riding on his back

    [​IMG]Beds by Emily, on Flickr
    The murphy bed and couch bed

    [​IMG]Sven and Scrump kiss by Emily, on Flickr
    I adored the Sven and Scrump kiss!

    [​IMG]Above bed by Emily, on Flickr
    This picture does not do justice to the mural in the ceiling above the murphy bed. It was really hard to get the whole thing since it was so large. It is all the characters of Peter Pan in star outline. Delightful.

    Then we headed to dinner. First we stopped and took a few professional portraits. The other picture I liked and purchased was also from this night. We did not plan ahead to be so matchy-matchy but once we determined we had such similar dresses packed we went with it:
    [​IMG]Cruise professional 2 by Emily, on Flickr

    Our dining rotation was AER (Animator’s Palette, Enchanted Garden and then Royal Court). We were assigned to table 16.
    [​IMG]Table 16 by Emily, on Flickr

    Our server was Dwight, our assistant server was Kairi and our head server was Alexander. We did not had great luck with our serving team on our first cruise. We found them to be indifferent and uninterested although they did their jobs just fine in terms of bringing food in a timely manner. Dwight introduced himself and seemed almost annoyed with us. It seemed that the rumor was holding true that serving teams are less engaged with their guests on shorter cruises. Kairi however was pleasant and friendly. Alexander briefly introduced himself. Throughout dinner we joked about what we had done to make Dwight hate us and if he was like this with everyone or if we were just particularly unpleasant to wait on.

    The table was set for eight so we assumed we had tablemates. Our tablemates on our first cruise were a colorful bunch, it was a couple and their daughter who was our age but they always seemed awkward and uncomfortable around us and seemed to be fighting a lot so we were interested to see what we were in for. We ordered drinks while we waited for them to arrive:
    [​IMG]Berrylicious by Emily, on Flickr
    I went with the Blueberrilicious which was tequila, fresh blueberries, passion fruit juice, orange flavor liquor and freshly squeezed lime juice; it was quite good

    [​IMG]K drink by Emily, on Flickr
    K had the Great Reef which was rum, Elderflower St. Germain, watermelon puree and fresh lime juice; I tried hers and also liked it, it was less sweet than mine

    [​IMG]Pina colada by Emily, on Flickr
    And A had the non-alcoholic Bora shake which was a pina colada with fresh bananas and blue ocean. She said she was not a huge fan of pina coladas when she ordered it but wanted to try them again to be sure. Still not a huge pina colada fan haha.


    We waited and waited and the tablemates still had not arrived. We scanned every person that walked in worried that they would join us. Dwight came to take our orders. I snapped very poor quality and blurry pictures of the menu that include shadows of my phone and fingers but regardless here they are:
    [​IMG]Animator's menu apps by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Anamator's menu desserts by Emily, on Flickr
     
  13. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

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    27
    Part Four Conclusion: We Eat!

    Now on our first cruise items were not designated as gluten free on the menu. A would look at the regular menu, pick what she liked and they would work to make it gluten free. On this cruise certain items were designated as gluten free on the menu and Dwight did not seem eager to offer A anything else. Dwight brought bread but oddly no butter. Later he brought gluten free bread with olive oil and rosemary but only one dish of it so K and I had to spoon it onto out plates rather than dip to prevent cross-contamination. For appetizers K and I both ordered the black truffle pasta purseittes which we apparently gobbled up so quickly I didn’t take a picture. A decided to go with a soup and salad option. I believe they brought out the chicken and walnut salad at the same time as our pastas:
    [​IMG]K salad by Emily, on Flickr
    She said it was good but lacked some in the way of walnuts.

    Then the soups were brought out. A and K both had the baked potato and cheddar cheese soup:
    [​IMG]Baked potato soup by Emily, on Flickr
    The baked potato soup at Chili’s is one of A’s favorite foods ever. She said this rivaled it. The picture was taken after they had started eating, the presentation was better I promise.

    [​IMG]Butternut squash soup by Emily, on Flickr
    And I got the creamy butternut squash soup. It was delicious with just the right amount of sweetness.


    For entrees A and K both got the lemon-thyme marinated chicken breast:
    [​IMG]GF chicken by Emily, on Flickr

    And I got the ginger-teriyaki dusted angus beef tenderloin:
    [​IMG]My steak by Emily, on Flickr
    The meat was cooked well although I cannot say I tasted much ginger-teriyaki. I ended up asking for a side of regular mashed potatoes because the wasabi kind was not my favorite. Crush visited us on the nearby screen and ended up talking to A:
    [​IMG]Crush by Emily, on Flickr

    None of us can recall what he asked her. Then it was dessert time! Here are the after-dinner drinks and dessert menus:
    [​IMG]Animators menu drinks by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Animators menu desserts by Emily, on Flickr

    I could not decide for the life of me so I ordered two (this became a theme during the cruise and the likely reason I came back four pounds heavier). I got the chocolate fudge cheesecake, a delicious and rich option:
    [​IMG]Cheesecake by Emily, on Flickr

    And the apple crumble rice pudding. Although delicious there was a lot more apple crumble than rice pudding:
    [​IMG]Crumble dessert by Emily, on Flickr

    K got the cookies and cream sundae and said it was delicious:
    [​IMG]K sundae by Emily, on Flickr

    A got the crunchy walnut cake (the only gluten free option) and said it was a little too chocolatey for her tastes:
    [​IMG]A GF walnut cake by Emily, on Flickr

    Dwight came up to us as we were finishing and suggested A preorder breakfast and dinner. We explained that we were dining at Palo the next night for dinner but assumed she would want to order breakfast. For some reason this confused A (I guess she did not remember doing it the first time) and she tried to decline doing it. Dwight explained the process again and I joked to him “she will get it at some point” and we saw him smile and laugh for the first time. She preordered her breakfast for pickup in Cabanas and we estimated the time that we would arrive in the morning. Because Up is my all time favorite Disney movie I snapped this on the way out:
    [​IMG]Russell by Emily, on Flickr

    A wanted to see the Incredibles 2 at some point during the cruise. Because we were pretty busy during the day the late evenings became our movie time. Tonight it played at 10:45 in the Buena Vista Theatre (the smaller of the two theatres used only for movies). We showered, got our PJs on and went to watch. I had already seen it and have trouble staying up at night to watch a movie regardless of how intriguing it is. So I fell asleep multiple times throughout and K fell asleep a few times but A stayed awake the whole time. We had brought blankets from the room because K remembered the theaters on the Wonder being freezing and the seats bring rather uncomfortable. She was pleasantly surprised to find relatively comfortable seats that reclined. That is probably why she fell asleep. I think we got done around 12:30 and headed up to the room to pass out. Next stop: Nassau!
     
  14. allaboutthemouse

    allaboutthemouse Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    248
    Following along! We’re doing a three night Halloween in a couple weeks on the Dream, so happy I came across this! Can’t wait to hear more :flower1:
     
  15. dalmatian7

    dalmatian7 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Messages:
    492
    So are we! So excited.

    Great start to the trip report. I am always into how people travel to the destination too!!!
     
  16. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Thanks for reading! I love the Halloween cruises! The decorations and costumes add a new fun element!
     
  17. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Yay for Halloween cruises! I feel like the travel part is often full of hiccups (and a lot less magic then the Disney part) so it makes it more real.
     
  18. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Part Five: Tricks with No Treats

    I will start off with the Navigators from this day:

    [​IMG]Navigator Sat front by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Navigator Sat back by Emily, on Flickr

    I think we pulled into the port about 7:30ish on this day, if I remember correctly we were already in port (and I think we backed in!) when we all awoke. This was the view out the balcony when I got up (this is called Festival Place where you leave and enter the cruise ship area if you venture out on your own):

    [​IMG]Festival center by Emily, on Flickr

    Our meet up time was 9am for our catamaran reef snorkel so I think we got up about 8am. We threw on our suits and cover ups, loaded up on the sunscreen and headed to breakfast. We made our way to Cabanas and spoke with the first person we saw about A’s preordered breakfast. Cabanas was PACKED so we were glad that the head server that came out helped us find a table so that he would know where to bring A’s food. K and I waited a few minutes and then headed to fill our plates. This was K’s plate:

    [​IMG]K breakfast saturday by Emily, on Flickr

    And mine:

    [​IMG]Me breakfast Saturday by Emily, on Flickr

    I ADORE the hashbrowns on the ship. They are just like the ones they served in my college cafeteria, crispy and delicious. They are so clearly frozen and reheated but they get me every time. The mango “yogurt” thing was more like a smoothie and I forgot to grab a spoon to eat it so I ended up drinking it, it was quite delicious. The eggs benedict were also quite good as surprisingly was the eggless breakfast burrito bite (the thing covered in nacho cheese).

    This was the bowl of fruit that they brought A while she waited for her hot food (sorry about the bites taken out, it was too early to remember pictures and I hadn't had coffee yet):

    [​IMG]"GF" fruit Saturday by Emily, on Flickr

    And this was her gluten free pancakes and sausage:

    [​IMG]GF pancakes and sausage by Emily, on Flickr

    She enjoyed all of it. This was the vat of maple syrup she was brought:

    [​IMG]A syrup by Emily, on Flickr

    Seriously it looked like a soup bowl full of syrup. A and K enjoying their delicious breakfasts that they didn’t have to prepare or clean up after (one of the highlights of cruising):


    [​IMG]A breakfast by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]K breakfast by Emily, on Flickr

    We finished up breakfast right about 9am and hurried to the D-lounge which was our meet up location. I know a lot of people prefer not to get off the ship in Nassau or book their own excursions. I like getting to experience other places and snorkeling in Nassau was something we had not done before. Plus I am terrified of booking something on my own, having something happen and getting stuck in Nassau. So I pay more and book through Disney for peace of mind.

    On our last cruise we did the Atlantis water park and had a blast! It is crazy expensive but since we cruise in the off season the lines were pretty non-existent so we got to ride everything multiple times. We debated booking that again but ultimately decided not to because of cost. We are glad we didn’t since that would have been a very expensive day of sunbathing for A since she couldn’t ride anything with her pregnancy!

    We got to the D-lounge a few minutes after 9am and were one of the last groups to arrive. They checked our tickets and checked our names off the list. They gave us stickers for our group, there were two other excursions meeting in the D-lounge so every person was given a sticker with a Disney character (we got Pinocchio) so you know what group of people to follow. We made our way off the ship (trying to follow others with Pinocchio stickers) and eventually someone with a paddle with our character met us off the ship. They had us line up so we could walk as a group to the catamaran. This was taken while waiting in line:

    [​IMG]Dream by Emily, on Flickr

    It was probably a 5 minute walk to the boat. I tend to get seasick on smaller boats so I took two Dramamine just in case. I also used some of K’s Motion-eeze (some kind of natural combination of oils that we rubbed behind our ears). I ended up not needing them, the ride was super smooth. We were far back in line so we were one of the last groups to get on the catamaran. A lot of people choose to sit up at the front but we found a nook where we had good views but some shade (we all burn to a crisp pretty quickly). The beautiful ship we would soon return to:

    [​IMG]Dream 4 by Emily, on Flickr

    And the sad non-Disney ships. I am not even sure what line the first one is with, maybe Royal Caribbean? The other two are obviously Carnival. There were probably three or four other ships docked with us that day.

    [​IMG]Royal Caribbean? by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Carnival doubles by Emily, on Flickr

    We passed some massive beachfront houses as well as Atlantis on our journey to the snorkeling area, which took about 30 to 45 minutes

    [​IMG]View from boat by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Houses 2 by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Atlantis by Emily, on Flickr

    They had us sign a waiver while we headed to the snorkel area. They also did a safety demonstration. If I remember correctly they required everyone to wear a life vest. They issued our snorkels and fins (the fins were optional) and give us several options to get off the boat: jump off the side, get off from the back or climb down a ladder from the front. We opted for the back because it seemed the easiest once we got our fins on.

    They gave us about an hour to snorkel and gave us directions where not to swim past. There were several other boats around with groups who were snorkeling as well as a group doing some variation of scuba diving where they were connected to a floating air tank. SNUBA maybe? K had her underwater camera and snapped these:

    [​IMG]Nassau by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Nassau2 by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Nassau3 by Emily, on Flickr

    We saw huge schools of these that were not at all afraid to swim pretty close to us

    [​IMG]Nassau4 by Emily, on Flickr

    We also saw some angelfish and I saw what I guess is called a flatfish? I didn’t get a picture of it but it had amazing camouflage and was like the fish that Nemo and his friends swim over who yells at them to get off his lawn at the beginning of Finding Nemo. He looked a little like this:

    [​IMG]

    We headed back to the boat about 10 minutes before the required departure. They gave us water and passed out small bags of chips. On the ride back we ended up sitting inside the cabin to avoid getting more sun exposure.


    Up next, our first sit down lunch on a Disney cruise and a trick or treating fail.
     
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  19. lorimay

    lorimay My littlest Loves

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Messages:
    8,076
    I have never gotten a program about the shows, thats pretty neat to have.
    Enjoying your report!
    I am so addicted to those darn hash browns too. I have them every morning onboard with a bowl of oatmeal as well.
     
  20. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Thanks! It was so cool I had never gotten one before either! It actually had all the shows form each ship I just didn't post them all. It was neat to see all the songs listed out. Glad there are fellow hash brown lovers out there! I was even talking about them before we got on the ship haha. The heart wants what the heart wants!
     
    lorimay likes this.
  21. AdventureIsOutThere129

    AdventureIsOutThere129 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Part Five Continued: A Royal Lunch


    Our excursion was from 9am-12pm. Overall we enjoyed it. The reef they took us to was large and had some diversity although we ended up seeing a lot more interesting stuff on Castaway Cay. But it was a relatively inexpensive excursion (at least in comparison to others) and allowed us to see some of the "wildlife" on Nassau!

    As we headed along the walkway back to the ship I got some closeups

    [​IMG]Dream Nassau 2 by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Dream close by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Logo by Emily, on Flickr

    The Nassau sign was even more covered in pictures than I remembered and we were looking pretty wind blown by this point so we skipped the picture. I think we were back on the ship about 12:30. We ran up to the room to change and drop our things off and headed up to Royal Court for our first sit down lunch! On shorter cruises lunch tends to be off the ship and on my one seven night I mostly ate lunch at the pool deck or on an excursion so this was a fun new experience. I think we arrived a little after 1pm and lunch ran until 1:30, they gave us no issues with being seated.

    I can’t recall our server’s name but he was very friendly and pleasant. During lunch there was also a head server who looked just like Channing Tatum (my favorite actor ever) so I kept a close eye on him! These were the menus from Royal Court:

    [​IMG]Sat lunch apps by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Sat lunch mains by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Sat lunch burgers by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Sat lunch desserts by Emily, on Flickr

    They started Amber off with warm gluten free rolls and butter and us off with a bread basket.

    [​IMG]GF bread by Emily, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Raisin bread by Emily, on Flickr

    We originally thought those might be olives but no, they were raisins. A bit strange. A started off with a salad with ranch.

    [​IMG]Amber salad by Emily, on Flickr

    I asked if the crisp romaine leaf salad was entrée sized. Our waiter said it was but it sounded so good I asked if I could have that and the tortilla soup as appetizers and get a smaller version of the salad. He said he would see what he could do. This is what I ended up with

    [​IMG]Salmon salad by Emily, on Flickr

    It was SO GOOD! I am so glad I ordered this. The dressing was light and the salmon was so moist. Our waiter joked when he collected my plate that he was hoping he could finish off what I didn’t eat but I didn’t give him the opportunity. This was the tortilla soup after I had eaten half (once again I promise the presentation was better)

    [​IMG]Tortilla soup by Emily, on Flickr

    It was not bad, a little more tomato flavor then I was expecting and I remember it having a hint of spice. I guess K did not get an appetizer since I have no picture. A got the halibut

    [​IMG]GF halibut by Emily, on Flickr

    And K and I both got the lamb burger.

    [​IMG]Lamb burger by Emily, on Flickr

    It was not bad, it also had a hint of spice but the babaganoush and relish made it hard to eat, it kind of fell apart. The flavor was different from a regular burger so I’m glad I tried it. Our waiter said he would bring A a “special” gluten free dessert since nothing on the menu was labeled gluten free. She got a caramel sundae and said it was awesome

    [​IMG]GF caramel sundae by Emily, on Flickr

    I got the fresh strawberry mille feuille and asked the waiter how to pronounce the “mille feuille” part. He hesitated for a second and then said “strawberry pastry” and we all had a good laugh :rotfl:! My reply was “that is how I would pronounce it too!”

    [​IMG]Strawberry pastry by Emily, on Flickr

    Beautiful presentation! The pastry crème (there were layers of it in between the pastry) and strawberries were delicious, I was not wild about the pastry as it was less flaky than I would have liked. I certainly still ate it though :rotfl2:. K had the warm hazelnut molten cake. I had a bite and this was incredible!

    [​IMG]Chocolate molten cake by Emily, on Flickr

    After lunch we headed to put on our suits and hang out poolside. K and I decided to try the Aquaduck while A sunbathed on a lounger in the adult area. The line was posted as 30 minutes but I think we only waited about 20. The Aquaduck was as always a great time although the gushing water felt extra cold. The views of the pool deck and over the side of the ship are incredible as you go along. Highly recommend!
     

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